Mark Herold address in Spain

I am much honored to be here today with all of you in this beautiful building. My special thanks go out to Joan-Felip who both translated the book and provided such dedication to seeing the project come to fruition, to General Alberto Pires who wrote such an insightful preface and of course to all those at Ediciones AKAL who made this publication possible. Thank you.

I am especially happy to see the first publication of this book here and in Spanish, a country and people I have admired and known for many years, the country to which the International Brigades went to and died for, a country where the aerial bombing of civilians in Guernica became a dark page of the twentieth century, and the ground where Republicans, Communists, democrats and anarchists - men and women - came together to stop fascism. A cousin of my father (Edmond Taylor) served as a correspondent for the Chicago Tribune in Spain in the latter 1930's.1 As a teenager I grew up with the names of Irun, Jarama, Guadalajara, Brunete, Belchite, Teruel, the Ebro River. One of my favorite books was and remains Mourir a Madrid by Frederic Rossif and Madeleine Chapsal (1963).

Yes, it is such an honor to be here today with you. But my focus is upon another war, another occupation, another great injustice, another monument to the slaughter of simple, common people trying to live their daily lives.

If we are to believe the words uttered in early 2002 by Hamid Karzai who has been called "the mayor of Kabul" since late 2002, it all began so tranquilly in December 20012:

"This is the first time since a long time that a government comes to power in Afghanistan without violence."

But as I demonstrated in my original Dossier released on December 10, 2001, over 3,000 innocent Afghan civilians had been killed during just three months of U.S. bombing.3 At least another 3,000 have been slaughtered since then by U.S/NATO actions. One can only wonder what a violent transition might mean to Mr. Karzai. With the Taliban dispatched back to the countryside by year end, the hope flickered that finally after twenty-two years, the average Afghan might see an end to immiseration and violence.

At least another 3,000 Afghan civilians have been slaughtered since January 2002 by U.S/NATO actions. And what was the response of U.S defense establishment intellectuals? Well, William Arkin, a favorite of Human Rights Watch and the Washington Beltway crowd, a commentator for the Washington Post, asked Afghans,

When are you going to pay the U.S. for the cost of the bombs and the jet fuel and the American lives selflessly given to topple the Taliban and rout Al Qaeda, all done so you can have a future?4

My book documents and explores why immiseration and war, but also the new extravagant opulence and corruption (throughout the Karzai regime but also the vast "non-governmental organization (NGO) mafia") have increased across much of Afghanistan. Maybe most importantly, a culture of impunity reigns under the Karzai regime. The key resides in that Afghanistan represents an empty space and the war is fought mainly in the media of Europe and North America. The deputy of Osama Bin Laden, Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri was very clear about this in 2005, saying most "of this battle is taking place in the battlefield of the media."5 NATO is allegedly handicapped by its 'stone age' media skills in Afghanistan.6 The U.S/NATO occupation forces simply prevent access to embarrassing sites where they killed civilians, practice news management as I describe in a chapter of the book7, or arrest and beat up "un-embedded" news reporters (as in recent case of the Iranian TV journalist, Faez Khorshid8). Karl Rove is alleged to have described the post-9/11 politics of surrealism:

"We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."9

Put in other terms,

This is the ultimate post-modern war. The actual theatre of operations is the realm of symbols, and the target is people's minds -- their very innate capacity to reason and question. In every modern war, propaganda has been deployed in the service of military objectives. In this war, military operations are not even in the service of propaganda: they are the propaganda.10

Let me be concrete, why are Spaniards presented by the Spanish media with a detached picture of their troops' activities in Badghis more akin to managing an exotic Disneyworld or a social democratic paradise rather than engaged in the harsh reality of a deadly, multi-faceted war in which Spain like Germany play their parts in counter-insurgency as for example with their Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs)?11 Conservative Popular Party leader Mariano Rajoy noted "Mr. Zapatero does not say Spain is in a war and all but argues that it is there as a relief organization."12

