The political opportunism over Syrian refugees – from Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and other GOP presidential candidates – is one of the uglier features of the growing hysteria over terrorism. It also reflects a recurring strain of nativism that has infected the U.S. public at times of stress, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar recalls.
Exclusive: Though faced with a global terrorism crisis, Official Washington can’t get beyond its neocon-led “tough-guy-gal” rhetoric. But another option – financial sanctions on Saudi Arabia – might help finally shut down the covert supply of money and arms to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, writes Robert Parry.
CIA officer John Kiriakou, the first U.S. official to confirm that waterboarding was used to torture “war on terror” detainees, then faced a retaliatory prosecution and 30 months in prison. Recognizing his sacrifice, the literary group PEN gave Kiriakou its First Amendment Award, observed ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.
The full story of how the U.S. ended up allied with some Sunni extremists in Syria – while at war with others – is a convoluted tale dating back to President George W. Bush’s neocons venturing off into Vice President Cheney’s “dark side” to work with violent jihadists, writes British diplomat Alastair Crooke.
Special Report: The Islamic State has entered into “phase two” of its plan. After establishing a rudimentary “caliphate” in Syria and Iraq (phase one), it is now seeking to provoke the West into a self-defeating overreaction, a trap that “tough” politicians are falling into, as historian William R. Polk describes.
The Paris terror attacks – particularly the methodical shooting of unarmed civilians – have shocked the world and generated new tough talk from policymakers. But the West cannot ignore how some of its violent policy prescriptions over the past 35 years have contributed to the crisis, writes James Paul.