“The first thing is that, it is true that when there’s a drone attack, those–the terrorists are killed, it’s true, but 500 and 5,000 more people rise against it, and more terrorism occurs, and more bomb blasts occur. So for that reason, I think the best way to fight against terrorism is do it through peaceful way, not through war, because I believe that a war can never be ended by a war.”
— And the interviewer asked, “And you said that to President Obama?” Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai said, “Yes, of course.”
2:24 pm • 18 October 2014
“If Washington wants to do something about the Islamic State, it should send humanitarian aid to displaced civilians, restart talks to end Syria’s civil war, and condition all assistance to Baghdad on its willingness to improve conditions for Iraq’s Sunni minority. The last thing Obama should do is fight a war for allies who are losing a popularity contest to a group that beheads people.”
— “Obama’s Dumb War”
11:12 am • 18 October 2014
A hospital from hell, in a city swamped by Ebola
As the Ebola epidemic intensifies across parts of West Africa, nations and aid agencies are pledging to respond with increasing force. But the disease has already raced far ahead of the promises, sweeping into areas that had been largely spared the onslaught and are not in the least prepared for it.
The consequences in places like Makeni, one of Sierra Leone’s largest cities, have been devastating.
“The whole country has been hit by something for which it was not ready,” said Dr. Amara Jambai, director of prevention and control at Sierra Leone’s health ministry.
11:12 am • 17 October 2014
“Years of air strikes, drone-operated killings, and covert operations have brought neither peace nor safety to the region and its people. Estimates of the death toll from U.S. attacks in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia alone range from 3,100 to 5,400, including 570-1,200 civilians. Precise figures are impossible to obtain since the strikes remain classified, and investigating drone attacks is difficult and dangerous work. Nor has the drone campaign halted the proliferation of groups seeking to link their — usually local — agendas to the idea of a global struggle represented by al-Qaeda. Indiscriminate killing — and the constant fear of death from above — has only destroyed communities and provided easy recruitment material for extremist groups.”
— An unwinnable war continues
11:10 pm • 18 September 2014
“Who can believe America is a force for good in that part of the world when we have just blown the whole place up – and left a failed state in our wake?”
— Andrew Sullivan
8:48 pm • 15 September 2014
Critique from an Obama fan
“America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat,” Obama declared in his speech Wednesday night. He described it as a “counterterrorism campaign” that would “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIS.
There’s some inconsistency there. Counterterrorism is the right prism through which to approach this, rather than all-out war, but it’s unlikely to destroy ISIS any more than it did the Taliban or militancy in Yemen.
Indeed, the president, in his speech, said that his strategy in Syria “is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years.” That’s a plausible comparison, but Obama may be the only person in the world who would cite conflict-torn Yemen and Somalia as triumphs. […]
“We’re going to war because we’ve been spooked,” notes Joshua Landis, a Syria specialist at the University of Oklahoma. “But if we do it wrong, we could ensure that the violence spreads.”
8:54 pm • 14 September 2014
“With so many large and growing problems in the world – hunger, disease, climate change, homelessness, chronic unemployment – why are America’s leading tech companies, each overflowing with talent and creativity and with hundreds of billions of dollars to spare, coming up with such trivial solutions to non-problems?”
— Robert Reich
8:48 pm • 14 September 2014
“To recap: we are going to war with no clear exit plan; we are doing so before the regional allies have been forced to take a stand; Obama is shouldering all of the responsibility himself, based on a hysterical public mood that could evaporate in a month’s time. To argue that this is a reneging of everything Obama ran on is an understatement. Even Bush went to Congress for a vote before the Iraq War. And the legitimization of panic and fear and hysteria undoes so much of what Obama had previously achieved in amending US foreign policy.”
— The Nightmare Scenario
5:36 pm • 13 September 2014