Why Do So Many School of the Americas Grads Become Latin Death Squad Killers?

murder

If the Pentagon’s instructors didn’t teach assassination at the School of the Americas (SOA) in Fort Benning, Georgia, is it just coincidental that so many of its star pupils graduate to become mass murderers? Take the strange case of Francisco del Cid Diaz, an SOA-educated second lieutenant in the El Salvadoran army who ordered his [...]

Torture: It’s Perfectly Legal — But We Don’t Do It

cheney bush

Liz and Dick Cheney, Bill Bennett, Ari Fleischer, and countless other commentators have saturated the public airwaves of late ever since the Obama Administration decided to make public the Bush torture memos. These apologists for war crimes have been jawboning the issue from every conceivable angle. Why are these barbarians who defend torturing other human [...]

Saddam Made Them Do It

saddam-dick-condi

So now we know: Saddam made them do it. The Levin report into Pentagon torture released yesterday tore down the last false flag flying on the devil ship SS Torture, revealing that waterboarding and all the rest of the barbaric acts performed in our name on prisoners resulted from Cheney’s frustration at not getting what [...]

Mary McCarthy in Vietnam, Barack Obama in Afghanistan

marymccarthy460

In 1967, outraged by the course of the Vietnam War, as well as her country’s role in prolonging and worsening it, Mary McCarthy, novelist, memoirist, and author of the bestseller The Group, went to Saigon, then the capital of South Vietnam, to judge the situation for herself. The next year, she went to the North [...]

Obama Love Letter to CIA Distorts History

torture

One can only wonder what prompted the incredible absurdities written by President Obama in his April 16th love letter to the employees of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). It not only absolves CIA torturers from prosecution on the grounds that they were only following orders, (the same defense employed by Nazi hoodlums at the Nuremburg [...]

Injured War Zone Contractors Fight to Get Care From AIG and Other Insurers

Contractor Tim Newman, left; contractor Kevin Smith-Idol, middle; widow Rita Richardson, whose husband was killed by a roadside blast in Iraq. (Photos courtesy of Tim Newman, ABC News, Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times)

by T. Christian Miller, ProPublica and Doug Smith, the Los Angeles Times Civilian workers who suffered devastating injuries while supporting the U.S. war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan have come home to a grinding battle for basic medical care, artificial limbs, psychological counseling and other services. The insurance companies responsible for their treatment under taxpayer-funded [...]

The Pirates Are Not Just in Pittsburgh Anymore

long-john-silver

Johnny Depp and Disney’s blustery Long John Silver, or the erudite Captain Hook have defined “pirates” for us. Romanticized through the fog of time, pirates of 200 years ago – who became famous, Capone-style (Blackbeard and Captain Kidd come to mind) – were free spirits who had big old swords, eye patches, a limb or [...]

Military Recruiters? Afghanistan?

shirlee-smith

Is the military, with so many career paths open to graduating seniors, an option families really want their sons or daughters to grab on to? Families need to know the real story and not just what the all too friendly recruiters tell our kids. Military recruiters, like college recruiters, have access to students on the [...]

The War Is Not Over: Letter from a Soldier’s Mother

ranadi

I was standing in line at the bank when I heard a customer ask the teller if her son was home from Iraq. The teller responded that he was not home in her house, but he was back and stationed in Texas. The customer said she was glad to hear that. I thought to myself: [...]

China’s Threat to the U.S. Is Exaggerated

chinese-army

The Pentagon’s annual publication, Military Power of the People’s Republic of China 2009, accused China of stocking its military with weapons that can be used to intimidate or attack Taiwan and mitigate U.S. air and naval superiority near its territory. Even if the Department of Defense’s report has not exaggerated the threat from China—unlikely since [...]

Requiem for the War on Terror: Goodbye GWOT, Hello OCOs

muerteguerra

This is the way the Global War on Terror (also known, in Bush-era jargon, as GWOT) ends, not with a bang, not with parades and speeches, but with an obscure memo, a few news reports, vague denials, and a seemingly off-handed comment (or was it a carefully calculated declaration?) from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: [...]

The Obamas’ Farewell Tour to Eight Years of Neo-Con Foreign Policy

barack-and-michelle

The mainstream commentariat can nitpick all it wants about what President Barack Obama achieved or didn’t achieve from the G-20 summit and NATO meetings in Europe last week but the far bigger story is how the First Couple’s visit marked the total repudiation of the neo-conservative foreign policy project. It wasn’t long ago when Donald [...]

The World According To Newt, And Other Right Wing Lunacies

gingrich-newt

Newt Gingrich was positively apoplectic on Fox News Sunday, bemoaning the shift in US foreign policy to one based on fantasy. No doubt, Gingrich had this specific declaration in mind when he prattled on to Chris Wallace: “We are not just discussing limits on a further increase of nuclear weapons. We seek, instead, to reduce [...]

Mission Accomplished: Bush Gets the Last Laugh

conquest

For years, George W. Bush has been roundly criticized, even lampooned, for declaring “Mission Accomplished” in Iraq while wearing a flight suit and landing on an aircraft carrier. But like so many other catastrophes associated with the Bush administration, in the end, Bush always seems to get the last laugh. Maybe declaring “Mission Accomplished” was [...]

The U.S. Should Fear Its Friends

osama_bin_laden

President Warren Harding once said, “I have no trouble with my enemies,” but noted that his friends “keep me walking the floor nights.” That maxim should have applied to U.S. foreign policy since 9/11 and even before that. It is sometimes puzzling why the U.S. government fears faraway countries that currently pose no direct threat [...]

