Posts Tagged ‘Afghanistan’

A thin tan line: ‘Tell Spring Not to Come This Year’ shows the seemingly endless struggles of an Afghanistan army unit

April 18, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
April 18, 2015

Tell Spring Not to Come This Year, the new movie that made its North American debut this month at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, shows the travails of a unit in the Afghanistan National Army.

To make the film, co-directors Saeed Taji Farouky and Michael McEvoy embedded with a battalion in the army, which began taking full responsibility for national security in 2014. Thanks to McEvoy, who formally served the United Kingdom in Afghanistan as a liaison between the British and Afghanistan army, the pair had unique access to a group of soldiers and their commander. The men in their film, despite being well-meaning and willing to serve and sacrifice for their nation, struggle to bring security and stability to a land with few national institutions.

At times, Tell Spring Not to Come makes Afghanistan’s deficits seem achingly clear. A caption in the film informs the audience that Afghanistan had never had an official national military until the Western powers that invaded the country in 2002 helped form one the following year. (I found that quite startling.) Early on, an officer gives a speech to his troops about some young soldiers, evidently on leave, who were pulled from their homes and killed by Taliban fighters. Later, as the unit is about to deploy to a combat zone, a soldier tells his commander that the men aren’t afraid, but they are upset about not having been paid for the past nine months.

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We’ve paid the butcher, but for what? Deaths, injuries and financial costs of America’s misadventure in Iraq

August 12, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
Aug. 12, 2014

It turns out that conservative firebrand Laura Ingraham has written off America’s war of choice in Iraq as an exercise in futility. Here’s what she said on a Fox television program on Sunday:

Now Iraq is worse off. I mean, I hate to say that, but Iraq is worse than before we went into Iraq. Christians are gone. There’s no sense of order at all. Saddam Hussein is gone. That’s a good thing, but what’s left? A more emboldened Islamic state. Not contained apparently even by U.S. air strikes.

I hope more Americans start to think seriously about the potential downsides of foreign adventures.

How expensive was this war — and how devastating to the nation we had hoped to uplift? I recently found a few different items that tell the sad tale, including one that ties in to Ingraham’s observation about what I’ll call the de-Christianization of Iraq — a story about Iraq being placed on a list of nations that violate religious freedom.

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One Wondrous Sentence: War and politics

December 13, 2012

This one wondrous sentence, part of a novelist’s lengthy but fast-reading political memoir, succinctly expresses one contrarian liberal’s view of President George W. Bush’s foreign adventures.

At a social gathering following 9/11, I was dismayed that friends to the left of me condemned what I considered George W. Bush’s legitimate military action in Afghanistan, given the complicity of the Taliban in its alliance with al-Qaeda; the war against Iraq, on the other hand (having nothing to do with al-Qaeda or 9/11 or phantom weapons), made me angrier than anything that any American government has done.

Source: Steve Erickson, “I Was a Teenage Conservative,” The American Prospect, Dec. 5, 2012.

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