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U.S. antiterrorism efforts

More intel would give U.S. more options in Syria, Iraq

A favorite Arab proverb goes something like this: A shepherd asks the Prophet: Should I let my camels loose and trust in God? No, answers the Prophet. Tie down your camels and trust in God.The Obama administration has been operating with a loose strategy in Syria and Iraq.

Date: 10/11/2015 | Opinion Columnists

It’s ‘iffy,’ but talks progress in East Asia

Last weekend's deadly attack on an international hospital in Afghanistan was a reminder of the terrible war that grinds on there, with Afghan civilians caught in the crossfire.Doctors Without Borders, a globally respected group, has charged that the deaths of 22 patients and...

Date: 10/08/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Obama’s plan in Syria favors caution, not ego

Contrary to popular belief, President Obama does have a plan for Syria. It's just not one that promises to have much immediate impact on the course of the brutal civil war.Russian President Vladimir Putin, by contrast, has a plan that is far bolder and much more likely to...

Date: 10/06/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Obama misjudged Putin; Putin may have misjudged Syria

Russia's expanded role in the Middle East has been hiding in plain sight for months. And the Obama administration, eager for Moscow's diplomatic help, all but invited it. Now that Russian jets and tanks have arrived in Syria, this intervention doesn't look so benign.

Date: 10/02/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Putin’s plans in Syria clear to all but Obama

"Russia hits Assad's foes, angering U.S." — Headline, Wall Street Journal, Oct. 1If it had the wit, the Obama administration would be not angered, but appropriately humiliated. President Obama has, once again, been totally outmaneuvered by...

Date: 10/02/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Putin may not fare any better fighting ISIS than U.S. has

Between the lines of President Obama's comments on Syria at the United Nations on Monday, you could hear a sad admission of failure: The U.S. hasn't been able to organize a winning strategy to deal with the Islamic State. Maybe we should let Russian President Vladimir Putin try his...

Date: 09/30/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Even with complications, helping Kurds fight ISIS makes sense

While the Obama administration haggles over its Syria strategy, a Kurdish militia that claims more than 25,000 battle-hardened fighters is poised several dozen miles north of the Islamic State's capital of Raqqa — ready to roll toward the extremists' sanctuary.U.S.

Date: 09/23/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Honor 9/11 with shared purpose, sacrifice

It's easy to recall the horror of 9/11, when it happened, the disbelief, the shock, the realization, as I watched, that people were dying, thousands of them. The sense that things had changed, irrevocably, forever.I was impressed with George Bush with his megaphone at ground...

Date: 09/16/2015 | Opinion Columnists

U.S. drone attack on al-Qaida group impresses Syrian moderates

Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaida affiliate in Syria, has disclosed that it suffered heavy casualties when the U.S. launched drone attacks last month to defend a moderate opposition group called "Division 30.""The U.S. strikes caused some of our dear brothers...

Date: 08/30/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Failure of U.S.-supported Syrian rebels recalls Bay of Pigs fiasco

America's botched effort last month to support a Syrian moderate rebel group known as "Division 30" was a chain of errors that recalls, in a small way, the 1961 Bay of Pigs fiasco.The Division 30 debacle has some clear and disturbing lessons: The rebels weren't...

Date: 08/23/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Strategy against Islamic State in Syria developing

The U.S. and its allies, after several years of missteps, finally seem to be framing a strategy for combating the Islamic State militarily in Syria, even as they continue to pursue a political settlement with Damascus.The Syrian nightmare is far from over, and supporters of...

Date: 08/07/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Root out lone wolves with calm approach

"He acknowledged the truth, he gives [allegiance], the order has been given, his heart beats, he accepts, butterflies kick in. ... The target is given, the anticipation is over, a sense of relief."With this stream-of-consciousness narrative, an Islamic State...

Date: 07/26/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Late Saudi official took diplomat’s long view

It was a measure of Prince Saud al-Faisal's skill as a diplomat that he helped sustain the long friendship between the United States and Saudi Arabia through events that could have (and maybe should have) shattered it — an oil embargo, several Arab-Israeli wars, the rise of...

Date: 07/14/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Islamic State’s online executions seek us as witnesses

Reporting about the Islamic State inevitably means watching their videos, but that's not something I would wish on anyone. The group has created a public theater of death on the Internet — beheading people, drowning them, burning them, breaking their bones.This extreme...

