The most telling moment in the SASC hearing came when Nicholson remarked that plans were being developed to “find success” in Afghanistan within the next four years. That would mark a full twenty years of direct U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan. Since the first Central Intelligence Agency paramilitary teams entered Afghanistan in November 2001, 2,350 servicemembers have given their lives and almost $900 billion in taxpayers’ money has been spent. Meanwhile, the country is less politically stable and less secure from all forms of insurgent and criminal predation. No one can say how or when this largely forgotten war will end, but “finding success” certainly should begin with some realism, honesty, and a corresponding adjustment in U.S. expectations and objectives.
Being Honest About U.S. Military Strategy in Afghanistan Continue reading
Physicians for Social Responsibility’s (PRS) study concluds that the death toll from 10 years of the “War on Terror” since the 9/11 attacks is at least 1.3 million, and could be as high as 2 million.
It is heavily critical of the figure most widely cited by mainstream media as authoritative, namely, the Iraq Body Count (IBC) estimate of 110,000 dead. According to the PSR study, the much-disputed Lancet study that estimated 655,000 Iraq deaths up to 2006 (and over a million until today by extrapolation) was likely to be far more accurate than IBC’s figures.
Nafeez Ahmed argued that
total deaths from Western interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan since the 1990s – from direct killings and the longer-term impact of war-imposed deprivation – likely constitute around 4 million (2 million in Iraq from 1991-2003, plus 2 million from the “war on terror”), and could be as high as 6-8 million people when accounting for higher avoidable death estimates in Afghanistan.
Gregory D. Johnsen wrote a detailed account of the rise of Huthis in Yemen. Adam Baron argued that the power struggle is primarily local and foreign intervention will be a very bad idea.
But what is abundantly clear at the moment is that this remains, by and large, an internal Yemeni political conflict—one that, despite frequent sectarian mischaracterizations and potential regional implications, remains deeply rooted in local Yemeni issues.
And if history is a guide, foreign intervention will only stand to exacerbate the situation. Ironically, talk now centers on a potential Saudi Arabian and Egyptian military intervention in Yemen, a scenario that immediately brought to mind the memory of North Yemen’s 1960s Civil War which saw both sides intervene—albeit on different sides—in a matter which only appeared to draw the conflict out further. This is not to say that there isn’t a place for foreign powers to aid Yemeni factions in negotiating some new political settlement. But any nation that aims to make Yemen’s fight their own is more than likely to come out on the losing side.
Azam Ahmed And Habib Zahori, “Despite West’s Efforts, Afghan Youths Cling to Traditional Ways,” The New York Times, July 31 2013
To those who like to think that the foreign presence here has left more than spent shells and hollowed-out buildings, what the young people of Kabul wear and value can itself offer a sense of comfort. These trappings of the West, the hope goes, belong to a generation ready to embrace women’s rights, democracy and other ideals that America and its allies have spent billions of dollars trying to instill. …
“If someone thinks that youngsters have changed, they should think twice,” said Amina Mustaqim Jawid, the director of the Afghan Women’s Coalition Against Corruption. “These young men grew up in a war environment. They don’t know about their own rights; how can we expect them to know about their sisters’ rights, their mothers’ rights or their wives’ rights? If they wear jeans and have Western haircuts, that doesn’t mean they are progressive.”
Read the full article here.
“UK soldier and veteran suicides ‘outstrip Afghan deaths’“, BBC, 14 July 2013
More British soldiers and veterans took their own lives in 2012 than died fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan over the same period.
Hayes Brown, “U.S. Wastes Millions On Base In Afghanistan It Will Never Use“, ThinkProgress, Jul 10 2013
The United States military spent millions of dollars on a shining new command center in the Helmand province of Afghanistan — a center that will never be used and is now likely to be completely demolished.
Richard Norton-Taylor, “Afghanistan war has cost Britain more than £37bn, new book claims,” The Guardian, 30 May 2013
Frank Ledwidge, author of damning study Investment in Blood, says failing, bloody campaign has cost £2,000 per UK household.
The war in Afghanistan has cost Britain at least £37bn and the figure will rise to a sum equivalent to more than £2,000 for every taxpaying household, according to a devastating critique of the UK’s role in the conflict.