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Drones, baby, drones

Andrew Cockburn, 8 March 2012

... 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 changed the nature of warfare because they made it possible ...

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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... 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. The city was undergoing a renaissance after centuries ...

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 by surprise and almost completely unprepared ...

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 punishment to a cause inherent in bureaucracy ...

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 ...

Like a Ball of Fire

Andrew Cockburn, 5 March 2020

... At​ the end of last year the Russian military announced that it had deployed a revolutionary weapon, designed to give Russia a decisive advantage in the strategic nuclear arms race. Avangard, as the new system is called, is a ‘hypersonic glide’ missile. Unlike traditional Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, which follow a fixed and predictable trajectory, arcing up as high as 1200 miles into space and re-entering the atmosphere at around 15,000 miles an hour before plunging down to their target, the Avangard glider is launched by an ICBM booster on a much lower trajectory to skirt the edge of the atmosphere, between 25 and 60 miles up ...

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 ...

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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... 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 most vicious. The death toll seems to have been relatively ...

Diary

Patrick Cockburn: The 1956 Polio Epidemic, 7 May 2020

... in County Cork. It was an isolated location: isolated enough for my parents, Claud and Patricia Cockburn, to imagine that we would be safe from the virus that had started circulating in Cork city three months earlier. But our isolation wasn’t complete since my father was travelling to and fro between Cork and London by boat and train. It was a hot summer ...

Diary

Patrick Cockburn: In Iraq, 6 November 2003

... 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 knew the regime wouldn’t like it because of its ...

Diary

Christopher Hitchens: On Peregrine Worsthorne, 4 November 1993

... 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 depict his host as ‘an obviously sad and drunken ...

Half Bird, Half Fish, Half Unicorn

Paul Foot, 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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... 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 then next door. At that time, the Eye consisted entirely of ...

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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... 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.’ America, Britain and some cronies may have lapsed ...

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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... 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 was a forgettable poet and a bad novelist. On the other ...

Karl Miller Remembered

Neal Ascherson, John Lanchester and Andrew O’Hagan, 22 October 2014

... 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 phallic spikes and spires stretching from Arthur’s Seat ...

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