As I discuss in the book, PRT's blur the distinction between soldiers and aid workers. France's nobel-prize-winning Medecins Sans Frontieres left Afghanistan in 2004 because the American reliance upon PRT's endangered the lives of humanitarian workers – yet the MSF had remained in Afghanistan thoughout the years of Soviet occupation, tribal anarchy and Taliban rule.13 Five MSF staff workers were killed in Bagdhis in June 2004. Such blending was marvelously expressed by a U.S. Army officer visiting a remote Afghan village, "the more they help us find the bad guys, the more good stuff they get."14

The book is comprised of five inter-related sections. First, I document how the United States and its client state in Afghanistan, has no interest in real socio-economic development in Afghanistan. Secondly, I describe the largely invisible economy where most Afghans carry out a harsh daily struggle to survive. The third section exposes the grotesque forms of pseudo-development in Karzai's Kabul. The next section delves into how an illusionary image of progress and governance which I call Brand Karzai is constructed and marketed by the corporate media to the Euro-American publics. I close with an in-depth analysis of the U.S. military strategy in Afghanistan which is geared to maintain at least cost an "empty space," a modern reincarnation of the nineteenth century buffer state.

I shall now quote extensively from the book's introduction.

Four years after the U.S.-led attack upon Afghanistan, the true meaning of the U.S occupation is revealing itself. Afghanistan represents merely a space that is to be kept empty. Western powers have no interest in either buying from or selling to the blighted nation. The country possesses no exports of interest. The impoverished Afghan civilian population is as irrelevant as is the nation's economic development. But the space represented by Afghanistan in a volatile region of geo-political import, is to be kept vacant from all hostile forces. The country is situated at the center of a resurgent Islamic world, close to a rising China (and India), borders the restive ex-Soviet Asian republics and is adjacent to oil-rich states. The U.S. attack launched on October 7, 2001 was motivated by two concerns: the opportunity provided by 9/11 to march towards Baghdad riding on the U.S. public's clamoring for revenge; and securing a space in a geo-politically important part of the world.

The only populated centers of any real concern are a few islands of grotesque capitalist imaginary reality – foremost Kabul – needed to project the image of an existing central government, an image further promoted by Karzai's frequent international junkets. The twin illusions of an effective central government and a process of nation-building need to be maintained.15 In a few urban islands of affluence amidst a sea of poverty, a sufficient density of foreign ex-pats, a bloated NGO-community, carpetbaggers and hangers-on of all stripes, money disbursers, neo-colonial administrators, opportunists, bribed local power brokers, facilitators, beauticians (of the city planner or aesthetician types), members of the development establishment, imported Chinese, Russian and Thai prostitutes, do-gooders, enforcers, etc. warrants the presence of western businesses like foreign bank branches, luxury hotels (Serena Kabul, Hyatt Regency of Kabul), shopping malls (the Roshan Plaza, the Kabul City Centre mall), import houses (Toyota selling its popular Land Cruiser), image makers (J. Walter Thompson), and the ubiquitous Coca-Cola.16 The book describes all this in meticulous detail. Even feminism will be harnessed to sell the war designs of imperialism.17 Author Tamim Ansary observed that virtually all the loud Western talk about empowering women in Afghanistan focuses on the agenda of the minuscule urban elite - getting women into national government, liberating women from a dress code, ensuring their access to all professions, etc. - but what the relevance of this western agenda for rural women?18

The "other," the real economy – that in which the Afghan masses live and toil – comprises the multitudes creatively eking out a daily existence in the hustle-and-bustle of the vast informal economy.19 They are utterly irrelevant to the neo-colonial master interested in running an empty space at the least cost. The self-financing opium economy conveniently reduces such cost and thrives upon invisibility. The invisible multitudes represent a nuisance - much like Kabul's traffic - upon maintaining the empty space. Only the minimal amount of resources - whether of the carrot or stick type - will be devoted to preserving their invisibility. Many of those who returned after the overthrow of the Taliban are now seeking to emigrate abroad, thereby contributing to an emptying space.20

