September 6, 2013
AS MEMBERS of Congress begin to debate whether the U.S. military should launch an attack on Syria, it's increasingly important that the American people be in the loop. If President Obama succeeds in getting congressional approval, which he was wise to seek, the rationale for the action and the expected outcome for U.S. interests need to be clear to everyone. Echoes of Iraq hang heavily over this decision. A full and open debate - particularly as our normally staunch ally, Great Britain, has decided to remain on the sideline - can only strengthen the country.
July 28, 2013 |
Only 28 percent of Americans say the war in Afghanistan has been worth fighting, the lowest number on record and clearly below the least-popular stretches of the Iraq war, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Overall support for U.S. military operations in Afghanistan has dropped 11 percentage points since March, a precipitous fall during a period of tension between U.S. officials and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, a spring and summer resurgence in Taliban attacks, and the failure of peace talks with insurgents to get off the ground.
May 1, 2013 |
AN IRAQ WAR veteran is suing the city, claiming he was roughed up by police and illegally detained for taking a cellphone video during the confrontation. The alleged incident happened Easter Sunday on 13th Street near Rodman in Center City, according to a lawsuit filed yesterday in federal district court. The complaint was filed on behalf of Roderick King, an Air Force veteran from Lansdale, and Thomas Stenberg, Sara Tice and Brian Jackson, all of Philadelphia. The suit claims the four friends were walking on 13th Street about 2 a.m. March 31 when they saw a Philadelphia police officer in a marked SUV driving erratically.
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.