I found this article while glancing at Thomas Ricks' blog at FP–It's about the issues that US troops have been facing in Afghanistan with the weapons they're assigned. I've commented on similar micro-level issues before and I think this AP article is pretty closely related, although it focuses more on the US side. I really think framing the issue in the way that the AP does undercuts our ability to understand what the problem is.
This is a topic that I’ll probably expand on later, but I was just reading an article discussing the role of Hamid Karzai’s brother in the present Afghan conflict. This article gets at an issue that I’ve thought about before. From the FP article cited above: But he could not exist without the support of coalition forces. AWK has long worked closely with, and perhaps been paid by, the CIA, for whom he helps operate a paramilitary force, according to press reports. As some of my research interests deal with the role of bureaucratic agencies in foreign policy, I find this particular chunk Continue reading The War We Don’t See
NPR reported a very interesting story this morning on the attempt to steer Afghanistan’s thriving poppy crops away from the opium industry and toward the cosmetic industry. For the past several years, a group of Afghan and foreign businessmen has been trying to offer an alternative, by urging farmers to grow flowers for perfume instead of for drugs. But it has been a frustrating and costly project. See you after the jump.
Academics in all subfields of political science often lament that policy and military failures arise from the lack of communication between policy-makers and the academic community. The recent tragic death of Michael Bhatia highlights some of the issues involved with the tenuous collaboration between those who analyze data and those who generate them, and the sometimes unfortunate consequences. Bhatia was killed on May 7 in an explosion that targeted the American soldiers with whom he had been embedded in Afghanistan. Bhatia had been teaching at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies as well as working on a doctoral degree Continue reading When War and Academia Collide