Afghanistan: A Moment of Opportunity for Obama

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Tom Hayden: The targeted killing of Osama bin Laden is powerful evidence that terrorist threats, both real and hypothetical, can be more effectively suppressed by special forces operations than by deploying hundreds of thousands of American soldiers on the ground.

Afghan Attacks Highlight Challenges of Training Afghan Forces

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Marian Wang: The U.S. has spent billions on to train the dysfunctional police force, which has been riddled with high turnover and continued corruption.

Defying Racial Stereotypes

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David Love: Given the paucity of positive images of Arabs out there, no single film can be all things to all people. And no film by itself can articulate the full breadth of the occupation or the Mideast conflict. But this is a good start.

If Cairo Came to Kabul

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David Swanson: It will come as a surprise to most Americans, and indeed to most Afghans, that a dedicated group of Afghan youth has begun building a principled and disciplined nonviolent movement for peace, independence, and unity in Afghanistan.

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“White City” in Afghanistan; Black Heart in Florida

Staffan de Mistura

Kirwin: Terry Jones’ Quran burning resulted in killings and extreme danger in Afghanistan. The United Nations ordered all of its personnel to remain locked down in their compounds. A credible rumor has it that the UN will decide whether to completely pull out of the country, despite multiple assertions to the contrary by the UN Special Representative, Staffan de Mistura, who is based in Kabul.

On Visiting an Unwinnable War

johan galtung

David Swanson: If Afghanistan is to have peace, Galtung believes, it will need a loose federation of governments within and a confederation of allied countries without, including countries like Pakistan and Iran.

Images of Arab Revolt, from Technicolor to Gaddafi

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Tom Hall: Gaddafi has the scent of Saddam Hussein about him. He’s been a loyal but erratic servant of the oil bosses who dictate our middle-east policy.

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Who’s The Spoiler?

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Sharon Kyle: I believe that Marcy Winograd has demonstrated an unyielding commitment to stand for, do and say what’s in the best interest of the people regardless of the personal cost to her.

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The Arab World’s Leadership Deficit

Salah al-Din

Ibrahim Al-Marashi: President Hosni Mubarak was not a leader with the inherent charisma to galvanise the population. It is a problem that faces the entire region.

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When “Good” Dictators Go Bad

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Norman Solomon: And so, the secretary of state condemns awful Iran, invoking “our sense of human dignity, the rights that flow from it and the principles that ground it.” But don’t hold your breath for any such condemnation of, say, Saudi Arabia — surely an “awful” government that “routinely violates the rights of its people.”

The Egyptian Middle Class Is Disgruntled. Again.

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Guy Laron: Though protesters in Cairo are clamoring for democracy, the underlying cause of the demonstrations may be the economic plight of the Egyptian middle class, according to historian Guy Laron. In this essay, Laron traces the roots of that economic plight back to the 1952 coup that brought the current military regime to power.

Will Revolution Succeed in Egypt?

cairo protests

Steve Hochstadt: Little depends on what we in the U.S. do. Our best bet is to offer support to democratic institutions, no matter who the likely winner of a free vote might be.

State Department Approved Export of U.S.-Made Tear Gas to Egyptian Gov’t

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Marian Wang: The American-made tear gas used to disperse pro-democracy protestors in Egypt earlier this week was sold to the country after government review.

Arab Unrest Hopping from Country to Country

Tunisia Unrest

Jim Fuller: It’s a tossup at this moment as to whether the Jordanian and Saudi governments will be thrown out, I think. But what about Yemen and Algeria? No one can say at this point.

The Jasmine Revolution: Testing Time for the White House

Carl Bloice: To do something meaningful the Obama Administration must go beyond lecturing the local establishment leaders about human rights and political plurality. It must be to move to respond positively to the aspiration of the kids with the rocks in the streets. It should not involve telling the Pakistanis how to price gas.

