Follow the (Iraqi) Leader
May 11, 2010
Imagine a national leader dependent on American support, but who knows that the U.S. Ambassador has threatened that it will be withdrawn; who has heard Senators, and the French foreign minister, call for his removal; and who is referred to throughout the Western press as “weak and unreliable.” That man is not Hamid Karzai, who visits Washington this week. It was Nouri al-Maliki, Prime Minister of Iraq, three years ago. Yet Maliki has since transformed himself from reputed weakling to overbearing strong-man, even while being dependent on U.S. support.
Surging and Awakening
May 20, 2009
The Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-2008 By Thomas E. Ricks (Penguin Press, 394 pp., $27.95) I. FROM CENTRALITY TO banality: perhaps no other event in modern American history has gone from being contentious to being forgotten as quickly as the war in Iraq. Remember the war? It consumed a trillion American dollars, devoured a hundred thousand Iraqi lives, squandered a country’s reputation, and destroyed an American presidency.
War at Home
March 19, 2007
Of all the depressing ways that the war in Vietnam has been replayed in Iraq—the failed architect of the war being promoted to World Bank chief, the failed ground commander being promoted to Army chief of staff, congressional Democrats reverting to Vietnam-type, the whole rotten litany—nothing can top the belated dispatch to Iraq of David Petraeus, a general who actually knows what he's doing.
The Fall-guy Two-step
February 02, 2007
Yesterday Capitol Hill was the scene of a peculiar spectacle: General George Casey, the outgoing U.S. commander in Iraq and the Bush administration's nominee for Army chief of staff, came under withering fire during confirmation hearings-from the Bush administration's few remaining allies on Iraq policy.
April 12, 2006
10 Excellent Reasons Not to Join the Military Edited by Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg (The New Press, 128 pp., $14.95) Click here to purchase the book. When it comes down to it, military recruiters are salespeople, and like good car salesmen, good military recruiters conceal the downsides of their product. Of course with military recruitment the ante is upped: Being swindled into buying a lemon will set you back a chunk of change; a bad experience in the military will lead someplace worse than an auto mechanic's waiting room.
Save the Date
February 14, 2005
On September 23, shortly after interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi insisted to a joint session of Congress that "we are succeeding" in Iraq, I met with one of his subordinates in an Arlington hotel. Thamir Al Adhami, the spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, had traveled to Washington not as part of Allawi's entourage, but to participate in a nation-building seminar for Iraqi officials sponsored by the U.S.