Brother Karzai Leaves Election, Joins Another Ticket

The last time we checked in on the Afghanistan elections – which are less than a month away – there was a Karzai on the ballot. Last Friday, the brother of the mercurial U.S. ally and president Hamid Karzai, Abdul Qyayum Karzai, officially quit the race. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that Karzai’s legendary grip … Continue reading “Brother Karzai Leaves Election, Joins Another Ticket”

The Wailing Cassandras Return

WASHINGTON – "The budget is an announcement of American retreat." Thus begins the rending of clothing and the gnashing of teeth that one would generally expect from the editors of National Review, who typically only weigh in (quite clumsily) on foreign policy/military issues when it concerns defending a war or proposing one. A preview of … Continue reading “The Wailing Cassandras Return”

Afghanistan: It’s the Election, Stupid!

“And believe it or not, so far, so good. Most news reaching the United States about Afghanistan is troubling, but the election campaign is going reasonably well” – Michael O’Hanlon, Foreign Policy magazine – 1/14/14 A few weeks after the never-prescient O’Hanlon (whose crystal ball might as well be a bowling ball when it comes … Continue reading “Afghanistan: It’s the Election, Stupid!”

How a CIA Whistleblower Survives Behind Bars

It’s been one year since former CIA analyst and counterterrorism officer John Kiriakou was sentenced to prison for 30 months, the first American official to do time for the government’s torture policies during the Global War on Terror. This is what whistleblower advocates like to point out – and Kiriakou, 49, strongly believes himself – … Continue reading “How a CIA Whistleblower Survives Behind Bars”

Jason Leopold Talks Forensic Journalism

WASHINGTON – They call him a "FOIA terrorist." This is ironic, because most of Jason Leopold’s efforts at obtaining information through the Freedom of Information Act are because the so-called Global War on Terror has made it virtually impossible to do it any other way. Plus, contrary to how members of the FBI might have … Continue reading “Jason Leopold Talks Forensic Journalism”

War in Afghanistan: The Jig Is Up

The last several years of US operations in Afghanistan have been an exercise in mondo message management. If it were a sport, it would be the highlight of the ESPN X Games. Between Afghanistan and the "war of perception" in Iraq, students of so-called "strategic communications" will be studying this stuff (the art of deception, … Continue reading “War in Afghanistan: The Jig Is Up”

2013: The Year Democracy Caught a Cold

No one who watches global events could forget the January 2011 democracy protests in Cairo, so big and massive that Western mainstream media were sending reporters in droves. For days, we watched in awe as young Egyptians took to the streets in their major cities, literally putting their lives on the line for a new … Continue reading “2013: The Year Democracy Caught a Cold”

Wars Past, Present and Yet to Come

See the phantoms filling the sky around you. They astound you, I can tell, these inhabitants of hell. Poor wretches whom the Hand of Heaven ignores. Beware, beware, beware, lest their dreadful fate be yours! ~ the ghost of Jacob Marley in Scrooge, 1970 For most of us our favorite passage in A Christmas Carol … Continue reading “Wars Past, Present and Yet to Come”

‘Let it Snowden,’ the Chorus of 2013

It was two years ago that the name Julian Assange was skipping over holiday tables, provoking shouts of "traitor" or toasts of tribute in varying degree and vigor. The word "peace" never seemed so far away in 2010, but Assange, in shaking the very norms of government secrecy and duplicity, opened doors to a new, … Continue reading “‘Let it Snowden,’ the Chorus of 2013”

A Book the Military Won’t Want You To Read

I am reading Ann Jones’s new book, They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars: The Untold Story and I am crying, again. I am thinking how military recruiters would like to destroy copies of this book the way the Pentagon did to Tony Shaffer’s memoir three years ago – and this is … Continue reading “A Book the Military Won’t Want You To Read”