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Drones, baby, drones

Andrew Cockburn

8 March 2012
... accuracy … with unmanned systems.’ Bush was taking his cue from a concept known as the ‘Revolution in Military Affairs’. The phrase had been popularised in defence circles in the 1980s by Andrew Marshall, a former Rand analyst who headed the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment. Marshall believed that new technologies in surveillance, communication and missile targeting had fundamentally ...

Making Money

Andrew Cockburn: The Chalabis

1 December 2011
Late for Tea at the Deer Palace: The Lost Dreams of My Iraqi Family 
by Tamara Chalabi.
Harper, 352 pp., £12.99, July 2011, 978 0 06 124039 3
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From Dictatorship to Democracy: An Insider’s Account of the Iraqi Opposition to Saddam 
by Hamid al-Bayati.
Pennsylvania, 347 pp., £23, February 2011, 978 0 8122 4288 1
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... energetic businessman, meanwhile bought state lands and built a thriving agricultural business that expanded rapidly once he entered into close partnership with the British shippers and grain dealers Andrew Weir & Co. Another son, Muhammad Ali, prospered as the chief executive of the government-owned Rafidain bank. The Chalabis were now comfortably established at the top of Baghdadi commerce and society ...

Killing the dragon

Andrew Cockburn

19 April 1984
The Road to Berlin: Stalin’s War with Germany 
by John Erickson.
Weidenfeld, 877 pp., £20, November 1983, 0 297 77238 4
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The Road to Stalingrad: Stalin’s War with Germany 
by John Erickson.
Weidenfeld, 594 pp., £10, November 1983, 0 297 78350 5
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... Between 22 June 1941 and 9 May 1945 the Red Army of Workers and Peasants disposed of ten million German troops, destroyed over six hundred enemy divisions, liberated all of Eastern Europe and finally stormed, unaided, the ‘lair of the fascist beast’, Berlin. This achievement must be considered one of the most extraordinary in military history, for at the outset the Russians were caught completely ...

Worth It

Andrew Cockburn: The Iraq Sanctions

22 July 2010
Invisible War: The United States and the Iraq Sanctions 
by Joy Gordon.
Harvard, 359 pp., £29.95, April 2010, 978 0 674 03571 3
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... Few people now remember that for many months after the First World War ended in November 1918 the blockade of Germany, where the population was already on the edge of starvation, was maintained with full rigour. By the following spring, the German authorities were projecting a 50 per cent increase in the infant mortality rate. In a later memoir, John Maynard Keynes attributed the prolongation of civilian ...

SH @ same time

Andrew Cockburn: Rumsfeld

31 March 2011
Known and Unknown: A Memoir 
by Donald Rumsfeld.
Sentinel, 815 pp., £25, February 2011, 978 1 59523 067 6
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... Donald Rumsfeld, you could say, has had a remarkable career, stretching from a middle-class upbringing amid wealthier neighbours on the edge of Chicago, through Congress and high office in the Nixon and Ford administrations, including a spell as secretary of defense, a profitable excursion into business, and finally six tumultuous years heading the Pentagon under George W. Bush. Oddly, Rumsfeld begins ...

Dual Loyalty

Victor Mallet

5 December 1991
The Samson Option: Israel, America and the Bomb 
by Seymour Hersh.
Faber, 256 pp., £15.99, October 1991, 0 571 16619 9
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Dangerous Liaison: The Inside Story of the US-Israeli Covert Relationship 
by Andrew Cockburn and Leslie Cockburn.
Bodley Head, 423 pp., £17.99, January 1991, 0 370 31405 0
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... 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 that the Arabs and Iranians, although prone to exaggeration, had a legitimate grievance about Washington’s automatic bias in favour of Israel since the departure of Eisenhower. The recent Middle East peace ...

