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Former CIA agent Robert Greiner speaks about counterterrorism at Sid Richardson Hall on Wednesday afternoon.
Photo Credit: Mariana Gonzalez | Daily Texan Staff

The United States undermined Afghanistan’s independence by taking the leading role in the fight against the Taliban, according to former CIA agent Robert Grenier.

“After 2005, we as a government made a very serious mistake,” Grenier said. “We decided in effect that Afghanistan was too important to [leave to] the whims of Afghans.”

Grenier spoke at a campus event hosted by the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law and the Clements Center for History, Strategy and Statecraft on Thursday to promote new his book, “88 Days to Kandahar.” 

Grenier served as a senior CIA counterterrorism official until he was dismissed by former CIA director Porter Goss in 2006.   

Overwhelming Afghanistan with U.S. military forces led to unsustainable progress the Afghans could not maintain, Grenier said.

“We completely overwhelmed this very small, very primitive, agrarian country with a tiny GDP and, at best, nascent national institutions,” Grenier said. “We should have known and quickly learned that the successes we had [and] the progress we were able to make was progress that couldn’t be sustained by Afghans over the long term.”

Contingent forces are necessary in Afghanistan to ensure that Afghanistan’s government can transition to peace, Grenier said.

“If the Taliban … control substantial parts of the country, we’re to help the government to sort that out,” Grenier said.

According to Grenier, given the weak leadership from Hamid Karzai, former president of Afghanistan, the country’s fate was entirely determined by the United States and the Taliban.

“He was an admirable fellow in a lot of respects, but also kind of unsteady,” Grenier said. “By the end, it was just hopeless.”

International relations and global studies junior James McNally said strong leadership is needed to guide Afghanistan toward independence.

“Given the tremendous institutional knowledge that we have about Afghanistan, we are in a great position to make positive effects within that area,” McNally said. “It comes to helping the good people and hurting the bad people.”

Plan II and advertising Chandler Michaels sophomore said Grenier’s original plan for U.S. involvement in Afghanistan rightly sought to ensure Afghanistan’s independence.  

“I think it was really interesting that he was the one who formulated that plan,” Michaels said. “The U.S., just as a support system for the Afghan people, is a really important part of the plan of support — without taking over [Afghanistan].”

Photo Credit: Albert Lee | Daily Texan Staff

The United States possesses more force and money than any other country in the world, yet it does not seem to be enough. Over the last decade our society has deployed the best-trained soldiers and the most advanced weapons across the globe, but challengers — state and non-state — are multiplying. Over the last decade the United States has spent billions of dollars to build governing institutions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Pakistan and other nations, yet they all appear to be falling apart. It is hard to argue that we have not done enough. It often looks like we have done too much — perhaps making regions like the Middle East worse by our efforts.

These observations are motivating a new isolationism movement/sentiment among both Republicans and Democrats. According to this argument, the United States should tend its own garden, using its force and money exclusively at home to address domestic needs. We have tried to change the rest of the world, isolationists claim, and we have failed because too many foreign societies cannot be changed. We should accept their tyranny, poverty and violence and simply build walls to insulate ourselves. We have, of course, literally done this on our southern border with Mexico. Americans fought the Cold War to tear down the Berlin Wall; now they are building walls of their own.

The problem with isolationism is not the criticism of American foreign policies, but the suggested alternative. Walls fail to insulate and they weaken those living within them. Walls also abandon the possibilities for improving international conditions and helping people suffering from the worst forms of repression. Isolation falsely assumes that if force and money cannot get us what we want, then nothing will.

There is another way, and that should be the true agenda for innovative policy-making in the next decade. American force and money have focused primarily on punishment and prohibition. We use our weapons to kill terrorists and intimidate possible adversaries. We use our money to support individuals that enforce order in foreign societies. For all the talk about “development” and “nation-building,” the vast majority of foreign policy resources go elsewhere. We have spent the last decade throwing our weight around, shooting first and asking questions later, buying the friends we think should be in charge abroad.

As one would expect, this bullying behavior has made us feel strong — it always draws cheers from frightened American citizens — but it really makes us weak. Too much force turns potential friends into enemies. No one likes to be pushed around. Too much money encourages selfishness and corruption. No one works hard for their community when a foreign patron places millions of dollars in their pockets. The paradox is that American force and money have contributed to the failed states, extremism and terrorist violence that threaten us today.

