Spencer Ackerman

Spencer Ackerman, a senior correspondent for The American Prospect, is a senior reporter for The Washington Independent.

Recent Articles

WHEN THERE'S NO ONE LEFT TO SWIFTBOAT.

WHEN THERE'S NO ONE LEFT TO SWIFTBOAT. Pierce mentioned this last week, but it deserves all the attention it can get. Kevin Tillman , U.S. Army Ranger and brother of fallen American hero Pat Tillman , joins the ranks of the shrill : Somehow the more soldiers that die, the more legitimate the illegal invasion becomes. Somehow American leadership, whose only credit is lying to its people and illegally invading a nation, has been allowed to steal the courage, virtue and honor of its soldiers on the ground. Let's ask the obvious question before the right wing does. In fact, let's do their work for them. What did Kevin Tillman really do in Iraq and Afghanistan? Did he earn the respect of his colleagues in arms? Or did he behave dishonorably, disgracing the uniform he wore? Why won't the craven liberal media ask those questions? It should be clear that Kevin Tillman, like his brother, is an American hero. Like many other American heroes, he has grown angry over being asked to sacrifice for...

War in Iraq, 2003-??

Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, is an odd place to discover the possible fate of Iraq. But the fort, a 90-year-old Army base in the midst of suburbia, plays host to the Army's communications command, which has quite a lot invested in that country's future. For the moment, the United States has 140,000 troops stationed in Iraq, where they shall remain, according to the Bush administration, until the Iraqi government can defend itself against internal subversion and mounting sectarian conflict. Having invested the lives of 2,700 troops, the health of another 20,000, and about half a trillion dollars in that effort, nobody in the United States government is willing to predict when that day will arrive. But unbeknownst to the press, the public, and most of the Army itself, the clues to an American military occupation of Iraq -- that could last for years and even decades to come -- can be found inside Fort Monmouth. What is happening within that facility suggests that the White House continues...

Against Democracy

A foreign policy for the United States should pass the basic test of advancing American interests and upholding American ideals. A foreign policy doctrine -- that is, the subordination of particular foreign-policy options to the application of a general principle -- must be such that the benefits to U.S. interests and ideals clearly overwhelm any consequences that the implementation of such a worldview entails. And a liberal foreign policy or foreign policy doctrine must meet further tests: the policy or doctrine must uphold liberal ideals; and meeting the first test must not consequently jeopardize the broader national interest in whose name liberalism seeks to act. This is the problem with democracy. Or, to put it another way, it's the problem with making democracy promotion the lodestar of liberal foreign policy. Last week on The American Prospect Online , Shadi Hamid argued that "a foreign policy that puts democracy promotion at its center is the only way to secure our strategic...

A Hawk for All Seasons

It took all of two days for Joe Lieberman to jettison the high-minded justifications for his post-primary campaign against Democratic Senate nominee Ned Lamont. While in his concession speech on Tuesday, Lieberman repeatedly blamed the "politics of partisan polarization" for his stunning loss to an unknown challenger, he pivoted on Thursday to touting what is actually the central rationale of his candidacy: that he, and he alone, is strong on defense. Too many people, Lieberman fretted in Waterbury, "don't appreciate the seriousness of the threat to American security" posed by jihadist terrorism. It's up to Lieberman to save Connecticut voters from Lamont, whose naïve liberal softness will, according to the three-term senator, "strengthen the terrorists, and they will strike again." Leave aside Lieberman's unseemly eagerness to paint his opponent as a jihadist cat's-paw. There's a bigger problem with his pitch: Lieberman isn't strong on defense at all. Sure, Lieberman's a hawk. Since...

The Collapse

Night Draws Near: Iraq's People in the Shadow of America's War by Anthony Shadid ( Henry Holt & Co., 448 pages, $26.00 ) The relentless carnage and rising illiberalism of Iraq are inducing shellshock in the advocates of the war. Among conservatives, the palpable despair has prompted dead-enders at The Wall Street Journal to bitterly denounce unspecified apostates for “self-doubt, self-flagellation, excessive fine-tuning, and political cravenness.” Nearly every prominent liberal who cheered the March 2003 invasion has either renounced the war or deferred renunciation in the hope that a miracle awaits. And practically every American who at one time approved of the war wonders how things could have gone so wrong. How did the children who, in some cases, excitedly greeted U.S. troops become the cheering crowds in Fallujah who zealously lynched four American contractors? Some pro-war polemicists cling to those comforting early images like a security blanket. “I saw it myself,” Christopher...

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