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The Fire Next Time

The Fire Next Time

By James Baldwin

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Tag: Afghanistan

Jawad
AP / Rafiq Maqbool

Freed Afghan Says He Was Sent to Gitmo at 12

In December 2002, Mohammed Jawad was accused of throwing a grenade into a Jeep carrying U.S. troops and shipped off to Guantanamo Bay from Afghanistan. Jawad’s now home after seven years, and there’s a bit of a difference between his side of the story and the Pentagon’s—namely, he claims he was just 12 years old when he was arrested.

Posted on Aug 27, 2009 READ MORE


map of Afghanistan
un.org

Yet Another Blast Shakes Kandahar

On Wednesday, another large explosion was reported in Kandahar, Afghanistan—just a day after a spate of bombings killed more than 40 people in that city—as the outcome of last week’s election still hung in the balance.

Posted on Aug 26, 2009 READ MORE


Only One U.S. Official Has Taken an Honorable Stand on Torture

Thus far in the torture debate that has gone on in the United States since 2001, I can think of only one high American government figure currently in office taking a stand on torture in terms of justice, honor and national integrity.

Posted on Aug 25, 2009 READ MORE


Karzai
Wikimedia Commons / The White House

Karzai Is the Winner, According to Key Karzai Cabinet Member

Afghan Finance Minister Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal said Monday that President Hamid Karzai is the clear winner of last week’s presidential election, citing empirical evidence to back up his claims.

Posted on Aug 24, 2009 READ MORE


Afghan election
AP / Musadeq Sadeq

Afghan Election Dogged by Fraud Claims

Corruption rumors and threats of violence preceded last week’s Afghan presidential election, so it’s not surprising that similar concerns are cropping up after the fact.

Posted on Aug 22, 2009 READ MORE


Left, Right & Center

‘Left, Right & Center’: Afghan Election, Blackwater’s Role

Was Thursday’s election in Afghanistan a step forward for representative democracy in the South Asian nation? What exactly does President Obama aim to accomplish in Afghanistan anyhow? This week’s lineup of commentators explores the possible connections between the CIA and Blackwater and considers the current status of the health care debate.

Posted on Aug 21, 2009 READ MORE


Barack Obama
White House / Pete Souza

Chris Hedges on Health Care, War and the New Racism

Chris Hedges talks about the illusion of health care reform, the war in Afghanistan and what he calls the “new racism” in the age of Obama.

Posted on Aug 20, 2009 READ MORE



USMC / Lance Cpl. Phillip Elgie

Reality Is Its Own Caricature for U.S. in Afghanistan and Pakistan

The problem with U.S.-sponsored elections in the non-Western world, as in Afghanistan on Thursday, is that they seek to legitimize America’s presence in the country, where it is typically not wanted.

Posted on Aug 20, 2009 READ MORE


American troops in Afghanistan
army.mil

Lesson of Vietnam Lost in Afghanistan

Vietnam’s primary lesson remains intact: American power is not without limits, both in terms of defeating an enemy and in terms of its domestic support. The primary lesson of Vietnam seems to be that it is a lesson lost. And now we have some of the same intractable problems in Afghanistan.

Posted on Aug 20, 2009 READ MORE


Barack Obama
White House / Pete Souza

Chris Hedges on Health Care, War and the New Racism

Chris Hedges talks about the illusion of health care reform, the war in Afghanistan, and what he calls the “new racism” in the age of Obama.

Posted on Aug 20, 2009 READ MORE


Afghan women
AP / Kevin Frayer

Polls Close in Afghanistan

Threats of violence kept large numbers of voters away from the polls in various parts of Afghanistan, and by closing time it was hard to say whether some officials’ declarations about the day’s success were warranted. But, thankfully, earlier warnings from the Taliban didn’t seem to materialize in the form of any major tragedies on Thursday.

Posted on Aug 20, 2009 READ MORE


Bomb in Kabul
AP / Kevin Frayer

Afghan News Outlets to Be Censored on Election Day

Tensions continue to build before Thursday’s presidential election in Afghanistan. After a spate of violence in the capital city of Kabul on Tuesday, including a suicide car bombing that killed at least eight people and wounded 53, the government banned local news outlets from reporting any similar incidents on election day.

