Ivan Eland: The way government works, every agency—whether fighting poverty, obesity, childhood acne, or terrorism—needs a threat to hype to keep the cash flowing in from scared taxpayers.
Ivan Eland: Should we take this violent, cult-like group off the U.S. terrorism list because all these Washington celebrities seem to be at least tacitly advocating such a move? No, the group, no matter how bad, should be taken off the U.S. terrorism list because it no longer attacks U.S. targets.
Ivan Eland: The good news is that if the committee can’t reach an agreement on the fiscal changes, or if Congress rejects its work, defense (including homeland security) and domestic programs have to take equal cuts.
Ivan Eland: In the case of al-Qaeda, focusing on Islam is just a way of avoiding a much-needed introspective examination of U.S. foreign policy to see if unneeded, and often counterproductive, U.S. interventions in the Muslim world could be eliminated.
Ivan Eland: Largely peaceful protests toppled the autocratic governments in Egypt and Tunisia. If peaceful dissent can work against authoritarian thugs in those countries, it has an even better chance of working in democratic Israel.
Ivan Eland: The U.S. occupation has grown so unpopular in Iraq that those same receptive Iraqi politicians, including Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, are scared to publicly advocate a long-term U.S. military presence.
Ivan Eland: The public could be forgiven for missing the real message of Obama’s Afghanistan speech: “We’ve lost the war, but we are declaring victory anyway and getting out.”
Ivan Eland: Although John Boehner, speaker of the House of Representatives, laudably sent a recent letter to President Barack Obama suggesting the possibility of a violation of the War Powers Resolution in the attack on Libya, he was 90 days too late.
Ivan Eland: Obama needs to follow Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s example of not being bullied by his generals and avoid Abraham Lincoln’s bad example of being so intimidated by “experts.”
Ivan Eland: Deep down, both Republican and Democratic politicians believe something needs to be done about the monstrous and dangerous deficit and debt, but they are scared to do anything because, unfortunately, the American people want their government handouts but are unwilling to pay for them.
Ivan Eland: American history vindicates the old saying that “truth is the first casualty of war,” but the passage of time should allow a republic to undertake a more honest and dispassionate examination of historical events. It rarely does, with truth being swept under the rug in favor of assuming uncaused indignities.
Ivan Eland: Although the Obama administration has said that the killing of Osama bin Laden is not a VE or VJ day—which brought a return to normal times after World War II ended—perhaps it should be.
Ivan Eland: Weapons purchases are often welfare projects doled out to congressional districts and states with political clout. In fact, unlike in the commercial market, defense contractors don’t give subcontracts to the best subcontractors but spread them around the country to build political support, so that it is very difficult to kill weapons programs.