Date: 07/10/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Smartphone encryption worries U.S. officials

WASHINGTON — Federal law enforcement officials warned Wednesday that data encryption is making it harder to hunt for pedophiles and terror suspects, telling senators that consumers' right to privacy is not absolute and must be weighed against public-safety interests.

Date: 07/09/2015 | Business Wire

U.S. has to do more than play whack-a-mole in Syria, Iraq

In the beginning there was Operation Overlord. Then came Operation Rolling Thunder, Operation Desert Storm and Operation Enduring Freedom.Now the fight against the Islamic State has introduced a new concept into modern warfare. Call it Operation Whack-a-Mole.

Date: 07/08/2015 | Opinion Columnists

McCain: Reassess Afghan troop withdrawal

KABUL, Afghanistan — The ongoing Taliban offensive in Afghanistan demands a reassessment of the Obama administration’s current plan to drawdown U.S. forces, U.S. Sen. John McCain said Saturday during a visit to the country’s capital.

Date: 07/05/2015 | Nation & World

CIA photos of ‘black sites’ come to light, could complicate Guantanamo trials

Military prosecutors earlier this year learned about a massive cache of CIA photographs of its former overseas “black sites” while reviewing material collected for the Senate investigation of the agency’s interrogation program, according to U.S. officials.

Date: 06/27/2015 | Nation & World

Dust off 2006 Iraq Study Group report

"The situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating. ... Sectarian conflict is the principal challenge to stability."That's from the opening page of the 2006 Iraq Study Group report. Nine years later, it's haunting to revisit the bipartisan commission review...

Date: 06/24/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Congress can set Obama’s war powers, but won’t

This is what it's like inside a vacuum:A half-dozen members of Congress and perhaps twice as many staffers sit quietly on the floor of the House. Two reporters sit in the press gallery, and a few dozen tourists, mostly in shorts and T-shirts, fidget in the public gallery.

Date: 06/19/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Kurds are willing to fight; let’s support them

It's time for a new strategy in Iraq and Syria. It begins by admitting that the old borders are gone, that a unified Syria or Iraq will never be reconstituted, that the Sykes-Picot map is defunct.We may not want to enunciate that policy officially. After all, it does...

Date: 06/19/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Getting a weary public to take security seriously

In November 2012, Jeh Johnson, who was then the Pentagon's general counsel, let himself speculate in a speech about al-Qaida, "How will this conflict end?" He foresaw a "tipping point" at which U.S. officials might be able to say that the group had been...

Date: 06/18/2015 | Opinion Columnists

‘Decapitation’ strikes have killed terrorist leaders, but not al-Qaida

WASHINGTON — In separate strikes last week on veteran al-Qaida leaders, the United States demonstrated again the extent to which it has perfected an almost eerie capability to find the world’s most wanted terrorism suspects in some of the world’s most chaotic environments and deliver lethal blows...

Date: 06/16/2015 | Nation & World

Two years after Snowden, what has changed?

Two years ago this month, a 29-year-old government contractor named Edward Snowden became the Daniel Ellsberg of his generation, delivering to journalists a tranche of secret documents shedding light on the government's national security apparatus. But whereas Ellsberg released the...

Date: 06/16/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Sunni-Shiite split makes defense of Iraq difficult

The Obama administration and the Islamic State both issued new manifestos for the battle in Iraq this week. Guess which one is more forceful?The U.S. plan is to add 450 additional military advisers who will train Sunni tribal fighters at an airbase in Anbar province. It's a...

Date: 06/15/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Should we keep fighting in Iraq if Iraqis won’t?

Don't feel bad if you're confused about what the United States is trying to accomplish in Iraq. President Obama doesn't seem to know, either — or else he won't say.Days after admitting that "we don't yet have a complete strategy" for training Iraqi...

Date: 06/15/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Fall of Assad in Syria might only complicate matters for U.S.

The regime of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria is facing what U.S. experts say is the most intense pressure since the early days of the four-year civil war. This new squeeze poses some stark choices for America, Russia, Iran and Syria's neighbors."Based on current...

