Despite the widespread hysteria over the potential of a nuclear-armed Iran, American intelligence agencies have still not found evidence that the Iranian regime is actually pursuing atomic weapons, according to recent government assessments cited in news reports and congressional testimony from top U.S. officials.
U.S. Army PFC Bradley Manning was formally charged on Thursday under the Espionage Act (18 USC Chapter 37) with 22 crimes, including aiding the enemy. In what is described as “the biggest leak of classified information in U.S. history,” Manning is accused of passing over 700,000 documents and video clips to WikiLeaks, the widely known website devoted to exposing government corruption throughout the world.
On February 18 at a mosque in Berlin, Connecticut, citizens from all walks of life and all political persuasions came together to organize themselves in opposition to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), particularly provisions of that recently enacted law that provide for the arrest and indefinite detention of American citizens by the military.
With the Pentagon’s announcement in early February that it plans to ease restrictions on women serving in combat roles, the bulk of Republican presidential candidates appear to have no problem putting women military personnel deeper in harm’s way. As reported by the Associated Press, while the proposed new rules “are expected to continue the long-held prohibition that prevents women from serving as infantry, armor and special operations forces … they will formally allow women to serve in other jobs at the battalion level, which until now had been considered too close to combat.”
Early yesterday this reporter was privileged to participate in a press conference of representatives of several organizations and several individuals fighting the battle against the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on the national, state, and local levels.
Notorious anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed fighting in Iraq, is being sued by the federal government on behalf of the Internal Revenue Service for openly refusing to pay taxes since 2004. She responded to the charges by claiming to be a “conscientious tax objector” because the money is being used to wage “illegal and immoral” wars.
On Tuesday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed a lower court’s dismissal of two wrongful death lawsuits filed by the families of two former inmates of the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility in Cuba.
In 1967, Michigan Governor George W. Romney, a potential contender for the 1968 Republican presidential nomination, abandoned his earlier support for the war in Vietnam, which he had called “morally right and necessary.” Asked why he changed his position, Romney said, “When I came back from Viet Nam [in November 1965], I’d just had the greatest brainwashing that anybody can get.” That remark indicating the U.S. military had lied to him was widely interpreted as a fatal gaffe, and Romney pulled out of the race two weeks before the New Hampshire primary.
Three of the four remaining candidates for the Republican presidential nomination have spoken out against planned reductions in future defense spending. Both former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich have urged President Barack Obama to prevent the sequestering of $600 billion from the defense budget over the next 10 years as required by last summer’s debt ceiling deal. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum stated categorically that he “would absolutely not cut one penny out of military spending.”
It was in the fall of 1962 that President John F. Kennedy set forth his vision of seeing Americans successful land on the Moon and return safely by the end of the decade, but an important step on the race to the Moon had already been taken seven months earlier. On February 20, 1962, a 40-year-old Marine Corps pilot from the state of Ohio became the first American to orbit the Earth. Now, 50 years later, former Sen. John Glenn (D-Ohio) still insists he never saw himself as a hero, but a nation that was in the depths of the Cold War at the time of his flight aboard the Friendship 7 spacecraft would have disagreed.