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Afghanistan

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Media reports claim President Donald Trump let loose on his generals behind closed doors, blasting them royally for their startling failures in Afghanistan, America’s longest war. The president has many faults and is a lousy judge of character. But he was absolutely right to read the riot act to the military brass for daring to... Read More
Fifteen years ago this week, the US launched the longest war in its history: the invasion and occupation of remote Afghanistan. Neighboring Pakistan was forced to facilitate the American invasion or ‘be bombed back to the stone age.’ America was furious after the bloody 9/11 attacks. The Bush administration had been caught sleeping on guard... Read More
Anti-Russian hysteria in America reached its apogee this week as Democrats tried to divert attention from embarrassing revelations about how the Democratic Party apparatus had rigged the primaries against Bernie Sanders by claiming Vlad Putin and his KGB had hacked and exposed the Dem’s emails. This was rich coming from the US that snoops into... Read More
The deaths in South Asia of three of the West’s ‘Great Satans’ were announced in recent weeks: Mullah Omar and Jalaluddin Haqqani in Afghanistan; and Pakistan’s Lt. Gen. Hamid Gul. I never met Mullah Omar though I was present at the birth and expansion of his movement, Taliban. Mullah Omar was a renowned combat veteran... Read More
“Lord of our far-flung battle-line, Beneath whose awful Hand we hold Dominion over palm and pine— Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, Lest we forget—lest we forget! Far-called, our navies melt away; On dune and headland sinks the fire: Lo, all our pomp of yesterday Is one with Nineveh and Tyre! Judge of... Read More
Having nearly provoked war over Ukraine with nuclear-armed Russia, the Obama administration has now launched a full-scale crusade in Iraq and Syria against the evil Saracens of ISIS. America’s aerial might, including B-1 heavy bombers, is plastering ISIS miscreants. Washington’s Arab allies and rightwing governments in Canada and Australia have joined the fray. The British... Read More
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Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin were ships passing in the night while in Paris for the G-7 meeting. The American president reportedly refused to dine with Putin, who was being hosted by France’s president Francois Hollande as part of the D-Day commemoration. So Hollande, who is on a diet after being called a “little... Read More
Afghanistan’s national election held this week is a sham. A group of candidates, handpicked by the US, will pretend to compete in an election whose outcome has already been determined – by Washington. The candidates include US groomed politicians, and drug-dealing warlords from the Tajik and Uzbek north. Chief among them, Rashid Dostam, a major... Read More
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Those wondering what lies in store for Afghanistan need only look at the way the British Empire ruled Iraq in the 1920’s. As Shakespeare wrote, “what is past is prologue.” Imperial Britain created the state of Iraq after World War I to secure Mesopotamia’s vast oil deposits that had become vital for the Royal Navy.... Read More
  One of my favorite artists was the superb Victorian painter Elizabeth Butler who captured in oil the triumphs and tragedies of the British Empire. Her haunting painting, “The Retreat from Kabul, ” shows the sole survivor of a British army of 16,500, Dr. William Brydon, struggling out of Afghanistan in January, 1842. All the... Read More
News of the massacre by an American soldier of 16 Afghan civilians, mostly women and children, made me reflect on the 14 wars and colonial conflicts I’ve covered. Horrible but not surprising. It illustrates what I call the Iron Laws of Colonial Warfare: *Pick a good pretext to invade a country that you covet. France... Read More
NEW YORK – Shock, incomprehension, fury. Americans are feeling these raw emotions as news keeps coming in of more attacks by Afghan government soldiers and officials on US and NATO troops. Six US troops were killed last week as a result of protests across Afghanistan following the burning of Korans by incredibly dim-witted American soldiers.... Read More
The poet laureate of British imperialism might write the same stanzas today about its successor, the American Empire, which, having reached its high water mark in the bleak mountains of Afghanistan, is set to begin receding. US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta just announced that all US combat troops would withdraw from Afghanistan by mid-2013.... Read More
Washington's national security establishment — what used in Britain to be called "imperialists" — is in a growing panic over the war in Afghanistan which, in spite of America's vast military and economic power, and cornucopia of high tech wizardry, is being slowly beaten by a bunch of lightly-armed but very fierce Pashtun mountain tribesman.... Read More
NEW YORK – Operation Enduring Freedom – the dreadfully misnamed ten-year US occupation of Afghanistan – has turned into Operation Enduring Misery. The renowned military strategist, Maj. Gen. J.F.C Fuller, defined war’s true objective as achieving desired political results, not killing enemies. But this is just what the US has been doing in Afghanistan. After... Read More
It’s awfully hard for the world’s greatest power to admit its high-tech military forces are being beaten in Afghanistan by a bunch of lightly-armed mountain tribesmen. But that’s what’s happening. Washington is blaming everyone else for the bloody fiasco in Afghanistan, the “Graveyard of Empires.” Right now, the chief whipping boy for US fury is... Read More
