Paul Pillar

The Albert Haynesworth of the Middle East

This week, the powers that be in Washington gave up on two bad ideas. In one, management of the Redskins football team suspended for the remainder of the season its talented but troublesome defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, ending his playing time in Washington less than two years after the team lavished on him the most expensive contract for a defensive player in league history.

Military Success Doesn't Buy Happiness

A new poll of Afghans, sponsored by the Washington Post, ABC, the BBC, and ARD television of Germany, encapsulates much of what is happening in the war in Afghanistan and indirectly in debate and deliberations back here about the war. This is a counterinsurgency, after all, and in a counterinsurgency popular opinion is not just a reflection of the war; it is a large part of what the war is about.

What Hamas Says

Ismail Haniyeh, the prime minister of the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip, held a press conference this week in which he stated that his movement would accept the outcome of any Palestinian referendum on an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, even if the result contradicted Hamas's own polici

Tackling a Problem Does Not Equal Attacking It

A sleight-of-hand is taking place in discourse about the Iranian nuclear program that also occurred in the selling of the Iraq War. That earlier sales campaign promoted a false equation: that a presumed unconventional weapons program in a troublesome country is equivalent to a case to attack the country with military force.

The Rough Road to Negotiations in Afghanistan

The case of the impostor Taliban negotiator might suggest that negotiations as a way to conclude the war in Afghanistan are unwise, untimely, unfeasible, or a joke. They are none of those. The incident does serve as a reminder of several truths about any peace talks to settle the Afghan War.