Gareth Porter, independent researcher and journalist, discusses Obama’s extended withdrawal plan that keeps tens of thousands of troops in Iraq indefinitely, the political calculation behind the change from a 16 to 19 month withdrawal timetable and the incremental victory won by the generals and Pentagon officials who want to stay in Iraq for the long term.
David R. Henderson, research fellow with the Hoover Institution, discusses the love-fest between Congressional Democrats and President Obama, the benefit of empire for a select few and the net loss for everyone else, the common misconceptions on what caused and worsened the 1973 oil crisis and the difficulty of communicating with people whose ideas and arguments are wrapped in insulating layers of emotion and patriotism.
Kaveh L. Afrasiabi, author of the article “Iran’s security concerns weigh heavy” in the Asia Times Online, discusses Iranian security from a non-U.S. perspective, the problems presented by instability in Pakistan, tensions between Sunni and Shia throughout the region, how the U.S. embargo on Iran hurts U.S. companies and the similar meaning of President Obama’s “clenched fist” metaphor and Bush’s “axis of evil” designation.
Daniel Levy, Senior Fellow and Co-Director of the Middle East Task Force at the New America Foundation, discusses the future of Israel with Benjamin Netanyahu as likely next Prime Minister, the multi-party complexity of Knesset coalition negotiations, how an Israeli government that includes moderate factions would provide some protection from international condemnation of future bad behavior and how U.S. initiative combined with Israelis and Palestinians thinking outside the box can produce unusual compromises for a viable two-state solution.
Glenn Greenwald, renowned Salon.com blogger, discusses the Obama administration’s impact on civil liberties, the failure of Obama’s government to reverse a single Bush-era legal position, how the Bagram prison in Afghanistan is replacing Guantanamo as the new extralegal detention facility, the spectacular claim that a global war on terror makes the whole world a battlefield and all its inhabitants potential enemy combatants, the history of the state secrets privilege from its original limited exemptions to the current claims of total immunity and why non-prosecuting truth and reconciliation committees should be reserved for third-world countries.
Robert Higgs, senior fellow at the Independent Institute and author of Depression, War and Cold War, discusses his thesis of “regime uncertainty” as a major factor of the Great Depression, the crash and recovery of 1921-22, the bubble created by the Fed in the later “roaring” twenties in order to prop up British interests, how World War II provided the certainty big business needed to start investing again – in arms, why the Cold War buildup was still cheap enough for the economy to continue under its weight, who really benefits from empire, who pays, the irrelevance of trade deficits, the roots of the financial crisis in Wall St.’s bogus financial models, congressional and Federal Reserve polices and the cartelized ratings business, the all-important intertwined policy of inflation and war, his view of the extent of the collapse and whether the empire will be dismantled, the danger of high price inflation, danger of nationalization, and why government regulation of the market is responsible for – not the solution to – its failures.
Jacob Hornberger, founder and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation, discusses the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court hearing of the Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri case, the inability of habeas corpus to protect even U.S. citizens from being designated enemy-combatants, the history of terrorism prosecution in U.S. criminal courts and how the continued U.S. assertion that Afghanistan is a war zone further undermines the credibility of Hamid Karzai’s government.
Gareth Porter, independent researcher and journalist, discusses the continuing struggle over control of the Iraq war narrative, the influence of retired general Jack Keane on the Bush Administration’s Iraq policy, the surprising strength and stability of the Iraqi government and why General Petraeus’s proposal for an extended Iraq withdrawal is a ploy get more time to scuttle the SOFA agreement.
Thomas E. Woods Jr., scholar at the Ludwig von Mises Institute and author of the new book Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse, discusses the economic and historical parallels between the Great Depression and the current economic crises, why the Austrian theory of the business cycle provides the only adequate explanation for both and why government attempts to ameilerate the effects of their intervention can only make matters worse.
Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) discusses the wisdom of using letters of marque and reprisal instead of waging conventional wars to fight terrorism, the slippery slope from government-mandated national service to military conscription, why the richly deserved criminal investigation of key Bush administration officials won’t happen and the deleterious effects of Plan Columbia and the U.S. war on drugs.
Col. William Astore (Ret.), author of the article “Who’s Military is it Anyway” at TomDispatch.com, discusses the distinction between an all-volunteer and an all-recruited military, the increasing similarities between the U.S. military and the French foreign legion, the misguided push to re-institute the draft as an antiwar measure and how the characterizations of military deployments as “long wars” become self-fulfilling prophesies.
Dahr Jamail, author of Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq, discusses the improved security in Baghdad that comes by way of a semi-police state fortified with concrete blast walls, the millions of Iraqi refugees who claim they will never return, the rising discontent among members of Sunni “Awakening” groups, the incredibly high potential for violence in a politically unstable country with armed militias and 50% unemployment and how the numerous U.S. military bases create facts on the ground that make a speedy withdrawal seem unlikely.
Chris Floyd, author of Empire Burlesque – High Crimes and Low Comedy in the Bush Imperium, discusses how the Obama administration maintains the Bush policy of using a “state secrets” privilege to prevent torture lawsuits, the suspension of British torture trials following U.S. threats of withholding terrorism information, the new business-as-usual CIA chief Leon Panetta and the little-known history and disastrous consequences of U.S. meddling in Somalia.
Philip Giraldi, author of the “Smoke and Mirrors” column at Antiwar.com, discusses the bogus War on Terrorism, Turkey’s role in Middle Eastern regional politics, the Obama administration’s wishful thinking that a lucky missile strike in Waziristan will kill Osama bin Laden, the continuation of the war in Afghanistan despite a worldwide general consensus that it’s a lost cause and the rumors behind Anthony Zinni’s rescinded job offer to be the Ambassador to Iraq.