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 liberalism a bad name and Timothy Garton Ash is one of them.

They build up their careers as thoughtful and nuanced independent commentators, arguing that ‘facts are subversive’, yet when it comes to war and the use of military power they know what side they’re on, and they know that they need the US to  ‘reshape the world.’

Last October Garton 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 Assad...

Hollywood Sniper

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 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 to watch.

I’ve seen the UK trailer several times, and it hasn’t done anything to change...

Us and Them: Reflections on the Paris Terror-Siege

  • 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...

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 of the...

2014: Gaza’s Year of Mayhem

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 Ukraine the...

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 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 they retired shortly after 9/11 and set up their...

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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