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WaPo Slants Afghan News with Biased News Header

On October 27, the Washington Post reported on the resignation of Matthew Hoh, a top U.S. official in Afghanistan, in protest of the U.S. war, noting that Hoh had come to believe that the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan was simply fueling the insurgency.

But the editors of the Washington Post are still slanting their news coverage in a way that promotes the assumption that the United States is "combating extremism," rather than fueling extremism.

Stories on the Washington Post website about what the U.S. is doing in Afghanistan and Pakistan - including the story on Hoh's resignation - are introduced by a "header" that says:

"The AfPak War
Combating Extremism in Afghanistan and Pakistan"

In using this header on news articles about U.S. policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Washington Post editors are skewing the news, reinforcing an assumption that Matthew Hoh and other critics of the war are trying to challenge, that U.S. policy is combating extremism.

Not only does the Post's "combating extremism" header reinforce the assumption that the U.S. is "combating extremism," the "AfPak War" designation also reinforces the assumption that Afghanistan and Pakistan are "one theater" of conflict. In particular, it promotes the assumption that the war in Afghanistan is justified on the basis of promoting stability in Pakistan. Many Afghans and Pakistanis, as well as critics of the Afghanistan war, see this assumption as false, counterproductive and even offensive.

JFP News 11/4: Zelaya Asks Clinton to Clarify U.S. Position on Coup

Just Foreign Policy News
November 4, 2009


Joint Chiefs: Don't Mess With Dwell Time
The Joint Chiefs have urged President Obama not to send new troops to Afghanistan unless they have spent 12 months in the U.S. That may disappoint Fred Kagan, who wants new troops in place for the "spring fighting season." But the U.N.'s Kai Eide has a better idea for the "spring fighting season": let's give it a miss.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/392

NoEscalation.org: Help Us Push and Track Congress on Afghanistan Escalation
No decision has been announced. Call Members of Congress, ask where they stand, and report the results.
http://NoEscalation.org

Support the Work of Just Foreign Policy
Your financial contributions to Just Foreign Policy help us create opportunities for Americans to advocate for a just foreign policy.
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U.S./Top News

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Joint Chiefs: Don't Mess With Dwell Time

If you think there's a house-on-fire emergency demanding that President Obama send 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan right away (is your name Fred Kagan?) you don't just have a problem with President Barack Obama. You have a problem with the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

At a White House meeting Friday, the Joint Chiefs of Staff urged President Barack Obama to send fresh troops to Afghanistan only if they have spent at least a year in the U.S. since their last overseas tour, according to people familiar with the matter. If Mr. Obama agreed to that condition, many potential Afghanistan reinforcements wouldn't be available until next summer at the earliest.

A recent study by the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington think tank, concluded that the U.S. has only three Army and Marine brigades - about 11,000 to 15,000 troops - capable of deploying to Afghanistan this year after spending at least 12 months back in the U.S.

Note that, by law, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff "is the principal military adviser to the President."

Like every other patriotic American, I want to support our troops. If the Joint Chiefs say our troops need twelve months at home before being sent to Afghanistan, I think we better do what they say.

The rise is military suicides is a key issue driving the Joint Chiefs' concern:

Army officials say the strain of repeated deployments with minimal time back in the U.S. is one of the biggest factors fueling the rise in military suicides.

JFP News 11/3 - Joint Chiefs: Repeated Deployments Fueling Suicides

Just Foreign Policy News
November 3, 2009


Obama's Decision on More Troops to "Someone Else's Civil War"
In his letter of resignation, Matthew Hoh wrote, "I fail to see the value ... in continuous U.S. casualties or expenditures of resources in support of the Afghan government in what is, truly, a 35-year old civil war." A prominent American agrees: "It's time to admit that no amount of American lives can resolve the political disagreement that lies at the heart of someone else's civil war." That was Senator Barack Obama, announcing his candidacy for President in Springfield, Illinois, on February 10, 2007. A search through the New York Times and the Washington Post for the last 12 months turns up exactly one article mentioning the idea that there is a civil war in Afghanistan: the Post article on Hoh's resignation.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/389

NoEscalation.org: Help Us Push and Track Congress on Afghanistan Escalation
No decision has been announced. Call Members of Congress, ask where they stand, and report the results.
http://NoEscalation.org

Rethink Afghanistan: "Congressman Alan Grayson on Afghanistan"

"I think that the aid program is a fig leaf to try to make Congress and the American people feel better about war...I think the basic premise that we can alter Afghan society is fatally flawed…everywhere you go, people want to be left alone. And that's the best foreign policy of all: just to leave people alone."
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVLJUUgIOv4

Veterans Brock McIntosh & Rick Reyes on Afghanistan

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JFP News 11/2: Media Buries Afghan Civil War

Just Foreign Policy News
November 2, 2009


Obama's Decision on More Troops to "Someone Else's Civil War"
In his letter of resignation, Matthew Hoh wrote, "I fail to see the value ... in continuous U.S. casualties or expenditures of resources in support of the Afghan government in what is, truly, a 35-year old civil war." A prominent American agrees: "It's time to admit that no amount of American lives can resolve the political disagreement that lies at the heart of someone else's civil war." That was Senator Barack Obama, announcing his candidacy for President in Springfield, Illinois, on February 10, 2007. A search through the New York Times and the Washington Post for the last 12 months turns up exactly one article mentioning the idea that there is a civil war in Afghanistan: the Post article on Hoh's resignation.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/389

NoEscalation.org: Help Us Push and Track Congress on Afghanistan Escalation
No decision has been announced. Call Members of Congress, ask where they stand, and report the results.
http://NoEscalation.org

Jon Stewart Interview with Anna Baltzer and Mustafa Barghouti

The Daily Show introduces Jewish-Palestinian cooperation for Palestinian human rights to television-watching America.
http://www.indecisionforever.com/2009/10/29/jon-stewarts-extended-interview-with-anna-baltzer-and-mustafa-barghouti/

Malalai Joya and the Tale of 2 CNNs

CNN US objects to Joya's reference to the US "occupation" of Afghanistan, but CNN International has no problem with it.

