Making Vietnam’s Mistakes in Afghanistan

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Jeremy Kuzmarov: For more than a decade the CIA has provided wads of dollars to the office of Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan’s president largely as a means of buying political influence.

After Chicago, After Afghanistan: The Complexities Ahead

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Tom Hayden: The peace movement can and will have to merge with the populist movements opposing austerity budgets and Wall Street crimes.

U.S.-Afghan Pact Won’t End War – Or Special Ops Night Raids

President Obama and President Hamid Karzai (Photo: Pete Souza)

Gareth Porter: The disparity between the reality of the agreement and the optics created by administration press briefings recalls Obama’s declarations in 2009 and 2010 on the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq.

Time to Leave Afghanistan Now

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Joseph Palermo: At about $10 billion a month, and an increasing number of American casualties in an environment more volatile than ever, the American people need to take long, close look at whether staying in Afghanistan until December 2014 is worth it.

The Surge to Withdrawal

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Vijay Prashad: The United States will exit Afghanistan in the next few years. None of its promises of health and well-being, democracy and women’s rights will be realized.

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.

Ex-PM Says Taliban Offer Talks For Pullout Date

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Gareth Porter: The Taliban leadership is ready to negotiate peace with the United States right now if Washington indicates its willingness to provide a timetable for complete withdrawal, according to a former Afghan prime minister

How Not to Make Friends in the Greater Middle East

Automated Biometric Information System

Tom Englehart: the U.S. military has gathered biometric data—“digital scans of eyes, photographs of the face, and fingerprints”—on 2.2 million Iraqis and 1.5 million Afghans, with an emphasis on men of an age to become insurgents.

U.S. Uses Peace Talks to Divide Taliban from Pakistan

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Gareth Porter: Senior Obama administration officials hope to use the talks to sow suspicion between the Taliban and their main ally, thus weakening the Taliban resolve to negotiate on a peace settlement only if the United States offers a timetable for troop withdrawal.

After Bin Laden Hit, U.S. Aides Raise Dubious Hopes for Peace

President Obama with National Security Advisor Tom Donilon. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Gareth Porter: Barack Obama and top administration officials have taken advantage of the killing of Osama bin Laden to establish a new narrative suggesting the event will pave the way for negotiations with the Taliban for peace in Afghanistan.

U.S. Refusal of 2001 Taliban Offer Gave bin Laden a Free Pass

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Gareth Porter: When George W. Bush rejected a Taliban offer to have Osama bin Laden tried by a moderate group of Islamic states in mid- October 2001, he gave up the only opportunity the United States would have to end bin Laden’s terrorist career for the next nine years.

Relentless Pentagon Pressure Mounts to Keep Troops in Iraq

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Tom Hayden: Any “new deal” will have to satisfy the power agenda of al-Sadr and his allies in Iran, or risk a renewal of fighting against the retention of the smallest contingent of U.S. troops in Iraq since 2003.

An Uncanny Coincidence

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Ron Wolff: It was announced this week that the pullout of NATO troops from Afghanistan will be — 2014! Amazing as it might sound, 2014 is exactly the same deadline I have set for myself for the imposition of a low calorie diet. I’ve had this objective since 2002, but it’s always been part of a long-term strategic plan, not something I wanted to rush into prematurely.

The Company We Keep

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Stanley Kutler: Once again, we have bet the mortgage on one leader, no matter how inept and corrupt he might be. Karzai is playing off various sides, eagerly accepting the largesse and patronage of at least two governments, each with its own interests.

Afghanistan Again

Joseph Palermo: After nine years of war the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan lacks support at home and is widely recognized as a drain on the domestic economy in a time of severe economic contraction. The billions of dollars in U.S. economic assistance to the Hamid Karzai government has created an unsustainable class of Afghans who are dependent upon the American largesse and military presence that would be impossible to sustain by local taxes. It is a puppet government that wouldn’t last a day without American arms and money.

Feting a Fetid War

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Ivan Eland: The U.S. government’s inability to distinguish between al-Qaeda, with global ambitions, and the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban, with their local goals, has merely made more enemies, including those who would begin attacking the United States. How are Americans being made safer by this war?

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.

No Chance Obama’s War in Afghanistan Will Succeed

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Sherwood Ross: If Afghans are dying by the thousands and Pakistanis have become refugees by the millions to ensure Obama’s political survival, the U.S. has lost any vestige of moral authority.

The Oligarchy Wins Again!

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Something, anything, has to be done at some point to show that the Obama Administration is not just the latest group of good people with good ideas that are absorbed into a system that makes Hamid Karzai look like a clean government activist. The corporate money so clogs the arteries of our body political the whole damn thing is sclerotic, choked off from the life-giving oxygen of democracy.

Obama Speaks (Some) Truth From Power

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President Obama’s Nobel lecture might have showed us that the United States has reached a turning point: either the national security monster we’ve created is going to eat us alive by bankrupting the country or we’re going to have to shift course. We must begin to spin off the 700 or so military bases and installations around the world and focus on building a better life for our own people here at home.

More ‘Corruption’ Is Needed in Afghanistan

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In the 20th century, the few successful counterinsurgency campaigns run by an outside power—the Americans in the Philippines after the Spanish-American War at the turn of the last century, the British in Malaya in the 1950s, and the Americans in Iraq—have one thing in common: the insurgency became divided.

Fraudulent Afghan Election Raises Odds Against American “Success”

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The fraudulent Afghan election of last August 20th has delayed the possibility of a new regime taking over promptly to replace the corrupt rule of the discredited, U.S. hand-picked President Hamid Karzai. The ballot box stuffing has blunted a key aspect of President Obama’s stated desire to bring about domestic reform there, not just to [...]

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.

Obama Says Dr. King Paved His Way But King Would Reject Obama’s Wars

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If President Obama wants to honor Dr. King’s memory for all that he did for him, he might begin by bringing U.S. troops home from the Middle East now. As for visions, how about an America that does not live by the sword?

Hypocrisy in Government

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Recent statements by President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, admitting that they were going to use the economic crisis to get other things done, is at least surprisingly honest. But it is also hypocritical. Remember when some of these same people criticized George W. Bush [...]

A Big ‘Hoorah!’ to the New York Times’ Dexter Filkins

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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 [...]

Sarah Palin’s Feminine Wiles Fall Short

Shortly after the Katie Couric-Sarah Palin interview, a slew of reports hit the Internet assessing the VP candidate’s performance. Try as I might, I was hard pressed to find a single report that looked favorably on Palin’s delivery. Slate‘s Christopher Beam said that Palin resembled, “a high-schooler trying to BS her way through a book [...]

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