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Tag: Afghanistan

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


The Scalpel

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Posted on Dec 8, 2008 READ MORE    


Clinton and Obama
AP photo / Charles Dharapak

Keeping Track of Change

For anyone seeking real reform of America’s foreign and defense policies in the years ahead, the introduction of Barack Obama’s national security team last Monday was a mixed bag. Yet what these and other appointments really suggest about Obama’s broader prospects for reform requires vigilant public attention.

Posted on Dec 5, 2008 READ MORE


Remaking the World in America’s Image

The evidence suggests that American policy under Barack Obama will be a continuation of the neoconservative foreign policy of the Bush administration, given a human face.

Posted on Dec 4, 2008 READ MORE


Afghan prisoner
AP photo / Xinhua, Xie Xiudong

Who Are the Afghan Insurgents?

Who exactly are the Afghan insurgents? Every suicide attack and kidnapping is usually attributed to “the Taliban.” In reality, however, the insurgency is far from monolithic.

Posted on Dec 4, 2008 READ MORE


Not a Team of Rivals at All

When the journalistic pack bites into a tasty cliché, they often refuse to let go, lazily chewing and regurgitating a phrase like “team of rivals” long after the flavor is gone.

Posted on Dec 4, 2008 READ MORE


Obama's defense team
AP photo / Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Will Obama Stay the Course?

I do so want to believe that Barack Obama is on the right track. His brain is big, his style fresh, his pronouncements both logical and compelling, and it does feel good to have a president-elect elicit universal respect rather than make the world cringe.

Posted on Dec 2, 2008 READ MORE


Was There Any Point to the Bloodshed in Mumbai?

What is the message of a terrorist attack that fails to deliver a message? Threats and warnings are being exchanged by India and Pakistan over the attack on Mumbai, carried out by presumed Muslim extremists. But acting to what purpose, and under whose instructions?

Posted on Dec 2, 2008 READ MORE


Gates

Gates Was ‘Hoping the Question Would Never Be Popped’

Fresh off his official introduction as the current and future secretary of defense, Robert Gates took questions at the Pentagon on Monday about his party affiliation, President-elect Barack Obama and his outlook on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Posted on Dec 2, 2008 READ MORE


Taking Over Bush’s Endless War

Terrorism (for the umpteenth time) is a tactic, not an enemy. One of the most urgent tasks for President-elect Barack Obama’s “team of rivals” is coming up with a coherent intellectual framework—and a winning battle plan—for George W. Bush’s globe-spanning “war on terror.”

Posted on Dec 1, 2008 READ MORE



AP file photo

Confronting the Terrorist Within

The world is far more complex than our childish vision of good and evil. We as a nation and a culture have no monopoly on virtue. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, when viewed from the receiving end, are state-sponsored acts of terrorism.

Posted on Dec 1, 2008 READ MORE


Afghan ministry attack
AP photo / Rahmat Gul

Afghanistan in Crisis

The collapse of Afghanistan is closer than the world believes. Kandahar is in Taliban hands—all but a square mile at the centre of the city—and the first Taliban checkpoints are scarcely 15 miles from Kabul.

Posted on Nov 29, 2008 READ MORE


bush at podium
AP photo / Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Bush Speaks of Legacy

Still-President Bush has discussed his legacy with his sister Dorothy Bush Koch as part of a national oral-history project, suggesting the future should remember him for his “liberation” of 50 million people and reluctance to ”sell his soul ... to accommodate the political process”—likely referring to that which is outlined in the U.S. Constitution.

Posted on Nov 28, 2008 READ MORE



USAF / Staff Sgt. Samuel Rogers

Bush’s Follies Will Destroy Obama If He Lets Them

Barack Obama has no choice but to accept responsibility for America’s foreign policy crises. But why should he accept them on the distorted and even hysterical terms by which the Bush administration has defined world affairs since 2001?

Posted on Nov 25, 2008 READ MORE


White Rock set
independent.co.uk

Making Movies the Afghan Way

Incredibly, as Afghanistan sinks back into the anarchy which became its natural state these past 29 years, Afghan film-makers are producing movies of international quality, turning out pictures which prove—even amid war—that a country’s tragedy can be imaginatively recreated for its people.

Posted on Nov 23, 2008 READ MORE


Gitmo Flag
AP photo / Brennan Linsley

5 Guantanamo Detainees Ordered Freed

In yet another decision that chips away at the Bush administration’s withering theory of executive dominance, a federal judge ruled Thursday that the evidence presented against five Algerians—who have been in U.S. custody since 2001—was insufficient, freeing the detainees from the bowels of the prison at Guantanamo.

Posted on Nov 21, 2008 READ MORE


Why Obama Can Keep Gates

If the prospect of appointing Hillary Clinton as secretary of state irritates the Obama base, what will they make of keeping the man who has executed President Bush’s policies at the Pentagon?

Posted on Nov 20, 2008 READ MORE


To Each His Own Nuke

The cynical view of national sovereignty holds that it belongs only to those who can defend it. This was said recently at the Pentagon concerning American manned and unmanned attacks inside Pakistan.

Posted on Nov 20, 2008 READ MORE


Bracing for a Major Disappointment

The Americans who voted for Barack Obama as president were promised change they could count on, but it rather looks as if they may actually be asked to make do with a mildly refurbished Clinton administration, with many of the same officials and nearly all of the same policies.

Posted on Nov 18, 2008 READ MORE



AP photo

No More Torture

We will look back on the Bush years and find it incredible, and disgraceful, that individuals were “purchased” from tribal warlords, tortured at Abu Ghraib, abducted to secret CIA prisons, whisked to Guantanamo and held for years without charges.

Posted on Nov 18, 2008 READ MORE



AP photo / Morry Gash

America’s Wars of Self-Destruction

War is a poison. It is a poison that nations and groups must at times ingest to ensure their survival. But, like any poison, it can kill you just as surely as the disease it is meant to eradicate.

Posted on Nov 17, 2008 READ MORE


Afghan boy and soldiers
AP photo / Rafiq Maqbool

No End to the Savagery in Afghanistan

Back in Afghanistan, the mind turns to the small matter of savagery. Not the routine cruelty of war, but the deliberate inhumanity with which we behave.

Posted on Nov 15, 2008 READ MORE


How Many Villages Must We Bomb Before We Find bin Laden?

Barack Obama has said that he is not against war, only against stupid wars. One might then reasonably ask if the present war in Afghanistan is not a stupid war?

Posted on Nov 13, 2008 READ MORE


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