From the Archive: Two Oscar favorites – “Argo” and “Zero Dark Thirty” – purport to tell real-life stories about America’s troubles in the Middle East, one an escape-from-Iran thriller and the other a get-bin-Laden film. But neither confronts some hard realities, wrote Winslow Myers.
After the 9/11 attacks, the smart response might well have been to denounce the killings as a monstrous crime and treat al-Qaeda as outlaws to be brought to justice. But President Bush’s tough-guy response was to declare the crime a “war” and ensnare the U.S. in a conflict with no end, as Lawrence Davidson explains.
Exclusive: CIA Director-designate John Brennan stumbled through less-than-challenging questions at his Senate confirmation hearing, struggling to square the circle of his past ties to abuses in the “war on terror” with his future promises to be a force for openness and reform, as ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman notes.
Confirmation hearings for John Brennan to head the CIA will give Congress – and the American people – their first chance for some public airing of the secret drone program that has struck at suspected al-Qaeda terrorists, including U.S. citizens, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.
Exclusive: President Obama is finally giving the congressional Intelligence Committees a look at a Justice Department legal opinion justifying the killing of Americans in senior al-Qaeda positions plotting attacks on the U.S. The disclosure comes as the Senate considers John Brennan to be CIA director, notes Ray McGovern.
Millions of Americans are almost literally up in arms over the prospect of a few commonsense restrictions on “gun rights,” but there has been no similar resistance to far more sweeping, post-9/11 encroachments on fundamental constitutional rights relating to due process under the law, notes Lawrence Davidson.
The Obama administration is pushing back against pressure to jump into a new “counterterrorism” conflict in northern Africa, with some officials saying an overreaction to unrest in Mali and Algeria could make matters worse. There’s also the danger of over-interpreting isolated events, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Exclusive: Leon Panetta returned to government in 2009 amid hopes he could cleanse the CIA where torture and politicized intelligence had brought the U.S. to new lows in world respect. Yet, after four years at CIA and Defense, it is Panetta who departs morally compromised, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.
Partly as a spillover from the U.S.-backed ouster of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, armed Islamists have asserted control of sparsely populated northern Mali, causing France to dispatch soldiers to the region. But does this new conflict affect U.S. interests, asks ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Exclusive: Director Kathryn Bigelow – in both Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker – presents stories of heroic Americans operating in a world of either apathetic or crazy Muslims, with little explanation of the whys behind the conflicts. This lack of context makes her films vacuous and depressing, writes Robert Parry.