The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
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The alleged bid by the British government and army to close down investigations into torture and murder in Iraq and Afghanistan appears to be the latest aspect of a widespread desire in in the UK to forget all about these failed wars. Joining the US-led invasion of Afghanistan. The gravity of the miscalculations in each... Read More
The warriors who conducted this drone strike from a safe distance in the U.S. without any danger to themselves other than their moral conscience if they have one are henceforth “heroes.” “Thank you for your service.” The majority of the people killed by the US military in Washington’s 21st century wars for Israel and the... Read More
The first draft of this column came not to bury but to praise Donald Trump. I planned to applaud the president's peace initiative with the Taliban, his strategy of ignoring the corrupt and discredited puppet regime Bush installed in Kabul and his desire to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan. This was a move I have... Read More
After years of reporting on the Great War on Terror, many questions behind the US attacks remain unresolved
Afghanistan was bombed and invaded because of 9/11. I was there from the start, even before 9/11. On August 20, 2001, I
After 18 years of war in Afghanistan– America’s longest – US and Taliban negotiators are said to be close to an agreement that may see the withdrawal of many of the 14,000 US soldiers in that remote nation. That’s the official version. President Donald Trump keeps changing his mind about the number of US troops... Read More
Friday, President Donald Trump met in New Jersey with his national security advisers and envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, who is negotiating with the Taliban to bring about peace, and a U.S. withdrawal from America's longest war. U.S. troops have been fighting in Afghanistan since 2001, in a war that has cost 2,400 American lives. Following the... Read More
“We’re like policemen. We’re not fighting a war. If we wanted to fight a war in Afghanistan and win it, I could win that war in a week. But I don’t want to kill 10 million people. Afghanistan could be wiped off the face of the Earth. I don’t want to go that route.” Even... Read More
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America's Senior Generals Find No Exits From Endless War
“Veni, Vidi, Vici,” boasted Julius Caesar, one of history’s great military captains. “I came, I saw, I conquered.” Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton echoed that famed saying when summing up the Obama administration’s military intervention in Libya in 2011 -- with a small alteration. “We came, we saw, he died,” she lasting victory. “Failure is... Read More
How appropriate, don’t you think? America’s longest war, the Afghan one, now heading into its 18th year, may set another kind of record -- for the longest withdrawal ever. The Pentagon recently peace talks with the Taliban don’t somehow get in the way). In fact, there might be even better news lurking just offstage. The... Read More
An Obituary for the Republic
What dreamers they were! They imagined a kind of global power that would leave even Rome at its Augustan height in the shade. They imagined a world made for one, a planet that could be swallowed by a single great power. No, not just great, but beyond anything ever seen before -- one that would... Read More
War in the Shadows (of You Know Who)
The news, however defined, always contains a fair amount of pap. Since Donald Trump’s ascent to the presidency, however, the trivia quotient in the average American’s daily newsfeed has grown like so many toadstools in a compost heap, overshadowing or crowding out matters of real substance. We’re living in TrumpWorld, folks. Never in the history... Read More
Why would Moscow want to fight terrorists without the US? It doesn’t
Manichaean Cold War myopia and ludicrous Russiagate allegations have produced one of the worst periods of American “geopolitical” thinking in recent decades. Consider President Trump’s recently announced withdrawals of US forces from Syria and Afghanistan. Instead of applauding these long-overdue steps, the bipartisan US political-media establishment has denounced them as “Trump’s gifts to Putin.” But... Read More
Overfunded, Overhyped, and Always Over There
One of the finest military memoirs of any generation is Defeat Into Victory, British Field Marshal 12 Strong, a Hollywood film with a cavalry charge that echoed the best of John Wayne. That victory, however, quickly turned first into quagmire and then, despite various “surges” and a seemingly endless series of U.S. commanders (influence over... Read More
An ancient Hindu prayer says, ‘Lord Shiva, save us from the claw of the tiger, the fang of the cobra, and the vengeance of the Afghan.’ The United States, champion of freedom and self-determination, is now in its 18th year of colonial war in Afghanistan. This miserable, stalemated conflict is America’s longest and most shameful... Read More
Afghanistan and the Implosion of America
As I approach 75, I’m having a commonplace experience for my age. I live with a brain that’s beginning to dump previously secure memories -- names, the contents of books I read long ago (or all too recently), events, whatever. If you’re of a certain age yourself, you know the story. Recently, however, I realized... Read More
We all had a big shock this week when, seemingly out of the blue, President Trump announced that he was removing US troops from Syria and would draw down half of the remaining US troops in Afghanistan. The president told us the troops were in Syria to fight ISIS and with ISIS nearly gone the... Read More
Moscow hosted talks last week to promote peace in Afghanistan as neighbors and regional heavyweights eye the rewards of...
