Official Washington’s “tough-guy-ism” often cites historical precedents, like Hitler at Munich or the Rwanda genocide, as simplistic justifications for new wars. President Obama’s two new national security appointees – Susan Rice and Samantha Power – seem prone to that mistake, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
It was surely odd to see right-wing Republican Dana Rohrabacher speaking positively about Russia, but perhaps he was influenced by actor Steven Seagal — or maybe animosity toward Islamists now tops old grudges toward Moscow, a question that ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar addresses.
Terrorism once had an objective meaning: an act of violence against civilians to achieve a political goal. But it’s since been transformed into a bigoted curse word aimed broadly at Muslims, while rarely applied to politically motivated violence by other groups, as Nima Shirazi notes.
The flap over a few IRS bureaucrats clumsily trying to identify the many right-wing groups abusing a tax-exempt status remains the “big story.” But the news media continues to miss the bigger scandal, the tricks used to create vast pools of “dark money” for buying the political process, writes Beverly Bandler.
If Occupy Wall Street had a national plan to flood the IRS with illegal claims for tax-exempt status and some IRS clerks had run a search for “occupy,” they would probably get a bonus and the story would be Occupy’s “criminal conspiracy.” But if the search is for “tea party,” you have a different “scandal,” as William Boardman notes.
Americans like to think of themselves as peace-loving, but their history belies that self-image. From the genocidal wars against Native Americans through the current multi-front “war on terror,” the United States has been fighting and killing for most of its history, as Lawrence Davidson notes.
Propagandists often speculate about the evil intentions of some rival state and then bait anyone who suggests that the other side is just looking out for its own interests or harboring its own fears. This propaganda technique has been honed into a fine art form regarding Iran, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar describes.
Exclusive: Most Americans now celebrate the courage of Jackie Robinson in facing down racism in 1947 as the first black Major League baseball player in the modern era. But there has been remarkably little appreciation for the bravery of Barack Obama as he has served as the nation’s first black president, writes Robert Parry.
Exclusive: In his counterterrorism speech, President Obama ruminated about the moral and legal dilemma of balancing the safety of the American people against the use of targeted killings abroad. But Obama’s handwringing did not sit well with some critics including ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.
Exclusive: The Right’s hostility to “guv-mint” is not new. It traces back to the South’s fears that any activism by the national government, whether building roads or providing disaster relief, would risk federal intervention against slavery and later against segregation, perhaps even the end of white supremacy, reports Robert Parry.