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 Entire ArchiveIraq War Items

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Say It Again: The Enemy of Our Enemy Is Still a War Criminal
He received a prestigious award from the West Point Association of Graduates. He published a “runaway” bestselling autobiography. Last February, a lavishly produced book celebrating his paintings of Americans who served in the military was, as Time put it, “burning up the Amazon charts.” Still, the liberal media wasn’t ready to embrace George W. Bush... Read More
Who even remembers that, back in September 2002, Lawrence Lindsey, then President George W. Bush’s chief economic adviser, offered an upper limit estimate on the cost of a future war in Iraq at $100 billion to $200 billion? He also suggested that the “successful prosecution” of such a war “would be good for the economy.”... Read More
Born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth, a former businessman who had helped run companies into the ground, he was widely considered ill-prepared for the presidency, out of his depth, a lightweight in a heavyweight world. Still, having won the Republican nomination and then a uniquely contested election, once in the Oval Office... Read More
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George W. Bush Receives a Character Award at West Point
In George W. Bush’s home state of Texas, if you are an ordinary citizen found guilty of capital murder, the mandatory sentence is either life in prison or the death penalty. If, however, you are a former president of the United States responsible for initiating two illegal wars of aggression, which killed 7,000 U.S. servicemen... Read More
David Petraeus Finally Answers His Own Question
It took 14 years, but now we have an answer. It was March 2003, the invasion of Iraq was underway, and Major General David Petraeus was in command of the 101st Airborne Division heading for the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. Rick Atkinson, Washington Post journalist and military historian, was accompanying him. Six days into a lightning... Read More
Last week, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) reminded Congress that in matters of war, they have the authority and the responsibility to speak for the American people. Most Senators were not too happy about the reminder, which came in the form of a forced vote on whether to allow a vote on his amendment to repeal... Read More
The U.S. War Against Civilians in Syria
It was midday on Sunday, May 7th, when the U.S.-led coalition warplanes again began bombing the neighborhood of Wassim Abdo’s family. They lived in Tabqa, a small city on the banks of the Euphrates River in northern Syria. Then occupied by the Islamic State (ISIS, also known as Daesh), Tabqa was also under siege by... Read More
You would barely know it, living in this country, but the essence of modern warfare is what our military tends to call “collateral damage”: the killing or wounding of civilians, not combatants. The Global War on Terror -- more than 15 years later a no-name set of conflicts still spreading across the Greater Middle East,... Read More
Every now and then something lodges in your memory and seems to haunt you forever. In my case, it was a comment Newsweek attributed to an unnamed senior British official “close to the Bush team” before the invasion of Iraq in 2003. “Everyone wants to go to Baghdad,” he said. “Real men want to go... Read More
In her first interview since President Obama commuted her 35-year sentence and she was released from the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Chelsea Manning explained to Nightline co-anchor Juju Chang why she leaked documents about America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “We're getting all this information from all these different sources and it's just... Read More
The Age of Grief
“This is a war against normal life.” So said CNN correspondent Clarissa Ward, describing the situation at this moment in Syria, as well as in other parts of the Middle East. It was one of those remarks that should wake you up to the fact that the regions the United States has, since September 2001,... Read More
Mainstream commentators display amnesia when they describe former FBI Directors Robert Mueller and James Comey as stellar and credible law enforcement figures. Perhaps if they included J. Edgar Hoover, such fulsome praise could be put into proper perspective. Although these Hoover successors, now occupying center stage in the investigation of President Trump, have been hailed... Read More
Jeremy Corbyn is correct in saying that there is a strong connection between the terrorist threat in Britain and the wars Britain has fought abroad, notably in Iraq and Libya. The fact that these wars motivate and strengthen terrorist organisations like al-Qaeda and Isis has long been obvious to British intelligence officers, though strenuously denied... Read More
What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You
It’s true that, last week, few in Congress cared to discuss, no less memorialize, the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Nonetheless, two anniversaries of American disasters and crimes abroad -- the “mission accomplished” debacle of 2003 and the 45th anniversary of the My Lai massacre -- were at least noted in passing in... Read More
How the Invasion of Iraq Came Home
If you want to know where President Donald Trump came from, if you want to trace the long winding road (or escalator) that brought him to the Oval Office, don’t look to reality TV or Twitter or even the rise of the alt-right. Look someplace far more improbable: Iraq. Donald Trump may have been born... Read More
Every now and then, I think back to the millions of people who turned out in this country and across the globe in early 2003 to protest the coming invasion of Iraq. Until the recent Women’s March against Donald Trump, that may have been the largest set of demonstrations in American history or, at the... Read More