Recall the famous saying, often used during the French Revolution, "the revolution devours its own children." The mythological premier god Chronos was said to have torn the heads off this children, then devoured them. I first witnessed this bloody process at work during the Algerian struggle for independence from France, as one after another of... Read More
In his majestic poem "Recessional," Rudyard Kipling was writing of the fading British Empire, but his words are as vivid and pertinent today as a century ago: Far-called our navies melt away — On dune and headland sinks the fire — Lo, all our pomp of yesterday Is one with Nineveh and Tyre! The objective... Read More
Sequels are rarely as good as the original, but last week’s Great Escape from Kandahar Prison II was almost as exciting as the 2008 original in which 800 Taliban prisoners were busted out of Afghanistan’s Sorpoza Prison. This time around, 541 prisoners, including 106 Taliban commanders, tunneled their way out of the notorious maximum security... Read More
After nine years of war in Afghanistan, costing over $100 billion in taxpayer money and 700 American lives, the full truth about this murky conflict remains elusive. The government and media have colluded to paint the picture of a noble, patriotic, heroic, flag-waving American crusade in Afghanistan that is, alas, very far from reality. As... Read More
According to the US government, 41.8 million Americans now receive food stamps. Meanwhile, Washington is spending $7 billion monthly on its nine-year old occupation of Afghanistan, not to mention billions more on trying to build an obedient Afghan army and to pay of Pakistani politicians and general. Last weekend, the US and its NATO allies... Read More
Amazing as it sounds, NATO, the world’s most powerful military alliance, may be losing the only war the 61-year old pact every fought. All its soldiers, heavy bombers, tanks, helicopter gunships, armies of mercenaries, and electronic gear are being beaten by a bunch of lightly-armed Afghan farmers and mountain tribesmen. This weekend in Lisbon, NATO’s... Read More
Fierce debate has raged in these mid-term elections over job losses, the nation's growing $12 trillion debt, mandatory health care, socialism — not to mention childish name-calling and even witchcraft. Sarah Palin, the patron saint of lower IQ Americans, has hovered over this sordid contest like an evil Halloween wraith. Democrats expect a drubbing. What... Read More
Bob Woodward, the investigative reporter of Watergate fame, has a new book, Obama's War, that gives new insights into the White House's struggle over Afghan War policy. Woodward's most interesting revelation: the US Central Intelligence Agency is operating a secret, 3,000-man Afghan mercenary force whose mission is assassinating Taliban and al-Qaida fighters. The hunter-killer force... Read More
First, kudos to Britain’s new leadership team of Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. They have embarked on a second Battle of Britain. Britain’s two youthful leaders have launched the biggest political revolution since 1832, one that aims to revive Britain’s battered economy, and restore the nation’s debauched finances. The Conservatives... Read More
Goodbye fire-breathing Gen. Stanley McChrystal, and your Special Forces “mafia,” who were supposed to crush Afghan resistance to western occupation. McChrystal was fired after rude remarks he and his staff made about the White House were printed in the American magazine, “Rolling Stone.” President Barack Obama should have fired McChrystal when the loose-lipped general went... Read More
As Henry Kissinger once rightly observed, it is often more dangerous being America's ally than its enemy. Watching Washington's growing anger at Afghan president Hamid Karzai, one recalls the unhappy endings of such former US allies as South Vietnam's Diem, Iran's Shah, Indonesia's Suharto, Nicaragua's Somoza, and Pakistan's Zia ul-Haq. Washington has been loudly hinting... Read More
Is it finally light at the end of the Afghan tunnel, or an oncoming express train? Total confusion erupted last week as the US, NATO, the UN and the Kabul government all issued differing views on new plans to end the nine year Afghan war by bombarding Taliban with tens of millions in cash instead... Read More
President Barack Obama has missed two sterling opportunities to wind down the ugly Afghan morass he inherited from George W. Bush. First, Obama could have hit the pause button on the war when he first took office. A thorough evaluation should have been done at that time. Second, during all the heavy-duty strategy meetings over... Read More
PARIS — Not so long ago, Hamid Karzai, the US-installed president of Afghanistan, used to be hailed by Washington and the US media as a noble democrat and statesman. But as things in Afghanistan went from bad to worse, and Taliban gained strength and popularity, Washington directed its ire at Karzai, who had almost no... Read More
Here we go again with more political theater in war-ravaged Afghanistan. The last vote, held in August, was so blatantly rigged that Washington put a gun to the head of its Afghan client, Hamid Karzai, and forced him into the humiliation of holding a runoff vote in November against rival Abdullah Abdullah. As Henry Kissinger... Read More
President Barack Obama and Congress are wrestling with widening the war in Afghanistan. After eight years of military operations costing US $236 billion, the US commander in Afghanistan just warned of the threat of "failure," aka defeat. Truth is war's first casualty. The Afghan War's biggest untruth is, "we've got to fight terrorists over there... Read More
An election held under the guns of a foreign occupation army cannot be called legitimate or democratic. That's a basic tenet of international law. Nevertheless, the US and its NATO allies have been lauding last week's faux presidential elections in Afghanistan as both a sign of growing support for Hamid Karzai's Western-backed government and the... Read More
