articles tagged "Afghanistan"

Justin Elliott: Think Tankers and the U.S. Military in Kabul

Wednesday, 5 December 2012 | buzz
ProPublica

On Wednesday, Dec 5, our host Jan Miyasaki speaks with Justin Elliott, an investigative reporter at ProPublica, to speak about his piece Meet the Think Tankers: Advising the U.S. Military in Kabul. Justin began his piece amidst the media frenzy regarding former CIA Director General Petraeus’ extra-marital affair, and was struck by the reference in the Washington Post’s story regarding Petraeus’ time running the war in Afghanistan between summer 2010 – 2011. Justin explains that he brought over experts from conservative think tanks to Kabul to provide military advice, and had given them positions there to have strong influence over the way the war was led. This created some controversy back in the U.S. Many think tankers were brought to Afghanistan and Iraq for short periods of time, supported by the military, and flown around the countries. Justin explains that bringing the think tank experts served two purposes for the military: “one, for the military to get advice from these think tank experts, and the other, for the military to influence these experts who are playing prominent roles in policy making in the US.” Justin explains that this is a relatively recent phenomenon.   Justin speaks about the think tankers themselves, “it seems to be people from the mainstream think tanks, and those loosely affiliated with those parties”. Among the think tank mentioned are the conservative American Enterprise Institute, the Brookings Institute (which has a Democratic party leaning), and Center for New American Security (also a Democratic party leaning). The experts brought in to Iraq were not from one party alone, Justin says, “It was clearly not a partisan thing. It shows that in some of these military matters, there’s less of partisan split in Washington and among foreign policy making community than there are with a lot of other issues.”   Read more of Justin’s work here, including articles on Campaign Finance, Drones, and more.   Listen to the interview here: more »

Matt Southworth on the War in Afghanistan

Monday, 15 October 2012 | buzz
Friends Committee on National Legislation (fcnl.org)

  On Monday October 15, our host Linda Jameson spoke with Matt Southworth, a legislative program associate for foreign policy with the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL): A Quaker Lobby in the Public Interest. First serving in the US army at the age of nineteen, Matt was deployed to Iraq in 2004 as an intelligence analyst doing predictive analysis. Since then, he has joined the FCNL and is also on the Board of Directors for Veterans for Peace. He was in Madison to attend a Veterans for Peace board meeting, and to plan the annual Veterans for Peace conference which will be held in Madison in August 2013. Matt travels across the country, advocating for a peaceful transition to the war in Afghanistan and a political solution without a large military presence in the region. He also reaches out to the college demographic, speaking to them about the realities of war, rather than the “cinematic version” of war that is often portrayed.   Matt speaks about the US involvement in Afghanistan, and the issues that face Afghanistan today and threaten its future. Southworth comments, “under this current [US] strategy…regardless of 2014 or later, civil war is the most likely outcome for Afghanistan.” He explains that there can not be a centralized solution for the conflict in Afghanistan; rather, it should be regionally based and Afghan-centric. Matt had organized a congressional delegation on a “fact finding mission” that brought eight people to Afghanistan, including congressional staffers, journalists and representatives from non-profits. The delegation met and spoke with Afghan and international NGOS, opposition leaders, and civilians. He describes the consensus, “the US is putting Afghanistan in a position that is going to be harder to dig itself out of. We are over-militarizing Afghanistan and the region, and we are almost completely focused on a military transition, when the reality is that [the Afghans] need an economic and political transition, which is Afghan led and culturally based, but with the assistance of the US and other international parties.”   The US is currently funding and arming 280,000 Afghan national security forces, empowering militias and war lords. This has threatened Afghans throughout the country. In fact, he explains that one complaint the delegation received from everyone they spoke to was the US funding of war lords, people who had proven human rights abuse records. Matt stresses that the political transition should be Afghan-based, and that the US has a “moral responsibility” to do the best …. more »

Airstrikes in Afghanistan

Thursday, 20 September 2012 | A Public Affair
kathykelly

On Thursday September 20th, host Allen Ruff interviewed peace activist Kathy Kelly about recent airstrikes in Afghanistan. Kelly is co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence. She spends a great deal of time in Afghanistan fighting for peace. She recently stated, “On September 16th, 2012, at about 2:00 a.m., U.S./NATO forces called in an airstrike which killed eight Afghan women who were on a mountainside collecting wood for fuel. Villagers in the Alingar district of the Laghman province said the women routinely rise early in the morning to collect firewood so that they can prepare breakfast for their families. In spite of the constant drone surveillance which purportedly supplies the U.S. military with intelligence about patterns of life in Afghanistan, the U.S. military seemed unaware that women typically scour the mountainsides looking for firewood. Scant attention is paid to the plight of the families whose mothers have been slain by U.S. /NATO military forces which claim state-of-the-art drone surveillance capacity. And yet, U.S. officials have repeatedly claimed that the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan is necessary to protect women and children. A BBC video shows that other women and girls who survived the attack are now hospitalized because of their severe injuries. By now, news coverage of families in the Alingar district is likely over. However, the effects of this attack will forever alter the lives of the injured survivors, their families and the families and friends of those who were killed.” To read more about Voices for Creative Nonviolence: http://vcnv.org/ To listen to the entire interview: more »

Situation in Afghanistan

Tuesday, 19 June 2012 | A Public Affair

Cynthia interviewed Shelly Kittleson a freelance journalist who just wrapped a trip in Afghanistan. She has also spent time in Syria and has published some interviews with Syrian dissidents.   To read more from Kittleson: http://www.italianinsider.it/?q=node/332 To listen to the entire interview:   more »

Afghans for Peace

Thursday, 7 June 2012 | A Public Affair

Allen Ruff interviewed Afghans for Peace member Suraia Sahar. They discussed US motives in the war in Afghanistan as well as anti-war and anti-interventionist activism more broadly. “Afghans for Peace (AFP) is an alliance of Afghans from various ethnic, religious, socio-economic, cultural, and political backgrounds with a united vision for a democratic, all inclusive, just and peaceful Afghanistan. AFP consists of students, professionals, community leaders, and socio-politically aware activists.” -Afghans for Peace For more information: http://afghansforpeace.org/about Click below to hear the entire show: more »

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