Peace and Security

The Lessons of WikiLeaks

For the last few years, the war in Afghanistan seemed to be an afterthought in the U.S. media. That all changed in a hurry with the publication of tens of thousands of classified intelligence documents by the website WikiLeaks.

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There’s Still Big Money in War

Dwight Eisenhower got it straight all right, but he didn’t know the half of it. He prophetically warned us about the “Military-Industrial Complex,” though Blackwater and KBR hadn’t even been invented yet. You’ve heard of them–they’re the contractors who service our armies of occupation so that we don’t need to hire so many soldiers. Sort of mercenary supply companies. Naturally, they lobby for more conflicts.

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The Lineup: Week of August 2-8, 2010

Here’s what you’ll find in the latest OtherWords editorial package, which features an op-ed and a cartoon on the WikiLeaks controversy. In his weekly column, Donald Kaul worries about what American politicians are doing to future generations. Get all this and more in your inbox by subscribing to our weekly newsletter. If you haven’t signed up yet, please do.

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Evidence of a Failed Mission

Evidence of a Failed Mission

WikiLeaks’ Afghan War Diary, a trove of 91,370 previously secret documents, is an important first history of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. Of course, mistakes will be found–but these are reports of military leaders to others in the military. This is where they tell the truth. It’s significant that the Obama administration has not tried to claim the reports are inaccurate. Instead, they’re claiming that disclosing the reports somehow endangers U.S. troops, while at the same time disparaging the documents as having no new information.

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We’ve Got Empire Stress Disorder

It’s a lot of work being an empire. Expensive, but well worth it. Americans make up only 4 percent of the world’s population, but we get to use up 25 percent of its resources. That’s pretty high living and you don’t get to pull it off by being a wimpy socialist nonentity. We also get to spew 25 percent of the earth’s unsustainable pollution. Sure, this all has to come to an end eventually, but no matter; it’s been a great ride.

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Afghanistan’s Fool’s Gold

Here’s some free advice: Never buy shares in a goldmine from a guy operating out of a house trailer. Likewise, never buy a story from the Pentagon about an incredible discovery of gold in Afghanistan.

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Bombs Bursting in Air

War has always boasted adherents. Think of the Kaiser, Ghengis Khan, Alexander, Hitler, Darius, Charlemagne, Stalin, etc. America’s foremost cheerleader was Teddy Roosevelt. He made no bones about the thrill of combat and conquest. He even went off to fight himself, an uncommon commitment among world leaders.

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