Paul Pillar

In Search of a Defensible Detention Policy

A topic on which I don't claim to have a good answer—only a lament that no one else seems to have one either—is the detention of suspected terrorists, and the rationale and legal regime under which they should be detained. As with many other debatable issues involving counterterrorism, this one did not suddenly arise, as often assumed, in September 2001.

Harold P. Ford and the Integrity of Intelligence

A former boss of mine, for whom I worked in the early 1980s, died earlier this month at age 89. Hal Ford embodied some of the best qualities to be found in public servants who work on national security matters. He was vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council when I served what would be the first of two stints in that organization.

The Bad Bargain with Netanyahu

There's not much doubt how the U.S. and Israeli governments see their relative bargaining strength—not the total potential strength that each side could bring to bear if there were sufficient will, but instead the way the bargaining relationship works in practice—if the latest deal the Obama administration has cut with Benjamin Netanyahu is any indication. Let's review the balance sheet.

Deciding to Save the Planet

More is getting written about a subject that as recently as a few years ago was as far away from mainstream thinking as, and barely more respectable than, the fantasies of science fiction. That subject is geoengineering—measures to ameliorate man-made climate change caused by greenhouse gases.

What Veterans Teach Us

It is encouraging that the last several Veterans Days have seen more earnest thanking and honoring of our military veterans than one saw a generation ago. The ceremonies seem less perfunctory, the expressions of gratitude more genuine.