Pak Border Post Attack a Big Loss for U.S. War Policy

Pakistanis burn an American flag in protest of NATO border strike. AFP PHOTO/ S.S. MIRZA

Gareth Porter: The decision to attack by helicopter gunships, which killed 24 Pakistani troops and stoked a new level of anti-U.S. sentiment feeling in the country, has caught the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan in a rare defense posture, because senior officials don’t know what happened and why.

Kabul Attack Continues Taliban Control of War Narrative

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Gareth Porter: This week’s Taliban attacks on multiple targets in Kabul, including the U.S. Embassy and U.S.-NATO headquarters, are the latest and most spectacular of a long series of operations that have given the insurgents the upper hand in establishing the narrative of the war as perceived by the Afghan population.

Woodward’s Exposé Documents What We All Suspected About the White House

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Ivan Eland: If it weren’t for the latest salacious bureau-gossip, the book would be rather boring—and tragic. Boring, not because the issues are uninteresting or because Woodward is a bad writer, but because the author records a dysfunctional White House internal decision-making process in which meeting after meeting features the same reasonable questions about the U.S. war in Afghanistan but in which nobody ever has very good answers to them.

The Taliban: Forced Into Negotiation While Winning?

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Ivan Eland: Although David Petraeus, the top American commander in Afghanistan, recently peddled the notion that senior Taliban chieftains had made contact with senior Afghan government officials about the possibility of starting reconciliation talks, such talk of peace in our time is likely to be hype.

Main Effect of the WikiLeaks Documents Is Political

Ivan Eland: So the only thing the WikiLeaks documents reveal is how persistent the post-9/11 war and nation-building fever continues to be among the foreign policy elite—even in the face of the dismal results on the ground for almost a decade and a majority opinion in America that the war is not worth fighting.

Fight Them Over There, Not Here?

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Ron Wolff: All of our efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, now spanning about eight years (twice the time it took to win World War II), have not resulted in an ability to keep would-be terrorists outside our borders or foil their plots in advance (no doubt with some exceptions).

Learning From History: Can the U.S. Win the Afghan War?

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Ivan Eland: Unfortunately for the United States in Afghanistan, however, the label of “foreign occupier” is an albatross the U.S. will likely never be able to shake or mitigate. Although the Taliban is often brutal (but may now be toning this down in its own realization that it must win greater public support) and unpopular, so is the U.S. occupation and the corrupt client government of Hamid Karzai.

Politics Gets in the Way of Obama’s Perceptiveness

Yemen Somalia Duel

Ivan Eland: The governments of Yemen and Somalia are no stronger, less corrupt, more competent, or in control of more of their own territory than the Afghan government. Yet more U.S. troops are seen as beneficial in Afghanistan but as counterproductive in Yemen and Somalia.

To Escalate the Escalation?

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The debate rages among experts on whether to escalate the escalation of Barack Obama’s “war of necessity” in Afghanistan—seemingly oblivious to American public opinion at home that has turned against waging the conflict at all.