Andrew Cockburn

Andrew Cockburn is Washington editor at Harper’s.

Long before​ Bush and Blair invaded Iraq, many Iraqis suspected that foreign intelligence services were manipulating their country’s domestic affairs. Since the 1920s – when Gertrude Bell manoeuvred behind the scenes in the early days of the Iraqi state under the British mandate – otherwise inexplicable events were often attributed to the workings of ‘Abu Naji’,...

On​ 24 January, US Central Command, which oversees military operations across the Middle East and West Asia, issued a press release reporting that the USS Gravely, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, had shot down two missiles fired by Yemeni Houthis at a US-owned container ship, the MV Maersk Detroit, in the Gulf of Aden. A third Houthi missile had landed in the sea. There was no damage to...

Big Six v. Little Boy: The Unnecessary Bomb

Andrew Cockburn, 16 November 2023

Even today, conversations on the topic with otherwise well-informed Americans tend to elicit reminiscences of how fathers and other relatives, veterans of the Pacific and European wars, had nurtured mordant expectations that they wouldn’t survive the prospective invasion of the Japanese home islands. They had been saved by the atomic bombs that had brought about Japan’s surrender. But Henry Stimson, the former US secretary of war, has been highly selective in the evidence presented.

Diary: In Tbilisi

Andrew Cockburn, 4 May 2023

One evening​ in early March, I stood on Rustaveli Avenue in front of the floodlit Georgian parliament in the midst of a crowd that was swelling rapidly as ever more people, including families with children and dogs, joined the protest. The demonstration had originally been scheduled for two days later, when a new law backed by the ruling party, Georgian Dream, was due to be voted on: any...

Kennedy was perfectly aware that nuclear missiles in Cuba posed no real threat to national security, even if they slightly narrowed America’s enormous lead in weapons capable of reaching the other’s homeland. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff had told him that a US nuclear attack would obliterate Soviet society but the inevitable retaliation might still kill as many as fifteen million Americans. War with the USSR was therefore out of the question. ‘What difference does it make?’ Kennedy said on 16 October 1962, the day he was presented with photographic evidence of the Cuban rockets. ‘They’ve got enough to blow us up anyway.’ But the presence of an enemy nuclear base in America’s backyard nonetheless threatened him with political disaster. He dealt with the problem by making a deal with Khrushchev, behind the backs of most of his senior advisers, to withdraw US missiles from Turkey in return for a similar Soviet withdrawal from Cuba. The deal remained buried in secrecy long after Kennedy was dead.

Dual Loyalty

Victor Mallet, 5 December 1991

It has long been accepted in the Arab world and in Iran that US foreign policy towards the Middle Last is a conspiracy devised by the American Jewish lobby. It has long been accepted in Europe...

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