More Defense Spending,
Less Security

Last week, President Bush proposed a record $439.3 defense budget for fiscal year 2007, almost $30 billion more than the current budget. And as has been the case since 2003 – when the Bush administration decided to invade Iraq – the fiscal year 2007 defense budget does not include full funding for military operations in … Continue reading “More Defense Spending,
Less Security”

Going Old School on al-Qaeda

Most of the controversy surrounding the White House policy of warrantless telephone and e-mail eavesdropping has centered on whether President Bush has overstepped his authority under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, which was created in 1978. The provisions of FISA allow the president to authorize electronic surveillance without a court order for up … Continue reading “Going Old School on al-Qaeda”

Rethinking Nuclear Nonproliferation

Last week, Iran removed the UN seals from uranium enrichment equipment at its Natanz nuclear facility and threatened to block International Atomic Energy Agency inspections if referred to the UN Security Council over its nuclear program. Iran claims its program is for peaceful nuclear energy purposes, but there are legitimate concerns that Iran may be … Continue reading “Rethinking Nuclear Nonproliferation”

Troop Reduction Legerdemain

Just before Christmas, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld signaled the possible beginning of U.S. troop reductions in Iraq when he announced that two brigades scheduled for combat tours would not be deployed and that troop levels might fall below 130,000 U.S. soldiers in March (the current force size is about 138,000). But (with apologies to … Continue reading “Troop Reduction Legerdemain”

Syriana: It’s Not About the Oil

I went to see the new Warner Bros. political thriller Syriana over the weekend (going to the movies is a rare treat when you’re the parent of a young child). For most people, movies are entertainment and escapism (for that, I took my 6-year-old daughter to Chicken Little, which is my more usual moviegoing fare … Continue readingSyriana: It’s Not About the Oil”

A Tale of Two Cities

On Saturday, Dec. 3, the Washington Post ran two stories about what’s happening on the ground in Iraq. The first was on the front page above the fold, "10 Marines Killed in Fallujah Blast." The second was on page A19, "Leaving Najaf, One Step at a Time." Together, they provide insight into the conundrum of … Continue reading “A Tale of Two Cities”

The Zarqawi Dilemma

This week, there was a brief glimmer of hope that U.S. forces might have killed the most wanted man in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. For many, Zarqawi has come to represent the Iraqi insurgency. Indeed, his stature in the eyes of the Bush administration is equal to Osama bin Laden: the reward for Zarqawi’s capture … Continue reading “The Zarqawi Dilemma”

New York’s Subway Search Program Earns a Failing Grade

In response to the July 7 terrorist bombings on London’s tube system, on July 21 police began conducting random searches of bags and packages carried by people on the New York city subway; those who refuse to be searched are not allowed to ride. The New York City Civil Liberties Union is representing plaintiffs in … Continue reading “New York’s Subway Search Program Earns a Failing Grade”

Iraq by the Numbers

Just before the January 2005 Iraqi elections, I was quoted in one media outlet: “Those who believe that the elections will result in a calming effect in Iraq are just wrong. The violence will increase and get uglier.” I went on to say: “And if 150,000 U.S. troops can’t put down the insurgency, what makes … Continue reading “Iraq by the Numbers”

A New York State of Mind

In the late afternoon on Thursday, Oct. 6, New York City authorities raised security as a result of what Mayor Michael Bloomberg described as a “specific threat to our subway system.” According to a bulletin issued by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), “a team of terrorist operatives, some of whom may … Continue reading “A New York State of Mind”