November 4, 2013 |
The last time Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki visited the White House - in late 2011 - he and President Obama touted Iraq's political and security progress. On Friday, Maliki arrived again, this time in search of help to fight a stunning resurgence of al-Qaeda violence that has claimed 7,000 Iraqi deaths in 2013 - nearly 1,000 in October. It will be a hard sell. Most Americans, including Obama, are eager to put the Iraq war out of mind. And as a bipartisan group of senators noted in a letter to Obama last week, Maliki's "mismanagement" of Iraq's sectarian politics has helped create the climate that permitted al-Qaeda to reemerge.
October 24, 2013 |
Kevin Powers is well-versed in the sad poetry of war. Powers, who discovered poetry as a teenager in Virginia and war as a soldier in Iraq, drew on his literary skill and his combat experience to write The Yellow Birds , a searingly beautiful novel of the war in Iraq. The Yellow Birds , a 2012 National Book Award finalist, will be named this year's One Book One Philadelphia selection Wednesday morning in a ceremony at the Free Library of Philadelphia. Powers will join Mayor Nutter; Marie Field, chair of One Book One Philadelphia; and Siobhan A. Reardon, president and director of the Free Library, for the event.
September 6, 2013
AS MEMBERS of Congress begin to debate whether the U.S. military should launch an attack on Syria, it's increasingly important that the American people be in the loop. If President Obama succeeds in getting congressional approval, which he was wise to seek, the rationale for the action and the expected outcome for U.S. interests need to be clear to everyone. Echoes of Iraq hang heavily over this decision. A full and open debate - particularly as our normally staunch ally, Great Britain, has decided to remain on the sideline - can only strengthen the country.
July 28, 2013 |
Only 28 percent of Americans say the war in Afghanistan has been worth fighting, the lowest number on record and clearly below the least-popular stretches of the Iraq war, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Overall support for U.S. military operations in Afghanistan has dropped 11 percentage points since March, a precipitous fall during a period of tension between U.S. officials and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, a spring and summer resurgence in Taliban attacks, and the failure of peace talks with insurgents to get off the ground.
May 1, 2013 |
AN IRAQ WAR veteran is suing the city, claiming he was roughed up by police and illegally detained for taking a cellphone video during the confrontation. The alleged incident happened Easter Sunday on 13th Street near Rodman in Center City, according to a lawsuit filed yesterday in federal district court. The complaint was filed on behalf of Roderick King, an Air Force veteran from Lansdale, and Thomas Stenberg, Sara Tice and Brian Jackson, all of Philadelphia. The suit claims the four friends were walking on 13th Street about 2 a.m. March 31 when they saw a Philadelphia police officer in a marked SUV driving erratically.
April 29, 2013 |
Clare Boothe Luce liked to say that "a great man is one sentence. " Presidents, in particular. The most common "one sentence" for George W. Bush (whose legacy is being reassessed as his presidential library opens) is: "He kept us safe. " Not quite right. He did not just keep us safe. He created the entire antiterror infrastructure that continues to keep us safe. That homage was paid, wordlessly, by Barack Obama, who vilified Bush's antiterror policies as a candidate, then continued them as president: indefinite detention, rendition, warrantless wiretaps, special forces and drone warfare, and, most notoriously, Guantanamo, which Obama so ostentatiously denounced - until he found it indispensable.
April 1, 2013 |
Two weeks ago, on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq war, I wrote a column that laid out the losers in the conflict. I argued there were still no clear winners. One reader responded that there are obvious winners: the private civilian contractors who provided security and supplies for the war effort, and were paid tens of billions of dollars by the U.S. government. A hefty chunk of those billions was wasted due to overbilling, shoddy work, and fraud. The reader was correct (although I disagree with his assertion that we began the war in order to fuel the military-industrial complex)
March 26, 2013
One never would have thought, when this country was raining "shock and awe" on Baghdad, that politicians would have little to say about the 10th anniversary of the war, which today seems more in remission than over. In fact, Agence France-Presse reports that more than 200 people have been killed in Iraq this month as sectarian violence continues. A rash of car bombings, likely linked to last week's anniversary of the invasion, left at least 40 Iraqis dead and dozens wounded. The peace that the war was supposed to bring remains missing in action.
March 22, 2013 |
In the beginning, when the war in Iraq was still making headlines and CNN was still showing footage of the air strikes in Baghdad, the Chester County Peace Movement could draw crowds as large as 700 to its weekly protests outside the county courthouse in West Chester. These days, the group is lucky if more than a dozen show up. But every Saturday for the last 10 years, they have never missed a protest. And though the war in Iraq is technically over - U.S. troops pulled out in December 2011 - for the members of the peace movement, the protest never really ends.
March 20, 2013 |
What is the legacy of the Iraq war? Is it the staggering number of lives lost? The trillions of dollars added to the national debt? The precedent of invading a country and overthrowing a government to bolster U.S. interests? Since the war began a decade ago today, as much ink has been spilled on paper as blood on the battlefield in trying to answer these questions. But the Iraq war's greatest legacy might be the opportunity it presents for the American public to demand a standard of transparency and accountability that policymakers must meet before they can waste trillions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives while violating the Constitution.