Category: Terrorism

Using the Colombia Model in Afghanistan

by Paul Wolfowitz and Michael O’Hanlon

Why the Colombia model — even if it means drug war and armed rebellion — is the best chance for U.S. success in Central Asia.

President Barack Obama made clear this week that the remaining troops will soon come home from Iraq. Some 10 years after the first troops landed in Afghanistan, we’re now nearly back to a one-front war. But where are we, really? It’s clear that both citizens and Washington alike are collectively weary of war and frustrated by this particular mission, with its interminable timelines and uncertain partners in Kabul and Islamabad, even if it has only been three to four years since the United States intensified its collective focus and resources on this mission. 

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War and Drugs in Afghanistan

by Vanda Felbab-Brown

Since 2001, Afghanistan has become synonymous with the term “narcostate” and the associated spread of crime and illegality. Though the Afghan drug economy peaked in 2007 and 2008, cultivation this year still amounted to 325,000 acres, and the potential production of opium reached 6,400 tons (.pdf). Narcotics production and counternarcotics policies in Afghanistan are of critical importance not only for drug control there and worldwide, but also for the security, reconstruction and rule of law efforts in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, many of the counternarcotics policies adopted during most of the past decade not only failed to reduce the size and scope of the illicit economy in Afghanistan, but also had serious counterproductive effects on the other objectives of peace, state-building and economic reconstruction.

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Chomsky and conflicting elements of US foreign policy

by John August

I’ve long been interested in Chomsky’s writings, but I could always see good and bad in them. I’ve struggled to understand foreign policy and how the US fits in. It’s different to the picture painted by both Chomsky and his opponents.

After Chomsky won the Sydney Peace Prize, people railed against the Sydney Centre for Peace And Conflict Studies (SPAC) – again. Keith Windshuttle came to the fore, joined by Ted Lapkin – with lots more material out there. But, even if the SPAC are wrong, however heated his opponents get, it’s not illegal to be wrong – at least not yet, anyway.

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Sober reflections on ten long years in Afghanistan

by James Dunn

The tenth anniversary of yet another distant military engagement finds most Australians rather war-weary. We have had a number of these engagements since the end of World War II, but most have been in distant places and their significance did not impact on the daily lives of most Australians. Neither the Korean Conflict nor the Vietnam War was particularly popular, and our troops got little public gratitude for what they had been through until years later. What it means is that Australian forces have been involved in one conflict or another for most of the time since the end of WWII, including the Malayan Emergency and, most recently, East Timor. And like our involvement with the Bush-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, our part in the major conflicts of this so-called post-war period has mostly involved providing willing support to our American ally in situations that posed no strategic threat to this country. I should add, however, that Australian forces have served the UN in a number of conflicts, usually with little recognition at home.

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The Price of 9/11

By Joseph Stiglitz

The September 11, 2001, terror attacks by Al Qaeda were meant to harm the United States, and they did, but in ways that Osama bin Laden probably never imagined. President George W. Bush’s response to the attacks compromised America’s basic principles, undermined its economy, and weakened its security.

The attack on Afghanistan that followed the 9/11 attacks was understandable, but the subsequent invasion of Iraq was entirely unconnected to Al Qaeda – as much as Bush tried to establish a link. That war of choice quickly became very expensive – orders of magnitude beyond the $60 billion claimed at the beginning – as colossal incompetence met dishonest misrepresentation.

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