Obama Administration

Bob Gates’s Mean, Misguided Memoir

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Like many Washington memoirs, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates’s Duty seeks to settle scores and spin a legacy. But Gates also penned a book filled with contradictions and showing little regard for the U.S. principle of civilian control over the military, says ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman.

J Street’s Dead End

Vice President Joe Biden addresses a J Street conference in 2013.

The hardline Zionist positions of AIPAC have given rise to a more moderate pro-Israel lobby called J Street, which deviates from some right-wing Israeli policies by favoring negotiations with Iran, for instance. But J Street still makes excuses for Israel’s repression of the Palestinians, write Abba A. Solomon and Norman Solomon.

The Lost Legacy of Otis Pike

Rep. Otis Pike, D-New York.

Former Rep. Otis Pike died Monday at the age of 92, stirring recollections of his courageous efforts in the 1970s to expose abuses committed by the CIA, a struggle that ultimately bogged down as defenders of state secrecy proved too strong, as ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman writes.

Human Rights Watch’s Syria Dilemma

The cover photo of the Human Rights Watch's annual report.

Exclusive: Human Rights Watch, which has pushed for a U.S. military intervention in Syria, continues to blame the Assad government for the Aug. 21 Sarin attack even though the group’s high-profile map supposedly proving the case has been debunked, reports Robert Parry.

The Fragile Process for Engaging Iran

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.

The diplomatic fracas over inviting and disinviting Iran to the Syrian peace talks only makes sense if you factor in President Obama’s fragile consensus for engaging Iran over its nuclear program – while influential neocons keep pressing for confrontation. That mix has made for a messy process on Syria, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Big-Power Foot-Dragging on Nukes

A nuclear test detonation carried out in Nevada on April 18, 1953.

Most recent talk about nukes has focused on Iran, which doesn’t have one — and is accepting new constraints to show it won’t build one. But there’s been a long-delayed debate on a 44-year-old commitment by existing nuclear states to get rid of theirs, as Lawrence S. Wittner reports.

The Mistaken Guns of Last August

The controversial map developed by Human Rights Watch and embraced by the New York Times, supposedly showing the flight paths of two missiles from the Aug. 21 Sarin attack intersecting at a Syrian military base.

Exclusive: After hundreds of Syrians died from Sarin gas last summer, Secretary of State Kerry insisted the U.S. had solid intelligence on the locations of the Syrian government’s launch sites used in the attack, thus justifying a U.S. military retaliation which was only narrowly averted. Now, those U.S. government’s claims have collapsed, writes Robert Parry.

The Battle over Dr. King’s Message

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Day is a rare moment in American life when people reflect – even if only briefly – on the ideals that guided Dr. King’s life and led to his death. Thus, the struggle over King’s message can be intense, pitting a bland conventional view against a more radical call for profound change,…

MLK’s Warning of America’s Spiritual Death

Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Washington, DC.

At the dawn of the last year of his life, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. broke with many political allies by warning that the Vietnam War and the militarism that surrounded it were inflicting a “spiritual death” on America, an impassioned speech that cast King outside mainstream opinion circles which considered his advice naïve if…

Who Can Use Nazi Comparisons?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israeli lawmakers are debating a bill to criminalize the careless use of the word Nazi, but face a problem since Prime Minister Netanyahu is one of the worst abusers when denouncing Iran and comparing a deal on its nuclear program to Munich, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.