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Archive for July, 2009

Dems try to right the intel ship

July 15th, 2009

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Originally published in Politico.

When the story broke recently that the CIA had concealed a secret program from Congress for more than eight years, Republicans reacted with the predictable but laughable claim that Democrats were politicizing intelligence. In fact, it’s just the opposite. The real story here is the rank politicization of intelligence by Republicans, led by former Vice President Dick Cheney, and how Democrats have stepped in to clean up his mess.

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An Endstate Strategy in Afghanistan, Not Exit Strategy

July 14th, 2009

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Originally published on Huffington Post.

On June 25th, 131 Democrats, and 7 Republicans in the House of Representatives voted to require the Obama administration provide Congress “a report outlining the United States exit strategy for United States military forces in Afghanistan.” It is entirely appropriate that many members want to ensure the new administration has both developed the right plan for Afghanistan and begun implementing it since Afghanistan remains central to our national security interests. However, we therefore need to focus on an endstate strategy that will allow us to withdraw once we have achieved our goals, rather than an exit strategy.

Because the Iraq War was a bungled distraction, not a national security imperative like Afghanistan, pushing for an exit strategy from Iraq was an appropriate course for progressive groups and the country. However, as Representative Barney Frank said in late 2006, we should have been focusing on “capturing Osama bin Laden. He is not in Iraq. He is in the Afghan-Pakistan area. That’s where the fight ought to be.”
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Korea’s Missiles, Obama’s Maneuvers and Neocons’ Mad-libs

July 3rd, 2009

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Originally published on The Huffington Post.

On Saturday, while the rest of the country is celebrating the 4th of July, the President’s national security team will be camped out in the White House situation room. President Obama and his team will be monitoring a North Korean missile test, launched in the direction of Hawaii. We can all celebrate in peace though, assured that the administration’s response to the launch will be in line with the new, multi-tooled Smart Power philosophy the Administration has employed for its first half year in office. It is a strategy that has begun to make us and the world safer.

Of course, the president won’t be the only one watching the missile launch. So too will former Vice President Dick Cheney and other leading neoconservatives. Unlike President Obama, they feel the appropriate response to every national security issue is “shoot first and ask questions later” with no regard for how non-military tools could be used more effectively. After eight years of bungling virtually every foreign policy dilemma, sowing instability and mistrust across the globe, Mr. Cheney and others now sit back and heckle the president like those two cranky old guys on the balcony of the Muppet Show.

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