Date: 06/07/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Bush name may prove more hinderance than help to Jeb

Jeb Bush's last name comes with advantages that are difficult to overstate. In a presidential race, he gets, among other things, instant name recognition and a built-in fundraising apparatus from his father and brother. Those assets alone explain why a man who hasn't won an election in...

Date: 06/07/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Who’s afraid of the NSA?

Do I trust the federal government? Hell no. President Barack Obama's Department of Justice is happy to spend years investigating a foreign soccer organization for corruption and former Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert for allegedly paying off a blackmailer — but...

Date: 06/03/2015 | Opinion Columnists

End of Patriot Act restores some privacy

I made a phone call at 12:01 a.m. Monday, and it felt good. For the first time in years, the number I dialed on my iPhone was not captured and stored in a massive government database.Since it was an inconvenient hour, I called my office phone, knowing it would go to...

Date: 06/02/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Getting ISIS intelligence will require risks

The unexpected fall of Ramadi to the Islamic State last month is the latest sign of a basic intelligence problem: The U.S. doesn't know enough about its jihadist adversaries to combat them effectively.This intelligence deficit afflicts the military, the CIA and other...

Date: 06/02/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Conflict of arms deals, donations should have been clear to Clinton

Among all the rivers of money that have flowed to the Clinton family, one seems to raise the biggest national security questions of all: the stream of cash that came from 20 foreign governments who relied on weapons export approvals from Hillary Clinton's State Department.

Date: 05/31/2015 | Opinion Columnists

If Republicans have better idea for defeating ISIS, let’s hear it

Critics of the way President Obama is dealing with the Islamic State should be required to specify what alternative steps they would take — and how their strategies would make a difference.Republican presidential candidates are unanimous in charging that Obama's...

Date: 05/31/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Senate must act quickly to adopt compromise at heart of the USA Freedom Act

On the contentious issue of bulk phone metadata collection by the National Security Agency, the big story is remarkably positive. Two years after Edward Snowden revealed the program and charged that it exceeds the agency's lawful authority under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, a...

Date: 05/31/2015 | Commentary

Cruz moved Obama’s ‘red line’ in Syria

As he prepared for his presidential run over the last year or so, a hawkish Sen. Ted Cruz has said U.S. policy in the Middle East and elsewhere is a mess because of President Obama's weakness — particularly his failure to enforce his own "red line" after the Syrian...

Date: 05/29/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Iraq wasn’t a just mistake; it was a distortion of facts

Of course it was a mistake. It's the gentlest among many applicable words, but that simple question about invading Iraq flummoxes every Republican presidential candidate. Even with different framing, "knowing what we know now" versus the less hypothetical "was it a...

Date: 05/27/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Clinton’s email chats with friend on Libya offer look inside D.C.

Secretaries of state have had private contacts since the job was created, so it's a mistake to get too indignant about Hillary Clinton's email exchanges about Libya with her longtime friend, Sidney Blumenthal. Still, these messages offer some useful insights about the court politics of...

Date: 05/27/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Iraqis fleeing battle; maybe we should, too

If Iraqis won't fight for their nation's survival, why on earth should we?This is the question posed by the fall of Ramadi, which revealed the emptiness at the core of U.S. policy. President Obama's critics are missing the point: Ultimately, it doesn't matter how many troops...

Date: 05/24/2015 | Opinion Columnists

To survive, Iraq needs unified effort by Baghdad and D.C.

President Obama is rightly pushing Iraqi leaders to unite and take action after the fall of Ramadi last weekend. But he needs to mobilize his own administration's efforts so that one person drives U.S. military and political strategy against the Islamic State.Political...

Date: 05/22/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Hypothetically, should we have left Iraq in ’11?

Ramadi falls. The Iraqi army flees. The great 60-nation anti-Islamic State coalition so grandly proclaimed by the Obama administration is nowhere to be seen. Instead, it's the defense minister of Iran who flies into Baghdad, an unsubtle demonstration of who's in charge — while the...

Date: 05/22/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Fall of Ramadi points to weaknesses in Iraq plan

The capture of Ramadi last weekend by Islamic State fighters is a significant setback for U.S. strategy in Iraq and shows that, nearly a year after the extremists overran Mosul, the U.S. still doesn't have a viable plan for protecting the country's Sunni areas. The collapse...

