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Tag: Afghanistan

Obama’s Coalition of the Unwilling

President Barack Obama met recently with the prime ministers of Canada and Britain, two NATO allies looking for a way out of Afghanistan even as the U.S. is talking escalation.

Posted on Mar 3, 2009 READ MORE



Marine Corps / Lance Cpl. Michael J. Ayotte

It’s Obama’s War Now

Combat troops are to be pulled out of Iraq by August 2010, President Obama said, but some 50,000 occupation troops will remain behind. Someone should let the Iraqis know the distinction.

Posted on Mar 2, 2009 READ MORE


Redistributionist, and That’s Just Fine

The well-off will pay more in taxes. And before the howling on the right gets too loud, consider that we have just gone through a long era involving a far less frank form of redistribution—upward.

 

Posted on Mar 2, 2009 READ MORE


The Sports Nut

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Posted on Mar 1, 2009 READ MORE    



White House

The President’s Address to Congress

In his first speech to a joint session of Congress, President Obama acknowledged the dire state of the economy, but struck a hopeful tone as he expanded on his vision for recovery. Investments in energy, education and health care will be key, he said, as will an expanded bailout of the financial sector. (Summary, video and full text after the jump)

Posted on Feb 24, 2009 READ MORE



USAF / Staff Sgt. Aaron Allmon

A War Fought in Ignorance

I have often asked for an explanation of why the United States should be at war with the Taliban. Of the several reasons given, none is satisfactory, and all fail to grasp the fundamental truth that peace is better than war.

Posted on Feb 24, 2009 READ MORE


Harsh Medicine

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Posted on Feb 24, 2009 READ MORE    



AP photo / Hasan Sarbakhshian

A Choice Between Peace and Peril

Bibi Netanyahu’s assumption of power in Israel sets the stage for a huge campaign by the Israeli government, and its well-oiled lobby groups in Washington, to push us into a war with Iran, but a stable relationship with Iran would do more to protect Israel and our interests in the Middle East.

Posted on Feb 23, 2009 READ MORE


U.S. Fear, U.S. Folly in Afghanistan

Except for the brief NATO intervention in Kosovo and Serbia, all of the significant U.S. military expeditions since the Cold War have been fought against Asians, and we have lost nearly all of them.

Posted on Feb 19, 2009 READ MORE


The Pencil

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Posted on Feb 19, 2009 READ MORE    


Good News for the Taliban

We seem to have spent our way—to the tune of $864 billion—into allowing our friends the Pakistanis to enter into a peace treaty, or something that looks like it, with the Taliban.

Posted on Feb 18, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Paul Morse / Pete Souza

Good Money After Bad

Congressional Republicans, with the exception of that embarrassingly shrunken contingent of three moderates, will rue their legacy of deep indifference at a time of true national emergency, one that makes George W. Bush’s far more costly war on terror now seem an absurdly irrelevant exercise.

Posted on Feb 18, 2009 READ MORE


America’s Confused Cause in Central Asia

Exactly what do we think we are doing in Afghanistan and Pakistan? Are we there to liberalize their forms of religious observance, or conduct a war over theology, or establish permanent NATO bases there, or are we searching for Osama bin Laden? It seems that we are doing all of these things at the same time. But why?

Posted on Feb 18, 2009 READ MORE



DoD / Sgt. Zach Otto, U.S. Army

Obama Throws 17,000 Troops at Afghanistan Mess

President Obama’s desire to escalate the war in Afghanistan, a sore spot for the progressives and anti-war folk who helped elect him, took a major step forward Tuesday when the White House announced plans to raise troop levels in Afghanistan by 50 percent over the next few months.

Posted on Feb 17, 2009 READ MORE


Putin
AP pool photo / Alexei Druzhinin

Avoiding Another Cold War

Relations with Russia haven’t been this frosty since there was an East Berlin. President Obama may be distracted by other priorities, but getting reacquainted with Vladimir Putin and his nuclear arsenal should be at the top of the list.

Posted on Feb 17, 2009 READ MORE


Obama’s Afghan Trap

Have we learned nothing from the Iraq war? The Obama regime is gunning for more fighting in Afghanistan at a time when the U.S. should be seeking more talk.

Posted on Feb 11, 2009 READ MORE



USAF / Tech. Sgt. Charlein Sheets

Pentagon Propaganda Is Booming

The military’s spin budget—covering recruitment, advertising and public relations—has jumped 63 percent over the last five years, to $4.7 billion, according to a yearlong investigation by the Associated Press. The Pentagon pays nearly as many people to influence public opinion as the State Department has in its entire work force.

Posted on Feb 5, 2009 READ MORE


America’s ‘Strong Commitment to Error’

John Kenneth Galbraith once warned that U.S. foreign policy suffers from institutional rigidity with a “strong commitment to error.” What better proof than the planned surge in Afghanistan?