Posted on Aug 18, 2009 READ MORE


Afghan election
AP / Rahmat Gul

Report: Pre-Election Corruption Crops Up in Afghanistan

This week’s presidential election in Afghanistan may not be the cleanest polling event, if the BBC’s findings about corruption and voting fraud are indicative of larger trends. The British news outlet reported Tuesday that bribery and bids to buy voting cards, combined with threats of violence from militant groups, could muck up the works come Thursday.

Posted on Aug 17, 2009 READ MORE



USAF / Senior Airman Sheila deVera

Afghanistan Surge Limited by ‘Dwell Time’

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top commander in Afghanistan, may ask for more troops, but whether he’ll get any is in doubt. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has already moved to expand the Army, but getting troops the downtime they need between deployments will limit how many can be sent to the escalating war in South Asia.

Posted on Aug 16, 2009 READ MORE


100 Percent Hamidity

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Posted on Aug 16, 2009 READ MORE    


Afghan candidate poster
AP / Saurabh Das

Taliban Issues Threat Before Afghan Election

With just a few days remaining before the presidential election in Afghanistan, Taliban operatives are trying to thwart voting by threatening to cut off the ink-stained fingers of those who go to the polls, according to Al Jazeera English. In Afghanistan, a finger marked with ink is a sign that one has voted.

Posted on Aug 16, 2009 READ MORE


US Troops
defendamerica.mil

U.S. Troops on Midnight Train to Georgia

The U.S. military has begun war games in the nation of Georgia, an exercise reportedly planned for months, but which comes just days after Russia announced it will spend half a billion dollars refurbishing its own military bases and strengthening its hold on Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia.

Posted on Aug 14, 2009 READ MORE


Afghan Women
blogspot.com

New Afghan Law Castrates Women’s Rights

Remember all that malarkey about how the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan would result in a remarkable push for women’s rights? Well, the Afghan government has passed a law that allows Shiite men to deny food to their wives if they refuse their husbands’ sexual demands. Oh, and a rapist can effectively avoid prosecution by paying “blood money” to his victim.

Posted on Aug 14, 2009 READ MORE


How Bad Things Might Have Been

The summer has become a bummer, but almost every day there’s some reminder of how far we’ve come since President Obama’s inauguration—and how much worse things could be.

Posted on Aug 13, 2009 READ MORE



U.S. Navy / MC1 Nicholas Lingo

Contractor Waste of Tax Dollars Continues

DynCorp International got caught charging the government $50 million over contract for providing living facilities in Kuwait. The company’s CEO told a congressional commission, “If we’re not competitive [in costs], it’s possible for the government to replace us.” But the opposite seems to be true when it comes to contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, where fraud, waste and abuse have been all too common for years.

Posted on Aug 12, 2009 READ MORE


Media Meltdown in a Time of Crisis, Part 1

Amy Goodman and Robert Scheer discuss the present and future of media with the global economic crisis, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the health care debate raging on.

Posted on Aug 11, 2009 READ MORE



USMC / Staff Sgt. William Greeson

There’s a Solution in Afghanistan—but Not the Way We’re Headed

It would be a great service to the American nation if Barack Obama would tell us what he himself thinks the wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan are about.

Posted on Aug 11, 2009 READ MORE



U.S. Navy / MC1 Molly Burgess

Top General Denies Saying Taliban Is Winning

The Wall Street Journal claims the top American commander in Afghanistan stated that the Taliban has “gained the upper hand,” forcing a change in U.S. strategy. However, Gen. Stanley McChrystal says the paper mischaracterized his comments and he never meant to suggest that the Taliban is “winning.”

Posted on Aug 10, 2009 READ MORE


Ralph Nader
AP / Carolyn Kaster

Nader Was Right: Liberals Are Going Nowhere With Obama

“Something is broken,” Ralph Nader said when I reached him at his family home in Connecticut. “We are not at the Bangladesh level in terms of passivity, but we are getting there.”

