Spencer Ackerman

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

Recent Articles

Good News for Iraq?

There's an opportunity for reconciliation and actual statecraft right now in Iraq. It remains to be seen if the United States will take advantage of it.

It's a strange thought to entertain while the Turks consider invading Iraqi Kurdistan, but November 2007 is could be a fairly auspicious moment for sectarian reconciliation in Iraq. I know, I know, vain hopes exist to be crushed, and Iraq is a vale of tears and all that, but maybe, just maybe … OK, to be less flippant: Shiites have started to unite as Sunnis have started to expand their power. By some measurements, violence has decreased. November 2007 is a moment to test whether progress on reconciliation is possible, or whether both sides are gearing up for a larger conflict.

In Iraq Forever

Despite the Bush administration's party line, construction of permanent U.S. bases along with long-term plans for troop presence continue apace.

Foolish liberals. Just days after President Bush announced in January that he would deploy an additional 21,500 troops to Iraq as a temporary "surge," liberals came up with a different buzzword. "Democrats oppose escalation of the war," newly elected House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told a cheering throng of supporters in San Francisco. "Let me repeat that: Democrats oppose escalation of the war." The obvious political gambit was to stoke public dissatisfaction and leverage it to de-escalate the war.

The Disgruntled General

Ricardo Sanchez's mishandling of the Iraq War during his year as ground commander is legend. It should come as no surprise, then, that his recent account of who's to blame for Iraq is so bitter and distorted.

No one pities retired Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez quite like he pities himself. His reputation destroyed after his disastrous year as U.S. ground commander in Iraq -- including, most notoriously, the Abu Ghraib torture scandal -- Sanchez took a surprising move toward rehabilitation on Friday, delivering a blistering indictment of the war's history and its prospects before a military reporters' convention in Arlington. The war is "a nightmare with no end in sight," declared its former commander.

Iraq Forever?

Last week's intense focus on whether the surge was working obscured the real Bush agenda -- a long-term U.S. presence in Iraq.

Having lost the battle over the surge, Democrats in the Senate are back to an incrementalist approach to the war. After Bush endorsed General David Petraeus's plan to return to pre-surge combat strength of about 130,000 troops in Iraq by the end of July, the Democrats mobilized.

The Petraeus Workout

Petraeus describes the Iraq War as a war of figurative inches. Before Congress, he's likely to emphasize these smaller achievements instead of the bigger picture -- which is unquestionably bleak.

It was a wet and chilly spring morning in Mosul, the sun barely up, and a handful of company commanders from the Fourth Brigade Combat Team of the First Cavalry Division started loosening up. Dressed in heather-gray Army tees and black shorts, the bleary-eyed captains in their early 30s stretched their calves and back muscles and bounced on the balls of their feet into squats, getting ready to go five miles around Forward Operating Base Marez with a legendarily competitive runner.

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