Date: 05/20/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Freedom Act would roll back NSA’s abuses

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, isn't worried that, absent a Senate vote, key provisions of the Patriot Act are slated to sunset May 31. The GOP presidential hopeful told "Meet the Press" on Sunday that a federal appeals court found the data-gathering authorized under the...

Date: 05/20/2015 | Opinion Columnists

End sweep-up of phone data

Americans cherish their privacy — as much as they value their security.Those two values are in some conflict as Congress considers the fate of the Patriot Act, the legislation passed to strengthen national security controls following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist...

Date: 05/17/2015 | Editorials

A moral difference between waterboarding and drone attacks?

Dianne Feinstein of California arguably used to be the CIA's best friend on the Democratic side of the Senate. I think it's fair to say that San Francisco voters were not enthusiastic about her pro-intelligence posture during the George W. Bush presidency. One thing Feinstein has going...

Date: 05/17/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Air Force, Army run short of drone pilots

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon's drone pilots are some of the best in the world. In a few short years, they've become a central part of U.S. operations overseas, conducting round-the-clock aerial surveillance and supporting U.S. soldiers at ground level. But a new federal audit also...

Date: 05/16/2015 | Nation & World

Freedom best antidote to counter Islamic State

WASHINTON, D.C. -- As Arab leaders gather for discussions at Camp David this week, the Obama administration is quietly debating a revision of its strategy against the Islamic State to reflect a U.S. assessment that the terrorist group poses a global threat.Given the swirling...

Date: 05/13/2015 | Opinion Columnists

GOP presidential hopefuls intensify anti-terrorism message

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Ted Cruz bluntly remarked that the police officer who killed two gunmen who were likely inspired by the Islamic State helped them to “meet their virgins.” Bobby Jindal quipped that gun control means “hitting your target.” Marco Rubio quoted the violent action film “Taken” to...

Date: 05/11/2015 | Nation & World

Bin Laden’s goal to strike U.S. remained

In the months before his death in May 2011, Osama bin Laden was discussing new gambits — from a truce with Pakistan to opportunistic alliances with jihadist groups spawned by the Arab Spring — so that he could focus on tipping what he called "the balance of fear"...

Date: 05/06/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Drone strikes risking lives of innocents

Drone strikes, by their nature, are bound to kill innocent civilians. It is all too easy to ignore this ugly fact — and the dubious morality of the whole enterprise — until the unfortunate victims happen to be Westerners.Only then does "collateral...

Date: 04/26/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Authorities make 6 arrests in 2 states in terrorism probe

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Six people have been arrested in connection with a terrorism investigation into youths who have traveled or tried to travel to Syria to fight with militants, including the Islamic State group, authorities in Minnesota said Sunday.

Date: 04/19/2015 | Nation & World

Decades may pass before Mideast storms blow over

Will the Middle East be as unstable 10 years from now as it is today? I asked that question this week to a class of students at Harvard's Kennedy School. About half answered yes — that things will be as bad or worse, no matter what America does.These Harvard graduate...

Date: 04/19/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Makeover of CIA overdue, but does it need more bureaucracy?

CIA Director John Brennan has just done what many of his predecessors at the agency surely dreamed of doing over the past few decades, which is to put the existing organization chart in the shredder and redo it.Brennan's makeover order came in a March 6 memo to the workforce...

Date: 04/12/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Obama: Decision near on removing Cuba from terror list

KINGSTON, Jamaica — President Barack Obama will act soon on a recommendation about whether to remove Cuba from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism, he said Thursday as he opened a three-day trip to the Caribbean and Central America.

Date: 04/09/2015 | Nation & World

Training poses no danger to public

Recently, this paper printed an editorial asserting the Navy should consider more suitable locations for Navy Electronic Warfare training due to a lack of clarity on potential harm to people and animals from...

Date: 04/05/2015 | Commentary

It may be best to wait out Mideast fights

As gung-ho "experts" press President Obama to do this, that or the other in the Middle East, keep a simple rule in mind: Whatever the avid interventionists suggest probably won't work — and surely will have unintended consequences.Obama's overall policy...

Date: 04/01/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Drawing the line between privacy and protection

The pilot who crashed the Germanwings plane, taking 150 lives, was too ill to work, according to doctors' notes found at his home. But Germany's strict medical privacy laws barred the doctors from conveying that judgment to the airline.A horrific event that could have been...

