The Case for Withdrawal from Afghanistan

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Overview

Known as the graveyard of empires, Afghanistan has now been singled out as Obama’s “just war,” the destination for an additional thirty thousand US troops in an effort to shore up an increasingly desperate occupation. Nick Turse brings together a range of leading commentators, politicians, and military strategists to analyze America’s real motives and likely prospects. Through on-the-spot reporting, clear-headed analysis and historical comparisons with Afghanistan’s previous occupiers—Britain and the Soviet ...
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Overview

Known as the graveyard of empires, Afghanistan has now been singled out as Obama’s “just war,” the destination for an additional thirty thousand US troops in an effort to shore up an increasingly desperate occupation. Nick Turse brings together a range of leading commentators, politicians, and military strategists to analyze America’s real motives and likely prospects. Through on-the-spot reporting, clear-headed analysis and historical comparisons with Afghanistan’s previous occupiers—Britain and the Soviet Union, who also argued that they were fighting a just and winnable war—The Case for Withdrawal From Afghanistan carefully examines the current US strategy and offers sobering conclusions. This timely and focused collection aims at the heart of Obama’s foreign policy and shows why it is so unlikely to succeed.
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Editorial Reviews

Mike Davis
“A pathbreaking synthesis of American and Russian perspectives on the illusions of empire and the impossibility of ‘victory’ in Afghanistan. As the contributors so eloquently emphasize, the only realistic and humane option can be spelled in three letters: O-U-T.”
Patrick Cockburn
“A fascinating and essential guide which puts the war in Afghanistan in the context of its recent history and dispels propaganda stereotypes about how the US, Britain and their allies became involved.”
From the Publisher
“A pathbreaking synthesis of American and Russian perspectives on the illusions of empire and the impossibility of ‘victory’ in Afghanistan. As the contributors so eloquently emphasize, the only realistic and humane option can be spelled in three letters: O-U-T.”—Mike Davis, author of Planet of Slums

“A fascinating and essential guide which puts the war in Afghanistan in the context of its recent history and dispels propaganda stereotypes about how the US, Britain and their allies became involved.”—Patrick Cockburn, author of The Occupation: War and Resistance in Iraq

Library Journal
The U.S. war in Afghanistan was hailed by many American commentators as a "necessary" or "good" war. It has now become the longest war in American history. In this highly readable and sobering volume, Turse (assoc. editor, TomDispatch.com; The Complex: How the Military Invades Our Everyday Lives) and his contributors, including Andrew Bacevich, Juan Cole, and Chalmers Johnson, provide arguments for U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. When President Obama ordered a troop surge of 30,000 in late 2009, he did so against the counsel of high-ranking officials who cautioned against the pitfalls of escalating the conflict. The contributors here, while not polemical, aim at a broad audience to demonstrate how expanding ground combat operations in Afghanistan and boosting air strikes, especially by unmanned drones, have had devastating consequences for Afghan society. The pieces examine historical context, provide useful "facts on the ground," and describe the extent of government corruption and incompetence that Washington has supported in Afghanistan. VERDICT This book will not change the minds of those who view military intervention as an effective method of conducting international relations, but the arguments it contains are carefully cataloged and explained, allowing informed general readers to look beyond the headlines and learn more.—Nader Entessar, Univ. of South Alabama, Mobile
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781844674510
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 9/20/2010
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 1,214,556
  • Product dimensions: 6.96 (w) x 11.28 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

Nick Turse is an award-winning journalist, historian, essayist, and the associate editor of the Nation Institute’s Tomdispatch.com. He is the author of The Complex: How the Military Invades Our Everyday and has written for the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, The Nation, Le Monde Diplomatique, In These Times and the Village Voice.

Tariq Ali is a writer and filmmaker. He has written more than a dozen books on world history and politics—including Pirates of the Caribbean, Bush in Babylon, The Clash of Fundamentalisms and The Obama Syndrome—as well as five novels in his Islam Quintet series and scripts for the stage and screen. He is an editor of the New Left Review and lives in London.

Andrew J. Bacevich is a professor of international relations and history at Boston University.

Tom Engelhardt created and runs the website Tomdispatch.com, a project of The Nation Institute, where he is a Fellow. He is the author of a highly praised history of American triumphalism in the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture. Each spring he is a Teaching Fellow at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. He lives in New York City.

