Tag Archives: afghanistan

Winning in Afghanistan

In Monday’s speech about Afghanistan Pres. Trump assured his audience, “In the end, we will win.” Since he did not define what victory might look like or how we might achieve it, I’ll offer a suggestion on how to start: … Continue reading

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Charlie Wilson’s War: An Attempt at Version 2.0

Today’s Wall Street Journal has an article noting that former Senator Gordon Humphrey, who played a key role in arming the mujahideen in Afghanistan in the 1980s, is now working on what can be described as an attempt at version 2.0 of Charlie Wilson’s War. Early on, the article gives the impression that was a great success, noting that, “The Soviet Union collapsed soon after.” Only much later (where far fewer people will see it) does it add, “outside experts often cite that covert action as a cautionary tale about the risks of intervention. In the chaos after the Soviet withdrawal, the Taliban rose and played host to Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda.” Continue reading

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Creating Chaos: Time to Learn From Our Mistakes

Yesterday’s New York Times had an article noting that the head of the UN Mission in Libya fears “the country is very close to total chaos.” Islamic fundamentalist insurgents took control of Tripoli last summer, forcing what remains of the government into exile in Tobruk, and things have only gotten worse since then. Back in 2011, when we started military action which eventually led to the murder of Muammar Gaddafi, I warned of Libyan Blowback, Libyan Delusions, and the largely overlooked nuclear proliferation incentives we created by attacking a regime Pres. Bush had welcomed back into the family of nations when it gave up its nuclear weapons program in 2003. Yet, with most American officials still maintaining that “Assad has to go,” we seem not to have learned our lesson. Continue reading

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Is Our Media Responsible for Millions of Deaths?

The Huffington Post picked this one up too, so please read it on their website. The only additions needed were that they changed the title from this one, and deleted the following, amazing (but very true) quote from convicted Nazi war criminal Hermann Göring: “Of course the people don’t want war. … But … it is always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it is a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. … All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger. It works the same way in any country.” Continue reading

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Avoiding Needless Wars, Part 7: Afghanistan

Our October 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, less than a month after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, might seem like an unavoidable war because the Taliban had sheltered Osama bin Laden, and we could not afford to risk a repeat of that disaster. But a more careful analysis shows that our Afghan war, like the others examined in this series, could have been avoided. The trick is not to start the analysis in 2001, but in December 1979, when we started to arm jihadists who were fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan. One of them was Osama bin Laden. Continue reading

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A Russian Lesson

RT (formerly Russia Today) has an article today which quotes Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as vowing that Russia will never again make the mistakes that sucked it into Afghanistan … Maybe we can learn something from the Russians? Continue reading

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Former General and Ambassador Asks Insightful Questions

Last week, I was privileged to hear my friend and colleague, Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, speak on the future of the American military at Stanford University’s annual Payne Lecture. Given that he is a retired three-star general and former ambassador to Kabul, what he said will probably surprise you. Stanford’s news service has a more complete write-up of his talk, but here are the key excerpts: Continue reading

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