Memorial Day is, by federal law, a day of prayer for permanent peace. But is it possible to honestly pray for peace while our country is far and away number one in the world in waging war, military presence, military spending and the sale of weapons around the world?
The U.S. has the most powerful military in the history of the world, but it should not be utilized as a political tool or for retribution. The government and its leaders must do their best to make the right decisions, to be truthful with the American people, and to provide all the necessary support needed to fulfill the military's mission. Unfortunately, this has not always been the case.
Violent protests by Iranian Kurds have taken the world by surprise, and mainstream reporting on them is sparse. That is doubtless explained by the general absence of decent journalism under the regime of the Islamic Republic, including restrictions in entry of foreign correspondents.
If you were to look at my past and present passports, you'd see a host of nations stamped on it that the White House has historically considered an adversary, an "axis of evil" state, or a security threat.
The question should not be whether the U.S. had faulty intelligence, but whether the existence of WMDs in Iraq alone should have been regarded as a casus belli -- as a justification for going to war against, and invading, a foreign country.
Senate hawks like Lindsey Graham and Mark Kirk do not like diplomacy with Iran. Graham has repeatedly threatened war with Iran, whereas Kirk prefers to starve the Iranian people. Yet, given that most Americans do not want another military adventure in the Middle East, the hawks are pivoting.
Courting Arab leaders precisely as they undermine U.S. objectives gets it almost exactly backward. America's failures, under both Barack Obama and George W. Bush, stem from its unwillingness to break with allies taking actions that will result in disaster.
After the dust-up between Obama and Netanyahu settles, we can expect to add even more steel to our commitment to protect Israel by adding more to its already vast store of sophisticated weapons. Thus, we take another step deeper into the tragedy of U.S. intervention in the Middle East that has become a noxious farce.
You'd think that more than 40 years of fixation on the Middle East, often to the exclusion of more important areas of the world, would at least enable sophisticated media coverage of Middle Eastern politics as it impacts American politics. But no.
Against a backdrop of the violent redrawing of the map of the Middle East as minorities assert their rights, rebels challenge the existing order, and militant Islamists seek to carve up the post-colonial order, Iranian soccer pitches are signalling that the Islamic republic is not totally immune to the region's upheaval.
A significantly different tone will characterize the upcoming meetings between President Barack Obama and the heads of state of the Gulf Cooperation Council (or GCC, which is comprised of the member states Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the U.A.E., and Oman) to be held at the White House and Camp David May 13th-14th.
I just experienced the blessing of visiting Iran for the first time. Here are some things I learned.
War is not just another policy option. It means death and destruction. It wrecks societies. It creates harms which cannot be undone. It is the most serious action that government can take. It should be a last resort, reserved for the most important interests and most moral causes. None of these is at stake in the case of Iran. Americans demanding that Washington attack Iran demonstrate that Lord Acton's axiom, "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely," applies even to the United States. The mere fact that America is able to war against every nation on the planet does not justify it doing so. Washington should officially take the military option off of the table when dealing with Iran.
Instead of throwing Oskar Groening in jail, President Obama could bring him along on his next nuclear negotiation session to teach the Iranians a thing or two about how and what happened.
Jamal Benomar, the former UN mediator in Yemen, caused a diplomatic stir when he told me recently that a dozen Yemeni parties, including the Houthis, were close to a power-sharing deal until the first Saudi bomb dropped on Yemen on March 26.
When the assorted Middle Eastern Sheiks, Kings, and Crown-Princes troop to Camp David this week for a meeting with President Obama to discuss America's rapidly warming relationship with Iran, they would do well to recall one of geopolitics eternal truisms.