The Quest for Truth and Peace: A Conversation with Gareth Porter

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Gary Corseri: I think the most difficult issues to discern the truth about are those that have to do with what is happening between the President of the US and our military leadership—or different factions within the US administration.

Kill List

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he New York Times recently published an extensive story about the Obama administration’s secret “Kill List” that is used for selecting targets for strikes by unmanned drones. It has been clear for some time now that President Obama is making far more use of such drones that President Bush did, even as Obama systematically winds down [...]

This Does Not End Well: Escaping Afghanistan

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John Peeler: An agonizing series of missteps by U.S. troops in Afghanistan show us how precarious is our hold there, reinforcing the idea that we just don’t belong there, that we don’t respect the Afghani people.

Ending the Afghanistan-Pakistan War, Preventing One with Iran

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Tom Hayden: The catastrophic spectacles of American troops urinating on Afghan bodies and burning Korans has provided Obama a new opportunity to cast the Afghanistan war as a hopeless cause.

The American Taliban

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Jim Rhodes: Not since 9-11 has the United States witnessed such callous demigods hellbent on destroying individual liberty as currently being showcased in the Republican primaries.

How Presidential War Power Is Made

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Mary Dudziak: “Liberals” and “conservatives” are often talking past each other on questions of national security, and there is a need to reshift the conversation, and get beyond partisan and left/right divides.

Army Officer’s Leaked Report Rips Afghan War Success Story

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Gareth Porter: “If the public had access to the classified reports,” Davis writes, “they would see the dramatic gulf between what is often said in public by our senior leaders and what is true behind the scenes.”

What’s the War in Afghanistan About Again?

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William Blum: It appears that no one seems to remember, if they ever knew, that Afghanistan was not really about 9-11 or fighting terrorists (except the many the US has created by its invasion and occupation), but was about pipelines.

Democratization: Indigenous Beats Imported

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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.

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.

U.N. Tally Excluded Most Afghan Civilian Deaths in Night Raids

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Gareth Porter: A July United Nations report asserting that only 30 civilians died in targeted raids in Afghanistan during the first six months of 2011 reflected only a very small fraction of night raids in which civilians were killed.

U.S. Debate on Haqqani: Military or Political Solution?

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Gareth Porter: The military, the Pentagon and the CIA have been pushing aggressively since late 2010 to get the administration to force the Pakistani military leadership to carry out a major offensive against the Haqqani leadership.

U.S. Knows Pressure on Pakistan Won’t Change Policy

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Gareth Porter: Even those who had held out hope in the past that pressure on Pakistan could lead to change in its relationship with the Haqqani group have now given up on that possibility.

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.

Why Pakistani Military Demands a Veto on Drone Strikes

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Gareth Porter: The new Pakistani demand for equal say over drone strikes marks the culmination of a long evolution in the Pakistani military’s attitude toward the drone war. Initially supportive of strikes that were targeting Al-Qaeda leaders, senior Pakistani military leaders soon came to realize that the drone war carried serious risks for Pakistan’s war against the Pakistani Taliban.

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

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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.

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The Lies That Sold Obama’s Escalation in Afghanistan

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Gareth Porter: The Obama administration has relied heavily, of course, on the widespread impression that the Taliban regime was somehow mixed up with Osama bin Laden’s plotting the 9/11 attacks.

Like Nixon, Obama Will Waste Lives to Get Reelected

President Barack Obama talks with Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., in the State Dining Room of the White House. (Photo: Pete Souza)

Ivan Eland: The public could be forgiven for missing the real message of Obama’s Afghanistan speech: “We’ve lost the war, but we are declaring victory anyway and getting out.”

Despite Surge, Taliban Attacks, U.S. Casualties Soared

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Gareth Porter: Data on attacks by armed opposition forces and U.S. combat casualties since the U.S. troop surge in Afghanistan was completed last summer provide clear evidence that the surge and the increase in targeted killings by Special Operations Forces have failed to break the momentum of the Taliban.

“Victory” Is the Verbal Equivalent of a Yeti

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Tom Engelhardt: If you haven’t joined the all-volunteer military, any of our seventeen intelligence outfits, the Pentagon, the weapons companies and hire-a-gun corporations associated with it, or some other part of the National Security Complex, America’s distant wars go on largely without you (at least until the bills come due).

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Obama Leaves Door Open to Long-Term U.S. Afghan Combat

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Gareth Porter: Obama’s speech announcing that the 33,000 “surge” troops in Afghanistan will be withdrawn by “summer” 2012 indicates that he has given priority to the interests of the military and the Pentagon over concerns by key officials in his administration over the impact of the war’s costs on domestic socioeconomic needs.

Take Credit, But Do Not Accept or Endorse

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Tom Hayden: Unless further clarified, the Obama proposal means we’ll be pushing to decrease the near 80,000 Americans remaining in combat until the end of 2014, three-and-a-half years from now.

Ninety Percent of Petraeus’s Captured “Taliban” Were Civilians

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Gareth Porter: The timing of Petraeus’s claim of Taliban fighters captured or killed, moreover, indicates that he knew that four out of five of those he was claiming as “captured Taliban rank and file” were not Taliban fighters at all.

Obama Should Follow FDR in Dealing with Generals, Not Lincoln

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Ivan Eland: Obama needs to follow Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s example of not being bullied by his generals and avoid Abraham Lincoln’s bad example of being so intimidated by “experts.”

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.

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.

Bin Laden Capture; Right Wing Nightmare

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Paul Hogarth: One of the Navy Seals who carried out the mission was a so-called “anchor baby” – the son of undocumented Mexican immigrants, who the American Taliban wants to strip of U.S. citizenship rights.

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.

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.

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