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.”
Gareth Porter: U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) killed well over 1,500 civilians in night raids in less than 10 months in 2010 and early 2011, analysis of official statistics on the raids released by the U.S.-NATO command reveals.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
Ivan Eland: The problem is that the U.S. goal in Afghanistan—although President Obama has reduced it from George W. Bush’s instituting democracy to merely stabilizing the country—is still too ambitious.