Chalmers Johnson was President of the Japan Policy Research Institute and Professor Emeritus at the University of California, San Diego. He was the author of numerous books, including Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire and Japan: Who Governs?

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Table of Contents

Introduction Nick Turse

PART I THE WARS FOR AFGHANISTAN 1

1 Armageddon at the Top of the World... Not!: A Century of Frenzy Over the North-West Frontier Juan Cole Cole, Juan 3

2 The Familiar Road to Failure Rodric Braithwaite Braithwaite, Rodric 13

3 Afghanistan, Gorky, and an Open Letter to Leonid Brezhnev, 1980 Andrei Sakharov Sakharov, Andrei 17

4 We Were Waging War Against a People Oleg Vasilevich Kustov Kustov, Oleg Vasilevich 23

5 Abolish the CIA! Chalmers Johnson Johnson, Chalmers 31

6 Mirage of the Good War Tariq Ali Ali, Tariq 45

7 Chaos Central Chris Sands Sands, Chris 63

PART III INCOMPETENCE, CORRUPTION, AND THE WAR ON WOMEN 71

8 Meet the Afghan Army: Is It a Figment of Washington's Imagination? Ann Jones Jones, Ann 73

9 Paying Off the Warlords: Anatomy of a Culture of Corruption Pratap Chatterjee Chatterjee, Pratap 81

10 How the US Funds the Taliban Aram Roston Roston, Aram 87

11 Remember the Women? Ann Jones Jones, Ann 97

12 The US Government Has Never Supported Democratic Organizations Elsa Rassbach Rassbach, Elsa Zoya of the Foreign Committee of RAWA 107

PART III FACTS ON THE GROUND 113

13 Going for Broke: Six Ways the Af-Pak War is Expanding Tom Engelhardt Engelhardt, Tom 115

14 The Shadow War: Making Sense of the New CIA Battlefield Nick Turse Turse, Nick 127

15 The 700 Military Bases of Afghanistan: Black Sites in the Empire of Bases Nick Turse Turse, Nick 135

16 How Hearts and Minds Were Lost: A Personal Experience Working with the International Military Zabih Farhad (Pseudonym) Farhad, Zabih (Pseudonym) 141

PART IV THE CASE FOR WITHDRAWAL 145

17 All Foreign Troops Must Withdraw Latif Pedram Pedram, Latif 147

18 No Nation Can Liberate Another Malalai Joya Joya, Malalai 151

19 What Obama Could Learn from Gorbachev Robert Crews Crews, Robert 157

20 Obama's Policies Make the Situation Worse Graham Fuller Fuller, Graham 161

21 The War We Can't Win: The Limits of American Power Andrew J. Bacevich Bacevich, Andrew J. 165

22 How to Get Out Robert Dreyfuss Dreyfuss, Robert 173

A Note on Sources 177

Acknowledgments 179

About the Authors 183

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 30, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Useful studies of why NATO should withdraw from Afghanistan

    This useful book is in four parts: the wars for Afghanistan; the Karzai government's incompetence, corruption and the war on women; facts on the ground; and the case for withdrawal.

    Governments used to tell us the fate of the empire was at stake in every war. Now they tell us the fate of civilisation is at stake, or national security, or NATO. These exaggerations are a mirror image of the fundamentalists' claim that Islam's survival is at stake.

    Women had equal rights and education only between 1979 and 1989, under secular, Marxist rule. In 2008, President Karzai pardoned a bunch of thugs who had gang-raped a woman in front of witnesses. In 2009 he passed a family law worthy of the Taliban. In Afghanistan's constitution, no law may contravene Sharia law. The UN's Assistance Mission there sums up, "women are denied their most fundamental human rights".

    NATO forces commit war crimes, bomb civilians and torture prisoners, all in the name of 'liberation'. Billions of dollars of 'aid' go to the Northern Alliance, run by warlords and drug-runners. Karzai's younger brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, is one of the richest drug barons in the country.

    There are now 400 NATO military bases in the country and $3 billion worth of base-building projects. There are still 50 US bases in Iraq. In both countries, NATO occupations promise only endless war, costing thousands of lives, civilian and military, and billions of dollars and pounds, all to set up secure bases for NATO's use of force against nearby countries.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2010

    Fascinating

    Very compelling and interesting examination of the war in Afghanistan

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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