After the 9/11 attacks, the United States lurched off in pursuit of an unattainable goal, perfect security for the American people. Along this bloody route, the nation lost sight of a crucial question: what American actions are generating the fury that fuels the terrorism, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
The Obama administration’s plan to remove a group of violent Iranian émigrés from the U.S. terror list suggests a readiness to pursue the-enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend strategy that put the United States on the side of Osama bin Laden and Islamic extremists in Afghanistan in the 1980s, says ex-FBI agent Coleen Rowley.
The label “terrorist” has been bent to political use so often the word has lost any semblance of objective meaning. American politicians and pundits like to hurl it against perceived enemies, but now it appears a group can escape the opprobrium with enough high-priced lobbying, Danny Schechter writes.
Over the years, the U.S. “terrorism list” has become less an objective assessment of groups that use violence against civilians than an ideological battlefield littered with blatant hypocrisies and outdated hatreds. The list has even complicated strategies for reducing political violence, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Western powers test out harsh economic sanctions on Iran. Israel pins the blame for a bus bombing in Bulgaria on Iranian agents, presumably retaliating for Israeli assassinations of Iran’s scientists. As tensions ratchet up – Syria’s unraveling, too – the chances for a disastrous war escalate, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Exclusive: When U.S. Special Forces raided Osama bin Laden’s compound last year, they grabbed al-Qaeda documents describing internal debates, including how the terror group should continue exploiting Israel’s abuse of Palestinians as a crucial recruitment pitch, reports Robert Parry.
By definition, “terrorism” applies to attacks on civilians for political ends. But the U.S. government has revised the term to cover any attack on Americans, including soldiers fighting anywhere in the world, a misuse of the concept that is hampering a deal to free a U.S. POW, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Exclusive: President Obama signed a U.S.-Afghan strategic agreement on May 1, committing U.S. combat forces to withdraw by the end of 2014 while leaving behind U.S. counter-terrorism teams for another decade. But Obama and his aides still duck a full debate over the causes of terrorism, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.
This week, there will be plenty of retrospectives on the U.S. Special Forces raid into Pakistan a year ago to kill al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. But the focus on that one attack and one man may obscure the larger threat from the brand of terrorism that bin Laden represented, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
From the Archive: On Monday, Nordic/Christian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik admitted killing 77 people last summer but claimed “self-defense,” protecting Christian culture from Muslims and “multiculturalists.” His writings show he was inspired by anti-Muslim bigotry spread by U.S. “experts,” Robert Parry explained in 2011.