The seizure of an American crew and cargo demonstrates the limits of U.S. military power in an international cops-and-robbers chase along a huge, lawless stretch of African coastline.
The outcome for the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama and its crew off the coast of Somalia was still unclear early Thursday. The crew had retaken control of the cargo ship from a band of pirates, but the captain was still held by the attackers in one of the ship's lifeboats.
More important than the weapons systems he might cut or modify in his new military budget is Defense Secretary Robert Gates' determination to reform the Pentagon's woefully expensive and inefficient procurement process.
The urgency of this was underscored by a Government Accountability Office report that said 96 of the Defense Department's biggest weapons systems were over budget by $296 billion -- which is well over half the $534 billion Gates is proposing for the entire department for all of 2010.
Bravo to the human rights activists around the world who muscled up in unison to obliterate one of the most backward laws passed by any country in recent times.
Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai recently signed into law a bill that approved of marital rape, stipulated that the wife "is bound to preen for her husband as and when he desires," barred wives from "leaving the house without the permission of the husband" unless in a medical or other emergency and approved child marriage with girls legally able to marry once they began to menstruate.
As flags fly at half-staff and Pittsburgh's spirits dip as low as the sullen clouds, it is necessary to take the unusual step of saying something nice about the government.
This is important because the flags have been lowered for three city police officers cut down Saturday by yet another armed, paranoid hater, this one harboring anti-government fantasies colored by anti-Semitism.
Those brave officers were just answering another domestic disturbance call. To the killer, it seems they were hated symbols of the government.
It is perhaps no accident that Defense secretary Robert Gates announced plans to drastically reshape the defense budget while President Obama was out of the country. His plans to kill or curtail several costly weapons systems have set off a furor among their constituencies in Congress.
Americans with mental retardation have been in the news recently.
First, President Obama committed a regrettable indiscretion on the Jay Leno Show by comparing his own bowling ineptitude with the level of skill on display -- so the joke goes -- at the Special Olympics.
But honest people may feel a little uncomfortable with excessive sanctimony about this incident. In fact, at some point most of us have probably been guilty of making or being amused by similar digs at our fellow citizens with mental retardation.
So these are our allies in the war against terrorism?
A 17-year-old Pakistani girl is unmercifully and publicly flogged by a Taliban thug for leaving her house without a male escort and when authorities are asked to explain, they reply that it was wrong to do it in public. Afghan Shiite women face the prospect of arrest under a new law adopted by the government of Hamid Karzai that critics charge would allow their spouses to incarcerate them at home.
A new report sheds disturbing light on how the Central Intelligence Agency subjected detainees to "inhuman" treatment while doctors abandoned their medical ethics and stood by, watching the torture and abuse.Read More
Elwin Hope Wilson leans back in his recliner at his home in Rock Hill, SC, a sad, sickly man haunted by time.
Antique clocks, at least a hundred of them, fill his neat ranch home on Tillman Street. Grandfather clocks, mantel clocks, cuckoos and Westministers, all ticking, chiming and clanging in an hourly cacophony that measures the passing days.
Why clocks? his wife Judy has often asked during their 49 years together.
The Pentagon's 18-year ban on media coverage of fallen U.S. service members returning home ended quietly, with only an officer's sharp order to salute accompanying a single flag-covered casket being unloaded from a cargo plane.
After receiving permission from family members, the military opened Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to the media Sunday night for the return of the body of Air Force Staff Sgt. Phillip Myers of Hopewell, Va.