This week's presidential election in Afghanistan will be an elaborate piece of political theater designed to show increasingly uneasy Western voters that progress is being made in the war-torn nation after seven years of US-led occupation. Most Afghans already believe they know who will win the vote: the candidate chosen by the United States and... Read More
There are a lot of unhappy campers at the Pentagon right now. US Defense Secretary Robert Gates chose last week to present a controversial new budget that will affect the course of US foreign and military policy for decades to come. Furious debate has raged in the Pentagon over the future and mission of US... Read More
President Barack Obama has now taken full ownership of the Afghanistan War. Gone are Washington's pretenses that a western "coalition" was waging this conflict. Gone, too, is the comic book term, "war on terrorism," replaced by the Orwellian sobriquet, "overseas contingency operations." Obama's announcement last week of deeper US involvement in Afghanistan and Pakistan —... Read More
As Santayana observed, those who forget history are doomed to relive it. However overused, his maxim is as true today as when he made it. On 15 February, 1989, the 40th Soviet Army pulled out of Afghanistan, marking the end of Moscow's bloody and disastrous occupation. Its able commander, Gen. Boris Gromov, was the last... Read More
LONDON — What used to be called "Cool London" looks more like "Crash London" these days. Of all the leading industrial nations, Britain has so far suffered more than any other nation, even the United States. Most major banks, even venerable names like Barclay's and Lloyd's, are on life support. The financial district around Canary... Read More
For those who savor historical irony, the Soviet Empire collapsed in the years 1989—1991 because of an implosion of its economy brought on by a ruinous arms race with the United States and the heavy costs of occupying Afghanistan. Seventeen years later came the turn of the world's other great imperial power, the United States.... Read More
Soon after the US invaded Afghanistan and overthrew the Taliban government in 2001, I predicted that Taliban resistance would resume in four years. My fellow pundits, who were cock-a-hoop over the US military victory over a bunch of lightly-armed medieval tribesmen, became drunk on old-fashioned imperial triumphalism, and denounced me as "crazy," or worse. But... Read More
CALGARY — Barack Obama wants to withdraw US troops from Iraq and send them to Afghanistan, which he calls the real front on the "war on terror." He also has repeated threats to attack Pakistan "if necessary." One understands Obama's need to sound macho. Rival John McCain has been beating his chest, proclaiming, "I know... Read More
PARIS — After a sea of lies and a tsunami of propaganda, the ugly truth behind the Iraq and Afghanistan wars finally emerged into full view this week. Four major western oil companies, Exxon, Mobil, Shell, BP and Total, are about to sign US-brokered no-bid contracts with the US-installed Baghdad regime to begin exploiting Iraq's... Read More
The killing of 11 Pakistani soldiers by US air strikes last week showed that the American-led war in Afghanistan is relentlessly spreading into Pakistan, one of America's oldest, most faithful allies. Pakistan's military branded the air attack "unprovoked and cowardly." However, the unstable government in Islamabad, led by the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), which depends... Read More
An angry and clearly frustrated US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates accused some European nations of not being prepared to "fight and die" in Afghanistan in the battle against Taliban. His latest outburst follows an intemperate critique last month in which the US defense secretary asserted that British, Canadian and Dutch forces fighting in southern... Read More
I recently read about a condition psychiatrists call "jamais vu." That's where one sees something very familiar, but the brain cannot identify it. It's the opposite of "déjà vu." Both the White House and US military seemed gripped by "jamais vu." Many of the same political and military mistakes the United States made in the... Read More
The death last Sunday of six Canadian soldiers in southern Afghanistan reminds us of Santayana's famous maxim that those who fail to study history are doomed to repeat it. The soldiers were killed near Maiwand, a name meaning nothing to most westerners. But there, on 27 July, 1880, during the bloody Second Afghan War, the... Read More
“A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon you're talking about real money,” famously quipped US Senator Everett Dirksen back in the 1960's. The US government has just estimated that President George Bush's occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, and his so-called war on terror, will cost at least $690 billion by the end of next... Read More
Do not believe what OUR media and politicians are telling us about Afghanistan. Nearly all the information we get about the five-year-old war in Afghanistan comes from US and NATO public relations officers or "embedded" journalists who merely parrot military handouts. Ask yourself, when did you last read a report from a journalist covering Taliban... Read More
Something has gone terribly wrong in Afghanistan. The heaviest fighting there since the 2001 U.S. invasion has recently erupted. Many Americans, who were then assured by neocons and their media trumpets that their nation had triumphantly won the war in Afghanistan and crushed the Taliban, are dismayed and bewildered. In 2001, unable to withstand high-tech... Read More
As Canadian casualties mount in Afghanistan, it's important to correct three major falsehoods being promoted by the ill-informed, flag-waving media. 1. “Taliban are terrorists.” In 1989, at the end of Soviet occupation, Afghanistan fell into anarchy, civil war, and crime. Rape was endemic. A village prayer leader, Mullah Omar, armed a group of religious students... Read More
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Eric Margolis
About Eric Margolis

