Afghanistan – and America’s Exploding SIGAR

By |2014-11-24T11:26:05-05:00November 25th, 2014|Categories: Economics, Stephen Masty|Tags: |

The Pentagon’s $800 million spent on Afghan economic development has “accomplished nothing,” says the intrepid gumshoe hunting down waste, corruption and inefficiency. Meanwhile, he has 322 investigations still underway, across the US government’s similar $120 billion spent there so far. An official who does not mince words, Mr. John Sopko, who heads the US [...]

What’s Happening in Afghanistan is Absurd

By |2015-05-19T23:13:34-05:00September 26th, 2014|Categories: Aristotle, Classics, Culture, War|Tags: |

Five American troops moved briskly through the streets of Kandahar, their weapons at the ready. It was not yet mid-morning, and things had already broken down. Separated from their convoy, they were following an Afghan prosecutor to the city’s judicial headquarters. Afghanistan is generally not kind to foot patrols or improvisation, and that July [...]

Among the Paynim: Moonlight Sonata- A Lunar Eclipse

By |2014-01-30T14:17:07-05:00December 20th, 2011|Categories: Culture, Stephen Masty|Tags: |

“I heard the Afghan crowds in the street. They were all chanting or mumbling,” said my Australian colleague the next morning. “I thought there was some kind of protest underway, but then I realised why. They were all staring into the night sky and praying aloud.” Our Eastern Hemisphere had a lunar eclipse that [...]

Conveying Myth: What Still Works, What Doesn’t (I)

By |2014-01-30T14:27:49-05:00November 8th, 2011|Categories: Culture, Foreign Affairs, Stephen Masty|Tags: |

No intelligent conservative doubts the necessity of promulgating myth to convey and sustain social values. However, both the physical structure and the rhythms of modern life are different than in earlier times, and this must be understood in order to revive myth in the West. It may help to look first at the transmission [...]

Imperial Corruption: Letter to a Patriotic Neo-Conservative

By |2014-01-30T14:30:59-05:00October 7th, 2011|Categories: Foreign Affairs, Stephen Masty|Tags: |

  Dear Sir or Madam, Some very few of your Neo-Conservative colleagues may be deeper in love with Israel than with America. No doubt a much greater number including Christians and Jews, however naive, believe that the best interests of America and Israel are ever identical and that somehow the needs of these two [...]

Stinger Missiles, Stinger Cocktails

By |2014-01-30T14:32:39-05:00October 4th, 2011|Categories: Foreign Affairs, Stephen Masty|Tags: |

Some 25 years ago this week, a few nervous young men walked hesitantly into a barren, autumn field and lifted heavy contraptions onto their shoulders as they tried to remember their training. They knew that failure would bring near-certain death as well as lasting shame to their surviving families. Mouthing silent prayers, they fumbled [...]

The Sun Also Sets: Legacies of Empire

By |2014-01-30T14:41:11-05:00October 2nd, 2011|Categories: Foreign Affairs, Stephen Masty|Tags: |

The British broadcaster and ‘household-name’ Jeremy Paxman is the BBC’s most fearsome interviewer. He also hosts ‘University Challenge’ which is easily the world’s most high-brow quiz show; and he writes books and essays of often interesting socio-history, the most recent being perhaps a useful warning to Americans – a writing on the wall, so [...]

An Intelligent Tourist’s Guide to Hell

By |2014-01-30T14:43:12-05:00May 5th, 2011|Categories: Foreign Affairs, Stephen Masty|Tags: |

  After 30 years as KGB archivist, Major Vasili Mitrokhin (1922-2004) gave British intelligence services 25,000 pages of classified Soviet documents dating back to the 1930s. The Mitrokhin Archive proved to be a goldmine for historians and among its treasures is a memorandum to Stalin from Mikhail Suslov (1902-1982), head of the USSR’s Central [...]

Among the Paynim: Afghan Women & Power

By |2017-06-27T14:15:09-05:00March 11th, 2011|Categories: Stephen Masty|Tags: |

Daniel Craig, an actor who plays James Bond as a spiv, demonstrated what many people suspect about British men anyway when he turned up in drag. He protested gender inequality on March 8, International Women’s Day, and it was a first for him having never been seen in public shorn of stubble. Dependably, the [...]

John Willson & The Un-Making Of Savages

By |2014-01-30T14:48:14-05:00February 17th, 2011|Categories: Stephen Masty|Tags: |

Sayyid Bahauddin Majrooh In his fine talk “Was There a Founding?” (reprinted on this site), John Willson warns of “obtuse secularism” making it hard for American students “to connect liberty and religion in a way that will help effect a recovery of our past.” While he calls for “unshakable books” to inform [...]

Among the Paynim: Afghanistan in Perspective (Part 2)

By |2017-06-23T16:11:33-05:00December 20th, 2010|Categories: Foreign Affairs, Stephen Masty|Tags: |

(Part 1 can be found here) The Afghan war grows unpopular in a financially stricken America, and every time that US President Obama talks of withdrawal he encourages Afghan corruption. Knowing that if America scoots, in less than five years the Taliban will return, every petty official is encouraged to fill his desk drawers [...]

Among the Paynim: Afghanistan in Perspective (Part 1)

By |2017-06-23T15:54:06-05:00December 17th, 2010|Categories: Foreign Affairs, Stephen Masty|Tags: |

A recent and ill-conceived letter to a conservative magazine suggests that we take a moment to review American involvement in its war in Afghanistan and to dispel a few pernicious errors. The author of the letter, a former British politician, dusts off every mistake and canard produced by his country since they were roundly [...]

Among the Paynim: Doin’ the Camel-Step

By |2017-06-23T15:27:50-05:00December 12th, 2010|Categories: Film, Foreign Affairs, Stephen Masty|Tags: |

It is an ancient and almost forgotten Pushtoon tradition that should be embraced by Americans immediately and enthusiastically. So, consider it a little Christmas gift from Afghanistan. And why not? Like Christians, Muslims also venerate Hazrat-sahib Issa (Jesus) and Bibi Miriam (the Virgin Mary), so Christmas can be a shared celebration even if the [...]