Jason Vest

Jason Vest is a Senior Correspondent for The American Prospect and a
contributor to the Boston Phoenix and The Nation, specializing in intelligence
national security affairs. He also holds an Ochberg Fellowship with the
University of Washington's Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. Recognized by
American Journalism Review in 2002 as an "Unsung Hero of Washington
Vest has previously done staff stints at the Washington Post, US News & World
and Village Voice. He covered the Eritrea-Ethiopia border war
(1999-2000), as a correspondent for The Scotsman, and was awarded a 1999 Fund
Investigative Journalism grant to examine both the war and media coverage.

Originally a reporter for alternative weeklies in Indiana, Vest has also
written for The Atlantic Monthly, Columbia Journalism Review, Mother Jones,
AlterNet and the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, among others. His
work for
the Prospect in 2004 has been supported by grant awards from the Foundation
for Constitutional Goverment and the Ettinger Foundation. His book on national
security during the current Bush Administration will be published by Wiley &
Sons in 2005.

Recent Articles

Ahmad Agonistes

There was a story making the rounds in foreign-policy circles last fall about an exchange between two of Ahmad Chalabi's most prominent patrons and detractors -- a juicy bit that rang true, but seemed hopelessly, tantalizingly just beyond the journalistic grasp. Ubiquitous as it had become in the halls of Foggy Bottom and the Pentagon, the standard for publication lay in the ability to get verbatim confirmation of the conversational back and forth -- something no one seemed able to satisfactorily secure.

Trust Busted

Before we turn our attention to Tuesday's reactionary and indicative-of-utter-ignorance comments made on Capitol Hill by Senator James Inhofe, let's first revisit Sunday's Washington Post. Under the headline "Dissension Grows In Senior Ranks On War Strategy; U.S. May Be Winning Battles in Iraq But Losing the War, Some Officers Say," a number of career Army officers -- including the commander of the 82nd Airborne Division and the Coalition Provisional Authority's first director of planning -- said that in strategic terms, the U.S. military has made a mess of things in Iraq, and perhaps fatally so.

Waiting to Happen

When President George W. Bush asserted in his May 5 attempt to mollify the Arab and Muslim worlds that "what took place in [the Abu Ghraib] prison does not represent the America I know," Judy Greene nearly spat out a spoonful of dinner in disbelief. A veteran prison-policy analyst with the group Justice Strategies, Greene marveled at this remarkable manifestation of cognitive dissonance and denial. "I'm sitting here," she recalls, "going, 'Has he ever set foot in a prison in the state that he ran?'"

Meanwhile, in Africa …

An interesting case study in the Bush administration's penchant for forging bilateral alliances that are enabling some truly wretched regimes is Eritrea, a small Horn of Africa nation strategically located on the Red Sea, where some on the right would like to establish U.S. air and naval bases.

The Wrong Target

On February 5, 2003, as U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell tried to convince the United Nations Security Council of the need for war against Iraq, in a quiet Baghdad neighborhood half a world away, Mahdi Obeidi watched Al-Jazeera intently as Powell's presentation unfolded.