Afghanistan

Brothers in arms

Featured image On Saturday the Wall Street Journal published Michael Phillips’s devastatingly sad story about twin brothers Chris and Mike Goski. Both served with distinction in the armed forces following 9/11. Michael’s story is “Brothers in arms.” While the story is behind the Journal’s paywall, it is accompanied by an embeddable video with the following preface: Chris Goski was born on May 1, 1981. His twin brother Mike followed a few minutes »

Tillerson contradicts Trump on Afghanistan

Featured image In his speech last night, President Trump vowed to win in Afghanistan. He declared, “We will always win.” He also said, “I’m a problem-solver, and in the end, we will win.” In addition,there was this: “The men and women who serve our nation in combat deserve a plan for victory. They deserve the tools they need and the trust they have earned to fight and to win.” Today, Secretary of »

Barack Obama’s Legacy of Lies and Broken Promises on Afghanistan

Featured image In last night’s speech on Afghanistan, President Trump said: No one denies that we have inherited a challenging and troubling situation in Afghanistan and South Asia, but we do not have the luxury of going back in time and making different or better decisions. When I became President, I was given a bad and very complex hand, but I fully knew what I was getting into: big and intricate problems. »

Afghanistan and “nation building”

Featured image In defending his decision to increase America’s war effort in Afghanistan, President Trump needed to do two main things: (1) explain why he was breaking his campaign promise to abandon Afghanistan and (2) distinguish his approach to the fight from President Obama’s. In the post I wrote right after the speech, I tried to describe how Trump went about accomplishing these things. One technique I didn’t mention was the president’s »

Trump resists temptation to give up in Afghanistan

Featured image In an outstanding speech tonight, President Trump announced that the U.S. will not pull out of Afghanistan, but instead will fight with less restraint and more military forces. Trump needed to do two main things in his speech: (1) explain why he was breaking his campaign promise to abandon Afghanistan and (2) distinguish his approach to the fight from President Obama’s. Accomplishing the second objective would help make the breach »

Message in the MOAB

Featured image Last week President Trump authorized a limited missile strike against the Syrian regime for its use of chemical weapons against civilians. I explicated what I thought was “the message in the missiles” (I stretched to find 10 messages). Yesterday the United States dropped the “mother of all bombs” — the most powerful conventional bomb in the American arsenal — on an Islamic State cave complex in Afghanistan on Thursday. The »

Bombs Away!

Featured image One of the liberal media’s themes these days is that President Trump has changed his position on a variety of issues. I think this is about 25% true and 75% false. What is most notable, I think, is how strongly Trump has moved to fulfill his campaign promises. One of many areas where President Trump is doing exactly what he said he would do is the war against ISIS. On »

U.S. General: Russia is helping the Taliban in Afghanistan

Featured image Gen. John Nicholson, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, testified today that Russia is helping the Taliban. He told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Russia has been publicly legitimizing the Taliban by claiming that it fights Islamic terrorists while the Afghan government does not. At the hearing, Nicholson declined to say whether Russia is providing material support — e.g., arms, training, etc. — for the Taliban (who, themselves, are »

Loretta Lynch’s censorship

Featured image As Scott discussed below, the Obama administration has decided to remove Omar Mateen’s pledge of loyalty to ISIS from the transcript of the shooter’s 911 calls to the police during his rampage. How does Team Obama defend this effort to airbrush reality? Attorney General Loretta Lynch said: What we’re not going to do is further proclaim this man’s pledges of allegiance to terrorist groups, and further his propaganda. We are »

Released Gitmo detainees have been killing Americans in Afghanistan

Featured image Adam Goldman and Missy Ryan of the Washington Post report that the Obama administration believes approximately 12 detainees released from the prison at Guantanamo Bay have launched attacks against U.S. or allied forces in Afghanistan that have killed about a half-dozen Americans. In March, Paul Lewis, who oversees Guantanamo issues at the Defense Department, admitted to Congress that former Guantanamo inmates are responsible for the deaths of Americans overseas. Since »

The Taliban: al Qaeda’s ally; Hillary’s peace partner

Featured image I believe it’s widely known, though also widely forgotten, that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton orchestrated “peace talks” with the Taliban. Clinton discussed her role in some detail in her book, Hard Choices. Robert Potts at the American Thinker provided a good summary of Clinton’s involvement, as described by her, in this article. Clinton’s goals were to “shatter the alliance between the Taliban and al Qaeda, end the insurgency, and »

Good news: ISIS control of Ramadi in jeopardy (but watch out for Afghanistan)

Featured image The Washington Post reports that Iraqi troops, supported by U.S. air strikes, have stormed into the center of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province. At last word, they hadn’t yet retaken the city from ISIS, but their prospects of doing so seem excellent. According to the Post, this is the first major offensive by the Iraqi army in which Shiite militias have been largely excluded. Thus, it can be viewed »

Obama Gets a Clue?

Featured image Back in late 1979 and early 1980, Jimmy Carter finally got a clue. To be sure, it took the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan—the first ever direct use of Soviet troops outside of its post WWII sphere of influence in Eastern Europe—to get Peanut-Brain to concentrate adequately. He announced the Carter Doctrine (declaring that any Soviet move toward the Persian Gulf would constitute an attack on U.S. vital interests), called for »

The case against Obama’s Afghan pull-out plan solidifies

Featured image Yesterday, General John Campbell, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, delivered upbeat testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee about the effects of our military effort in that country. Campbell documented the extraordinary progress Afghanistan has made on numerous fronts in the 13 years since the U.S. toppled the Taliban. I don’t think there’s any dispute about this. Campbell also contended that the present situation is quite »

Behind the White House’s defense of the Taliban

Featured image As Scott discusses in the post immediately below, the Obama administration today claimed that the Taliban is an “armed insurrection” — you know, kind of like George Washington’s Continental Army — not a terrorist group. It is therefore materially different, spokesperson Eric Schultz argued, from ISIS. Thus, it is okay for the U.S. to swap prisoners with the Taliban (see Bergdahl, Bowe), but not okay to make concessions to ISIS »

Ex-Gitmo detainee now leading ISIS fighters in Afghanistan

Featured image ISIS is actively recruiting members in Afghanistan, according to Gen. John Campbell, the top U.S. commander there. Already, ISIS has secured the services of Mullah Raouf Khadim, an experienced former Taliban commander. Not only that, Raouf reportedly is leading a contingent of ISIS fighters in Afghanistan’s southern province of Helmand. The U.S. deserves an assist on this one. We released Raouf from Gitmo in 2007, sending him back to Afghanistan. »

In Kabul, it feels like the Taliban has already won

Featured image Were it not for the high probability that 2015 will be significantly worse, 2014 would long be remembered as an awful year in Afghanistan. Sufficiently awful for Pamela Constable to write that “the last time Kabul felt like this, the Taliban reigned.” Constable reports: Many winters ago, I stood in a vast, empty intersection of central Kabul. The only sounds were the jingle of passing horse carts and the ticking »