Obama Administration

Wisdom in Obama’s ‘Don’t Do Stupid Stuff’

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton honor the four victims of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, at the Transfer of Remains Ceremony held at Andrews Air Force Base, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, on Sept. 14, 2012. [State Department photo)

Hillary Clinton and other war hawks are scolding President Obama for not asserting U.S. power more aggressively around the world to deal with a rash of crises, but there is wisdom in Obama’s saying, “Don’t do stupid stuff,” observes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

The Rear-Guard Defense of Torture

John Rizzo, who was acting General Counsel at the CIA during the first nine years of the "war on terror."

Official U.S. policy is to decry torture – at least when done by adversaries – but ambiguities abound when U.S. operatives do the torturing. Then, torture becomes debatable and its defenders go on TV talk shows and even get honors from universities, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern notes.

Still Tolerating Torture

CIA Director John Brennan addresses officials at the Agency's headquarters in Langley, Virginia. (Photo credit: CIA)

President Obama admits that U.S. authorities engaged in torture during the “war on terror” but he has taken no action to hold the torturers accountable and even elevated one of its defenders, John Brennan, to chief of the CIA, notes William Blum.

Why Israel Is Bad for the Jews

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu

Among the harm that hardline Israeli policies have inflicted on Judaism is the erosion of the traditional Jewish tolerance toward dissent, now virtually forbidden if it involves criticizing Israel, as Danny Schechter learned when he asserted that “Israel is bad for the Jews.”

NYT Discovers Ukraine’s Neo-Nazis at War

Far-right militia members demonstrating outside Ukrainian parliament in Kiev. (Screen shot from RT video via YouTube video)

Exclusive: Throughout the Ukraine crisis, the U.S. State Department and mainstream media have downplayed the role of neo-Nazis in the U.S.-backed Kiev regime, an inconvenient truth that is surfacing again as right-wing storm troopers fly neo-Nazi banners as they attack in the east, Robert Parry reports.

Obama’s Foreign Policy Scrambles

President Barack Obama meets with his national security advisors in the Situation Room of the White House, Aug. 7, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

As President Obama faces simultaneous foreign policy crises in multiple hotspots, his reaction often appears ad hoc, rushing to one flare-up after another. But he is not the first president to face multi-front brush fires, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.

Was Putin Targeted for Mid-Air Assassination?

A side-by-side comparison of the Russian presidential jetliner and the Malaysia Airlines plane.

Exclusive: Official Washington’s conventional wisdom on the Malaysia Airlines shoot-down blames Russian President Putin, but some U.S. intelligence analysts think Putin, whose plane was flying nearby, may have been the target of Ukrainian hardliners who hit the wrong plane, writes Robert Parry.

Tallying Israeli War Crimes

President Obama speaks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outside the White House on May 20, 2011 (White House photo by Pete Souza)

For decades, Israel has slaughtered Palestinians with impunity, always protected by the U.S. government and its veto at the UN Security Council. But the latest bloody assault on Gaza has prompted more open talk about Israeli war crimes — and U.S. complicity, says Marjorie Cohn.

How Israel Trashes Judaism

A graphic released by the Israeli Defense Forces to justify Operation Protective Edge's destruction of so many civilian structures in Gaza. (Israeli government graphic)

While Official Washington excuses Israel’s latest slaughter of Gazans as justifiable self-defense, many thoughtful Jews are lamenting how the traditional humanism of Judaism is being despoiled by the brutal practices of the Israeli government, writes Danny Schechter.

Real Peace-Making Needed for Gaza

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Aug. 6, 2014,
announced the success of Operation Protective Edge, which killed more than 1,800 Gazans. Netanyahu said, "The goal of Operation Protective Edge was and remains to protect Israeli civilians." (Israeli government photo)

Some Israeli leaders joke about their periodic slaughter of Gazans as “mowing the grass,” a chore that needs regular repeating. Though a ceasefire has stopped the killing for now, real peace-making is needed to stop Israel from bringing out the lawn mower again, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.