Ted Rall

Articles by this author

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Saturday, August 28, 2010
Nine Years Later, Afghanistan Looks Much the Same: A Mess
HERAT, Afghanistan -- OK. The roads are impressive. Specifically, the fact that they exist. When the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001, more than two decades of civil conflict had left the country bereft of basic infrastructure. Roads, bridges and tunnels had been bombed and mined. What didn't blow up got ground down by tanks. Maintenance? Don't be funny.
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Thursday, August 26, 2010
Chase Bank and Obama's "Make Home Affordable" Scam
SOMEWHERE IN AFGHANISTAN--It isn't surprising, what with the world falling apart and all, that the world scarcely noticed that I lost my job as an editor in April 2009. Why should it? I was one of millions of Americans who lost their job that month. But it mattered to me. It wasn't all bad. No more early morning commutes. And no more Lisa. Lisa was my boss. My mean boss. My mean and crazy boss. In the long run, I stand to save thousands of dollars on therapy.
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Monday, August 23, 2010
Islamo-Gangsterism: In a Deteriorating Afghanistan, a New Breed of Terror
KABUL -- "In squads of roaring dirt bikes and armed to the teeth," Joshua Partlow reports in The Washington Post, "Taliban fighters are spreading like a brush fire into remote and defenseless villages across northern Afghanistan." Two other cartoonists and I were a day away from heading to Faryab--a remote, rural, Uzbek-dominated province in the northwest known for its brutally entertaining matches of buzkashi--when Partlow's piece appeared. He described a phenomenon that deploys novel tactics out of a bizarre 1970s action flick.
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Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Nine Years Later, Afghan City is Buzzing But Still Menacing
TALOQAN, AFGHANISTAN -- Nine years ago, when I was using this provincial Afghan capital as a base to cover the battle of Kunduz, Taloqan was a dangerous place with medieval charm. Donkey carts and horse-drawn carriages, their steeds decked out with red pom-poms, plied muddy ruts that passed as roads. The only motorized transport belonged to Western NGOs. Commerce consisted of a few sad huts you'd recognize as primitive convenience stores and an outdoor bazaar where 90 percent of economic activity was attributable to sales of opium paste.
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Tuesday, August 03, 2010
Thanks to WikiLeaker, Afghan War Will End Soon
MUMBAI--"An appalling irresponsible act." That's how General James Nattis, fresh at the helm of U.S. Central Command, characterizes the release of more than 76,000 classified Pentagon reports released by the website WikiLeaks.
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Thursday, July 29, 2010
How US Ignorance Helped Doom the Afghan War
Americans' lack of knowledge about Afghanistan is virtually limitless. Which matters, because the U.S. is at war there. And which explains why the American military is losing its longest war. During my 2001 trip, where I covered the Taliban defeat at the Battle of Kunduz for the Village Voice and KFI radio, I met a British reporter who offered an amusing prescription for American military action. "If the average American cannot identify three cities in a country," he suggested, "the U.S. should not invade it."
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Thursday, July 22, 2010
Protofascism Comes to America: The Rise of the Tea Party
Is the Tea Party racist? Democrats who play liberals on TV say it isn't. Vice President Joe Biden says the Tea Party "is not a racist organization" per se, but allows that "at least elements that were involved in some of the Tea Party folks expressed racist views." Right-wing Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has received permission to form an official Tea Party Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives. It's official. The Tea Party matters.
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Thursday, July 15, 2010
For the Economy, Help Is Not on the Way
TORONTO--Twenty years ago, in 1990, the American economy was in the third year of a deep recession. It was impossible to find a job. The 1980s housing bubble had popped; high-end housing prices in New York City dropped by 80 percent. Then, as now, the president seemed oblivious, aloof and clueless. Two years later, with no recovery in sight, angry voters turned him out of office.
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Wednesday, July 07, 2010
Bipartisan Stupidity on Afghanistan
NEW YORK - As I pack for my return trip to Afghanistan next month, many people are asking me: Why are we losing? What should we do there? The short answer is simple: Afghan resistance forces live there. We don't. Sooner or later, U.S. troops will depart. All the Afghan resistance has to do is wear us down and wait us out. As I have pointed out before, no nation has successfully invaded and occupied any other nation since the 19th century. All occupations ultimately fail. For those who prefer their punditry longwinded, here's a longer answer.
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Friday, June 25, 2010
In Dire Straits, Americans Whimper Instead
PORTLAND, OREGON -- In 1967 animal researchers conducted an interesting experiment. Two sets of dogs were strapped into harnesses and subjected to a series of shocks. The dogs were placed in the same room. The first set of dogs was allowed to perform a task--pushing a panel with their snouts--in order to avoid the shocks. As soon as one dog mastered the shock-avoidance technique, his comrades followed suit. The second group, on the other hand, was placed out of reach from the panel. They couldn't stop the pain. But they watched the actions of the first set.
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