President Obama has alienated much of his liberal base by coming across increasingly as a toady to the Establishment, with his defense of drone strikes, his embrace of the surveillance state and his prosecution of anti-secrecy whistleblowers, as Lawrence Davidson explains.
From Editor Robert Parry: Summer reading – often called “beach reading” – is usually light fare, from romance novels to some classy fiction praised by the New York Times’ Book Review. But we’re offering something a little different, a rewrite of recent American history.
After the Syrian government agreed to attend peace talks – and the rebels refused unless they were given U.S. weapons – President Obama succumbed and agreed to ship the weapons, an approach favored by the neocons and one likely to cause more bloodshed not less, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.
Exclusive: Many Americans, particularly the young, are angry over government spying — and are cheering on leakers who release “secret” documents. By taking the “establishment” side of this debate, President Obama risks discrediting government just as it is needed on global warming and other critical issues, writes Robert Parry.
The U.S.-Russia-led peace talks on Syria face many obstacles, including rebels demanding weapons in exchange for showing up. But one self-imposed obstacle would be Official Washington blocking Iranian participation out of a misguided fear of political fallout, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.
U.S. government officials (and many mainstream pundits) assure Americans that there’s nothing to fear from the electronic surveillance aimed at “terrorists,” but some intelligence experts say the new techniques could ultimately intimidate people from participating in democracy, as author Christopher Simpson tells Dennis J Bernstein.
It is true, as President Obama says, that you can’t have 100% security and 100% privacy, but it’s also true that you can never have 100% security – and seeking it often makes you less secure by creating more enemies. Any debate on this must include the imperfect process called “conflict transformation,” says Patrick T. Hiller.
After 9/11, the principal “liberty” that many Americans seemed to prize most was the “freedom” to go to the shopping mall without having to fear “terrorists.” That attitude gave impetus to the construction of a police-state framework that could crush all the other liberties and freedoms, Daniel Ellsberg warns.
Americans tend to swing back and forth on the question of security v. privacy, depending on the latest big story. After the Boston Marathon bombings, there was anger over too little FBI prevention; after disclosures of massive data collection, there’s fury over too much intrusion – a dilemma examined by ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Exclusive: Edward Snowden, the person who disclosed top-secret documents on the U.S. government’s massive surveillance programs, is reportedly in Hong Kong and seeking asylum from countries that value openness and freedom, conditions seen as slipping away at home, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern notes.