While Barack Obama campaigned for the presidency on an anti-war platform on Iraq, his administration has called for a major escalation of military operations in Afghanistan. This includes a troop surge as well as increased drone attacks over the border in Pakistan. While civilian deaths and displacement are rising, public support for the policy in many NATO countries is eroding. Democracy Now! speaks with grassroots activists, scholars, and journalists on the new administration’s developing policies in Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as the realities on the ground.
September 15, 2009: "As Obama Escalates War in Afghanistan, US Peace Activists Call for Near-Term Withdrawal of Foreign Groups
Next week, the Obama administration will unveil a report on whether US benchmarks for success in Afghanistan are being achieved. It’s widely believed President Obama will receive a military request to escalate the Afghan war with thousands of additional troops. The apparent congressional unease over a troop escalation comes near Friday’s eight-year anniversary of the vote authorizing the attack on Afghanistan. We speak to Norman Solomon of the Institute for Public Accuracy on his recent trip to Afghanistan and CODEPINK’s Medea Benjamin.
September 01, 2009: "As Pentagon Cancels Rendon Group Contract, US-NATO Spokesman in Afghanistan Defends Using Company to Profile Journalists
The Pentagon is canceling its contract with the private public relations firm The Rendon Group to produce background profiles of journalists seeking to cover the war. We speak with Col. Wayne Shanks, the public affairs officer for US and NATO forces in Afghanistan.
September 01, 2009: "Nir Rosen on the Growing Afghanistan War, Embedding and the ‘Counterinsurgency’ Doctrine in Washington
The commander of US forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, has submitted a long-awaited review of the Afghan war. The New York Times reports although McChrystal’s assessment doesn’t call for sending more US troops, it effectively lays the groundwork for such a request in the coming weeks. The assessment comes on the heels of the deadliest month for US troops in Afghanistan since the US invasion nearly eight years ago. We speak with independent journalist Nir Rosen, who recently returned from Afghanistan, where he embedded with US troops in Helmand Province.
August 25, 2009: "‘The Safe Haven Myth’–Harvard Prof. Stephen Walt Takes on Obama’s Justification for Escalating the Afghanistan War
Last week, President Obama defended the expansion of the war calling it a “war of necessity.” We speak with Harvard professor Stephen Walt who argues that the President’s ‘safe haven’ argument for expanding the US military presence in Afghanistan should be viewed with skepticism.
August 20, 2009: Afghanistan Holds National Elections Amidst Violence, Fraud Allegations, and Media Censorship
Millions of Afghans are voting in presidential and provincial elections today amid tight security and threats of violence from the Taliban. There are also widespread concerns about corruption, with reports of voting cards being openly sold and of candidates offering large bribes. We speak to independent journalist in Rick Rowley in northern Afghanistan and get analysis from radio host and author Sonali Kolhatkar.
August 11, 2009: David Wise: ‘The CIA, Licensed to Kill’
The U.S. drone attacks inside Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq have received bi-partisan support in Washington. And when the CIA disclosed the existence of an aborted secret assassination program last month, Congressional outrage centered around the fact that lawmakers weren’t properly informed. The open acceptance of assassination as a tool of U.S. policy can in part be explained by the fact it’s been going on for decades.
August 11, 2009: Former Advisor to Gen. Stanley McChrystal Calls For Moratorium on U.S. Drone Strikes in Pakistan
Andrew Exum is a former Army captain who has been openly critical of the drone attacks inside Pakistan. Exum served on active duty in the U.S. Army from 2000 until 2004, including two years leading a platoon of Army Rangers inside Iraq and Afghanistan. He recently returned from two months in Afghanistan where he served as part of the advisory team of the commander of U.S. troops there, General Stanley McChrystal.
July 13, 2009: Obama Calls for Probe into 2001 Massacre of at Least 2,000 Suspected Taliban POWs by US-Backed Afghan Warlord
President Obama’s comments follow initial statements from other officials in his administration Friday who said the Department of Defense and the FBI had no jurisdiction over the mass killing by a US-backed warlord, General Abdul Rashid Dostum.
June 24, 2009: Pakistani Opposition Politician Imran Khan on U.S. Drone Attacks, the ‘Massive Human Catastrophe’ in the Swat Valley and the Escalation of War in Afghanistan
We speak with Pakistani opposition figure and cricketing legend Imran Khan, the leader of the political party known as the Movement for justice. Khan has been an outspoken critic of both U.S. drone attacks as well as the Pakistani military’s offensive against the Taliban.
May 11, 2009: Conservative Historian Andrew Bacevich Warns Against Obama’s Escalation of War in Afghanistan And Intensifying Use of Air Power in Region
Less than a week after US air strikes killed over a hundred Afghan civilians, President Obama’s top security adviser General James Jones said Sunday that the US will continue its strikes in Afghanistan. Despite sharp criticism about rising civilian casualties from Afghan President Hamid Karzai. We speak to Boston University professor and retired military colonel Andrew Bacevich about why Obama’s plans in Afghanistan and Pakistan are counterproductive.
May 07, 2009: Manan Ahmed on the Politics of US “Hysteria” over Pakistan
As a truce between the Pakistani government and the Taliban collapses, clashes between the two sides have forced tens of thousands to flee Pakistan’s Swat Valley. We speak to University of Chicago historian Manan Ahmed about the distinction between legitimate and overblown concerns about Pakistan’s internal unrest. While US political culture has focused on the Taliban, it’s taken for granted the legitimacy of the US-backed Zardari government and US drone attacks that have killed hundreds of Pakistanis.
