Obama Administration

Guardrail Design Raises Concerns

Update: In recent years, highways have been made safer by guardrail end units that absorb the impact of collisions and redistribute the energy to protect drivers and passengers. But one popular system is now generating concerns over a slight design change, reports Daniel J. Goldstein, with new company comment.

The Secrets of ‘The Gatekeepers’

“The Gatekeepers,” a new documentary, records the views of the Israeli security officials most responsible for suppressing Palestinian resistance and their growing doubts about the strategy of endless repression. But even this criticism glosses over the depth of the problem, writes Lawrence Davidson.

Recycling Radioactive Metals Disputed

An Energy Department plan to allow the recycling of scrap metals emitting very low levels of radiation is drawing opposition because of concerns about potential health hazards. But the upside for U.S. atomic bomb-makers is that waste now requiring costly storage could be sold for a profit, reports William Boardman.

The Trickery of the Military Budget

A key federal budget trick is using words to confuse citizens, such as labeling U.S. military spending as “defense” though much is for “offense” and sliding costs for wounded soldiers under “veterans affairs” and nuclear bombs under “energy,” as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

The Lesson in Hagel’s Inquisition

Exclusive: Several U.S. senators rudely questioned Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel for alleged heresies against Official Washington’s orthodoxies, like his strange detection of an Israel Lobby operating on Capitol Hill and his refusal to accept that the 2007 troop “surge” in Iraq won that war, notes Robert Parry.

Israel’s Mysterious Raid into Syria

Israel attacked a target in Syria, allegedly out of concern that some antiaircraft missiles might be shifted to Hezbollah in Lebanon. But the mysterious raid raises troubling questions about the possible region-wide spread of the Syrian civil war, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Obama Shies from Iran Agreement

Official Washington can’t get over its addiction to tough-guy-ism, especially as it relates to confrontations in the Middle East. Now, President Obama’s timidity about taking on that challenge is undermining hopes for a negotiated settlement with Iran, say Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett.

NFL’s Super Bowl and Gay Rights

The National Football League, known for its macho swagger, has no openly gay players, although a small number have come out of the closet after retiring. But tolerance of sexual orientation has entered the Super Bowl hype as two players for the opposing teams have taken contrasting positions, Mike Biggz writes.

When Truth Tried to Stop War

Exclusive: The year 2013 is the one-decade anniversary of the U.S. political/media system’s failure to stop a criminal President from launching a war of aggression on Iraq. It was a shameful time when only a few brave individuals, like the U.K.’s Katharine Gun, did the right thing, ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern reports.

How Congress Undermined 9/11 Cases

Congressional “tough-guy-ism” – blocking President Obama’s plan to shutter the Guantanamo Bay prison and insisting on military tribunals for 9/11 terrorism suspects – is making the prosecutions harder than if they had been transferred to civilian courts, an irony addressed by ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.