April 29, 2013 |
Clare Boothe Luce liked to say that "a great man is one sentence. " Presidents, in particular. The most common "one sentence" for George W. Bush (whose legacy is being reassessed as his presidential library opens) is: "He kept us safe. " Not quite right. He did not just keep us safe. He created the entire antiterror infrastructure that continues to keep us safe. That homage was paid, wordlessly, by Barack Obama, who vilified Bush's antiterror policies as a candidate, then continued them as president: indefinite detention, rendition, warrantless wiretaps, special forces and drone warfare, and, most notoriously, Guantanamo, which Obama so ostentatiously denounced - until he found it indispensable.
April 1, 2013 |
Two weeks ago, on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq war, I wrote a column that laid out the losers in the conflict. I argued there were still no clear winners. One reader responded that there are obvious winners: the private civilian contractors who provided security and supplies for the war effort, and were paid tens of billions of dollars by the U.S. government. A hefty chunk of those billions was wasted due to overbilling, shoddy work, and fraud. The reader was correct (although I disagree with his assertion that we began the war in order to fuel the military-industrial complex)
March 26, 2013
One never would have thought, when this country was raining "shock and awe" on Baghdad, that politicians would have little to say about the 10th anniversary of the war, which today seems more in remission than over. In fact, Agence France-Presse reports that more than 200 people have been killed in Iraq this month as sectarian violence continues. A rash of car bombings, likely linked to last week's anniversary of the invasion, left at least 40 Iraqis dead and dozens wounded. The peace that the war was supposed to bring remains missing in action.
March 22, 2013 |
In the beginning, when the war in Iraq was still making headlines and CNN was still showing footage of the air strikes in Baghdad, the Chester County Peace Movement could draw crowds as large as 700 to its weekly protests outside the county courthouse in West Chester. These days, the group is lucky if more than a dozen show up. But every Saturday for the last 10 years, they have never missed a protest. And though the war in Iraq is technically over - U.S. troops pulled out in December 2011 - for the members of the peace movement, the protest never really ends.
March 20, 2013 |
What is the legacy of the Iraq war? Is it the staggering number of lives lost? The trillions of dollars added to the national debt? The precedent of invading a country and overthrowing a government to bolster U.S. interests? Since the war began a decade ago today, as much ink has been spilled on paper as blood on the battlefield in trying to answer these questions. But the Iraq war's greatest legacy might be the opportunity it presents for the American public to demand a standard of transparency and accountability that policymakers must meet before they can waste trillions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives while violating the Constitution.
March 18, 2013 |
Ten years after the invasion of Iraq, it's clear who lost the war that followed. But it may be years before we know if anyone won. Topping the loser's columns, of course, is Saddam Hussein, with the world better for it. Yet, despite his demise, America is also the loser. The goals the Bush administration set for the war were never achievable, and the costs were greater than most Americans realize, not just in lives and money squandered but in reputation lost. Iraqis were freed from Hussein, but a botched American occupation led to a civil war that killed more than 100,000 civilians and forced millions to flee the country.
March 3, 2013 |
There was an outpouring of grief Friday from friends of actress Bonnie Franklin , 69, who died earlier in the day of pancreatic cancer. "My heart is breaking," Franklin's One Day at a Time costar Valerie Bertinelli told People. "Bonnie has always been one of the most important women in my life and was a second mother to me. " Bertinelli added that "she taught me to navigate . . . [life] with grace and humor. " Sally Jessy Raphael tweeted, "The world has lost a gifted actress, and more importantly, a wonderful lady.
January 18, 2013 |
"We wanted a clear message from Obama that the U.S. will continue to support democracy in Afghanistan," Fawzia Koofi, a lawmaker and human-rights activist, said this month. "It's the only alternative to Talibanization. " Her honesty revealed the plain truth, without official pieties and doublespeak: The United States is quitting Afghanistan, and the morning after it does, the Taliban will begin the reconquest of that tragic land. After 11 years, more than 2,000 Americans killed and 18,000 wounded, and $600 billion spent, what is perhaps the longest U.S. war is winding down.
October 24, 2012
Karen Heller @kheller First lie: Mr. President, it's good to be with you again Matt Katz @mattkatz00 Romney's flag pin is bigger than Obama's. Discuss. Trudy Rubin @trudyrubin We don't want another Iraq, says Romney. But several of his advisors brought us the Iraq war! Kevin Riordan @Inqkriordan Romney hearts teachers twice Kevin Ferris @ferrisk3 Romney picking up steam after a slow start. More differences emerging.
October 11, 2012
France holds 12, finds bomb parts PARIS - French police discovered bomb-making materials in an underground parking lot near Paris as part of a probe of an "extremely dangerous terrorist cell" linked to an attack on a kosher grocery, a state prosecutor said Wednesday. Interior Minister Manuel Valls said some of the 12 suspected cell members arrested over the weekend appeared to have plans to go to Syria to fight in its civil war. Valls, quoted in an interview posted Wednesday on the website of Paris Match magazine, said some had "unquestionably" spent time in Tunisia and Egypt.