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Are we in a war? Do we have an enemy?

Slavoj Žižek: Love Thy Neighbour, 23 May 2002

... When Donald Rumsfeld designated the imprisoned Taliban fighters ‘unlawful combatants’ (as opposed to ‘regular’ prisoners of war), he did not simply mean that their criminal terrorist activity placed them outside the law: when an American citizen commits a crime, even one as serious as murder, he remains a ‘lawful criminal ...

‘My God was bigger than his’

Colin Kidd: The Republicans, 4 November 2004

The Right Nation: Why America Is Different 
by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge.
Allen Lane, 450 pp., £14.99, August 2004, 0 7139 9738 9
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Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet 
by James Mann.
Penguin, 448 pp., $16, September 2004, 0 14 303489 8
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Nixon’s Shadow: The History of an Image 
by David Greenberg.
Norton, 496 pp., £9.99, November 2004, 0 393 32616 0
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America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism 
by Anatol Lieven.
HarperCollins, 274 pp., £18.99, October 2004, 0 00 716456 4
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... the neoconservative Democrats who moved over to join the Reagan administration was Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld’s deputy at the Pentagon. According to Mann’s collective biography of the ‘Vulcans’, the key decision-makers in the new Republican defence establishment, Wolfowitz ‘got out just in time’, resigning from the Carter administration ...

I blame the British

Charles Glass: A report from Lake Dokan, 17 April 2003

... pup by most standards, but it feels like it’s already in overtime. The US Defense Secretary, Mr Donald ‘Rummy’ Rumsfeld, has just warned us that wearing down the Iraqi Army may take some time. Why does no one listen to him? Like most other politicians, he can, unexpectedly, utter a (belated) truth. George Bush has ...

Like a Mosquito

Mattathias Schwartz: Drones, 4 July 2013

Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield 
by Jeremy Scahill.
Serpent’s Tail, 642 pp., £15.99, May 2013, 978 1 84668 850 8
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... and Special Operations Forces (SOF). These commando squads grew quickly as the US military, led by Donald Rumsfeld, jockeyed with the CIA. Though it has received less attention than the drones, the use of commandos has continued to expand under Obama. Between 2009 and 2011, the number of raids carried out each month in Afghanistan reportedly grew from ...

Iraq Must Go!

Charles Glass: The Making and Unmaking of Iraq, 3 October 2002

... has undergone in order to become Washington’s most hated enemy. Saddam is the same dictator that Donald Rumsfeld, as Ronald Reagan’s envoy, met in December 1983 to propose resumption of the diplomatic relations that Iraq severed during the Arab-Israeli War in 1967. His former Foreign Minister, Tariq Aziz – now Deputy Prime Minister – received ...

Social Work with Guns

Andrew Bacevich: America’s Wars, 17 December 2009

... afflicting the Islamic world as a whole. In remarks made to US military personnel in October 2001, Donald Rumsfeld bluntly explained the administration’s logic. ‘We have two choices,’ the defence secretary said. ‘Either we change the way we live, or we must change the way they live. We choose the latter. And you are the ones who will help achieve ...

Schadenfreude with Bite

Richard Seymour: Trolling, 15 December 2016

This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture 
by Whitney Phillips.
MIT, 256 pp., £10, September 2016, 978 0 262 52987 7
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Gendertrolling: How Misogyny Went Viral 
by Karla Mantilla.
Praeger, 280 pp., £32, August 2015, 978 1 4408 3317 5
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Bad Clowns 
by Benjamin Radford.
New Mexico, 188 pp., £12, February 2016, 978 0 8263 5666 6
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Trolls: An Unnatural History 
by John Lindow.
Reaktion, 60 pp., £9.99, August 2015, 978 1 78023 565 3
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... detachment. The Bush administration extended the invitation to dissociate. ‘Stuff happens,’ Donald Rumsfeld said with psychopathic cheer in response to chaotic scenes of destruction in occupied Iraq; ‘Now watch this drive,’ Bush said, returning to his golf swing after delivering a sober message about the need to resist terrorism. After a brief ...

The Greatest Person then Living

Andrew Bacevich: Presidents v. Generals, 27 July 2017

The General v. the President: MacArthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War 
by H.W. Brands.
Anchor, 438 pp., £21, November 2016, 978 0 385 54057 5
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... global leadership: challenges that persist – in different form – in the presidency of Donald Trump. War on the Korean peninsula, formally divided by the Allies into two states in 1945, erupted unexpectedly in June 1950 when North Korean forces attacked across the 38th Parallel, providing the setting for the confrontation between Truman and ...

