Iran could have its first atomic bomb within four to six months of the regime's decision to assemble one, according to an assessment last Monday by Amos Yadlin, former IDF Director of Military Intelligence. About a week earlier, Tehran declared that it will use up to three thousand IR-2M centrifuges, which can enrich uranium at about quadruple the speed of Iran's current enrichment rate. Fred Kagan, Director of the Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), describes the IR-2M installation as "undermin[ing] one of the core assumptions of current U.S. policy": that U.S. intelligence could detect Iran crossing a key threshold and developing weapons-grade nuclear material. The much faster IR-2M centrifuges could enable Iran to produce one weapon's worth of highly enriched uranium in about a week – the amount of time that IAEA inspectors might be absent before their next visit.
Why is Iran boldly defying the international community now, in a way that leaves even less time to address its nuclear ambitions? A perfect storm is motivating Iran's sudden sprint to nukes.
The U.S. national security team is in its most ineffective state. Gary Samore, a WMD czar and key member of President Obama's Iran negotiating team, is leaving. John Kerry is in his first days on the job as Secretary of State, and Chuck Hagel – Iran's preferred pick for Secretary of Defense for his anti-Israel and pro-Tehran views – stands a good chance of being confirmed along partisan lines despite his embarrassing display of waffling and incompetence at last week's Senate confirmation hearings. more >>
In the aftermath of NBC News's release of a leaked memo outlining the legality of strikes against high-level members of al Qaeda who are also American citizens, fresh attention has been focused on the American drone program – and not just on its use against Americans. In the Christian community, I've been frankly surprised at the extent of the opposition to drone strikes. If we are at war (and we are), why can we not use our most precise weapons to defeat our enemy? Would we rather terrorists have safe havens?
I've found that opposition to drone strikes is often based on a misunderstanding of our conflict against al Qaeda and our allies. We are at war, not in the midst of a law enforcement action, and the rules for war are dramatically different than the rules applicable to police forces. For example, one could never use an F-16 to strike down a drug dealer without a trial, but air strikes are a routine and accepted means of warfare. To take another example, a police officer is generally prohibited from shooting a fleeing subject, but a soldier in war can and often should shoot a fleeing enemy. In war, we attack enemy forces, regardless of their citizenship. (For example, in World War II, we attacked uniformed German soldiers even if some may have also been American citizens).
Legally, the United States of America, by Act of Congress, is engaged in a military conflict – a war – against al Qaeda. Immediately after 9/11, Congress overwhelmingly passed a broad Authorization for Use of Military Force, which states: more >>
Americans who are concerned about traditional freedoms and the Second Amendment have no difficulty understanding the message of the popular bumper strip: "If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns." It should be just as easy to grasp the corollary: If nukes are outlawed, only terrorist countries will have nukes.
But somehow, Barack Obama and Chuck Hagel don't get it. In a 2007 campaign speech, Obama promised: "Here's what I'll say as president: America seeks a world in which there are no nuclear weapons."
Chuck Hagel is listed as one of six directors of a dangerous group called "Global Zero U.S. Nuclear Policy Commission." This mischievous outfit's goal is "to move toward a world without nuclear weapons," and its publications boast Obama's enthusiastic endorsement: "Global Zero will always have a partner in me and my administration." more >>
Iranian-American pastor Saeed Abedini, now condemned to eight years' imprisonment by the Iranian government for raising funds for an orphanage, is not the only American under threat from a foreign government.
On Tuesday, the Cairo Criminal Court reaffirmed a death sentence for "insulting Islam" and "undermining national unity" for seven Coptic Egyptian Christians accused of being involved in creating the now-infamous YouTube video "The Innocence of Muslims." This short, obscure video trailer was initially falsely implicated by the American government in the killing of U.S. diplomats in Benghazi.
Those condemned to death include Morris Sadek, a lawyer and founder of the National American Coptic Assembly, Coptic priest Father Aziz Khalil, Fikri Abdel Masih Zaklma (known as Esmat Zaklma), Nabil Adib Besada, the media coordinator of the National American Coptic Assembly, Eliyah Basile (known as Nicholas Basile Nicholas), Nahed Mahmoud Metwally (known as Fibie Abdel Masih), and Nader Farid Fawzi Nicholas. One is a resident of Australia, another is a resident of Canada, and five of them are residents of the United States. In addition, American micro-pastor Terry Jones, famous for his burning of a Koran, was sentenced to five years in prison, despite his having no connection to Egypt whatsoever. more >>
With the departure of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, now is the time to reflect on her legacy, not just in the field of diplomacy but her broader vision for the United States as a catalyst for turning idealism into action.
Recently we have seen the rise of a new humanism -- the desire of people to do something bigger and more lasting than themselves. Making Good has become the ethos of a generation committed to making a more just world.
But how can we mobilize and organize the efforts of individuals and small groups into a sustainable long-term movement? more >>
It should be a basic moral axiom of American foreign policy that we don't give away advanced weapons to racist, radical, and unstable foreign governments.
In fact, that's not just morality; it's common sense.
Yet that's exactly what we're doing. The Obama administration is in the process of delivering 20 advanced F-16 fighter jets and 200 M1 Abrams tanks to Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood-led government. Four jets have been delivered, and the rest of the equipment will be delivered within months. To be clear, Egypt did not purchase these weapons. They're a gift from you, the American taxpayer, to the Muslim Brotherhood. more >>