During the past decade, the United States has taken extraordinary measures in fighting terrorism all across the globe. Although the threats we face change continuously, the legal authority and framework the executive branch has relied on has remained the same for nearly twelve years.
The Department of Homeland Security has not only lost public confidence, but that of its own employees. The union representing ICE agents issued a unanimous vote of no confidence in ICE Director John Morton and deemed DHS's immigration strategy a "law enforcement nightmare developed by the Administration to win votes at the expense of sound and responsible law enforcement policy." ICE union president Chris Crane testified that DHS leadership inflates deportation totals and ordered ICE agents not to apprehend previously deported fugitives or aliens who illegally re-enter the United States.
On May 21, President Obama gave a national security speech at the National Defense University. In his speech, President Obama essentially reserved what he sees as a legal and moral right to continue to wage his preferred means of warfare without geographic or temporal limits.
President Obama wants the world to know that the deaths of innocent civilians are tragedies that will haunt him for the rest of his life. It is certainly reassuring to know that deaths of innocent people, killed by the President’s targeted killing program, make it more difficult for him to sleep at night.
Fifty years ago on June 10, 1963, President John F. Kennedy in this landmark American University commencement address, surprised the world by announcing the U.S. suspension of above-ground nuclear weapons testing. By the fall of 1963, the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (LTBT) which prohibits nuclear weapons testing in the atmosphere, underwater, or in space was signed and ratified by the U.S., Soviet Union and Great Britain. Remarkably, this treaty followed immediately on the heels of the Cuban missile crisis where the U.S. and Soviet Union came to the brink of nuclear war.
Fifty years ago today, a young White House speechwriter took a seat out on American University's baseball field and listened, thrilled, as John F. Kennedy, delivered the commencement speech he had—mostly— written.
What thrilled Ted Sorensen? Hearing " "principles so fully consistent with my own ... primarily on peace."
That speech, “Strategies for Peace,” has become famous, deservedly, and over the last few months, amply celebrated for its "boldness." But on today’s anniversary are we celebrating just eloquence and vision?
No. The speech contains both, especially during the passage everyone has noted: JFK’s astounding and graceful refusal to demonize the enemy.
But we wouldn't remember the rhetoric of “Strategy for Peace” if it weren't for its result: a treaty banning above-ground nuclear tests. To focus exclusively on what Kennedy said is like praising a winning coach for the locker-room speech and ignoring the game plan. The whole truth is more complicated—and in 2013 more valuable.
The setting of the National Mall inspires us to reflect on our identity as part of human history.
On June 8th, the Mall will cradle one million handmade bones made by well over 100,000 students, artists and activists, genocide scholars and survivors of the many mass atrocities in Congo and Sudan, Syria and Burma, and beyond. Tens of thousands of our children, from all 50 states and more than 30 countries, have created these bones and many will be laying them out, building a symbolic mass grave to remind us that despite what we promised after Rwanda in 1994, how often "Never Again" becomes “yet again” and again.
According to press reports, the Indian government has “concerns” about the creation of the American Sikh Congressional Caucus, such that it has “warned” the U.S. government about its very existence. These concerns appear to be grounded in the suspicion that the caucus is a front for an effectively defunct movement for a separate Sikh homeland called “Khalistan.” The concerns are without merit, and the caucus itself stands firmly on bedrock American principles and traditions.