Tag: Iraq War

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Is War on Syria Veering Off-Script?

Earlier in the crisis over Syria, President Vladimir Putin of Russia welcomed President Barack Obama to the G20 Summit at Konstantinovsky Palace in Saint Petersburg, Russia, Sept. 5, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

When the U.S. government readies for war, there is a well-worn script. A “bad” guy is defined; some act of perfidy is alleged despite murky evidence; politicians and journalists express righteous outrage; a confused public is dragged along. Except that…

Congress Denied Syrian Facts, Too

President Barack Obama answers questions at a press conference at Konstantinovsky Palace during the G20 Summit in Saint Petersburg, Russia, Sept. 6, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Exclusive: While seeking authority for a limited war with Syria, the Obama administration withheld from the American people the U.S. intelligence on the alleged chemical weapons attack of Aug. 21, amid assurances that Congress got all the secret details. But…

All Scrubbed Up, Nowhere to Show

Secretary of State John Kerry speaking with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel during testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Sept. 3, 2013. (DOD photo)

Exclusive: Two weeks after an apparent chemical attack in Syria, the Obama administration continues to tout its “scrubbed and rescrubbed” intelligence as proving that the Syrian government is to blame. But not a single piece of verifiable evidence has been…

Hypocritical Righteousness on Syria

Secretary of State John Kerry (center) testifies on the Syrian crisis before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Sept. 3, 2013. At the left of the photo is Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. and on the right is Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. No senior U.S. intelligence official joined in the testimony. (U.S. State Department photo)

Secretary of State John Kerry waxed eloquent about the need to punish national leaders who violate international law. He meant Syria’s Bashar al-Assad but his lecture could have applied to American officials who enabled the invasion of Iraq, including himself, just one…

Should We Fall Again for ‘Trust Me’?

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper

Exclusive: Forgetting lessons from the Tonkin Gulf to the Iraq War, the U.S. news media has mostly elbowed past doubts about whether the Syrian government launched the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack and now is focused on the political drama…

The Risk from Distorting Intelligence

President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney receive an Oval Office briefing from CIA Director George Tenet. Also present is Chief of Staff Andy Card (on right). (White House photo)

The Obama administration’s emotional reaction to the alleged chemical attack in Syria may be understandable given the human toll, but the high-level clamor for action put pressure on intelligence analysts assessing the evidence. It also could have distorted their judgments, as ex-CIA analyst…

Ignoring Bloody Mideast Lessons

The USS New Jersey firing its guns at Lebanese anti-government strongholds on Jan. 9, 1984, an engagement approved by President Ronald Reagan's White House, setting the stage for a suicide bombing attack on the barracks of U.S. Marines at Beirut's international airport. (U.S. government photo)

The Obama administration appears blind to the history that when U.S. officials have lashed out in anger at Middle East adversaries, the consequences have usually been bad and bloody. The Iraq War is an obvious cautionary tale but so too…

Dangling Questions on Syrian War

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon urges all sides to give UN inspectors time to complete their investigation into alleged chemical weapons attacks in Syria. (UN photo)

Official Washington’s neocons are in full-throated war cry over Syria, creating what many of them surely hope is a momentum toward a U.S. intervention that cooler heads won’t be able to stop. But many questions regarding this latest rush to…

An Iraq War ‘Déjà Vu’ in Syria

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell presents a dummy vial of anthrax on Feb. 5, 2003, during a speech to the UN Security Council outlining the American case that Iraq possessed forbidden stockpiles of WMD.

There’s an ominous sense of déjà vu as the U.S. prepares to attack Syria: dubious WMD claims, intense pressure from self-interested lobbies, a compliant mass media, a disregard of popular opposition, even a rush to remove UN investigators. This repeat…

Did Manning Help Avert War in Iran?

Yukiya Amano, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency

Exclusive: Government prosecutors are seeking 60 years in prison for Pvt. Bradley Manning as punishment for his release of classified documents. But little attention is being paid to the benefits from those disclosures, including how he may have helped prevent…