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State of Wonder

State of Wonder

By Ann Patchett

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Tag: War

Middle Eastern Vultures

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Posted on Jan 6, 2009 READ MORE


Yukking It Up at the Blago Show

I am supposed to be typing out words that articulate a highly audible and terribly alarmed tsk tsk. Instead, I am laughing with unrestrained amusement at the farce that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has engineered. Honestly, I haven’t had this much fun since New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s implosion.

Posted on Jan 6, 2009 READ MORE


Cheney

Dick Cheney on Iraq ‘Success’

After operating largely out of the spotlight for the last eight years, Vice President Dick Cheney continued his Sudden Visibility Press Tour on Sunday as he prepared to leave office. Here, he talks to CBS’ Bob Schieffer on “Face the Nation” about how he thinks his administration fared in the Iraq war.

Posted on Jan 5, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / Amir Farshad Ebrahimi

The ‘Blood Pipeline’ Test

Haaretz’s Gideon Levy recalls the mathematician whose dutiful students drew up plans for a “blood pipeline” without questioning why it should be built. With Gaza, he warns, Israel faces such a test and “when the time comes for reckoning, we will need to remember the damage this war did to Israel.”

Posted on Jan 4, 2009 READ MORE


Gaza Protest In West Bank
Ma'an Images

Gaza’s ‘Critical Emergency’

The United Nations marked Israel’s seventh day of aerial attacks by warning of a “critical emergency” in the Gaza Strip, as Palestinians endure food and medical supply shortages and distribution problems even as estimates of dead and wounded Palestinians continue to rise.

Posted on Jan 2, 2009 READ MORE



amazon.com

Andrew Nagorski on the Bolsheviks’ Crimes

There was a time when Russia was an economic power on the rise. Sean McMeekin’s new book, “History’s Greatest Heist: The Looting of Russia by the Bolsheviks,” explains what nipped that growth in the bud.

Posted on Jan 2, 2009 READ MORE


Our Cuba Policy: A Failure at 50

President-elect Obama will have more urgent matters to deal with after he takes the oath of office. But somewhere on his long to-do list, he should make a note to finally bring five decades of counterproductive American policy toward Cuba to a definitive end.

Posted on Jan 1, 2009 READ MORE


FDR Prolonged the Depression? Really?

If you’re like me, you sometimes find yourself speechless when confronted with abject insanity, such as conservatives’ newest talking point—the one designed to stop Congress from passing an economic stimulus package.

Posted on Jan 1, 2009 READ MORE


Believe It or Not, 2008 Was Relatively Nonviolent

Peace is not at hand, at least not as Americans define it. Yet peace has been breaking out all over.

Posted on Jan 1, 2009 READ MORE


The 21st Century Is Finally Here, a Bit Behind Schedule

Social and political epochs rarely end precisely on schedules provided by calendars. The outcome of this year’s election means that 2009 will, finally, mark the beginning of the 21st century.

Posted on Dec 31, 2008 READ MORE


Message From Hamas

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Posted on Dec 29, 2008 READ MORE


Happy Hanukkah

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Posted on Dec 29, 2008 READ MORE    


Gaza Morgue Runs Out of Room

Shifa hospital in Gaza has struggled to keep pace with Israel’s punishing airstrikes. Bloomberg reports that the hospital’s morgue has three bodies crammed in each drawer, with dozens more lying on stretchers.

Posted on Dec 29, 2008 READ MORE



AP photo / Hatem Moussa

Leaders Lie, Civilians Die, and Lessons of History Are Ignored

We’ve got so used to the carnage of the Middle East that we don’t care anymore—providing we don’t offend the Israelis.

Posted on Dec 29, 2008 READ MORE


Freedom Christmas

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Posted on Dec 28, 2008 READ MORE    


pakistan border
AP photo / Musa Khan

Amid Tensions, Pakistan Moves Troops

In a rebuke to U.S. interests in the region and amid growing tensions between two nuclear powers, Pakistan is moving its forces from its border with Afghanistan—where Pakistani troops are fighting against the Taliban—and restricting soldiers from going on leave, as fears of conflict with India continue to grow.

Posted on Dec 26, 2008 READ MORE


Economic Death and Millionaire Taxes

For most of us, Benjamin Franklin’s words in 1789 still apply: “Nothing is certain but death and taxes.” However, millionaires, by definition, are not most of us.

Posted on Dec 26, 2008 READ MORE


Don’t Be Fooled by Bush’s Farewell Tour

The 43rd president is going home with less remorse and fewer regrets than my grandchildren express for spilling their cereal.

