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Weekly recommendations from WFTA

A quick update on what the Warnings from the Archive team have been listening to/reading/watching this week. The pieces that have caught our interest and develop the themes and topics explored by the project.

Considering the recent US House of Representatives vote to repeal the 2002 Authorisation for the Use of Military Force against Iraq, Radiolab’s 2014 podcast ‘60 Words’ is especially relevant. The episode delves into how the broad language of the 2001 AUMF came to be, the paranoid climate in which the law was made, and how it enabled two decades of globe-spanning US military activity. On Monday we also published a blog post on the topic, which you can read here.

On a related theme, it is worth picking up a copy of Stuart Schrader’s Badges without Borders: How Global Counterinsurgency Transformed American Policing. It considers the effect the early noughties counterterrorism environment had on American society and culture, in particular the way it militarised policing. With recent high-profile cases of police brutality and heavy-handed responses to the Black Lives Latter protests, it is good time to revisit the roots of this issue.

Another podcast recommendation comes in the form of You’re Wrong About’s recently published ‘The Chicks vs. The Iraq War’. This is an examination of the cultural climate which led to a huge online backlash against then-ascendant country group, the Dixie Chicks, when they spoke out against the war in 2003. It is interesting to consider how Iraq was one of the first major conflicts of the ‘internet’ age and thus how public accountability and opinion operated in a new way.

For a more UK-focused read, the article ‘Power and Politics in Public Inquiries: Bloody Sunday 1972’ by Kate Kenny and Niall Ó Dochartaigh, is an important discussion of the power dynamics which shape official versions of events. Given the continuing controversy over the tragedy, the inquiry that followed, and whether British soldiers should stand trial for their actions, it demonstrates how difficult it is to hold the state to account.

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