Whether it’s an Iraqi widow mourning her dead loved ones standing helplessly in the rubble of her former home or a dying soldier in an Iraqi city street asking, “Why, God? Why is this happening? Where are you?” I can’t help but wonder the same. You realize that there is no justice, no karmic retribution swift enough, and that happy endings are a terrible, terrible lie. We are all subject to the same blind boot stomp and our luck is merely where we happen to be standing when death inevitably comes roaring down upon us.
Thomas Jefferson once said: 'Of course the people don't want war. But the people can be brought to the bidding of their leader. All you have to do is tell them they're being attacked and denounce the pacifists for somehow a lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.' I think that was Jefferson. Oh wait. That was Hermann Goering. Shoot.[Hosting the Peabody Awards for broadcasting excellence at the New York Waldorf-Astoria, June 6, 2006]
The number of people killed by the sanctions in Iraq is greater than the total number of people killed by all weapons of mass destruction in all of history.
First Afghanistan, now Iraq. So who's next? Syria? North Korea? Iran? Where will it all end?' If these illegal interventions are permitted to continue, the implication seems to be, pretty soon, horror of horrors, no murderously repressive regimes might remain.
A president who is burdened with a failed and unpopular war, and who has lost the trust of the country, simply can no longer govern. He is destined to become as much a failure as his war.
It struck me that such analyses had it backward. It’s the American public for whom the Iraq War is often no more real than a video game. Five years into this war, I am not always confident most Americans fully appreciate the caliber of the people fighting for them, the sacrifices they have made, and the sacrifices they continue to make. After the Vietnam War ended, the onus of shame largely fell on the veterans. This time around, if shame is to be had when the Iraq conflict ends - and all indications are there will be plenty of it - the veterans are the last people in America to deserve it. When it comes to apportioning shame my vote goes to the American people who sent them to war in a surge of emotion but quickly lost the will to either win it or end it. The young troops I profiled in Generation Kill, as well as the other men and women in uniform I’ve encountered in combat zones throughout Iraq and Afghanistan, are among the finest people of their generation. We misuse them at our own peril.
The 'pre-emption' versus 'prevention' debate may be a distinction without much difference. The important thing is to have it understood that the United States is absolutely serious. The jihadists have in the past bragged that America is too feeble and corrupt to fight. A lot is involved in disproving that delusion on their part.
Nothing—not even the US Army—more threatens the future of a democratic, pluralistic and (dare we wish, secular) Iraq than the political ascendancy of Islamic fascists like Al Sadr.
As a Nobel Peace laureate, I, like most people, agonize over the use of force. But when it comes to rescuing an innocent people from tyranny or genocide, I've never questioned the justification for resorting to force. That's why I supported Vietnam's 1978 invasion of Cambodia, which ended Pol Pot's regime, and Tanzania's invasion of Uganda in 1979, to oust Idi Amin. In both cases, those countries acted without U.N. or international approval—and in both cases they were right to do so.
I think you can be an enemy of Saddam Hussein even if Donald Rumsfeld is also an enemy of Saddam Hussein.
Saddam's politics was the politics of the thug, of violence from the outset of his reign. Realism suggests that some people are not going to be tractable in response to purely peaceable overtures. Indeed, it certainly appears that some individuals, including notably Saddam Hussein, will cheerfully help themselves to a yard for every inch offered by well-meaning peacemakers. When we are dealing with customers as tough as that, there is no alternative to being tough ourselves.
As he grew older, which was mostly in my absence, my firstborn son, Alexander, became ever more humorous and courageous. There came a time, as the confrontation with the enemies of our civilization became more acute, when he sent off various applications to enlist in the armed forces. I didn't want to be involved in this decision either way, especially since I was being regularly taunted for not having 'sent' any of my children to fight in the wars of resistance that I supported. (As if I could 'send' anybody, let alone a grown-up and tough and smart young man: what moral imbeciles the 'anti-war' people have become.)
There are people who come home from war and want to talk about the pain, but no one wants to listen; there are others who want to keep silent and repress the memories, and all their family and friends want is to talk about it. I call this the war veteran reintegration paradox.
The slow, mismanaged arrival of armored vehicles and bulletproof plates for flak vests was only the most conspicuous demonstration of how the Iraq War, like every war -- just or unjust, won or lost -- became a conspiracy of the old and powerful against the young and dutiful.
Ensuring that our home planet is healthy and life sustaining is an overwhelming priority that undercuts all other human activities. The ship must first float. Our failure to grasp these fundamental tenants of existence will be our undoing. And one thing is for certain. No calvary is going to come charging to our rescue. We are going to have to rescue ourselves or die trying. Workable solutions are urgently needed. Saving seals and tigers or fighting yet another oil pipeline through a wilderness area, while laudable, is merely shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic. The real issue is our elementary accord with Earth and the plant and animal kingdoms has to be revitalized and re-understood.The burning question is, How?
