Notes From the Margins…
Posts for US politics Category
Osama bin Laden: the Western

Osama bin Laden: the Western

  • January 16, 2013
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There is a superb critique on the Mondeweiss website of Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty by Deepa Kumar.   Previous criticisms of the film have concentrated on Bigelow and her scriptwriter Mark Boal’s promotion of torture in its account of the hunt for Osama bin Laden, and its uncritical reliance on CIA sources. Kumar raises another crucial question that has been largely ignored in the ongoing controversy over the film’s historical accuracy and the morality of torture; namely, its unproblematic acceptance of extra-judicial killing:

The film teaches us that brown men can and should be targeted...

Staring at Screens

  • December 19, 2012
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What do the mass murderers of the 21st century have in common?  It seems they all love to play violent video games.   At his trial Anders Breivik told the court  how he had used  Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2  to familiarize himself with the use of holographic sights and develop ‘target...

Obama threatens Israel

  • November 19, 2012
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Clearly emboldened by his recent electoral victory, Barack Obama has embarked on a radical and historic change of direction regarding America’s relationship with Israel.  During a state visit to Thailand this weekend, the president called on Israel to halt what he called a ‘gratuitous and murderous assault’ on the Gaza Strip.

Obama dismissed Israel’s claims...

Barack Obama gives the world a hug

  • September 26, 2012
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You have to hand it to Barack Obama – the guy can talk.     When George W. Bush appeared on the world stage,   the spoilt frat-boy was always embarrassingly visible beneath the presidential veneer, and his attempts to sound statesmanlike were often undermined by the disturbing smirk that tended to accompany even his...

Damages

  • August 26, 2012
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It’s an unwritten law of international relations that some lives matter while others don’t matter at all.     In practice this means that some people – or peoples – can be killed with complete impunity by more powerful states, while civilians or even servicemen from countries higher up the pecking order cannot be killed...

The Awesome Years

  • July 20, 2012
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It would be something of an understatement to suggest that the historians of the future are unlikely to look back on the first decade of the twenty-first century with much favor.

It was a decade in which the world’s most powerful democracy unleashed   a swathe of violence across the world in the name of the...

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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