The Bush-43 Administration

A Band-Aid Approach to Fixing the V.A.

President Obama signs the prosthetic arm of Marine Sgt. Carlos Evans during a tour of the White House for wounded veterans on March 6, 2012. (White House photo by Pete Souza)

Despite promises from the Bush-43 administration that the Iraq War would pay for itself, the price tag keeps soaring with the predictable impact on V.A. hospitals struggling to care for wounded warriors. But the political solution has been to make a change at the top, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.

Understanding Islamic Fundamentalism

Sayyid Qutb, a philosopher of Islamic Fundamentalism.

Islamic Fundamentalism frightens the West and that fear has motivated a fierce retaliation deploying more weapons and inflicting more slaughter. But in not understanding what drives the jihadists the military strategies may be making matters worse, observes ex-U.S. diplomat William R. Polk.

Iraqi Chaos May Give Kurds a State

French diplomat Francois George-Picot, who along with British colonial officer Mark Sykes drew lines across a Middle East map of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, carving out states with boundaries that are nearly the same as they are today.

Millions of Kurds live in Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria but the British-French imperial division of the region left them without a state of their own, adding to the region’s tensions. But some Kurds see the current chaos in Iraq as a pathway to nationhood, as scholar Edmund Ghareeb told Dennis J Bernstein.

The Wisdom of Lawrence of Arabia

Thomas Edward Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia, a British intelligence officer who recruited Bedouin tribesmen during World War I.

A century ago, during World War I, a British intelligence officer known as “Lawrence of Arabia” deeply understood the Mideast and saw hope for rational politics, but Western imperial ambitions intervened to ensure regional instability, as Bill Moyers and Michael Winship recall.

Europe’s Generational Change

Spain's King Felipe VI.

Exclusive: The persistent European recession has undermined public support for the pillars of the establishment and opened a pathway for a generational change that could reshape the face of the Continent, writes Andrés Cala.

Obama’s New ‘Bias for Action’

President Barack Obama.

President Obama seems so shell-shocked from all the political and media criticism about his “weakness” that he is “doing something” by intervening in both the Syrian and Iraqi civil conflicts, a risky “bias for action” that can do more harm than good, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

Reaping the Seeds of Iraqi Hatred

An Iranian poster commemorating the shooting down of an Iranian civilian airliner by the USS Vincennes on July 3, 1988, killing all 290 people onboard.

The uproar in the mainstream U.S. news media over the barbarity of Islamic militants in Iraq downplays or ignores the brutality of the U.S. invasion and occupation that unleashed the ethnic and sectarian hatreds in the first place, as Danny Schechter notes.

Iraq’s Depleted Uranium Threat

President George W. Bush and members of his national security team in Iraq in 2007

Over the past two dozen years, the massive damage that the U.S. has inflicted on Iraq’s population, infrastructure and environment includes the residue from American “deplete uranium” weapons that can cause cancer and other illnesses, writes John LaForge.

America’s Blunderbuss Wars

Barack Obama, then President-elect, and President George W. Bush at the White House during the transition.

U.S. policymakers and pundits proclaim that America’s role in the world is all for the good. But more objective observers see a pattern of clumsy and brutal interference that can touch off cascades of chaos and death, as ex-State Department official William R. Polk describes.

The Folly of Making Iran an Enemy

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina.

Even when Iran is eager to cooperate with the U.S. on matters of mutual concern, Israeli leaders and American neocons insist on making Iran an implacable enemy, a rigid  approach that does not serve U.S. interests, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.