Category Archives: The 51st State

A Teachable Moment in Basra

It should come as no surprise that Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s disastrous offensive against the Mahdi Army of Moqtada Sadr in Basra has had the exact opposite effect of that intended — strengthening rather than weakening Sadr, and making clear that he, and the Iranians, have far greater influence of Iraq’s future than does the Iraqi government or the U.S. That’s because Maliki’s shared the fate of pretty much every similar initiative by the Bush Administration and its allies and proxies since the onset of the “war on terror.”

The pattern is all too common: The U.S. or an ally or proxy launches a military offensive against a politically popular “enemy” group; Bush and his minions welcome the violence as “clarifying” matters, demonstrating “resolve”, or, in the most grotesque rhetorical flourish of all, the “birth pangs” of a brave new world. Each time, the “enemy” proves far more resilient than expected, largely because Bush and his allies have failed to recognize that each adversary’s power should be measured in political support rather than firepower; and the net effect of the offensive invariably leaves the enemy strengthened and the U.S. and its allies even weaker than before they launched the offensive. Continue reading

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Iraq, an American ‘Nakbah’


American Taliban council of war

Five years into the catastrophe (for millions of Iraqis, and ultimately, for millions of Americans) in Iraq, has the media really asked itself how it enabled this war. Not only was it patently obvious that there was no evidence to back up the case for war, there was no questioning of its basic premise, i.e. that certain categories of weapons in the hands of a rival regime forced the U.S. to “preemptively” invade another country without provocation Continue reading

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A Patriotic Officer Confronts Bush — And the Democrats

I’ve long admired Andrew Bacevich’s analyses and commentary on the Bush Administration’s misadventures in the Middle East. Bacevich, a moderate Republican veteran of Vietnam and graduate of the U.S. military academy has taught in various strategic studies centers has written … Continue reading

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Iraq: The Slimiest Benchmark

The art of political hegemony is achieved when a narrow group of people is able to convince a wider society that the group’s own, narrow interests, in fact, represent the general interest or the “greater good.” Nowhere is there currently … Continue reading

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Iraq: The Trouble With ‘Benchmarks’

Or else what, George? From my new piece at TIME.com: Now that they each have registered their respective positions about tying Iraq war funding to a withdrawal timetable, congressional Democrats and President Bush are seeking a workable compromise. The most … Continue reading

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Why the U.S. Can’t Leave Iraq

The debate in Washington over troop withdrawals from Iraq is largely a pantomime for domestic political consumption — the Democrats are maneuvering to disassociate themselves from an unpopular war that a majority of their senators originally backed, and that they … Continue reading

Posted in Featured Analysis, Situation Report, The 51st State | 27 Comments