The United States has been growing progressively insane for a long time. For my generation, the realization descended upon us in the 1960s when the military/security complex convinced Americans that if we permitted Vietnamese nationalist leader Ho Chi Minh to unify Vietnam, the dominoes would fall until the Communist World Revolution had us in its... Read More
An Iraq War Anniversary to Forget
The other day, I found myself flipping through old photos from my time in Iraq. One in particular from October 2006 stood out. I see my 23-year-old self, along with my platoon. We’re still at Camp Buerhing in Kuwait, posing in front of our squadron logo splashed across a huge concrete barrier. It was a... Read More
The Misuse of American Military Power and The Middle East in Chaos
The United States has already lost -- its war for the Middle East, that is. Having taken my own crack at combat soldiering in both Iraq and Afghanistan, that couldn’t be clearer to me. Unfortunately, it’s evidently still not clear in Washington. Bush’s neo-imperial triumphalism failed. Obama’s quiet shift to drones, Special Forces, and clandestine... Read More
Credit: Daniel X. O\
Journalism — especially about important matters — is not a profession. It’s a calling. Or else, if it’s not a calling, then it is public relations; it is propaganda, “PR” — done for the purpose of receiving pay, not really for the purpose of conveying truth. But propaganda isn’t journalism at all. It’s not merely... Read More
"I have in my possession a secret map, made in Germany by Hitler's government -- by the planners of the New World Order," FDR told the nation in his Navy Day radio address of Oct. 27, 1941. "It is a map of South America as Hitler proposes to reorganize it. The geographical experts of Berlin,... Read More
Photo by Hector Alejandro | CC BY 2.0
The news that President-elect Donald Trump called in disgraced retired Gen. David Petraeus for a job interview as possible Secretary of State tests whether Trump’s experience in hosting “The Celebrity Apprentice” honed his skills for spotting an incompetent phony or not. Does Trump need more data than the continuing bedlam in Iraq and Afghanistan to... Read More
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What Iraq teaches us
The following in an edited version of a paper I presented two weeks ago in a debate on the topic “When should the US use force abroad and what lessons should we learn from America’s use of force in Iraq and how should those lessons inform decisions on future military missions abroad?” There are really... Read More
The Enemies of My Enemy May Be War Criminals
It’s not every day that Republicans publish an open letter announcing that their presidential candidate is unfit for office. But lately this sort of thing has been happening more and more frequently. The most recent example: we justheard from 50 representatives of the national security apparatus, men -- and a few women -- who served... Read More
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Against the wishes of her New York Democratic constituents, Hillary Clinton voted with Senate Republicans to invade Iraq. (It was a pivotal vote. Without Democratic support, George W. Bush’s request for this war of aggression would have failed.) Humayun Khan, 27, was an army captain who got killed during that invasion. Eight years later, the... Read More
This week’s Chilcot report on Britain’s role in the 2003 invasion of Iraq was as polite and guarded as a proper English tea party. No direct accusations, no talk of war crimes by then Prime Minister Tony Blair or his guiding light, President George W. Bush. But still pretty damning. Such government reports and commissions,... Read More
Denunciations of Tony Blair as the evil architect of Britain’s involvement in the Iraq War often dominate discussions of what happened there and many will look to the Chilcot inquiry to provide further evidence of his guilt. But the demonisation of Mr Blair is excessive and simple-minded and diverts attention from what really happened in... Read More
The British involvement in the Iraq War began as an ill-considered demonstration of strength in alliance with the US and ended up six years later as a demonstration of weakness. Much of what is in the Chilcot inquiry was known or suspected before and little is entirely new, but it is important for what happened... Read More
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By an accident of history, the Chilcot inquiry on the Iraq War is appearing at a critical moment in British history. The war was the first great test this century of the ability of the British powers-that-be to govern intelligently and successfully and one which they demonstrably failed. The crisis provoked by the vote to... Read More
Normally anybody who criticises Jeremy Corbyn is guaranteed knee-jerk support by the British media which apparently feels that it does not even have to pretend to be non-partisan when it comes to the Labour leader. The only political figure similarly subjected to automatic demonisation is Tony Blair, so when he fiercely attacked Corbyn last week... Read More
On February 15, 2003, an almost unimaginable 13-plus years ago, I took part in a court-banned antiwar march in New York City. The police, it turned out, couldn’t stop us (though they could, in various ways, pen us in). Depending on whether you believed the police or the demonstration's organizers, I was one of either... Read More
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Five Ways the Newest Story in Iraq and Syria is... That There Is No New Story
One of the most popular apps these days is Snapchat. It allows the sender to set a timer for any photo dispatched via the app, so that a few seconds after the recipient opens the message, the photo is automatically deleted. The evidence of what you did at that party last night is seen and... Read More
There used to be a mosaic of President George HW Bush on the floor at the entrance to the al-Rashid Hotel in Baghdad. It was placed there soon after the first Gulf War in 1991 and was a good likeness, though the artist gave Bush unnaturally jagged teeth and a slightly sinister grimace. The idea... Read More
