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.
Ivan Eland: Even though George H.W. Bush’s and Clinton’s original intentions of protecting international food aid using U.S. forces might have been high-minded, they then engaged in mission creep—with Clinton eventually taking sides in the Somali civil war, chasing around a warlord who was in U.S. disfavor, and ignominiously withdrawing U.S. forces when the warlord killed a small number of U.S. Rangers in the “Black Hawk Down” incident.
Opium is in the news again. Afghanistan is producing bumper crops of opium poppies, funding Taliban attacks and simultaneously enriching some of the Afghani government’s warlord allies. Low heroin prices worldwide suggest that the marketplace is saturated, and American policy abroad is aimed narrowly at crop eradification while at home we are incarcerating drug users [...]