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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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

Operation Overstretch

David Ramsbotham: Unfair to the Army, 20 February 2003

... support? This is even more dangerous ground. Soon after the end of the Cold War, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle proclaimed that the strategic aim of the US should be to prevent any peer competitor to the US emerging anywhere in the world by means of unilateral world domination through absolute military ...

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 ...

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 ...


Patrick Cockburn: A report from a divided Iraq, 19 May 2005

... US is resisting a full Shia takeover and wants to stop them getting the Defence Ministry as well. Donald Rumsfeld flew in to Baghdad in April to make it plain that Jaafari’s proposed purge of ‘suspected infiltrators’ would not be tolerated. The Sunni Arabs are divided and unclear in their aims. They want the US occupation to end. But, having ...

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 ...

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 ...

The Catastrophist

Malcolm Bull: The Apostasies of John Gray, 1 November 2007

Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia 
by John Gray.
Allen Lane, 243 pp., £18.99, July 2007, 978 0 7139 9915 0
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... possible to construct from this knowledge of the particulars a desirable social order.’ But, as Donald Rumsfeld reminded us, there are not only ‘known knowns’, but ‘known unknowns’ and ‘unknown unknowns’ as well. So the growth of knowledge may take the form not only of a transition from known unknown to known known, but also from unknown ...

Radical Aliens

David Cole: The Sacco-Vanzetti Affair, 22 October 2009

The Sacco-Vanzetti Affair: America on Trial 
by Moshik Temkin.
Yale, 316 pp., £25, July 2009, 978 0 300 12484 2
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... today. Where Senator Borah in the 1920s rejected ‘foreign interference’ as ‘impudent’, Donald Rumsfeld in 2003 dismissed France and Germany’s opposition to the Iraq war as the views of ‘old Europe’. The Bush-Cheney White House considered international hostility to the US inescapable, and therefore gave it no weight at all. When John ...

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 ...

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 ...

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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