Date: 03/31/2015 | Opinion Columnists

British man pleads guilty in Oregon terror camp case

NEW YORK — A British man has pleaded guilty to federal charges in New York that he plotted to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon.Haroon Aswat pleaded guilty Monday to supporting terrorism and conspiracy. He could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.

Date: 03/30/2015 | Northwest

Difference between Petraeus, Snowden is harm done

Former four-star general and CIA chief David Petraeus pleaded guilty to one count of retaining classified information for handing over information in personal notebooks to his biographer girlfriend in 2011. He agreed to pay a $40,000 fine; prosecutors said they would recommend two...

Date: 03/10/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Going after ISIS leaders may be wrong strategy

Gen. John Allen, the retired Marine who is coordinating the campaign against the Islamic State, gave an upbeat briefing to Congress last week. He said that because of airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition, the group has "lost half of its Iraq-based leadership and thousands of...

Date: 03/06/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Freedom Caucus shows it’s freely losing

I'm getting that deja vu feeling as House Republicans these past several days have failed to alter the public's perception that they're incapable of governing. This week marked Episode 2, Season 2 in the series "Homeland Security Face-Off." Subtitle:...

Date: 03/05/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Obama’s boots on ground of global realities

Like "closure," as applies to the loss of a loved one, and "accident," as applies to a child getting hold of a gun and killing himself or someone else, the term "boots on the ground" should be excised from public discourse. How sterile,...

Date: 03/04/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Don’t pity Boehner; Homeland crisis was of his own making

House Speaker John Boehner needs to decide whether he wants to be remembered as an effective leader or a befuddled hack. So far, I'm afraid, it's the latter.Boehner's performance last week was a series of comic pratfalls, culminating Friday in a stinging rebuke from the...

Date: 03/03/2015 | Opinion Columnists

U.S. can’t allow Egypt to fall back into chaos

The Obama administration's decision to engage Egypt is "a case of realpolitik over idealism," concedes one official. But it's also the right policy choice.President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi certainly doesn't make it easy. His repression of dissent now rivals that of...

Date: 03/02/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Essay: ‘Jihadi John’ won’t have the same impact unmasked

LONDON — As “Jihadi John,” he was a terrifying figure, his identity concealed by a black mask, his threatening tone backed up by his oversize, serrated knife and his willingness to use it in the name of Islamic State and its self-declared caliphate.

Date: 03/01/2015 | Nation & World

Boehner leading from behind as shutdown looms

John Boehner looked as if he were a spectator at his own hanging — and in a sense he is.He can defy conservatives by abandoning their fight to undo President Obama's immigration actions and perhaps lose his speakership in the process. Or he can stand with the...

Date: 02/27/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Democrats take advantage of minority status

For Harry Reid and his Senate Democrats, revenge is a dish best served bold.For years, they complained that the Republican minority had tied the chamber in knots. But now, just weeks into their stint in the minority, Democrats are brazenly using the same knot-tying...

Date: 02/26/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Policy has a place in standing up to ISIS

The causes of extremism in the Middle East are complex. We ought to be suspicious of simplistic explanations. Causes include the historic failure of Arab societies to achieve democratic governments that provide for political participation and broad-based economic...

Date: 02/22/2015 | Commentary

Right, left debating wrong points on war against ISIS

Channel-surfing the nightly cable news, one is reminded that certitude is the enemy of sanity.On both Fox News and MSNBC, conversation has centered lately on the proposed war against the Islamic State and President Obama's related summit with religious leaders.On...

Date: 02/22/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Jeb Bush’s foreign policy is a catchphrase and little else

Jeb Bush's highly anticipated speech on foreign policy reminded me of the joke in which two senior citizens are complaining about a restaurant. "Terrible food at that place," says one. "Yes," says the other, "and such small portions!"

Date: 02/22/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Jeb shares same way with words as his brother

By Dan MilbankJeb Bush was mere seconds into his speech Wednesday informing the world that he’s his “own man,” and not his brother or his dad, when he did something reminiscent of both. He flubbed his line.

Date: 02/20/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Abolishing the filibuster would aid GOP with immigration, more

I've been radicalized. By Harry Reid and Barack Obama. Goodbye moderation and sweet reason. No more clinging to constitutional and procedural restraint. It's time to go nuclear.In the fourth quarter of his presidency, Obama unbound is abusing presidential authority at will...

