A key federal budget trick is using words to confuse citizens, such as labeling U.S. military spending as “defense” though much is for “offense” and sliding costs for wounded soldiers under “veterans affairs” and nuclear bombs under “energy,” as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.
Exclusive: In his Second Inaugural Address, President Obama offered a powerful rejoinder to the Right by arguing that progressive reform fits firmly within the Founders’ vision of a strong country advancing the “general Welfare” and securing “Blessings of Liberty.” But does his rhetoric reflect the real Obama, asks Robert Parry.
Exclusive: Leon Panetta returned to government in 2009 amid hopes he could cleanse the CIA where torture and politicized intelligence had brought the U.S. to new lows in world respect. Yet, after four years at CIA and Defense, it is Panetta who departs morally compromised, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.
Exclusive: Director Kathryn Bigelow – in both Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker – presents stories of heroic Americans operating in a world of either apathetic or crazy Muslims, with little explanation of the whys behind the conflicts. This lack of context makes her films vacuous and depressing, writes Robert Parry.
Exclusive: The Obama administration is weighing options to leave 6,000 to 20,000 troops in Afghanistan after 2014. But the prospect for even modest success is undercut by the country’s ethnic divisions and Pashtun hostility to foreign occupiers, says Bruce P. Cameron.
With the “fiscal cliff” partly solved and partly delayed, President Obama may now turn his attention to filling his national security team for the second term, including whether to face down neocon opposition to Nebraska Republican Chuck Hagel for Defense Secretary, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern notes.
Exclusive: Gen. David Petraeus was so cozy with neocon think-tankers that he ensconced two of them in his Afghan War command and granted them top-secret access to U.S. military policy. One later leveraged Petraeus’s friendship to impress military contractors for funding support, writes Robert Parry.
Repercussions from the disastrous Iraq War continue to reverberate through the Middle East, now with battle-hardened jihadists crossing into Syria and taking a key role in that civil war. A U.S. attempt to isolate them with a terrorist designation is likely to fail, says the Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland.
Official Washington can’t figure out how to have a meaningful discussion on critical foreign policy issues, like the alleged need for a stay-behind force in Afghanistan or rules for drone wars. Instead there’s a ginned-up scandal over Benghazi talking points, notes Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland.
A back story to the sex scandal that ended David Petraeus’s 14 months as director of the CIA is that his mistress, Paula Broadwell, was an apologist for abusive actions by the U.S. command in Afghanistan. She defended the leveling of an Afghan village deemed uncooperative, Gareth Porter says at Inter Press Service.