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The Era of Magical Thinking: SOFA Smokescreens and Presidential Power

The American media is by and large swallowing the propaganda line that the Iraqi cabinet’s acquiescence to a “Status of Forces Agreement” (SOFA) with the U.S. occupation force means that the Iraq War will be over in 2011. This will further cement the conventional wisdom that the suppurating war crime in Iraq is now behind us, and the topic will be moved even further off the radar of public scrutiny. But as usual, there is a wide, yawning abyss between the packaged, freeze-dried pabulum for public consumption and the gritty, blood-flecked truth on the ground. As Jason Ditz reports at

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Vigilante Man: Crime Without End, Amen

The Iraq War? Illegal. Who says so? The former top law lord of America’s main ally in the invasion and occupation. What does it mean? It means that the whole mass-murdering operation was, has been, and remains a damnable crime against humanity by any and all legal standards, even those of the invading countries themselves. (To say nothing of the moral abomination involved). And from this, what follows? Nothing. No prosecutions. No justice for the victims, no punishment for the murder bosses — some of whom are already slithering across the bloodsoaked corridors of the imperial courts to join the

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Once More Into the Breach

Apologies for any glitches or interruptions of service over the past few days. I’ve been away — completely away — for the past seven days, in an isolated cottage on the ragged seacoast of wild Wales, with no phone, no internet access, no TV, no newspapers, no car, no contact with the outside world. Pure bliss, in other words. I’ve also taken up a project that has no connection to the swirling circus of “current events,” although the topic in question is one of the deepest foundations of American politics and society today: the Civil War. I’ve also taken the

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Joy in the Lengthening Shadow

We wrote the other day about the strange happiness some “progessives” derive from the happiness of bloodstained war criminals. (As long as they are American war criminals, of course.) Below are a couple of examples of another kind of happiness: an old man exulting in the timeless joy of making music. I know which kind of happiness I prefer.  

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Happy Days: No Crime, No Foul for the Media-Political Club

One of the biggest problems clogging and clotting our political discourse has been the near-total merging of the media and political classes over the last few decades. Or rather, the completely false and fatuous fantasy on the part of big-time journalists that they are actually part of the same clubby circle as politicians who operate the levers of power. The politicians have made good use of this collective, self-serving delusion, of course, demeaning themselves now and then with chummy repartee and private get-togethers with the hacks they despise, in exchange for puff-ball treatment in print and on air. The late

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The Beat Goes On: More Atrocity as Afghanistan Braces for Obama Surge

While America continues its giddy, self-congratulatory celebration of “change,” Afghans find themselves mired in the tragically familiar: yet another round of mourning for yet another massacre of innocent civilians in yet another blind, bludgeoning air strike by American forces. This time almost 40 people, including 10 women and 23 children, were ripped to shreds of bone and viscera when an American missile struck a wedding party in the remote village of Wech Bakhtu, according to Washington’s own hand-picked native satrap, President Hamid Karzai. As the Guardian and National Post report: The bombing on Monday of Wech Baghtu in the southern

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WIBDI: A Prism for the New Paradigm

As the United States enters a new and unprecedented political era — or, as killjoy cynics would have it, as the American empire gets a new set of temporary managers — the fate of the “dissident” movement that arose under the Bush Regime seems greatly occluded. So many of those who set out their stalls as bold outsiders “speaking truth to power” now find themselves on the inside, enthralled by power, speaking for power, as it is personified by President-elect Barack Obama — who, ironically, has consistently repudiated many of the tenets and principles that provoked the dissidents’ outrage in

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The Election of Barack Obama

“I see the turning of the page,Curtain rising on a new age —See the groom still waiting at the altar.” — Bob Dylan As I write this at nearly 3 a.m. in England, it seems very likely that Barack Obama will be the next U.S. president. I have no great words of considered wisdom to offer on this development at the moment. However, having looked briefly at the right-wing reaction to the vote, I will venture one quick observation: The outpouring of open, virulent racism that many feared would arise during the campaign — and in the secrecy of the

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Failed States: America and Iraq, Rotted by War Crime

“Where should we go now?” he asked. “Death faces us everywhere.” And so the great historical presidential campaign of 2008 is finally at an end. By every reasonable and legitimate measure, Barack Obama will be the winner. But of course “reasonable and legitimate measures” mean little when dealing with deliberately fomented chaos and chicanery of the American electoral process, the laughingstock of the rest of the world, whose people stand in slackjawed amazement as they watch and wait — in dreadful impotence — to see which hegemon will emerge from the stormcloud of filth, lies, ambition and money that howls

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Incentivizing Murder: Plan Colombia and the Bitter Fruits of Empire

The War on Drugs meets the War on Terror, and the result, inevitably, is stone-cold murder: Colombia Killings Cast Doubt on War Against Insurgents (NYT): Colombia’s government, the Bush administration’s top ally in Latin America, has been buffeted by the disappearance of …dozens of young, impoverished men and women whose cases have come to light in recent weeks. Some were vagrants, others street vendors and manual laborers. But their fates were often the same: being catalogued as insurgents or criminal gang members and killed by the armed forces. Prosecutors and human rights researchers are investigating hundreds of such deaths and

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