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.

How NGOs Became Pawns in the War on Terrorism
August 03, 2010

Independent humanitarian action, commonly if not entirely accurately thought to have begun with the so-called ‘French Doctors’ in Biafra in the late-'60s, was never as independent as either relief groups like Oxfam, Doctors Without Borders, or the International Rescue Committee, themselves liked to claim or as the general public assumed them to be. U.S. organizations in particular, despite their efforts to develop an individual donor base, were always and remain too dependent on American government funding for the claim to stand up to scrutiny.

Liberal Apathy, the National Security Story
August 03, 2010

Heather Hurlburt is executive director of the National Security Network. She wrote this in response to last week's item about liberal apathy. Jonathan Cohn falls into the same trap as his apathetic Netroots liberals as far as national security is concerned.

How the Wikileaks Are Changing Afghan Hearts and Minds
August 02, 2010

Within hours of the release of the Wikileaks trove, I received a call from a friend in Uruzgan province, an area here in Afghanistan’s south. “Look through the files,” he said excitedly. “Finally the world will know what we have been going through.” For years he had been claiming that foreign forces had killed two of his cousins during a firefight in a village in Uruzgan, something the NATO military authorities had denied. And for years he hadn’t been able to persuade local authorities. But buried in the mountain of U.S.

New Leaks, Old News
July 28, 2010

 Since the mega–leak of 90,000 classified intelligence documents to three news organizations, WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, has held a follow up press conference and several subsequent interviews, prompting a flurry of counter briefings and reaction from the White House, the Pakistani government, and others. Yet the public, seeking a better understanding of the Afghan situation, is feeling scarcely more enlightened or empowered than they did a week ago.

David Cameron Has Been to Washington. He Got The Message...And Now He's Delivering It.
July 28, 2010

On Wednesday, The Independent announced that "Cameron uses Turkish visit to launch ferocious attack on Israel." The Guardian reports that he "likened the experience of Palestinians in the blockaded Gaza Strip to that of a 'prison camp'." Having just been to Washington, was Cameron doing a transmission job for Barack Obama? Probably not. This missive about Israel is surely not the one that Obama really wants to transmit now.

Keeping Promises
July 28, 2010

One truism of counterinsurgency is that securing and winning over the population are the keys to success. So, what do the people of Afghanistan want? In December, ABC and the BBC conducted nationwide polling and discovered that one-third of Afghans said that poverty and unemployment were the biggest challenges confronting them. Another third named rising insecurity and violence. Meanwhile, relatively few Afghans were preoccupied by those issues that many Americans deem to be Afghanistan’s greatest problems.

What the Wikileaks Tell Us About Pakistani Loyalties
July 27, 2010

Leslie Gelb, the former head of the Council on Foreign Relations and a current columnist for the Daily Beast, looked at the 90,000 USG document dump on WikiLeaks, and focused on the issue that matters most: Pakistan. “To put the issue somewhat melodramatically,” he wrote, “the United States is giving ‘moderate’ Pakistanis and the Pakistani military billions of dollars yearly in military and economic aid, which allows Pakistani military intelligence to ‘secretly’ help the Taliban kill Americans in Afghanistan, which will drive America out of Afghanistan and undermine U.S.