Posted on Feb 3, 2009 READ MORE



U.S. Navy / Mark H. Overstreet

Iraq Watchdog Looks Back on Years of Reconstruction Waste

He’s back: Stuart Bowen, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, has released a new volume in his series of blood-boiling reports. Looking back on his five years as a watchdog, Bowen laments the widespread waste of taxpayer funds in Iraq, and warns that the same mistakes are being made in Afghanistan.

Posted on Feb 2, 2009 READ MORE


The Peace Bus

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Posted on Feb 2, 2009 READ MORE    


America Faces the Music in Davos

The American participants in this year’s World Economic Forum have been the first to confront the full international blowback to the U.S.-created world economic crisis, which has devastated the nation’s reputation for competence, along with the justification for its six-decade role as world leader.

Posted on Feb 1, 2009 READ MORE


Gaza rubble
AP photo / Fadi Adwan

When Did We Stop Caring About Civilian Deaths During Wartime?

I wonder if we are “normalizing” war. It’s not just that Israel has yet again gotten away with the killing of hundreds of children in Gaza.

Posted on Jan 31, 2009 READ MORE


Soldiers
news.sky.com

Army Suicide Rate Highest in Decades

Adding to the solemn string of record-breaking statistics, new figures show that the suicide rate among U.S. Army members has hit its highest level in three decades. Last year, over 128 soldiers took their own lives, a telling sign of our military and political climate.

Posted on Jan 30, 2009 READ MORE


Gates
flapsblog.com

Gates Changes Afghanistan Tune

Turning away from the nation-building exercises that defined Bush-era policies but maintaining the dubious “war on terror” frame, Defense Secretary Gates indicated Tuesday that he has changed his mind on the goals for Afghanistan. Gates declared that the U.S., instead of seeking democracy, should set more limited goals in the long war and occupation.

Posted on Jan 28, 2009 READ MORE


NATO: Dead Man Walking

NATO has no coherent overall purpose and has not had one since the end of the Cold War. Any number of redefinitions and reorganizations have been proposed or tried and have proved unsatisfactory because no one can explain what it is that NATO really does or is for, other than to clean up behind the United States.

Posted on Jan 27, 2009 READ MORE



Writers Pressure Obama Over Afghanistan

Truthdig columnists Chris Hedges and Robert Scheer are among the notable writers who have signed this appeal urging President Obama to rethink Afghanistan. The ad, appearing in The Nation and The New York Review of Books, warns that “a new beginning will not be possible as long as we continue to spill the blood of the men, women, and children of Afghanistan.”

Posted on Jan 26, 2009 READ MORE


Skateistan

Introducing ... Skateistan

Oliver Percovich, a 34-year-old Australian skateboarding enthusiast, has found willing pupils among the youths of Kabul, Afghanistan, who are learning some new tricks in borrowed and donated spaces, making a play for a bit of adolescent normalcy amid the signs of war. Updated

Posted on Jan 26, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Sebastian Scheiner

With Gaza, Journalists Fail Again

The assault on Gaza exposed not only Israel’s callous disregard for international law but the gutlessness of the American press. Nearly all reporters were, as during the buildup to the Iraq war, pliant stenographers and echo chambers.

Posted on Jan 26, 2009 READ MORE


Obama and the Middle East

‘Mosaic’: The Inauguration, as Seen From the Middle East

How did the changing of the U.S. presidential guard register throughout the Middle East? Will Barack Obama deliver on his inaugural promise to usher in a new era of respect and consideration for mutual interests of the U.S. and the Mideast? This week’s “Mosaic Intelligence Report” offers some answers.

Posted on Jan 23, 2009 READ MORE


Holbrooke
AP photo / Mike Wintroath

The Wrong Man for the Job

The United States needs to contract the services of a U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan who is capable of visionary thinking, one who possesses the political courage to stand up to a president and a secretary of state and argue against bad policy. I do not believe Richard Holbrooke is such a man.

Posted on Jan 23, 2009 READ MORE


Predator
blog.wired.com

Missile Strikes Kill 20 in Pakistan

At least 20 people were killed in Pakistan on Friday in two missile attacks that are being attributed to unmanned U.S. drones near the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. It was the first such strike since Barack Obama took office as president.

Posted on Jan 23, 2009 READ MORE


Barack Obama
AP photo

Time to Get to Work

Tuesday was welcome theater, as profound as it gets—but today, as Obama has declared, begins a new era of responsibility and accountability.

Posted on Jan 20, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Hatem Moussa

Peace Is in the Eye of the Beholder

I do not like Hamas. I detest religious fundamentalism and the use of suicide bombers. I find the group’s anti-Semitism and ruthless silencing of internal Palestinian opponents repugnant. The rocket attacks on Israeli civilians are a war crime. But this does not negate the legitimacy of Palestinian resistance to the long Israeli siege and occupation of Gaza.

Posted on Jan 19, 2009 READ MORE


Bush farewell address

President Bush Signs Off

George W. Bush gave his last presidential speech to the American public in a farewell address Thursday night that offered him a platform to have the (first) last word on his time in office. True to form, Bush stayed the course, giving little if any ground when it came to defending even the most contested aspects of his legacy.