Lust for Leaks

Neal Ascherson: The Cockburns of Cork

1 September 2005
The Broken Boy 
by Patrick Cockburn.
Cape, 312 pp., £15.99, June 2005, 0 224 07108 4
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... vaccine, which was soon to obliterate the disease in the Western world. As for the treatment of those who caught it, the doctors knew of none that would make much difference. (In this book, Patrick Cockburn concludes that Daniel Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year still offers the soundest advice for those caught in epidemics: run away.) But although this was not Cork’s first epidemic, it was the ...

Diary

Christopher Hitchens: On Peregrine Worsthorne

4 November 1993
... his own precocity in Making It. And look what happened to him. There’s also a pointlessly cheap and nasty passage which occurs when Worsthorne, stuck in Ireland for a long weekend with the young Andrew Knight, suggested ‘that we propose ourselves for the night to the Claud Cockburns in Youghal’. Having invited himself, and having taken the Cockburns’ bread and salt, Worsthorne takes leave to ...
16 October 1997
Peter Cook: A Biography 
by Harry Thompson.
Hodder, 516 pp., £18.99, September 1997, 0 340 64968 2
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... would become a centre for the artists and jokesmiths of ‘swinging London’. He had always wanted his own magazine and sought out the Eye’s founders – Christopher Booker, Richard Ingrams and Andrew Osmond – and bought the magazine from Osmond for £1500. This was a substantial, though not an enormous investment. Within a year or so, he moved the Eye offices into the Establishment Club and ...

Diary

Patrick Cockburn: In Iraq

6 November 2003
... or more times and then sold covertly. The Amn al-Amm, its operations on the street led by a certain Captain Khalid, launched repeated raids to find out who was selling them. In 1999 my brother Andrew and I wrote a history of Iraq after the first Gulf War called Out of the Ashes: The Resurrection of Saddam Hussein. It was later republished in Britain as Saddam Hussein: An American Obsession. I ...

Make for the Boondocks

Tom Nairn: Hardt and Negri

5 May 2005
Multitude 
by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri.
Hamish Hamilton, 426 pp., £20, January 2005, 0 241 14240 7
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... of World Politics (2001) Michael Cox pointed out that today ‘nuclear war is far less likely to happen,’ even though there has been an increase in the number of wars. Later in the same volume Andrew Linklater maintained that ‘there is no doubt that globalisation and fragmentation have reduced the modern state’s willingness and capacity to wage the kinds of war which typified the last century ...

Mohocks

Liam McIlvanney: The House of Blackwood

5 June 2003
The House of Blackwood: Author-Publisher Relations in the Victorian Era 
by David Finkelstein.
Pennsylvania State, 199 pp., £44.95, April 2002, 0 271 02179 9
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... slumbered at his feet. The students loved him. Modern critics – especially Scottish ones – have been less impressed. For David Daiches, Wilson is an ‘absolute impostor’ and a ‘windbag’; Andrew Noble tags him ‘the clay-footed prophet of the British-Scots middle-class’. In some respects, Wilson deserves all he gets. As an academic he was a charlatan; as a critic a coward and a bully. He ...

Karl Miller Remembered

Neal Ascherson, John Lanchester and Andrew​ O’Hagan

22 October 2014
... his own emotions. Later in his life, he was to defend intelligent self-pity as the portal to true empathy with others.But he was alert to his lack of parents. Substitutes and metaphors appeared. In Cockburn’s Millennium, my favourite among Karl’s books, he seems to arrange his own fosterage by the very landscape of Edinburgh. Male and fatherly is that authoritarian skyline, the horizon of black ...

Subduing the jury

E.P. Thompson

4 December 1986
... differing contexts. Excellent local studies are now being done, in the burgeoning history of crime and legal practice. Perhaps the most ambitious attempt to present jury history as a whole is Thomas Andrew Green’s Verdict according to Conscience. The book is subtitled ‘Perspectives on the English Criminal Trial Jury, 1200-1800’. It sets out briskly and well in difficult Medieval terrain, begins ...

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