Tara McKelvey

Tara McKelvey, a senior editor at the Prospect, is a research fellow at NYU School of Law's Center on Law and Security and the author of Monstering: Inside America’s Policy on Secret Interrogations and Torture in the Terror War.

Recent Articles

MARCHING ORDERS

MARCHING ORDERS . Back in 2002, months before U.S. troops arrived in Baghdad, American soldiers were told they would be heading for Iraq. At least that's what a soldier in Hinesville, Georgia, a town outside the army base of Fort Stewart, told me last weekend. Now the news is different. Soldiers in three separate units in Fort Stewart have been saying they are now being informed that they will soon be deployed for 12 to 18 months -- and they should plan on going to Iran. At least that's what I heard from an army wife in Hinesville. I didn't really believe her. Still, I mentioned it at a recent NYU Law School symposium , "The Mirage of the State: Fragmentation, Fragility, and Failure and the Implications on Law and Security." (We just called it the "Failed States" event.) A woman sitting next to me said she had heard the same thing from a lieutenant colonel she knows. "He has been told that they are going to Iran," she recalled. Soldiers are told to prepare for the worst-case scenario...

CONDUCT UNBECOMING

CONDUCT UNBECOMING . Last month, I spoke on the phone with a former army officer, S.P. , who told me he had been invited to Fort Lewis, Washington, by Lt. Ehren Watada . Watada, as you may recall, became a minor media celebrity last summer when he refused to go to Iraq because he did not support the war. (He said he�d go to Afghanistan instead, but the army said no.) Watada could be sentenced to up to four years for "missing movement" and "conduct unbecoming a gentleman" (in his case, that means criticizing the Bush administration), and he had hoped S.P. would speak in his defense at the court-martial in Fort Lewis. A couple days ago, though, S.P. told me his trip had been called off because the judge had rejected Watada�s request to have him testify. In fact, the judge has turned down all of Watada�s requests for witnesses, according to Elizabeth L. Hillman , a Rutgers professor and author of Defending America: Military Culture and the Cold War Court-Martial . Watada should not be...

HORTON'S "NO COMMENT."

HORTON'S "NO COMMENT." Being a lawyer is the best job in the world because you get paid to read -- at least that�s what a lawyer friend once told me. Of course, most of the reading would put ordinary people to sleep. The good news is that being a lawyer can turn you into a strong reader. Human rights attorney Scott Horton is an excellent example: He teaches at Columbia University and has worked at the swanky Avenue of the Americas firm Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler, and, in his spare time, is the author of a daily email, �No Comment,� in which he reads a prodigious amount of material, ranging from the Guardian to Der Spiegel to le Monde , and summarizes the news in an intelligent, engaging, and passionate manner. You can study the articles he encloses, but if you were to read only his summaries and mini-analyses, you would still have a enlightened perspective on U.S. intelligence agencies, Iraqi military units, extraordinary rendition, and so on. You can sign up by writing to...

RIP. Ryszard Kapuscinski...

RIP. Ryszard Kapuscinski died on January 23 in Warsaw, Poland. He has been called the world�s greatest foreign correspondent -- and for good reason. He started traveling in Africa in the early 1960s and later reported on events in Latin America, the Middle East, and other regions, first filing stories for PAP, the Polish news agency (he says that�s how he learned his laconic style), and then working on books like the acclaimed volume The Soccer War , which covers conflicts in Congo, Nigeria, Guatemala and other countries in the developing world from 1958 to 1976. He wrote about politics, scandals, war, and revolution from the perspective not of the wealthy and powerful but of those who exist on the margins of society. I met Kapuscinski in 2001. I�d admired his work for years and was excited to have a chance to interview him for a newspaper article. He was a short, thin man, and sat slouched across from me in a booth in a hotel restaurant in Washington. During the interview, a bus boy...

In Arabic in English in D.C.

Al Jazeera has been called "the terrorist network," a "beheadings channel," and "a mouthpiece for Osama bin Laden." Yet there was Dave Marash, 64, Al Jazeera's improbable anchor, sitting at his computer in a seventh-floor corner office in its K Street location, surrounded by mementos from his work as an Emmy-award-winning Nightline correspondent -- a William Gaddis novel on a shelf, an Eva Cassidy plaque on a wall, and a Ghanan akuaba'a fertility doll on top of bookshelf. It's a radical career move. Currently neither his old friends from ABC, nor anybody else, can watch him on television in the United States. His new employer, Al Jazeera English, launched its channel on November 15 out of Washington -- but only on the Web. How did his friends react when they heard the news? "The overwhelming majority said, 'That's Marash,'" he says with a grin. Wearing a red tie and wire-rimmed glasses on a recent Friday morning, he enthusiastically described the channel's "absolutely, state-of-the-...

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