Official Washington’s “tough-guy-ism” often cites historical precedents, like Hitler at Munich or the Rwanda genocide, as simplistic justifications for new wars. President Obama’s two new national security appointees – Susan Rice and Samantha Power – seem prone to that mistake, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Because democracy is dependent on an informed electorate, political control in advanced societies like the United States has focused on selective dissemination of information and ideological spin. A whistleblower like Pvt. Bradley Manning disrupts that process, says Norman Solomon.
Terrorism once had an objective meaning: an act of violence against civilians to achieve a political goal. But it’s since been transformed into a bigoted curse word aimed broadly at Muslims, while rarely applied to politically motivated violence by other groups, as Nima Shirazi notes.
Exclusive: The trial of Pvt. Bradley Manning for leaking classified documents is a test of values in the American Republic. The case pits a democracy’s need for knowledge against the government’s insistence on secrecy, a moral balancing act assessed by religious ethicist Daniel C. Maguire.
President Obama has promised to put tighter restrictions on his use of lethal drones in U.S. counterterrorism attacks, but even if he follows through, there’s no guarantee that some future president won’t cite the precedents of the past decade to expand the operations again, writes Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland.
Exclusive: Official Washington still glorifies George W. Bush’s “successful surge” in Iraq while ignoring the wanton slaughter inflicted on Iraqis. So, there remains a high-level desire to harshly punish Pvt. Bradley Manning for exposing the horrific truth about that and other war crimes, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.
Americans like to think of themselves as peace-loving, but their history belies that self-image. From the genocidal wars against Native Americans through the current multi-front “war on terror,” the United States has been fighting and killing for most of its history, as Lawrence Davidson notes.
Presidents have been stretching their commander-in-chief powers since Thomas Jefferson dispatched the Navy to make war on the Barbary pirates. But Congress risks a perpetual war of presidential choice if it carelessly rewrites the 9/11 force-authorization act, warns Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland.
Exclusive: Most Americans now celebrate the courage of Jackie Robinson in facing down racism in 1947 as the first black Major League baseball player in the modern era. But there has been remarkably little appreciation for the bravery of Barack Obama as he has served as the nation’s first black president, writes Robert Parry.
Exclusive: In his counterterrorism speech, President Obama ruminated about the moral and legal dilemma of balancing the safety of the American people against the use of targeted killings abroad. But Obama’s handwringing did not sit well with some critics including ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.