The two top producers of pistachios are the United States and Iran, which have squared off over grievances for more than three decades. Now, there’s news that Israel has a preference for the Iranian variety and Prime Minister Netanyahu has a special budget item for pistachio ice cream, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
It sounds like a script from a science-fiction movie, a giant asteroid on a collision course with earth, threatening all life on the planet. But the existence of this existential threat is not entirely fiction and last week’s near misses suggest governments should pay more attention, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
As neocons mount a last-ditch offensive to stop Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary – partly because he isn’t hawkish enough on Iran – the war drums are beating again across Official Washington, drowning out any thoughtful cost-benefit analysis, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.
The central contradiction in the cozy U.S. relationship with Israel is that the American system rejects religious and ethnic preferences and Israel embraces them. This intolerance is growing as ultra-Orthodox Jews direct discrimination against women, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.
Sen. Rand Paul, a Tea Party favorite who will give one of two Republican responses to President Obama’s State of the Union, is deviating slightly from the GOP’s neocon orthodoxy and drawing criticism from the likes of neocon Robert Kagan. But any rethinking of tough-guy-ism is welcome, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
President Obama’s lethal drone program raises many troubling questions, such as the quality of evidence used to justify the killings and the lack of judicial review. But another concern is simply its effectiveness, whether it creates more terrorists than it eliminates, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar writes.
Neocon propagandists are skilled at reframing current and historical events in ways that promote their ideological agenda. For them, it’s a case of the ends justify the “facts,” as happened again when Chuck Hagel dared praise President Eisenhower’s handling of the 1956 Suez crisis, ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.
Confirmation hearings for John Brennan to head the CIA will give Congress – and the American people – their first chance for some public airing of the secret drone program that has struck at suspected al-Qaeda terrorists, including U.S. citizens, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.
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.
Israel attacked a target in Syria, allegedly out of concern that some antiaircraft missiles might be shifted to Hezbollah in Lebanon. But the mysterious raid raises troubling questions about the possible region-wide spread of the Syrian civil war, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.