On not criticizing the Taliban

Featured image A reader writes in response to John’s post “Don’t criticize the Taliban!” What is to be said about that mind-boggling Army manual that John discusses in the post? The reader comments: I am an active duty Army officer and a military history major with two deployments under my belt. I read this article in the Wall Street Journal when it was first published a day or two ago and have »

Don’t Criticize the Taliban!

Featured image The Wall Street Journal obtained a copy of a new Army handbook for soldiers destined for Afghanistan. The draft handbook has not yet been put into use, but is described as a “final coordinating draft” that was sent out for review in November. The manual instructs soldiers on how to get along with their counterparts in the Afghan Army. It reflects the view, held by some officers but generally deemed »

“The Outpost”: Buy This Book

Featured image I’m only half way through it, but with our readers starting to think about Christmas shopping, I want to join the chorus of praise for Jake Tapper and his new book about the war in Afghanistan, The Outpost. Tapper is well-known as one of the few real journalists in the Washington press corps, but The Outpost is an achievement of a whole different order of magnitude. It tells the story »

A word from Tom Brown

Featured image Tom Brown is the father-in-law of Dartmouth alum and ABC News White House correspondent Jake Tapper. I admire Jake’s work; he seems to me to be a straight shooter. He’s not toeing anybody’s line. Mr. Brown draws attention to Tapper’s new book, The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor, to be published on November 13. He writes: Jake details life for our soldiers as they build, man, support and »

Afghanistan missing from candidates’ “closing arguments”

Featured image Today’s Wall Street Journal contains “closing argument” statements by Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. President Obama mentions Afghanistan once in part of a sentence that talks about “ending” – not winning – “the wars.” Romney says nothing about Afghanistan. A friend writes: Think about this for a second: America has been at war in Afghanistan for 11 years; Americans are currently fighting and dying there; and neither candidate for president »

Chaos at the Pentagon?

Featured image The American media continues to neglect or deflect the Obama Administration’s negligence in the Middle East, at least the New York Times saw fit to put on page 1 yesterday the news of the latest successful Taliban attack in Afghanistan.  Like the Benghazi consulate attack, it seems to have involved a serious security breach.  (Hat tip to my old drinking pal and loyal Power Line reader JB in Texas for »

In Afghanistan, most roads lead to civil war

Featured image Dexter Filkins has lengthy article in the New Yorker about what likely is in store for Afghanistan once the U.S. completes the withdrawal of its combat troops. He writes: After eleven years, nearly two thousand Americans killed, sixteen thousand Americans wounded, nearly four hundred billion dollars spent, and more than twelve thousand Afghan civilians dead since 2007, the war in Afghanistan has come to this: the United States is leaving, »

Afghanistan in the 1950s and 60s

Featured image I tend to think of Afghanistan as a place that time forgot, but it is actually worse than that–sadder, anyway. Before the political upheavals of the 1970s that culminated in the Soviet invasion, the country, or portions of it, had made considerable progress. Retronaut has an extraordinary collection of photos from the 1950s and 1960s; the pictures come from a book that was produced by Afghanistan’s planning ministry and salvaged »

Prisoner releases in Afghanistan and prisioner releases in Iraq — compare and contrast

Featured image In response to news that the Obama adminstration is releasing prisoners who fought against us in Afghanistan, Max Boot presents a thoughtful defense of “tactical” prisoner releases of insurgent fighters. Boot makes the valid point that during the Iraq surge, we released Sunni fighters who vowed to turn against al Qaeda. This policy arguably helped advanced the “Sunni awakening” in Anbar province which, in turn, helped make the Iraq surge »

Obama’s surge — not good enough for government work

Featured image Congressional Democrats and their Republican counterparts don’t agree about much these days, but there is bipartisan consensus when it comes to the results of President Obama’s Afghan policy. After visiting Afghanistan on a fact-finding mission last week, Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Republican Rep. Mike Rogers – leaders of the Senate and House intelligence committees, respectively – both concluded that the Taliban has grown stronger since Obama sent 33,000 troops »

Obama’s foreign policy — good enough for government work?

Featured image The conventional wisdom is that President Obama has the advantage in this year’s presidential campaign when it comes to foreign policy. I agree. His signature accomplishments — the killing of bin Laden, the end of our military involvement in Iraq, and the promise to wind down our involvement in Afghanistan — are likely to be deemed good enough for government work. But then, so was Bill Clinton’s foreign policy, until »

The long goodbye

Featured image President Obama addresses the nation from Afghanistan after signing a historic agreement between the United States and Afghanistan that defined a new kind of relationship between our countries – a future in which Afghans are responsible for the security of their nation, we build an equal partnership between two sovereign states, and a future in which the war ends, and a new chapter begins. That’s how the White House itself »

A Word From Winston on the Afghan Campaign

Featured image The awful news of a U.S. soldier perpetrating a massacre of innocent civilians in Afghanistan is likely to reignite the fury of many Afghans against the American presence, and retard whatever progress is being made to stabilize the country and draw down American troops.  A situation already difficult and expensive has been rendered more so. John has already offered his opinion here that we should get out.  He can find »

Power Line Southern Command Dispatch: Bing West on Afghanistan

Featured image Now that I’m finally back in the realm of adequate bandwidth I can post up some of the video I took the last two weeks during my South American excursion with the good folks of Hillsdale College.  First up, a follow on to John’s February 26 post where he argued that the U.S. should get out of Afghanistan, which elicited a lot of favorable comment from Power Line readers.  Turns »

Afghanistan: Let’s Get Out

Featured image Nearly a year ago, I wrote that I thought it was time to get our troops out of Afghanistan. A remarkable 74% of our readers who voted in our poll agreed. Events since then have tended to confirm that we should pull the plug on our military effort. The latest example is the fiasco over the burning of a few Korans by American troops. The facts surrounding the incident are »

Endgame in Afghanistan

Featured image Our friend Pete Hegseth, founder of Vets For Freedom, is now posted to Afghanistan, where he has been training Afghans as well as American and coalition troops. His reports on the situation there are as knowledgeable as any you can find. Here is his final dispatch — long but worth reading through to the end — before he heads home next month: We brought in the New Year around a »

Obama’s Surrender of Afghanistan Continues Apace?

Featured image On New Year’s Eve, we cited news reports that, taken together, suggested that the Obama administration is in the process of negotiating a surrender to the Taliban. An AP report to which we linked said that certain “trust-building measures” were part of the process: The U.S. outreach this year had progressed to the point that there was active discussion of two steps the Taliban seeks as precursors to negotiations, the »