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Obama's Decision on More Troops to "Someone Else's Civil War"

On October 27, the Washington Post reported the resignation of Matthew Hoh, a top U.S. civilian official in Afghanistan, in protest of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. Hoh charged that "the United States is asking its troops to die in Afghanistan for what is essentially a far-off civil war," the Post reported. In his letter of resignation, Hoh wrote,

"I fail to see the value ... in continuous U.S. casualties or expenditures of resources in support of the Afghan government in what is, truly, a 35-year old civil war."

"The Pashtun insurgency," Hoh asserted, "is fed by what is perceived by the Pashtun people as a continued and sustained assault, going back centuries, on Pashtun land, culture, traditions and religion by internal and external enemies. The U.S. and NATO presence and operations in Pashtun valleys and villages, as well as Afghan army and police units that are led and composed of non-Pashtun soldiers and police, provide an occupation force against which the insurgency is justified."

The appearance in mainstream U.S. media of the credible assertion that the United States is intervening militarily on one side in another country's civil war, especially a conflict with an ethnic character, might be expected to have a significant impact on public perceptions of whether continuation of U.S. military involvement was justified. One of the great political and media debates of 2006-7 was whether the United States was involved in a civil war in Iraq.

JFP 10/30: Deal in Honduras to Restore President Zelaya

Just Foreign Policy News
October 30, 2009


NoEscalation.org: Help Us Push and Track Congress on Afghanistan Escalation
Help us by calling Members of Congress, asking where they stand, and reporting the results. You can also post press clips documenting Congressional opposition to the war.
http://NoEscalation.org

Support the Work of Just Foreign Policy
Your financial contributions to Just Foreign Policy help us create opportunities for Americans to advocate for a just foreign policy.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/donate.html

Summary:
U.S./Top News
1) Senator Levin - chair of Senate Armed Services - says sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan could backfire, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Levin suggested expansion of the U.S. combat presence would aid Taliban efforts to portray the U.S. as a foreign occupier.

JFP News 10/29: US Intervenes in Afghan Civil War

Just Foreign Policy News
October 29, 2009


NoEscalation.org: Help Us Push and Track Congress on Afghanistan Escalation
Help us by calling Members of Congress, asking where they stand, and reporting the results. You can also post press clips documenting Congressional opposition to the war.
http://NoEscalation.org

Support the Work of Just Foreign Policy
Your financial contributions to Just Foreign Policy help us create opportunities for Americans to advocate for a just foreign policy.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/donate.html

Summary:
U.S./Top News
1) Anti-war activists have seized on U.S. Foreign Service officer Matthew Hoh's resignation to make their case against the war in Afghanistan, NPR reports. "He's challenging fundamental premises of the war. He's not just saying this is going badly. He's saying what we are doing doesn't make sense," said Robert Naiman of Just Foreign Policy. The Hoh letter suggests that the U.S. is essentially intervening in an ongoing civil war in Afghanistan, Naiman said.

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JFP 10/28: Congress Members Demand End of Mixed Messages on Honduras Coup

Just Foreign Policy News
October 28, 2009


NoEscalation.org: Help Us Push and Track Congress on Afghanistan Escalation
Help us by calling Members of Congress, asking where they stand, and reporting the results. You can also post press clips documenting Congressional opposition to the war.
http://NoEscalation.org

Matthew Hoh: Q&A
The Washington Post ran an online Q&A with Matthew Hoh, a former Foreign Service officer who resigned in protest over the Afghan war, to discuss why he thought the war "wasn't worth the fight."
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2009/10/27/DI2009102703143.html

Congress Members Denounce Mixed US Messages on Honduras Coup
Rep. Raul Grijalva and 15 Members of Congress have written to President Obama, urging him to end the de facto policy of mixed messages regarding the coup in Honduras.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/384

Kerry, Berman Protest Law Library Report Justifying Honduras Coup

Senator Kerry and Rep. Berman have written a letter of protest to the Librarian of Congress over a Law Library of Congress report that sought to justify the coup in Honduras.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/385

Support the Work of Just Foreign Policy
Your financial contributions to Just Foreign Policy help us create opportunities for Americans to advocate for a just foreign policy.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/donate.html

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Kerry, Berman Protest Law Library Report Justifying Honduras Coup

Senator Kerry - chair of Senate Foreign Relations - and Rep. Berman - chair of House International Relations - have written a letter of protest to the Librarian of Congress over a Law Library of Congress report that sought to justify the coup in Honduras.

Kerry and Berman request that the Law Library of Congress withdraw the report and issue a corrected version, noting that the report "has contributed to the political crisis...contains factual errors and is based on a flawed legal analysis..."

The letter is published here.