The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have come at a great cost to the American people. Thousands of men and women have died in uniform in the war zones, and billions of dollars have been spent on the wars. The wars have caused the deaths of thousands of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they have arguably had a destabilizing effect on the Middle East. It seems that the only ones benefitting from the wars have been defense contractors. Over the last decade the United States has outsourced much of the wars. Defense contractors have built bases, shipped supplies, cooked food, cleaned uniforms, and provided security. Many of the functions that used to be performed by the military have been outsourced to corporations such as Halliburton. However, we don't always get what we paid for.Read more
Don't Ask and Don't Tell: Six Critical Foreign Policy Questions That Won't Be Raised in the Presidential Debates
This post was originally published at TomDispatch.com.
By Peter Van Buren
We had a debate club back in high school. Two teams would meet in the auditorium, and Mr. Garrity would tell us the topic, something 1970s-ish like “Resolved: Women Should Get Equal Pay for Equal Work” or “World Communism Will Be Defeated in Vietnam.” Each side would then try, through persuasion and the marshalling of facts, to clinch the argument. There’d be judges and a winner.Read more
In January 2009, the media narrative in the U.S. favored increasing the number of troops in Afghanistan, bending the public opinion in favor of the same. Understanding the national catastrophe waiting in the wings if lives and scarce national resources were wasted on a military "fix" to a political problem, Brave New Foundation launched Rethink Afghanistan.Read more
By Peter Van Buren
Originally posted at TomDispatch.com
Some images remain like scars on my memory. One of the last things I saw in Iraq, where I spent a year with the Department of State helping squander some of the $44 billion American taxpayers put up to “reconstruct” that country, were horses living semi-wild among the muck and garbage of Baghdad. Those horses had once raced for Iraqi autocrat Saddam Hussein and seven years after their “liberation” by the American invasion of 2003, they were still wandering that unraveling, unreconstructed urban landscape looking, like many other Iraqis, for food.Read more
By Nick Turse
Originally posted at TomDispatch.com.
In the 1980s, the U.S. government began funneling aid to mujahedeen rebels in Afghanistan as part of an American proxy war against the Soviet Union. It was, in the minds of America’s Cold War leaders, a rare chance to bloody the Soviets, to give them a taste of the sort of defeat the Vietnamese, with Soviet help, had inflicted on Washington the decade before. In 1989, after years of bloody combat, the Red Army did indeed limp out of Afghanistan in defeat. Since late 2001, the United States has been fighting its former Afghan proxies and their progeny. Now, after years of bloody combat, it’s the U.S. that’s looking to withdraw the bulk of its forces and once again employ proxies to secure its interests there.Read more
As violence continues following the burning of Qurans by ISAF in Afghanistan, insiders in Washington, D.C. and in the media are wasting quite a bit of breath asking the rhetorical question, "Why aren't the apologies working?" Military commanders in Afghanistan apologized profusely, President Obama exposed himself to the demagoguery of Republican primary opponents with his own apology. Why does the violence continue?Read more