What if we used our force and money differently? The missing ingredient is persuasion. We have allowed American bullying to make the United States appear unlikable, even threatening, to many people who could be persuaded otherwise. This is evident from the thousands of young citizens throughout the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Latin America and even Europe who want the kind of wealth and freedom that Americans flaunt, but believe that Americans will never let them have it. We appear too self-centered, too disrespectful and too hypocritical in the eyes of precisely those people who demand real democracy abroad.

Isolationism will only reinforce this view of the United States. More effective policy requires the deployment of force and money through institutions that actually make people’s lives better: law-abiding police officers, uncorrupt state institutions, local businesses and effective schools. The United States has, of course, tried to fund these kinds of institutions in the past, but they have always received far less attention and support than the direct applications of force. Washington has also allowed local dictators — Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan and Nouri al-Maliki in Iraq, as two examples — to distort these efforts for personal gain.

It does not have to be that way. If the American military can kill with precision, civilian agencies should be able to direct our knowledge and money into the hands of citizens who really want to make their lives better, working as our potential partners. This has never been easy, but we have done it with some success after the Second World War and in the years immediately following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The time has come to re-examine these experiences and think long and hard about how we can make our force and money more persuasive abroad. We cannot abandon the punishment of terroristic enemies, but we must get better at helping potential friends. If we abandon this mission, we will soon run out of the force and money necessary to defend ourselves.

Suri is a professor in the LBJ School of Public Affairs and the Department of History. Follow him on Twitter @JeremiSuri. 

When an upcoming production, film or book about the war in Afghanistan is released, it’s typical to expect a barrage of thinly veiled political statements. “Basetrack Live,” however, takes a different and quite refreshing approach in its exploration of war and how it affects those directly and indirectly involved.

At its core, “Basetrack Live” is about the human cost of war. Recently, it seems that mainstream media has dealt with this topic more and more, following the soldiers who fight the war rather than the people who command them. However, “Basetrack Live” promotes this message by allowing its audience to be fully immersed in the action rather than spectate from their seats. 

The production uses a multimedia style to tell the story of AJ Czubai, a Marine in the 1st Battalion 8th Marines during the Afghanistan war in 2010. Czubai, played by Tyler La Marr, tells stories from his time spent in the Marines with a mix of charm and gritty realism. The stories range from comedic anecdotes one might hear from a stranger in a bar to shocking moments of vulnerability.

The multimedia style is truly the brilliance of “Basetrack Live.” While Czubai’s character leads the audience through the world of a Marine in the Middle East, the stage itself shifts and conforms to different environments to allow the audience to feel like they are actually there.

At first glance, most scenes feel very chaotic, but, as they progress and develop, we see how every nuance and detail is strategically designed to craft a world from the perspective of the Marines. There are moments toward the end when it becomes more dramatic and feels like a conventional play, but these moments are rare in the first half.

For example, there is a moment in the production when the musicians become the focus of the stage and begin to play a song reminiscent of rap-rock from the mid 2000s. The pictures and video clips show traditional war images that appear and disappear, emulating a stream of consciousness. While all of this is going on, Czubai sits on the corner of the stage with dim light wearing a pair of headphones. Just this minor detail ties the whole scene together. The scene is not just music set to pictures but rather a very realistic picture of what a Marine would probably be doing before going on a mission.

This scene showcases perhaps the most engaging part of “Basetrack Live”: the soundscape. The electro-acoustic instrumentation is composed of a violin, a cello, a drumset, and a DJ who occasionally plays trumpet. The music goes from surreal and sensational to calm and heartfelt effortlessly. The electronic element also allows the musicians to create the most incredible sounds. It’s hard to believe how much of the soundscape and musical score is being produced on the spot.

“Basetrack Live” is gritty, emotional, engaging and most of all, hopeful.

Dr. Eugene Gholz speaks at a debate about America's involvement in Afghanistan on Tuesday. 

Photo Credit: Rachel Zein | Daily Texan Staff

Paul Miller, associate director of the University’s Clements Center for History, Strategy and Statecraft, and Eugene Gholz, public affairs associate professor, presented opposing views on U.S. involvement in Afghanistan at an on-campus debate Tuesday.

