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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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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