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.
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.
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.
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?
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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 [...]