Tag: Barack Obama

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The Islamic State Stumbles

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an Islamic State operative, known as Jihadi John and identified as Mohammed Emwazi, the target of a drone attack that the Pentagon announced on Thursday.

Last summer, there was widespread hysteria across Official Washington over the seemingly unstoppable expansion of the brutal Islamic State and handwringing over President Obama’s limited military response but the jihadist momentum now shows signs of stalling, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul…

Udall Urged to Disclose Full Torture Report

Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colorado.

Sen. Mark Udall has called for the full release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on torture. However, as a still-sitting member of Congress, he has a constitutional protection to read most of the still-secret report on the Senate floor…

New Pressure to Stop Iran Nuke Accord

President Barack Obama talks with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran during a phone call in the Oval Office, Sept. 27, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The economic pain, being inflicted on Iran and Russia by the Saudi-induced oil-price drop, has fueled a new surge in Official Washington’s “tough-guy-ism” and thus may hurt chances for successful negotiations, especially an agreement to constrain Iran’s nuclear program, as Gareth…

Neocons Link Cuba Opening to Iran Deal

President Barack Obama talks with Ricardo Zuniga, National Security Council's Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs, after the President delivered a statement on Cuba, in the Oval Office, Dec. 17, 2014. National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice watches from the doorway. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Exclusive: Neocons are hoping that by raising the political cost of President Obama’s diplomatic opening to Cuba, they can scare him away from reaching a final agreement with Iran over its nuclear program and thus keep alive their Mideast “regime…

Will ‘New Obama’ Bring Hope for Change?

President Barack Obama runs onto a stage in Rockville, Maryland, Oct. 3, 2013 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama has finally shown glimmers of the leader that many Americans thought they saw in 2008, as he displays some boldness in ending U.S. hostility toward Cuba and acting on global warming. But it remains unclear if this “new…

Dividing the CIA in Two

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (right) talks with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, with John Brennan and other national security aides present. (Photo credit: Office of Director of National Intelligence)

When created in 1947, the CIA was meant to coordinate objective intelligence and thus avert some future Pearl Harbor attack, but its secondary role engaging in covert operations came to corrupt its independence, a problem that must now be addressed,…

The ‘Exceptionalism’ of US Torture

George W. Bush taking the presidential oath of office on Jan. 20, 2001. (White House photo)

Americans like to think of themselves as the ultimate “good guys” and anyone who gets in their way as a “bad guy.” Under this theory of U.S. “exceptionalism,” whatever “we” do must be moral or at least morally defensible, from…

Torture’s Time for Accountability

President Barack Obama holds a press conference in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. Dec. 19, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Exclusive: America’s reputation for cognitive dissonance is being tested by the Senate report documenting the U.S. government’s torture of detainees and the fact that nothing is happening to those responsible. Ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern says the nation must choose between…

Torture’s Fallacies — and Criminality

Actor Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer in the Fox TV show "24" using torture to extract information.

In America’s fascination with fictional entertainment, torture has been a popular plot device as some tough-guy “hero” extracts a clue from a hardened “bad guy,” most famously with Jack Bauer in “24.” But real-world torture elicits false information and is a…

Obama’s Belated Realism on Cuba

President Barack Obama talks on the phone at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, Dec. 18, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama has been what you might call a “closet realist,” favoring pragmatic approaches to world problems but afraid to buck Official Washington’s dominant “tough-guy-ism.” But he came out of the closet at least briefly in ending the Cuban embargo,…