Tag Archive for Global War on Terror

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The Lasting Pain from Vietnam Silence

Scene from the Vietnam War

Exclusive: Many reflections on America’s final days in Vietnam miss the point, pondering whether the war could have been won or lamenting the fate of U.S. collaborators left behind. The bigger questions are why did the U.S. go to war and why wasn’t the bloodletting stopped sooner, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern reflects.

Double Standards and Drones

President Barack Obama speaks in the White House press room on April 23, 2015, regarding a counterterrorism strike that accidentally killed an American and an Italian hostage. (Screen shot from WhiteHouse.gov)

American politicians and pundits genuflect to the theory of exceptionalism, which holds that the U.S. can do pretty much whatever it wants, but this lawlessness – best exemplified by drones raining down death on “terrorists” and civilians alike – makes more enemies than it kills, writes Marjorie Cohn.

How Washington Adds to Yemen’s Nightmare

map-yemen

Exclusive: Tangled in corrupt old alliances, such as with the Saudi monarchy, the Obama administration has now joined a war in Yemen that pits some of the region’s most anti-democratic forces and Al-Qaeda against a home-grown rebel movement with limited backing from Iran, as Jonathan Marshall describes.

The Nasty Blowback from America’s Wars

A screen-shot from a video showing Walter Scott being shot in the back by a North Charleston, South Carolina, police officer Michael Slager on April  4, 2015. (Video via the New York Times.)

Exclusive: There are historical warnings to countries that inflict violence abroad, that the imperial impulse will blow back on the domestic society with suppression of public debate and repression of common citizens, that the war will come home — as is happening in the United States, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

Trusting High-Tech Weapons of War

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The U.S. military insists its drones and other high-tech gadgets can kill “bad guys” with an unmatched precision. But these assassination weapons may just be the latest example of putting too much faith in the murderous technology of war, as Andrew Cockburn explains in a new book reviewed by Chuck Spinney.

Reinforcing the Mindset of War

President Barack Obama on the campaign trail. (Photo credit: barackobama.com)

During Campaign 2008, Barack Obama promised to “end the mindset” that led to the Iraq War, but more than six years later, he has failed to live up to that commitment as the same belligerent “mindset” continues to grow and to spread, as Nicolas J S Davies explains.

Curbs on Surveillance State Urged

Barack Obama, then President-elect, and President George W. Bush at the White House during the 2008 transition.

In the post 9/11 era, the U.S. government vastly expanded its surveillance of nearly everyone on earth, even U.S. citizens, brushing aside constitutional protections in the name of security. A group of intelligence veterans urges reform of those practices to protect privacy and to stop the waste of resources. 

A Vague War Declaration on ISIS

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an Islamic State operative.

President Obama has tossed Congress a draft resolution on using force against Islamic State militants but the vague language is something of a hot potato that neither the White House nor Congress is comfortable with, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Finding Creative Ways to Torture

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

After World War II, Americans led the way in establishing landmark human rights principles, including a repudiation of torture. But more recent U.S. leaders have chosen to disgrace those ideals by devising euphemisms and end-runs to continue the barbaric practices, as Peter Costantini describes.

The Political Imperative to Be Reckless

President Barack Obama shakes hands with U.S. troops at Bagram Airfield in Bagram, Afghanistan, Sunday, May 25, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The overarching “strategic” ideology in Official Washington is “tough-guy-ism,” with politicians fearful of being called “weak,” a public-relations threat that drives even cautious leaders into reckless military actions, as occurred with President Obama in the war on the Islamic State, as Gareth Porter explains.