Posted on Dec 24, 2008 READ MORE


Gifts Worthy of Christmas

On this consumer holiday, let us recognize those whose satisfaction comes not from accumulating material goods or political power: The relief workers and community builders lending their energy to the poorest people in villages and urban slums scattered around the globe.

Posted on Dec 24, 2008 READ MORE


What Nixon Admitted (and Cheney Won’t)

To understand the philosophy of government that Dick Cheney brought to Washington over the past seven years, it is most instructive to see “Frost/Nixon,” with Frank Langella’s remarkable reanimation of Tricky Dick for a generation that never knew him.

Posted on Dec 24, 2008 READ MORE



USAF / Michael B. Keller

The Road Out of Iraq Begins in Vietnam

Iraq is not Vietnam, yet there are parallels between the two wars. The American military dominated the battlefield in both conflicts, and yet America the nation emerged the loser in each. A “decent interval” is now needed for American troops to withdraw.

Posted on Dec 24, 2008 READ MORE



mexicanpictures.com

Back to the Future: U.S. to Arm Afghan Militias

Because it worked out so well the last time, the U.S. plans to arm Afghan militias in an effort to police the country. The Pentagon is presenting this plan—and the media are reporting it—as a spinoff of a successful strategy in Iraq, not a revival of the secret war that gave rise to Osama bin Laden and the Taliban.

Posted on Dec 23, 2008 READ MORE



White House / Eric Draper

From ‘Mission Accomplished’ to ‘So What?’

The history-be-my-judge interviews that President Bush and Vice President Cheney have been giving recently help me understand their choices—but also reinforce my confident belief, and my fervent hope, that history will throw the book at them.

Posted on Dec 23, 2008 READ MORE



AP photo / Khalil Hamra

Man Is a Cruel Animal

We fool ourselves into believing we are immune to the savagery and chaos of failed states. Take away the rigid social structure, let society continue to break down, and we become, like anyone else, brutes.

Posted on Dec 22, 2008 READ MORE


book cover

James Blight on McGeorge Bundy

One of JFK’s “best and brightest” died wondering how the Vietnam War could have gone so wrong. Now, in an important new book, we have some answers.

Posted on Dec 19, 2008 READ MORE


Torture Proponents Have No Serious Argument

George W. Bush’s war against terror has brought out of the darker places in America a lot of people who want to torture, or like the idea of it. We know it doesn’t work, so what drives Dick Cheney and his colleague to champion such moral depravity?

Posted on Dec 18, 2008 READ MORE


Blundering U.S. Should Spare the World Any More Nation Building

According to a new report, the U.S. has accomplished little more in Iraq than restoration of the basic services destroyed by the American invasion and the looting that followed. This is after killing or wounding—how many, a half million?—Iraqi civilians in order to liberate them. No wonder the Iraqi journalist threw his shoes at George W. Bush.

Posted on Dec 16, 2008 READ MORE


Flying Shoes

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Posted on Dec 16, 2008 READ MORE


Bush
AP photo / Charles Dharapa

Shoes and Boos for Outgoing Bush

It’s hard to remember the time when George W. Bush winked and swaggered his way into the White House, while rival Al Gore’s team fretted that the vice president didn’t show enough folksy warmth or wear the right earth tones to win the day. My, how times have changed.

Posted on Dec 15, 2008 READ MORE


Cute Baby

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Posted on Dec 15, 2008 READ MORE    



U.S. Army / Staff Sgt. Michael Bracken

America’s Afghan Thugs

An American living in Kandahar writes in The Washington Post that the “corrupt gunslingers” the U.S. put in charge of Afghanistan are as much to blame for the resurgence of the Taliban as anyone. “Why,” after all, “would anyone defend officials who pillage them?”

Posted on Dec 15, 2008 READ MORE


Let's Get Ready to Rumsfeld
AP photo / Rick Browmer

Senate Panel’s Report on U.S. Torture Abuse

Read the devastating bipartisan report from the Senate Armed Services Committee that indicts high-level Bush administration officials—including former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld—as bearing major responsibility for the torture at Abu Gharib, Guantanamo, and other detention facilities.

Posted on Dec 12, 2008 READ MORE


British Soldiers
americaslibrary.gov

Love Is a Battlefield

The British Defense Ministry has leaked news that it will begin a phased troop withdrawal from Iraq. The drawdown will bring to an end a torrid, near-six-year love affair with the U.S. that began with coordinated intelligence failures and eventually led to jointly invading a sovereign country under cover of a “war on terror.”

