Spencer Ackerman

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

Recent Articles


I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M DOING, SO YOU'D BETTER LET ME KEEP DOING IT. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that part of George W. Bush 's plan to sell escalation would be to admit failure. Yet in an interview with Jim Lehrer yesterday, that's exactly what Bush did: Look, I had a choice to make, Jim, and that is - one - do what we're doing. And one could define that maybe a slow failure. To Lehrer's credit, he asked why anyone should believe Bush now, and the Decider returned to form: "Some of my decisions actually have worked, like getting rid of Saddam Hussein and helping the Iraqi government form a unity government that is based on a novel constitution for the Middle East." Now, of course, the whole point of escalation is that there is no "unity government," but rather a sectarian government responsible for slaughtering Iraqi Sunnis, something American troops are going to magically create the conditions for ending. Escalation, furthermore, throws five Army brigades onto the same ol...


HISTORY REARS UP TO SPIT IN YOUR FACE. The enormity of what happened in Irbil yesterday is just starting to become clear. To recap, U.S. forces raided the Iranian liaison office in Irbil -- apparently it's not an actual consulate -- seized a number of computers and other documents, and took six Iranian nationals into custody. The six are accused of involvement in attacks on U.S. forces. What will happen to them? Here's Eli Lake in today's New York Sun : Another administration source yesterday said the White House and State Department do not consider the Iranians arrested yesterday to have diplomatic immunity because the building that was raided was not a consulate. This means that unlike senior Iranian officials arrested last month, those detained yesterday will likely not be returned to Iran. Forgive me my daily shrillness, but ... have we just taken Iranian hostages? Practically everyone who's not part of the Bush administration has condemned the raid: the Kurdish warlord faction...


EVEN BETTER THAN A SURGE! Why didn't we think of this, liberals? In order to complete the liberation of the Iraqis, we have to put them in concentration camps ! So says conservative blogger Josh Trevino : One might look to Algeria, where the Morice Line offers an instructive example of just how a hostile border can and should be sealed; and one might look especially to the Boer War, in which a fractious, semi-fanatical culture was slowly ground into submission by an occupying force � several years after the seeming success of the initial invasion. If it sounds familiar, it should: and so the means of victory there offer an instructive thought experiment for Iraq today. Make no mistake: those means were cruel. I have stated previously that I endorse cruel things in war � to eschew them is folly. The British achieved victory over the Boers by taking their women and children away to concentration camps, by laying waste to the countryside, and by dotting the veld with small...


WHEN GENOCIDAIRES TALK, THE RIGHT LISTENS. Understandably, everyone's attention is going to the Call to Escalation -- hey, we're inching toward a whole 'nother war with Iran! -- but it would be a shame to ignore Stephen Rademaker 's Washington Post op-ed on Darfur. Rademaker, until recently an assistant secretary of state for destroying international institutions, blames the International Criminal Court for the genocide. Seriously ! The Sudanese government has no history of objecting to U.N. peacekeeping forces on its territory. It agreed as recently as January 2005 to the deployment of a 10,000-member U.N. peacekeeping force in southern Sudan to monitor implementation of a peace agreement with rebels there, and that force remains in Sudan. So what has led Khartoum to reject today what it was willing to accept just two years ago? According to Sudanese government spokesmen, it's the involvement of the ICC... But war crimes prosecutors didn't stop genocide in Yugoslavia, and they haven'...


DIE FOR THE VANITY OF GEORGE BUSH. This Jim Miklaszewski report needs to be exhibit A in the case against escalation: Interestingly enough, one administration official admitted to us today that this surge option is more of a political decision than a military one because the American people have run out of patience and President Bush is running out of time to achieve some kind of success in Iraq. No one who cared at all about the lives of U.S. troops could ever in good conscience condone sending thousands into a futile war in order to conduct a public-relations gambit. Perhaps it might occur to Bush that such astrategic and cynical calculations are precisely why the public has no more patience for the war. How many lives is a five-point bump in the polls worth, anyway? Wow, do I look forward to this chapter in Bush's memoir. --Spencer Ackerman