Last night, Columbia University’s Task Force on Military Engagement released its findings. ROTC–the Reserve Officer’s Training Corps–is welcome back on campus. Harvard followed suit. Both pro and con voices at these Ivy League schools have legitimate feelings about a uniformed presence on
The movement to end the Afghanistan War is gaining momentum, and on March 12, it will gain some more. In a little less than two weeks, supporters of Rethink Afghanistan (“Rethinkers”) will get together with their neighbors in hundreds of communities to talk about what can be done locally to get our troops home. We’re going to swap stories, share a coffee or a beer, and make the personal connections with other Rethinkers in our neighborhood that will carry us through to our goal of bringing our troops home. Join us in your hometown for Rethink the Cost, a worldwide Meetup for people who want to end the Afghanistan War.
We’ve come a long way together already.
When Brave New Foundation first started the Rethink Afghanistan campaign to push back against the growing drumbeats for military escalation, we faced some strong
Call this episode “The Men Who Stare at Senators.”
We’ve been down this road before, that is, the U.S. military pulling out all the stops to sell an unpopular war.
A Rolling Stone article by Michael Hastings, yes he of General Stanley McChrystal fame, reports that illegal propaganda tactics were used on American VIPs and visiting foreign dignitaries to try to influence their support for the war in Afghanistan.
It is certainly an embarrassing story to the U.S. military, but the story has just one main source,
From a national security standpoint, the recent decision by the U.S. House of Representatives to eliminate the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) is not only wrong, but unwise.
Cutting $42 million — what we spend in 3 hours in Afghanistan — not only eliminates a bipartisan institution, but weakens America’s ability to prevent violent conflicts overseas and sends the message to the world that America cares little about peace.
USIP came into being after the Vietnam War sharply divided our nation. It was founded during the Reagan administration in the hopes that America would lead the way in peacemaking and
President Barack Obama’s failure to ever get around to pivoting to the economy last year was one of the major reasons why Democrats didn’t do well in the mid-term elections. But if he loses next year, and I expect him to win, it probably won’t be because of the domestic economy. It will be because of what he’s spent so much of time on that is not the domestic economy, namely geopolitics.
Not that the domestic economy is going great guns, which it’s clearly not, but that it will be good enough for Obama to muddle through on against unimpressive Republican opposition tied to the policies which nearly got us into Great Depression II in the first place. Late last week, meeting with high tech industry leaders over dinner in Silicon Valley, Obama showed that he might be able to add some forward-leaning vision, and counter the Republican spin that he’s anti-business, to the policies that have us moving away from the abyss he inherited from the Bush/Cheney Administration.
President Barack Obama, reacting very cautiously to the crisis in Libya, is dispatching Secretary of State to Geneva for an international conference on Monday.
But even as he was meeting with a dozen tech titans at the home of one of the biggest greentech venture capitalists in the world, Obama’s already complicated geopolitical situation became more complicated, illustrating the dichotomy he faces.
Bahrain’s royal family ignored the entreaties from his secretary of state and secretary of defense and again cracked down violently against peaceful protesters in the capital city Manama, not far from where the
The United States has supported an Afghan-led negotiation process with Taliban insurgents ready to renounce violence, but a new report in the New Yorker provides details on what it says are direct U.S.-Taliban talks already underway since last year. Steve Coll, president of the Washington-based New America Foundation, and author of the article, says U.S. engagement is meant to “create conditions in which a more sustainable — and possibly internationally endorsed — process of negotiating led by the Afghan government, and including players such as the Pakistan government, can take place.” There haven’t been any official statements discussing U.S.-Taliban direct talks. However, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in a speech at the Asia Society last week, emphasized the need for reconciliation with Taliban leaders who broke ties with al-Qaeda, renounced violence, and abided by the Afghan
It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. Welcome to budget season FY2012 — and FY2011. Adding to the usual budget chaos in Washington this time of year is not one, but two budgets. President Obama released his FY2012 budget request
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General Petraeus and his public relations team reportedly engaged in a scummy attempt to deflect blame for an alleged civilian casualty event on Sunday, suggesting that Afghan parents caught in the crossfire of a coalition raid burned their own children to incriminate international forces. International forces led by the U.S. are accused of killing as many as 60 civilians during a several-day operation in Ghaziabad district in Kunar Province, Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the U.S.-led coalition has a long history of blaming the victims when they get caught in potentially explosive civilian casualty incidents, making this vile accusation particularly hard to
After witnessing the 9/11 attacks, I swore I’d never again live in a home without an American flag standing guard outside the front door. A decade later, I find myself a disillusioned patriot, wondering why so many Americans failed to learn an important and frightening lesson from that horrid day: the monsters who flew those planes into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, murdering fellow Muslims as well as Christians and Jews, had tacit approval of billions who resent–for right or wrong–America’s heavy footprint on the globe.
