Ben Van Heuvelen

Ben Van Heuvelen is the managing editor of Iraq Oil Report. He has contributed to The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, Salon, and Killing the Buddha, among others, and he blogs at

Recent Posts by Ben

Hamdia’s Research

Celebrating International Women’s Day in Baghdad.

Killing the Buddha

No Country for Bold Men

In the face of capricious violence, what kinds of heroes should we seek? This is the rich question being debated over the internet by two unlikely interlocutors: Stanley Fish, a humanities professor and heady New York Times blogger, and Dan Gagliasso, a screenwriter, director, and enthusiast of western films. The conversation began with Gagliasso’s review…

The Protests of Zizek and the Spirit of Communism

Last Tuesday night, the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek waged a fight on two fronts, against both God and capitalism. The theater of battle was the New York Public Library’s basement auditorium, a grand room whose marble and polished wood glowed under tastefully dim lighting. Zizek dressed for the occasion in a brown t-shirt and blue…

Jason Sagebiel in his office in Iraq.

The Songs of War

In the first years of the Iraq War, what distinguished Maj. Gen. David Petraeus’s success in the north from his fellow commanders’ difficulty in the south was his correct assessment of the “center of gravity.” The term, coined by Clausewitz, refers to the enemy’s source of strength. Petraeus understood that insurgents depend heavily on civilians—for…