Date: 02/20/2015 | Opinion Columnists

ISIS intent on drawing us into Middle Ages

There's a very 2001 feel to President Obama's request for authorization to use military force and the nauseating sense that we'll be at war indefinitely. Although we haven't suffered a catastrophic hit as we did on 9/11, we've been witness to atrocities — vicious...

Date: 02/19/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Putting an Arab and Muslim face on fight against ISIS

AMMAN, Jordan — One of the weaknesses of the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State is that America isn't trusted as a messenger in much of the Arab world. So it is important that Jordan's King Abdullah II seems ready to play an unusually visible role in organizing Arab...

Date: 02/18/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Activists control House, not Boehner

The House of Representatives seems to be trying mightily to make itself irrelevant, with Speaker John Boehner leading the effort. I can't help but think of the old proverb: "The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on." The caravan, in this case, consists of...

Date: 02/18/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Kurds have challenges beyond ISIS

KIRKUK, Iraq — From the roof of his office, Gov. Najmaldin Karim can see this multiethnic city laid out below. He points toward the Sunni suburb of Huwija about 15 miles west, which is controlled by the Islamic State. Two weeks ago, the extremists staged a ferocious assault there...

Date: 02/16/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Portland worker pleads guilty for role in Pakistan bombing

PORTLAND, Ore. — A Portland city worker pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact to a suicide bombing that killed about 30 people in Pakistan and injured another 300.

Date: 02/13/2015 | Northwest

‘Patience’ to Obama means U.S. paralysis

His secretary of defense says "the world is exploding all over." His attorney general says that the threat of terror "keeps me up at night." The world bears them out. On Tuesday, American hostage Kayla Mueller is confirmed dead. On Wednesday, the U.S. evacuates...

Date: 02/13/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Supplying Kurds best option to hold off ISIS in Iraq

MOUNT BATMA, Iraq — From the heights here, you have a panoramic view of the strategic territory west of Mosul that Kurdish peshmerga fighters, supported by U.S. warplanes, have won back from the Islamic State over the past month. The main road linking Mosul with the Syrian border...

Date: 02/12/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Where Obama was wrong on religion, history

There is no doubt that President Obama's remarks about Christianity at the National Prayer Breakfast last week were historically accurate. But they were also — let's face it — glib, facile and patronizing.I must immediately dissociate myself from the bombastic...

Date: 02/12/2015 | Opinion Columnists

McCain filling role of ‘Scoop’ in Congress

John McCain toiled for 28 years in the Senate before he finally won the chairman's gavel of the Armed Services Committee last month. Now he's making up for lost time.The 78-year-old Arizona Republican strode quickly into Tuesday's hearing of the committee — the ninth...

Date: 02/12/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Reversal of fortunes allows U.S. to wait out Iran, Russia

Niccolo Machiavelli, perhaps the shrewdest political philosopher in history, believed that great events were shaped by luck — or "fortuna" as he called this unpredictable force of life. The same actions might produce success or failure, depending on the whims of the...

Date: 02/06/2015 | Opinion Columnists

White House has ways of taming its defense secretaries

The hawks were swooning.Ashton Carter, President Obama's nominee to be the next defense secretary, gave the Senate Armed Services Committee every indication Wednesday that he would be a hard-liner at the Pentagon and a strong counterweight to administration doves — and...

Date: 02/06/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Obama’s policy on Iran only benefits ISIS

Why did they do it? What did the Islamic State think it could possibly gain by burning alive a captured Jordanian pilot?I wouldn't underestimate the absence of logic, the sheer depraved thrill of a triumphant cult reveling in its barbarism. But I wouldn't overestimate it...

Date: 02/06/2015 | Opinion Columnists

New Saudi leadership brings encouraging changes

Saudi Arabia, which often confounds outsiders with its slow and opaque governance, has moved surprisingly quickly under King Salman, its new monarch, to streamline government and purge officials who were seen as underperformers.The architect of the government shake-up has...

Date: 02/04/2015 | Opinion Columnists

GOP cedes the high ground on homeland security

The perennially tardy President Obama appeared a half- hour early for Monday's speech outlining his 2016 budget — a rare show of enthusiasm for the sacrificial ritual of sending his annual spending proposal to die on Capitol Hill.But Obama had reason to be energetic,...