Are we there yet?

David Simpson: Abasing language, abusing prisoners, 17 February 2005

Torture and Truth: America, Abu Ghraib and the War on Terror 
by Mark Danner.
Granta, 573 pp., £16.99, February 2005, 9781862077720
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The Torture Papers: The Road to Abu Ghraib 
edited by Karen Greenberg and Joshua Dratel.
Cambridge, 1284 pp., £27.50, February 2005, 0 521 85324 9
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... I stand for 8-10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to 4 hours? D.R.’ D.R. is apparently Donald Rumsfeld: the same Rumsfeld who was recently revealed, as US military deaths in Iraq were pushing 1300, to have signed all the letters of condolence with a machine signature, and who chastised an impertinent combat ...

Gloves Off

Glen Newey: Torture, 29 January 2009

Death by a Thousand Cuts 
by Timothy Brook, Jérôme Bourgon and Gregory Blue.
Harvard, 320 pp., £22.95, March 2008, 978 0 674 02773 2
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Standard Operating Procedure: A War Story 
by Philip Gourevitch and Errol Morris.
Picador, 286 pp., £8.99, January 2009, 978 0 330 45201 4
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Torture Team: Deception, Cruelty and the Compromise of Law 
by Philippe Sands.
Allen Lane, 315 pp., £20, May 2008, 978 1 84614 008 2
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... also chronicles the importation into Abu Ghraib of the relaxed standards on prisoner status which Donald Rumsfeld had already approved for Guantánamo (or ‘Gitmo’). The laxer standards allowed 18 interrogation techniques, including hooding, sensory and sleep deprivation, forced ‘grooming’, use of water, and ‘mild, non-injurious physical ...

On Thinning Ice

Michael Byers: When the Ice Melts, 6 January 2005

Impacts of a Warming Arctic: Arctic Climate Impact Assessment 
Cambridge, 139 pp., £19.99, February 2005, 0 521 61778 2Show More
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... resistance has to do with the centrality of military strategy in contemporary policy-making. Donald Rumsfeld and others like him have apparently calculated that climate change will enhance rather than detract from the country’s long-term security. The US, with its flexible economy, temperate location, low population density and access to Canadian ...

Lend me a fiver

Terry Eagleton: The grand narrative of experience, 23 June 2005

Songs of Experience: Modern American and European Variations on a Universal Theme 
by Martin Jay.
California, 431 pp., £22, January 2005, 0 520 24272 6
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... them. Like most liberals, Jay prefers questions to solutions. It will take more than that to send Donald Rumsfeld packing. If the topics of Jay’s various studies are for the most part radical, his approach to them is largely conventional. He is drawn to the subversive notions of avant-garde European thinkers, but translates them into the anodyne prose ...

Working the Dark Side

David Bromwich: On the Uses of Torture, 8 January 2015

... Mann’s excellent Rise of the Vulcans (2004); a curious detail is that Cheney and his associate Donald Rumsfeld stayed on as participants even when they held no government office. After the real catastrophe of September 2001, Cheney succeeded in changing America’s idea of itself. He did it with a tireless diligence of manipulation behind the ...

Sucking up to P

Greg Grandin: Henry Kissinger’s Vanity, 29 November 2007

Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power 
by Robert Dallek.
Allen Lane, 740 pp., £30, August 2007, 978 0 7139 9796 5
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Henry Kissinger and the American Century 
by Jeremi Suri.
Harvard, 368 pp., £18.95, July 2007, 978 0 674 02579 0
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... in the Panama Canal and betraying friends in southern Africa and Taiwan. At the same time, Donald Rumsfeld, Ford’s secretary of defense, and Dick Cheney, the White House chief of staff, joined forces to undercut Kissinger and derail a new Salt treaty with Russia. Cheney inserted a ‘morality plank’ into the Republican platform, repudiating ...

Saddamism after Saddam

Charles Glass: After the Invasion, 8 May 2003

... Raiding, they said, was the bedouin national sport, like league football or county cricket.’ (Donald Rumsfeld appears to have taken a similarly sporting attitude to recent looting in Baghdad, although his tolerance would presumably not encompass looting by the poor of presidential palaces and museums in, say, Washington DC.) The British as occupying ...

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