Eric S. Margolis is an award-winning, internationally syndicated columnist. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune the Los Angeles Times, Times of London, the Gulf Times, the Khaleej Times, Nation – Pakistan, Hurriyet, – Turkey, Sun Times Malaysia and other news sites in Asia.

He is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, Lew Rockwell. He appears as an expert on foreign affairs on CNN, BBC, France 2, France 24, Fox News, CTV and CBC.

His internet column www.ericmargolis.com reaches global readers on a daily basis.

As a war correspondent Margolis has covered conflicts in Angola, Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique, Sinai, Afghanistan, Kashmir, India, Pakistan, El Salvador and Nicaragua. He was among the first journalists to ever interview Libya’s Muammar Khadaffi and was among the first to be allowed access to KGB headquarters in Moscow.

A veteran of many conflicts in the Middle East, Margolis recently was featured in a special appearance on Britain’s Sky News TV as “the man who got it right” in his predictions about the dangerous risks and entanglements the US would face in Iraq.

A native New Yorker, he maintains residences in Toronto and New York, with frequent visits to Paris.


Personal Classics
Bin Laden is dead, but his strategy still bleeds the United States.
Egyptians revolted against American rule as well as Mubarak’s.
“America’s strategic and economic interests in the Mideast and Muslim world are being threatened by the agony in Palestine, which inevitably invites terrorist attacks against US citizens and property.”
A menace grows from Bush’s Korean blind spot.
Far from being a model for a “liberated” Iraq, Afghanistan shows how the U.S. can get bogged down Soviet-style.