In May, President Barack Obama announced the U.S. would end combat operations in Afghanistan in December but will continue to have a small presence in the country. The U.S. first became involved in the country in 2001, following the 9/11 attacks. 

At the debate held at Sid Richardson Hall, Miller advocated keeping troops in Afghanistan and emphasized four key points: the threat of al-Qaida, the danger al-Qaida presents to an unstable Pakistan, democracy and humanitarianism. 

“Al-Qaida is uniquely rooted in Pakistan and Afghanistan,” Miller said. “The possibility of civil war in Pakistan could lead to destabilization of this region and, ultimately, will affect the U.S.”

In response, Gholz said the U.S. should shift focus away from Afghanistan.

“It’s time to move to other concerns other than Afghanistan,” Gholz said.

His main argument centered on re-evaluating the national interest, understanding how Afghanistan now has primarily local concerns, and looking at other areas of the world that might require intervention.

“Afghanistan today is tangential to American national interest,” Gholz said.

After their opening remarks, each debater had a six-to-seven-minute rebuttal period, followed by a mediator addressing points made by the speakers and ending with questions from the audience. Plan II sophomore Ellen Pennington said she had a particular interest in learning more about Afghanistan.

“I hadn’t heard about our trajectory in Afghanistan,” Pennington said. “I’ve heard about current issues in that region in general, but I didn’t know exactly why we got involved.”

According to Miller, as students acquire further knowledge about past and present foreign issues, these lessons will change how foreign policy gets enacted.

“A deep knowledge of history should affect future policy making,” Miller said. “I hope [students] learn the right lessons from [Afghanistan].”

The U.S. flag flies over the Main Mall on Friday afternoon.


(taken by Amy Zhang, Daily Texan Staff)

Photo Credit: Amy Zhang | Daily Texan Staff

For many UT students the Fourth of July is a holiday to hang out with friends and family, eat delicious barbecue, drink substantial amounts of beer and to watch action-packed fireworks fill the skies. But some Americans have experienced a completely different Independence Day. A couple of years ago I spent mine more than 7,000 miles away from Austin in Kabul Province, Afghanistan. 

At the age of 17, I enlisted as a private in the U.S. Army. By 18, I was a paratrooper jumping from military aircraft, and by 20, I was a sergeant on the other side of the world in Afghanistan with an Airborne Infantry Battalion. This is also where I ended up celebrating my 21st birthday. As you might imagine, a small base in Afghanistan is nothing like the too often typical 6th Street celebration.

For me, the Fourth of July is a day to think about those who are in harm’s way, unable to be with their family because they are away serving our nation, and those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. Many of us are unaware, or do not remember, that a few years ago one of our own fellow Longhorns was killed in action while serving in Afghanistan. Hospital Corpsman Second Class Xin Qi, a Navy reservist, had put his education on hold to volunteer for a deployment with Fourth Light Armoured Reconnaissance Battalion, Marine Expeditionary Brigade — Afghanistan. He was killed in action by a suicide bomber on January 23, 2010, and is now interred at Arlington National Cemetery. 

Independence Day is by far the most patriotic day of the year. Be proud to be an American and to be able to live in such an exemplary nation with countless freedoms. Take time to enjoy a local parade and other festivities. However, while you are having an enjoyable time, be sure to take a moment to remember those serving elsewhere around the world, and especially those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our nation like Petty Officer Qi. God Bless America. 

Daywalt is a government senior from Copperas Cove.

Fresh off what he jokingly called an "internship" with The National Guard in Afghanistan this summer, Nate Boyer returned to the Longhorns and came up with their team motto this year: For the man to my left and on my right. The slogan, heavily influenced by Boyer's military background, was immediately embraced by his teammates. The 2012 Big 12 Sportsperson of the Year, Boyer seeks to help Texas improve on its 9-4 record last season.

Photo Credit: Marisa Vasquez | Daily Texan Staff

A theme can be defined as a specific and distinctive quality, characteristic or concern. Every year, Texas votes on one theme. That theme will become the specific and distinctive representation of what the team stands for and strives for.

This season, Nate Boyer, fresh off a trip to Afghanistan, nominated a theme he’s used to hearing. Based on a military background, the long-snapper suggested “for the man on my right and the man on my left.”