In the “graveyard of empires,” Afghanistan never ceases to deliver geopolitical and historical twists. Last week in Moscow, another crucial chapter in this epic story was written when Russia pledged to use its diplomatic muscle to spur peace efforts in the war-torn country. Flanked by Afghan representatives and their Taliban rivals, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei... Read More
Death-by-ally: now that, by definition, is a fate from hell. You might at least imagine that such “insider attacks” -- in which a member of the Afghan security forces turns his weapon on his American or NATO trainers or advisers and tries to gun them down -- would be the rarest of events. After all,... Read More
A Veteran and Parent Can’t Stop Thinking About the War He Fought
I’m here in Chicago, 7,000 miles and 15 years away from Jalalabad, a desolate town in southwestern Afghanistan. Yet sometimes it seems to me as if it were yesterday, or even tomorrow, and anything but thousands of miles distant. There are moments when it feels like I never left -- or maybe I mean, when... Read More
In June, Austin “Scott” Miller, the special-ops general chosen to be the 17th U.S. commander in Afghanistan, appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Like progress” in the Afghan war, even if he refused to “guarantee you a timeline or an end date.” Smart move, general! As it happens, just over a week ago, he... Read More
17 Years of War (and More to Come)
We’re already two years past the launched the invasion -- “liberation” was the word often used then -- of Afghanistan. It was the start of the second generational,
Blowback From U.S. Policy in the Greater Middle East
He was shot in the
After 17 bloody years, the longest war in US history continues without relent or purpose in Afghanistan. There, a valiant, fiercely-independent people, the Pashtun (Pathan) mountain tribes, have battled the full might of the US Empire to a stalemate that has so far cost American taxpayers $4 trillion, and 2,371 dead and 20,320 wounded soldiers.... Read More
Or How to Fight a War of Ultimate Repetitiousness
Fair warning. Stop reading right now if you want, because I’m going to repeat myself. What choice do I have, since my subject is the Afghan War (America’s second Afghan War, no less)? I
In case you hadn’t noticed -- and it wasn’t exactly front-page news -- America’s eighth war commander in Afghanistan (and keep in mind that we’re only talking about this country’s ninth, Lieutenant General Austin “Scott” Miller, who spent much of his career commanding Special Operations forces, will distant 2009), whom no one today is likely... Read More
Americans Need to Rethink War and Look Honestly at Ourselves and Our Friends
"This time, they think they have it right." So declared an Associated Press
taliban
The Taliban in Afghanistan have published an attempt to reason with “the American people, officials of independent non-governmental organizations and the peace loving Congressmen.” This “
Henry Kissinger rightly noted that it’s often more dangerous being an ally of the United States than its enemy. The latest victim of this sad truism is Pakistan, a loyal ally of the US since the dawn of our era. President Donald Trump’s visceral hatred of Muslims (never mind what kind, or why, or where)... Read More
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A Harvey Weinstein Moment for America’s Wars?
