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Obama Signals Start of US War in Syria

The Obama Administration’s sudden announcement last night that it has discovered the Syrian government used chemical weapons and thus crossed the “red line” is pretty unconvincing.

The Administration provided no evidence, no new information, and no explanation of why the intelligence community’s assessment of just three months ago that chemical weapons had not been used by the Syrian government has changed so dramatically.

What changed? They won’t tell us. The Administration spokesman who made the announcement would only say that they have a “high confidence in that assessment given multiple, independent streams of information.” What are those streams of information? They won’t tell us.
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Turkish Protests: A Backlash Against Interventionism?

Foreign Policy magazine’s website featured an interesting article yesterday on the ongoing protests in Turkey. The protests have been covered quite a bit in the media over the past couple of weeks, as they spread throughout the country, were met with violence by the authorities, and threatened the ten years of relative stability and economic progress under the government of Prime Minister Erdogan.

Though most press reports tie the beginning of the protests to a dispute over the Turkish government’s decision to turn an Istanbul city park into a shopping mall, Sophia Jones reports in the above Foreign Policy article that widespread protests actually began weeks earlier in Turkey and had nothing to do with the shopping mall.


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Government Spying: Should We Be Shocked?

Last week we saw dramatic new evidence of illegal government surveillance of our telephone calls, and of the National Security Agency’s deep penetration into American companies such as Facebook and Microsoft to spy on us. The media seemed shocked.

Many of us are not so surprised.

Some of us were arguing back in 2001 with the introduction of the so-called PATRIOT Act that it would pave the way for massive US government surveillance—not targeting terrorists but rather aimed against American citizens. We were told we must accept this temporary measure to provide government the tools to catch those responsible for 9/11. That was nearly twelve years and at least four wars ago.


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Iraq Collapse Shows Bankruptcy of Interventionism

May was Iraq’s deadliest month in nearly five years, with more than 1,000 dead – both civilians and security personnel -- in a rash of bombings, shootings and other violence. As we read each day of new horrors in Iraq, it becomes more obvious that the US invasion delivered none of the promised peace or stability that proponents of the attack promised.

Millions live in constant fear, refugees do not return home, and the economy is destroyed. The Christian community, some 1.2 million persons before 2003, has been nearly wiped off the Iraqi map. Other minorities have likewise disappeared. Making matters worse, US support for the Syrian rebels next door has drawn the Shi’ite-led Iraqi government into the spreading regional unrest and breathed new life into extremist elements.


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The Real Meaning of President Obama’s National Security Speeches

This past Thursday and Friday, President Obama delivered two speeches designed to outline his new thinking on national security and counter-terrorism. While much was made in the media of the president’s statements at the National Defense University and the US Naval Academy suggesting that the most active phase of US military action overseas was coming to an end, this “new” approach is but the same old policy wrapped in new packaging. In these addresses, the president panders to the progressives, while continually expanding and solidifying the "enabling act” principle.

The president will continue and even expand drone attacks overseas because they are “less deadly” than ground invasions. He promises to be more careful in the future.

He is entertaining the introduction of “kill courts” which will meet in secret to decide who is to be executed without trial or charge. He promises these will have sufficient oversight.
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What No One Wants to Hear About Benghazi

Congressional hearings, White House damage control, endless op-eds, accusations, and defensive denials. Controversy over the events in Benghazi last September took center stage in Washington and elsewhere last week. However, the whole discussion is again more of a sideshow. Each side seeks to score political points instead of asking the real questions about the attack on the US facility, which resulted in the death of US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

Republicans smell a political opportunity over evidence that the Administration heavily edited initial intelligence community talking points about the attack to remove or soften anything that might reflect badly on the president or the State Department.

Are we are supposed to be shocked by such behavior? Are we supposed to forget that this kind of whitewashing of facts is standard operating procedure when it comes to the US government?
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Liberty Was Also Attacked in Boston

Forced lockdown of a city. Militarized police riding tanks in the streets. Door-to-door armed searches without warrant. Families thrown out of their homes at gunpoint to be searched without probable cause. Businesses forced to close. Transport shut down.

These were not the scenes from a military coup in a far off banana republic, but rather the scenes just over a week ago in Boston as the United States got a taste of martial law. The ostensible reason for the military-style takeover of parts of Boston was that the accused perpetrator of a horrific crime was on the loose. The Boston bombing provided the opportunity for the government to turn what should have been a police investigation into a military-style occupation of an American city. This unprecedented move should frighten us as much or more than the attack itself.


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Congress Exploits Our Fears to Take Our Liberty

This week, as Americans were horrified by the attacks in Boston, both houses of Congress considered legislation undermining our liberty in the name of “safety.”  Gun control continued to be the focus of the Senate, where an amendment expanding federal “background checks” to gun show sales and other private transfers dominated the debate.  While the background check amendment failed to pass, proponents of gun control have made it clear they will continue their efforts to enact new restrictions on gun ownership into law.

While it did not receive nearly as much attention as the debate on gun control, the House of Representatives passed legislation with significant implications for individual liberty: the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA).


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The Coming Non-Intervention Revolution

As we see each new administration, regardless of claimed ideological or political differences, pursuing the same destructive policies abroad and trampling our civil liberties at home, we must now face the key issues of our time. The issues of war or peace, republic or empire, liberty at home or the encroaching police state, can no longer be ignored. We find ourselves at the edge of a precipice, where it is obvious that the failed policies of the past cannot be repackaged under a new name to solve our crisis today.

Many still believe each four years that if only their candidate – with the newly-minted and freshly-printed slogans – is elected, we will finally be led to a new springtime in America, to peaceful and prosperous days ahead. But regardless of party, with only cosmetic differences the same policies are being pursued.


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