The U.S. “playbook” for drones and self-defense under international law

See, Charlie Savage, “Afghanistan Collapse and Strikes in Somalia Raise Snags for Drone Warfare Rules; But the Biden administration is close to finishing a new…







Joe Biden, Captain of the Titanic, which just hit the iceberg of Afghanistan

President Joe Biden, Captain of the Titanic

Sometimes a metaphor can help us understand a complicated reality, highlighting the most important features so that we can keep them clearly in mind.

With respect to Afghanistan, the metaphor that comes to mind is that of President Joe Biden as Captain of the Titanic.

Biden steered the ship directly at the Iceberg

A big difference from the historical example is that unlike the captain of the real Titanic, this time Captain Joe steered the ship directly at the iceberg, despite all the warnings of his top officers and their urgings to change course.

The Titanic hit the iceberg, and is going down

The Titanic hit the iceberg. As the ship is sinking, Captain Joe has dug in and is insisting he made the right decision to steer at the iceberg.

He and his officers go on television frequently to defend his decision to hit the iceberg.

Now, Captain Joe is working hard to ensure that all of the first-class passengers get into lifeboats and safely away from the sinking ship




Too many catastrophes: The end of empathy?

The fundamental question of whether our capacity for empathy is diminishing remains, and the answers are not clear.

Upon those answers the future of the human rights movement, and indeed international law probating war crimes and crimes against humanity, may ultimately depend.


The Media: Debates on Afghanistan are as if it were in another time, on another planet

30 years ago, perhaps, the United States still had a foreign policy elite which led public opinion on complicated foreign policy issues, about which the average American was ignorant and didn’t have a clue.
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So, in this media environment, where there are few editors and producers capable of finding and using the best expert opinion from the foreign policy elite–people who really know what they are talking about–it is not surprising that so much discussion focuses on interviews or discussions with individuals with no deep foreign policy expertise on Afghanistan.
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The battle was never about whether the U.S. would win the war against the Taliban. It was always about whether the Afghan people would win their struggle for a civilized, and democratic, future. 70,000 Afghan soldiers, over the years, gave up their lives in pursuit of that goal.

But the United States lacked what has been called ” strategic patience”.

Joe Biden was right about one thing. The victory of the Taliban in Afghanistan was due to a failure of government leadership and the lack of a will to fight.

But the failure of government leadership and the lack of a will to fight were, most decisively, not those of Afghanistan, but rather those of the United States.

In one of the great ironies of history, Joe Biden and America, in 2021, have dealt a great body blow to Afghan dreams and aspirations for a civilized and even a democratic future.


The Big Picture: President Biden’s Decision to Withdraw from Afghanistan

The decision to surrender to the Taliban and abandon our Afghan allies and supporters is among the most craven and dastardly decisions in U.S. military and foreign policy history. One searches in history for a decision of such dishonorable magnitude.

The comparison that comes to mind is the agreement by Neville Chamberlain of England and Ėdouard Daladier of France with Adolf Hitler at Berchtesgarten in October, 1938. The agreement, known as tge Munich Pact, has become synonymous with betrayal and appeasement

That will be Joe Biden’s legacy, unless he changes course, which seems unlikely.


The Taliban and the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan: “Nice doggie…”

Yet however emotionally appealing Noonan’s prescriptions may be, to follow them would be to court disaster on an extraordinary scale. Any attempt to force open corridors by the use of military force would produce open armed conflict between the Taliban and the U.S. forces, which were sent to Afghanistan on an evacuation mission. American soldiers would be killed.

The Taliban occupy the entire city of Kabul, and the rest of the country. Who knows how many people would die if the U.S. tried to force the issue with military force.

Anyone entertaining such ideas should immediately watch the classic movie, Black Hawk Down (2001) which realistically depicts what happened in 1993 when American forces attempted to extract a relatively small number of soldiers from a firefight in Mogadishu, Somalia.

Why are F-16’s overflying Kabul?




There is no new Taliban (Updated August 20, 2021)

In failing to recognize that its surrender to the barbarism of the Taliban in Afghanistan was a major defeat for civilization and its defense of human rights and the rule law, the United States has committed a tragic mistake.

It has abandoned 38 million Afghans to the barbarism of a medieval terrorist regime, and 19 million Afghan women to the dictatorial rule of a misogynistic Islamic ideology which predates the Enlightenment and has not been influenced by it.

The American and allied capitulation to the barbarism of the Taliban must be understood as a terrible setback to civilization and the values of the Enlightenment.



A wounded presidency: Biden’speech on Afghanistan suggests he will be a one-term president

President Joe Biden spoke to the nation today in an effort to justify his withdrawal from Aghanistan.

In his speech he demonstrated both his delusional state of mind and the stubborn, emotionally dug-in thinking that led to his decision to withdraw all forces from Afghanistan, and its botched execution.