Official Washington’s “conventional wisdom” is a pernicious fact of life in the U.S. capital as various presumed realities reverberate through the echo chamber of policymakers and journalists. Conventional wisdom is especially dangerous when what-everybody-knows-is-true isn’t, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.
Three decades ago, the Reagan administration followed Israel into the middle of the Lebanon civil war with disastrous results, including the deaths of 241 U.S. servicemen and a U.S. withdrawal. Now, the Obama administration faces a similar choice regarding the Syrian civil war, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar writes.
Though many of today’s domestic and international crises date back to George W. Bush’s presidency, Republicans see a political edge in frustrating President Obama’s efforts to solve them, reveling in a new narrative about Obama’s “weakness.” The Guantanamo mess is a case in point, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Across Official Washington – including the neocon Washington Post and “liberal” MSNBC – pundits are demanding U.S. intervention in the Syrian civil war. But the furor over alleged use of chemical weapons represents just the latest dubious argument for regime change, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Official Washington’s “tough-guy-ism” – eschewing diplomacy in favor of military force – has slammed the United States into a series of foreign-policy disasters, such as the Iraq War. But key promoters keep denouncing anyone favoring less aggression as an “isolationist,” as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.
Even as George W. Bush is honored at his new presidential library, the painful consequences of his disastrous eight years in office continue to be felt, both at home with high unemployment and overseas with unresolved wars, including a troubling spike in sectarian violence in Iraq, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.
Focusing on issues like terrorism and austerity, the world has slid back toward neglecting the slow-grinding existential threat of global warming. A report card by an Establishment think tank offers poor grades on some of the most important subjects, reports ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s arrest for the Boston Marathon bombing prompted calls from Sen. John McCain and three other Republican lawmakers to declare the 19-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen an enemy combatant, a reminder of how the politics of terrorism has distorted American principles, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Congress seems poised again to ratchet up tensions with Iran by acting on a resolution that, in effect, gives a green light for Israel to attack Iran with promises of U.S. military support. This “back-door-to-war” resolution shows how the Israel lobby can dominate U.S. policymaking, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Just when it seemed the U.S. news media had learned some lessons from earlier “terrorism” misreporting, CNN rushed out – and then retracted – a report about the arrest of a “dark-skinned” suspect. But a related problem is the compulsion to draw broad conclusions about a rare event, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.