Afghanistan

U.N. Ambassador’s Oily Past

The transfer of current U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad from his job as the Great Wizard of Iraq’s embattled Emerald City in Baghdad’s Green Zone, to the quieter but no less complicated halls of the United Nations, may have several rationales.

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Surging Right Into Bin Laden’s Hands

Lost in the "surge" debate is the unfortunate reality that escalation in Iraq, just like the invasion itself, plays into al-Qaida’s ultimate strategy to eliminate America. As revealed in a 2005 strategy document, al-Qaida hopes to repeat Osama bin Laden’s victory over the Soviet empire in Afghanistan by eliminating the chief obstacle in the way of establishing an Islamic caliphate in the Middle East. The goal is not, as Bush administration and right-wing pundits proclaim, to conquer or directly destroy America. Osama bin Laden wants to provoke the United States into destroying itself.

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The Vishnu Strategy

The Vishnu Strategy

“The Supreme Lord said: I am death, the mighty destroyer of the world, out to destroy.” According to the great Hindu text Bhagavad-Gita, Vishnu delivered that speech to Prince Arjuna before a great battle almost eight millennia ago. Physicist Robert Oppenheimer paraphrased it in 1945 to describe the explosion of the atomic bomb. The latest channeling of the Hindu god can be found in an Israeli commander’s evaluation of last summer’s war with Lebanon: “What we did was insane and monstrous, we covered entire towns in cluster bombs.”

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Madness and War

Madness and War

In the 5th century BC, the Greek tragic playwright Euripides coined a phrase that still captures the particular toxic combination of hubris and illusion that seizes many of those in power: “Whom the Gods would destroy, they first make mad.”

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Operation Enduring Freedom: A Retrospective

It has become a given, even among many progressive critics of Bush administration policy, that while the U.S. war on Iraq was illegal, immoral, unnecessary, poorly executed, and contrary to America’s national security interests, the war on Afghanistan—which was launched five years ago last week—was a legal, moral, and a necessary response to protect American national security in the aftermath of 9/11. Virtually every member of Congress who has gone on record opposing the Iraq War supported the Afghanistan War. Similarly, a number of soldiers who have resisted serving in Iraq on moral grounds have expressed their willingness to serve in Afghanistan.

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The Taliban is Back

On the fifth anniversary of the launch of the U.S.-led war against Afghanistan, the Taliban is on the offensive, much of the countryside is in the hands of warlords and opium magnates, U.S. casualties are mounting, and many, if not most, Afghans are actually worse off now than they were before the U.S. invasion.

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Afghanistan: Five Years Later

On the fifth anniversary of the launch of the U.S.-led war against Afghanistan, the Taliban is on the offensive, much of the countryside is in the hands of warlords and opium magnates, U.S. casualties are mounting, and many, if not most, Afghans are actually worse off now than they were before the U.S. invasion.

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A New Frontier of Jihadi Islam?

Somalia today is very much like Afghanistan was in 1996. In the wake of years of civil war, chaotic rule by warlords, and the death and displacement of countless Muslims, a ragtag Islamic militia has moved in to take control of much of Somalia.

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