The Emerald City Comes to Afghanistan

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Dan Drezner recounts the joys of scaring the crap out of his undergrads:

My students never believe me when I tell them the myriad ways the United States nearly launched nuclear weapons by accident during the Cuban Missile Crisis. My students never believe me when I tell them that Ronald Reagan sent an inscribed Bible and a cake shaped like a key to Iran as a way to release American hostages held in Lebanon. My students really do turn white as a sheet when I talk about the Eurozone crisis.

That must be a helluva lecture he gives about the eurozone crisis. I think I’m up to speed on the whole thing, but I’ve never turned white as a sheet over it. Maybe I need to sit in on one of Dan’s classes.

Anyway, this turns out to be mostly an excuse to link to Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s piece in the Washington Post about all the useless stuff we built in Afghanistan even though there was no real chance we’d ever use it. According to an inspector general’s report about a $34 million headquarters building in Helmand province, it is “the best constructed building I have seen in my travels to Afghanistan. Unfortunately, it is unused, unoccupied, and presumably will never be used for its intended purpose.” And that’s over and above the $771 million in aircraft that DoD wants to give the Afghans even though they can neither operate nor maintain them. As the bloggers like to say, read the whole thing.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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