Editorials

  • The good news about extremist violence in the United States: It’s vanishingly rare

    Editorials July 6, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: The Washington Post. Extremist violence is incredibly rare in the United States. That doesn’t mean it never happens, or that it isn’t tragic and awful when it does. But it’s okay to recognize the tragedy of a particular event and conclude that there was nothing to be done about it. Doing so doesn’t mean the lives that were lost any less important or meaningful, nor does it make the sheer horror of it all any more palatable. But when a monster commits an inexplicable crime, we do no one any good by insisting that this particular monster could only have been one of an army of them– despite all evidence to the contrary — then insisting that no one feel safe until we’ve destroyed them all.

     
  • Torture is a war crime the government treats like a policy debate

    Editorials June 17, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: The Guardian. The Senate commendably passed an amendment “outlawing” torture by a wide margin on Monday, but given that torture is already against the law – both through existing US statute and by international treaty – what does that really mean? Instead of treating torture as the criminal matter that it is, the Obama administration effectively turned it into a policy debate, a fight over whether torture “worked”. It didn’t of course, as mountains of evidence has proved, but it’s mind-boggling we’re even having that debate considering that torture is a clear-cut war crime. It’s like debating the legality of child slavery while opening your opening argument with: “well, it is good for the economy.”

     
  • The Guardian view on surveillance after Snowden: an outlaw rewrites the law

    Editorials June 1, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: The Guardian. Here is the paradox. Edward Snowden sits in exile in Moscow, knowing that if he returned to the west, as he would like to, he’d almost certainly wind up in jail. Yet at the same time, no one disputes that Mr Snowden has sparked a global debate about privacy, which on Sunday saw the US Senate rein in the National Security Agency’s powers, most notably to collect the telephone records of millions of Americans. Three provisions of the post-9/11 Patriot Act have expired, and while replacement legislation will soon enough be passed it is likely to embody certain post-Snowden reforms. The American outlaw, then, is remaking the American law.

     
  • It’s time the U.S. paid reparations to the prisoners It tortured

    Editorials December 9, 2014 at 0 comments

    Source: New Republic. Appearing before the U.N. Committee Against Torture, the U.S. delegation unequivocally affirmed, “torture and cruel inhuman and degrading treatment are prohibited at all times and in all places,” including places outside of U.S. borders, like Guantánamo Bay.The statement to the U.N. was celebrated as a positive shift away from Bush-administration policy, but it only addresses part of the U.S.’s history of failure to adhere to the U.N. Convention Against Torture. Article 14 of the treaty requires signatory states to ensure that victims of torture have access to redress and compensation. However, there is no known case in which a torture victim has been financially compensated by the U.S.

     
  • 12 Things to keep in mind when you read the torture report

    Editorials December 5, 2014 at 0 comments

    Source: The Intercept. 1) You’re not actually reading the torture report. 2) The CIA got to cut out parts. 3) Senate Democrats had their backs to the wall. 4) The investigation was extremely narrow in its focus. 5) The investigation didn’t examine who gave the CIA its orders, or why. 6) Torture was hardly limited to the CIA. 7) Senate investigators conducted no interviews of torture victims. 8) Senate investigators conducted no interviews of CIA officials. 9) In fact, Senate investigators conducted no interviews at all. 10) Bush and Cheney have acknowledged their roles in the program. 11) The report’s conclusion that torture didn’t do any good is a big deal. 12) No one has been held accountable.

     
  • Mass imprisonment and public health

    Editorials November 26, 2014 at 0 comments

    Source: The New York Times.”. . . mass incarceration . . . poses one of the greatest public health challenges of modern times, concludes a new report released last week by the Vera Institute of Justice. . . . Like any epidemic, mass incarceration must be tackled at many different levels. It is an opportune time for such an approach, as states around the country are thinking more broadly, pulling back on harsh sentencing laws and focusing more on alternatives to incarceration. But the moment may not last long. Public health professionals should seize a unique opportunity to help guide criminal justice reform while they have the chance.”

     
  • On media outlets that continue to describe unknown drone victims as “militants”

    Editorials November 18, 2014 at 0 comments

    Source: The Intercept On media outlets that continue to describe unknown drone victims as “militants” By: Glenn Greenwald It has been more than two years since The New York Times revealed that “Mr. Obama embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties” of his drone strikes which “in effect counts all military-age males […]

     
  • Targeted killings: they are too secret

    Editorials, Op-Eds January 28, 2013 at 0 comments

    Source: Los Angeles Times. The administration should spell out criteria for the assassination of suspected terrorists abroad.

     
  • Exposing Uncle Sam’s Internet snooping

    Editorials, Op-Eds January 15, 2013 at 0 comments

    Source: Washington Times. Uncle Sam is looking for ways to sharpen his watchful gaze. In the name of fighting terrorism, federal agencies can have a hard time distinguishing the line between legitimate surveillance and unlawful spying. Fortunately, a court ruling on the public’s right to know may brighten that line. Loss of hard-won liberty ought not be the price for keeping Americans safe.

     
  • Interrogating Brennan

    Editorials, Op-Eds January 9, 2013 at 0 comments

    Source: LA Times. Senators should use the confirmation hearings to press Brennan to expand on his public statements about how targeted killings are subjected to “rigorous standards and process of review.” Too little is known about how those standards are applied to this troubling practice, and by whom. Brennan’s confirmation hearings could provide greater clarity — if the Senate is willing to be more than a rubber stamp.