“What that means to us in the military is all the training you’re going through, everything that you’re doing when you’re in combat or in a situation, it’s about making sure the guy next to you is successful, keeping him safe, keeping him alive,” Boyer said.

While this new motto has a military basis, it directly applies to football. Similar to the military, according to Boyer, there is a tight brotherhood in football. Since it’s such a rough sport, athletes create a bond through the grit and toughness they

“There’s nothing like the camaraderie like what there is on a football team,” Boyer said. “Maybe it’s the nature of the sport.  It’s a very physical game.  You earn your respect by how tough you are basically on the field. That holds true in the military, as well.  I think that’s why that bond is so strong.”

Boyer wasn’t the only player to suggest a theme for this new—hopefully revamped — Texas season.

“I think most of the players ended up voting for it, which is really cool,” Boyer said. “I was able to explain to them what it meant actually right before we voted.  So maybe that helped. I think it’s a strong theme.  It’s selfless which is important if you want your team to be successful.  It can’t be about individual successes, it’s got to be about 11 is 1 basically.”

Most Longhorns are excited about this new motto. Universally, the coaches and players think it’s an appropriate way to look at their training camp and season.

“It’s true,” senior Mike Davis said. “If the man on your right doesn’t do his job it’s really hurting the whole team. With the man on the left it’s the same thing. If we all do our jobs we will be successful. We really like it so we’re gonna keep pushing it.”

The Longhorns have adapted multiple themes through the past three seasons. In 2011, to signify rebuilding, Texas stapled in a new motto of “brick by brick.” Last season the Longhorns created the acronym R.I.S.E, meaning Relentless, Intensity, Swagger (or sacrifice) and emotion.

Both themes had a solid foundation and meaning but as the results show, neither produced the real outcomes expected by the program.

“Over the last number of years we have told the players, if they want a team theme, it’s up to them, but it’s not something that our coaches care about, it’s theirs,” head coach Mack Brown said. “If they’re going to have it, they need to live by it.”

Boyer couldn’t help but hammer in the fact training for football is similar to military training.  Brown agreed with him, adding the fact that at practice last week, three active marines talked to the team and mentioned how a football team is similar to a military division. 

“When you line up in football you literally line up with guys on your right and left and you have to be able to trust them,” Boyer said. “You’re playing for that guy and to make him successful. In the military, it’s all about the guy next to you. Everything you can do to keep him alive.”

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

KHAR, Pakistan — A 40-year-old Pakistani housewife has made history by becoming the first woman to run for parliament from the country’s deeply conservative tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

Badam Zari is pushing back against patriarchal traditions and braving potential attack by Islamist militants in the hope of forcing the government to focus on helping Pakistani women.

“I want to reach the assembly to become a voice for women, especially those living in the tribal areas,” Zari told The Associated Press in an interview on Monday. “This was a difficult decision, but now I am determined and hopeful society will support me.”

Many of Pakistan’s 180 million citizens hold fairly conservative views on the role of women in society. Those views are even more pronounced in the country’s semiautonomous tribal region, a poor, isolated area in the northwest dominated by Pashtun tribesmen who follow a very conservative brand of Islam.

Most women in the tribal region are uneducated, rarely work outside the home and wear long, flowing clothes that cover most of their skin when they appear in public.

Zari, who finished high school, spoke to reporters at a press conference Monday wearing a colorful shawl wrapped around her body and head, with only her eyes showing.

Life for women in the tribal region has become even more difficult in recent years with the growing presence of Taliban militants who use the border region as their main sanctuary in the country. The militants have been waging a bloody insurgency against the government to impose Islamic law in the country and have a history of using violence to enforce their hard-line views on women.

Last fall, Taliban fighters in the northwest shot 15-year-old schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai in the head in an unsuccessful attempt to kill her because she resisted the militants’ views and was a strong advocate of girls’ education.

Zari is from Bajur, one of many areas in the tribal region where the Pakistani army has been battling the Taliban. She filed the paperwork necessary to run for office on Sunday. She was accompanied by her husband, who she said fully backed her decision to run for a seat in the National Assembly.

“This is very courageous. This woman has broken the barrier,” said Asad Sarwar, one of the top political officials in Bajur.

