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Defense & Foreign Policy Archive

Paris Attacks Show the War on Terror Isn't Working | Commentary

The recent attacks that took place in Paris were tragedies that deserve a thoughtful, reasoned response. Instead, many have used this opportunity to advocate for enhanced militarization and ramped-up reactionary tactics, from House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, to Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. Certainly it is tempting to react with fear when such horrific events happen. But the real lesson to be learned from the Paris attacks is that endless, global war is not the solution to violent extremism. Here’s why.

One Ukraine | Commentary

Months after European diplomats first leaked and then recanted stories about an alleged plan by Russia to split my country between itself and Poland, the future integrity of Ukraine remains in doubt. For months, we have been frozen in time: between war and truce, between default and salvation, between behaving as a single nation or merely as cabals of rivaling elites. If Ukrainians cannot find some common ground soon, the idea of One Ukraine may become lost for a generation. Now, more than ever, we need our friends to help us help ourselves.

The New Security Matrix -- Military Readiness Must be Key Congressional Priority | Commentary

As we mourn with those in France who died at the hands of murderous Islamic extremists, as we remember that such brutal terrorism is rampant all over the globe, we are mindful that here at home responsible military readiness is one of the best vanguards for our collective national security.

Fight Over the Fate of Gitmo Rages On in Congress

Within hours of last week’s mass killing at a satirical magazine in Paris, Sen. Kelly Ayotte was on the Fox News airwaves arguing that the terrorist attack illustrated the folly of the Obama administration’s efforts to close the U.S. military-run prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

Guantanamo Will Be Closed Before Obama's Term Ends, Ex-Official Predicts

The former State Department official charged with closing the Guantánamo Bay detention facility predicted over the weekend that President Barack Obama will keep his promise to shutter the prison before ending his term.

Now Is Not the Time for New Iran Sanctions | Commentary

Some Senate Republicans are promising that one of their first orders of business this month as the chamber’s leaders will be a vote on a new Iran sanctions bill while the U.S. and the other nations continue to make progress in negotiations to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.

Congress: Good Things Can Happen, and That Inspires Hope | Commentary

When Congress chooses to act with a bipartisan focus on doing the right thing, barriers are broken and good things can happen. Good things such as saving and improving millions of children’s lives.

A Congressional Commission to Bolster the Prosperity in Asia-Pacific | Commentary

As many analysts have pointed out, cross-straits issues concern not only the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, but also the Asian-Pacific region, because it may be the only issue that could provoke a conflict between the United States and China. At a deeper level, China still presents a distinct challenge to the United States. The 114th Congress leaders in the House and the Senate must focus on how the nation will deal with it’s rebalancing in the Asia-Pacific, their associated security concerns, and regional evolving security realities.

Invest in the Land and Water Conservation Fund | Commentary

The passage of this year’s National Defense Authorization Act provided funding for American military operations — and included a suite of parks and wilderness bills. While it is perhaps an unlikely pairing in Washington, there is in fact a strong relationship between American military history and our national public lands. In fact, these two integral parts of America’s identity — the service of military veterans and the natural wonders of our public lands — have been connected for more than a century, and it is appropriate that we invest in both.

Congress' Missile Defense Opportunity | Commentary

One of the first tasks the new Congress will need to consider is how to strengthen the U.S. National Missile Defense program. No congressional responsibility is more important than protecting the American people against nuclear threats from North Korea and other U.S. adversaries.

From Aid to Impact: Supporting U.S. Foreign Assistance | Commentary

What impact is U.S. investment in foreign aid having in far off, foreign countries? In D.C., we receive statistics about the impact of aid, but never get a face or a name of those affected by our help. Traveling to Cambodia, the largest single beneficiary of U.S. aid in maternal and neonatal health, changed that. That’s where we met Navy, a 30-year-old woman who lives with her 6-year-old daughter, Davin in Phnom Penh.

The 'Torture Works' Narrative Is Crumbling | Commentary

In painful detail, the declassified portions of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA’s former detention and interrogation program erase any doubt that the United States systematically tortured prisoners in its custody. Too many people who should have known better violated our nation’s most sacred laws and values. Why? Because doing so was necessary to save lives, we were told. For years, torture’s apologists sold that story without having to prove it. “Classified,” they would claim, “but if you only knew what we know  . . . ”

How Should We Fund the War Against the Islamic State? | Commentary

The decision to commit U.S. forces to the fight against the Islamic State raises a number of fundamental questions that have received inadequate attention. Several issues involve constitutional principles that need to be publicly debated and resolved. Directly at stake is the appropriation power of Congress, the degree to which U.S. taxpayers should cover the cost and the authority of all lawmakers — not merely members of designated committees — to decide funding decisions.

Service Members, Spouses and Veterans Often Need a New Kind of College Education | Commentary

When the newly elected Congress convenes, it will consider two seemingly unrelated issues: funding a new military involvement in the Middle East and reauthorizing the Higher Education Act, which governs student aid.

Congress Approving $721 Million for Syrian Rebels

Congress is in the process of allowing the Pentagon to spend nearly $721 million to recruit, train and equip a rebel army in Syria, and lawmakers have set strict limits on how the money can be spent, according to officials and documents.

Defense Authorization Set to Clear, But Spending Bill's Outlook Still Cloudy

Maintaining a tradition that has lasted more than half a century, the Senate is poised to clear for President Barack Obama’s signature Friday afternoon the annual defense authorization bill.

Feinstein Plans to Push for New Laws Stemming from CIA Torture Report

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., plans to push for fresh legislation stemming from her panel's report into the CIA's post-9/11 detainee interrogation practices, but she'll likely face an uphill climb because even Republicans sympathetic to criticisms of the CIA’s methods say there are no need for new laws.

Senate Report Tests U.S. State-Secrets Defense

The Senate’s report on CIA interrogation practices is poised to become a new weapon in legal proceedings for former and current detainees, both in the United States and foreign courts.

CIA Report Leaves Open Questions About White House Knowledge

The blockbuster report on CIA interrogation practices after 9/11 from the Senate Intelligence Committee confirmed reports and answered scores of lingering questions about the Bush-era policies. But the report doesn’t provide a definitive accounting of exactly what detail White House staff knew about the program, and when they knew it.

Congress: Support Higher Level of Press Freedoms, End Propaganda | Commentary

It seems that recently, U.S. media took a turn for the worse. In 2013, Reporters Without Borders noted a profound erosion of press freedom, which included a year of attacks on whistleblowers and digital journalists, and revelations about mass surveillance. The U.S. plunged 13 spots on the group’s rankings to No. 46.

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