[January 31, 2018:  This article was published in 2008. While some of the details have been overtaken by events, the main thrust of the argument has not changed a bit.  Keeping troops in Afghanistan for 16 years by now, with no end in sight, seems so palpably contrary to American interests that we must ask whether the U.S. Government has an unstated motive.  By far the most plausible such motive is that the Israel Lobby wants us to keep our troops in Afghanistan to put pressure on Iran and to provide bases in the event of a war against Iran.  In turn, the power of the Israel Lobby and the consequent possibility of war against Iran motivate the U.S. military to seek to remain.  The cost of the war has climbed well beyond $1 trillion.  Thousands of American soldiers have been needlessly killed, and thousands more maimed.]

According to media reports, American commanders in Afghanistan are asking for 5-10,000 troops above the 4,000 approved for deployment and the 10,500-12,000 already requested–for a total of up to 26,000. 32,000 are currently in Afghanistan. Overshadowed by the elections and global financial crisis, this proposed major escalation is moving ahead with little debate. And it is not a temporary ”surge”; the generals are seeking these new troop levels for the duration of the war, however many years that may involve.
Before we make this move, a weighing of pros and cons would appear to be in order. Continue reading »

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saffronThe Afghan Herbal Medicines for Addiction and Depression project will conduct clinical trials of promising herbal medicines drawn from Afghanistan’s high-potential medicinal and aromatic plants (MAP) sector, in keeping with traditional Unani medicine. Addiction (overwhelmingly from opiates) and depression (some from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from the horrors of Afghanistan’s wars, and some from mistreatment of women) represent especially salient targets, and they possess worldwide importance. Unani herbal medicines have been reported in preliminary Iranian clinical studies to be effective and safe in these indications, and they possess certain advantages over synthetic drugs. However, thorough, scientific, multicenter trials need to be done. Continue reading »

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