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.

Defying Progressives, Obama Revives Nuclear Power

Nuclear-Power

Randy Shaw: Many progressives are so excited that Obama is not Sarah Palin that they accept any small step as a great leap forward. The irony is that many of these progressives saw a night and day difference between Obama and Clinton in the primaries, yet now accept policies from Obama that are virtually identical — if not more conservative — than those we feared from a President Hilary Clinton.

Dollars for Death, Pennies for Life

Helmand Refugee Camp (photo by Fardin Waezi)

Norman Solomon: While commanders in Afghanistan were launching what the New York Times called “the largest offensive military operation since the American-led coalition invaded the country in 2001,” the situation in Haiti was clearly dire.

What Obama Must Do, and Cannot

Free iPads

Tom Hayden: Obama may succeed in withdrawing 100,000 American troops from Iraq this year, and the rest by 2012. But even this goal faces opposition from the Green Zone to the Beltway, and any peace dividend will be swallowed by Afghanistan and the Long War.

Mister Obama, Do You Believe Us Now?

More-Bailouts

Tim Gatto: There’s one way to stop this coup on democracy, and that is for Congress to introduce a law specifying campaign limits and while they are at it, take corporate “personhood” and throw it in the trash bin where it belongs.

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.

2010 Resolutions

In our LA Progressive survey that ran from 30 December 2009 to 2 January 2010, we asked our readers to name a political leader they admire and write a 2010 resolution for that person. Here are the results from that survey. Below is the full list of responses:

A Year of Fall and Decline

sarahs-book

David Swanson: This year opened with the United States Supreme Court claiming further power to rewrite the U.S. Constitution, specifically by further opening up elections to the highest bidder.

LA Progressive: December 20 to 26, 2009

This week’s articles from Sherwood Ross, Ivan Eland, Richard M. Mathews, Jonathan Goldstein, Deborah Burger, Jill Johnston, Dick Price, Wendy Block, Brad Parker, Mark Bowen, Harvey Schwartz, Norman Solomon, Kenneth Weisbrode, Joseph Palermo, Lawrence S. Wittner, Sheri Fink, Gil Troy, Ron Wolff, Paul Hogarth, Charley James, Dr. Margaret Flowers, and Tracy Emblem.

In War, Winners Can Be Losers

WWI

Of course, a case can be made that it is better for a nation to win a war than to lose it. But perhaps it is time to learn from the world’s tragic, blood-stained history that there is a third alternative: using our intelligence and creativity to resolve conflicts without war.

Obama’s Nobel Speech Comes Up Short

Nobel-Pull

Pardon me if I can’t join in the fawning praise for President Obama’s Nobel address. “It was, as ever, a bravura performance,” one newspaper said editorially. That it was, but I can’t agree with those, including some people with whom I’m usually in agreement, that it was a “good” speech. It wasn’t good at all. [...]

The Surge We Need At Home

Warhorse

America is a mess. Unemployment is over 10 percent, while the effective unemployment rate—which also includes the underemployed—is more like 19.2 percent.

The Speech Obama Should Give Tonight

If the health care outcome shows that the U.S. Senate will not allow progressive change even with a 60-vote Democratic caucus, then what argument can the Obama team make to infrequent voters in 2010? If electing Obama and strong Democratic congressional majorities in 2008 did not bring real Change, why even bother voting?

Who Is Better Off for All America’s Wars?

Children-at-War

The Pentagon has covered the globe with 1,000 military bases for “defense” and is busy devising ingenious ways to attack the earth from space, develop germ warfare and threaten and control any and every other country with its 11 mobile nuclear navies.

Fire McChrystal and Get Out of Afghanistan

War

McChrystal, much like Gen. Douglas MacArthur during the Korean War, has publicly spoken out about decisions that are the exclusive purview of the elected civilian leadership. At great cost to his popularity, President Harry Truman cast a great blow for the critical republican principle of civilian control over the military by firing the insubordinate MacArthur. President Obama could do the same with far less cost; McChrystal just took his job and is not a popular war hero, as was MacArthur.

Friday Feedback: How Is This Peace?

We HOPE Obama will promote world peace, yet the reality is he has yet to close Guantanamo, he has expanded executive privileges that allow for the torture and illegal detainment of political prisoners, and he’s expanding war in Afghanistan.

Obama’s Afghanistan Dilemma

LBJ's ghost chasing Barack Obama cartoon

We will not hear much dissent among the political elite from McChrystal’s recommendations, aside from the usual array of war critics. But what is at work here is that vague, almost incalculable force: public opinion.

Lesson of Vietnam Lost in Afghanistan

stanley kutler

As with the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese army, chances of our destroying the Taliban are slight. Eventually, the Afghans—Taliban or otherwise—will inherit their land and have to assume responsibility for governing.

When the Dead Have No Say

soldiers

Apparently, escalating the warfare is much more attractive to Washington’s policymakers than actually challenging the main supporters of the Taliban in Afghanistan — the Pakistani government.

Germany, 1939; America, 2009; And Perverted Science

fdr and barack

It has become commonplace for Congress to ignore the public’s yearnings for peace and to support the Pentagon’s now habitual wars of aggression. Last November’s anti-war vote illustrates this disconnect between public opinion and public policy. War-weary Americans went to the polls believing they were voting for peace but President Obama has instead merely shifted [...]

The March of Folly, Continued

tuchman

To understand what’s up with President Obama as he escalates the war in Afghanistan, there may be no better place to look than a book published 25 years ago. The March of Folly, by historian Barbara Tuchman, is a chilling assessment of how very smart people in power can do very stupid things – how [...]

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