The means to maintain and police such an empty space are a particular spatial distribution of military projection by U.S. and increasingly NATO forces: twenty-four hour high-level aerial surveillance; a three-level aerial presence (low, medium, high altitude); pre-positioned fast-reaction, heavily-armed ground forces based at heavily fortified key nodal points; and the employ of local satraps' expendable forces. The aim of running the empty space at least cost is foundering upon a resurgent Taliban, who have developed their own very effective least cost insurgency weapons (e.g., improvised explosive devices and suicide bombings) and putting them to good use. In a propaganda coup, any armed opposition to a standing government is now labeled terrorist. By such criterion, of course, the American revolutionaries of the 1770's and the Vietnamese National Liberation Front soldiers of the 1960's were terrorists.

Unlike in the colonies of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries where effort was made to develop economic activities – from plantations to mines, factories to infrastructure – in order to have a self-financing colony, in the neo-colony of Afghanistan no such efforts are warranted. Indeed, such efforts contravene the aim of running an empty space - a neo-colony - at least cost. In effect, Afghanistan today has reincarnated itself in its historic role as a buffer state (in twenty-first century clothing).

The concept of Afghanistan as an empty space also describes much of the past. During the post-Soviet half decade, the years of pre-9/11 Taliban rule, and the first three years after the overthrow of the Taliban, what was happening inside Afghanistan was of little interest to either the U.S. political, military or business elite. The perception of the country as "empty" was also compatible with it serving as a physical site for the much discussed gas pipeline. Afghanistan only became "un-empty" when the Soviets controlled it and in the couple months after 9/11 when the Bush regime propelled by revenge and exploiting the opportunity provided by 9/11 to march onwards towards Baghdad, decided to oust the Taliban who had served as host to Osama bin Laden.21 Empty space as invasion-on-the-cheap was also revealed in the minimal U.S ground force commitment during October 7 – December 2001. Only about 450 CIA and Special Forces troops were on the ground. I argue that in the initial U.S. Afghan war what happened on the battlefield namely dislodging the Taliban was of material interest. As we know this was quickly achieved by the cocktail of heavy bombing, small-scale highly mobile CIA and Special Forces teams, and renting local warlords with their militias.22 But soon after the "war" was won (i.e. the large cities taken), the "war" became mostly about image rather than substance, that is, it was about projecting an image of progress at minimal cost as is documented. Afghanistan returned to being an empty space.

The extraordinary asymmetry of the contending forces in Afghanistan after 9/11 implied that the struggle would be less militarized and more informational involving the deploying of information-based social technologies of power (or information-driven forms of social control) on the people of the pre-ordained military victor.23 Essential to implementing social control was the necessity of deterring cultural contact of viewers - war's consumers - with infectious real events, with life and death forces of world history itself (as opposed to sterilized violence and sanitized spectacles).24 The banning of any imagery portraying the human effects of smart "precision" bombing was an essential part of marketing war, matched only by the endless airing of images portraying every detail of the new kind of high-tech war without victims, that is, war won without unjust death. Informational hegemony preceded political hegemony. In effect, as in the Gulf War, Operation Enduring Freedom was less a contest between militarized adversaries - all the more so as the Taliban simply disbanded and blended into the countryside - and more one between the U.S.-led corporate-military-media elite and the West's voting general public. Real war (experienced there) was displaced by virtual war (consumed here). As in the Gulf War, hence, a central element was achieving "social control by collective stupefaction" through the manufacturing and scripting of an endless stream of consumable spectacles made possible by the advanced telecommunication technologies of the late twentieth-century. My purpose in the book is to meticulously and empirically resuscitate the infectious - the pain, the real contact with the terrible, agonizing, brutal reality of everyday life in Afghanistan after the U.S invasion – and dissolve the scripted spectacles.25

