Not so long ago, the United States was a master in the use of soft power and the light touch: food for famine victims, medicine for sick children, visas for foreign students, radio broadcasts about the wonders of our country, diplomatic missions to beg, cajole and threaten wayward countries back into line.
As Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli has noted, the US Agency for International Development employed about 15,000 people during the Vietnam era. Today, it has about 3,000.
Now we use our billions, instead, to hire mercenaries.
Howard has no plans to make price fixing criminal
Prime Minister John Howard has refused to commit to making price fixing a criminal offence but said the government would continue to review the Trade Practices Act.
His comments come after billionaire businessman Richard Pratt yesterday admitted his company Visy was involved in price fixing in the cardboard market.
Debkafile is the website that posted the Al Qaeda warning that triggered the New York radiological deployment in August.
On Aug. 9, DEBKAfile revealed an al Qaeda Web site warning mentioning New York, Los Angeles and Miami as targets of attacks “by means of trucks loaded with radioactive material.” A second warning added Washington, Seattle and Texas to those targets.
Our counter-terror sources note that the very fact that the United States is conducting exercises this month to test its homeland readiness for a “dirty bomb” threat shows that US security planners have taken the al Qaeda threat to heart.
Sydney Morning Herald. October 9, 2007.
A cynical, amoral & opportunistic creature is Brendan Nelson (‘Explosive device may have come from Iran: Nelson’, Herald, October9).
The loss of Australian Trooper, David Pearce, had hardly been announced before the Minister for Defence accused Iran of being responsible, brutally & dishonestly mimicking the latest attempts by the Bush administration to demonise its government, whist casually acknowledging that there was no “proof”.
Minchin 'surprised' by criticism of possible Parliament recall ....
Federal Finance Minister Nick Minchin has dismissed claims that it would be a waste for Parliament to sit next week.
The Labor Party is using today's three-year anniversary of the last election to again call on Prime Minister John Howard to set a date for this year's poll.
If Mr Howard calls the election before next Monday, Parliament will not return until after the poll.
The so-called war on terror has been a "disaster" and British military policy in Iraq and Afghanistan must be fundamentally changed if al-Qaeda is to be defeated, a report released today states.
The report, by the Oxford Research Group think tank, calls for major changes in foreign policy and warns of the dangers of military action against Iran.
Iraq has become a training ground for violent jihadists and British and US forces should withdraw from the country immediately, it adds.
The bushit administration may be funnelling more & more money into Iraq, but Afghanistan - yes, the same Afghanistan that Osama bin Laden & Al Qaeda used as a safe haven to plan the September 11th attacks - has fallen by the wayside.
Sunday marks the sixth anniversary of the US-led invasion of Afghanistan. The goals: to oust the Taliban & Al Qaeda & build a stable, secure Afghanistan.
from The Observer
The PM might mouth platitudes, but our phone records lie exposed, a whistleblower is prosecuted and a demonstration is banned.
The art of government these days is to extend power without people noticing. Gordon Brown proclaims his solemn duty 'to uphold freedom of speech, freedom of information and freedom of protest', yet his ministers steal through the night to attack each one of these rights. We are moving with a sickening speed to a point where the reality of government intentions is the precise opposite of its presentational rhetoric.
Once upon a time, it was the United States that urged all nations to obey the letter and the spirit of international treaties and protect human rights and liberties. American leaders denounced secret prisons where people were held without charges, tortured and killed. And the people in much of the world, if not their governments, respected the United States for its values.
US accuses Iran's envoy to Iraq
The top US military commander in Iraq, Gen David Petraeus, has accused Iran's ambassador of belonging to an elite unit of Iran's Revolutionary Guards.
Gen Petraeus said Hassan Kazemi-Qomi was a member of the Quds Force, which the US believes backs foreign Islamic revolutionary movements.
Gen Petraeus said he had no doubt Iran was behind attacks that had led to the deaths of US soldiers.
As a new conservative campaign group with links to the White House prepares to make the case that Iran is a direct threat to the US, Patrick Mercer urged scepticism towards any US justification for strikes against the country.
In two separate legal opinions written in 2005, the Justice Department
The memorandums were written just months after a Justice Department opinion
Turning Success Into Failure
from the Centre for American Progress