Reliving the Soviet Experience in Afghanistan

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Tom Engelhardt: If, as 2011 begins, you want to peer into the future, enter my time machine, strap yourself in, and head for the past, that laboratory for all developments of our moment and beyond.

A Radical Solution for the War in Afghanistan

Ivan Eland: The problem is that the U.S. goal in Afghanistan—although President Obama has reduced it from George W. Bush’s instituting democracy to merely stabilizing the country—is still too ambitious.

Istanbul: Ancient City, Throbbing Metropolis

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Steven Hill: Muslims, Christians, and Jews live in relative harmony here, yet it’s as if its too-jumbled history pulses within the walls, the monuments, the winding streets, indeed within each individual Turk now inhabiting this ground zero zone.

U.S. Policy Toward the Koreas Is Unrealistic

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Ivan Eland: The United States could undermine Chinese support for North Korea by giving South Korea five years notice that it will abrogate the U.S.-South Korean security alliance.

The Drain of Blood, Taxes and Hope in Afghanistan

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Tom Hayden: Persistent waffling on dates for American troop withdrawals has eroded any remaining patience with the Obama White House among peace activists and voters, a majority of whom favors a timeline for US troop withdrawals.

Obama Sides with India Against Pakistan Over Afghanistan

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Tom Hayden: President Obama’s visit to India last week further cemented the US alliance with Hindu-dominated India in its long proxy war over Afghanistan against Muslim Pakistan.

Ferial Masry: Surprised Political Legend

Ferial Masry and Barbara Boxer

Wendy Block: This Election Day, Masry hopes to make that scenario real by beating Jeff Gorell for the open seat in California’s 37th Assembly District (Ventura/LA County). If she wins, her victory will also be a victory for millions of people half a world away.

This Year, Contractor Deaths Exceed Military Ones in Iraq and Afghanistan

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T. Christian Miller: More private contractors than soldiers were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan in recent months, the first time in history that corporate casualties have outweighed military losses on America’s battlefields.

Recession Is Over! (If You Want It)

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Joseph Palermo: The National Bureau of Economic Research tells us the Great Recession is “over.” The only thing this announcement reveals is just how out of touch and compassionless those who view human society through the lens of quantitative measurements can be.

End Illegal War: Support Bradley Manning

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Ann Wright: Just as Daniel Ellsberg blew the whistle on the lies of the US leaders of the Vietnam War, Manning is accused of blowing the whistle on the illegality of today’s wars. What will our response to the information Manning is charged with releasing be? Can we make today’s Pentagon Papers lead to an end to illegal and wasteful wars abroad and the return of our troops home?

Los Angeles Launches Nation’s First Israel Divestment Campaign

Jonathan Ben Artzi

Linda Milazzo: Many Americans, myself included, feel a sense of guilt at being unwitting pawns in Israel’s forty-year occupation and systematic torture, deprivation, and dare I say, ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. Many Americans are further incensed that our legislators have voted annually to award Israel, a wealthy and thriving nation, 3 billion of our tax dollars which go directly into its military.

Obama’s Delusions: The Economy and Iraq

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Shamus Cooke: The hundreds of billions of dollars that Obama will use to wage war in Iraq and Afghanistan could just as easily go to create jobs in the United States: public works could be financed by the government, as they were during the last Depression, that directly create jobs.

US Combat Ends in Iraq, But Covert Operations Begin

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Tom Hayden: While the Obama administration struggles to keep its pledge to end the Iraq war, a behind-the-scenes plan is developing in which the Baghdad regime “invites” the American military to stay.

Converting Military Restraint in Wars into an Effective National Strategy

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Ivan Eland: The US should attempt to win hearts and minds in the Muslim world by ending meddling in places such as Yemen and Somalia and withdrawing forces rapidly from Iraq and Afghanistan.

What to Do About the Wars

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Ivan Eland: Most analysts believe that the U.S. government will renegotiate the status of forces agreement with any new Iraqi government—making the heroic assumption that there is a new Iraqi government by next year—to leave some forces permanently in that country.

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