Vijay Prashad: There is no such thing as a little torture or a little illegal bombing, a little war, a little fear. As with bloodletting, torture weakens the body politic. It is another legacy of 9/11.
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.
John Peeler: Obama appears determined that the wars not overwhelm his domestic agenda, even as, pragmatically, he cannot walk away from either without exposing himself to withering political attacks. If Bush saw himself as a war president, Obama wants to be a reformer with two wars to manage.
Carl Bloice: With Al Qaeda now in the picture and linked to an attempted physical attack on the U.S., the Obama Administration, obsessively carrying on the “war against terrorism,” has suddenly become enmeshed in still another civil war.
Now, paying off the opposition does seem to have calmed things down in parts of Iraq (recent Baghdad bombings notwithstanding), and thereby provided us with an opening to carry through with the agreement we made with the Iraqi government to get our troops out of there. Maybe it can work in Afghanistan too.
U.S. meddling in the Muslim world and elsewhere continues because politically powerful interest groups benefit from the policy at the expense of the general public.
Our very presence as occupiers undermines the possibility that any government we support could ever achieve legitimacy and stability, because they will always be seen as puppets of the United States.
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.
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.
by Jules R. Benjamin — Has George W. Bush surged to victory in Iraq? If so, he can thank Iraqi tribalism, the success of ethnic cleansing, the loss of legitimacy by Al Qaida in Iraq, the “standing down” of the Sunni militias and Iran’s willingness to let its friends in Baghdad make their own peace […]