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September 05 2013

Onward Into Syria, Blindly : The New Yorker

Onward Into Syria, Blindly : The New Yorker

Four days on and President Obama’s gambit of going to Congress for approval of military action in Syria is working out pretty well for him. Senator John McCain, his opponent in the 2008 campaign, is standing shoulder to shoulder with him. Secretary of State John Kerry is busy making allusions to Munich, and the skeptics in the Pentagon are keeping their doubts to themselves. The pro-bombing side is clearly on top. Ranged against it, an unlikely alliance of Tea Party Republicans, liberal Democrats, and war-weary moderates is making little progress.

But while the war party may have the votes, the skeptics still have the stronger arguments.

August 31 2013

Obama Promises Syria Strike Will Have No Objective : The New Yorker

Obama Promises Syria Strike Will Have No Objective : The New Yorker


Let me be clear, ” he said in an interview on CNN. “ Our goal will not be to effect régime change, or alter the balance of power in Syria, or bring the civil war there to an end. We will simply do something random there for one or two days and then leave.

“I want to reassure our allies and the people of Syria that what we are about to undertake, if we undertake it at all, will have no purpose or goal,” he said. “This is consistent with U.S. foreign policy of the past.”

While Mr. Obama clearly hoped that his proposal of a brief and pointless intervention in Syria would reassure the international community, it immediately drew howls of protest from U.S. allies, who argued that two days was too open-ended a timeframe for such a mission.

That criticism led White House spokesman Jay Carney to brief reporters later in the day, arguing that the President was willing to scale down the U.S. mission to “twenty-four hours, thirty-six tops.”

“It may take twenty-four hours, but it could also take twelve,” Mr. Carney said.

“Maybe we get in there, take a look around, and get out right away. But however long it takes, one thing will not change: this mission will have no point. The President is resolute about that.”

August 02 2013

Presenting XKeyscore : What the N.S.A. Is Still Hiding : The New Yorker

Presenting #XKeyscore: What the N.S.A. Is Still Hiding : The New Yorker

As the Washington Post pointed out, the documents the government released Wednesday talk about the precautions analysts takes, but then “also apparently shows that #NSA technicians, contrary to government officials’ statements, may review the data even when there is no connection to foreign terrorism.” Where is the line between performing technical tasks and domestic spying?


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