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Naval Postgraduate School Professor Praises Fitzgerald and Gould

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

August 12th, 2010

“Fitzgerald and Gould have consistently raised the difficult questions and inconvenient truths about western engagement in Afghanistan. While many analysts and observers have attempted to wish a reality on a grim and tragic situation in Afghanistan, Fitzgerald and Gould have systematically dug through the archives and historical record with integrity and foresight to reveal a series of misguided strategies and approaches that have contributed to what has become a tragic quagmire in Afghanistan. I suspect that many of their assessments while presently viewed as controversial and contentious, will eventually be considered conventional wisdom.”

Professor Thomas Johnson, Department of National Security Affairs and Director, Program for Culture and Conflict Studies, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey California

At a critical turning point in the war in Afghanistan, Naval Postgraduate School Professor of National Security Affairs Thomas Johnson has been tapped to be the senior political aide and counterinsurgency adviser to Canadian Brig. Gen. Jonathan Vance, Canadian commander of Task Force Kandahar — ground zero for the key summer campaign against the Taliban.

“General Vance contacted me shortly after he was selected by Ottawa in early June to return to Afghanistan as Commander of Canadian Forces replacing Brig. Gen. Daniel Ménard who was relieved of command, and asked if I would be willing to take on this assignment through the completion of his deployment,” Johnson said before a week-long trip due to land him in Afghanistan Aug. 10. “There’s no question this is a critical time, and the Canadian effort is central to the success of U.S. and NATO efforts in the country.”

As Johnson finalized his trip preparations, President Obama affirmed the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq and Congress voted an additional $33 billion in war funding for Afghanistan, where July’s casualties reached an all-time high. Johnson’s new advisory role also comes in the wake of the top U.S. military commander’s replacement; a massive leak of classified war documents; the Netherlands becoming the first NATO country to end its combat mission in the country; the president of Pakistan stating the international community is losing the battle for the hearts and minds of the Afghan people; and a mutilated Afghan girl on the cover of Time magazine with the headline, “What Happens If We Leave Afghanistan.”           Read more


Burqas and bikinis

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Time magazine’s cover is the latest cynical attempt to oversimplify the reality of Afghan lives

by Priyamvada Gopal        August 3, 2010

Reprising a legendary 1985 National Geographic cover, this week’s Time magazine cover girl is another beautiful young Afghan woman. But this time there is a gaping hole where her nose used to be before it was cut off under Taliban direction. A stark caption reads: “What Happens If We Leave Afghanistan”. A careful editorial insists that the image is not shown “either in support of the US war effort or in opposition to it”. The stated intention is to counterbalance damaging the WikiLeaks revelations – 91,000 documents that, Time believes, cannot provide “emotional truth and insight into the way life is lived in that difficult land”.

Feminists have long argued that invoking the condition of women to justify occupation is a cynical ploy, and the Time cover already stands accused of it. Interestingly, the WikiLeaks documents reveal CIA advice to use the plight of Afghan women as “pressure points”, an emotive way to rally flagging public support for the war. Read more


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