United States

Whose Hands? Whose Blood? Killing Civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq

Consider the following statement offered by Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at a news conference last week. He was discussing Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks as well as the person who has taken responsibility for the vast, still ongoing Afghan War document dump at that site. “Mr. Assange,” Mullen commented, “can say whatever he likes about the greater good he thinks he and his source are doing, but the truth is they might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family.”

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60 Second Expert:The Srebrenica Massacre, after Fifteen Years

This summer marks the fifteenth anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre, where 8,000 Muslims, mostly men and boys, lost their lives in the single worst act of genocide in Europe since the 1940s. For many, the key lesson of Srebrenica is that the United States should have used military force against the Serbs sooner than they did. For others, Srebrenica is a painful reminder of the overstated value of military intervention as a solution to a humanitarian crisis which in reality, could have been avoided through diplomatic means.

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Dismembering Afghanistan

Wars are rarely lost in a single encounter; Defeat is almost always more complex than that. The United States and its North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies have lost the war in Afghanistan, but not just because they failed in the battle for Marjah or decided that discretion was the better part of valor in Kandahar. They lost the war because they should never have invaded in the first place; because they never had a goal that was achievable; because their blood and capital are finite.

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The Srebrenica Massacre, After Fifteen Years

The massacre of 8,000 Muslims in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica, in July 1995, is now being remembered worldwide, as this grim event reaches its fifteenth anniversary. This was the largest single mass killing of the entire Bosnian war, and indeed, it was the worst massacre that Europe has seen since the 1940s.

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Secrecy Industry Hits Home

Marylanders in Odenton, Annapolis, Frederick and our hometown of Columbia had their suspicions answered last week when The Washington Post published a three-part series about our unchecked, out-of-control expansion of the defense and intelligence operations that have grown since 2001. The expansion of this influential sector has been evident to us, as it has to Americans all around the country living near other defense and intelligence contractors and federal intelligence agencies.

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The Great Myth: Counterinsurgency

There are moments that define a war. Just such a one occurred on June 21, when Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke and U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry helicoptered into Marjah for a photo op with the locals. It was to be a capstone event, the fruit of a four-month counterinsurgency offensive by Marines, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies, and the newly minted Afghan National Army (ANA) to drive the Taliban out of the area and bring in good government.

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Social Forum Moments to Combat Cynicism

Whenever the social forum speaks of itself as the future of the U.S. Left, vexing issues arise: Can any coherent political program emerge from an amorphous, multi-issue assembly? Can we formulate a vision of the Left without more serious participation from key progressive constituencies such as organized labor? Can the collection of radicals and community-based organizations that are present here become a political force with mainstream reach, or are they too self-marginalizing? The answers are not easy to come by, and non-starry-eyed attendees can easily grow wary in contemplating such imposing matters.

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Review: ‘The Insular Empire’

Review: ‘The Insular Empire’

The past colonial possessions of the United States seem to have slipped from public consciousness. Most American troops left Cuba, the Philippines, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic many decades ago, so little more could be expected of a nation that hardly remembers the two wars it is currently fighting.

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