Anti-War Thinking: Acknowledge Despair, Highlight Progress on Moral Preemption

by Ian Urbina , Desmond Tutu | published March 1, 2003

It is difficult not to feel despair and powerlessness at this awful juncture. Millions in the world fought with all their hearts and minds to avoid violence in Iraq. Inevitably, when bombs fall, there is a deep and emotional void that is opened.

Many will pray. Others will simply reflect. Countless numbers will continue to take to the streets. But all will worry over the extent of destruction to come and the scope of its repercussions.

We have seen dark moments before. Slavery, the holocaust, the Vietnam War — man’s inhumanity to man is not to be underestimated.

Occupational Hazards

by Elliott Colla | published June 1, 2003

Reluctantly, some American officials recently began to use a new word when talking about our presence in Iraq: occupation. Even though the Bush administration worked hard to keep this word out of our national vocabulary before and during the war, it has nonetheless started to appear in press briefings and news reports.

Bush Misled Public About Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction

by Chris Toensing | published June 1, 2003

At long last, many are realizing that President Bush misled the public about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. But unlike the vigorous questioning of Prime Minister Tony Blair in Britain on the same issue, our long overdue debate about Saddam Hussein’s presumed illicit arsenal is missing the point.

Before the war, the question was not primarily about whether Iraq retained proscribed weapons from its old stockpiles. Many at the United Nations, and many American anti-war commentators, assumed that it did. Remnants of the stockpiles may still be found.

Rebranding the Iraq War

by Chris Toensing | published August 24, 2010

The war in Iraq is over. Or so the government and most media outlets will claim on September 1, by which time thousands of US troops will have departed the land of two rivers for other assignments. With this phase of the drawdown, says President Barack Obama, "America's combat mission will end." The Pentagon is marking the occasion by changing the name of the Iraq deployment from Operation Iraqi Freedom to Operation New Dawn.

If Kerry Wins, Little Will Change in US Middle East Policy

by Chris Toensing | published March 1, 2004

The victory of John Kerry in the Democratic Party primaries following Super Tuesday this week leads to an observation. To a remarkable degree, the urgent desire to deny George W. Bush a second term in the White House has papered over the schisms in the broad Democrat church, even enticing many members of renegade sects back into the fold.

Dilemmas of the Left-Liberals

by Chris Toensing | published August 6, 2003

If liberals and the left are united behind anything in our allegedly post-ideological age, it is that human rights and humanitarian considerations must always trump realpolitik. The left opposed the punishing economic sanctions endured by Iraqi civilians from 1991 to 2003, despite the sanctions’ undoubted success in “containing” the former Iraqi regime. The Bush administration, unable so far to detect a single spore of anthrax in Iraq, is now selling the invasion retroactively as a “humanitarian intervention,” mostly to well-deserved hoots of derision from left-liberals.

Lost in Our Own Little World

by Chris Toensing | published April 18, 2004

Two days after a lethal car bomb exploded outside the Mount Lebanon Hotel in downtown Baghdad last month, I sat down for tea with an Iraqi poet near the capital’s famous open-air book market. In between jokes delivered with a mock Egyptian accent, he laid out his theory of the hotel bombing: the US military staged the violence, he posited, in order to justify its continuing occupation of Iraq.

Military Families Feel Betrayed by Administration

by Chris Toensing | published April 22, 2004

For everyone except George W. Bush and his entourage, the recent siege of Falluja and the standoff with the militia of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr gave occasion to rethink the conventional wisdom about the US-led occupation of Iraq.

An Occupation By Any Other Name...

by Maren Milligan | published June 29, 2004

Monday’s transfer of authority—two days before the June 30 date—is being touted as the date of Iraqi independence. Nothing could be further from the truth. The unfolding political transition in Iraq will keep sovereign power in the hands of Americans in every relevant sense.

Hypocrisy Doesn't Win Arab Friends

by Marc Lynch | published November 3, 2004

A prominent liberal Arab journalist who strongly supported the war in Iraq, has a long record of outspoken opposition to Islamic extremism, and has a deep appreciation for American values recently told me that he has never been more depressed or more alienated from the United States. Why? He was absolutely clear: George W. Bush’s policies and rhetoric have made it impossible for moderates such as himself to win their battles for a more liberal Arab future.