Combat operations in Iraq are over, if you believe President Barack Obama’s rhetoric. But torture in Iraq’s prisons, first exposed during the Abu Ghraib scandal, is thriving, increasingly distant from any scrutiny or accountability. After arresting tens of thousands of Iraqis, often without charge, and holding many for years without trial, the United States has handed over control of Iraqi prisons, and 10,000 prisoners, to the Iraqi government. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
“Coming after the lulling years of Dwight Eisenhower, Kennedy promised verve and action. The media thrived on verve and action, these being basics, along with disaster and pathos, of an elemental definition of news.”—William Prochnau, Once Upon A Distant War, pg. 10
“The American-supported Saigon government called the guerillas the Viet Cong, a derogatory term for Vietnamese Communists. The Americans would bastardize the name further, abbreviating it to VC, codifying it in radio lingo as Victor Charlie, shortening it again to Charlie, and, in the end, when the going got very rough, restoring a begrudging measure of respect. ‘Mister Charlie,’ the Americans would finally call the enemy when the war turned big, mean, and impossible.”—William Prochnau, Once Upon A Distant War, pg. 6
“Vietnam, a place so foreign to their experience that it often took on a storybook surreality, captivated Americans. It became a fairy kingdom, a toy country as alien and enticing as the Siam of The King and I, as remote and mystically alluring as Shrangri-la. Vietnam was not simply exotic. It was erotic. And narcotic.”—William Prochnau, Once Upon A Distant War, pg. 5