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Turkey: Slow-Motion Crash

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Turkey, once a pillar of Mideast stability, looks increasingly like a slow-motion truck crash. What makes this crisis so tragic is that not very long ago Turkey was entering a new age of social harmony and economic development.

Today, both are up in smoke as this week’s bloody bombing in Ankara that killed 99 people showed. America’s ham-handed policies in the Mideast have set the entire region ablaze from Syria to South Sudan and Libya. Turkey sits right on top of the huge mess, licked by the flames of nationalist and political conflagrations and now beset by 2 million Syrian refugees.

As Saddam Hussein predicted, George W. Bush’s invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq opened the gates of hell. Attempts by Washington to overthrow Syria’s Alawite regime – a natural US ally – have destroyed large parts of that once lovely nation and produced the worst human disaster since the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in the late 1940’s and 1967.

Turkey, once a pillar of Mideast stability, looks increasingly like a slow-motion truck crash.  What makes this crisis so tragic is that not very long ago Turkey was entering a new age of social harmony and economic development.
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Obama's New War In Africa: Do We Need It?

The Obama Administration's disastrous invasion of Libya scattered well-armed jihadists throughout Africa and the Middle East, including to Syria and Cameroon. After emptying out Gaddafi's arsenals, these groups proceeded to spread their mayhem. Yesterday, President Obama announced that he was sending US troops into Cameroon to help defeat one of the groups who benefitted from the US-led intervention in Libya, the ISIS-affiliated Boko Haram. Today's Liberty Report look at whether another US intervention can solve the problems created by intervention in the first place...
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The "A" Word That Terrifies Washington

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Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter has declared that there will be a thorough investigation of the recent US destruction of a hospital in Afghanistan that killed 22, including 12 of the medical staff, with more than thirty still missing in the rubble. The hospital, run by Geneva-based Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders), had informed the US headed international military force of both its location and its activities in order to avoid becoming a target for either side in fighting around Kunduz but that apparently was not enough. The US military command in Afghanistan approved the bombing, which reportedly included multiple attacks from a C-130 gunship and lasted over half an hour, though there is some confusion over what constituted the “threat” that was being responded to, MSF claiming that there were no Taliban militants anywhere near their building either using it for shelter or as a firing point. Both MSF and some senior United Nations officials regard the attack as a war crime. President Barack Obama uncharacteristically apologized for a “mistake” though he took pains not to blame the US military.

Ashton might be a brilliant physicist but he has never been a soldier in spite of his long service in the Department of Defense. I don’t doubt his good intentions when it comes to declaring United States government willingness to let the chips fall where they may but he has no idea what he is up against. The uniformed military will stonewall, run circles around him and work hard to construct a narrative that ultimately blames no one but the Afghans for what happened. In the unlikely event that they fail in that, a soldier at the low end of the process will be punished with a slap on the wrist to demonstrate that military justice works while pari passu protecting the senior commanders. And the report will not even appear until long after Kunduz is forgotten. At that point Congress and the White House will have no stomach for going after our valiant warriors so the buck will ultimately stop with a toothless report that accomplishes nothing at all.

The Secretary of Defense, who reportedly had a dual major at Yale that included medieval history, might well consider the historical precedents for his initiating an investigation. He should appreciate above all that the “A” word that must never be spoken inside the United States government is “accountability,” which is by design as the government must never be made to look bad. Without demanding accountability even meticulous investigations into possible war crimes have no meaning and are literally not worth the paper they are written on.
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