In a devastatingly critical examination of the narco-state formerly known as Afghanistan, the New York Times’ Dexter Filkins today documents case after case of widespread corruption on a massive scale in the Afghan government, including officials ranging from low-level, local bureaucrats right up to the brother of President Hamid Karzai. Filkins shows the difficult situation [...]
The renewed Israel-Hamas war in Gaza presents the incoming Obama Administration with its most difficult immediate foreign policy challenge. Yet it also offers Obama a well-timed opportunity to act on his promise to return to the aggressive Mideast diplomacy that characterized the final years of the Clinton Administration.
It’s been going on for sixty years. Or a century. Or a millennium. Or more. It depends on how you look at it, but the Israeli-Palestinian confrontation defiantly resists resolution, yielding an unending harvest of blood. Decades of inconclusive conflict have made clear that neither side can achieve its goals by purely military means.
by Ann Wright – On the news today of the death of Harold Pinter, the winner of the 2005 Nobel Prize for Literature, I remembered hearing his Nobel Laureate lecture/acceptable speech. I was in London in December 2005 speaking at the annual “Stop the War” conference when Pinter delivered his speech—not in Oslo, as Pinter [...]
by Charley James – According to both the 9/11 Commission report and Richard Clarke’s book, Against All Enemies, in the summer of 2001 former CIA director George Tenet raced around Washington clanging “alarm bells” to anyone who would listen about a possible al Qaeda attack on the United States. The CIA and the National Security [...]
General David Petraeus, the former military commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and author of the military’s most recent counterinsurgency manual, learned the lessons of the successful British counterinsurgency experience in Malaya in the 1950s. He was able to reduce the violence in Iraq by instituting a policy of U.S. military restraint in that country.
by Charley James – To prove to himself once and for all that everything is going swell in Iraq, George Bush spent one of his last weekends in office sneaking into Baghdad to say, “So long, suckers! Glad we destroyed you!” in front of what he assumed would be a friendly, naïve audience of Iraqi [...]
by Ivan Eland – As rage coursed through India after the Mumbai terrorist bombings, Condoleezza Rice, the Bush administration’s Secretary of State, flew to India and cautioned the Indian government on avoiding a knee-jerk and counterproductive response. She warned the Indians that “any response needs to be judged by its effectiveness in prevention and also [...]
by Sherwood Ross – As the anniversary of the December 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor rolls around, critics of President Franklin Roosevelt will again claim he had advance knowledge of the strike and allowed it to happen. That would be treasonable on FDR’s part, of course. A rational examination of events, though, shows [...]
by Ivan Eland – Upon Barack Obama’s election, the Russians made threats to U.S. allies over their acceptance of a U.S. missile defense system. Also, Russia recently sent its first large military force to Latin America since the end of the Cold War to participate in naval exercises off the Venezuelan coast. Is this a [...]
by Sherwood Ross – If African-Americans are overrepresented in the armed forces it is likely because of the military’s practice of “strategically targeting low-income youth and students of color,” the ACLU has found. Result: While African-Americans make up only 16% of the same-age civilian population, in 2006 they represented about 22% of enlisted Army personnel.
by Ivan Eland – President-elect Barack Obama—showing the obligatory toughness toward foreign “evildoers” needed (especially by Democrats) in American political campaigns—pledged to use the American military to go after al Qaeda in Pakistan. Of all people, his hawkish rival, Senator John McCain, who supported the unprovoked U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, criticized Obama’s approach [...]
The media and the Washington foreign policy elite breathed a sigh of relief when Barack Obama thumped John McCain in the election. Had John McCain won, there was always the chance that the neoconservatives would have beaten out the Republican realists for his foreign policy soul. With a victory by the liberal Obama, however, the [...]
by Charley James – Today is Remembrance Day in Canada – what Americans call Veterans Day – and everything other than retailing and restaurants shuts down tight. Canada treats Remembrance Day much more somberly than do US celebrations. This might be the result of how the British mercilessly used the colonial Canadian army as fodder [...]
President Barack Obama will face a daunting international scene in January as a direct consequence of George Bush’s ill-conceived adventure in Iraq. Having argued forcefully that the war should never have been fought, and having committed himself to a “responsible” withdrawal, Obama will indeed inherit responsibility for Iraq.
There is an “Alice-in-Wonderland” quality to the current debate on Iraq. As the war became increasingly unpopular after 2003, the Bush administration took to arguing that we couldn’t leave because it wasn’t going well. We had a duty to hang in there and give the Iraqis a chance to get on their feet. Those of [...]
The recent escalation of violence between Israel and its Palestinian and Lebanese enemies illustrates yet again a perennial feature of this excruciating conflict: on both sides, those who refuse to compromise hold the trump cards. Both Hamas in Gaza and Hizbollah in Lebanon have the ability to seize the initiative and derail efforts to forge [...]
Because the treatment of detainees in the prison for “unlawful combatants” at the naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, was found by the Supreme Court to be contrary to both US law and international law, the facility has become an embarrassment that even the Bush administration wants to be closed, if they can find other [...]