Yesterday brought more clarity on the failed interrogation and detention policies of the Bush administration—including new insight into the torture and abuse that permeated their prosecution of the “War on Terror.” But it also brought forward important reforms from the Obama administration: looking at best practices from professional interrogators in the FBI, CIA and elsewhere to create policies that will make America more secure and prevent abuses.
On Friday, one of the GOP’s top national security voices in the House of Representatives, Peter Hoekstra (R-MI), contradicted the leadership of his own party by acknowledging the reality that U.S. prisons are capable of holding Guantanamo detainees. Leading conservatives have launched numerous political attacks over the last few months arguing that closing Guantanamo would bring terrorists into our backyards. These arguments, as President Obama said in May, are not “rational.”
Six years ago President Bush launched the invasion of Iraq. Thankfully, we finally have a clear exit strategy that will redeploy all American forces out of Iraq by the end of 2011. Today, the National Security Network is releasing a comprehensive analysis of the legacy of the Iraq war and tomorrow we will be analyzing the changes that Barack Obama and progressives have managed to push through in the last year.
Almost six years after an invasion that was supposed to spread democracy throughout the Middle East, more than 4,000 American troops and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed, the American economy has absorbed approximately $1 trillion in costs, the Middle East has been destabilized and America’s image around the world has been sullied.
A new report from the bi-partisan Commission on the Prevention of WMD Proliferation and Terrorism finds that not enough has been done, and without strong US action, a terrorist attack using WMD is “more likely than not” to occur within the next five years. The report points to Pakistan, with its possession of nuclear weapons, political instability, and the presence of Al Qaeda and other international terrorist groups, as a possible “unwitting source of a terrorist attack in the United States.”
Experts agree that the release of a new tape by Al Qaeda’s second in command Ayman al-Zawahri indicates that Al Qaeda feels threatened and is on its heels after Obama’s resounding victory. President-elect Obama’s diverse background, along with his pledge to reverse many of the policies and approaches of the Bush administration, has served to dramatically improve America’s image, especially in the Muslim world.
The Center for American Progress has released a report highlighting the need for a strategic overhaul in the US relationship with Pakistan. It points toward a policy which recognizes the linked challenges presented by Pakistan, Afghanistan and India; broadens the US relationship with Pakistan beyond military and intelligence coordination; and supports good governance and the forces of democracy within Pakistan.