Tag Archive for Afghanistan

Reining in the Drones

Done "pilots" launch an MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle for a raid in the Middle East. (U.S. military photo)

Key aspects of George W. Bush’s post-9/11 “war on terror” are finally winding down: U.S. troops have left Iraq and are leaving Afghanistan, but the troubling issue of lethal drones remains – and it is time for Congress to set new limits, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Which Side of the ‘War on Terror’?

Many Americans scratched their heads at the prospect of going to war in Syria when U.S. intervention might tip the balance in favor of jihadists with links to al-Qaeda. But it would not be the first time that U.S. military meddling has advanced the interests of radical Islamists, recalls William Blum.

How US Hubris Baited Afghan Trap

From the Archive: Even today – more than two decades after the Soviet Union disappeared – the Washington press corps views U.S.-Russian disputes through a one-way Cold War lens, with Moscow always at fault. But the reality is more complicated, as Robert Parry explained about Afghanistan in 2012.

US Finds Influence Hard to Buy

For decades the U.S. government has ladled billions upon billions in military assistance to countries that either don’t need it or use it to suppress popular uprisings. But all that money has bought very little in terms of genuine influence with the recipients, ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman writes.

The Shortsighted History of ‘Argo’

Exclusive: The Oscar for Best Picture went to Ben Affleck’s Argo, an escape-thriller set in post-revolutionary Iran. It hyped the drama and edged into propaganda. But Americans would have learned a lot more if Affleck had chosen the CIA coup in 1953 or the Republican chicanery in 1980, says Robert Parry.

Hit Movies Miss Mideast Realities

Oscar buzz is humming about two movies recounting real-life chapters of U.S. policy in the Middle East – the get-bin-Laden film “Zero Dark Thirty” and the escape-Iran drama “Argo.” But neither provides an in-depth examination of the reality behind the events, writes Winslow Myers.

The Arms Dilemma in Syria

Much of Official Washington is clamoring for President Obama to arm the Syrian rebels, but the civil war in Syria is reminiscent of the anti-Soviet war in Afghanistan in which the Reagan administration ended up helping hard-line Islamists who then turned against the U.S., notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

The Fuzzy Line of Terrorism

The Obama administration’s plan to remove a group of violent Iranian émigrés from the U.S. terror list suggests a readiness to pursue the-enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend strategy that put the United States on the side of Osama bin Laden and Islamic extremists in Afghanistan in the 1980s, says ex-FBI agent Coleen Rowley.

The Impulse to Intervene

The invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq – followed by failed nation-building – may have taught the U.S. government a few lessons in humility, but the temptation to intervene in crises around the world remains strong, with recent examples in Syria and South Sudan, notes the Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland.

Failure of ‘Pro-Democracy’ Wars

A key justification for three recent U.S. military actions – in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya – was to oust brutal dictators and pave the way for a more democratic future. But these violent strategies have fallen short on the pro-democracy front, writes the Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland.