Despite Republican pressure and State Department hawkishness, the Pentagon and the White House remain reluctant to dive deeper into the fight against the Islamic State, wishing to avoid U.S. combat casualties, writes Gareth Porter for Middle East Eye.
Climate change – what the Pentagon calls a “threat multiplier” – could put the world on course toward worsening chaos or even extermination as nuclear-armed nations scramble to cope with environmental dislocations and resource shortages, a danger that could define the future, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
American foreign policy remains locked in a cycle of violence, with the Obama administration failing to escape the neocon insistence on a swaggering “tough-guy-ism” abroad. That reliance on military intervention also comes with the cost of “blowback,” as ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman notes.
Exclusive: The neocons and their Republican allies bloodied former Sen. Chuck Hagel with ugly smears, but he won Senate approval to become Defense Secretary. The neocons’ failure to exercise this “veto” now stands as a sign of their diminished standing with the Obama administration, writes Robert Parry.
A key federal budget trick is using words to confuse citizens, such as labeling U.S. military spending as “defense” though much is for “offense” and sliding costs for wounded soldiers under “veterans affairs” and nuclear bombs under “energy,” as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.
Exclusive: Leon Panetta returned to government in 2009 amid hopes he could cleanse the CIA where torture and politicized intelligence had brought the U.S. to new lows in world respect. Yet, after four years at CIA and Defense, it is Panetta who departs morally compromised, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.
Washington’s neocons came out with all their rhetorical guns blazing against Chuck Hagel as a prospective Defense Secretary, with Elliott Abrams even smearing the Nebraska Republican as “an anti-Semite.” But the old bullying for once has met some principled resistance, ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.
Departing Defense Secretary Robert Gates is winning hosannas around Washington as a straight-talking “wise man” who reined in wasteful spending. However, the reality is much different, with Gates having spoken out of both sides of his mouth in a way that has created a dilemma for his successor, writes ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman.
Since becoming Defense Secretary in December 2006, Robert Gates has wallowed in flattering press clippings, most recently hailed as the heroic Pentagon budget cutter eliminating wasteful weapons systems. However, the reality is quite different as Gates ends his tenure at the Pentagon with more – and more costly – weapons systems than before his much-touted…
Defense Secretary Robert Gates is leaving government with accolades from all over Official Washington. Only a few dissenting voices note that the reality of Gates’s four-plus years at the Pentagon’s helm doesn’t match the image, as former CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar observes in this guest essay.