Some say that because the United States was wrong before, it cannot possibly be right now, or has not the right to be right. (The British Empire sent a fleet to Africa and the Caribbean to maintain the slave trade while the very same empire later sent another fleet to enforce abolition. I would not have opposed the second policy because of my objections to the first; rather it seems to me that the second policy was morally necessitated by its predecessor.)
I have been taunted on various platforms recently for becoming a neo-conservative, and have been the object of some fascinating web-site and blog stuff, from the isolationist Right as well as from the peaceniks, who both argue in a semi-literate way that neo-conservativism is Trotskyism and 'permanent revolution' reborn.Sometimes, you have to comb an overt anti-Semitism out of this propaganda before you can even read it straight. And I can guarantee you that none of these characters has any idea at all of what the theory of 'permanent revolution' originally meant.
Indifferent to truth, willing to use police-state tactics and vulgar libels against inconvenient witnesses, hopeless on health care, and flippant and fast and loose with national security: The case against Hillary Clinton for president is open-and-shut. Of course, against all these considerations you might prefer the newly fashionable and more media-weighty notion that if you don't show her enough appreciation, and after all she's done for us, she may cry.
On January 17, 1991 and for the 43 days that followed, I watched CNN’s live coverage of SCUD missiles and bombs fall over Baghdad like rain; then the 12 ½ years of unjust sanctions that killed approximately a million Iraqis, half of which were children under the age of five; then an unjust attack in 2003 that opened the borders to terrorists from all over the world and reduced the cradle of civilization to piles of rubble. The gov. asked us to support their plan or else be considered anti-American and undemocratic and they ask of us the same today, 25 years later, even though history proved they were pro-profit not pro-life.
There is a noticeable element of the pathological in some current leftist critiques, which I tend to attribute to feelings of guilt allied to feelings of impotence. Not an attractive combination, because it results in self-hatred.
George Bush made a mistake when he referred to the Saddam Hussein regime as 'evil.' Every liberal and leftist knows how to titter at such black-and-white moral absolutism. What the president should have done, in the unlikely event that he wanted the support of America's peace-mongers, was to describe a confrontation with Saddam as the 'lesser evil.' This is a term the Left can appreciate. Indeed, 'lesser evil' is part of the essential tactical rhetoric of today's Left, and has been deployed to excuse or overlook the sins of liberal Democrats, from President Clinton's bombing of Sudan to Madeleine Albright's veto of an international rescue for Rwanda when she was U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Among those longing for nuance, moral relativism—the willingness to use the term evil, when combined with a willingness to make accommodations with it—is the smart thing: so much more sophisticated than 'cowboy' language.
The Iraqi sun quickly heated the air to an unbearable onehundred twenty three degree’s, causing an unquenchable thirst toboil up in him. Thomas then dropped his rifle under his right arm,where it hung beneath his pit by a strap called a fast sling, there theweapon dangled under his sweat soaked uniform.
Waving from side to side in the breeze, her long golden hairshimmered as she handed Thomas a bottle of beer.“When are you coming home to me?” She said eloquently.
If the Bahreini royal family can have an embassy, a state, and a seat at the UN, why should the twenty-five million Kurds not have a claim to autonomy? The alleviation of their suffering and the assertion of their self-government is one of the few unarguable benefits of regime change in Iraq. It is not a position from which any moral retreat would be allowable.
Such impulses have displayed themselves very widely across left and liberal opinion in recent months. Why? For some, because what the US government and its allies do, whatever they do, has to be opposed—and opposed however thuggish and benighted the forces which this threatens to put your anti-war critic into close company with. For some, because of an uncontrollable animus towards George Bush and his administration. For some, because of a one-eyed perspective on international legality and its relation to issues of international justice and morality. Whatever the case or the combination, it has produced a calamitous compromise of the core values of socialism, or liberalism or both, on the part of thousands of people who claim attachment to them. You have to go back to the apologias for, and fellow-travelling with, the crimes of Stalinism to find as shameful a moral failure of liberal and left opinion as in the wrong-headed—and too often, in the circumstances, sickeningly smug—opposition to the freeing of the Iraqi people from one of the foulest regimes on the planet.
