Over the past dozen years, the “war on terror” has taken a profound toll on U.S. constitutional protections and democratic principles, a process that continues despite President Obama’s promise last May that “this war like all wars must end,” as Lawrence Davidson explains.
Exclusive: The Obama administration continues to compound the diplomatic mess around former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The latest blunder was announcing that the U.S. wouldn’t torture or execute Snowden, a reminder to the world how far Official Washington has strayed from civilized behavior, notes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.
The Washington press corps is in hot pursuit of “Obama scandals,” stampeding officials into various rushes to judgment while missing the bigger scandals underlying the excitement du jour, such as the systematic abuse of federal tax-exempt status for secret political donations, as William Boardman notes.
Exclusive: The neocon Washington Post let ex-CIA official Jose Rodriguez, who oversaw waterboarding and other torture and then destroyed the videotaped evidence, make his case that there was no torture, just effective interrogation that helped get Osama bin Laden. But ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern disagrees.
Holding national security officials accountable for torture and other crimes against humanity may seem like the right thing to do when it’s someone else’s country. But U.S. politicians keep finding excuses when the abusers are American, observes the Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland.
Exclusive: Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision not to prosecute CIA torturers in two high-profile homicides bows to the political difficulty of going after field agents while sparing superiors, including ex-President George W. Bush. But the all-clear on torture sends a dangerous message, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.
Even as Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu urges a war-crimes trial for George Bush and Tony Blair for invading Iraq, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder gives an all-clear to Bush’s subordinates for homicides that resulted from torture in Afghanistan and Iraq, a repudiation of U.S. law and principles, says Marjorie Cohn.
The Obama administration has offered more information about its targeting of al-Qaeda-related figures, including U.S. citizens like Anwar al-Awlaki, for drone strikes and other lethal attacks. But the assurances of “due process” still lack the detailed explanation that the gravity of the policy demands, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Exclusive: The U.S. media and public are being riled up again with a new set of allegations against Iran, this time for a bizarre assassination plot aimed at the Saudi ambassador in Washington. But former CIA analyst Ray McGovern wonders if this is propaganda from David Petraeus’s CIA.
In another example of how Democrats deal timidly with Republican crimes, the Obama administration has closed the book on the vast majority of George W. Bush’s torture scandals, including high-level approval of waterboarding and other forms of physical coercion. Only two homicide investigations will go forward, as Marjorie Cohn notes.