Why Using Foreign Contractors Helps Prolong Foreign Wars

Farming Out Work to Non-U.S. Employees Fosters Corruption, Hampers Logistical Oversight, and Keeps the American Public Disengaged 

First it was sacks of rice. Then frozen chicken. Later, even a television. The goods were wrapped tightly in plastic bags and thrown in with the other trash in a truck. “It was simple,” Raj, a former employee, told me. “They were buying supplies and then just throwing them out.” Outside the American base in Afghanistan where Raj worked, the bags were offloaded in the market and sold to local Afghans. A piece of the profit went to the head of the kitchen staff, who organized the operation.

While we …

The Centuries-Old Silver Jug That Conjures the Mysteries of the Silk Road

Stretching From Rome and Africa to Asia, the Ancient Trade Route Lured Invaders, Migrants, and Merchants—and Left Artifacts Rich With Meaning

As China has promoted its Belt and Road Initiative—an ambitious plan to open new markets for China by building logistics and trade infrastructure from Asia to Europe and Africa—the Chinese …

Winning Freedom From Guantánamo With Forbearance and Trust

In the Shadow of Torture and Isolation, an American Lawyer and an Afghan Prisoner Bond Over Melted Mocha Ice Cream

I first visited Obaidullah at Guantánamo Bay in the spring of 2009. Before that first meeting, all I knew were the disturbing accusations against him, that he had fired his …

What the Heck is Hamid Karzai Thinking?

Omar Samad and Douglas Ollivant On What’s Ahead for Afghanistan and Its Obstinate President

Afghan President Hamid Karzai is refusing to sign the U.S. peace agreement that outlines the terms of our 2014 withdrawal. What is he thinking, and how will his actions impact …

We’re Winning in Afghanistan (At Least With Vaccines)

U.S.-Funded Public Health Programs Make the World Safer For All of Us. Why Aren’t They More Integrated Into Our National Security Strategy?

Forget the Affordable Care Act—by far the biggest impact of the Obama Administration on global health has been in funding incredibly cheap, effective health interventions overseas at a fraction of …

Our Transformational Veterans

America Changed Their Lives. Now They’ll Be Changing America.

The 2 million veterans who are returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan have had their lives changed by war. As they come home, they have the potential to change the …