Lost History

Courting Catastrophe in Syria

In the 1980s, the U.S. and its Saudi allies teamed up to funnel money and weapons to Afghan Islamists whose bloody “victory” set the stage for the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Now, the same team is heading back to work supporting Sunni rebels in Syria, as the Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland explains.

Neocon ‘Veto’ Fails to Block Hagel

Exclusive: The neocons and their Republican allies bloodied former Sen. Chuck Hagel with ugly smears, but he won Senate approval to become Defense Secretary. The neocons’ failure to exercise this “veto” now stands as a sign of their diminished standing with the Obama administration, writes Robert Parry.

Challenging the Neocons on Iran

Despite the Iraq debacle, neocons remain in the driver’s seat setting official U.S. attitudes toward Iran, mixing worst-case assumptions with unrelenting hostility. But national security experts Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett have stood up to this neocon-driven conventional wisdom, says Gareth Porter at Inter Press Service.

The Shortsighted History of ‘Argo’

Exclusive: The Oscar for Best Picture went to Ben Affleck’s Argo, an escape-thriller set in post-revolutionary Iran. It hyped the drama and edged into propaganda. But Americans would have learned a lot more if Affleck had chosen the CIA coup in 1953 or the Republican chicanery in 1980, says Robert Parry.

Eyes Wide Shut on the Iraq War

Exclusive: As the tenth anniversary of the Iraq War approaches, it’s worth recalling one moment when the curtain was prematurely lifted on the lies justifying the invasion – and how quickly government officials and the complicit mainstream press pulled it back down, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern explains.

Forgetting the Success of Deterrence

A decade ago, President George W. Bush and his neocon aides were convinced that hi-tech American weapons in a “uni-polar world” meant the U.S. could remake the Middle East through violence. It was a moment of hubris that ignored the lessons of history and the Cold War, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

The Depressing ‘Zero Dark Thirty’

From the Archive: Director Kathryn Bigelow won an Oscar for “The Hurt Locker” and is in the running again with “Zero Dark Thirty,” but both movies have a troubling undercurrent of racism, heroic Americans operating in a world of apathetic or crazy Muslims, wrote Robert Parry.

An Incurious ‘Zero Dark Thirty’

From the Archive: “Zero Dark Thirty,” the big-screen chronicling of the manhunt for Osama bin Laden, won critical acclaim for its taut storytelling, but the Oscar-nominated film ignored the complex history between the CIA and its terrorist target, wrote Jim DiEugenio.

Hit Movies Miss Mideast Realities

From the Archive: Two Oscar favorites – “Argo” and “Zero Dark Thirty” – purport to tell real-life stories about America’s troubles in the Middle East, one an escape-from-Iran thriller and the other a get-bin-Laden film. But neither confronts some hard realities, wrote Winslow Myers.

Waking Up to Iran’s Real History

From the Archive: An Oscar frontrunner for best picture is “Argo,” depicting a little-known chapter of the U.S-Iran hostage standoff in 1979-81. Yet, while focusing on this story of six hostages escaping, “Argo” missed bigger dramas, before and after, as David Swanson explained.