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Former State Dept. Officer Peter van Buren on Squandered Billion$ in Iraq; Jeff Frazee of Young Americans for Liberty on Rand Paul’s Filibuster



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Peter van Buren returns to talk about the Inspector General’s final report on reconstruction in Iraq, and how we’re repeating the same mistakes in Afghanistan; Jeff Frazee of Young Americans for Liberty talks about Rand Paul’s filibuster on the president’s authority to kill Americans.  Last week, Inspector General Stuart Bowen released a detailed report on the billions lost to waste, fraud, abuse, and stupidity on reconstruction in Iraq.  Peter van Buren spent almost 20 years at the State Department, including a 1-year tour of Iraq, where he was directed to manage a number of ridiculous projects that wasted relatively small amounts of money.  He detailed his experience in We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People. This resulted in a retaliation scheme that led to his forced retirement in 2012.  He comments on the IG’s report and the understated coverage of the massive failures exposed, and says that all of those responsible–except himself–have been promoted, some to repeat these same costly mistakes in Afghanistan.  He responds to a recent call from the IG for Afghanistan to “pause” in the spending there, which is already expected to top $90 billion.

He writes often at TomDispatch and at his website.  And here is a post about his new book in progress, about minimum wage workers in the US today.

In out second segment, at 37:40, we meet Jeff Frazee, executive director of Young Americans for Liberty.  This group spun off from the Ron Paul presidential campaigns.  He says the group has “partnered” with Freedom Works and Americans for Prosperity, and got a small grant from a Koch foundation, but that most of their money comes from small donations.

We talk about Rand Paul’s filibuster of the nomination of John Brennan for CIA director, and Paul’s focus on the question: does the president have the authority to use a drone to kill an American, on US soil, who has not been charged with a crime?  Frazee downplays partisanship, and talks about the split in the Republican Party, which he sees as a good thing.  And we talk about Democrats who have been silent on Obama’s erosion of the Bill of Rights, and how Paul’s efforts may pressure them.  He agrees that Mitch McConnell is an opportunist in this matter, and is wary of the GOP old guard.  Near the end, we talk about the contradiction that many libertarians favor outlawing abortion.