Tag Archive for Paul R. Pillar


Going Nativist on Syrian Refugees

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

The political opportunism over Syrian refugees – from Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and other GOP presidential candidates – is one of the uglier features of the growing hysteria over terrorism. It also reflects a recurring strain of nativism that has infected the U.S. public at times of stress, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar recalls.

The Brutal Paris Terror Attack

Peace for Paris symbol.

As horrific as the Paris terror attack was, it was not a sophisticated operation engineered by some diabolical mastermind. It was a low-tech, brutal assault that has distracted from a more important debate – how to give young, disaffected Muslim men more reason to live – writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Baiting Obama to ‘Shock and Awe’

At the start of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, President George W. Bush ordered the U.S. military to conduct a devastating aerial assault on Baghdad, known as "shock and awe."

Official Washington’s armchair warriors are pounding their drums again, demanding a larger U.S. invasion of Syria and decrying President Obama as “feckless” for showing some restraint. But these hawks offer little thinking about the consequences of another long-term occupation, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

The Need for a Syrian Deal

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

In the wake of the Paris terror attacks – and other mass killings in Beirut and aboard a Russian airliner – there are new demands for military action. But the one step that might help matters is a more pragmatic approach to resolving the political crisis in Syria, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

Gulf States Slip Out of War on ISIS

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an Islamic State operative, known as Jihadi John and identified as Mohammed Emwazi, the target of a drone attack that the Pentagon announced on Thursday.

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states went through the motions of joining the U.S.-led fight against the Islamic State and other Sunni terrorists, who received substantial help from the same Gulf states, but those U.S. “allies” have now slipped out of the conflict almost entirely, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

On Bended Knee to Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Despite Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s in-your-face attempts to sabotage President Obama’s foreign policy, Official Washington’s liberal establishment is on bended knee in an obsequious show of obeisance, apparently in line with Hillary Clinton’s political wishes, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Government-Haters for President

Billionaire and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Republican presidential front-runners include three candidates with no government experience (Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina) and one senator who wants out of his job (Marco Rubio), an odd cast seeking one of the most challenging and dangerous (for us) positions on earth, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Netanyahu’s Offensive Fake History

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu garbled up some inflammatory history to suggest that a Palestinian mufti was responsible for the Holocaust, but the underlying message was even more troubling, a suggestion that Palestinians as a group share the guilt, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

Presidential Success or Failure

President Barack Obama and his national security team monitor the Special Operations raid into Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden. (White House photo by Pete Souza)

There are two kinds of presidential foreign policy decisions, one operational like the raid to kill Osama bin Laden, which can go right or wrong almost by chance, and the other strategic like the invasion of Iraq that can be based on fraudulent information and bad judgment, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

The More Complex Truth of Benghazi

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton honor the four victims of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, at the Transfer of Remains Ceremony held at Andrews Air Force Base, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, on Sept. 14, 2012. [State Department photo)

From the Archive: More than three years after the Benghazi attack, which claimed the lives of four Americans, Republicans again are grilling former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the hyper-politicized inquiry that has obscured the more complex reality of what happened, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar observed in 2013.