The 'Safe Haven' Myth

October 31, 2009

by John Mueller

Richard Holbrooke, America's special envoy to South Asia, maintains that if the Taliban succeed in Afghanistan, "without any shadow of a doubt, Al Qaeda would move back into Afghanistan, set up a larger presence, recruit more people and pursue its objectives against the United States even more aggressively." That, he insisted, is "the only justification for what we're doing." This is an especially ardent presentation of the "base camp," or "safe haven," myth. Stressed by virtually all promoters of the war, this key justification--indeed, the only one, according to Holbrooke--has gone almost entirely unexamined.

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This article was published in the November 9, 2009, issue of The Nation.

John Mueller is a professor of political science at Ohio State University. His book Atomic Obsession: Nuclear Alarmism From Hiroshima to Al Qaeda has just been published by Oxford University Press.

Professor Mueller was one of the signatories to the Coalition for a Realistic Foreign Policy's open letter to President Obama concerning the war in Afghanistan.

Posted by coalition at October 31, 2009 09:39 AM

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