The sectarian rifts, which were opened by George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq, continue to tear apart the Middle East, now involving Syria and Lebanon. Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militia, has plunged into Syria to fight Sunni-led rebels, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.
Exclusive: President Obama’s counterterrorism speech failed to quiet his critics on the Left who want an immediate end to the “war on terror” and those on the Right who demand more Bush-Cheney policies. Obama charted a middle course of gradually reducing violence and asking for patience, reports Robert Parry.
President Obama offered a comprehensive review of U.S. counterterrorism policies since 9/11, while vowing to ratchet down the violence and acknowledging harm done to America’s principles and image. Still, many details of his plans remain fuzzy and follow-through far from certain, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
In assessing the consequences of the decade-plus “war on terror,” President Obama sought to place his continued — albeit more targeted — use of violence within the context of just-war principles, stressing self-defense and proportionality, a point that religious ethicist Daniel C. Maguire disputes.
Exclusive: The Guatemalan genocide of the 1980s does not just implicate President Ronald Reagan and his senior aides but the Israeli government which secretly supplied helicopters, guns and computers that were used to hunt down and exterminate Ixil Indians and other perceived enemies of the state, reports Robert Parry.
Russia and the Obama administration have made some moves toward seeking a peace settlement in Syria, even as Russia bolsters its support for Bashar al-Assad’s embattled regime. But an obstacle has emerged as the deeply divided Syrian rebels balk at meeting with Assad’s representatives, ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.
From Editor Robert Parry: I often hear the complaint that Consortiumnews is not devoting enough attention to some story of particular importance to that reader. And I must admit the criticism is often valid, but the explanation is mostly our lack of resources, not our lack of interest.
Very little sympathy is felt for Air Force personnel assigned to fire nuclear missiles that could end all life on the planet. But their grim, boring and existentially absurd job has eroded staff morale so much that their collapsing competence has added to the world’s risk, explains John LaForge.
Exclusive: Republicans won’t let go of their conspiracy theory about some nefarious “cover-up” in “talking points” for Ambassador Susan Rice’s TV interviews on the Benghazi attack. But they should at least have better skills for detecting a real cover-up, since they’ve had direct experience, as Robert Parry documents.
Without doubt, the U.S. government over-classifies national security information, hiding not just genuine secrets but policy debates and mistakes. This creates tensions for whistleblowers and journalists over what should be public. But there are legitimate concerns about leaking, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.