Archive for the ‘Military’ Category

5490869a95954.imageMark Oberholtzer, owner of Mark-1 Plumbing in Texas City, has suddenly found his business advertised internationally. However, it is not quite the exposure that he was hoping for. A recent picture of the Islamic extremist brigade Ansar al-Deen Front in Syria shows their fighters firing an anti-aircraft gun mounted on a truck proudly displaying his name and logo. Can anyone say “misappropriation of name or likeness”? My expectations is that a tort lawsuit is not troubling these extremists as a priority concern.

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250px-46_Dick_Cheney_3x4I have long argued in my column as well as numerous blog postings that our country is legally bound to prosecute people responsible for ordering torture during the Bush Administration. There is no question that water boarding is torture as recognized by President Obama, Attorney General Holder, the United Nations and virtually every expert in this field. However, while you may want to try to rewrite legal precedent (as did John Yoo and Jay Bybee in their infamous Torture Memos), you should not try to rewrite history. That is what former Vice President Dick Cheney appears to be doing this month. He told Chuck Todd on Sunday that we never prosecuted anyone for water boarding — an assertion that I and others have repeatedly raised over the years. The statement is simply false and adds historical revisionism to legal revisionism in our sordid foray into torture.

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158px-flag_of_afghanistansvgPresident_Barack_ObamaDespite the public pledge of President Obama to pull out of Afghanistan, we continue to spend huge amounts of money in the war and the Obama Administration has fought to keep U.S. troops in the country. Now an estimate from the Financial Times and independent researchers put the cost of the war at roughly $1 trillion with a commitment of hundreds of billions more in the coming years. There continues to be no serious debate over our ongoing losses both in personnel and money in this war.

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220px-John_Brennan_CIA_official_portrait

Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Weekend Contributor

This past week’s news reports of the Senate report on the CIA Torture program were both distressing and enlightening.   I was dismayed to not only read what the full extent of the CIA’s Torture program was, but also when I read pundits and former CIA officials claim that rectal rehydration was merely a medical procedure! I was further discouraged when commenters on this blog made claims that waterboarding and other torture tactics were either necessary or what the devils deserved.

Very few pundits or commenters seem to care if the so-called Enhanced Interrogation techniques were legal or ethical when the CIA resorted to them shortly after 9/11.  This “debate” over the actions taken in our name by the CIA has gone from a report based on the CIA’s own words to denials that the techniques were torture, to claims that great intelligence value was gained using the torture and claims that it was a biased report written by Democrats. (more…)

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senate_large_seal200px-CIA.svgBelow is my column today in USA Today on the torture report. This is the slightly longer version that ran on the Internet.
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250px-Army_of_the_deadIn movies like The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, a ghost army can be a decisive advantage for a besieged army. It appears that Iraq has not just a ghost army but one that is 50,000 strong. The “ghost soldiers” were discovered in an investigation as the latest example of corruption in the country where literally billions of dollars in U.S. aid have disappeared without a trace.

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305px-USA_PFC_BoweBergdahl_ACU_CroppedDefense_Finance_Accounting_Services_(DFAS)_Official_SealIt has been a virtual mantra of U.S. policy for decades that we do not negotiate with terrorists and never never pay ransoms. That is why a new report is so startling even though it has received relatively little attention. The Pentagon reportedly gave an unspecified but large amount of money to an Afghan for the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and then found out the money and the Afghan disappeared without a trace. The Pentagon is denying that it tried to pay a ransom for Bergdahl.

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