Posted on Aug 10, 2009 READ MORE



USAF / Staff Sgt. Jeremy T. Lock

U.S. Targets Afghan Drug Suspects for Killing

“Fifty Afghans believed to be drug traffickers with ties to the Taliban have been placed on a Pentagon target list to be captured or killed ... ,” The New York Times reports. That’s not quite targeted assassination, but it comes pretty close.

Posted on Aug 9, 2009 READ MORE


Warehousing Soldiers in the Homeland

Soldiers who have gone AWOL and find themselves detained at Fort Bragg face a legal limbo of forced uncertainty that can extend from several months to a year or more. Some of them, however, are offered a free pass out of this military half-life—but only if they agree to deploy to Afghanistan or Iraq.

Posted on Aug 9, 2009 READ MORE



USAF / Tech. Sgt. Eric T. Sheler

Counterterrorism Chief Says Bullets Alone Won’t Do the Job

John Brennan has known controversy for his defense of torture and rendition, but the president’s top counterterrorism adviser has just condemned the Bush administration’s approach by declaring: “We cannot shoot ourselves out of this challenge.”

Posted on Aug 6, 2009 READ MORE


Returning Soldiers

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Posted on Aug 5, 2009 READ MORE


U.S. Militarism Makes Us Less Secure

The more wars you undertake abroad, the more places you intervene and the more bases you build around the world, the less secure you are.

Posted on Aug 4, 2009 READ MORE



US Navy / MC1 Tiffini M. Jones

GI Bill Sends Vets Back to School

More than 100,000 veterans have already submitted claims under Sen. Jim Webb’s new GI Bill, which aims to pay for the college tuition, housing and books of students who served in the military after 9/10/2001. That number is expected to hit 500,000 in the program’s first year. (More after jump)

Posted on Aug 3, 2009 READ MORE


Afghan Funeral
guim.co.uk

Afghan Civilian Toll Rises

As President Obama continues to push more U.S. troops into Afghanistan, the U.N. is reporting that civilian casualties in the war-torn country have spiked, increasing almost 25 percent above 2008 figures. In the first six months of this year, 1,013 civilians were killed.

Posted on Jul 31, 2009 READ MORE


America’s Homeland Security Surplus

Since 2001, there has been no actual terrorist attack reported inside the United States, much less one involving al-Qaida. Plenty of people have been killed by fellow Americans, ordinarily in old-fashioned ways, during that period.

Posted on Jul 30, 2009 READ MORE



U.S. Navy / Shane T. McCoy

U.S. to Set Gitmo Inmate Free in a Case Called an ‘Outrage’

Although a judge had called the case “an outrage” that was “riddled with holes,” just last week the government said it would continue to try to prosecute Mohammed Jawad, a Guantanamo detainee whose “confession” was reportedly obtained through torture. Now the administration plans to free Jawad and return him to Afghanistan.

Posted on Jul 29, 2009 READ MORE


‘Colorful’ Leaders Could Learn From Boring Brown

It sometimes pays to be a nondescript politician, like Gordon Brown of Britain. Flamboyance of the Latin kind gets you into the newspapers, but for bad reasons as well as good.

Posted on Jul 28, 2009 READ MORE


Obama’s Military Is Spying on U.S. Peace Groups

Anti-war activists in Olympia, Wash., have exposed Army spying and infiltration of their groups, as well as intelligence gathering by the Air Force, the federal Capitol Police and the Coast Guard.

Posted on Jul 28, 2009 READ MORE



USMC / Lance Cpl. James Purschwitz

Talking With the Taliban

After eight years of getting nowhere in Afghanistan, U.S. and British forces have decided to open negotiations with “second-tier” Taliban leaders. Those would be local bigwigs, as opposed to Mullah Omar and friends.

Posted on Jul 27, 2009 READ MORE


U.S. Foreign Wars Not Going According to Plan

For all America’s trouble, Iraq has turned out to be a sectarian, authoritarian ally of Iran with no interest in working with the U.S. The “new Vietnam” of Afghanistan, meanwhile, is turning out to be worse than Vietnam.