What makes a Harvey Weinstein moment? The now-disgraced Hollywood mogul is hardly the first powerful man to stand accused of having abused women. The Harveys who preceded Harvey himself are legion, their prominence matching or exceeding his own and the misdeeds with which they were charged at least as reprehensible. In the relatively recent past,... Read More
As you read today’s piece by historian and In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power, think of Afghanistan as the gateway drug for three Washington administrations. Within weeks of the 9/11 attacks, George W. Bush and his top officials had launched their invasion of that country and... Read More
How a Failed Drug War Will Defeat Trump’s Afghan Adventure
After nine months of confusion, chaos, and cascading tweets, Donald Trump’s White House has finally made one thing crystal clear: the U.S. is staying in Afghanistan to fight and -- so they insist -- win. “The killers need to know they have nowhere to hide, that no place is beyond the reach of American might,”
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The American Military’s Repetition-Compulsion Complex
Here we go again! Years after most Americans forgot about the
Last year, an internal report commissioned by the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the agency that
Scott Horton's Afghanistan primer will impress both casual readers and experts
I was one of the first American officials to arrive in Kabul at the end of 2001. The war that seemed to be ending back then is currently in its 16th year with no end in sight, and for those of us who were there at the beginning it now sometimes seems like it was... Read More
The Persian Gulf harbors an array of extremely compromising secrets. Near the top is the Afghan heroin ratline – with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) positioned as the golden node of a transnational, trillion dollar heroin money laundering operation. In this 21st century Opium War, crops harvested in Afghanistan are essentially feeding the in the... Read More
Photo by DaveBleasdale | CC BY 2.0
There are more parallels between an unfinished 1950s war in Northeast Asia and an ongoing 16-year-old war in the crossroads between Central and South Asia than meet the eye. Let’s start with North Korea. Once again the US/South Korea Hunger Games plow on. It didn’t have to be this way. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov... Read More
Media reports claim President Donald Trump let loose on his generals behind closed doors, blasting them royally for their startling failures in Afghanistan, America’s longest war. The president has many faults and is a lousy judge of character. But he was absolutely right to read the riot act to the military brass for daring to... Read More
In America's Afghanistan, it’s all history -- the future as well as the past, what’s going to happen, as well as what’s happened in these last nearly 16 years of war. You’ve heard it all before: there were the various “surges” (though once upon a time sold as paths to victory, not simply to break... Read More
The Folly of the Next Afghan “Surge”
We walked in a single file. Not because it was tactically sound. It wasn’t -- at least according to standard infantry doctrine. Patrolling southern Afghanistan in column formation limited maneuverability, made it difficult to mass fire, and exposed us to enfilading machine-gun bursts. Still, in 2011, in the Pashmul District of Kandahar Province, single file... Read More
"We are there and we are committed" was the regular retort of Secretary of State Dean Rusk during the war in Vietnam. Whatever you may think of our decision to go in, Rusk was saying, if we walk away, the United States loses the first war in its history, with all that means for Southeast... Read More
The explosion of a giant bomb in a sewage tanker close to the diplomatic quarter in Kabul is receiving much publicity because of the heavy loss of life and because so many foreign embassies were damaged. A BBC driver was killed and four BBC journalists were wounded by the blast. But, aside from spectacular incidents... Read More
Thrashing About in the Afghan Petri Dish
America’s war in Afghanistan is now in its 16th year, the
If you had asked Americans about Afghanistan before 1979, it’s a reasonable bet that most of us wouldn’t have known much about that country or even been able to locate it on a map. Perhaps only to the “freaks” of that era, in search of a superb hashish high, would its name have rung a... Read More
Afghanistan, as a crossroads of empire and a key stage in the Silk Road, is dotted with important archaeological sites that go back 5000 years and can provide insights into the evolution of civilizations across Asia and, in fact, civilization itself. Most of these sites are beyond the reach of the Afghan government’s woefully underfunded... Read More
Last week, as the mainstream media continued to obsess over the CIA’s evidence-free claim that the Russians hacked the presidential election, President Obama quietly sent 300 US Marines back into Afghanistan’s Helmand Province. This is the first time in three years that the US military has been sent into that conflict zone, and it represents... Read More
A lot of government/media misdirection going on concerning Afghanistan. I read the tea leaves over at Asia Times in a piece on Ashraf Ghani’s public lovefest with Nadendra Modi at the “Heart of Asia” conference. Pakistan and China were there, but got precious little “heart”. The piece is titled “
Not long before Election Day, but thousands of miles away in the Afghan village of Bouz Kandahari,
Last week marked the fifteenth anniversary of the US invasion of Afghanistan, the longest war in US history. There weren’t any victory parades or photo-ops with Afghanistan’s post-liberation leaders. That is because the war is ongoing. In fact, 15 years after launching a war against Afghanistan’s Taliban government in retaliation for an attack by Saudi-backed... Read More
Fifteen years ago this week, the US launched the longest war in its history: the invasion and occupation of remote Afghanistan. Neighboring Pakistan was forced to facilitate the American invasion or ‘be bombed back to the stone age.’ America was furious after the bloody 9/11 attacks. The Bush administration had been caught sleeping on guard... Read More
Here we go again. In yet another Pentagon precision strike, a residential building in Achin district of Nangarhar province was hit as a crowd welcomed home a tribal leader returning from the Hajj. At least 13 civilians were turned into «collateral damage». The Pentagon of course does not «discuss the details of counter-terror operations», but... Read More
Topic Classics
Eight Exceptional(ly Dumb) American Achievements of the Twenty-First Century
Full Story of the Taliban's Amazing Jailbreak
"They Can't Even Protect Themselves, So What Can They Do For Me?"
Far from being a model for a “liberated” Iraq, Afghanistan shows how the U.S. can get bogged down Soviet-style.