Magazine June 8, 2009, Issue

Trust the Afghan Army

A 'new approach' that will work

Along the Durand Line, Northeast Afghanistan —

The view from the Karir Pass on the Durand Line separating Afghanistan from Pakistan is spectacular. To the west, a river meanders toward the city of Jalalabad. To the east, Pakistani towns lie amidst emerald green swaths of farmland that stretch to the horizon. I am accompanying Lt. Col. Mark O’Donnell, commander of the 1st Battalion of the 32nd Infantry Regiment, and his scout platoon on a visit to the Pakistani outpost, 100 miles northeast of Kabul. Although their post has a panoramic view, the Pakistani soldiers say they haven’t challenged anyone crossing

Bing West, a bestselling author and former assistant secretary of defense, served as a Marine grunt in Vietnam and later as a dean at the Naval War College.

In This Issue

Articles

Politics & Policy

Trust the Afghan Army

Along the Durand Line, Northeast Afghanistan — The view from the Karir Pass on the Durand Line separating Afghanistan from Pakistan is spectacular. To the west, a river meanders toward ...
Politics & Policy

The Parent Problem

In late March, the Urban League issued its 2009 “State of Black America” report, which declared that “African Americans remain twice as likely as whites to be unemployed, three times ...

Features

Politics & Policy

Dunce Cap-and-Trade

Democrats in the White House and Congress are now making the most serious push ever for legislation to force reductions of U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions. The stated purpose is to reduce ...

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

Of Beauty and Loss

Late in 1914 four young Englishmen, just out of school, met and decided it was their mission to reform their country morally, through poetry. The odds of this quixotic enterprise’s ...
Politics & Policy

The Hot Seat

This brisk history of the Supreme Court’s constitutional decisions contains much that is admirable and interesting. Nevertheless, the main lesson advanced by the book has been commonplace at least since ...
Politics & Policy

Shelf Life

The problems of mainline Protestantism in our time — the collapse of what used to be called “the Protestant Establishment” — can make for depressing reading, so it helps that ...
Politics & Policy

Waste Watching

There are very few directors in Hollywood — below the Steven Spielberg league, that is — who can make absolutely any film they want. Consider Ron Howard and Steven Soderbergh, ...
The Straggler

Office Manners

The question going round the dinner table was: Do you have any secret pleasures of a mentionable kind? The subsequent confessions displayed various degrees of weirdness: the lady who sings ...

Sections

Politics & Policy

Letters

For the Birds In the picture accompanying Richard Brookhiser’s most recent column (“Bright Wings,” May 25), the bird identified as a phoebe is a phoebe. The bird identified as a crow, ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ This vice-president, by nature, cannot be in an undisclosed location. ‐ Dick Cheney is the madwoman in the attic, the crazy voice that Republicans ought to stifle. So says the ...
The Long View

Ask Nancy Pelosi

The Speaker of the House responds to your questions. Dear Nancy: I’m a long-time reader, first-time writer. I’ve loved your work in the House of Representatives and have been reading your column ...
Politics & Policy

Postcard From Hubbard Hall

The actresses here fit their parts. Mother, daughter, student, nurse. This play concerns a farm In decline. The barn roof collapses. Chickens die, mysteriously. Gwen plays a concerned daughter. The farmer’s daughter: You know all the jokes. I want to act the traveling salesman, driving, ...
Happy Warrior

Raw Deal

Well, the Speaker has resigned. No, not Nancy Pelosi, but Michael Martin, Speaker of the House of Commons at Westminster. It’s seven-and-a-half centuries since Sir Peter de Montfort served as ...

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

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As expected, President Trump selected Amy Coney Barrett as his third nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, and now the Judicial Branch Ragnarök and Related Festival of Catholic-Bashing is upon us. Senate Democrats could argue that based upon Barrett’s past decisions, they don’t agree with her legal ... Read More
Law & the Courts

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As expected, President Trump selected Amy Coney Barrett as his third nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, and now the Judicial Branch Ragnarök and Related Festival of Catholic-Bashing is upon us. Senate Democrats could argue that based upon Barrett’s past decisions, they don’t agree with her legal ... Read More
Elections

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The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg has clarified what is at stake in the 2020 election. It is not, as some believe, democracy itself. Nor is it, as others assume, our continued existence as a nation. Democracy will survive Donald Trump, and the United States of America will outlast Joe Biden. The question that 2020 ... Read More
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The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg has clarified what is at stake in the 2020 election. It is not, as some believe, democracy itself. Nor is it, as others assume, our continued existence as a nation. Democracy will survive Donald Trump, and the United States of America will outlast Joe Biden. The question that 2020 ... Read More
Law & the Courts

On Judge Barrett, Let’s Tell the Truth

Once when I was a kid, my dad held up three fingers and asked, “Does this two look like a three?” Little did I know that this attempted sleight of hand would become a regular feature of the process for appointing federal judges. Watch for it in the days ahead as the Senate considers President Donald Trump’s ... Read More
Law & the Courts

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Once when I was a kid, my dad held up three fingers and asked, “Does this two look like a three?” Little did I know that this attempted sleight of hand would become a regular feature of the process for appointing federal judges. Watch for it in the days ahead as the Senate considers President Donald Trump’s ... Read More