Peace and Security
I love whistleblowers. Bradley Manning. Daniel Ellsberg. WikiLeaks. Whistleblowers remind all of us that no matter where you work, no matter how you draw a paycheck, you must follow your conscience and do what’s right.
Where are our spending priorities? Clearly there must be better ones than a $1 trillion going to nuclear weapons around the world.
Back in 2004, three years into the hunt for Osama bin Laden, the 9/11 Commission report made its debut to the gushing admiration of the Washington press corps. The report was everything that the mainstream media adores: bipartisan, devoid of divisive finger-pointing, full of conventional wisdom.
Writing about the Palestinians and Israelis is an exercise without profit. There’s no way to try to take a reasonable stand on the issues involved and escape vilification.
The world is transfixed as the unprecedented events in the Middle East and North Africa unfold. And foreign policy aficionados are equally transfixed as the U.S. government maneuvers between its stated values and sometimes short-sighted security policies. With targeted airstrikes and lofty rhetoric supporting some, but not all, of the brave activists seeking respect for their rights, Washington’s relations and approach with the region are inconsistent and off the mark.
It used to be that war was a really big deal. Conflicts such as Vietnam could tear the country apart. Times have changed, with decisions on war quickly becoming back-page stuff. Our wars were scarcely discussed during the last congressional election campaign. How come?
Osama bin Laden’s demise raises many moral, legal, political, and historical questions. As I’ve edited and posted a steady stream of commentary about this post-9/11 milestone, one persistent editorial question has touched on all these issues.
Osama bin Laden’s death has laid to rest the mystery of his whereabouts. His body lies under the ocean. But now his death raises another increasingly popular question. Was he tracked down thanks to tips elicited through the torture of captured al-Qaeda operatives? The answer should be clear: no, torture doesn’t “work.”
Last year, a powerful computer virus called “Stuxnet” targeted Iran’s nuclear program. By the time it was discovered, the virus had succeeded in setting back the country’s nuclear progress. Now, Iran claims to have identified a new threat. The virus, which Iran is calling “Stars,” may or may not be authentic. But no matter the outcome, Iran’s announcement could be good for the United States.
Osama bin Laden was a rich kid, a billionaire’s son, who forsook the easy life to dedicate himself and his fortune to returning the Islamic world to its former glory. His worldview called for accomplishing this by crushing Israel, driving Western “Crusaders” from Muslim soil, and resurrecting an Islamic caliphate that harkened back to the Middle Ages.