Posted on Dec 10, 2008 READ MORE



USAF / Master Sgt. Kristen Stanley

For Pentagon, More Wal-Mart, Less Gucci

“It is going to be more of a Wal-Mart approach than a Gucci approach.” That’s how a senior Defense Department official, quoted in the L.A. Times, describes perennial Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ vision for Pentagon spending priorities.

Posted on Dec 9, 2008 READ MORE


West’s Role in Afghanistan Needs Re-Examining

Why are the allies waging war against the largest of the native ethnic groups in Afghanistan? The NATO answer is that the allies didn’t set out to fight a war against the Pashtuns. It just happened that way.

Posted on Dec 9, 2008 READ MORE


A Tale of Two Nobel Nations

While the Nobel prizes recognize lifetime achievements in medicine, chemistry, physics, literature, economics and peace, and Sweden is a paragon among progressive, social democracies, there is another side to Sweden and the Nobels that warrants a closer look.

Posted on Dec 9, 2008 READ MORE



White House / Eric Draper

Talking Points Celebrate Bush’s 8 Wonderful Years

Putting a positive spin on George W. Bush’s two terms in office is no easy feat, which is why the White House has sent out a two-page memo detailing the president’s numerous achievements, including his protection of “the honor and the dignity of his office,” whatever that means.

Posted on Dec 9, 2008 READ MORE


Unions Aren’t the Problem

As Congress and the White House lurch toward possible approval of a loan package for the crippled auto industry, we are undoubtedly in store for more union-bashing.

Posted on Dec 9, 2008 READ MORE


Obama Embraces the Military

In naming retired Gen. Eric K. Shinseki as veterans affairs secretary, President-elect Barack Obama made what may be the most politically and morally significant choice of his transition.

Posted on Dec 9, 2008 READ MORE


The Scalpel

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Posted on Dec 8, 2008 READ MORE    



AP photo / Douglas Healey

The Best and the Brightest Led America Off a Cliff

The multiple failures that beset the country can be laid at the feet of our elite universities. Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Stanford, along with most other elite schools, do a poor job educating students to think. They focus instead on creating hordes of competent systems managers.

Posted on Dec 8, 2008 READ MORE


Bush the Infallible

Remember that long-ago news conference when George W. Bush couldn’t think of any mistakes he had made? Unbelievably, he still can’t.

Posted on Dec 5, 2008 READ MORE



U.S. Air Force

‘Why We Fight’ Director on the American Way of War

Filmmaker Eugene Jarecki speaks with Truthdig’s Kasia Anderson about his new book, whether Obama can deliver, and why the U.S. is like Elvis.

Posted on Dec 4, 2008 READ MORE


Remaking the World in America’s Image

The evidence suggests that American policy under Barack Obama will be a continuation of the neoconservative foreign policy of the Bush administration, given a human face.

Posted on Dec 4, 2008 READ MORE



Wikimedia Commons

U.S. Puts Fresh Cash Into the Drug War

While the rest of the world has been preoccupied with a financial meltdown, a handful of wars and a terrorist attack or two, Mexico has been waging war on its homegrown drug industry, and the death count is mounting. U.S. Ambassador Tony Garza announced that El Norte is sending a couple hundred million down south to aid the cause.

Posted on Dec 4, 2008 READ MORE


Not a Team of Rivals at All

When the journalistic pack bites into a tasty cliché, they often refuse to let go, lazily chewing and regurgitating a phrase like “team of rivals” long after the flavor is gone.

Posted on Dec 4, 2008 READ MORE


Which Hillary Will We Get?

It was a moment bound to give anyone second thoughts about Hillary Clinton’s nomination as secretary of state: Rush Limbaugh called it a “brilliant stroke.”

Posted on Dec 4, 2008 READ MORE


Chevron in the White House

President-elect Barack Obama introduced his principal national security Cabinet selections to the world Monday and left no doubt that he intends to start his administration on a war footing. It is revealing that his choice for national security adviser is a director of Boeing, a weapons manufacturer, and Chevron, an oil giant.

Posted on Dec 2, 2008 READ MORE


Was There Any Point to the Bloodshed in Mumbai?

What is the message of a terrorist attack that fails to deliver a message? Threats and warnings are being exchanged by India and Pakistan over the attack on Mumbai, carried out by presumed Muslim extremists. But acting to what purpose, and under whose instructions?

Posted on Dec 2, 2008 READ MORE


Taking Over Bush’s Endless War

Terrorism (for the umpteenth time) is a tactic, not an enemy. One of the most urgent tasks for President-elect Barack Obama’s “team of rivals” is coming up with a coherent intellectual framework—and a winning battle plan—for George W. Bush’s globe-spanning “war on terror.”

Posted on Dec 1, 2008 READ MORE


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