Is the Long War Finally Ending?

April 02, 2021

In October 1944, with the end of World War II in sight, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin passed a note back and forth to each other at a conference in Moscow. On the piece of paper, Churchill had assigned percentages to several Eastern European countries. Stalin amended the numbers...

The Tug of War in Washington Around the War in Afghanistan

September 15, 2020

The struggle has been going on for four years and is once again approaching a possible turning point. On one side you have a majority of Democrat and Republican legislators united with the intelligence community in the team called “proponents of a massive US military presence across the...

The Gray Lady and Withdrawing US Troops From Afghanistan

March 02, 2020

The New York Times editorial board weighs in with its ethical take on the news of the agreement with Taliban leaders to end the US military presence in Afghanistan. The newspaper’s editorial describes the peace deal as “a ticket out of Afghanistan for American troops who’ve been there far...

Trump: Out of the Graveyard and into the Pyre?

August 09, 2019

Afghanistan has long been touted as the “graveyard of empires.” The British and the Soviets certainly discovered that lesson to their great regret. Perhaps future historians will judge the failure of the United States to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan over a two-decade period as a critical...

“The Bleeding Wound” — Afghanistan and the Implosion of America

February 26, 2019

Donald Trump was right that Russia’s Afghan misadventure is a remarkably logical place to start when considering the present American debacle in that same country. As I approach 75, I’m having a commonplace experience for my age. I live with a brain that’s beginning to dump previously...

The US Wants an “Honorable Withdrawal” from Afghanistan

December 20, 2018

As the US seeks an urgent withdrawal, there will not be durable peace in Afghanistan, nor a dignified exit for America. John Bolton, the current US national security adviser, once wrote: “ Obama is pursuing ideological, not geopolitical, objectives.” If it was true about President...

Cricket Is Bringing New Hope to Afghanistan

July 20, 2018

When it comes to Afghanistan, sportsmen are slowly replacing warlords in popular imagination. More than a century ago, the Nobel Prize laureate Rabindranath Tagore, in his short story “Kabuliwala” (peddler), portrayed an Afghan dried-fruit seller befriending a little Bengali girl who...

How the Last Superpower Was Unchained

July 02, 2018

In the 21st century, insurgent movements, now largely religious or terror-based or both, offer a grim new version of containment to the last superpower. Think of it as the all-American version of the human comedy: a great power that eternally knows what the world needs and offers copious advice...

The US Military Takes Us through the Gates of Hell

May 21, 2018

This essay is the introduction to Tom Engelhardt’s new book, A Nation Unmade by War, a Dispatch Book published by Haymarket Books. As I was putting the finishing touches on my new book, the Costs of War Project at Brown University’s Watson Institute published an estimate of the taxpayer...

US Special Ops at War 

January 11, 2018

US Special Operations Forces were deployed to 149 nations in 2017, or about 75% of the countries on the planet. At around 11 o’clock that night, four Lockheed MC-130 Combat Talons, turboprop Special Operations aircraft, were flying through a moonless sky from Pakistan into Afghan airspace. On...

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