Where I Come From

soya jung

Soya Jung: There are many different paths to political consciousness. But it always happens as part of asking ourselves, “Why?” and fighting alongside others to change the conditions in which we find ourselves.

When You Got ‘Em By The …

grover norquist

John MacMurray: IThe picture so far shows Grover Norquist to be not much more than a well-dressed street thug. One of those people Garrison Keillor describes as “brownshirts in pin stripes.”

Time to Leave Afghanistan Now

kabul-fire

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.

Democratization: Indigenous Beats Imported

cairo demonstration

Ivan Eland: Despite George W. Bush’s and Barack Obama’s efforts to topple foreign dictators and use military power to forcefully impose democracy from without, democracy usually works better if it bubbles up from below by popular desire.

Cut Carriers Now

aircraft carrier

Ivan Eland: With yawning American budget deficits and a $15 trillion national debt, it would save significant amounts of money to reduce the number of carriers and carrier air wings well below the excessive 11 and 10, respectively.

The Case for Cutting and Running

marine-uniform

Tina Dupuy: The first thing worth noting is this treatment of war dead is absolutely against the Geneva Convention. The second thing is we threw out the Geneva Convention when we invaded Afghanistan.

Health Care Reform – Six Months Later

healthcare

Peter Dreier: Lots of reporters and pundits-all of whom have good, employer-provided health insurance plans-now say that Obama invested too much capital getting the Affordable Care Act through Congress when he should have been concentrating on the economy.

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.

The Second Coming of Petraeus

Petraeus

Ivan Eland: With the justified firing of Gen. Stanley McChrystal and his replacement with Iraq water-walker David Petraeus, it’s as if people are hoping for a second coming of Jesus in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the replacement may be similar to the second coming of the water-walking Joe Gibbs as coach of the Washington Redskins.

Feting a Fetid War

lyndon johnson ngo diem hamid karzai barack obama

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?

Mr. Cairns Goes to Westminster? UK Election Writ Small, Retail & Local

english election

Denis Campbell: General Election “speed-dating” best characterises the 31-day sprint to the UK’s 06 May finish line. Forget the hoopla surrounding 1st ever televised leadership debates, SPIN rooms, 3D graphic holograms and breathless pundits. All 650 UK House of Commons seats serving 60 million people (a 92,000:1 ratio) are up for grabs (compared to 435 US House seats serving 330 million or 760,000:1). If you think all US politics is retail and local, to borrow from the song, “you ain’t seen nuttin’ yet.”

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

Soldier

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.

More ‘Corruption’ Is Needed in Afghanistan

British soldiers in Malaysia

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.

Lessons on the Battlefield Need to Be Learned at a Higher Level

two-generals

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.

Did the Surge Work?

Al Sadr

The media, egged on by John McCain and his campaign, are going to twist the arm of Barack Obama until he cries “uncle” and admits the U.S. troop “surge” has worked in Iraq. So far, Obama has not cracked under the pressure and, for reasons of political expediency, admitted this dubious proposition. The smart political [...]

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