Date: 02/04/2015 | Opinion Columnists

‘Sniper’ a complex look at gun culture

The second-most jarring scene in "American Sniper" takes place not in the urban maze of wartime Iraq but in the domestic tranquility of Chris Kyle's home in Texas. Disoriented after his fourth tour in the cauldron of Iraq, the heralded Navy SEAL is shown stalking his wife...

Date: 02/03/2015 | Opinion Columnists

‘Never again’ must be ‘never ever’ for Iran

Amid the ritual expressions of regret and the pledges of "never again" on Tuesday's 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, a bitter irony was noted: Anti-Semitism has returned to Europe. With a vengeance.It has become routine. If the kosher-grocery...

Date: 01/30/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Our attention is turned away from terrorism

In 1938, Winston Churchill published "While England Slept," about Britain's failure to prepare for the Nazi threat.Let's hope that, when the history of this moment is written, the 2015 State of the Union address will not be retold under the title "While...

Date: 01/22/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Candidates will have to chart own foreign policy

President Obama has been chafing for months at the notion that he's a lame-duck president. That's one reason he took the offensive in the run-up to the State of the Union address. His aides insist that Obama plays his best in the fourth quarter of the game, and they want him to finish...

Date: 01/21/2015 | Opinion Columnists

U.S. citizen settles lawsuit over post-9/11 arrest with FBI

BOISE, Idaho — A U.S. citizen who said he was wrongly arrested when the government rounded up Muslim men after the 9/11 terrorist attacks has settled his lawsuit against the FBI.

Date: 01/16/2015 | Northwest

Paris attacks usher in terrorism’s latest phase

On Sunday, at the great Paris rally, the whole world was Charlie. By Tuesday, the veneer of solidarity was exposed as tissue thin. It began dissolving as soon as the real, remaining Charlie Hebdo put out its post-massacre issue featuring a Muhammad cover that, as The New York Times put...

Date: 01/16/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Home-grown terrorism needs closer study

What's the relationship between the Internet and the surge of jihadist violence in Paris and around the world? That's the puzzle examined by Marc Sageman, a psychiatrist and former CIA officer whose contrarian views on terrorism are worth a careful look."Blaming the...

Date: 01/16/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Counter terrorism with outreach to youth, not another war

In the days after the deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris, France declared "war" on terrorism, 10,000 French paramilitary police took to the streets and U.S. conservatives chided President Obama for not leading this new war against jihadists.Sorry,...

Date: 01/14/2015 | Opinion Columnists

France extends airstrikes in Iraq on Islamic State

Associated PressPARIS — France’s lower house of Parliament has approved extending French airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Iraq.

Date: 01/13/2015 | Nation & World

White House plans conference on countering violent extremism

WASHINGTON — The White House plans a conference next month on efforts to counter violent extremism — in light of the past week’s shootings in France and earlier attacks in Canada and Australia.

Date: 01/11/2015 | Nation & World

U.S. has given Sunnis little reason for trust

Watching events unfold in Iraq this year has been like viewing a slow-motion train wreck. Tribal leaders have been warning since spring about the rise of the terrorist Islamic State and pleading for American help. But after months of slaughter, the United States is only now beginning to...

Date: 12/29/2014 | Opinion Columnists

If U.S. won't negotiate, allow families to pay ransom for hostages

As Americans gather with their families at Christmastime, we should pause to remember four who were not home for the holidays.James Foley was not with his family in New Hampshire. Steven Sotloff was not home to Florida. And Peter Kassig was not at the table in Indiana. The...

Date: 12/26/2014 | Opinion Columnists

Terrorism's lone wolves fed from abroad

The lone wolf is the new national nightmare, dramatized and amplified this week by the hostage-taking attack in Sydney, Australia. But there are two kinds of lone wolves — the crazy and the evil — and the distinction is important.The real terrorists are rational.

Date: 12/19/2014 | Opinion Columnists

Direct criticism at those who OK'd torture

Said a chief prosecutor in the Nuremburg trials: "As an International Military Tribunal, it … seeks guidance not only from international law but also from the basic principles of jurisprudence which are assumptions of civilization and which long have found embodiment in the...

Date: 12/15/2014 | Opinion Columnists

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