Afghanistan War

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Rethink Afghanistan

(video) a film by the Brave New Foundation, featuring several interview segments with Carl Conetta, 2009.
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Symposium: The Role of Force & the Armed Forces in US Foreign Policy — What have we learned?

Security Policy Working Group, 10 April 2008.

  • Andrew Bacevich, “The Origins and Demise of the Bush Doctrine of Preventive War”
  • Carl Conetta, “Out from the House of War: A Litmus for New Leadership in Security Policy” (printable .pdf)
  • David Gold, “How Much Defense Can We Afford? (printable .pdf), as republished in Challenge (Sept/Oct 2008)
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No Good Reason to “Grow” the US Army and Marine Corps

(HTML version) by Carl Conetta, Common Dreams, 01 February 2007.
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US aid to Afghanistan, Taliban in government, Afghan casualties, permanent bases in the Mideast

(HTML version) by Bipasha Ray. Defense Analysis Bulletin #1, 24 January 2007.
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Fighting on Borrowed Time: The Effect on US Military Readiness of America’s post-9/11 Wars

(printable PDF version) (HTML version) by Carl Conetta, PDA Briefing Report #19, 11 September 2006. To sustain today’s wars, the Bush administration has adopted a policy of “risk displacement”. High optempo is maintained in Iraq and Afghanistan at the expense of readiness elsewhere and for other missions. The policy also saps future readiness. It may take the US military half a decade to recover.
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Pyrrhus on the Potomac: How America’s post-9/11 wars have undermined US national security

(printable PDF version) (HTML version) by Carl Conetta, PDA Briefing Report #18, 05 September 2006.  A net assessment of America’s post-911 security policy shows it to be “pyrrhic” in character: although progress has been made in disrupting Al Qaeda, the broader effect has been to increase the threat to the United States, while weakening the nation’s capacity to respond effectively.
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Agonizing Issue: is torture ever justified in military interrogations of terror suspects?

(HTML version) (printable PDF version) interview with Charles Knight, co-director, Project on Defense Alternatives and Alfred P. Rubin, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of International Law, The Fletcher School, Tufts University, transcript edited by Jim Cronin, The Boston Globe Magazine, 30 January 2005.  The United States is now training hundreds, maybe thousands, of new interrogators.  Abusive relationships traumatize both the victim and the abuser. We are training and having our own people experience this abuse, and they will be returning home to our communities. We know from studies of domestic abuse that this abusive pattern can be replicated through generations.
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Disappearing the Dead: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Idea of a “New Warfare”

(printable PDF version) (HTML version) (summary)  (summary PDF version) by Carl Conetta, PDA Research Monograph #9, 18 February 2004. Examines the Pentagon’s treatment of the civilian casualty issue in the Iraq and Afghan wars, reviews the “spin” and “news frames” used by defense officials to shape the public debate over casualties, and critiques the concept of a “precision warfare” as misleading. Case studies include the Baghdad bombing campaign. An appendix provides a comprehensive Guide to Surveys and Reporting on Casualties in the Afghan and Iraq Wars.
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The Pentagon’s New Budget, New Strategy, and New War

(HTML version) by Carl Conetta. PDA Briefing Report #12, 25 June 2002. Examines the new US military strategy as codified in the September 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review and practiced in the Afghan war. The report contrasts the new QDR with its 1997 predecessor, paying special attention to the Bush administration’s “new concept of deterrence.” Published in Hegemonie oder Stabilität: Alternativen zur Militarisierung der Politik, edited by Volker Kröning (MdB), Lutz Unterseher, and Günter Verheugen (Hrsg.) Bremen: Edition Temmen, August 2002.
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Dislocating Alcyoneus: How to combat al-Qaeda and the new terrorism

(HTML version) by Carl Conetta. PDA Briefing Memo #23, 25 June 2002. The memo outlines a “strategy of dislocation” for defeating the new terrorism. Al Qaeda is analyzed as a “distributed transnational network” that uses terrorism in order to catalyze political-cultural polarization and mobilization. Published in Hegemonie oder Stabilität: Alternativen zur Militarisierung der Politik, edited by Volker Kröning (MdB), Lutz Unterseher, and Günter Verheugen (Hrsg.) Bremen: Edition Temmen, August 2002.
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A New Kind of Peace Movement

(audio available) On Point, WBUR-Boston, interview featuring Charles Knight, 16 April 2002. Explores the prospects for a “new” kind of peace movement post 9/11.

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Strange Victory: A critical appraisal of Operation Enduring Freedom and the Afghanistan war

(printable PDF version) (HTML version) (summary) by Carl Conetta, PDA Research Monograph #6, 30 January 2002. Why the inadvertent effects of the war are now overtaking the intended ones. Includes appendices addressing: the war’s impact on the humanitarian crisis; the missing political framework for American action; the source of power and the strategy of the Taliban; and the limits of the Bonn agreement and the challenges facing the interim government.
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Operation Enduring Freedom: Why a Higher Rate of Civilian Bombing Casualties

(HTML version) by Carl Conetta, PDA Briefing Report #13, 18 January 2002. Examines the extent and causes of civilian bombing casualties in the Afghanistan war and explores why the civilian casualties were higher than in the Serbia/Kosovo campaign despite fewer bombs dropped. Includes appendices: estimation of civilian bombing casualties: method and sources; resolving discrepancies in casualty accounts.

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Beyond bin Laden: The Temptations of a Wider War

(HTML version) by Carl Conetta, PDA Briefing Memo #22, 28 September 2001. Offering a review of US military options in response to 11 September, this article rejects large-scale attacks on Afghanistan due to their likely negative impact on regional stability and international cooperation. As an alternative it proposes smaller-scale military operations against the bin Laden network combined with multinational law enforcement activities worldwide.
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What Justifies Military Intervention?

(HTML version) commentary by Charles Knight, 27 September 2001. Examines the problems for international security associated with U.S. military intervention abroad. Includes a Postscript on the “war on terrorism” (revised 01 March 2002) and Selected Readings on the doctrines of Just War, Total War, and Strategic Bombing (revised 01 March 2002).
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Fear Itself: Hazards of Massive Retaliation

(HTML version) by Neta C. Crawford, PDA Guest Commentary, 14 September 2001.

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Rotocraft for War: Descending on a Military Dilemma

(HTML version) by Dr. Lutz Unterseher, PDA Briefing Memo #19, May 2001. Offers a critical assessment of the value of combat helicopters in modern war with examination of the technical characteristics and limits of combat helicopters, the doctrine for their use, and issues of cost. Case studies include the Gulf War, Vietnam, and Afghanistan.
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