Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Afghanistan Withdrawal: President Obama gets it right

President Obama announced on May 27th a scaled back plan to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of 2016.  The proposal will reduce the present 32,000 troops to 9,800 by the end of 2014 with final withdrawal by the end of 2016.  The proposal is subject to the approval of a bilateral security agreement (BSA).  The current Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, has refused to sign a BSA, but his probable successors indicate they will sign such an agreement.  

The President’s announcement represents a sharp pull back from the previous plan to retain 10 to 15 thousand U.S. personnel in Afghanistan for ten years.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Sgt. Bergdahl Prisoner Exchange

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was released by the Taliban to the control of U.S. Special Forces on June 1, 2014 after nearly five years of captivity. In exchange the U.S. released five senior Taliban leaders held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  The circumstances of Bergdahl’s capture, the context of a broader U.S. policy to negotiate with the Taliban, and the potential long term repercussions of the exchange are controversial.

Threats to Liberty - Expanding Government

Liberty is the indispensable principle that underpins the uniqueness of the American founding and experience.  Yet, Americans have ceded a great deal of their liberty to government.    The relinquishing of liberty did not come as some feared – surrendering a way of life to the point of a foreign sword.  Rather, it was a gradual abdication of responsibility for one’s own destiny by an increasingly self-indulgent and distracted citizenry to an ever expanding, and increasingly centralized government.