February 1, 2016 |
Despite Taliban gains and ISIS's emergence in Afghanistan, one amazing Kabul school continues to teach 4,000 students (half girls) to think independently and to believe in tolerance. The private Marefat school, along with its founder, Aziz Royesh, and several girl students, is the subject of Jeffrey Stern's moving new book, The Last Thousand: One School's Promise in a Nation at War . The book raises painful and very pertinent questions: Can liberal values take root in a conservative Muslim country that is threatened by Islamist radicals?
March 30, 2015 |
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's trip to Washington last week was so triumphant one could almost imagine how his troubled country might morph into a future success story. At a joint session of Congress and a glittering White House dinner, the brilliant World Bank technocrat and Columbia University grad turned politician pledged a new era in Afghan-U.S. relations. The slight but elegant Ghani presented himself as the antidote to prickly former President Hamid Karzai, under whom corruption soared and U.S.-Afghan relations soured.
January 22, 2015 |
If anyone still needed proof of President Obama's reluctance to let foreign policy distract from his domestic agenda, he provided an excess in his State of the Union address. In the brief foreign policy portion of the speech, Obama revisited his constant themes: He trumpeted the end of America's combat missions abroad (last year he cited Iraq, this year Afghanistan) and the need for allies to shoulder the burdens of fighting terrorism - with our assistance. "I believe in a smarter kind of American leadership.
January 20, 2015 |
UP IN THE high desert of northeastern Utah near the Colorado border, a teen with a jawline as rugged as the surrounding mountain ranges decided early in life that he was a Marine. Staff Sgt. Daniel D. Gurr enlisted before his senior year at Uintah High School, where he was an all-state soccer player, a defender known to sacrifice his body on the field. Days after graduating in 2008, he left his hometown of Vernal for boot camp. Three years later, when Gurr came home from Afghanistan in 2011, thousands of people lined the highways and small streets.
December 17, 2014 |
In a crowded aircraft hangar at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, President Obama told thousands of military service members Monday that they "are the backbone of the greatest nation on Earth," and thanked them for their "selfless character. " Obama also praised base personnel for flying supplies and building infrastructure as part of the fight against Ebola in West Africa, and aerially refueling U.S. warplanes degrading "the brutal terrorist group ISIL in Iraq and Syria. " "When the world calls on America, we call on you - our men and women in uniform - because nobody can do what you do," the president said.
December 11, 2014
A graphic with a story Tuesday about the formal end of the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan incorrectly illustrated the number of soldiers killed in America's wars. Each square represented 1,000 fatalities.
December 10, 2014 |
An overseas supplier of food and water to U.S. troops in the deserts of Afghanistan on Monday pleaded guilty in what a federal prosecutor in Philadelphia called a case of "war profiteering," and paid $389 million in fines, damages, and penalties. From July 2005 until April 2009, Supreme Foodservice GmbH and an affiliated company in the United Arab Emirates overcharged the U.S. military by $48 million for water and fresh fruit and vegetables delivered to bases in Afghanistan, according to charges by the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
November 6, 2014 |
Marine Capt. Jason Dequenne came running down the sidewalk Wednesday toward the site of Tun Tavern in Old City. Barely out of breath, he slowed to a stop on the spot where the Marine Corps was founded in 1775. But he wasn't just out for a jog, and it was no coincidence he was on South Front Street. The Marine Corps turns 239 on Monday, and Dequenne, 41, is honoring its birthday by running 239 miles on a two-week-long journey from Washington to New York. On Wednesday, he ran through Philadelphia, bringing his mileage to 174.2.
July 7, 2014 |
Kevin McCloskey, 27, is getting married in May to a girl he first kissed under the Wildwood boardwalk in fifth grade. At least that's what he says. She swears it was the summer after sixth grade, maybe seventh. "Every time he tells the story," says Bridget McGeehan, 27, "it gets earlier and earlier. " Kevin and Bridget, who grew up blocks apart in Mayfair, own a house now in Elkins Park. They have two dogs, a mastiff, Murdock, who pees at the slightest excitement, and a tougher little terrier named Dean, as in Martin.
June 2, 2014 |
Having just returned from Ukraine, I found it hard to recognize the world President Obama described in his West Point foreign policy speech last week. The facts on the ground - in Russia, Ukraine, Syria, and Afghanistan - contradict the key points he was making. That disconnect makes friends and enemies worldwide question his ability to lead. Obama rightly says the odds of a direct attack from any foreign nation are minimal. But in a rapidly changing world, with China rising, Russia invading its neighbors, and terrorists multiplying, he failed to clarify how he would counter new threats.