“My decision to contest the election will not only give courage to women in general and attract attention to their problems, but also helps negate the wrong impression about our society,” Zari said. “This will reflect a true picture of our society, where women get respect.”

The Republicans don’t even try to act like they support peace and civil liberties. For many years, the Democrats did. But after the Hook the Vote debate last week between the University Democrats and the Libertarian Longhorns, it became clear even the Democrats, at least those on campus, don’t support our rights. (In the interest of full disclosure, I serve as Public Relations Director of the Libertarian Longhorns, but my opinions are my own).

During the debate, the University Democrats slammed former President George W. Bush — and rightly so — for his expensive and unnecessary wars and his violations of civil liberties. Afghanistan should have been a mission to kill Osama bin Laden and those involved with the 9/11 attacks. Bush made it into a war with the Taliban and an occupation of the entire country. Then he decided to invade and destabilize Iraq, resulting in countless unnecessary deaths of both American soldiers and Iraqi civilians. Bush trashed civil liberties with the Patriot Act, illegal wiretapping, indefinite detention and torture at Guantanamo Bay.

Bush’s policies were inexcusable. And throughout his presidency, the Democrats rarely put up with any excuses from the Bush administration. During the 2008 presidential election, then-candidate Barack Obama had huge respect for civil liberties. He promised to close Guantanamo Bay on his first day in office, end indefinite detention and honor the principle of habeas corpus. He denounced the warrantless wiretapping of American citizens and racial profiling in the name of national security. The War on Drugs would be reformed.

Those were changes we could believe in. Unfortunately, they’re changes we’re still waiting for.

Since taking office, Obama hasn’t closed Guantanamo Bay. Rather than ending indefinite detention, he expanded it to include American citizens under the National Defense Authorization Act. Instead of ending the Patriot Act and its warrantless wiretapping, Obama extended it. His administration has the same FBI guidelines for using race and religion in investigations as the Bush administration did.

Despite the “hope” of improvement, Obama has actually proven worse than his predecessor on many civil liberties issues. In the past four years, whistleblowers have been targeted under the 1917 Espionage Act twice as many times as under all previous presidents combined.

Arguably the most disturbing violation of human rights is Obama’s extensive use of drone strikes. Obama has already ordered more than five times as many drone strikes as Bush did, in Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan and possibly even more countries. Obama assassinates suspected terrorists — including U.S. citizens — without judicial or legislative oversight. He is the judge, the jury and the executioner. Bush would never have gotten away with such blatant disregard of human rights and the rule of law.

As MIT linguist and vocal activist Noam Chomsky put it, “If Bush, the Bush administration, didn’t like somebody, they’d kidnap them and send them to torture chambers. If the Obama administration decides they don’t like somebody, they murder them, so you don’t have to have torture chambers all over.”

At the debate last Wednesday, the UDems defended these unconstitutional, expensive and ineffective wars. They defended the use of sanctions, which force innocent civilians into poverty and at times even starvation. They supported the continued existence of the prison at Guantanamo Bay and praised the president’s use of drones.

Claiming that “we can’t live in a world of rainbows and unicorns,” they argued the measures that Obama has taken were necessary because they are “practical.”

It was sad to see that the one thing both major parties can agree upon now is the abandonment of civil liberties and peace.

McCann is a Plan II freshman from Dallas. 

A state representative told a UT alumnus last week to go to Afghanistan if the United States was not sensitive enough for him, and said Wednesday that she stands behind her statement.

State Rep. Debbie Riddle, R-Tomball, made the remark after UT alumnus Abdul Pasha, now in his second year at South Texas College of Law, responded to Rep. Riddle’s Facebook status bemoaning the military’s sensitivity training. Pasha posted a link to an article about the training and instructions to “go educate yourself.” Riddle told Pasha to act like an American and stand up for the military.

“If you can’t do that then go where people are sensative [sic] enough for you — I guess that would be Afghanistan,” Riddle wrote on the thread.

The conversation, originally reported by The Horn, began when Riddle posted a status about her disappointment that soldiers would receive sensitivity training before going to Afghanistan. Riddle defended this position and said the training was unnecessary and insulting to American soldiers who possess the common sense necessary to conduct themselves appropriately.

