Human Rights

‘War on Terror’ and the Bergdahl Swap

U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who was freed from Taliban captivity in a swap for five former Taliban leaders.

After the 9/11 attacks, narrow “counterterrorism” operations gave way to the blunderbuss “war on terror,” opening the way to more traditional practices of war including prisoner exchanges, like the one for Sgt. Bergdahl, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar writes.

Colombia’s Choice: Peace or War

Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos.

Exclusive: Colombia’s future may be decided by the June 15 runoff election between a far-right candidate who favors a renewal of counterinsurgency war and the incumbent president who has staked his political career on a negotiated outcome, as Andrés Cala explains.

The Money Behind the Gun Madness

Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association.

Since the American Right succeeded in reframing the Framers’ “well-regulated militia” context for the Second Amendment, gun madness – punctuated by frequent mass slaughters – has become the U.S. nightmare. But the real motivation is money, says Michael Winship.

Obama’s Collapsing Syria Policy

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in front of a poster of his father, Hafez al-Assad.

Syria has long been on the neocons’ “regime change” list, so they eagerly supported a violent insurgency to topple the Assad regime even as it veered into extremism. Now, that policy is collapsing but President Obama won’t admit the failure, write Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett.

Covert US Military Training Goes to Africa

As an example of a U.S.-trained military officer gone bad, Gen. Manuel Noriega is escorted onto a U.S. Air Force aircraft by agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency after his arrest on Jan. 1, 1990. (U.S. military photo)

New U.S. plans for training security forces in four African countries recall similar programs around the world, which often ended in the hand-picked trainees slaughtering civilians or staging military coups, as ex-State Department official William R. Polk recalls.

Finding an End to Endless Wars

President Barack Obama announces on May 27, 2014, plans for ending U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan by the end of 2014 and withdrawing all U.S. forces by 2016. (White House photo)

For Official Washington’s neocons all wars should go on indefinitely and any timetable for leaving Iraq, Afghanistan or any other country subject to American military assault in recent years represents defeatism. But such open-ended commitments would likely mean endless occupations, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

How Neocons Constrain Obama’s Message

President Barack Obama touches the Marshall Plaque at Michie Stadium upon arrival for the United States Military Academy at West Point commencement in West Point, N.Y., May 28, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Exclusive: President Obama said that just because the U.S. military is “the best hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail” – a wise observation – but he then confused his foreign policy speech by pandering to neocon narratives on crises in Ukraine and elsewhere, reports Robert Parry.

One More Casualty of US Wars

President Barack Obama shakes hands with U.S. troops at Bagram Airfield in Bagram, Afghanistan, Sunday, May 25, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Official Washington’s cavalier attitude about war – with pundits and pols often puffing out their chests and out-tough-talking the other guy or gal – ignores the terrible damage inflicted by war on civilians and soldiers alike, like the case of Cody Young, writes Richard L. Fricker.

Pope Francis Prays at Two Israeli Walls

Pope Francis praying a separation wall in Palestine on May 25, 2014. (Photo credit: Pope Francis's Facebook page.).

Pope Francis tried to bring a moral perspective to Israel’s subjugation of the Palestinians, including scenes of him praying at a separation wall in Palestine as well as at the famous West Wall in Jerusalem, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.

NYT’s One-Sided Ukraine Narrative

Ukraine's President-elect Petro Poroshenko.

Exclusive: The U.S. press coverage of the Ukraine crisis has been stunningly biased and one-sided, placing virtually all the blame on Russian President Putin. One of the worst offenders in this journalistic travesty has been the New York Times, writes Robert Parry.