In President Obama’s first term, he built a national security “team of rivals” and got mouse-trapped into a dubious Afghan War escalation. For his second term, he’s opted for people who share his views on more restrained military power and faces criticism for “group think,” says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
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.
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.
Federal conflict-of-interest laws restrict what former government officials can do if they leave to take jobs as lobbyists, but there remains much flexibility both in Washington and state capitals for the revolving door to keep spinning, say Bill Moyers and Michael Winship.
Exclusive: Behind today’s fight over government spending is a bigger struggle for U.S. democracy’s future, pitting the traditional white-ruled country against a new multicultural nation, or the Right’s Real America against Other America. To win, Real America must make Other America fail, says Robert Parry.
The neocons have lost ground within the Executive Branch, but continue to wield great influence in Congress and Washington opinion circles. That sway is revealed in the framing of debates on President George W. Bush’s power to torture and President Obama’s use of lethal drones, notes ex-FBI agent Coleen Rowley.
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.
When the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, the U.S. news media suppressed many images of dead and wounded Iraqis so as not undermine the feel-good patriotism, and a similar bias has held true for Palestinian victims of Israeli attacks. But that favoritism seems finally to be breaking down, says Lawrence Davidson.
The movie “Lincoln” was a dramatic depiction of the political fight to end American slavery with the 13th Amendment – and presented a rare sympathetic portrayal of anti-slavery Congressman Thaddeus Stevens, played by Tommy Lee Jones. This offered a belated chance to reconsider this courageous fighter for freedom, says William Loren Katz.
The Senate Intelligence Committee’s hearing on John Brennan to head the CIA focused on lethal drones, but Brennan’s loose talk lumping Iran with North Korea as nuclear threats could be even more worrisome, recalling Iraq WMD exaggerations, as Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity warn Sen. Dianne Feinstein.