In Praise of Corruption
August 27, 2010

Terry Glavin, the cofounder of the Canadian-Afghanistan Solidarity Committee and a firm supporter of Western intervention in Afghanistan, tells a joke that has made the rounds in Kabul. The United Nations, sick of the corruption that is rife in the Afghan government, demands that Karzai clean things up. “Of course, of course,” Karzai replies.

Inside a Pakistani Flood Victim Camp—Run by a Terrorist Organization
August 22, 2010

The tight cluster of canvas tents filled a dusty field just off the highway that cuts through the city of Nowshera, the largest city in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, about a 90-minute drive from the capital Islamabad. Doctors in white coats tested children’s temperatures and blood pressures, looking for the signs of water-borne diseases, from acute diarrhea to potentially deadly cholera. Their mothers sat nearby, batting away the flies.

Civilian Control? Surely, You Jest.
August 18, 2010

The principle of civilian control forms the foundation of the American system of civil-military relations, offering assurance that the nation’s very powerful armed forces and its very influential officer corps pose no danger to our democracy. That’s the theory at least, the one that gets printed in civics books and peddled to the plain folk out in Peoria.     Reality turns out to be considerably more complicated.

Apparently President Obama's Islam Is Not The (Afghan) People's Islam
August 17, 2010

There is no gloating in my finding Barack Obama's view of Islam more than a bit fatuous. Oh, how I wish it were true... But a searing article by Rod Norland in the New York Times should put an end to the president's fantasies which he has tried to foist on the American people by the sheer even tone of his voice. How can I say this? For all his pretensions to knowledge of the faith and its peoples, he is an ignoramus. Not that I'm a man of real learning about the field.

Terrorism And The Mosque
August 15, 2010

Apparently, Muslims are also not particularly stirred by the president’s policies. They wanted him to be more forthright and more forthcoming on their issues as he had indicated he would be in his much-vaunted “new beginning” speech last year in Cairo. In a New York Times dispatch yesterday, Sheryl Gay Stolberg cites an Arab-American journalist as complaining that Obama has since left many Muslims disappointed. Well, on this count, at least, those disappointed Muslims are at one with most other Americans.

American Slander
August 11, 2010

Markos Moulitsas has decided to go the "Liberal Fascism" route in his new book: “We all agree with the Taliban.”—Rush Limbaugh, October 9, 2009 America’s primary international enemy—Islamic radicalism—insists on government by theocracy, curtails civil liberties, embraces torture, represses women, wants to eradicate homosexuals from society, and insists on the use of force over diplomacy. Remind you of a certain American political party?

Unbreakable Promises
August 08, 2010

    It’s just about a week since President Obama announced that he had met  his pledge to begin the American pullout from Iraq. It wasn’t exactly, as many commentators have observed, that he had announced his “mission accomplished!" But he did say that he would begin the  withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country, and it has begun.

Barely Friends, Few Benefits
August 06, 2010

Earlier this year, the relationship between Pakistan and the United States suddenly seemed to get a lot more productive. In the first two months of 2010, Pakistani security forces arrested six individuals touted as senior Afghan Taliban leaders. In January, administration officials claimed that CIA drones had targeted and killed Hakimullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, in the tribal area of South Waziristan. And in February, American and Pakistani intelligence operatives netted Mullah Baradar, described as the Afghan Taliban’s military commander, in a raid in Karachi.

Losing Faith
August 06, 2010

In the analysis of a war, the where matters as much as the why. About the reasons for our war in Afghanistan, I am still solid. I am confident that the United States has an urgent interest of national security in suppressing or destroying Al Qaeda and its various affiliates in the badlands of the Hindu Kush. I am also confident that, but for our efforts to cripple them, these forces would be further along in their murderous plans for America and Americans. I remember September 11.

Why Do Presidents Do Anything, Anyway, If Voters Don't Care?
August 04, 2010

Jonathan Bernstein is a political scientist.