President Obama Friday that he sympathizes with Americans’ war-weariness but is considering a “limited, narrow” military response to Syria’s use of chemical-weapons. “A lot of people think something should be done, but nobody wants to do it,” Mr. Obama said shortly after his administration made a forceful case that the Syrian regime killed more than 1,400 of its own civilians on Aug. 21 near Damascus. “There is a certain weariness, given Afghanistan,” the president said. “There is a certain suspicion of any military action, post-Iraq. And I very much appreciate that.”
Britain’s standing on the world stage has suffered an unprecedented blow, with David Cameron mocked on both sides of the Atlantic for failing to back President Obama in intervening in Syria. Urgent calls were made to the White House last night soon after the government defeat amid claims by one Whitehall official that Britain had ‘handed back its deputy sheriff badge’. But US newspapers were united in their view that the ´normally reliable Brits´ had ´balked´ at the prospect of a new conflict in the Middle East, leaving Mr Obama to go it alone.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi pressed top administration officials Thursday night to take military action to punish Syrian President Bashar Assad in response to reports that he used chemical weapons in his nation’s ongoing civil war. “It is clear that the American people are weary of war. However, Assad gassing his own people is an issue of our national security, regional stability and global security,” Pelosi said in a statement after the 90-minute conference call with members of the National Security Council and 26 high-ranking lawmakers. (Snip) Pelosi “said we should do something,” the second source said, adding that Pelosi
Sen. Rand Paul said Friday that President Obama appears to be interested in “saving face” when it comes to his pending decision on whether to approve U.S.-led military strikes against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Mr. Paul, a likely contender for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, said that Mr. Obama, a Democrat, painted himself into a corner by declaring in 2012 that the use of chemical weapons represented a “red line” for the United States. “It sounds to me like saving face because he has made a promise, so he is going to follow through with his promise,”
In laying out the case for military strikes on Syria, Secretary of John Kerry on Friday had praise for the French, who he called “our oldest ally,” but snubbed any mention of the British, who have long believed they enjoyed a “special relationship” with the U.S. Mr. Kerry was trying to rally world support for retaliatory strikes against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, and pointing to other nations that have concluded troops loyal to the Assad government used chemical weapons last week. Mr. Kerry cited Australia, Turkey and the Arab League — as well as the French.
With just over a month until the Affordable Care Act reaches a major milestone, as the law’s insurance exchanges are rolled out, the battle over the law is heating up again. Both sides are bringing out their biggest stars. Supporters will get help from Bill Clinton, who will resume his role as “Secretary of Explaining Stuff” next week at his presidential library in Arkansas, where he will give a major policy speech covering the Affordable Care Act and the changes ahead. White House Senior Adviser Daniel Pfeiffer tweeted about the announcement. (Snip for graphic)Meanwhile, Sarah Palin has lent her signature
WASHINGTON (AP) — Months after gun control efforts crumbled in Congress, Vice President Joe Biden stood shoulder to shoulder Thursday with the attorney general and the top U.S. firearms official and declared the Obama administration would take two new steps to curb American gun violence. But the narrow, modest scope of those steps served as pointed reminders that without congressional backing, President Barack Obama´s capacity to make a difference is severely inhibited. Still, Biden renewed a pledge from him and the president to seek legislative fixes to keep guns from those who shouldn´t have them
The Pakistani doctor who was hailed a hero after helping the CIA hunt down Osama bin Laden has had a 33 year prison sentence for treason overturned. Shakil Afridi was convicted in May 2012 on charges unrelated to the bin Laden incident of ´conspiring against the state´ by giving money and providing medical treatment to Islamic militants in Pakistan´s Khyber tribal area. The doctor´s family and the militants denied the allegations. Yesterday a senior Pakistani judicial official overturned the sentence and ordered a re-trial, on the grounds that person who had issued the sentence had not been authorised to hear
