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 The War in Context
   alternative perspectives on the "war on terrorism"

Losing the peace?
Michael Massing, The Nation, May 13, 2002

America's political staff in [Afghanistan] is dwarfed by its military and intelligence presence. Embassy officials do not generally circulate in the capital, making it hard for them to monitor, much less shape, events on the ground. Symbolizing the sense of removal is the forbidding eight-foot steel fence going up around the embassy perimeter. While the barrier reflects genuine security concerns, it seems to embody America's disengagement from the messy business of creating a stable Afghan state.

Most Afghans, I found, feel deep gratitude for America's role in ousting the Taliban and banishing Al Qaeda. But they also worry that Washington is losing interest in their country. Over and over, Bush has said that the United States, having abandoned Afghanistan once, will not do so again. On April 17 the President recommitted America to helping rebuild Afghanistan. Invoking the Marshall Plan, he vowed to stay engaged "until the mission is done." It's a welcome statement. But the President pledged no new resources for the job. What's more, during my stay I found little evidence that the United States has the necessary will, or skill, to address Afghanistan's profound political and economic problems.
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September 11 and the declaration of a "war on terrorism," has forced Americans to look at the World in a new light. No one can afford any longer to define the limits of their concerns by refusing to look beyond this nation's borders. If the freedom that every American cherishes, is not to become a freedom bound within a fortress, then every American will need to understand and respect the needs and concerns of the rest of the World. To this end, The War in Context invites anyone with interest and an open mind to listen to the critical discourse in which the policies and actions of the Bush administration are now being questioned. This debate, which is engaging inquiring minds inside and outside America, will hopefully inform the development of a sustainable new world order - a world order in which America is as much shaped by the World as is the World shaped by America.