The ferocity and barbarity of modernity's obsession to control is experienced daily by common Afghans, whereas here in the United States the U.S. invasion and war is consumed as spectacle, a conflation of image and reality, that is, as the Baudrillardian hyper-reality where image no longer represents reality. Here, the war is consumed as an electronic, pre-programmed one, fought on the television screen. News media information is pre-meditated deception, train everyone in the unconditional reception of broadcast simulacra. Abolish any intelligence of the event. The result is a suffocating atmosphere of deception and stupidity. And if people are vaguely aware of being caught up in this appeasement and this delusion by images, they swallow the deception and remain fascinated by the evidence of the montage of...war with which we are inoculated everywhere: through the eyes, the senses and in discourse.26

Viewers consumed the highly edited, constructed images of the Gulf War as the real. Baudrillard also argued that the totally lopsided casualties revealed the U.S being engaged in a high-tech virtual war - causing widespread destruction and pain - while the Iraqis in 1991 tried to fight a 'traditional' one with its attendant risks.27 The two efforts never connected. I have argued elsewhere that the U.S. bombing, invasion, and occupation of Afghanistan represents a repeat media spectacle.28 Such disconnect between real and image also characterizes how Afghanistan's reconstruction is represented - also my concern herein - when in fact the place's primary function is as an empty space.

I realize that my argument will be deeply offensive to many – from the U.S and Spanish militaries' Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs), to the United Nations development establishment (UNAMA) cheerleaders, to the community of NGOs, to the sundry do-gooders and to the 'Cruise Missile Left' (the humanitarian interventionists so well-represented in Kabul29 ). The beauty of the argument is that it explains so much - presenting a coherent whole - of what we have seen and continue to observe in Afghanistan. Laments and mea culpas about U.S. "nation-building on the cheap" or about the U.S. "forgetting Afghanistan" by late 2002 entirely miss the entire point – empty space on the cheap...let poppies bloom and find other (gullible) nations to do the heavy lifting and dig a few wells while getting shot at by the Taliban. My argument is constructed and based upon revealed outcomes – or circumstantial evidence – as nowhere would any of the powerful decision-makers or their lackeys in media and academe publicly admit that Afghanistan is to be an empty space.

In effect, the sole value of Afghanistan is its space, pure and simple. Since only an empty space is involved, the implication is that such will be policed and maintained at least cost. Unlike in the colonies of the nineteenth century or the newly independent Third World nations after World War II, little will be done to develop economic activity or infrastructure, a reality compounded insofar as Afghanistan offers neither resources nor a market. But the country does offer a pure space from which to project power and influence. In that sense, at a time when First World country finances are strained, the country represents the ideal neo-colony of the twenty-first century: an empty space to be operated at least cost.

Least-cost considerations by the US and NATO militaries directly translates into tens of thousands of Afghan civilian casualties. How? During the initial phases of the U.S. bombing campaign but still today, U.S. warplanes dropped powerful bombs in civilian-rich areas with little concern for Afghan civilians. The killing of civilians by the United States has long been excused away as "tragic errors." The U.S/NATO war managers dredge out the tired old "intent" argument. As Edward Herman noted, is claimed by the war managers that these deaths and injuries are not deliberate, but are only "collateral" to another end, they are treated by the mainstream media, NGOs, new humanitarians, and others as a lesser evil than cases where civilians are openly targeted. But this differential treatment is a fraud, even if we accept the sometimes disputable claim of inadvertence (occasionally even acknowledged by officials to be false, as described below). Even if not the explicit target, if collateral civilian deaths are highly probable and statistically predictable they are clearly acceptable and intentional. If in 500 raids on Afghan villages alleged to harbor al Qaeda cadres it is likely that civilians will die in 450 of them, those deaths are an integral component of the plan and the clear responsibility of the planners and executioners. As law professor Michael Tonry has said, "In the criminal law, purpose and knowledge are equally culpable states of mind."30