Space Race Hikes Risk of Nuclear War

space shuttle

An unchecked race to militarize space is underway that is “increasing the risk of an accidental nuclear war while shortening the time for sanity and diplomacy to come into play to halt crises,” an authority on space warfare says. By 2025, the space capabilities of the leading space powers — the U.S., Russia, India and [...]

The Drug Wars: Is Half a Century of Bloody Futility Enough?

drug-wars1

Drug wars in northern Mexico, fed by guns and money from the United States, and spilling over into this country, remind us that the trade in illegal drugs remains a huge problem. We have been engaged since around 1970 in a succession of efforts by successive administrations to wage war on illegal drug trafficking, and [...]

Warning from Bosnia for Iraq

serbian-militia

Bosnian Serb leaders have threatened to withdraw from Bosnia-Herzegovina, the decentralized entity created by the 1995 Dayton Accords, which ended a brutal civil war in the Balkans that killed more than 100,000 people in the early 1990s. Under the accords, Bosnia-Herzegovina were partitioned into a confederation of the Serb Republic and the Muslim-Croat Federation. Critics [...]

Shutting Down the Army Experience Center

pat-elder

Killing is fun — and life is cheap at the Army Experience Center at the Franklin Mills Mall in suburban Philadelphia. “This is so cool!” This is so cool!” The enthralled 13 year-old kept repeating as he squeezed rounds from his M-16, picking off “enemy combatants” while perched on a real Army Humvee. We’re in [...]

Why Doesn’t Obama Make Iraq the 51st State?

oilbarrels

If President Obama plans to keep 50,000 U.S. troops in Iraq indefinitely after 2010, why doesn’t he just annex Iraq as the 51st State now? Iraqis would have our solemn promise we will never again lay their country to waste and we would work out a deal so that their motorists could have any oil [...]

Detainee Rights: Make a Clean Break

chopping-bush

After the shameful, embarrassing performance of the Bush administration in denying the most basic human rights to detainees at Guantánamo, Bagram, Afghanistan, and at CIA black sites elsewhere, the record of the Obama admininstration on this issue has been mixed at best. Initially, Obama canceled Bush executive orders that permitted torture (while denying such a [...]

What Doesn’t Surprise Me Is That Cheney’s Death Squads Don’t Surprise Me – Or Anyone Else

bush_chaney

Dick Cheney initiated secret death squads. YAWN. Wait, what? Did I hear that right? It sounded like Seymour Hersh had some information that when he was vice chancellor, er oops, I mean vice president, Dick Cheney’s office DID NOT dispatch death squads to take care of certain undesirables around the world. Stunning. Oh wait. He [...]

A 9/11 Reformer’s Final Plea for Justice in Washington

obama-et-beverly-eckert

Beverly Eckert rose very early on February 6 to catch the 8 a.m. Acela train out of Stamford, CT, but she was eager to make the trip to Washington, DC, this time around. On past journeys, the doors of official Washington would too often slam in her face. But now, she and other 9/11 family [...]

One Step Forward, Two Steps Toward Monarchy

bush-torture

It has become almost commonplace, since the release last week of seven “legal” opinions written in 2001 and 2002 by the Justice Department, to remark that unbeknownst to us we came within an inch of dictatorship. And with President Obama announcing an end to torture and a new policy on signing statements, it is extremely [...]

End “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

soldiers

Shortly after Bill Clinton took office in 1993, he attempted to push the U.S. military to openly accept the reality that it had gays and lesbians in its ranks. Colin Powell, then Clinton’s top general, and Sam Nunn, the powerful Democratic Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, nixed the effort by arguing that coming [...]

Humvees in Tijuana: The US and the Mexican Narco-Wars

drug-wars

How worried should Americans be about the drug wars being fought just across the border? Under the Merida Initiative, the Bush administration committed $1.4 billion in military assistance to Mexico and the Senate is now considering a House move to increase this year’s figure by $410 million. This seems as foolhardy to me as the [...]

Would You Believe 14 Million Emails Were Lost by the Bush White House?

karl-rove

Believe it or not. You don’t believe it? You’re probably right. More likely it’s 28 million e-mails that are lost or missing. How could this happen? All White House communications not regarded as top secret or considered intelligence sensitive, are supposed to be put in the archives. Instead, the RNC computer delete keys must be [...]

Why We Need a “Truth Commission” to Investigate Torture

uncle-sam-torture

The American people’s faith in their government—even with the election of Barack Obama—remains compromised. One reason is obvious. Americans see low-level military operatives being imprisoned for mistreatment, even murder, of prisoners. At the same time, high-level officials go uninvestigated and unpunished. In their case, we’re told to look forward rather than backward, an empty phrase [...]

Memos Provide Blueprint for Police State

censorship

Seven newly released memos from the Bush Justice Department reveal a concerted strategy to cloak the President with power to override the Constitution. The memos provide “legal” rationales for the President to suspend freedom of speech and press; order warrantless searches and seizures, including wiretaps of U.S. citizens; lock up U.S. citizens indefinitely in the [...]

Erasing Red Ink: Slash the Defense Budget

pentagon

A front page article in the New York Times starts out with the sentence: “The budget that President Obama proposed on Thursday is nothing less than an attempt to end a three-decade era of economic policy dominated by the ideas of Ronald Reagan and his supporters.” Not so much. Ronald Reagan, despite his carefully crafted [...]

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