My legal education requires me to stipulate facts at the outset. As Americans, we enjoy the greatest liberal democratic political system devised by man, one deeply rooted in individual liberty. We benefit from a tattered but mostly intact free market economy, which has provided more than adequate food, clothing and shelter, not just for the rich, but for nearly everyone from a relatively small underclass to a huge middle class.
Indeed, we are an exceptional
Before I even begin here, I’d like to address what my critics will respond with, when they hear what I have to say. They’re going to call these ideas “class warfare.” You know what? They’re right. I am calling on the middle class and the working class and all the other classes that make up over 19 out of every 20 Americans to start fighting back. Note that, please — fighting
Wisconsin’s Governor Scott Walker is using phony budget projections to manufacture a staged “fiscal emergency” in his state so that he can whack programs and political opponents, but even his fake “emergency” pales in comparison to the cost of the Afghanistan War to his state. In fact, the U.S. would only have to bring home 151 troops from Afghanistan to save more money than Walker’s ridiculous union-busting plan. Better yet, ending the Afghanistan War altogether would save taxpayers in Wisconsin $1.7 billion this year alone,more than ten times the amount “saved” in Walker’s attack on state employee rights.
One might ask, “Isn’t Walker’s fake budget crisis a state budget issue? How would ending the Afghanistan War pay for that?” We get this question a lot when we talk about the cost of war to a state’s
Ronald E. Neumann, who served as Ambassador to Afghanistan, Algeria and Bahrain, delivered a refreshing allocution on Wednesday that was bereft typical State Department veneering, as he denounced the progressive militarization of U.S. foreign policy over the past twenty years and underlined the perils it has wrought.
In a presentation to the World Affairs Council at the University of Washington, the 37-year diplomat pointed out the skewed ratio of funds within the most recent budget between the military and Foggy Bottom. Defense was allocated $750 billion while State and the
This past Sunday, February 13, marked one year since the escalation of the military campaign in Afghanistan. Starting with the assault on Marjah in Helmand Province, the strategy enabled by President Obama’s troop increases has continually failed to live up to the promises of its backers.
With human and economic costs rising and without reasonable hope of a military victory, it’s no wonder Americans want Congress to act decisively this year to bring our troops home.
When President Obama announced the troop increase, he assured the American people that the new forces would let commanders “target the insurgency and secure key population centers.”
Regarding the Marjah District specifically and Afghanistan generally, this assurance has proved to be false. Helmand Province, in which Marjah is located, saw insurgent attacks more than double this year, while across Afghanistan insurgent attacks were up 64 percent compared to last year.
According to Pentagon and other reports, the insurgency got smarter and larger over the course of 2010. Clearly, the troop increases failed to “reverse insurgent momentum,” Pentagon rhetoric notwithstanding.
The economic costs of this failed strategy are
On September 14, 2001, I placed the lone vote against the “Authorization of Use of Force” — an authorization that I knew would provide a blank check to wage war anywhere, at any time, and for any length. Nearly a decade later, the United States remains embroiled in the longest war in our nation’s history in Afghanistan, longer than Vietnam and World War II.