May 06, 2009: ‘The Crusade for a Christian Military’: Are US Forces Trying to Convert Afghans to Christianity?
The military is denying it allows its soldiers to proselytize to Afghans, following the release of footage showing US soldiers in Afghanistan discussing how to distribute Bibles translated into Pashto and Dari. We speak to Air Force veteran and former Reagan administration counsel Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, and journalist Jeff Sharlet, author of a Harper’s Magazine article on “The Crusade for a Christian Military.”
May 06, 2009: Up to 150 Afghan Civilians Killed in US Attack on Western Province
Dozens of Afghan civilians have been killed in what may be one of the deadliest US bombings of Afghanistan to date.
May 05, 2009: Senator Russ Feingold on Obama’s Escalation of the War in Afghanistan, Torture, State Secrets and Single-Payer Health Care
President Obama’s first 100 days in office was the subject of much scrutiny last week. Pundits offered analysis, criticisms and even grades on the President’s record so far on a range of issues such as the economy, the environment and healthcare reform. But what about other issues like torture, wiretapping, his use of the State Secrets Act, and his plans for the withdrawal from Iraq and the escalation of the war in Afghanistan? We speak to Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.).
April 03, 2009: Noam Chomsky on US Expansion of Afghan Occupation, the Uses of NATO, and What Obama Should Do in Israel-Palestine
We speak to Noam Chomsky, prolific author and Institute Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As NATO leaders gather for a sixtieth anniversary summit in France, Chomsky says, “The obvious question is, why bother celebrating NATO at all? In fact, why does it exist?” Chomsky also analyzes the Obama administration’s escalation of the Afghanistan occupation and reacts to the new Netanyahu government in Israel.
April 02, 2009: After G20, Mass Protests Await Obama at NATO Meeting
After the G20 talks, President Obama will stop in France and Germany to take part in a NATO summit marking its sixtieth anniversary. Mass demonstrations are expected with thousands of protesters from over twenty European countries and the United States.
March 26, 2009: Afghans Urge Obama to Send Aid, Not Troops, to Afghanistan
President Obama is expected to unveil a revised Afghanistan strategy Friday that will focus on expanding and improving the Afghan national police force. We speak with Pratap Chatterjee of CorpWatch, who recently traveled to Afghanistan.
March 17, 2009: ‘Engaging the Muslim World’–Middle East Analyst Juan Cole on US Policy in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel and Beyond
Juan Cole, a longtime analyst of US-Mideast affairs and a professor of history at the University of Michigan, takes an in-depth look at US foreign policy under the Obama administration, from the plan for withdrawal from Iraq, to the escalation of the war in Afghanistan, the continued US drone attacks inside Pakistan, US policy toward Israel and the Occupied Territories and much more.
March 10, 2009: ‘Sending More Troops Will Not Solve the Problem”–Grassroots Afghan Activist Rangina Hamidi’
Vice President Joe Biden is in Brussels today to get NATO allies to support the US surge in Afghanistan with more troops. We go to Kandahar to speak with grassroots Afghan activist, Rangina Hamidi.
February 23, 2009: Obama’s War: US Involvement in Afghanistan, Past, Present & Future
Last week, Obama ordered an additional 17,000 US combat troops to Afghanistan. The new deployments will begin in May and increase the US occupation force to 55,000. Today, we spend the hour looking at US involvement in Afghanistan with five guests.
January 30, 2009: Obama Continues Bush Policy of Deadly Air Strikes in Pakistan
In Pakistan, outrage continues to mount over a US military attack approved by President Obama. Last Friday, unmanned US Predator drones fired missiles at houses in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas, or FATA, killing as many as twenty-two people, including at least three children. We speak to Pakistani scholar Sahar Shafqat.
November 06, 2008: President-Elect Obama and the Future of US Foreign Policy: A Roundtable Discussion
Congratulations pour in from around the world for President-elect Barack Obama after his historic victory Tuesday night. But what are Obama’s foreign policy positions, and what are the concerns for those living in countries at the target end of US foreign policy? We host a roundtable discussion.
September 08, 2008: US, NATO Air Strikes Triple Civilians Deaths in Afghanistan
Civilian deaths in Afghanistan from US and NATO air strikes have nearly tripled from 2006 to 2007, according to a new report by Human Rights Watch. Air strikes killed at least 321 civilians in 2007, compared with at least 116 in 2006.
August 27, 2008: In Wake of Deadly US Air Strike, Jeremy Scahill Questions Lawmakers About Obama’s Afghanistan Policy
A UN probe in Afghanistan has backed claims of a massive civilian death toll from a US air strike last Thursday. The UN mission in Kabul says investigators found some ninety civilians, including sixty children, were killed in the attack.
August 22, 2008: Afghan Civilians Bear the Brunt of Taliban Violence and US, NATO Bombings
As violence escalates in Afghanistan, both Barack Obama and John McCain support sending more troops. “Both of them are wrong,” says Sonali Kolhatkar, host of Uprising on Pacifica radio station KPFK and co-author of the book Bleeding Afghanistan.
July 24, 2008: The Forgotten War: Sonali Kolhatkar on Why Afghanistan is ‘Just as Bad as Iraq’
Coming on the heels of Barack Obama’s highly publicized visit to Afghanistan—what he calls a central front in the so-called war on terror—we play an address by Pacifica radio host Sonali Kolhatkar, one of this country’s leading voices against the occupation of Afghanistan and co-author of the book ‘Bleeding Afghanistan’*"