OFF THE GRID

The War in Afghanistan Is Over

Oct 19, 10 | 9:28 AM   byStephen Spain

In simpler times, our wars had clearly defined endings. WWII ended with a bang—two, really, in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There were obvious winners and losers, too. The winners redrew world maps, while the losers tried to find creative uses for rubble. It doesn’t work that way anymore. The war in Afghanistan is over. The Taliban know it, and Afghan President Hamid Karzai does, too. Pakistan knows. With their endorsement of talks with the Taliban, even President Obama and his generals have acknowledged it. Don’t expect any ticker-tape parades for returning soldiers, though....
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Obama: Purge the Urge to Surge

Dec 2, 09 | 11:33 AM   byStephen Spain

President Obama seems determined to demonstrate how much, much more ( 30,000 troops and $30 billion a year ) can produce much, much less (less success in Afghanistan, less stability in nuclear-armed Pakistan, and less rationality in nuclear-ambitious Iran). In embracing the conventional wisdom of his national security “experts,” he has committed our troops to spraying gasoline on an already robust fire, while at the same time holding back the hoses for at least 18 months. Obama’s surge is based on the assumption that we need to use counterinsurgency tactics to defeat the...
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When Obama Finally Gets Serious About Afghanistan, He’ll…

Oct 1, 09 | 9:26 AM   byStephen Spain

… Stop asking for advice from Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Jim Jones, David Petraeus, Robert Gates, and Richard Holbrooke, who cumulatively know less about Afghanistan than the average UN, embassy, or NGO staffer resident there. He’ll set the strategy and order them to implement it, something at which they are very adept. … Replace the American ambassador to Afghanistan. He wouldn’t send a diplomat to lead soldiers into battle, and he shouldn’t have sent a general to conduct diplomacy. … Stop pretending that we don’t occupy Afghanistan....
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What in God's Name Do the Obama People Think They're Doing in Afghanistan?

Aug 24, 09 | 12:03 PM   byStephen Spain

There’s an Alice in Wonderland quality to our involvement in Afghanistan. We followed Osama bin Laden down his rabbit hole and now we’re caught up in a nonsensical world. Hookah-smoking drug lords blow smoke rings in our eyes and hand their cash off to the Taliban, who appear and disappear like turbaned Cheshire cats. Karzai, the Mad Hatter who favors fetal lambskin headwear, presides over an electoral tea party where the ballot boxes are empty and all 41 presidential candidates declare victory. In rural villages, mullahs play the Red Qur’an, shouting “Off with their...
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OFF THE GRID is about why the news is the news. Here are the real motivations of both media and newsmakers. Here's the backstory. This is a look at the inner workings of desperate media, the inner life of the publicity crazed, and the true meaning of the news of the day.