Daniel W. Drezner (Foreign Policy): Why Obama is arming Syria’s rebels: it’s the realism, stupid.
…. is this the first step towards another U.S.-led war in the region? No. Everything in that Times story, and everything this administration has said and done for the past two years, screams deep reluctance over intervention. Arming the rebels is not the same thing as a no-fly zone or any kind of ground intervention. This is simply the United States engaging in its own form of asymmetric warfare. For the low, low price of aiding and arming the rebels, the U.S. preoccupies all of its adversaries in the Middle East.
…. Now let’s be clear: to describe this as “morally questionable” would be an understatement. It’s a policy that makes me very uncomfortable… until one considers the alternatives. What it’s not, however, is a return to liberal hawkery.
So, to conclude: the United States is using a liberal internationalist rubric to cloak a pretty realist policy towards Syria.
Steve Benen: It was just three weeks ago that President Obama made a persuasive case for closing the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. He described a military prison that costs too much, has become an international embarrassment, and is filled with “people who have been charged with no crime.”
…. Last week, House Republicans once again barred the Obama administration from transferring detainees from Guantanamo Bay. Friday, against a backdrop of a terrible hunger strike, a Democratic effort to do the right thing was easily defeated in the face of mindless, reactionary conservative opposition.
Kurt Eichenwald: PRISM Isn’t Data Mining and Other Falsehoods in the N.S.A. “Scandal”
I can’t stand it.
A few days ago, I wrote in some detail about the National Security Agency’s data-mining program in hopes of calming the hysteria that has been whipped up in the last number of days by incorrect and misleading reports, as well as by plenty of ill-informed commentary based on those errors. At this point, I’ve decided that I need to tell a little bit more…..
Tommy Christopher (Mediaite): …. Glenn Greenwald and his source, whistle-and-country-blower Edward Snowden, have completely taken over the political media with revelations that hype well, but don’t amount to much upon closer examination. Now, Greenwald promises more (and more devastating) revelations to come, but what has been revealed so far is about as alarming as an epidemic of Pac Man Fever….
…. That hasn’t stopped the media from going all Chicken Little, some because they’re desperate to “have the conversation,” some because they want to attack President Obama to prove varying types of cred, and some because they’d like even less fettering of the surveillance state. I think we do need to “have the conversation” about government surveillance, but it should begin in 1978, not last week, when the world discovered that the first black president was in charge of it….
A year ago: President Obama is reflected in the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall as he delivers remarks during the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War commemoration ceremony in Washington, D.C., May 28, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)
10:05: The President departs the White House
11:05: Arrives New Jersey
11:15: Attorney General Eric Holder will deliver keynote remarks to 70 new citizens at a special naturalization ceremony in the Justice Department
1:15: First Lady Michelle Obama Speaks at the White House Kitchen Garden Summer Harvest
1:30: President Obama delivers remarks at Asbury Park Convention Hall
2:15: VP Biden, Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar and President Martelly Speak to the Press, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago (Audio Only at WH Live)
2:50: President Obama departs New Jersey
3:55: Arrives the White House
5:30: Delivers remarks at the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration at the White House
Consumers Are Thrilled, Economic Data Is Kicking Ass, And The Stock Market Is Going Wild read.bi/152QoX4
Steve Benen: It’s been nearly a week since President Obama announced his vision for ending the nation’s post-9/11 war footing and rejecting the notion of perpetual war, and while the pushback from the right was immediate, Republican opposition to the shift appears to be hardening.
…. of particular interest were Republican complaints about the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay ….. Rep. Peter King: “…. The president had five years to end this if he really wanted to. He could’ve moved most of those prisoners out of the country.”
….. I couldn’t help but laugh …. Less than a month after President Obama’s 2009 inauguration, King’s Republican colleagues began throwing a major tantrum over the very idea of closing the detention facility….. Three months later, Congress blocked the president from transferring detainees. A year later, they Congress did it again. Does King not remember any of this? If not, why not?
VP Biden, Dr Jill Biden and Colombia’s Commander of the Armed Forces Alejandro Navas, stand for the Colombian national anthem during a ceremony to honor Air Force servicemen fallen on the line of duty in a chapel at the Air Force base in Bogota, May 27
Karen Greenberg (Daily Beast): … The Obama administration’s decision to try Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame, a Somali national accused of terrorism, in federal court is the beginning of a new conversation…..
With the Warsame decision, the Obama administration has taken its first steps to create a post-Guantanamo world. Warsame was not brought to Gitmo; he was not hidden in a prison in Afghanistan. Since the prison at Guantanamo opened in January 2002, Warsame is essentially the first high-value foreign terror suspect to be rounded up abroad and brought into U.S. custody.
This is a welcome and long-overdue step. And, in many ways, it is the first realization of the president’s promise at the outset of his presidency to close Guantanamo….
With the transfer of Warsame nearly 10 years after 9/11, the Obama administration has done what the Bush administration should have done when it opened Guantanamo in January 2002. Instead of side-stepping the law and its procedures and standards, it has firmly embraced the American legal system and its courts as a viable tool in its arsenal against captured terrorism suspects.
… It is good news that Guantanamo may no longer be open for business. But this is only a first step in creating a sustainable system to replace the U.S. detention policy that has defined the war on terror.