Empire Nation Building

Josh Marshall's long-awaited "empire" review essay is in this week's New Yorker. You can read it online here. Marshall uses terms like "imperial" descriptively, not pejoratively and not as a dismissive epithet. It is simply the case that the United States now possesses unrivaled military might and, in various ways, functions rather like an imperial [Read More...]

Tony Blair: An Honest Fool

Patrick Tyler, reporting in The New York Times, avoids misusing the word "vindication" in the way that I just heard reporters on NPR abusing the term. The Hutton inquiry has cleared Tony Blair of deliberately misleading the public, which can only mean that the Prime Minister misled the public accidentally — out of his own [Read More...]

Cheetohs of Mass Destruction

Kevin Drum has a nice rundown of the Bush administration's incredible shrinking claims about Iraq's alleged weapons and the lack thereof: March 2003: Weapons of mass destruction. June 2003: Weapons of mass destruction programs. October 2003: Weapons of mass destruction-related programs. January 2004: Weapons of mass destruction-related program activities. I've mentioned this before, but this [Read More...]

19 more words

"For diplomacy to be effective, words must be credible, and no one can now doubt the word of America." – George W. Bush, Jan. 20, 2004, State of the Union address [Read more...]

Counting the cost

Wednesday before work I hear this report from NPR's Daniel Zwerdling on "All Things Considered" (link is audio only). Zwerdling talks about how little is heard about those wounded in Iraq and does a series of MOTS interviews where passersby consistently underestimate the number of troops injured. Zwerdling estimates the number at around 9,000. He [Read More...]

“Embarrassing,” a “fiasco”

"For those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong. We found them." – George W. Bush, May 30, 2003. That was President Bush's statement touting what he said were two mobile "weapons labs" discovered by U.S. troops in Iraq. Subsequent reports — none of which received a fraction [Read More...]

Revolution and reform, part 1

Reinhold Niebuhr is considered one of the greatest theologians and moral philosophers of the 20th century. In other words, nobody pays him any attention any more. That's a shame, since much of his writing remains uncannily timely — particularly Moral Man and Immoral Society, The Nature and Destiny of Man, and The Irony of American [Read More...]

Once more with feeling

The (over-)extended metaphor in the previous post may obscure the links to two worthy articles that I wanted to highlight. Those would be: "Rumsfeld and his 'old friend' Saddam," by Jim Lobe in the Asia Times; and "Winning and Losing," by Philip Gourevitch in The New Yorker. [Read more...]