The fact is, we cannot continue to funnel billions of dollars a week toward a counterproductive military-first strategy in Afghanistan while sacrificing vital domestic priorities such as quality education, affordable health care, and much-needed investments to create jobs and jump start the economy.
And that is why today I will re-introduce my legislation, The Responsible End to the War in Afghanistan Act, which would end combat operations in Afghanistan and limit funding to the safe orderly withdrawal of U.S. troops and military contractors.
This week, the
According to Gateway Pundit, Jim Hoft, “Lara Logan is lucky she’s alive. Her liberal belief system almost got her killed on Friday. This talented reporter will never be the same.”
I almost spilled my coffee when I read this on Media Matters this morning. Thinking it must be a mistake, I read on:
Well, Jim, here’s a newsflash: this is sexist BS, pure and
When Republicans made the federal deficit the centerpiece of their November 2010 campaigns, it was a rare convergence of smart policy meeting smart politics.
Now that they have been forced to come in off the sidelines and govern, however, Republicans have quickly ditched the smart policy in favor of smart politics. Instead of attempting to construct a feasible, bipartisan, long-term solution to the deficit, they tried to fool the American people with infinitesimally small deficit reductions. Ditching smart policy in favor of Beltway politics, Republicans voted for huge (and unpaid-for) tax cuts for the wealthy and promised $100 billion in cuts to services, essential to the lives of working families, while refusing to touch defense spending. Meanwhile, they’re taking almost $5 trillion in spending off-budget (e.g., tax provisions, war on terrorism, designated emergencies and health care repeal), while remaining silent on the serious choices our country
In the summer of 2008, the United States military captured a 16-year-old Pakistani boy and
We are a force to be reckoned with. We have passports, luggage, maps, guidebooks, ipads, ipods, and an insatiable curiosity about the world. We go to ceremonies in Brazil, on treks in Patagonia, take cooking lessons in France, hunt truffles in Italy, meet Aboriginal people in the Outback, visit temples in Thailand, follow in the footsteps of founding fathers and mothers in Israel, dance in Greece, stay in castles in Ireland and pousadas in Portugal, meditate in India, cruise the Fjords of Norway.
Exactly one year ago, on February 13, 2010, the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan launched the first major military operations enabled by President Obama’s 30,000 troop increase. President Obama and the high priests of counterinsurgency warfare, Generals David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal, made two major assertions about the escalation, that it would a) enable coalition forces to reverse the insurgents’ momentum and b) increase security for the Afghan people. After a year of fighting, neither of those things happened. The escalation is a failure, and it’s time to bring our troops home.
February 13, 2010: The Push into Marjah
Three hundred and sixty-five days ago,
As we landed in Kabul, we were informed that Hamida Barmaki, her four children and husband had been killed in a suicide bomb attack on a supermarket in the centre of town. According to intelligence, the bomber was aiming at private contractors attached to Xe, formerly Blackwater. Instead, they killed Afghanistan’s leading child rights activist, a member of the independent Human Rights Commission, a beloved professor and someone respected by all sides to the conflict. Such is the tragedy of Afghanistan; the heartbreaking tale of what combatants call collateral damage.
It was supposed to be a celebratory mission that would highlight the cooperation between the Afghan Government and the United
As the U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan enters its 10th year, it is notable that most Afghan children have never known peace. Unlike confrontations fought on distant battlefields, the inherent peril of war has found intimacy within their homes and villages. When the threat of dying is real and ever-present, it shapes your view of the
Egypt is an alarm that highlights the urgent need for change in U.S. foreign policy. It provides President Obama with an opportunity to transform a foreign policy that has often had the opposite effect that was sought and is undermining U.S. economic and national security.
The list of recent policy failures in the Middle East is quite astounding:
The Iraq War, intended to create a Western-style democracy and a base of operations for the