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The Epilogue examines how trends from the 1990s continued to develop in the following decade. These included the growing civil–military gap, even as the American public lauded the troops as heroes; tensions between notions of the soldier as a male warrior and more inclusive visions of soldiers might be; and the question of what roles soldiers might be asked to take on. First, it explores how soldiers began to talk about themselves as ‘Spartans’, referencing their separate status as a warrior caste. It also examines how popular culture and the military itself began to increasingly venerate Special Forces ‘operators’, using these images to sell products as diverse as video games, fitness regimes and coffee blends, but also to reinforce notions of American soldiers as quasi-supermen, capable of incredible feats. Finally, it examines a cultural phenomenon that cut against the grain of ‘Spartan’ and ‘operator’ images: the ‘Fobbit’ – a term that refers to the personnel deployed to Forward Operating Bases but who avoided combat by remaining at the base, a description that then broadened to describe all sorts of personnel who deployed overseas but didn’t face the prospect of combat.
This chapter compares the values, beliefs, and policy actions of the Clinton administration after the end of the Cold War and those of the George W. Bush administration after the events of September 11, 2001.
This paper examines the Holy See as a political actor amid hard power conflict. While many debate the legal and religious personalities of the Holy See, few engage with an approach that illustrates the Holy See and its citizen-like laity in light of its combinative religious–political dynamic. This paper argues that resulting from this dynamic, the Holy See's sui generis statehood enables the comprehension of a similar sui generis citizenry. These citizens, which this paper labels pseudo-citizens, are the result of connections between the recognized sovereignty of the Holy See and its role over the Roman Catholic Church. This paper examines this connection contextually amid the Holy See's interaction with the underlying international moral framework on just conflict and the protective motivating factors associated with its pseudo-citizens. This motivation is consistent with historical Holy See positions, and is significant for understanding the Holy See's approach amid future hard power events.
Since 9/11, a striking number of Shakespeare productions have appropriated the distinctive colours of desert camouflage. The print – marked by faded tones and an overall impression of dry and earthy environs – has become almost the standard choice for productions of Macbeth, Othello, and Henry V. Yet there has been little, if any, discussion of desert camouflage as a costuming decision. Examining productions ranging across two decades – from Nicholas Hytner’s Henry V (2003) to Max Webster’s Henry V (2022) – this essay argues that the use of the print synopsizes the ways in which productions refract contemporary understandings of global conflict. Camouflage costuming ignites a nexus of Shakespearean meanings around the brutality of the protagonist, war-crimes, PTSD, veteran-ship, and spectacular violence. The newly cynical readings that result render irrelevant traditional debates about the pro- or anti-war stance of Shakespearean theatre. In representing – via desert camouflage – a new kind of warfare, theatre in the post-2001 era envisages conflict as self-defeat. Finally, then, these productions speak to incompleteness, irresolution, regret, and a never-ending cycle of global violence.
In this interview, Maria Aberg gives a detailed account of her production of Days of Significance, which premiered at the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, on 10 January 2007 and then toured to the Tricycle Theatre in London and to other venues across the UK. Aberg explains how her production highlighted a pervasive presence of violence connected to the kind of masculinity allowed and fostered in young men at home that then has enormous consequences when these same men are sent into armed conflict abroad. She also explains how the fact that Days of Significance was loosely inspired by Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing had a significant impact on how differently her production was interpreted and reviewed in Stratford-upon-Avon and elsewhere, where most members of the audience were not aware (and were not made aware) of the Shakespearean connection. In this respect, Aberg’s interview reinforces the realization shared by most of the contributors to this collection that the significance of ‘wartime Shakespeare’ is often complex and context-dependent.
This essay gives a fresh account of a pivotal moment in the events that led to the outbreak of the Iraq War in March 2003, when Lieutenant Colonel Tim Collins addressed his troops – the Royal Irish Regiment – paraphrasing off-the-cuff the speech that Shakespeare’s Henry V gives to his men on the eve of the battle of Agincourt. In this essay, Collins reflects on the power of Shakespeare’s language to move not only his audiences in theatres around the world but also soldiers on the battlefield. He explains how important it is for a military leader to be able to inspire his troops into action, especially when the reasons for going to war and the complexities of a conflict like the Iraq War can prove problematic and divisive.
This interview with Nicholas Hytner concentrates on his 2003 production of Henry V at the National Theatre, which opened a few months after the US–UK coalition invasion of Iraq in March 2003. Hytner reflects on the production decisions that responded to the immediacy of the conflict and the strong public opposition to it witnessed in the historic 15 February protests. The interview considers whether theatre can influence public opinion during wartime and how our use and understanding of Shakespeare’s plays has changed over time and through different conflicts.
