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.

Assassination of Al Qaeda Leaders Keep Americans in the Dark

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Sherwood Ross: It is hardly surprising that President Obama ordered the assassinations of Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki since the last thing he wants is to bring any leader of al-Qaeda to trial.

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.

The Terrorism Issue That Wasn’t Discussed

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Gareth Porter: Absent from the torrent of opinion and analysis was any mention of how the U.S. military occupation of Muslim lands and wars that continue to kill Muslim civilians fuel jihadist sentiment that will keep the threat of terrorism high for many years to come.

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CIA’s Push for Drone War Driven by Internal Needs

Gareth Porter: When David Petraeus walks into the Central Intelligence Agency Tuesday, he will be taking over an organisation whose mission has changed in recent years from gathering and analysing intelligence to waging military campaigns through drone strikes in Pakistan, as well as in Yemen and Somalia.

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.

Vet Caucus Leader Calls for End to Afghan War

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Rick Reyes: The report Saturday that the crash of a Chinook helicopter killed 30 U.S. troops in Afghanistan is just one more sad reason we need to end operations sooner rather than later in that theatre of war. I’ve been there and we need to get our brothers and sisters home now.

Vet Leader: Afghan War Deaths an “Atrocity,” War Should End

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Thirty U.S. American troops reported killed Saturday in an Afghanistan helicopter crash emphasizes the need for the U.S. to end operations sooner rather than later in that theatre of war, according to a Iraq/Afghanistan U.S. Marine veteran, who now is chair of the Veterans Caucus of the California Democratic Party.

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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Racism and the Norweigian Madman

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Jessie Daniels: Racism seems to be implicated in this story in two, very telling, ways: Breivik’s views and the initial news reports about the terror strikes.

Do We Care About Civilian Casualties in Our Wars?

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John Tirman: The initial enthusiasm of engaging in savage wars often turns sour as the war goes badly, and then the hard reality of innocent suffering is all the more difficult to acknowledge.

CIA: Business As Usual Under Petraeus

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Sherwood Ross: By now substantial majorities the American public, like their European cousins, want all their troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq, yet their elected officials betray the sound instincts of their citizenry.

Don’t Be a Chicken: Go for the Defense Budget!

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Steve Ybarra: Now that Boner blinked, all this talk about the budget got me to thinking, just how much money do we spend on military bases, where are they, and what difference do they make to the average American?

Liberals Need to Stop Making Excuses

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Bernard A. Weisberger: The current situation is evidence of the crashing failure of liberal America to stand up for its forgotten principles of some sixty years ago, and its decision to chain itself to a Democratic Party now under the leadership of “centrists” or “moderates” who in fact occupy the terrain once held by the vanished race of liberal Republicans.

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.

Congress to Obama: Bring More Troops Home

Rebecca Griffin: As we gear up to keep the pressure on following President Obama’s disappointing announcement of his plan for a modest withdrawal, we see once again how critical our congressional work has been.

“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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NATO: What’s It Good For?

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Carl Bloice: What we should hope for is that White House leadership will be employed to unite the governments involved in giving full support to the efforts of the African Union to find a negotiated path out of the deepening and costly quagmire.

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Mayors to Obama: Bring War Dollars Home

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Peter Dreier: At its annual conference in Baltimore, the U.S. Conference of Mayors passed a resolution calling for an end to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, saying that the money could be put to better use at home.

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Obama’s Disappointing Peace Plan

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Rebecca Griffin: Unfortunately, the president’s plan allows the war to last indefinitely and leaves in place almost twice as many troops as when he came in office. The American and Afghan people will pay the price for prolonging this disastrous policy.

Obama Not Likely to Call for Major Afghan Drawdown

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Sherwood Ross: Outside of the White House, is it possible to find an American anywhere who believes that the presence of U.S. troops on the ground in Afghanistan is essential to our national security — particularly when we have some 800 bases around the world ready to deploy troops at the drop of a bomb?

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.

Progressive Caucus Urges Significant Afghan Troop Withdrawal

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On behalf of one of the largest and most active caucuses in the California State Democratic Party, we are writing to thank those of you who have worked to end the war in Afghanistan and urge you all to take advantage of every opportunity to push for a significant military withdrawal in July and a clear end date for the war.

The Wow Factor: Evolution of Joint Operations Special Command

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Elizabeth Knipe: I am all for having the special operations forces take over from the Army. We have a huge investment in JSOC. Let’s put it to good use, and save our military.

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.”

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