article card

Next month, the U.S. government will begin negotiations with the government of Iraq concerning the terms under which the United States will operate in Iraq after the expiration of the previous U.N. mandate. As the New York Times reports today, the negotiations with Iraq will center around a number of difficult issues, including immunity from local laws for U.S. contractors and whether the U.S. military will be able to operate unilaterally, or will be required to gain some level of approval from Iraqi officials. However, the substantive debate in Congress, concerns whether or not the “status of forces” agreement will […]

It is, perhaps, surprising how much President George W. Bush has talked about democracy and freedom in the Middle East. Last weekend in Abu Dhabi, he delivered his third speech dedicated largely to that topic, which is three more than any previous U.S. president. Bush’s dedication to the theme of freedom in the Middle East is genuine. In his formulation, appreciation for the rights of the individual in the Middle East would expand liberty, undermine extremism, and enhance the security of Americans, Arabs, and others. As the president has seen things, Middle Eastern governments have been the obstacles to realizing […]

article card

Fresh off his come-from-behind victory in New Hampshire’s Republican primary, Sen. John McCain co-authored an op-ed published in today’s Wall Street Journal (the online opinion section of which, is now totally free) with Sen. Joe Lieberman. Their message: The surge has worked, but it’s unclear whether its gains can be sustained after the United States completes a planned drawdown to the pre-surge level of 15 brigades. Thus, they write, a hasty further drawdown would be risky: Gen. Petraeus has already announced that five “surge” brigades will be withdrawn by mid-July. The process is now underway. The Pentagon has also announced […]

article card

On closer inspection, the story of Saddam’s Hussein’s financial holdings in France is full of perverse twists and interconnections that cast many aspects of the run-up and aftermath of the Iraq War in a new light. The fact that a front company of the late Iraqi dictator should own a major stake in the publisher of the sneeringly titled “I am America (And So Can You!)” by Stephen Colbert — a comic who made his name, after all, by mocking President Bush and, notably, the latter’s decision to invade Iraq — is only the most glaring of them. As noted […]

BASRA, Iraq — It seemed like such a small thing. Royal Air Force security troops patrolling the outskirts of Basra air station in southern Iraq on Dec. 17 leaped out of their new Mastiff armored trucks in order to scout out a bridge before the lumbering blast-proof vehicles crossed. One of the 34 Squadron troopers noticed something he didn’t recall seeing before: a crack in the concrete near the far side of the bridge. He pointed it out to Flight Lt. Edward Cripps, who eyed the idling Mastiffs, their drivers waiting for the all clear. This is what happens, Cripps […]