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  • Author: Vance Serchuk
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: When rioting sparked by a fatal traffic accident involving the U.S. military suddenly broke out in Kabul in May, most in the city were taken by surprise. Less shocking was the response of the Afghan National Police (ANP) to the unrest. Rather than dispersing the mobs and restoring order, Kabul's cops were reported fleeing their posts and, in some cases, joining the looters. “The reaction of our police was really shameful,” acknowledged Jawed Ludin, chief of staff to President Hamid Karzai. Unfortunately, the sorry performance of the ANP was not an isolated event, but a reflection of a much bigger problem. Nearly five years since the ouster of the Taliban and more than three since the fall of Saddam, the Bush administration has repeatedly stumbled in its efforts to create effective foreign police forces. In marked contrast to the army-building efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, which have begun to yield encouraging results, the indigenous police in both countries appear stuck in a transition to nowhere, slaughtered by insurgents and infiltrated by militias and warlords.
  • Topic: Government, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Middle East, Taliban, Kabul
  • Author: Michael A. Ledeen
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: September 11 happened when Osama bin Laden looked at us and thought we were ready to be had. We were politically divided and squabbling over everything. We clearly were not prepared to take casualties in direct combat. The newly elected president seemed unable to make a tough decision. And so bin Laden attacked, expecting to deliver a decisive blow to our national will, expecting that we would turn tail and run as we had in Somalia and that he would then be free to concentrate his energies on the defeat of local apostates, the creation of his caliphate, and the organization of Muslim revenge for the catastrophes of past centuries. Within a few months he was driven out of Afghanistan, his organization was shattered, the Arab street he had hoped to mobilize was silenced by the shock and awe of the total victory of the Americans, and he became an instrument of forces greater than himself. If he still lives, he is the servant of the Shiite mullahs, making propaganda movies and audiotapes to bolster the morale of the constantly shrinking number of his admirers, while the mullahs order his followers to martyr themselves against Iraqi civilians.
  • Topic: International Relations, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, America, Middle East
  • Author: Frederick W. Kagan
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The debate about American policy and strategy in Iraq has veered off course. A number of myths have crept into the discussion over the past two years that distort understanding and confuse discussion. It is possible and appropriate to question the wisdom of any particular strategy proposed for Iraq, including the Bush administration's strategy, and there is reason to be both concerned and encouraged by recent events there. But constructive dialogue about how to choose the best way forward is hampered by the distortions caused by certain myths. Until these myths recede from discussions about Iraq strategy, progress in those discussions is extremely unlikely.
  • Topic: Security, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Middle East
  • Author: Col. Daniel Smith
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Defense Information
  • Abstract: Set against non-stop cable news broadcasts recounting the ongoing daily carnage in Iraq and the resurgent violence in Afghanistan, the headline “wars decrease” was a jolt.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, International Political Economy, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq
  • Author: Philip E. Coyle, Whitney Parker, Rachel Stohl, Winslow Wheeler, Victoria Samson, Jessica Ashooh, Mark Burgess, Rhea Myerscough
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Defense Information
  • Abstract: In the days before Sept. 11, riding the post-Cold War high, America was blissfully unaware of the threats it faced, and why. A few in the William J. Clinton administration tried to warn their successors about al-Qaida's danger, but overall, most Americans were blindsided by the Sept. 11 attacks. Five years later, America is still largely in the dark.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: David Makovsky, Dennis Ross, Jeffrey White
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On August 25, 2006, Jeffrey White, David Makovsky, and Dennis Ross addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Jeffrey White is the Berrie Defense Fellow at The Washington Institute and the coauthor, with Michael Eisenstadt, of the Institute Policy Focus Assessing Iraq's Sunni Arab Insurgency. David Makovsky, senior fellow and director of The Washington Institute's Project on the Middle East Peace Process, is author of the Institute monograph Engagement through Disengagement: Gaza and the Potential for Israeli-Palestinian Peacemaking. He, like Jeffrey White, recently returned from a trip to Israel. Dennis Ross, the Institute's counselor and Ziegler distinguished fellow, is a former U.S. Middle East peace envoy and author of The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Government, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Gaza
  • Author: John Vines
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 13, 2006, Lt. Gen. John Vines addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. General Vines served until January 2006 as commander of the Multinational Corps–Iraq (MNC–I). The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Government, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Washington, Middle East
  • Author: Erik Leaver, Phyllis Bennis
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: Despite the breathless hype, the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group (ISG) report did not include any dramatic new ideas for ending the war in Iraq. In fact, it did not include a call to end the war at all. Rather, the report's recommendations focus on transforming the U.S. occupation of Iraq into a long-term, sustainable, off-the-front-page occupation with a lower rate of U.S. casualties. Despite its title, it does not provide "A New Approach: A Way Forward."