As of 2003, another explanatory factor entered: by relying upon flawed "actionable ground intelligence" and imprecise aerial mapping – necessary given the lack of intelligence gathering capabilities on the ground - the violent US/NATO occupation forces have shown their utter disregard for the lives of the Afghan people (note the language I am employing is precisely the mantra of the US/NATO military propagandists when speaking about the Taliban – namely, "By hiding among innocent civilians, by waging a battle among women and children, the violent extremists have shown their utter disregard for the lives of the Afghan people," spoken recently by U.S. Army spokesman major Chris Belcher).31

Aerial bombing in the name of liberating Afghans will continue with little regard for Afghan civilians who for the Western politico-military elites remain simply invisible in the empty space which is Afghanistan.32 The compliant mainstream media perpetuates the myth by serving as stenographer of the Pentagon's virtual reality. When details of Afghan civilian deaths leak through the US/NATO news management efforts, a Lt. Colonel offers "sincere regrets" or the promise of an investigation and by tomorrow all is forgotten. They are, after all, just Afghans. Theirs are bad bodies, not good bodies like ours. But for now six years, I have striven to exhume these bodies of innocent Afghans and today the constantly updated, The Afghan Victim Memorial Project, tells their stories.33


While some debate might exist as to whether NATO and the U.S. are "loosing" the war in Afghanistan, what is beyond doubt is that the U.S/NATO attempt to maintain Afghanistan as an "empty space" at least cost, has utterly failed. But, in the absence of an equivalent to the Stinger missile, today's Afghan resistance can at best reach the current military stalemate.34 The Soviets did not lose the Afghan war militarily but rather because of domestic politics resulting from the decade-long stalemate.35

Afghanistan's space is increasingly filled with "insurgents", poppies, criminality, mercenaries, state executions, warlords instead of theocrats, soaring corruption and violence, a revitalized resistance, and spiraling cost of the U.S occupation in monetary (over $100 million a day or $ 46,400 per minute during fiscal year 200736 ) and body terms.37 The prospect of NATO's demise looms as member nations differ over what is to be done in Afghanistan.38 Noted historian of modern wars, Gwynne Dyer is more emphatic: "Afghanistan – A War Won and Lost."39 Michael Scheuer, author of the acclaimed book, Imperial Hubris, noted "History Overtakes Optimism in Afghanistan."40 If this is a success story, one wonders what failure might look like.

Let me close with the words of two persons: those of a major architect of U.S. interventions abroad during the last quarter of the twentieth century, Henry Kissinger, who famously said

The conventional army loses if it does not win,
the guerrilla wins if he does not lose.

And those of a Taliban commander interviewed in the border region of Afghanistan- Pakistan by a British journalist. No doubt, the Talib had in mind both the 120,000 Soviet troops bogged-down in the Afghan stalemate during the 1980's and the legendary patience of the Pashtuns. He looked down at the impressive icon of modernity, a Rolex watch worn by the Englishman and said

You have the watches, but we have the time.41

Al-Qaeda aims for a long war according to veteran CIA analyst Mike Scheuer.42 What use are the "watches" of the Spanish Legion in the Afghan swamp of faraway Badghis where time is pre-modern, non-linear? In a place far away from our television liquid plasma screens where the war has already been lost?


1. Further details may be found in "American Journalists War Correspondents in the War in Spain." A journalist and author in civilian life, Edmond Taylor served in India as the chief American representative on P Division before becoming Detachment 404 Intelligence Officer in 1945. (Source: US National Archives). Taylor who became a major figure in the amateur spy organization which straddled the world during the war, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the ancestor of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), has been memorialized at length in the book by R. Harris Smith, OSS: The Secret History of America's First Central Intelligence Agency (University of California Press, 1972).

2. Peter Singer of the Brookings Institution first called Karzai "the mayor of Kabul during daylight hours" in October 2002.

3. See my "A Dossier on Civilian Victims of United States' Aerial Bombing of Afghanistan: A Comprehensive Accounting," ZNet (December 2001).

4. In his "Checking on Civilian Casualties," Washington Post (April 9, 2002) cited in Edward S. Herman, "'Tragic Errors' in U.S. Military Policy. Targeting the civilian population," Z Magazine 15, 8 (September 2002).