Top secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden have revealed how a clandestine NSA unit helped bug phones to locate Osama Bin Laden, a previously undisclosed lab helped confirm his DNA and the SEALS who raided his compound were guided from space. According to a packet of classified intelligence documents that were leaked to the Washington Post by former NSA contractor-turned-Russian émigré Edward Snowden, the successful raid on Bin Laden´s lair was made possible in part thanks to a team of top secret operatives known as the Tailored Access Operation group. The elite hackers are tasked with breaking into computers and cell
President Barack Obama is planning for the possibility of launching a unilateral American military action against Syria within days after Britain opted out in a stunning vote by Parliament. Facing skepticism at home, administration officials spoke with a group of lawmakers for more than 90 minutes Thursday evening to explain why they believe Bashar Assad´s government was the culprit in a suspected chemical attack last week. Afterward, the House Democratic leader, Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, pointedly sided with Republican Speaker John Boehner of Ohio in urging the administration to do more to engage with Congress on the matter. She
One voice in Washington that has been remarkably absent from this week’s Syria debate has been that of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, Mrs. Clinton hasn’t said anything at all about President Obama’s plans for military strikes against the dictatorship in Damascus. As someone who dominated the US foreign policy landscape over the past four years, Clinton’s silence on Syria is striking. What explains this? [Snip] Firstly, a US military intervention in the Syrian civil war is strongly opposed by the vast majority of the American public.
Remember that a couple of weeks ago Glenn Greenwald´s husband was stopped at Heathrow airport, detained and had his electronic equipment seized? Well, we now have some idea of what was on it--and it doesn´t make Glenn look good. [Snip] The Government´s accessed just a small portion of an astonishing 58,000 pages of intelligence documents and, according to a witness statement by Oliver Robbins, deputy national security adviser to the Cabinet, it includes: "personal information of UK intelligence officers, any compromise of which would result in a risk to their lives and those of their family members."
Washington - The U.S. intelligence community believes that a chemical weapons attack ordered by the Syrian government Aug. 21 killed at least 1,429 people, including at least 426 children, an intelligence document says. “The United States government assesses with high confidence that the Syrian government carried out a chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburbs on Aug. 21," the report issued Friday says. “We further assess that the regime used a nerve agent in the attack.” The report is based on spies, intercepts and satellites, as well as video evidence the world has already seen, it says.
In a rare show of unity, Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali has joined the National Commission on Violence Against Women in the chorus condemning the proposed mandatory virginity test for high school girls. “It is unethical and it is an act of disrespect to women,” he said on Wednesday. of the proposal made by South Sumatra’s Prabumulih education board head. Suryadharma said the implementation of such tests could elicit negative consequences in the long term, not only in a way that would degrade the dignity of female students and women, but by potentially damaging them psychologically.
As the two candidates in Virginia´s governor´s race enter the final stretch this fall, it is starting to look like it´s Democrat Terry McAuliffe´s to lose. A Public Policy Polling survey of 500 likely voters just released has the former Democratic Party boss seven points up over GOP challenger Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. That´s a one point gain over a Quinnipiac University poll released last week and a three point gain over a similar PPP poll from last month. In the new PPP poll, 44 percent support McAuliffe, 37 percent Cuccinelli, 9 percent libertarian Robert Sarvis and 9 percent are
Breaking News: Secretary of State John F. Kerry says the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad made preparations three days before last week’s chemical weapons attack on the outskirts of Damascus and fired the rockets from regime-controlled areas. This story will be updated shortly. London - French President Francois Hollande said Friday that his country is prepared to act in Syria despite Britain’s surprise rejection of military action, potentially making a nation that turned its back on Washington during the war in Iraq the primary U.S. ally in a possible strike against Syrian forces.