This interview offers Iqbal Khan’s directorial perspective on his influential production of Othello (2015). The casting of Hugh Quarshie as Othello and Lucian Msamati as Iago made Othello a play more about intra-racial than inter-racial relations. However, Khan explains how the inclusion of references to the torture of prisoners of war by the allied forces during the Iraq War helped him highlight the ways in which Othello is more than a play about its protagonist’s doubt about his place as a person of colour in a world dominated by people with different traditions that exclude him. According to Khan, the play is equally (if not more) invested in exploring the nature of Othello’s work and the nature of his experience as the leader of mercenary forces. Besides, as Khan points out, the questions that haunt Othello haunt all of us. Some of these questions – including what makes up one’s systems of loyalty, what makes up one’s systems of justice and judgement, or whom one is accountable to – are especially problematic at times of war, because they often reveal a slippage between lack of control (and victimhood) and abuse of power (and complicity).
The US Army and Marine Corps’ (2006) Field Manual 3-24: Counterinsurgency is the famous known and controversial military doctrinal document in recent memory. While it replicates many aspects of the Cold 1960s “hearts and minds” counterinsurgency of Galula and others, it differs in its form, style, tone, and ambitious detail. I show how a large writing team from a wide range of overlapping backgrounds, working rapidly in a distinct institutional context, produced it. The mostly uniformed authors and their civilian peers drew on past manuals, history, social science (particularly organizational theory), and their own professional experience. The result is an assemblage of overlapping but distinct ideas, deeply imbued with the organizational and managerial discourses. While often described as politically pragmatic or expedient, I show the manual internalizes a patchwork of ideological material. Its ideological orientation, while in large part liberal and managerial, is ultimately complex and opaque. It’s influence and contentious status were nonetheless exceptional.
This chapter illustrates the forms and dynamics of contractual hybridity in American wars using the case of Blackwater. Blackwater’s contractual hybridity was visible in its formal contracts with public funding. Contractual relations created power payoffs by deploying a contractor force for American wars and raised Weberian legitimacy dilemmas from limited contractor oversight and distributed accountability. Security contractors also disturb civilmilitary relations by posing as “civilian combatants” or “unlawful combatants,” depending on the preferred definition under international law. The chapter also follows bureaucratic debates on defining "inherently governmental functions" given contracting, which reveal the effort it takes to balance Idealized and Lived Sovereignty. By being attentive to formalized and publicized hybrid relations, the chapter thus wrestles with unique problems in sovereign governance that challenge the legitimacy of a sovereign authority that contracts itself.
Mainstream pro-war news media reporting of the 2003 Iraq War was highly sanitized in a way that reduced war coverage to a cinematic spectacle. The picture that was painted by the coalition mainstream media reporters was of a war free of images of suffering, destruction, dissent, and diplomacy, but full of sophisticated US weaponry, chivalrous “heroism” and militarist “humanitarianism.” The US control of news media framing (through censorship and embedding systems) shielded viewers from the “realities” of the battlefield through recourse to maneuvering “avoidance” strategies, such as the “dehistorization,” “depersonalization,” and “decontextualization” of the unfolding conflict. By muting dissenting voices, the pro-war coalition media frames manufactured an “interpretive dominance” that was inextricably structured in hegemony and social control.
There are systems in place, or should be, for our government officials to make the decisions that affect our health. But as the Flint water crisis and our decision to go to war in Iraq in 2003 demonstrate, the rules for these systems are lacking. Officials and CIA Analysts fall prey to their unconscious biases just as readily as anyone. The Flint water crisis is described with all evidence in place that confirmation bias (and racial bias) drove the decision not to stop the public from drinking the water, using snippets from actual emails at the governor’s office to illustrate. The same failings led to war in Iraq, though the CIA has since created processes to prevent their analysts from making the same errors again. The chapter ends with a light-hearted example of a decision-making tool the CIA developed in the aftermath of the Iraq invasion: the Analysis of Competing Hypotheses. I use the tool to determine if my dog made a mess on the floor - a more everyday example of decision-making than airplane crashes, war, or public health (graphic to illustrate). This brings it home that bias can be avoided; it only takes effort.
In chapter 3, I argue that international law appeared in the 2003 debates primarily as an autonomous reason for or against war. Speakers invoked the legality or illegality of the invasion of Iraq as reason enough, on its own, to justify or condemn Australia’s actions. Speakers constructed international law as a measure of the justifiability of government action separate from any other measure such as morality or participation in an alliance, calling on a power that they believed international legal status would create. The 2003 debates included some examples of international law as a collective justification, but these were generally subordinate to the autonomous form of international legal language.
Public debates in the language of international law have occurred across the 20th and 21st centuries and have produced a popular form of international law that matters for international practice. This book analyses the people who used international law and how they used it in debates over Australia's participation in the 2003 Iraq War, the Vietnam War and the First World War. It examines texts such as newspapers, parliamentary debates, public protests and other expressions of public opinion. It argues that these interventions produced a form of international law that shares a vocabulary and grammar with the expert forms of that language and distinct competences in order to be persuasive. This longer history also illustrates a move from the use of international legal language as part of collective justifications to the use of international law as an autonomous justification for state action.
