Spencer Ackerman

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

Recent Articles

The Bush Administration's Latest Iraq Dodge

Expect to start hearing lots of talk about "bottom-up reconciliation" -- yet another disingenuous portrayal of political progress in Iraq.

Iyad Allawi picked a bad time to make a public plea for the United States to re-anoint him Iraq's prime minister. On Saturday, The Washington Post published an unusual op-ed by Allawi, whom the U.S. tapped in 2004 to be the first post-Coalition Provisional Authority premier, as which he proclaimed that without "change at the top of the Iraqi government" any U.S. withdrawal would end in disaster.

Dicking Around

In his fawning new book about Dick Cheney, Stephen Hayes leans heavily on superficial details and explanations, and demonstrates a surprising lack of curiosity about what drives the man he's devoted so much effort to covering.

Cheney: The Untold Story of America's Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President by Stephen F. Hayes (Harper Collins, 578 pages)

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Lesser authors, when setting out to glamorize their subjects, enthusiastically present their hero's works as world-beating triumphs, explain away their flaws with argumentative dexterity, and detail at length the venality of their enemies. Stephen F. Hayes, instead, has done something unique in the annals of hagiography.

Wake Me Up When September Ends

September will supposedly be the moment for a definitive verdict on the war. Don't bet on it.

September: the month when the verdict on the Iraq war finally arrives. Goodbye to equivocation, to tangential focus, to extenuating circumstance. The last Friedman unit expires when the back-to-school sales do -- because that's when General David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker will report on the fate of the surge. Restless Republicans, war-weary wobblers, craven appeasers -- deliverance arrives for everyone. (Well, maybe not everyone.)

George Tenet's Twisted Intel

In his new memoir, the former CIA chief proves to be a master of non-apology apologies.

George Tenet regrets nothing

At the Center of the Storm: My Years In the CIA by George Tenet (Harper Collins, 576 pages)


Let's just leave "slam dunk" aside for a moment.


GENERATION GAP. Baghdad, Iraq -- It takes a while to get to Brigadier General Saleh, the commander of all Iraqi police forces in western Baghdad. For understandable reasons, the ornate Karkh Directorate police headquarters is protected by nearly an entire city block's worth of cement barricades and concertina wire within the Sunni neighborhood of Yarmouk. When you finally enter the building, it's difficult not to be impressed. Far from the crumbling and squalid conditions of most western Baghdad police stations, Karkh Directorate HQ is pristine: plainclothes officers use their downtime to water the courtyard garden. Saleh's office gives off an air of authority.