Since March 31, a United States Marine has been in custody in a Mexican prison. Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi was detained after making a wrong turn near the Mexican border. He told the Mexican police that there was no way to make a U-turn on the road he was traveling, thus he entered Mexican territory by mistake.
At the time of his arrest, Tahmooressi was in possession of three legally registered guns. The guns were safely stored in his truck, so the Marine was no reckless lawbreaker trying to commit crimes in Mexico. Tahmooressi told the Mexican authorities about the guns and followed their instructions. His polite cooperation was ignored by a Mexican military official, who seemed intent on bringing the Marine to prison. According to Tahmooressi, the officer made a calculation that "three guns…equals prison."
A Marine entering Mexican territory by mistake should be allowed to immediately return to the United States, no questions asked. Sadly, he was arrested, subjected to regular beatings, verbally harassed and even chained to his bed. Eventually, he may be used as a bargaining chip by the Mexican government. more >>
Controversial U.S. fugitive Edward Snowden has blamed the government for stranding him in Russia, something which he never intended to happen. Secretary of State John Kerry fired back, however, calling it a "dumb answer" and accusing him of helping terrorists.
"I personally am surprised that I ended up here," Snowden said in an interview with NBC News set to air on Wednesday, his first with a U.S. TV network.
"The reality is I never intended to end up in Russia," he continued. "I had a flight booked to Cuba onwards to Latin America and I was stopped because the United States government decided to revoke my passport and trap me in Moscow Airport." more >>
The Wall Street Journal recently showed Vladimir Putin in Crimea. There was the saturnine Slav in an unusually ebullient mood. He was standing in front of a banner ostensibly celebrating the victory of the USSR in what Russians still call "The Great Patriotic War" against Hitler in 1945.
Of course, some would argue that the only reason Vladimir Vladimirovich appeared before the large red banner with its Communist Hammer and Sickle insignia is for historical accuracy. Those victory banners from 1945 have a long history in Russia.
Defenders of Putin's public association with the symbols of Soviet power might say it is rather like us celebrating America's victory at Fort McHenry in 1814 with a fifteen-star, fifteen stripe "Star-Spangled Banner." more >>
With Iran on the verge of obtaining nuclear weapons and Russia wanting to re-assert itself as a world power through the Ukrainian crisis, a strong military presence in the world is more important for America than ever. A critical way the military does this is by remaining a global leader in ballistic missile technology.
The details of ballistic missile defense systems are wonky and technical, especially as the technology improves far beyond those missiles used in the defense systems proposed by conservative hero President Ronald Reagan. But now, as military weaponry becomes more sophisticated at an alarmingly fast rate, and more hostile countries acquire ballistic missile technology, the United States must stay ahead of the curve when it comes to missile defense.
But staying ahead of the curve for our defenses does not necessarily mean always supporting the most theoretical advancements, especially as our federal government struggles to rein in record deficits. more >>
Automatic budget cuts known as "sequestration" are expected to shed some 30,000 soldiers from the active rolls in the next 17 months, with 10,000 of that number going in 2014 and another 20,000 to follow in 2015.
According to an Army Times report the cuts are the result of a larger effort expected to reduce the size of the U.S. Army to a force of 420,000 soldiers by 2019.
A recent accounting of the Army shows that on April 1 some 519,786 troopers were reported on active duty. more >>
A news article in last Friday's New York Times sets out to explore why the United States waited until November 2013 to designate Nigeria's Boko Haram as a "foreign terrorist organization." In light of the group's latest atrocity – the kidnapping and enslaving of over 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria's Borno state last month – this is a very good question.
The article makes the point that the terrorist designation was made after Hillary Clinton resigned as secretary of state, and confirms reporting that it came after a two-year debate in which "the Justice Department, the F.B.I., American intelligence officials and counterterrorism officials in the State Department" all called for the designation but State ultimately opposed it.
Clinton's then–assistant secretary for African affairs, Johnny Carson, tells the Times that State opposed the designation for "for six or seven different reasons," which boil down to an equal measure of fear of the affect on Boko Haram, possibly making it seem more important and popular, and wariness of legitimizing a Nigerian government crackdown. State counterterrorism official Daniel Benjamin essentially gives a "what difference does it make?" shrug, stating: "Designation was one of many tools and not the most urgently needed one in dealing with the Nigerians. " more >>