Thomas R. Eddlem
A "sense of the Senate" resolution by Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky., left) opposing President Obama's Libyan intervention using Obama's own words as a Senator has tied up the U.S. Senate as Democratic Party leaders avoid an embarrassing vote against the leader of their party. Paul's resolution had been offered as an amendment to the Small Business Reauthorization bill.
Andrew Ferguson of the Weekly Standard summed up the neoconservative case against cutting U.S. defense spending in a February 21 article entitled “The Stockman Temptation.” In Ferguson’s article, he recollected that President Reagan’s Budget Director David Stockman had told Reagan back in the early 1980s that he must cut the defense budget in order to balance the budget. “Defense is not a budget issue,” Reagan responded. “You spend what you need.”
Massive street protests erupted in Tunisia in late December, which ended the 23-year reign of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Fueled largely by an Internet-connected youth movement, the protests were partly a reaction to the publication by WikiLeaks of documents from U.S. diplomatic cables that revealed pandemic corruption by the ruling party, as well as government oppression that included arrests of lawyers, journalists, and political opponents. Another spark helped to ignite the revolt was the dramatic protest by Mohamed Bouazizi, who publicly set himself on fire on December 17 because of frequent government confiscation of his produce in his street vendor’s business and the government’s refusal to issue him the required vendor permits.
Tea Party favorite and freshman Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) may have crossed a "third rail" of politics by suggesting that the federal government zero out all foreign aid — including even foreign aid to Israel, America's largest foreign aid recipient over the past 30 years.
The Obama administration used bribes of up to $30 billion in foreign aid and spying by the CIA to force underdeveloped nations to agree to the Copenhagen summit documents, according to the WikiLeaks documents analyzed by the London Guardian. The documents, the Guardian summarized December 3, revealed that “money and threats buy political support; spying and cyberwarfare are used to seek out leverage.”
The Internet-based watchdog site WikiLeaks began releasing more than 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables in batches beginning November 28, earning the condemnation of the Obama administration and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The documents, which include frank assessments of foreign political officials, have already embarrassed U.S. diplomats to a variety of countries.
On October 22 the Internet-based whistleblower organization WikiLeaks published some 391,000 classified U.S. military documents on the Iraq War. WikiLeaks alleges the documents prove that the U.S. government continued to look the other way to Iraqi government torture through the end of the first year of the Obama administration and that civilian casualties in the Iraq war were much higher than publicly documented.
President Barack Obama claimed August 31 in an Oval Office address to the nation that “tonight, I am announcing that the American combat mission in Iraq has ended. Operation Iraqi Freedom is over, and the Iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country.”