Let’s count up the ways in which the Syria debate has exposed Barack Obama’s utter incompetence and lack of seriousness. 1. Failure to consult Congress. The Obama administration has built no consensus among Congress for any kind of strike. Generalissimo Pelosi wants a strike, but beyond her there is very little appetite for any U.S. action. Democrats are vocally skeptical. Republicans see a replay of Libya, just a couple of weeks before the first anniversary of the deadly attack in Benghazi. Even Dennis Kucinich is starting to make sense. There may be good reasons for striking Syria, but those reasons have
Beirut - The United Nations chemical weapons inspection team in Syria was reported to have wrapped up its field work Friday and was preparing to leave the war-torn country on Saturday. U.N. officials have generally described the 20-member contingent’s work as a success. The inspectors visited several sites of the suspected Aug. 21 poison gas attack and gathered samples, apparently of possibly contaminated soil, tissue and other evidence, and also interviewed victims, witnesses, doctors and others in and around Damascus, the Syrian capital. The U.N. team spent four working days on the ground in
The seven wonders of the ancient world are said to be the most remarkable creations of classical antiquity, yet only six per cent of Britons can actually name them all, a survey has revealed. While 61 per cent of those quizzed managed to name one - in most instances the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, only a paltry 21 per cent were capable of coming up with a second. (Snip) However the lack of knowledge may not be altogether unexpected as out of the all the monuments on original list it is now only possible to visit one -
Making ObamaCare a reality will require massive computing power to track, store and process the millions of individual cases. But in Illinois, contracts to compute that state’s cases – valued as high as $190 million – are being awarded without competitive bidding. The practice already has watchdogs crying foul. “No transparency and with no bidding -- if that’s legal in Illinois, It shouldn’t be.” said Adam Andrzejewski of openthebooks.com, a watchdog group. “To the extent that is happening across the country, the citizens need to know it.”“It has the hallmarks of everything that is Chicago and also Illinois, which is
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) offered a scathing criticism of President Obama on Syria, saying he makes “Jimmy Carter look better by the day.” Graham cast Obama’s strategy on Syria as “unintelligible” and said he had made a huge mistake by withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq and sending a U.S. ambassador back to Syria. He also told conservative radio talk show host Mike Gallagher in an interview Friday that he didn’t trust Obama on Syria, and that the administration’s talk of a limited strike won’t solve anything. “Obama is prescribing an aspirin when we have the get to the root of the problem,”
A leading human rights group has called on Dunkin´ Donuts to withdraw a "bizarre and racist" advertisement for chocolate doughnuts in Thailand that shows a smiling woman with bright pink lips in blackface makeup. The Dunkin´ Donuts franchise in Thailand launched a campaign earlier this month for its new "Charcoal Donut" featuring the image, which is reminiscent of 19th and early 20th century American stereotypes for black people that are now considered offensive symbols of a racist era.
More than 70 years after the start of World War II, America has 100,000 troops stationed at bases in Germany and Japan. More than 50 years after the cease-fire in Korea, we have nearly 30,000 American military stationed there. But in Iraq, where we toppled Saddam just a decade ago and oversaw three national elections, there isn’t a single American combat soldier left. A fact President Obama has repeatedly celebrated.(Snip)Obama’s withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq will be viewed by history as one of the greatest foreign policy blunders of all time. Please don’t start the tired “Bush Lied, People
I’ve intentionally put off commenting on Allison Benedikt’s little essay (“If you send your kid to private school, you are a bad person”) in Slate, but I think I have come up with a policy option that would satisfy both Ms. Benedikt’s concerns and my own inclinations as well. She writes: “Everyone needs to be invested in our public schools in order for them to get better. Not just lip-service investment, or property tax investment, but real flesh-and-blood-offspring investment.”(Snip) What I am proposing is to give rich white liberals the opportunity — the mandatory opportunity — to live up to
Barring some strange turn of events, it’s likely that the United States and key NATO allies will be raining TLAMs (“cruise missiles” to civilians) on Syria by the end of this week. This will be in response to reasonably hard evidence – smart money is on Israeli SIGINT [Ed note: Signals Intelligence] as the main source – that Bashar al-Assad’s regime used chemical rockets recently in the eastern suburbs of Damascus, killing at least hundreds of innocents.