The Bush-43 Administration

Iraq and the Oil Wars

Embattled Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. (Photo credit: U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jessica J. Wilkes)

Oil has always been part of U.S. decision-making on Iraq, a key motive for the 2003 invasion and the bloody occupation that followed. Now, as President Obama returns U.S. forces to Iraq, the issue of oil has bubbled back to the surface, as oil analyst Antonia Juhasz explained to Dennis J Bernstein.

Back into Iraq, Again

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks to Marines stationed on Camp Pendleton, Calififornia, Aug. 12, 2014, after returning from a trip to Germany, India and Australia.  (DoD photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Sean Hurt)

As the U.S. military returns to Iraq, Official Washington won’t tolerate a serious examination of the back story of the crisis, which began with the U.S. invasion of Iraq and continued with covert support of Sunni rebels seeking to overthrow Syria’s government, now returning to Iraq. Instead, its more hype and deception, says Danny Schechter.

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.

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.

The Long Reach of Vietnam War Deceptions

Scene from the Vietnam War

America’s war in Vietnam, which was authorized by the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution a half century ago, had lasting consequences for the nation, including deeper public distrust of government and government’s determination to restrict the people’s right to know, as retired JAG Major Todd E. Pierce explains.

US/Israeli Hypocrisy on Human Rights

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking to the United Nations General Assembly on Oct. 1, 2013. (UN Photo by Evan Schneider)

After World War II, the U.S. government was the champion of international law and human rights, but a selective application of those rules – shielding U.S. actions and those of allies like Israel – has made a mockery of these universal principles, writes Lawrence Davidson.

Are US Banks Still ‘Too Big to Fail’?

President George W. Bush speaks on the phone in the Oval Office, Oct. 7, 2008, with Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the United Kingdom, discussing efforts to solve the spreading global financial crisis. (White House photo by Eric Draper)

The U.S. economy’s long slog back from the 2008 financial crisis has tried to ignore the looming question of whether a repeat is likely. Some economists think the Dodd-Frank reforms have largely ended “too big to fail” risk-taking but others aren’t so sure, as Michael Winship notes.

Postponing Costs for Bad Decisions

President George W. Bush announcing the start of his invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003.

Politicians from Washington to Beijing to Tel Aviv like to put off the negative consequences of their decisions as long as possible, but that often adds to the eventual costs to their people and the world, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.