Tag Archive for Global War on Terrorism

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The Missed Lesson on Terrorism

French President Francois Hollande, center, with British businessman Chris Norman, left, U.S. student Anthony Sadler, U.S. Airman First Class Spencer Stone and U.S. National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos during a ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris honoring the men who helped thwart a terror attack on a Paris-bound train last week. (Pool photo)

Whenever there’s a terrorist attack – even a botched one like last week on a Paris-bound train – the debate turns to tightened security and retaliation. But a key part of a realistic campaign to reduce terrorism is to address underlying causes that fuel the rage behind the violence, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Obama’s Stupid Blame-Iran Game

President Barack Obama stands with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the President's official arrival ceremony in Tel Aviv, Israel, in 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama always bows to Official Washington’s conventional wisdom no matter how wrongheaded it is – and then either falls in line behind some reckless neocon policy prescription or turns away just before falling off some geopolitical cliff. His continued Iran-bashing is a case in point, says Gareth Porter at Middle East Eye.

Neocons Urge Embrace of Al Qaeda

The second plane about to crash into the World Trade Center towers in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001.

Exclusive: The latest neocon gambit is to build support for “regime change” in Syria by downplaying the evils of Al Qaeda, rebranding it as some sort of “moderate” terrorist force whose Syrian affiliate is acceptable to Israel and supported by Saudi Arabia. But this audacious argument ignores reality, writes Daniel Lazare.

Selective Outrage on ‘Terrorism’

Rep. Peter King, R-New York

America’s view of “terrorism” is distorted by politics and bias, with intense hostility toward the Islamic variety but with much more tolerance of other forms, such as Cuban “anti-communist” violence and right-wing extremist murders, as underscored by a new study examined by ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Obama Panders to Gulf State Sheiks

Saudi King Salman meets with President Barack Obama at Erga Palace during a state visit to Saudi Arabia on Jan. 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States have given crucial support to Al-Qaeda and other Islamic extremists, but President Obama will pander to them anyway at a Camp David summit, a sign of a muddled foreign policy, say Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett.

The Anti-Empirical Empire

New York Times graphic based on data from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

In many ways, America has become the anti-empirical empire, a superpower where many political leaders divorce themselves from facts. Few examples are more glaring or dangerous than the continued denial of global warming despite the latest evidence of impending catastrophe, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

Forgetting Lessons of Terrorism

President George W. Bush announcing the start of his invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003.

Terror tactics have always been partly theater designed to elicit public reaction, whether to draw attention to a grievance or to draw the U.S. military into a conflict. Yet, American pols and pundits seem to have forgotten this reality and thus continue to get manipulated, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Beheadings v. Drone Assassinations

A Predator drone firing a missile.

As gruesome as the Islamic Front’s videotaped beheadings are, there is ambiguity over whether the U.S. government’s death-by-drone is any less horrific, with some victims crawling about with severed limbs and others just collateral damage, a moral dilemma addressed by ex-FBI official Coleen Rowley.

America Veers on Security v. Privacy

Americans tend to swing back and forth on the question of security v. privacy, depending on the latest big story. After the Boston Marathon bombings, there was anger over too little FBI prevention; after disclosures of massive data collection, there’s fury over too much intrusion – a dilemma examined by ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.