Tag Archive for Paul R. Pillar

Hard Lessons from the Afghan War

For years, the Afghan Taliban have said they would negotiate with the U.S. once it was clear the Americans were committed to leaving, making their sudden commitment to talk less “surprising.” But Official Washington could learn other important lessons from the long Afghan War, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Can the West Accept Iran’s Opening?

The mainstream U.S. news media always blames Iran for the nuclear dispute, while ignoring other key facts like Israel’s rogue nuclear arsenal and the failure of the West to offer Iran meaningful sanctions relief. But Iran’s election of Hassan Rouhani creates a chance for mutual concessions, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

In Case You Missed…

Some of our special stories in May focused on the Right’s racist past, the Republican scandal-mongering, Ronald Reagan’s ties to genocide, Barack Obama’s defense of drone attacks, and new tensions in the Middle East.

Nagging Obama into Syria’s Civil War

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.

Letting Iran in on Syrian Peace Talks

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.

America Veers on Security v. Privacy

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.

Misreading History into Wars

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.

To Russia With Love

It was surely odd to see right-wing Republican Dana Rohrabacher speaking positively about Russia, but perhaps he was influenced by actor Steven Seagal — or maybe animosity toward Islamists now tops old grudges toward Moscow, a question that ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar addresses.

Hypocrisy Reigns in Terrorism Report

For decades, the U.S. State Department’s reports on human rights and terrorism have been exercises in hypocrisy. The reports have been used as clubs against “enemies” and as excuses for “allies.” The latest terrorism report fits that sorry and dishonest trend, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.

Bad Mind-Reading on Iran

Propagandists often speculate about the evil intentions of some rival state and then bait anyone who suggests that the other side is just looking out for its own interests or harboring its own fears. This propaganda technique has been honed into a fine art form regarding Iran, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar describes.