Journalism is not an Attack, Wikileaks is not Warfare

I am the Afghanistan Blogging Fellow for Brave New Foundation. You can read my work on Firedoglake or at Rethink Afghanistan. The views expressed below are my own.

Wikileaks is under attack!

Journalists and politicians are calling for the criminalization of Wikileaks, or worse, the assassination of its members. The US government is coercing companies into blocking access to Wikileaks, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is normally very strong on internet freedom, has been forced to “evolve” her positions.

If you’re a supporter of Wikileaks, or even a relatively dispassionate observer, you likely find these actions to be offensive, or even downright criminal. How dare the US move so arrogantly, so aggressively, against Wikileaks for what seems to be nothing more than the second coming of the Pentagon Papers? We believe in free speech, in transparency and accountability for our government. It’s outrageous that Washington would move so decisively to crush a project like Wikileaks.

But are Wikileaks’ supporters actually feeding this response from the government? In our rush to rationalize and defend Wikileaks and their actions, have we inadvertently opened the door to attacks by the US government?

The answer can be found in how we’ve chosen to frame the debate so far. Continue reading “Journalism is not an Attack, Wikileaks is not Warfare”

Rethink Afghanistan: ISI and Pakistan Army Kill Americans

I am the Afghanistan Blogging Fellow for The Seminal and Brave New Foundation. You can read my work on The Seminal or at Rethink Afghanistan. The views expressed below are my own.

Watch Part 2 of Rethink Afghanistan – Pakistan, “The Most Dangerous Country”

If you need further evidence of why our war in Afghanistan is so de-stabilizing for Pakistan, or how Pakistan’s “Strategic Depth” is a threat to the United States, or, of course, why General Kayani’s “silent coup” in Pakistan means we need to accelerate our withdrawal, then look no further than this New York Times article [emphasis mine]:

The documents, to be made available by an organization called WikiLeaks, suggest that Pakistan, an ostensible ally of the United States, allows representatives of its spy service to meet directly with the Taliban in secret strategy sessions to organize networks of militant groups that fight against American soldiers in Afghanistan, and even hatch plots to assassinate Afghan leaders.[…]

Some of the reports describe Pakistani intelligence working alongside Al Qaeda to plan attacks. Experts cautioned that although Pakistan’s militant groups and Al Qaeda work together, directly linking the Pakistani spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, with Al Qaeda is difficult. […]

The man the United States has depended on for cooperation in fighting the militants and who holds most power in Pakistan, the head of the army, Gen. Parvez Ashfaq Kayani, ran the ISI from 2004 to 2007, a period from which many of the reports are drawn. American officials have frequently praised General Kayani for what they say are his efforts to purge the military of officers with ties to militants.

Get it? Not only are we fighting a civil war in Afghanistan, which has nothing to do with Al-Qa’eda, but we are also fighting a proxy war against Pakistan. They don’t care about our US interests, they care about their own country’s interests, and it is in their interest to kill Americans in Afghanistan, as well as aiding Al-Qa’eda. All so that Pakistan can control Afghanistan and battle against India.

The US must stop escalating in Pakistan and end the war in Afghanistan. Afghanistan’s future government is already taking shape, and Pakistan has enough of a powerful progressive movement that they can stabilize their country, and bring their government into line, provided that we end our war in both countries. Our troops should not be dying for General Kayani’s proxy war with India and they should not be dying in a civil war on behalf of President Karzai.

David Swanson writes:

On the House calendar for this week is a vote on a $33 billion supplemental bill to escalate the war in Afghanistan.  The Senate did not accept the House version (passed without a vote on July 1st).  The House will likely now vote on the Senate version or something close to it.  This will likely mean something quite unusual: a straightforward vote in which yes means yes more war, and no means no.[…]

Our message is simple:

Vote no on funding this escalation of war, regardless of whether it’s a procedural vote, and regardless of any good measures attached to it.

FCNL has a toll-free number to call your representative: 1-888-493-5443, or use the standard number (202) 224-3121.

Remember, if you’re trying to get things done in Washington, pressure works. Call Congress, tell them that it’s time to block the war. No more civil wars, no more proxy wars, it’s time for our troops to come home.

Join us on Rethink Afghanistan’s Facebook page, and be sure to check out the Meetups in your area.

Does an Afghanistan exit strategy hurt our allies?

I am the Afghanistan Blogging Fellow for The Seminal and Brave New Foundation. You can read my work on The Seminal or at Rethink Afghanistan. The views expressed below are my own.

Uh oh, looks like you are starting to have an effect on the war. Congress is freaking out, calling hearings, holding up so-called emergency funding, and demanding to know why it is that the longest war in US history has to go on even longer. All of this has led some to question the President’s leadership altogether. Is he an effective, or even competent, Commander-in-Chief? Serious concerns about Obama’s escalation policy are being raised, and it’s likely to severely damage his presidency. Well, rather than using this opportunity to their advantage, the opposition party has opted instead to say something stupid:

Senate Republicans on Wednesday attacked President Obama’s plan to begin withdrawing U.S. forces from Afghanistan in July of next year, saying that the United States was sending a self-defeating message to its allies in the region. […]

“Right now, we’re sounding an uncertain trumpet,” [Republican John] McCain said. “Our allies in the region are convinced that we’re leaving.” […]

Ah yes, the old “exit strategy = defeat” meme. This is one of those annoying war myths that just won’t go away, no matter how stupid it looks in the face of facts. Weirdly enough, it’s often the argument made by people who claim to be “strong” on national security, when in reality it should call into question their grasp of even the mild complexities of war. This argument isn’t just wrong, it’s plainly stupid, and you only to have pay a little bit of attention to see why. Continue reading “Does an Afghanistan exit strategy hurt our allies?”