5. Jim Michaels, "U.S. Pulls Plug on 6 Al-Qaeda Media Outlets," USA Today (October 6, 2007).

6. "NATO handicapped by its "stone age" media skills in Afghanistan," Deutsche Press Agentur (October 8, 2007).

7. See the chapter in the book, "Grab News Headlines, Isolate Bombed Area and Stonewall: U.S. Military's Virtual Reality about Afghan Civilian Casualties: A Case Study of the U.S. Assault upon Hajiyan."

8. "Hosseini Condemns Arrest of Press TV Reporter in Afghanistan," IRNA News (October 9, 2007).

9. Justin Raimundo, "Delusions of Empire. The epistemology of imperialism – the problem with you peaceniks is that you're too 'reality-based'!" (October 20, 2004).

10. Hani Shukrallah, "Operation Enduring Madness," Al-Ahram Weekly Online [11 - 17 October 2001].

11. The Qala-e-Naw PRT is run by a brigade of the Spanish Legion. Its facilities are also home to a Spanish Air Force Immediate Reaction Force and paratroopers. The on-site airfield can land C-130 Hercules and service Cougar and Chinook helicopters. The Qala-e-Naw PRT has contributed a number of projects to the district including an access bridge into the district capital, construction of water mains and potable water infrastructure, partial electrification, and a 54km-long road connecting Qala and Herat via the Sabsak pass.

12. "Spain's Military Presence in Afghanistan Increased."

13. Nick Meo, "A Frontier Too Far," The Independent (July 27, 2004).

14. David Rohde, "New Tactic in Afghanistan has Old Ring," International Herald Tribune (March 31, 2004).

15. John Chuckman, "The Nonsense of Nation-Building in Afghanistan: the Parable of the Hatchet or the Nonsense of Nation-Building in Afghanistan," (March 10, 2006).

16. Naturally in the midst of this, a few organizations (and individuals) genuinely try and do succeed in making life better for the common people - for example, the hospital run by the Italian N.G.O., Emergency in Kabul comes to mind, the wonderful work on de-mining carried out by a number of NGO's, the vaccination campaigns administered by the United Nations, the emergency food supplies of the World Food Program, the projects of Oxfam, BRAC, DACCAR, and RAWA, etc.

17. Katherine Viner, "Feminism as Imperialism. George Bush is not the first empire-builder to wage war in the name of women," The Guardian (September 21, 2002).

18. Tamim Ansary, "Leaping to Conclusions. Well-meaning observers are making dangerous assumptions about Afghan women and their goals for the future," (December 17, 2001).

19. For an interesting, balanced, first-hand description see Pankaj Mishra, "The Real Afghanistan," The New York Review of Books 52, 4 (March 10, 2005).

20. Admirably put by Dan McDougall, "'The new Afghanistan is a myth. It's time to go get a job abroad'," The Observer (February 5, 2006).

21. Dick Bernard, "9-11 Was Excuse To Go To 'War'," Minneapolis Star-Tribune (April 20, 2002).

22. Well analyzed in Stephen D. Biddle, "Allies, Airpower, and Modern Warfare: The Afghan Model in Afghanistan and Iraq," International Security 30, 3 (Winter 2005-6): 161-176, Richard B. Andres, "Winning with Allies" The Strategic Value of the Afghan Model," International Security 30, 3 (Winter 2005-6): 124-160, and in Max Boot, "Special Forces and Horses," Armed Forces Journal(November 2006).

23. Elaborated upon and critiqued in Philip Hammond, "Postmodernity Goes to War Contemporary Warfare is more about Images and Effects than Bombs and Battles," Spiked Essays (June 1, 2004).

24. Stephen Pohl, "Review of The Gulf War did not take Place," Contemporary Sociology 26, 2 (March 1997): 139.

25. As a footnote, of course, one should hardly be surprised that the anti-virtual, live-reporting from Afghanistan during the initial U.S. bombing assault by Al Jazeera's correspondents – foremost by Taysir Alluni – provoked rage in the Pentagon, the State Department, and the complicit mainstream corporate media.