Pasha, 23, said he moved with his family from Pakistan to the United States in 1999 and considers himself an American. He said he thought Riddle was kidding when he first read the comments directed toward him.

Pasha, a Muslim, said he was particularly offended when Riddle wrote: “Ok, Abdul, I guess it is ok that the Muslims kill and torture people when they get their feelings hurt.”

“If they don’t want to be politically correct that’s fine, but don’t spew hate,” Pasha said. ”Don’t spew fear or violence against Muslims. Political representation means you are representing your entire district, and she is the leader of that district.”

Riddle said she has plenty of friends who are Muslims and who also think sensitivity training for the military is unnecessary, and said she was not interested in being politically correct at the expense of speaking her mind.

“If you want to inject a huge amount of political correctness in this, I’m not the gal you want to talk to,” Riddle said. “I think being real and honest is what people expect when they elect someone. The public, especially my constituents, appreciate the honesty and they appreciate the candor.”

Stephen Ollar, president of the UT Student Veteran Association (not to be confused with the Student Veterans Association), who has served in Afghanistan and in Iraq, said sensitivity training is needed as evidenced by instances of gross insensitivity by soldiers abroad, such as marines caught urinating on a dead body. He said even small breaches destroy the rapport with Afghan officials that is crucial to the military’s success.

“Winning over the populace when you’re fighting an insurgency is the most important thing you can do to win a war,” Ollar said. “If you aggravate those people you basically deprive yourself of that type of intelligence. And that’s what we keep doing, unfortunately, because we have these young men out fighting these wars who don’t have a lot of personal experience in life who do things to shoot the military in the foot.”

Ollar said everyone comes into the military from different backgrounds, and behavior that one soldier might find acceptable, another would find flawed. He said it’s crucial that everyone be on the same page.

Federal Judge Harry Hudspeth speaks about the laws affecting the gun export industry from the U.S. into Mexico at the Harry Ransom Center Wednesday. Hudspeth was one of three at UT who addressed border issues such as immigration, violence and drug-trafficking.

Photo Credit: Yaguang Zhu | Daily Texan Staff

An Iraq war veteran and UT student said he decided to research political violence along the U.S.-Mexico border after visiting his grandparents in a border town and seeing a grenade launcher in place to fortify their local pharmacy.

“You don’t need to go overseas to understand certain types of violence,” said John Meyer, comparative politics and political theory graduate student. “I think it’s important that we understand it here.”

Meyer, a Texan who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, spoke Wednesday at a panel on drug trafficking, immigration and violence along the Rio Grande. Alongside Meyer were Federal Judge Harry Hudspeth from El Paso and journalist Dave Harmon, who has written about immigration policies for the Austin American-Statesman. The panel, held at the Harry Ransom Center on Wednesday, was the first in a series hosted by Rethinking Diplomacy, an organization new to UT this semester that aims to bring diplomacy considerations to the forefront of many areas of study, member Andrew Straw said. Straw, history graduate student, organized the panel.

“This is the first event we’ve ever had,” Straw said, “So we wanted to start with something very close to home in Texas.”

Harmon said border violence increased when current Mexican President Felipe Calderon took power and started breaking up cartels. Before Calderon took power, the previous political party was widely accused of accepting bribes from drug cartels. He said Mexican officials believe the United States is also to blame.

“[Americans] are the market,” Harmon said. “Drug trade wouldn’t exist if we didn’t like drugs so much and if we didn’t make them illegal.”

Harmon said many South and Central American governments are considering decriminalization as an option for decreasing violence, something America is not willing to do at this point. He said President Barack Obama dodged the issue at the Latin American Summit in April.

“The tide is turning politically in Mexico and South and Central America towards decriminalizing drugs,” Harmon said. “They’re starting to say, ‘we’ve lost this war, let’s admit it.’”

Meyer said the U.S. crackdown on methamphetamine labs pushed production to the south, and a strengthening against air and sea trafficking concentrated the conflict at the border. Combined with the political climate in Mexico, this created the “perfect storm” for drug-related border violence, he said.

“All human beings have an obligation to understand our own behavior,” Meyer said. “I was involved in a lot of political violence in Afghanistan and Iraq and I think I need to understand that.”

Printed on Thursday, September 20, 2012 as: Border conflicts spur talks on drugs, violence