This chapter provides an overview of policing in modern Iraq, with a special focus on the role of sectarian identity in citizen–police relations. Following the 2003 US invasion and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, the transitional government initially purged Sunnis from the state security forces. However, the government soon faced domestic and international pressures to reintegrate Sunnis into the police as a counterinsurgency measure. In some areas like Anbar and parts of Baghdad, these pressures led to substantial inclusion of Sunnis in the police. In other areas, local politicians resisted Sunni integration so they could distribute police jobs as political patronage. Drawing on interviews with Iraqi citizens, I show just how salient the police’s makeup is to ordinary citizens’ relationships with the state. Citizens see access to positions in the police as a path toward empowerment and, at times, self-preservation. At the same time, they perceive that officers behave differently depending on their sect, with shared identity smoothing interactions between citizens and the police.
Traditional scholarship on cities has ignored the impact of warfare, except insofar as cities have been totally destroyed, such as Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II, or as they have been rebuilt, as Berlin was after World War II. These cities are usually treated in primarily nationalist terms, emphasizing their roles in the respective combatant nations. This chapter treats several global cities in transnational terms, noting how the effects of the specific military conflicts have secondary consequences that transgress geopolitical borders and permit us to recognize shared suffering by combatants from different nations by focusing on Camilo Mejía’s memoir of the Iraq War, The Road from ar Ramadi (2007), and Jason Hall’s film about Iraq War veterans, Thank You for Your Service (2017). Managua, San José (Costa Rica), Miami, Boston, al Ramadi, and Topeka have little in common as modern cities, but the US-led neoimperial wars in Central America and the Middle East bring all of these cities and their inhabitants together in terrifyingly similar ways. New scholarly studies of modern cities need to interpret just these transnational intersections.
The personal costs of war — military dead and injured—are the most salient measure of war costs and the primary instrument through which war affects domestic politics. We posit a framework for understanding war initiation, war policy, and war termination in democratic polities, and for understanding the role that citizens and their deaths through conflict play in those policy choices. We believe that war support derives from individuals’ calculations of a war’s value and cost. High-value conflicts are more likely to be supported than low-value conflicts. Conversely, low-cost conflicts are more likely to occur andto have durable support, while high-cost conflicts are likely to see rapid erosion of support when they are fought. We develop a comprehensive theoretical approach and examine these arguments with a variety of empirical methods in multiple wars, conducting analyses of tens of thousands of citizens across a wide variety of historical and hypothetical conditions. We also analyze the ways that military casualty information travels from distant battlefields to the homefront and address policy implications.
This chapter shows how the Bush administration and other Iraq hawks promulgated a successful case against containment after 9/11 based on the idea that containment and deterrence could not address the “nexus” threat of weapons of mass destruction, terrorist groups, and rogue states. It then examines what I call the “Powell–Blair” approach to Iraq, which defined the political/policy establishment's thinking on Iraq in this period. Tony Blair, Colin Powell, most of the foreign policy elite, and many Democratic politicians criticized how Bush was pursuing regime change but nonetheless endorsed the basic tenets of the regime change consensus. They made a tactical and procedural argument for pursuing regime change “the right way” but did not think that containment was a viable alternative. Thus, after the Bush administration made a cursory effort at supporting inspections in Iraq in the winter of 2002–2003, the majority of this establishment supported the invasion.
Casualties affect elections in two ways. First, wartime variables affected position formation, where higher state casualties increased the likelihood that challengers openly opposed the war. Second, casualties influence Senate elections directly. Incumbents are held responsible for the conduct of the war, and their vote share is adversely affected by higher casualty rates in their states. Although both incumbents and challengers face constraints, our findings suggest that incumbents face the greatest constraints while challenger behavior is endogenous to casualties. Candidates react strategically to the information provided to them by their state-level casualties, suggesting strategy is not reserved to the battlefield. Candidates behave strategically when formulating wartime positions, rightly perceiving that electorates respond to candidate position differences when voting. Analyses of elections during the Iraq and of Senator positions are taken during the Vietnam Wars. Even when national issues dominate headlines, advertisements, and campaigning, all politics remain local – especially wartime politics.
Why did the United States invade Iraq, setting off a chain of events that profoundly changed the Middle East and the US global position? The Regime Change Consensus offers a compelling look at how the United States pivoted from a policy of containment to regime change in Iraq after September 11, 2001. Starting with the Persian Gulf War, the book traces how a coalition of political actors argued with increasing success that the totalitarian nature of Saddam Hussein's regime and the untrustworthy behavior of the international coalition behind sanctions meant that containment was a doomed policy. By the end of the 1990s, a consensus belief emerged that only regime change and democratization could fully address the Iraqi threat. Through careful examination, Joseph Stieb expands our understanding of the origins of the Iraq War while also explaining why so many politicians and policymakers rejected containment after 9/11 and embraced regime change.