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.
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.
The intense response to the Boston Marathon bombings – including a government shutdown of metropolitan Boston and hysterical national news coverage – sent troubling messages, both on civil liberties and the U.S. susceptibility to terrorist-inspired disruptions, says Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland.
In the early 1990s, Republicans turned Ronald Reagan into an icon; they hailed him for “winning the Cold War;” they used his name to put conservatism beyond challenge. But this deification was hollow, a reality that today’s thoughtful conservatives, like the Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland, recognize.
Official Washington had a good laugh at flamboyant basketball star Dennis Rodman for befriending North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and for suggesting the U.S. also has extensive prisons and commits human rights abuses. The media derision silenced Rodman, but his perspective deserved more respect, says Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland.
In the 1980s, the U.S. and its Saudi allies teamed up to funnel money and weapons to Afghan Islamists whose bloody “victory” set the stage for the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Now, the same team is heading back to work supporting Sunni rebels in Syria, as the Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland explains.
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.
Since the 9/11 attacks, few politicians and pundits have had the courage to question the endless demands for more money to “protect the American people.” But hyping the terror threat has been a way for some financial and ideological interests to fleece the public, as the Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland explains.
Regarding the “fiscal cliff,” a consensus is forming in Official Washington that a top priority must be elimination of automatic Pentagon “cuts,” with the word “draconian” much tossed around. But the planned reductions are really quite modest, as the Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland explains.
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.