  • Topic: Peace Studies, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Conn Hallinan
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: In the 5th century BC, the Greek tragic playwright Euripides coined a phrase that still captures the particular toxic combination of hubris and illusion that seizes many of those in power: Whom the Gods would destroy, they first make mad. What other line could better describe British Prime Minister Tony Blair's recent address to his nation's troops hunkered down at Camp Bastion, in southern Afghanistan's Helmand Province? Here, Blair said. In this extraordinary piece of desert is where the fate of world security in the early 21st century is going to be decided. While Blair was turning Afghanistan's arid south into the Armageddon of terrorism, the rest of the country was coming apart at the seams. Attacks by insurgents have reached 600 a month, more than double the number in March, and almost five times the number in November of last year. We do have a serious problem in the south, one diplomat told Rachel Morarjee of the Financial Times on November 22, but the north is a ticking time bomb. Suicide bombers have struck Kunduz in the north, where former U.S. protégé Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and his Hezb-e-Islami organization are hammering away at the old Northern Alliance. The latter, frozen out of the current government following the 2001 Bonn Conference, is busy stockpiling arms and forming alliances with drug warlords. According to the Associated Press, opium poppy production is up 59%. While Blair was bucking up the troops, their officers were growing increasingly desperate. Major Jon Swift, a company commander in the Royal Fusiliers told the Guardian that casualties were very significant and showing no signs of reducing, and Field Marshall Peter Inge, former chief of the British military, warned that the army in Afghanistan could risk operational failure, military speak for defeat. The Brits don't have a monopoly on madness, however. Speaking in Riga, Latvia on the eve of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) meeting, President George Bush said, I am not going to pull our troops off the battlefield before the mission is complete. We can accept nothing less than victory for our children and our grandchildren. In the meantime, the Iraq War that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said would cost $50 billion at the most, was burning up more than twice that each year. The Pentagon just requested $160 billion in supplemental funds for the Iraq and Afghan wars for the remainder of fiscal 2007. Nobel Laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz says the final costs may exceed $2 trillion.
  • Topic: NATO, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Frederick W. Kagan
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Is retreat from, withdrawal from, or defeat in Iraq inevitable? Almost all opponents of the Bush administration say it is. As Representative John Murtha (D-Pa.) put it in mid-November, when demanding the “immediate redeployment of U.S. troops” consistent with their safety, “The United States cannot accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. It is time to bring the troops home.” This was echoed more recently by Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean: “The idea that we're going to win this war is an idea that, unfortunately, is just plain wrong.” Advocates of withdrawal point to continuing attacks on coalition and Iraqi targets and to the steady, somber flow of U.S. casualties, as well as the increasing fear that our army will break under the strain of prolonged occupation. Administration supporters of course share these concerns, and some seem (privately) to share the view that the war may be unwinnable. Even a few inside the administration may have their doubts. In any case, the administration clearly believes that it has to promise a significant reduction of U.S. forces in Iraq—“conditions permitting”—in 2006. Reports are circulating that preparations for troop reductions have already begun.
  • Topic: International Relations, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East