Who’s Afraid of Peter Van Buren’s Book?

Foreign Service officer Peter Van Buren had an interesting week. Aside from getting a book published, he became a news-cycle celebrity of sorts in Washington — not for his book, per se, but for the fact that he might get fired for it. Reporters and bloggers quickly picked up on a column he wrote last … Continue reading “Who’s Afraid of Peter Van Buren’s Book?”

WikiLeaked at the State Department

It’s hardly a secret at this late date that, while the Obama administration arrived in office promoting “a new standard of openness” in government, in practice it’s cast not sunshine, but a penumbra of gloom over the workings of Washington. Talk about a closed and punitive crew. Its Justice Department has notoriously gone after government … Continue reading “WikiLeaked at the State Department”

American Militarism Is Not a Fairy Tale

President Obama recently reshuffled his top Washington warriors, sending CIA Director Leon Panetta, a man who knows Congress well, on to the Pentagon to replace retiring Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. In turn, the president is bringing in Gen. David Petraeus, present Afghan War Commander, former CENTCOM commander, and former Iraq War commander (as well … Continue reading “American Militarism Is Not a Fairy Tale”

How Not to Withdraw From Iraq

Iraq? Where’s that? Most Americans no longer seem to know and evidently could care less, but don’t tell that to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, various key military figures and Washington officials, or some of the neocons, warrior-pundits, and liberal war-fighters circling them. They continue to relentlessly promote Iraq as a mission-never-accomplished-but-never-to-be-ended experience. Somehow, two … Continue reading “How Not to Withdraw From Iraq”

Israel Slips the Snare of ‘Particular Concern’

Leave it to the State Department to soft-pedal religious extremism in the Middle East. Oh, not in, say, Iran or Saudi Arabia. In the most recent edition of the department’s annual Report on International Religious Freedom, both are designated "Countries of Particular Concern," members of a select group chastised for their extreme intolerance. Which is … Continue reading “Israel Slips the Snare of ‘Particular Concern’”