Katrina vanden Heuvel on Iraq and Afghanistan

Question: What is the US strategy moving forward?

vanden Heuvel:    We owe the people of Iraq real reconstruction aid.  One could call it what one wants.  I’m not sure I’d call it reparations, but one, we’ve, you know, we’d destroyed their country, we have failed to provide them with the basic security, with the basic elements of human security.  I think we need to withdraw expeditiously, as Barack Obama has talked about, and find a way with the international community to bring services, elemental human services to the people of Iraq and bring in the countries in the region.  Let’s have a diplomatic surge after this military surge.  And that’s what I think we owe the people of Iraq: sovereignty, security.  With Afghanistan, I think we owe them a similar debt, which is, and with the people of Afghanistan have turned against the NATO western coalition for, one, failing to provide reconstruction aid, failing to provide security, allowing a central government in Afghanistan to breed corruption, and of course the aerial attacks, air raids have killed too many civilians, and that inflamed anti-American sentiment.  We would do much better to find a way to bring the international community to Afghanistan to find a way to negotiate the Karzai government with the moderate elements of the Taliban providing human rights security for women and pouring money into that country for targeted economic development aid, not for military escalation, which will ensnare the United States as it did the British empire, the Soviet empire in a quagmire.  So, there are many resources we can bring to bear diplomatic economic development and others instead of military escalation.  It’s a broader question though, Brett, because I think we have not done a good enough job in rethinking what national security means.  In Europe, there’s a lively debate about human security, which doesn’t put military might at its core.  Sure, military use is part of the toolbox, but there have to be other means of engaging these two countries, short of continuing these two wars which have done, won nothing for our security, alienating people in those countries, turning them against America and the West and not providing for their citizens’ needs.

Katrina vanden Heuvel with ideas for Iraq and Afghanistan.

Why Lil Dicky made this star-studded Earth Day music video

"Earth" features about 30 of the biggest names in entertainment.

Culture & Religion
  • Lil Dicky is a rapper and comedian who released his debut album in 2015.
  • His new music video, "Earth," features artists such as Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Ed Sheehan, Kevin Hart, and Leonardo DiCaprio.
  • All proceeds of the music video will go to environmental causes, Dicky said.
Keep reading Show less

After death, you’re aware that you’ve died, say scientists

Some evidence attributes a certain neurological phenomenon to a near death experience.

Credit: Petr Kratochvil. PublicDomainPictures.net.
Surprising Science

Time of death is considered when a person has gone into cardiac arrest. This is the cessation of the electrical impulse that drive the heartbeat. As a result, the heart locks up. The moment the heart stops is considered time of death. But does death overtake our mind immediately afterward or does it slowly creep in?

Keep reading Show less
Big Think
Sponsored by Lumina Foundation

Upvote/downvote each of the videos below!

As you vote, keep in mind that we are looking for a winner with the most engaging social venture pitch - an idea you would want to invest in.

Keep reading Show less