During the Senate debate on the intervention in Iraq, Sen. Clinton made considerable use of her background and 'experience' to argue that, yes, Saddam Hussein was indeed a threat. She did not argue so much from the position adopted by the Bush administration as she emphasized the stand taken, by both her husband and Al Gore, when they were in office, to the effect that another and final confrontation with the Baathist regime was more or less inevitable. Now, it does not especially matter whether you agree or agreed with her about this (as I, for once, do and did). What does matter is that she has since altered her position and attempted, with her husband’s help, to make people forget that she ever held it. And this, on a grave matter of national honor and security, merely to influence her short-term standing in the Iowa caucuses. Surely that on its own should be sufficient to disqualify her from consideration?
Religion is the most powerful entity on earth. A phenomenon that has conscripted millions to give or sacrifice their lives without so much as a minuscule query about their chosen beliefs or particular ideology. And today thousands of years on despite the huge advent, discovery and the advance of science forensic or otherwise, millions are still prepared and equipped to fall or kill in the name of their God, their Holy Scriptures, their messengers, their prophets and their faith’.
Ramadi’s sky was generously filled with stars. Celestial ornaments set against a banner of a deep blue velvet sky. It was a place where hell, death, and heaven were so clear and the closest I’ve felt to all three in my life.
In our towns and cities they will continue to be born, in our communities they will go on to be nurtured & radicalised & from within our neighbourhoods they will terrorise & murder our citizens including women & children in their attempt to destroy the very fabric & order of our civilised society. They are influenced by our ignorance, our lack of knowledge is their power, martyrdom in the name of their God and prophet is their aspiration & so it is critical that we waste no time & learn more about them & this ideology they follow before we can even begin to eradicate this chilling & growing endemic Islamic faith based terrorism’.
I am sorry for those who have never had the experience of seeing the victory of a national liberation movement, and I feel cold contempt for those who jeer at it.
A few days later, Tuesday quietly crossed our apartment as I read a book and, after a nudge against my arm, put his head on my lap. As always, I immediately checked my mental state, trying to assess what was wrong. I knew a change in my biorhythms had brought Tuesday over, because he was always monitoring me, but I couldn't figure out what it was. Breathing? Okay. Pulse? Normal. Was I glazed or distracted? Was I lost in Iraq? Was a dark period descending? I didn't think so, but I knew something must be wrong, and I was starting to worry...until I looked into Tuesday's eyes. They were staring at me softly from under those big eyebrows, and there was nothing in them but love.
Some lurid things have been said about me—that I am a racist, a hopeless alcoholic, a closet homosexual and so forth—that I leave to others to decide the truth of. I'd only point out, though, that if true these accusations must also have been true when I was still on the correct side, and that such shocking deformities didn't seem to count for so much then. Arguing with the Stalinist mentality for more than three decades now, and doing a bit of soapboxing and street-corner speaking on and off, has meant that it takes quite a lot to hurt my tender feelings, or bruise my milk-white skin.
I would add entertainment media cheerleader Wolf Blitzer, CNN’s Pentagon sycophant in Kuwait City, a representative of the neon press, neon being that colorless, inert gas that lights up on command.
An infantryman’s job is to deliver his enemies into the waiting hands of Death. It is Doc’s job to protect his brothers from Death, to knock him aside and say, “Not today.
Kurdistan has a long and turbulent history. Today, it faces a future branching in directions that could lead it towards success or disaster, freedom or renewed oppression.
You might think that the Left could have a regime-change perspective of its own, based on solidarity with its comrades abroad. After all, Saddam's ruling Ba'ath Party consolidated its power by first destroying the Iraqi communist and labor movements, and then turning on the Kurds (whose cause, historically, has been one of the main priorities of the Left in the Middle East). When I first became a socialist, the imperative of international solidarity was the essential if not the defining thing, whether the cause was popular or risky or not. I haven't seen an anti-war meeting all this year at which you could even guess at the existence of the Iraqi and Kurdish opposition to Saddam, an opposition that was fighting for 'regime change' when both Republicans and Democrats were fawning over Baghdad as a profitable client and geopolitical ally. Not only does the 'peace' movement ignore the anti-Saddam civilian opposition, it sends missions to console the Ba'athists in their isolation, and speaks of the invader of Kuwait and Iran and the butcher of Kurdistan as if he were the victim and George W. Bush the aggressor.
He begins to sing to her, very softly, almost not singing at all, just a whisper of a tune. He spins out the tune like it is a tale he is telling her, until he feels her body relax, until he feels her falling into sleep. He sings to let her know he’s there, to stay anchored to the earth, to keep from laughing or crying in amazement that he is lying with Alice in his arms, he sings as if music could keep her alive, as if music could feed her soul, as if music could weave a protective spell around her to survive these days and these weeks and these months and these years, he sings as if he could give her a piece of himself, which will ring inside of her like a bell, like a promise, like hope whenever she needs him; and in his singing, he promises her every single thing he can think of, and more.