Edited by Sam Thielman
I KNOW I SAID I wasn't going to do another edition of FOREVER WARS this week, given several other commitments, but there was something I was driving at in Tuesday's newsletter that I thought more clearly about after we published.
Luckily, it crossed my mind after I had committed to appearing on venerable independent news show Democracy Now! that I'd talk to them about the regional war emanating from Gaza on Wednesday morning. So I don't even have to write another thousand-word essay. Here's eight minutes of me discussing the war with two of the best, Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez.
On Wednesday night, as if to underscore the point, the U.S. attacked Yemen for the fourth time since Thursday, hours after re-designating the Houthis as a terrorist group. Whatever the designation will accomplish, it risks making aid groups and financial institutions wary of working with government infrastructure controlled by such a group, at a time when the Yemeni people desperately need them. "The Biden administration is playing with fire, and we call on them to avoid this designation immediately and prioritize the lives of Yemenis now," Oxfam's Scott Paul told al-Jazeera.
Then we woke up on Thursday to see that Pakistan has bombed Iran in retaliation for Tuesday's Iranian bombing of Pakistan. The violent ripple effects of the war are now beyond the Middle East. Meanwhile, Isaac Herzog, the Israeli president (a symbolic position, but still), told the World Economic Forum that he wants to see "a very strong coalition" assembled to combat Iran and its Axis of Resistance, adding that "nobody in his right mind" in Israel is considering a peace process, by which he means Palestinian independence. (Weird how that isn't understood as rejectionism, a term reflexively used for Palestinians, despite being an unambiguous rebuke of both the United States and, the FT reports Thursday, a coalescing Arab peace initiative.) The war will not stop on its own.
Maybe I'll write more contextualizing the dangers of this moment next week. Until then, enjoy the video reveal of the "Crying Magneto" page from The Trial of Magneto #5, written by Leah Williams and illustrated by Lucas Werneck, which hangs on the wall of my office. That's the first page of comic artwork I ever bought.
Random: I first met Juan in 2001 at Siberia, one of the bars that back then made New York great, when it was out of the subway and by Port Authority. Juan was already a giant and I was barely a writer for New York Press—I hadn't even graduated college—but he treated a kid like an equal and I never forgot that. It helped that Tracy Westmoreland kept us drunk enough to tell stories. And you already know how well Juan Gonzalez tells a story.
WALLER VS. WILDSTORM, my comics debut—a 4-issue spy thriller miniseries for DC Comics—comes out in collected hardcover edition on Jan. 30! Pre-order it today—it includes an afterword essay from me about journalism you won't be able to read anywhere else. And if you want a special deal, Bulletproof Comics in Brooklyn is exclusively offering a four-issue set of WVW with each issue signed by me and certified authentic. But act fast—our first two issues have sold out at the distributor level (!) so when these are gone, they're gone-gone!
TWO THINGS WORTH READING AND THINKING ABOUT:
Van Jackson explaining in political-economy and security terms what's behind the right-wing enthusiasm for a "hard break" to extricate the Chinese and American economies.
My friend Jessica Valenti's testimony to Senate Democrats about the lived realities of an America without abortion rights. Read the whole thing but especially the last two paragraphs.