The Great Debate

Are we deluding ourselves about Afghanistan?

By Daniel L. Davis
April 25, 2012

Over the past month, a veritable who’s who of American opinion makers have been on the major television networks and in the most prestigious print media strongly reinforcing the notion that America’s mission in Afghanistan is “on track.” To be sure, they admit, there are “challenges” and “rough patches,” but the overall trajectory of the war is going according to the timelines laid out in the 2010 Lisbon Agreement. With so much star power locked virtually arm in arm, there are few who would publicly contend with such a group; most accept their stance without challenge.

Who’s to blame when an injured soldier kills civilians?

By Mac McClelland
March 23, 2012

“It would probably be best for the military if they could execute Bales right now and send his pieces to Afghanistan.” That’s what National Veterans Foundation founder Floyd Meshad told me this week while we were talking about Staff Sergeant Robert Bales and the insanity or diminished-capacity defense Bales’s attorney apparently intends to use. Bales was formally charged today with slaughtering 17 Afghan civilians earlier this month in Kandahar.

Awlaki and the Arab autumn

By David Rohde
September 30, 2011

By David Rohde
The opinions expressed are his own.

The death of Anwar al-Awlaki this morning is welcome news, but Washington policymakers should not delude themselves into thinking the drone that killed him is a supernatural antidote to militancy. Yes, drone strikes should continue, but the real playing field continues to be the aftermath of the Arab spring; namely vital elections scheduled for October in Tunisia and November in Egypt.

Don’t overestimate Afghanistan pessimism

By James Dobbins
September 29, 2011

This is a response to Rory Stewart’s book excerpt “My uphill battle against the Afghanistan intervention.” David Rohde’s response can be read here and Anne-Marie Slaughter’s response can be read here.

Where the Afghanistan effort broke down

By Anne-Marie Slaughter
September 26, 2011

This is a response to Rory Stewart’s book excerpt “My uphill battle against the Afghanistan intervention.” David Rohde’s response can be read here.

Creating a “light, long term footprint” in Afghanistan

By David Rohde
September 22, 2011

By David Rohde
The views expressed are his own.

This is a response to Rory Stewart’s book excerpt, “My uphill battle against the Afghanistan intervention.”

My uphill battle against the Afghanistan intervention

By Rory Stewart
September 21, 2011

By Rory Stewart
The views expressed are his own.

I returned to Afghanistan (after spending a short time at Harvard) in 2005. And when I heard that the British government was about to send three thousand soldiers into Helmand, I was confident that there would soon be a widespread insurgency. I also predicted that the military would demand more troops, and would get dragged ever deeper.

9/11 in history: chapter or footnote?

By Dominic Streatfeild
September 9, 2011
By Dominic Streatfeild
The opinions expressed are his own. 

Historians like to break up human progress into bite-sized pieces. It’s a useful technique: segregated and labelled, historical eras offer prisms through which to view the past, making it easier to comprehend. Typically, they’re bookmarked by inventions: the wheel, the steam engine, the atom bomb. Intellectual movements fit nicely, too: the Reformation, the Enlightenment, Modernism. Each innovation provides a paradigm shift, ushering in a way of thinking previously inconceivable but, after its emergence, unignorable.

The 9/11 generation

By David Rohde
September 8, 2011

By David Rohde
The opinions expressed are his own.

In a speech last week at the American Legion convention in Minneapolis, President Obama rightly hailed what he called “the 9/11 generation,” the five million Americans who served in the military over the last decade.