From the Archive: The hunt-for-bin-Laden film, “Zero Dark Thirty,” portrays torture as a key element in that search. But the filmmakers distorted the facts and ignored the reality that torture is illegal, immoral and dangerously ineffective, wrote Marjorie Cohn.
The Senate Intelligence Committee’s hearing on John Brennan to head the CIA focused on lethal drones, but Brennan’s loose talk lumping Iran with North Korea as nuclear threats could be even more worrisome, recalling Iraq WMD exaggerations, as Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity warn Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
Updated: A decade ago, President George W. Bush launched an unprovoked invasion of Iraq and probably no one person could have stopped him. But one who might have given Bush pause was Colin Powell, who instead joined the war chorus, prompting a debate between his ex-chief of staff Lawrence Wilkerson and anti-war activist David Swanson.
As the bright new Republican stars flame out – the likes of Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul – the presidential focus for 2016 will shift back to Jeb Bush as a choice broadly acceptable to the GOP, and you will need to know the Bush family’s real history.
The lethal-drone debate’s focus on the legality of killing Americans in al-Qaeda obscures the larger problem of waging war indiscriminately and thus creating new enemies. In that view, President Obama has stretched his legal authority past the breaking point, says Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland.
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.
Many Americans are still shocked that Wall Street bankers who ruined the economy escaped any serious punishment from government regulators. But one problem is that many of those regulators, including the new choice to head the SEC, have been rotating through the golden revolving door, say Bill Moyers and Michael Winship.
Special Report: Newly available documents reveal how Ronald Reagan’s neocon aides cleared the way for Israeli arms sales to Iran in 1981, shortly after Iran freed 52 U.S. hostages whose captivity doomed Jimmy Carter’s reelection. The move also planted the seeds of the Iran-Contra scandal, reports Robert Parry.
In his State of the Union, President Obama vowed to continue the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Afghanistan, much as he did in Iraq. But his reliance on lethal drone attacks to kill suspected terrorists has raised many other concerns, as Bill Moyers and Michael Winship note.
Sen. Rand Paul, a Tea Party favorite who will give one of two Republican responses to President Obama’s State of the Union, is deviating slightly from the GOP’s neocon orthodoxy and drawing criticism from the likes of neocon Robert Kagan. But any rethinking of tough-guy-ism is welcome, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.