President Obama offered a comprehensive review of U.S. counterterrorism policies since 9/11, while vowing to ratchet down the violence and acknowledging harm done to America’s principles and image. Still, many details of his plans remain fuzzy and follow-through far from certain, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
After a terrorist attack, if anyone dares suggest that the killings represent blowback from U.S. military violence abroad, that person can expect furious denunciations even though the point is almost surely true, a paradox that William Blum confronts in this article from Anti-Empire Report.
Before his execution by hanging in 1947, Auschwitz commander Rudolf Hoess confessed to his role in the industrialized slaughter of millions of Jews and other “enemies” of Hitler’s Third Reich. But Hoess’s guilt – while extraordinary in its numbers – extends to all leaders who carelessly choose war, Gary G. Kohls observes.
There was a time in America when someone like Ramsey Clark could be Attorney General and assert the power of the federal government on the side of civil rights, but that now seems like ancient history, as Clark reflects on the past and present with Dennis J. Bernstein.
When U.S. policymakers throw their weight around internationally, they may think their actions are justified – and perhaps in a narrow sense some are – but the U.S. also building up a reservoir of resentment and suspicion that hurts American interests in the long term, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.
Sen. Barbara Mikulski and other defenders of CIA Director-nominee John Brennan say they are reassured by his Jesuit education at Fordham that he must be well-grounded in moral philosophy. But two Fordham alumni, Scott McDonald and Ray McGovern, disagree in this open letter to Mikulski.
The neocons have lost ground within the Executive Branch, but continue to wield great influence in Congress and Washington opinion circles. That sway is revealed in the framing of debates on President George W. Bush’s power to torture and President Obama’s use of lethal drones, notes ex-FBI agent Coleen Rowley.
The lethal-drone debate’s focus on the legality of killing Americans in al-Qaeda obscures the larger problem of waging war indiscriminately and thus creating new enemies. In that view, President Obama has stretched his legal authority past the breaking point, says Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland.
In his State of the Union, President Obama vowed to continue the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Afghanistan, much as he did in Iraq. But his reliance on lethal drone attacks to kill suspected terrorists has raised many other concerns, as Bill Moyers and Michael Winship note.
President Obama’s defenders note he ended the Iraq War, is drawing down forces in Afghanistan and has resisted a new war in Syria. In other words, they say drone attacks on al-Qaeda suspects have ratcheted down the levels of violence left behind by President Bush. But critics say the drone attacks are still war crimes.