Notes From the Margins…
Posts for Militarism Category

Timothy Garton Ash’s Awfully Big War

  • February 02, 2015
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There are some liberals who give liberals a bad name and Timothy Garton Ash is one of them.     They build up their careers posing as thoughtful and nuanced independent commentators, arguing that ‘facts are subversive’, yet when push comes to shove they sing loudly from the imperial hymn sheet and call on the US to fulfill its great mission to ‘reshape the world.’

Last October Ash was criticizing Obama’s foreign policy for being too weak, and pondering whether Hilary Clinton would have been a better choice for president, because she wouldn’t have presented...

Hollywood Sniper

  • January 28, 2015
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I haven’t seen Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, and I probably won’t, because a film that essentially celebrates a man who boasted about his killing ability and regarded Iraqis as ‘savages’ is not something I am prepared to go to the cinema for.     I’ve seen the UK trailer several times, and it hasn’t done...

Us and Them

  • January 10, 2015
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Like a B movie thriller that you’ve seen too many times before, the Paris terror-spectacle has reached its predictable conclusion.     All the familiar elements of jihadist noir were present: atrocity and murder followed by manhunts, hold ups, and quasi-military sweeps; neighborhood lockdowns, hostages, sieges, gun fights and explosions, culminating in a glorious act...

Might as well face it we’re addicted to war

  • January 06, 2015
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War is a serious business, or it would be if we took it seriously.   If war was treated with the seriousness it deserves then wars would not be begun lightly on false pretenses.   They would have clear and realistic strategic objectives and timescales.   They would be based on a very clear understanding...

2014: Gaza’s Year of Mayhem

  • January 01, 2015
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There are some years when Gramsci’s adage about pessimism of the mind and optimism of the will seems more appropriate than others, and 2014 was a year filled with some pretty awful events, whether it was kidnapped schoolgirls in Nigeria or a summer in which more migrants drowned in the Mediterranean than ever.   In...

Money for Torture: the endless gravy train of the ‘war on terror’

  • December 13, 2014
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One of the most striking revelations in the Senate Select Committee’s scathing condemnation of the role played by two former military psychologists in the CIA’s torture program has been the role of the two psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen in the Agency’s interrogations.

Both men had worked for the US military for many years before...

About Me

I’m a writer, campaigner and journalist.  My latest book is The Savage Frontier: The Pyrenees in History and the Imagination (New Press/Hurst, 2018).  The Infernal Machine is where I write on politics, history, cinema and other things that interest me.

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