Posted on Jan 15, 2009 READ MORE


Guantanamo protest
AP photo / Mary Altaffer

U.S. Fails in Human Rights Role

It is unsurprising that a group like Human Rights Watch has condemned the Bush government for jettisoning the U.S. role as a defender of global human rights: Numerous examples—Guantanamo, gay marriage, Iraq, etc.—accentuate this failure.

Posted on Jan 14, 2009 READ MORE


Afghan lookout
army.mil

The Afghan Scam

The vision of a reconstructed, peaceful, stable, democratically governed Afghanistan faded fast after the U.S.-led invasion. Most Afghans now believe that it was nothing but a cover story for the Bush administration’s real goal—to set up permanent bases in Afghanistan and occupy the country forever.

Posted on Jan 13, 2009 READ MORE


One for the Workers

Hilda Solis does not have star power. What the nominee for labor secretary does have is a record of loyalty to those who work and want to work, and who wish to receive in exchange a decent wage and a measure of dignity.

Posted on Jan 12, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Abdel Kareem Hana

The Language of Death

Israel will, from now on, speak to the Palestinians in the language of death. And the language of death is all the Palestinians will be able to speak back. The slaughter—let’s stop pretending this is a war—is empowering an array of radical Islamists inside and outside of Gaza.

Posted on Jan 12, 2009 READ MORE


Believe It or Not, 2008 Was Relatively Nonviolent

Peace is not at hand, at least not as Americans define it. Yet peace has been breaking out all over.

Posted on Jan 1, 2009 READ MORE


pakistan border
AP photo / Musa Khan

Amid Tensions, Pakistan Moves Troops

In a rebuke to U.S. interests in the region and amid growing tensions between two nuclear powers, Pakistan is moving its forces from its border with Afghanistan—where Pakistani troops are fighting against the Taliban—and restricting soldiers from going on leave, as fears of conflict with India continue to grow.

Posted on Dec 26, 2008 READ MORE


Gifts Worthy of Christmas

On this consumer holiday, let us recognize those whose satisfaction comes not from accumulating material goods or political power: The relief workers and community builders lending their energy to the poorest people in villages and urban slums scattered around the globe.

Posted on Dec 24, 2008 READ MORE



mexicanpictures.com

Back to the Future: U.S. to Arm Afghan Militias

Because it worked out so well the last time, the U.S. plans to arm Afghan militias in an effort to police the country. The Pentagon is presenting this plan—and the media are reporting it—as a spinoff of a successful strategy in Iraq, not a revival of the secret war that gave rise to Osama bin Laden and the Taliban.

Posted on Dec 23, 2008 READ MORE



White House / Eric Draper

From ‘Mission Accomplished’ to ‘So What?’

The history-be-my-judge interviews that President Bush and Vice President Cheney have been giving recently help me understand their choices—but also reinforce my confident belief, and my fervent hope, that history will throw the book at them.

Posted on Dec 23, 2008 READ MORE



AP photo / Khalil Hamra

Man Is a Cruel Animal

We fool ourselves into believing we are immune to the savagery and chaos of failed states. Take away the rigid social structure, let society continue to break down, and we become, like anyone else, brutes.

Posted on Dec 22, 2008 READ MORE


book cover

James Blight on McGeorge Bundy

One of JFK’s “best and brightest” died wondering how the Vietnam War could have gone so wrong. Now, in an important new book, we have some answers.

Posted on Dec 19, 2008 READ MORE


Bush
AP photo / Charles Dharapa

Shoes and Boos for Outgoing Bush

It’s hard to remember the time when George W. Bush winked and swaggered his way into the White House, while rival Al Gore’s team fretted that the vice president didn’t show enough folksy warmth or wear the right earth tones to win the day. My, how times have changed.

Posted on Dec 15, 2008 READ MORE



U.S. Army / Staff Sgt. Michael Bracken

America’s Afghan Thugs

An American living in Kandahar writes in The Washington Post that the “corrupt gunslingers” the U.S. put in charge of Afghanistan are as much to blame for the resurgence of the Taliban as anyone. “Why,” after all, “would anyone defend officials who pillage them?”

Posted on Dec 15, 2008 READ MORE


Let's Get Ready to Rumsfeld
AP photo / Rick Browmer

Senate Panel’s Report on U.S. Torture Abuse

Read the devastating bipartisan report from the Senate Armed Services Committee that indicts high-level Bush administration officials—including former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld—as bearing major responsibility for the torture at Abu Gharib, Guantanamo, and other detention facilities.

Posted on Dec 12, 2008 READ MORE


Olberman

Bush’s Legacy Untangled

Keith Olbermann, in this comma-laden “Countdown” diatribe, really lets loose on the idea of George Bush’s legacy being anything but a dishonorable, terror-filled and disastrous eight years.

Posted on Dec 10, 2008 READ MORE


West’s Role in Afghanistan Needs Re-Examining

Why are the allies waging war against the largest of the native ethnic groups in Afghanistan? The NATO answer is that the allies didn’t set out to fight a war against the Pashtuns. It just happened that way.

Posted on Dec 9, 2008 READ MORE


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