Afghanistan

What Pakistan knew about bin Laden

Featured image Carlotta Gall is a New York Times reporter who went to live and report in Afghanistan shortly after 9/11. Her new book is The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001-2014. The New York Times Magazine published a scintillating excerpt last week focusing on what Pakistan knew about bin Laden. I just finished reading it this week. It is interesting from beginning to end. I highly recommend it. Among other things, »

Nature abhorred power vacuum in the 19th century, apparently still does

Featured image The New York Times reports that Afghanistan has become the third nation to publicly back Russia’s annexation of Crimea. The other two are Syria and Venezuela. Irony abounds. Afghans, including President Karzai, fought a ten-year war against Soviet invaders and their unpopular puppets. The U.S. assisted the Afghans in that struggle. Later, of course, the U.S. liberated Afghanistan from the Taliban and installed Karzai as president. Yet now, when the »

Don’t shoot the messenger

Featured image Walter Pincus, the Washington Post’s long-time voice of conventional liberal thinking on national defense issues, is unhappy with Robert Gates’ new book. He complains that, although Gates devotes nearly half of the book to his two years at the Pentagon under President Bush, he provides “no embarrassing anecdotes or acidic comments.” No doubt, there were embarrassing moments at the Pentagon while Gates was serving Bush there. But Gates’ high-profile revelations »

Dakota Meyer’s story: A footnote

Featured image John posted the video on Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer (the video is posted here). Dakota Meyer is one of two men awarded the Medal of Honor for action during the seven-hour battle in Afghanistan’s Ganjgal valley, near the Pakistan border, on September 8, 2009. The story of the second Medal of Honor recipient — Captain William Swenson — raises issues with details of Dakota Meyer’s story and is »

Dakota Meyer’s Story

Featured image The NRA, Brownells and Smith & Wesson are collaborating on a series of videos under the title “Patriot Profiles,” which is part of the NRA’s “Life of Duty” series. This “Patriot Profile” is on Medal of Honor winner Dakota Meyer. Meyer won his medal in Afghanistan, trying to save four Americans under attack by the Taliban, in the face of what seems like almost active interference from higher-ups. Both the »

American dishonor

Featured image Two months ago, I wrote a post called “Break the logjam on visas for foreign interpreters who served our military during war.” I noted: Congress has authorized 1,500 visas per year for Afghans who have assisted us, but the State Department annually approves only about 200. In the past five years, State has issued only 12 percent of the available visas. The picture is similar with respect to Iraq. Now »

The wages of Obama’s foreign policy indifference

Featured image Last month, relying mainly on the work of Jessica Lewis of the Institute for the Study of War, I wrote about the resurgence of al Qaeda in Iraq. Today, the Washington Post, in a front page story that quotes Lewis extensively, describes the same phenomenon: Nearly two years after the U.S. troop withdrawal, Iraq is in the midst of a deepening security crisis as an al-Qaeda affiliate wages a relentless »

Obama’s scandalous Afghan exit strategy

Featured image Congressional Republicans aren’t the only ones against whom President Obama is playing hardball. He’s also playing it against the government of Afghanistan, a U.S. ally. The issue is the American withdrawal from Afghanistan. According to Max Boot, who cites a Washington Post report, Obama has told President Karzai that if there is no agreement by October 31 on the terms for keeping a residual U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, the »

Life Among the Barbarians

Featured image Phyllis Chesler is a psychologist and academic whose writings we have quoted from time to time over the years. Ms. Chesler has always had a rather skeptical attitude toward Islam, in particular with regard to its treatment of women. Now we know why: Chesler has published a new book titled An American Bride In Kabul. You can read an excerpt from An American Bride in the New York Post. Chesler’s »

Break the logjam on visas for foreign interpreters who served our military during war

Featured image During an appearance before the Washington chapter of the Federalist Society earlier this year, someone asked Rep. Tom Cotton about immigration reform. As part of his answer, Tom noted that the Afghan who served as his interpreter while he participated in the Afghanistan war was still waiting for a U.S. visa. Why grant status to millions of illegal aliens while a man who risked his life supporting America’s war effort »

Negotiating the terms of America’s humiliation

Featured image The U.S. has commenced negotiations with the Taliban. The Afghan government is excluded from the talks, which I consider a disgrace. The U.S. has proved to be a worse than feckless partner. Why any state or group would ever again cast its lot with America, where there are other options, is beyond me. Quite apart from the exclusion of the Afghan government, the negotiations strike me as a classic case »

Obama signals retreat in the fight against terrorism

Featured image President Obama delivered an address today at the National Defense University called “The Future of our Fight Against Terrorism.” Actually, part of the speech was about the past, including much self-congratulation and some shots at President Bush. This part of the speech is revisionist rubbish. As Max Boot explains: Obama said, for example, that after he came into office, “we unequivocally banned torture, affirmed our commitment to civilian courts, worked »

How America lost its four great generals

Featured image When USMC General John Allen’s retirement was announced in February, our friend Hugh Hewitt called on Victor Davis Hanson to answer the question whether such a drain of military talent — the retirements of Generals McChrystal, Petraeus, Mattis and Allen, in that order — had ever previously occurred in our country’s history over so short a period of time (30 months) because of retirement. “That they occurred during wartime,” Hugh »

The American Mind with Mark Helprin

Featured image The Claremont Institute continues its American Mind series with host Charles Kesler, editor of the Claremont Review of Books, and guest Mark Helprin. Helprin is the acclaimed novelist and observer of the contemporary scene. He has been a ferocious critic of our response to 9/11 in Afghanistan and Iraq. The institute posts the interview in segments on a weekly basis here. We are pleased to post the interview in its »

Jake Tapper reports: An American hero

Featured image It’s hard to understand our lives without seeing that the human virtues are real and that they exist pretty much as Aristotle described them in The Nichomachaean Ethics. Aristotle’s understanding imprinted itself on the Founders of the United States. When progressive politicians, historians and social scientists denigrated the virtues in order to undermine the Founders’ handiwork, as they continue to do in our own day, John Ford sought to save »

Hero of Combat Outpost Keating Receives Medal of Honor

Featured image This afternoon, President Obama presented the Medal of Honor to Staff Sgt. Clint Romesha at the White House. Sgt. Romesha received the medal for his heroism in helping to fight off an attack in 2009 by more than 300 Taliban who threatened to overrun Combat Outpost Keating, in northeastern Afghanistan. For some reason, the Daily Mail web site seems to have the most complete account of the ceremony, and the »

McChrystal’s share

Featured image Over the holidays my daughter Eliana was home poring over an advance copy of General McChrystal’s memoir, My Share of the Task, officially published this week. She found it absorbing and read it closely. On Monday she followed up with an interview of General McChrstyal. NRO has posted her column “McChrystal’s Share of the Task.” Her take on the book makes points I haven’t seen made elsewhere. I want to »