RAY MCGOVERN – There must be accountability for Afghanistan. The more so since generals and admirals, active duty and retired, are going off half-cocked. Some of them, like Admiral Charles Richards, head of US Strategic Command, are saying nuclear war is possible. Earlier this year Richards wrote that the US must shift from a principal assumption that nuclear weaponsâ€™ use is nearly impossible to “nuclear employment is a very real possibility.” And retired Adm. James Stavridis, former commander of NATO, is already talking about war with China “perhaps ten years from now.” Accountability and effective civilian control of such general officers can prevent the next March of Folly.
STEPHEN F. COHEN – Heedless of the consequences, or perhaps welcoming them, Americaâ€™s Cold Warriors and their media platforms have recently escalated their rhetoric against Russia, especially in March. Anyone who has lived through or studied the preceding 40-year Cold War will recognize the ominous echoes of its most dangerous periods, when actual war was on the horizon or a policy option. Here are only a few random but representative examples.
ALEX GORDON – I had done this a few dozen times myself, 6,000 miles away from my Alexandria, Va., apartment. As an Army infantryman in Iraq, Iâ€™d always been on the trigger side of the weapon. Now that I was on the barrel side, I recalled basic trainingâ€™s most important firearm rule: Aim only at something you intend to kill. I had conducted the same kind of raid on suspected bombmakers and high-value insurgents. But the Fairfax County officers in my apartment were aiming their weapons at a target whose rap sheet consisted only of parking tickets and an overdue library book.
NORMAN SOLOMAN – This [past] week, in a federal courtroom, Iâ€™ve heard a series of government witnesses testify behind a screen while expounding on a central precept of the national security state: The CIA can do no wrong. Those CIA employees and consultants are more than mere loyalists for an agency that soaks up $15 billion a year and continues to loosen the bonds of accountability. The docket says â€œUnited States of America v. Jeffrey Alexander Sterling,â€ but a more discerning title would be â€œNational Security State v. The Publicâ€™s Right to Know.â€