PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION NEWS
Romney Would Ground Big Bird But Send Military Spending Soaring
David Horsey, LA Times – October 9, 2012
Mitt Romney may have won the first presidential debate, but what stuck in many people’s minds was his threat to fire Big Bird. Apparently, Romney thinks America’s debt problem can be fixed by picking up pennies along Sesame Street. Pressed to explain how he would balance the federal budget while cutting trillions of dollars in taxes, the allegedly masterful debater offered up just two specifics: He would repeal “Obamacare” (even though the Congressional Budget Office says the healthcare act actually reduces deficit spending) and eliminate the federal subsidy to the Public Broadcasting System.
In Foreign Policy Speech, Romney Will Encourage Military Spending, Syria Intervention
Garret Haake, NBC News – October 9, 2012
In a major foreign policy speech Monday Mitt Romney will attempt to stake out a more activist public position than President Barack Obama on supporting the rebels in Syria’s civil war. Romney plans to say that he believes in working with partner nations to arm rebels fighting the government of Syrian President Bashir al-Assad.
Think Tank Says Iran Could Make Enough Weapons-Grade Uranium for a Nuke Warhead in 2-4 Months
Iran could produce enough weapons-grade uranium to arm a nuclear bomb within two to four months but would still face serious “engineering challenges” — and much longer delays — before it succeeds in making the other components needed for a functioning warhead, a respected U.S. think tank said Monday. While Iran denies any interest in possessing nuclear arms, the international community fears it may turn its peaceful uranium enrichment program toward weapons making — a concern that is growing as Tehran expands the number of machines it uses to enrich its stockpile of enriched uranium.
Homer Simpson and the WMDs in Iraq…(Doh)…I Mean Iran
Nicolas J.S. Davies, Huffington Post – October 8, 2012
Most Americans now understand that the U.S. war against Iraq was based on lies cleverly disguised as secrets. Instead of consulting its intelligence agencies and making a decision on war and peace based on objective analysis, the U.S. government made a political decision to go to war and then manufactured false “intelligence” to support that decision.
Syria Rebukes Turkey as Artillery Fight Continues
Rick Gladstone, New York Times – October 8, 2012
Syria escalated tensions with Turkey on Monday, accusing its neighbor and former friend of imperialist delusions reminiscent of Ottoman dynastic rule, as Syrian Army gunners exchanged artillery blasts with their Turkish counterparts across the border for the sixth consecutive day. Insurgent sympathizers and the Syrian government described an extremely violent day in the nearly 19-month-old uprising in Syria. In unverified accounts, killings and destruction were reported in the cities of Aleppo, Homs and Dara’a and in northern Idlib Province, where members of the rebel Free Syrian Army claimed to have discovered a massacre committed by security forces at a makeshift prison.
Suicide Bombers Hit Syria Security Complex: Rebels
Khaled Yacoub Oweis, Reuters – October 9, 2012
Rebel suicide bombers struck overnight at an Air Force Intelligence compound on the edge of the Syrian capital Damascus, killing or wounding at least 100 people, insurgents and activists said on Tuesday. The militant Islamist group al-Nusra Front said it had mounted the attack because it was used a center for torture and repression in the crackdown on the 18-month-old revolt against President Bashar al-Assad.
North Korea Says Its Missiles Can Reach US Mainland
Choe Sang-Hun, New York Times – October 9, 2012
North Korea claimed on Tuesday to have missiles that can reach the American mainland, and it said that the recent agreement between Washington and the South Korean government to extend the range of South Korean ballistic missiles was increasing the risk of war on the Korean Peninsula. North Korea has often threatened to strike the “heart” of the United States, and a popular propaganda poster there shows a North Korean missile hitting what looks unmistakably like Capitol Hill. But the warning issued Tuesday was more detailed.
Why North Korea Still Needs US Security Guarantees Before Proceeding with major Reforms
Sungtae “Jacky” Park, International Affairs Review – October 9, 2012
It is not uncommon for North Korea to ratchet up tension while making indirect suggestions about negotiating with the United States. Nevertheless, Pyongyang’s need to establish stable and possibly peaceful relations with Washington is particularly important now because Pyongyang has been flirting with economic reforms.
Israel Deploys Missile Defense System Days after Shooting Down Suspect Drone Over Its Skies
AP – October 9, 2012
Israel’s military has deployed a missile defense system near the Lebanese border, days after warplanes shot down a mysterious unmanned aircraft that entered its skies. An army spokesman said on Tuesday that the Patriot missile defense battery was deployed in the northern city of Haifa. He refused to say if the battery’s deployment was connected to Saturday’s drone incident. The drone is widely believed to have originated in Lebanon.
WHY IT MATTERS: US Missile Defense Could Spike Tensions with Russia and China
AP – October 7, 2012
Missile technology is proliferating. It remains unclear how quickly foes such as Iran and North Korea could develop a capability to strike the United States with missiles, but the U.S. says Iran is already capable of hitting Europe. The United States is spending nearly $10 billion a year on missile defense when military budgets are stretched. But the programs have yet to prove that they can reliably knock long-range missiles out of the sky and protect the U.S. from emerging threats.