26. Jean Baudrillard, The Gulf War Did Not Take Place (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995). See also his "Jean Baudrillard. The Spirit of Terrorism," Le Monde (November 2, 2001), and Binoy Kampmark, "Wars that Never Take Place: Non-events, 9/11 and Wars on Terrorism," Australian Humanities Review (May 2003).

27. Baudrillard (1995), op. cit.: 69.

28. In numerous essays upon Afghanistan, collected in "Archivistan" at See also Pepe Escobar, "Power, Counter-Power, Part 2: The Fractal War," Asia Times (February 7, 2002), and my "War as an 'Edsel': The Marketing and Consumption of Modern American Wars" (Durham: keynote address at conference 'Teaching Peace,' April 1, 2005).

29. After the failed hunt to capture bin Laden "dead or alive," the United States fell back upon justifying the bombing and intervention in Afghanistan upon "humanitarian grounds," namely deposing the repressive Taliban. Many NGOs – including liberal organizations quickly came to support the U.S. intervention (see Walden Bello, "Humanitarian Intervention: Evolution of a Dangerous Doctrine," Focus on the Global South (January 19, 2006). On the Cruise Missile Left, see Edward S. Herman, "The Cruise Missile Left. Aligning with Power," Z Magazine (November 2002).

30. See Herman (2002), op. cit.

31. "Afghan Civilians Killed in Fresh Fighting," Reuters 8:25 AM EDT, October 5, 2007.

32. Dahr Jamail and Tom Engelhardt, "An Increasingly Aerial Occupation," (December 14, 2005).

33. See the memorial here.

34. David Rohde, "Bloody Stalemate over south Afghanistan," New York Times (September 2, 2007) and Andrew C. Schneider, "Afghanistan Stalemate," Kiplinger Business Resource Center (October 5, 2007).

35. As argued by Cold War scholar, Mark Kramer, "Surprise! The Soviets Nearly Won the Afghan War," Los Angeles Times (December 26, 2004).

36. Based upon Congressional Research Service data reported in Winslow T. Wheeler, "The Costs of the Afghanistan War," Counterpunch (August 29, 2007).

37. Superbly summarized by Seumas Milne, "How can this bloody failure be regarded as a good war? The western occupation of Afghanistan has brought neither peace nor development – and it fuels the terror threat," The Guardian (August 23, 2007),and in John Ward Anderson, "Emboldened Taliban Reflected in More Attacks, Greater Reach," (September 25, 2007), p. A11.

38. A perusal of recent newspaper articles tells the story: James G. Neuger, "NASTO Staggers in Afghanistan as Some Can't Fight On," (October 8, 2007) from New York City; and Tom Coughlan, "Afghanistan 'Putting NATO's Future in Peril'," The Independent (October 8, 2007) from London.

39. Gwynne Dyer, "Afghanistan – A War Won and Lost," New Zealand Herald (October 12, 2007).

40. In Terrorism Focus (Jamestown Foundation) 3, 6 (February 14, 2006).

41.H.D.S. Greenway, "In Mideast, Time is not on America's Side," Boston Globe (February 27, 2004), from my essay, "The Taliban's Second Coming," (February 29, 2004). In a book examining the U.S. pacification campaign – winning hearts and minds - in Vietnam, Richard Hunt argued that pacification slowly succeeded in rooting out the Viet Cong, but it had taken too long and cost too much for the American public (Richard A. Hunt, Pacification: The American Struggle for Vietnam's Hearts and Minds (Boulder: Westview Press, 1995).

42.Michael Scheuer, "Al-Qaeda's Insurgency Doctrine: Aiming for a 'Long War'," Terrorism in Focus 3, 8 (February 28, 2006).


Professor Marc Herold's Afghan Canon


Afghanistan as an Empty Space