War reporting is easy to do but very difficult to do really well. There is great demand for a reporter’s output during the fighting because it is melodramatic and appeals to readers and viewers. This is what I used to label in my own mind as “twixt shot and shell” reporting, and there is nothing... Read More
The third time around, the Pentagon evidently wants to do it right -- truly right -- this time. What other explanation could there be for dispatching 12 generals to Iraq (one for every 416 American troops estimated to be on the ground in that country, according to Nancy Youssef of the Daily Beast). And keep... Read More
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How the United States Became a Prisoner of War and Congress Went MIA
Let’s face it: in times of war, the Constitution tends to take a beating. With the safety or survival of the nation said to be at risk, the basic law of the land -- otherwise considered sacrosanct -- becomes nonbinding, subject to being waived at the whim of government authorities who are impatient, scared, panicky,... Read More
It was a large banner and its message was clear. It read: “Mission Accomplished,” and no, I don’t mean the classic “mission accomplished” banner on the USS Abraham Lincoln under which, on May 1, 2003, President George W. Bush proudly proclaimed (to the derision of critics ever since) that “major combat operations in Iraq have... Read More
Michael Hayden makes headlines condemning practices he readily enabled
Michael Hayden is the only official to have served as head of both the National Security Agency and CIA. Once retired from public service, the chief spy for much of the George W. Bush era has always had a difficult time staying out of the headlines. At the NSA, the former Air Force general oversaw... Read More
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Donald Trump has buried George W. Bush, for good. Or so we hope. This might not be "Morning in America," but it is a moral victory for values in America. Somewhere in those Judeo-Christian values touted by “values voters” is an injunction against mass murder. Before the February 20 South Carolina primary, it looked as... Read More
“The evil that men do lives after them,” wrote Shakespeare. A prime example, former US President George W. Bush who appeared last week campaigning in South Carolina for his amiable younger brother, Jeb. George W. continues to haunt the Republican Party and damage its electoral chances. At home, Bush has been staying out of public... Read More
Who even remembers the moment in mid-February 2003, almost 13 years ago, when millions of people across this country and the planet turned out in an antiwar moment unique in history? It was aimed at stopping a conflict that had yet to begin. Those demonstrators, myself included, were trying to put pressure on the administration... Read More
Am I the only person who still remembers how Pentagon officials spoke of the major military bases already on the drawing boards as the invasion of Iraq ended in April 2003? It was taboo back then to refer to those future installations as “permanent bases.” No one wanted to mouth anything that had such an... Read More
The interventionists will do anything to prevent Americans from seeing that their foreign policies are perpetuating terrorism and inspiring others to seek to harm us. The neocons know that when it is understood that blowback is real – that people seek to attack us not because we are good and free but because we bomb... Read More
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Let’s begin with the $12 billion in shrink-wrapped $100 bills, Iraqi oil money held in the U.S. The Bush administration began flying it into Baghdad on C-130s soon after U.S. troops entered that city in April 2003. Essentially dumped into the void that had once been the Iraqi state, at least $1.2 to $1.6 billion... Read More
Ahmed Chalabi, who died of a heart attack in Baghdad on Tuesday aged 71, was one of the ablest, most maligned and misunderstood figures to play a central role in the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and the shaping of modern Iraq. Chalabi was a man of the highest intelligence and mental agility, who attracted many... Read More
Usually when politicians apologize it’s because they have been caught doing something wrong, or they are about to be caught. Such was likely the case with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who recently offered an “apology” for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Blair faces the release of a potentially damning report on his government’s... Read More
The former PM's mind has been paralysed by what happened in 2003
What is striking about Tony Blair’s latest comments about his role in the Iraq War is how little he had learnt about the country in the 12 years since the invasion. It could be added, however, that his accusers have not learned much either. He conflates two events that should be looked at separately. He... Read More
Remember when America erupted in fury over France’s refusal to support the US invasion of Iraq in 2003? President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Dominque de Villepin warned that George Bush’s unprovoked aggression against Iraq would destabilize the Mideast and inflict untold dangers on Europe. America’s response to the sage warning was to change the... Read More
Will the U.S. accept responsibility for the humanitarian consequences of Washington-manufactured wars?
On April 29th, 2008 I had a Saul on the Road to Damascus moment. I had flipped open the Washington Post and there, on the front page, was a color photo of a two year old Iraqi boy named Ali Hussein being pulled from the rubble of a house that had been destroyed by American... Read More
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The trillion dollar a year war on terror is a witness protection program for government felons
The United States already has by far the per capita largest prison population of any developed country but I am probably one of the few Americans who on this Independence Day would like to see a lot more people in prison, mostly drawn from politicians and senior bureaucrats who have long believed that their status... Read More
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