President Obama has indicated that he wants a diplomatic breakthrough with Iran, especially limiting its nuclear program, but he has hesitated taking the kind of positive steps that President Nixon did in his opening to China more than four decades ago, Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett observe.
President Obama’s defenders note he ended the Iraq War, is drawing down forces in Afghanistan and has resisted a new war in Syria. In other words, they say drone attacks on al-Qaeda suspects have ratcheted down the levels of violence left behind by President Bush. But critics say the drone attacks are still war crimes.
President Obama’s lethal drone program raises many troubling questions, such as the quality of evidence used to justify the killings and the lack of judicial review. But another concern is simply its effectiveness, whether it creates more terrorists than it eliminates, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar writes.
Exclusive: Though false intelligence was at the center of the disastrous Iraq War, CIA Director-to-be John Brennan played fast and loose on Iran’s nuclear program in his Senate testimony, a troubling sign he might undermine the principle of honest analysis just like his mentor, George Tenet, warns ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.
America’s “tough-guy-ism” plays well at home, with politicians competing to see whose bluster is the most belligerent, but works less well with the targeted countries whose leaders have their own imperatives of politics and pride. President Obama is risking failure in Iran nuclear talks if he ignores this reality, say Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett.
Confirmation hearings for John Brennan to head the CIA will give Congress – and the American people – their first chance for some public airing of the secret drone program that has struck at suspected al-Qaeda terrorists, including U.S. citizens, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.
Exclusive: President Obama is finally giving the congressional Intelligence Committees a look at a Justice Department legal opinion justifying the killing of Americans in senior al-Qaeda positions plotting attacks on the U.S. The disclosure comes as the Senate considers John Brennan to be CIA director, notes Ray McGovern.
Exclusive: The Obama administration is under fire for its secret policy of using drone strikes to kill alleged al-Qaeda terrorists, including Americans. But the public suspicion is heightened by frustration over decades of excessive government secrecy and deception, says Robert Parry.
Exclusive: Several U.S. senators rudely questioned Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel for alleged heresies against Official Washington’s orthodoxies, like his strange detection of an Israel Lobby operating on Capitol Hill and his refusal to accept that the 2007 troop “surge” in Iraq won that war, notes Robert Parry.
Official Washington can’t get over its addiction to tough-guy-ism, especially as it relates to confrontations in the Middle East. Now, President Obama’s timidity about taking on that challenge is undermining hopes for a negotiated settlement with Iran, say Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett.