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Moby-Dick

By Herman Melville

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Tag: Taliban

U.S. Military Investigating Afghan Casualty Claims

Up to 70 civilians were reportedly killed in the Farah province of Afghanistan in a battle between Taliban insurgents and coalition forces on Tuesday, adding friction to already tense relations between the U.S. and Afghan governments.

Posted on May 5, 2009 READ MORE


Pakistan missile
AP photo / B.K. Bangash

How Safe Are Pakistan’s Nukes?

President Barack Obama and his Pakistani counterpart, Asif Ali Zardari, will have a lot to talk about when Zardari visits the White House on Wednesday, what with al-Qaida and the Taliban stirring up trouble of late and sparking concerns over the security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.

Posted on May 4, 2009 READ MORE


Afghan Women Protest Against—and for—‘Rape’ Law

A group of determined Afghan women took to the streets of Kabul on Wednesday, suffering chants of “Dogs!” from a much larger crowd in order to challenge a law that essentially legalizes marital rape. The AP reports on a scene that underscores the complexities of that country—there were more women among the angry counterprotesters than in the women’s rights group.

Posted on Apr 15, 2009 READ MORE


Taliban, the Sequel

Ever since the Afghan war began, we assured ourselves that whatever else, we had one moral victory. We’d freed the women from Taliban rule. Now we know something very different to be true.

Posted on Apr 8, 2009 READ MORE


Obama: The Extremists’ Nightmare

In the struggle against the extremists and terrorists, the new president understands how to divide the enemy and neutralize their base—and is uniquely suited to accomplish the mission. He got elected in the United States of America, after all.

Posted on Apr 8, 2009 READ MORE


It’s Now a ‘Soft War’ in Afghanistan, but It’s Still a Disaster

President Obama appears to have fallen for the oldest false dichotomy in the Pentagon repertoire, and the easiest one to sell to the American public. It goes like this: The world is divided between the Evil Folks and the Good. The Good Folks, being what they are, are naturally pro-American, once they get to know us.

Posted on Apr 7, 2009 READ MORE


Lahore protest
dailytimes.com.pk

Flogging of 17-Year-Old Pakistani Girl Raises Outrage

The public lashing of a 17-year-old girl named Chand in Pakistan’s Swat Valley became the catalyst for countrywide protests on Saturday after a video of the flogging made its way around the Internet. A spokesman for the local Tahreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed the video was fake and that the actual incident happened outside of Swat but defended the punishment as just.

Posted on Apr 4, 2009 READ MORE


America’s ‘Long War’ Will Be as Bloody and Pointless as Europe’s

The Thirty Years’ War occupies little space in the school texts of the English-speaking world, but its futility comes to mind when Richard Holbrooke speaks of the war he is supposed to manage, now the Af-Pak war.

Posted on Apr 2, 2009 READ MORE


Silence Meets Despair of Afghan Women

Afghanistan’s women are no longer in vogue. President Karzai has just signed a law that forces them to obey their husbands’ sexual demands and in general again consigns them to lives of brutal repression.

Posted on Apr 2, 2009 READ MORE


Obama
cbsnews.com

Obama Zeroes In on Afghanistan

On Sunday’s “Face the Nation,” President Obama did his best to convince CBS’ Bob Schieffer, and by extension the American people, that he knows what he’s doing in escalating U.S. military operations in Afghanistan—and that this won’t be his Vietnam.

Posted on Mar 30, 2009 READ MORE


What Is the Point of NATO?

NATO today, approaching its 60th birthday, faces the prospect of sending home all of its units not willing to fight in Afghanistan under the American flag. They will go home to “defend” Europe. From whom?

Posted on Mar 20, 2009 READ MORE



latimes.com

Saudi Woman, 75, Faces Lashing for Letting In Delivery Men

For the crime of receiving two unrelated men in her home, a 75-year-old Saudi woman has been sentenced to 40 lashes and four months behind bars. Once again, a nation that is both one of America’s closest allies and brutally oppressive of women finds itself in an awkward light.

Posted on Mar 11, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
AP photo / Virginia Mayo

Biden Talks Afghanistan in NATO Huddle

Vice President Joe Biden held forth at a NATO meeting in Brussels on Tuesday, reinforcing President Barack Obama’s message from last weekend about a slight shift in foreign policy with regard to Afghanistan and urging NATO to be vigilant about the threat of attacks from extremist groups harbored by Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Posted on Mar 10, 2009 READ MORE



U.S. Army / Staff Sgt. Adam Mancini

Obama’s Troop Shuffle Leaves Us Dizzy

The president will withdraw 12,000 troops from Iraq over the next six months, but where will he send them? Back to America? Ski trip to Aspen? Or perhaps he’ll just airlift the veterans to Afghanistan, where a similar number of reinforcements has been promised over a similar period.

Posted on Mar 8, 2009 READ MORE


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



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



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


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


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


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


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


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



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


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


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


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



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



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


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


Which Hillary Will We Get?

It was a moment bound to give anyone second thoughts about Hillary Clinton’s nomination as secretary of state: Rush Limbaugh called it a “brilliant stroke.”

Posted on Dec 4, 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


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


Mumbai aftermath
AP photo / Gurinder Osan

Searching for Answers in Mumbai

Who was responsible for this week’s siege in Mumbai? Some clues had emerged in the Indian metropolis by Thursday night, as the crisis appeared to be winding down, although the fate of several hostages still hung in the balance.

Posted on Nov 27, 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


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


This Is What He’s Sorry About?

It was nothing Bush did—no decision he made, no policy he pursued, no faith that he placed in ideological dogma—that he finds regrettable. Bush told a cable network, “I regret saying some things I shouldn’t have said” over the course of eight tumultuous years.

Posted on Nov 13, 2008 READ MORE


Afghanistan Girl After Acid Attack
AP photo / Allauddin Khan

How Bloody Can Bush’s Legacy Be?

The legacy of George Bush’s two “wars of liberation” may already be judged as foreign policy blunders, but the real costs of war remain even after the truism of failed empire. In Afghanistan, acid attacks on at least 15 female students mark a worrisome trend in women’s rights there. And in Iraq, an Iraqi soldier opened fire on a patrol of U.S. troops, killing two.

Posted on Nov 12, 2008 READ MORE


Obama Is the Superior Decider

The real issues of the American presidential election are the future of the economy and the future of American foreign policy. The one seems already settled. The second seems to unite John McCain and Barack Obama in support of a program doomed to fail.

Posted on Oct 30, 2008 READ MORE



Collage: AP photo / Chip Somodevilla, pool / Wikimedia Commons

Virtual JFK: The 44th President’s Foreign Policy Challenge

The leading issue in the current face-off between Barack Obama and John McCain is the economy. Once elected and inaugurated, however, a U.S. president’s politics become global literally overnight.

Posted on Oct 29, 2008 READ MORE


The ‘New Multilateralism’

The issues that have fueled Russian-American tensions in Europe in recent months, and European tensions with both Russia and the United States, have suggested a willingness on all sides to reignite tensions that on the face of it serve no one’s real interests. Recent developments could change all that.

Posted on Oct 9, 2008 READ MORE


What McCain and Obama Just Don’t Get About Central Asia

There are only two real issues left in the foreign policy debate between John McCain and Barack Obama. Yet neither the Iraq nor the Afghanistan issue is within the power of any American president to resolve.

Posted on Oct 7, 2008 READ MORE



DoD / Michael L. Casteel

British Commander Calls Taliban Unbeatable

Victory in Afghanistan? That’s “neither feasible nor supportable,” according to the outgoing commander of British forces there, who tells The Times of London that the Taliban “seems relatively impervious to losses.” The Afghan government must instead reach some political settlement with more moderate insurgents, concluded Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith.

Posted on Oct 5, 2008 READ MORE


AfghanPak Border
guardian.co.uk

Secret Bush Order OKs Strikes Inside Pakistan

A secret executive order signed by President Bush grants U.S. military forces “carte blanche” to launch counterterrorist operations inside Pakistan. An attack last week under the auspices of the unprecedented July order is raising concerns: Pakistani officials declared the operation illegal, and international analysts fear an escalating conflict could start a regionwide war.

Posted on Sep 12, 2008 READ MORE


Quagmire, Phase 2: The Invasion of Pakistan

The United States has just invaded Cambodia. The name of Cambodia this time is Pakistan, but otherwise it’s the same story as in Indochina in 1970.

Posted on Sep 11, 2008 READ MORE


Zardari President
AP photo / Anjum Naveed

Bhutto’s Widower Assumes Presidency in Pakistan

Asif Ali Zardari, widower of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, assumed the presidency of Pakistan on Tuesday, concluding a transfer of power that began with the resignation of former President Pervez Musharraf just two weeks ago. Zardari’s presidency is likely to be one of conflict, as an ongoing Taliban resurgence and a 26 percent approval rating already riddle his first days in office.

Posted on Sep 10, 2008 READ MORE


Cleaning Up After Bush

The Bush administration has lived by a strategy of tension, and will go out of office bequeathing the wars it has started and the ill will it has created to its successors, to compromise those who come after.

Posted on Aug 28, 2008 READ MORE


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