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The Water Cooler is written by Washington Times staffers.

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Collateral damage: Slow congressional resolution on Syria further delays vital budget negotiations

Not too long ago ago, the nation obsessed about the fiscal cliff. Lawmakers vowed to tangle with the federal debt. Now Congress faces another budget battle at month's end, and the dire prospect of a government shut down. So let's solve the Syria crisis, says Fox Business Network's Washington correspondent Rich Edson. It's time for clarity, and the real business at hand, he tells The Watercooler.

Reagan's 'peace through strength' to be re-examined by Hagel, Dempsey and 30 more luminaries

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, Navy Chief of Operations Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert plus Sens. Carl Levin, Michigan Democrat, and Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire Republican, are among the 30 luminaries who will attend "Building Peace Through Strength Through 2025" at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., in mid-November.

From the Director of National Intelligence: 'increased transparency'

"In June, President Obama directed the Intelligence Community (IC) to declassify and make public as much information as possible about certain sensitive U.S. Government surveillance programs while being mindful of the need to protect sensitive classified intelligence and national security," says Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper in a statement issued Thursday night.

Donald Rumsfeld: Obama administration still in 'apology mode'

He's seen a lot of wars, and the making of wars, that's for sure. Donald Rumsfeld, 81, is a U.S. Navy veteran, was Secretary of Defense twice, and has served in public office in one capacity or another since 1963. And here's what he thinks about Syria as the White House wrestles with a protocol, a response and a productive solution.