As it turns out, we won't be able to properly judge whether or not Tom Friedman was right about that whole invading Iraq thing until "9 months and 21 years" after the invasion, so let's all check back here in December, 2024 and see how things turned out.
"This month, Americans are marking the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq with a sense of profound introspection."
"The troops have come home, the flag has been been lowered, and the Iraq War is officially in the past for the U.S. military. But the military is holding on to a major souvenir of the war: a massive database packed with retinal scans, thumb prints and other biometric data identifying millions of Iraqis."
John Cook's 4500-page Blackwater document dump is incredibly engrossing. These little stories! It's like, "we shot this dude's car, then everything was okay." What a nightmare Baghdad must have been (for Iraqis, I mean).
According to the government, the war in Iraq ends tonight at midnight. Given the war's inescapable presence in our politics over the last eight years, you would think we'd take this as the occasion for, if not celebration, at least some sort of commemoration. But so far, there's not even been much media coverage. Earlier in the month, the Pentagon staged a nighttime movement of combat troops from Iraq to Kuwait, timed to coincide with the evening news broadcasts, but aside from cutaways on NBC's cluster of channels (with some definite enthusiasm from MSNBC), it received about as much attention as a state visit to Senegal. A factoid [...]
Fun reviews are fun. You know how much fun? Sometimes we start writing them before we see the movie. The other afternoon, I started thinking about an Avatar piece headlined "Avatar Is the Greatest Movie of All Time For People Who Love Wearing Glasses." Right? I had a whole set piece ready about how, during hour 17 of the movie, I got distracted and started wondering if friction from the Costello-grade thickness of the 3D specs was causing a zit on the patch of skin between my skull and left ear. I thought this was fine to conceive ahead of time, because Avatar is obviously just a mass entertainment, and [...]
Avowed homosexuals are going to protest at the Iraqi U.N. Mission in New York City on Friday, April 10, because the murder toll for gay men in Iraq has now hit a rather shocking six a week. But Iraq, on the path to democracy, is totally catching up to the U.S.! They're just only up to 1935.
"I'm waiting to hear the words 'I was wrong' from some of the world's most elite journalists…" —People are still harping on that Iraq war thing, which was like more than 5 iPhones ago. Can't we just Move On?
The 1990s came back last night during the Hurricane Sandy benefit concert, and everybody was so happy to hear about "grunge" again. What else is from the 1990s? How about the 1991 Gulf War? It seemed stupid at the time, but in retrospect it was kind of nice to have a very short American war in the Middle East, and also to win that war. Now a living memory (in the form of an inanimate piece of weaponry) is back in the news, bombing people in Syria. It's hard not to wonder if the return of the Scud missile will also mark the return of the [...]
Ha ha, here's the greatest picture of the end of the Iraq War, by Al-Jazeera's Gregg Carlstrom: the assigned seats at the "Yay The Iraq War Is Over" ceremony also informed attendees in which bunker they should take shelter, in case they were all bombed or shot at or whatever. Enjoy your war zone with no war (sort of)!
"Security companies have started to use Iraqi guards because they work cheaply and know the area. These Iraqi security contractors now try to imitate Americans in their clothing, by wearing trousers with several outside pockets, half-length boots, dark sunglasses and rolled-up sleeves. They have absorbed the way that American contractors look so much that sometimes we Iraqis cannot differentiate between an Iraqi and an American by the way he dresses." —This is fascinating!
We have GOT to get jobs as overseas government contractors. The improbably named Triple Canopy-are we still sure that's not some artsy Silicon Alley startup?-has the contract to guard the US Embassy in Iraq, writes Spencer Ackerman, whipping out a damning in-house State Dept. report on our pals over there. They don't send the Delta Force boys for this-I mean, you're not even required to be proficient in English, which is awesome, as I am not. And? "The contracting ofï¬cer's representative in Baghdad does not verify either the guards' attendance at their posts or the accuracy of personnel rosters (muster sheets) before they are submitted, to ensure contractor [...]
There is a huge dance party going on in Iraq right now, because the American troops are pulling out of Baghdad and the big cities, which is apparently the preferred method. And it sounds kind of hot: "Baghdad's river-front parklands, which have been reclaimed this year after being deserted during the height of the insurgency and sectarian war, were last night transformed into outdoor dance venues, where audiences of around 3,000-almost all of them men-danced." Ha, we just had a similar-sounding party in America? Anyway, this timing is super-duper annoying. Now we have Canada Day on July 1, the U.S. thingey on July 4, but every year [...]
David Petraeus is snide gnome with a toupée hairstyle, and he is not even very good at winning wars—his military career can be accurately described as a draw in Iraq and total defeat in Afghanistan. As his personal scandal of marital infidelity involves ever more civilian women, shirtless FBI agents sexting those women, fellow commanders in Afghanistan, and the entire state of Florida, perhaps we will take a pause in our race for additional sleazy details to ask additional, important questions that are also about as sexy as a 60-year-old man with his pants off.
And now we get to prematurely place behind us another quite troubling incident in our recent history. Secret prisons? Eh, let's forget about those. Torture? Let's just move on. A incredible transformation of huge chunks of the military into a privately contracted mercenary army? La la la la la! Years and years of National Guard reservists being unexpectedly called up for active duty in Iraq? Oh well! Thousands of soldiers having had their service contracts forcibly extended, creating a stop-lossed conscription army, under a policy that somehow no judge would find illegal? Sorry guys and gals! (And sorry families of dead guys and gals.) Operation New Dawn: the war we [...]
"He took 11 bullets and lost a leg in Iraq, defending the right of silver-spoon scum at Columbia University to heckle and laugh in his face. Former Army Staff Sgt. Anthony Maschek was treated shamefully by a mob of soft-palmed slime as he appeared last week at a town-hall meeting, urging the return of ROTC to campus. This is conduct unbecoming human beings."
"Xe, the US security firm formerly known as Blackwater, has reached a settlement in a number of lawsuits over the killings of Iraqi civilians." And how much? "Two sources with inside knowledge of Blackwater's settlement with Iraqi victims of a string of shootings, including the Nisour Square massacre, have confirmed to me that Blackwater is paying $100,000 for each of the Iraqis killed by its forces and between $20-30,000 to each Iraqi wounded…. Based on the number of dead and injured named in the civil lawsuits, the total amount paid by Blackwater is likely in the range of $5 million."