Tag Archive for Afghanistan


Hard Lessons from Paris Attack

Indian historian Vijay Prashad.

In Official Washington, the talk is all about expanded wars and how tough to be on Syrian refugees. But elsewhere there is some serious reflection on how the West went wrong in its approach toward the Middle East, as reflected in Dennis J Bernstein’s interview with Indian historian Vijay Prashad.

Lost on the ‘Dark Side’ in Syria

President and Mrs. Obama disembark from Air Force One at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh on Jan. 27, 2015, for a state visit to Saudi Arabia. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The full story of how the U.S. ended up allied with some Sunni extremists in Syria – while at war with others – is a convoluted tale dating back to President George W. Bush’s neocons venturing off into Vice President Cheney’s “dark side” to work with violent jihadists, writes British diplomat Alastair Crooke.

Falling into the ISIS Trap

President Barack Obama meets with his National Security Staff to discuss the situation in Syria, in the Situation Room of the White House, Aug. 30, 2013. From left at the table: National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice; Attorney General Eric Holder; Secretary of State John Kerry; and Vice President Joe Biden. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Special Report: The Islamic State has entered into “phase two” of its plan. After establishing a rudimentary “caliphate” in Syria and Iraq (phase one), it is now seeking to provoke the West into a self-defeating overreaction, a trap that “tough” politicians are falling into, as historian William R. Polk describes.

Grasping the Motives for Terror

Aftermath of the U.S. destruction of the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan. (Graphic credit: RT)

The Paris terror attacks – particularly the methodical shooting of unarmed civilians – have shocked the world and generated new tough talk from policymakers. But the West cannot ignore how some of its violent policy prescriptions over the past 35 years have contributed to the crisis, writes James Paul.

The Afghan Lesson in Syria

In Afghanistan, U.S. Army Pfc. Sean Serritelli provides security outside Combat Outpost Charkh on Aug. 23, 2012. (Photo credit: Spc. Alexandra Campo)

Russian President Putin’s decision to escalate military support for the Syrian government brings to mind earlier interventions in Afghanistan that went badly – but that cautionary history and the changed Syrian dynamic also raise the prospects for negotiations, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Collateral Damage/Stuff Happens

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush

President George W. Bush (and his successor Barack Obama) have lamented “collateral damage” in Afghanistan and Iraq – and Jeb Bush shrugs off a domestic mass shooting as “stuff happens” – but the tragedies have a common denominator: glorification of war and cultural acceptance of violence, writes David Marks.

Afghan Doctor Slaughter Pulls Back Curtain

Seen through a night-vision device, U.S. Marines conduct a combat logistics patrol in Helmand province, Afghanistan, April 21, 2013. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Anthony L. Ortiz)

The apparent U.S. slaughter of at least 22 people at an Afghan hospital, including Doctors Without Borders medical staff, is part of the grim reality of indiscriminate death when U.S. Special Forces undertake their secret raids and often toss aside the rules of warfare, reports Nicolas J S Davies.

Giving Up the Global-Cop Badge

A U.S. Army soldier provides security at a school in Farah City, Afghanistan, on Aug. 1, 2012. (Photo credit: U.S. Navy Lt. Benjamin Addison)

Official Washington is fuming over Russia’s expanded military role in helping Syria fight the Islamic State and Al Qaeda (as if the U.S. has been doing such a crack job). Instead, the U.S. should retreat from the unpopular job of global policeman, says ex-CIA official Graham E. Fuller.

The Crisis of ‘Regime Change Refugees’

Afghan commandos demonstrate their skills for U.S. Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Camp Morehead, Afghanistan, April 23, 2012. (Defense Department photo by D. Myles Cullen)

The West’s dominant prescription toward the crisis of war-torn regions and the destabilizing refugee flow that has followed is to have more “regime change,” particularly in Syria. But the reality is that the West’s fondness for violent “regime change” is the core reason for the refugees, says James Paul.

Fallout from Reagan’s Afghan War

Ronald Reagan, 40th U.S. President

In the 1980s, President Reagan funded and armed Islamic fundamentalists to defeat a Soviet-backed secular regime in Afghanistan. Now, one of those ex-U.S. clients is throwing his support behind the brutal Islamic State, a lesson about geopolitical expediency, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.