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Iran Nuke Pact Defies the Neocons

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani celebrates the completion of an interim deal on Iran's nuclear program on Nov. 24, 2013, by kissing the head of the daughter of an assassinated Iranian nuclear engineer. (Iranian government photo)

Official Washington’s still influential neocons are livid over President Obama’s interim nuclear deal with Iran and will keep up their sabotage fight. But the pact marks an important fork in the foreign policy road, showing that the U.S. government can still put American interests first, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.

Time for Proof on Syrian CW Attack

World attention has moved to the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons, but the evidence on the Aug. 21 attack near Damascus remains hidden and in dispute, causing a group of former U.S. intelligence professionals to ask Moscow and Washington to present what they have.

Obama Shies from Iran Nuke Deal

Official Washington’s ideology of “tough-guy-ism” has prevented a potential breakthrough in nuclear talks with Iran. Afraid of being called weak, President Obama has balked at accepting Iran’s right to enrich uranium even at low levels and under international supervision, Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett say.

Obama’s Three-Day Smile in Israel

President Obama seems determined to maintain a smile and bonhomie during his three-day trip to Israel, but the optics obscure deeper problems in the U.S.-Israeli relationship as Obama remains under pressure to bend U.S. policies in ways favored by Prime Minister Netanyahu, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

Waking Up to Iran’s Real History

From the Archive: An Oscar frontrunner for best picture is “Argo,” depicting a little-known chapter of the U.S-Iran hostage standoff in 1979-81. Yet, while focusing on this story of six hostages escaping, “Argo” missed bigger dramas, before and after, as David Swanson explained.

The Thwarting of Catholic Reform

From the Archive: Pope Benedict XVI’s abdication ends the career of a Catholic intellectual who understood the need for Church reform  but joined with John Paul II and other conservatives to protect an autocratic system that failed to stop pedophile priests or meet the needs of the faithful, wrote Catholic theologian Paul Surlis in 2012.

The Iraq War ‘Surge’ Myth Returns

From the Archive: Sen. John McCain and other Republicans cited Chuck Hagel’s opposition to the Iraq War “surge” as their chief attack line to block his nomination to be Defense Secretary, but Hagel refused to accept their distortion of history, defying a cherished myth of Official Washington, which Robert Parry described two weeks ago.

The Cost of Hyping the Benghazi Case

Despite Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s testimony, Republicans won’t let go of their favorite faux scandal: Was a Clinton subordinate imprecise in TV comments about last year’s attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi? Ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar says it’s now a case of partisanship undermining true national security.

Brinkmanship over Iran Tensions

Like a decade ago with Iraq, the Washington press corps today is hyping every dubious incident that raises tensions with Iran, such as shots fired at an unmanned U.S. drone off Iran’s coast. Downplayed are the endless Israeli threats to bomb Iran, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

The Neocons’ Waiting Game

Mitt Romney tried to burnish his foreign policy credentials with a speech lambasting pretty much everything President Obama has done. But the rhetoric may be less important than the neocons around Romney who hope to reclaim control of U.S. global affairs, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.