FUBAR

Ex FBI-agent refutes Cheney claims on torture

Waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods used during the Bush administration on terrorism suspects produced unreliable evidence and were ineffective, a former FBI agent told Congress on Wednesday.

Ali Soufan made the charge before a Senate Judiciary panel in the first congressional hearing since the release last month of Justice Department memos that authorized tactics such as waterboarding, sleep and food deprivation and forced nudity.

Lax training may have led to fatal crash

The selection, hiring and training of the pilot and first officer in a February airline crash that killed 50 people in upstate New York are at the top of the agenda of a public hearing into the air disaster.

Soldier’s father: Army ‘broke’ his son

The father of a U.S. soldier accused of killing five fellow troops in Iraq said his son "forfeited his life" but the military bears some responsibility for the rampage.

Wilburn Russell said Tuesday that 44-year-old Army Sgt. John M. Russell wasn’t typically a violent person, but counselors "broke" him before gunfire erupted in a military stress center Monday in Baghdad.

Did U.S. – Taliban clash kill 95 children?

Ninety-five Afghan children are among the 140 people said to have died in a recent U.S.-Taliban battle in western Afghanistan, according to a list drawn up by Afghan officials, a lawmaker said Wednesday. The U.S. military disputed the claim.

Afghans blame U.S. airstrikes for the deaths and destruction in the villages of Gerani and Ganjabad in Farah province.

Now, it’s Obama’s war

We hope the White House and Pentagon thought long and carefully before relieving Gen. David McKiernan, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, just short of the halfway mark of his two-year tour there. He is, after all, the general who led the lightning-fast 2003 ground war in Iraq.

Failing to deliver the news

As we lament the fact that our newspapers are either on the skids or on the blocks, America’s two most famous — The New York Times and Washington Post — just showed us again that they are often great but not always good.

U.S. borrowing 46 cents on every dollar spent

The government will have to borrow nearly 50 cents for every dollar it spends this year, exploding the record federal deficit past $1.8 trillion under new White House estimates. Budget office figures released Monday would add $89 billion to the 2009 red ink — increasing it to more than four times last year’s all-time high as the government hands out billions more than expected for people who have lost jobs and takes in less tax revenue from people and companies making less money.

Time to take deficits seriously

The Bush administration said deficits didn’t matter and proceeded to rack up a record string of deficits. The Obama administration professes to believe the contrary, the president telling his Cabinet recently, "We can no longer afford to spend as if deficits do not matter … We can no longer afford to leave the hard choices for the next budget, the next administration, or the next generation."

Democrats: Hypocrites on torture?

The continuing hue and cry over the use of torture on suspected terrorists seems to have set a new standard for hypocrisy even in this town where it always has been considered an art form, practiced at the highest levels without a hint of shame.

Gates tries to reboot Afghan war

Taking a cue from voters who elected a president promising a different approach, the Obama administration is replacing the general overseeing the war in Afghanistan with a commander who has special-forces experience.

Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, a senior administrator with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will take the place of Gen. David McKiernan once he is confirmed by the Senate. Lt. Gen. David M. Rodriguez will become McChrystal’s deputy with the Senate’s approval, which Defense Secretary Robert Gates asked be granted as soon as possible.