Posted on Jul 23, 2009 READ MORE


Strip Poker

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Posted on Jul 21, 2009 READ MORE    


Robert Gates
DoD / R. D. Ward

Army to Add 22,000 Soldiers

Those wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are taking their toll. To cope with rising demand, Defense Secretary Robert Gates says he will increase the size of the Army by 22,000 troops for a period of three years. That means there will be 569,000 active-duty soldiers, bringing America’s active-duty armed forces close to 1.5 million.

Posted on Jul 20, 2009 READ MORE


POPPY
msnbc.com

A New Type of Surge

U.S. government officials are conducting a new kind of “surge.” The DEA has started dispatching agents to Afghanistan to target opium trafficking networks that are believed to be funding the Taliban insurgency, a change from the Bush-era policy of poppy crop destruction.

Posted on Jul 20, 2009 READ MORE



U.S. Army / Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin R. Bond

Extreme Makeover: Bagram Prison Edition

The New York Times reports that a U.S. military review calls for “overhauling the troubled American-run prison [at Bagram Air Base] as well as the entire Afghan jail and judicial systems, a reaction to worries that abuses and militant recruiting within the prisons are helping to strengthen the Taliban.”

Posted on Jul 20, 2009 READ MORE


Taliban Releases Video of U.S. Captive

The Pentagon is condemning the Taliban for releasing a video of a U.S. soldier captured in Afghanistan, identified as 23-year-old Bowe Bergdahl.

Posted on Jul 20, 2009 READ MORE



U.S. Army / Staff Sgt. Andrew Smith

War Without Purpose

Al-Qaida could not care less what we do in Afghanistan. We are fighting with the wrong tools. We are fighting the wrong people. We are on the wrong side of history. And we will be defeated in Afghanistan as we will be in Iraq.

Posted on Jul 20, 2009 READ MORE



© 2001 Reese Erlich

Opinions Walter Cronkite Never Aired

In the fall of 2002, Walter Cronkite agreed to be interviewed about the pending U.S. invasion of Iraq. That interview was never published. Looking back at the transcript seven years later, Walter’s views proved quite prescient. Here’s some of what he told me.

Posted on Jul 20, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
AP / Matt Dunham

Brown Holds His Ground as Troops Die

Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown defended his government’s policy in Afghanistan after eight British soldiers were killed over the weekend. In the past two weeks, 15 U.K. servicemen have died, making the total death toll for British military personnel in Afghanistan greater than the Iraq toll, 179. As a result, Brown and his ministers have been under increasing criticism by the MPs.

Posted on Jul 13, 2009 READ MORE


Kabul blast
AP photo

Explosives-Laden Truck Detonates, Kills 25 in Afghanistan

An overturned truck filled with timber and, it turned out, explosives blew up early Thursday morning in Logar province, Afghanistan, killing 25 people. Thirteen of the victims were children on their way to school, according to the Associated Press.

Posted on Jul 9, 2009 READ MORE


British Defense Minister
daylife.com

Real Talk on Afghanistan

At a time when many think of the current war in Afghanistan as something that can be fixed by a surge in troop levels, Britain’s new defense secretary drops some incredibly real talk to explain to the U.K. public that “more lives will be lost” and “the situation ... is not yet decided.”

Posted on Jul 8, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Hadi Mizban

So This Is What Victory Looks Like?

It is wishful thinking to believe that the Iraqi military will be able to hold the ruins of Iraqi society together without major U.S. intervention. The United States has assumed the role of Saddam’s Special Republican Guard, waiting to be called in to crush any sign of rebellion or insurrection. It’s a lose-lose situation with only one way out.

Posted on Jul 7, 2009 READ MORE


King

Rep. Peter King Slams Media’s MJ Mania, Intensifies Mania in So Doing

Any salient points that hard-boiled Long Island Congressman Peter King made about the media’s Michael Jackson fixation were, for one, overshadowed by his descriptions of Jackson as a “low-life” and a “pedophile,” and also apparently lost on certain mainstream media outlets.

Posted on Jul 6, 2009 READ MORE


The Battle Over the Burqa

Since President Barack Obama in his recent Cairo speech made a tut-tutting remark about countries that restricted wearing religious garb in school, the controversy over the Muslim burqa has resumed in Europe.

Posted on Jul 2, 2009 READ MORE


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