Two days after taking the oath of office, President Barack Obama signed an executive order stating that “the detention facilities at Guantanamo … shall be closed as soon as practicable, and no later than 1 year from the date of this order.”
“If George W. Bush is remembered by getting America stuck in Afghanistan and Iraq, it’s looking like Obama wants to be remembered as the president who got America stuck in Yemen.” These words, from a March Internet address by Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born cleric and al-Qaeda leader now hiding in Yemen, sum up well the August 14 New York Times report in which they appear.
The federal government loves corporate whistleblowers; they get paraded before congressional committees and treated as selfless heroes out to protect the little guy from big, bad business. Let someone blow the whistle on the government, however, and Uncle Sam’s long knives come out.
“A U.S. audit has found that the Pentagon cannot account for over 95 percent of $9.1 billion in Iraq reconstruction money, spotlighting Iraqi complaints that there is little to show for the massive funds pumped into their cash-strapped, war-ravaged nation,” reports the Associated Press.
Is there any conflict in the world too remote or too irrelevant to U.S. national security for Washington not to interfere in it somehow? Has Congress ever passed a bill ostensibly targeted at one problem that was not laden with paybacks to various special interests that were entirely irrelevant to the problem at hand? The answer to both appears to be no.
Michael Kinsley famously defined a gaffe as “when a politician inadvertently tells the truth.” That being the case, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele’s comment that the war in Afghanistan is unwinnable definitely qualifies as a gaffe.
One of the most dramatic moments in the 2008 election cycle occurred almost a year and a half before Election Day, during a South Carolina debate among GOP presidential contenders. Ron Paul suggested that U.S. foreign policy was a “major contributing factor” to the terrorists’ motivation to attack us on 9/11. “Have you ever read the reasons they attacked us?” he asked. “They attacked us because we’ve been over there; we’ve been bombing Iraq for ten years.”
CNN reported May 14 that “the White House is asking Congress to approve $205 million to help Israel build a new short-range rocket defense system” called the Iron Dome that is “designed to intercept incoming rockets fired from Lebanon and Gaza.” The security system “addresses Israelis’ worries about errant rockets being fired into their homes,” CNN quoted a senior Obama administration official as saying.
Catholics who believe the federal government should not be able to compel healthcare providers to perform abortions “have this conscience thing” that they really need to overcome, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told the Washington Post recently. Otherwise, she said, women “could die” from a lack of access to abortion services.
A Federal Communications Commission ruling on closed captioning of television programs could jeopardize the continued broadcast of shows produced by “some 300 small- to medium-sized churches,” according to Politico.