Commentary

  • Six years after the 9/11 attacks, there is a good case to be made that the national security strategy of the United States is in shambles. We are mired in a war in Iraq that hinged on false premises supplied by the American intelligence services and irresponsible and exaggerated claims by the White House and its allies. America’s good name continues to be sullied by pervasive allegations and evidence of torture—all fertile recruiting propaganda for al Qaeda and its allies. (As recently as July, 20 2007, the White House reauthorized the CIA’s use of torturous interrogation methods.) And with American unpopularity at disturbingly high levels about the world, there is scant evidence that we are winning the “war of ideas” the 9/11 Commission properly deemed to be central to countering terrorism.

    October 1, 2007
  • *Cross-posted from TheNation.com

    The resignation of Alberto Gonzales has brought a smile to the faces of many Bush Administration critics, but will it bring real change? Unless the Senate Judiciary Committee seizes its chance in a new Attorney General's confirmation hearings, the danger is that Gonzales's exit won't just leave Justice tarnished--it will also mean justice denied.

    August 27, 2007
  • The Protect America Act of 2007--the title alone ought to be warning that unsavory motives are at work--is the most recent example of the national security waltz, a three-step Administration maneuver for taking defeat and turning it into victory.

    August 8, 2007
  • It's time to do something about executive privilege.

    July 26, 2007
  • It was a bad week for the administration in the courts and in Congress. Don't let the absence of dramatic revelations, or the inundation of disappointing Supreme Court decisions, distract from the subtle incisions that were made. The cuts that may be hardly visible now, but in time they may yield more light that we have seen these past five years.

    July 2, 2007
  • If it weren't so frightening, the irony would be delicious: A Vice President who has done more than any other to push the envelope on executive privilege at the expense of the courts and Congress takes the position that his office has both legislative and executive functions so as to avoid accounting for the use of classified materials.

    June 26, 2007
  • Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 13-3 to authorize subpoenas focused on the Bush Administration's warrant-less wiretapping program. Here is what...

    June 22, 2007
  • Early this week, judge advocates halted two prosecutions in the Guantánamo military commissions established under the 2006 Military Commissions Act (MCA). This is not the first setback the Administration's second-tier court system has hit; the Supreme Court invalidated an earlier iteration of the commissions in 2006. And it won't be the last. But while this week's setback likely will be speedily surmounted, it casts an unexpected light on the MCA's real purposes, and what's at stake when the Bush Administration plays politics with national security.

    June 8, 2007
  • Six months after Congress enacted the Military Commissions Act of 2006 with its eyes firmly on the polls, there have been many promises and proposals from legislators about how to remedy the damage done to civil liberties by that law-but little action. Despite the powerful advocacy of former military officials, religious figures, and law enforcement officials, Congress has as of yet failed to fix a single one of the MCA's many flaws.

    May 14, 2007
  • Talk of emergencies and their consequences has been thick in the air since 9/11. The Bush administration insists that the current fight against terrorism -- a situation it has an interest in depicting as a continuous crisis -- requires the courts and Congress to take a back seat. But the White House's claims of omnicompetence starkly conflict with mounting evidence of negligence and malfeasance. From the stacks of cash gone astray in Iraq to the embarrassing criminal proceeding against CIA agents in Germany for the erroneous "rendition" of an innocent man, the news for mavens of centralized executive authority is hardly comforting.

    May 9, 2007

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