About Jack

Jack is really a storyteller, international explorer, and humanitarian and everything else rolls out from there. As a writer, its what he does. As a international human rights and criminal lawyer and trial skills teacher around the world, its his most important tool. As a former CIA officer, the only way to truly motivate people is to connect and to tell them a story that they can feel viscerally. As a media analyst, what better way to make a point.  In the end, he tries to captivate his audience about the world and its people as much as he himself is captivated.

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Entries in afghanistan (45)


U.S. Denies ICC Investigation into U.S. War Crimes

The United States has denied U.S. visas for International Criminal Court Investigators who are looking into the quesiton of possible U.S. war crimes by U.S. miliary personnel and CIA officers in Afghanistan after 2002.  This isn't even a question about whether those individuals could be prosecuted by the ICC but about whether there should be an investigation in the first place.  

I am currently at the International Criminal Court in The Hague when this story broke and when the Voice of America, International Edition called, I was all about it.  



[WCCO Radio Minneapolis] October 23rd: Jack Talks CIA Ops in Afghanistan

I appear on WCCO Radio in Minneapolis with my old buddy Dave Lee. He's a good man and he and I have known each other for a very long time.  The New York Times broke a story about the CIA increasing operations in Afghanistan. This is based directly on pressure from the President to be more aggressive. There is one problem: the U.S. is losing this war. It has been going on for 16 years and it is showing absolutely no signs of coming to an end. Sadly, my prediction anyway, is that it never will. Afghanistan tribal groups will fight until the end of time. To them, this was, is and will always be an invasion.

This is a very complex issue and what that can't be explained in a sound bite and that is the reason I frequently like radio more than TV.  You get time to spread out and talk big and small picture.  This will also be fun for me as I spent years working for WCCO Radio.  These were my people so it will be pretty great for me.

Hope you can listen.


[CBS News Radio New York] October 22nd: Jack Talks CIA Ops in Afghanistan

I appear on CBS News Radio in New York on October 22nd.  According to the New York Times, the CIA is increasing its paramilitary operations in Afganistan to provide support to the Pentagon and to help Afghanistan military operations in country. The purpose is to try and target Taliban operations throughout the country.  The problem that the story ignores is that the Taliban controls more territory in Afghanistan right now than at any time since 2001.  Simply put, they are winning. 

One reality of increasing these kinds of operations is that they are dangerous. It exposes Americans with little support and the realities can be catastrophic.  Think those four Green Beret soldiers in Niger.  It will be interesting to see how the White House addresses this issue as this story gets bigger play.  In addition, if things don't go well in Afghanistan, the American people seem to have enormous fatigue when it comes to Afghanistan.

This will be an interesting conversation.


[KOA Denver] August 22nd: Jack Talks Never Ending War in Afghanistan

I appear on KOA Denver on August 22nd.  Mr. Trump sausd he can win in Afghanistan.  OK . . . Genghis Khan couldn't take Afghanistan.  Alexander the Great couldn't either.  Neither could the Russians.  The Brits tried twice. And yet, somehow the Americans are different? Um, yeah, right! That is part of the problem. Afghanistan is barely a country in the current sense. Biding it together is almost impossible. To make matters worse, thinking that you can do it at the point of a gun is pretty foolhardy because this is exactly what everybody else tried to do as well.  And frankly, this will fail.  It may take another 10 or twenty years and billions of dollars and countless lives, but it too will fail.

On that uplifting note . . . 


[RTTV Washington DC] August 21st: Jack Talks Trump's Afghanistan Speech

I appear on RTTV Washington DC on August 21st.  President Trump just gace his first major prime time speech and it was on Afghanistan.  While the speech was very short on specifics, it does does appear to have two elements: more troops and no end date. Of course, the problem is that the U.S. had 100,000 troops in Afghanistan as recently as 2011 and the U.S. didn't win then either. They now have less than 9000 and may increase by around 4000.  its hard to fathom how this is going to turn the tide.

The President says its not about nation building anymore.  However, if you have an incompetent Afghan government, how do you possibly unite a country.  Rather, you deivide it further.  

This is going to be fun.


[Russian TV Moscow] August 1st: Jack Talks Pentagon Report on Afghan Military Sex Abuse

I appear on Russian TV Moscow on August 1st. I recognize that the Russians have an agenda and I also recognize that Russian media is driven from the Kremlin. I know that the Kremlin likes to report on things that make the U.S. look bad. Again, all of that is not shocking. That being said, the real question is whether what they are reporting is true and whether or not the U.S. is also reporting it. As a result, I am willing to comment on certain things.

The U.S. government's Afghanistan watchdog, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction's latest quarterly report, has asked the Pentagon to declassify a report about alleged sexual abuse of children by members of the Afghan security forces. I agree. This needs to come out and needs to be addressed. I recognize that this is embarrassing the U.S. government and for the Pentagon who continues to work closely with the Afghan military. However, to ignore it and act like it doesn't exist makes the U.S. complicit and that is simply unacceptable. 

The U.S. has to stand up for human rights and fight abuse where they can. There is no excuse or way to turn away and act like it doesn't exist when its own watchdog organization says there is a problem.  

This is going to be an interesrting conversation and an important one.   


[Russian TV Moscow] July 21st: Jack Talks U.S. Losing in Afghanistan

I appear on Russia TV Moscow on July 21st. The U.S. is losing the war in Afghanistan.  Its objetively true.  In fact, the Taliban now controls more terrirtory in the country than anytime since 9/11.  Contemplate that for a second.

The U.S. acknowledged today that they inadvertantly bombed Afghani soldiers and civilians in Helmund province.  In fact, record numbers of Afghani civilians have have been hit by American and Afghani Airforce airstrikes. What doesn't help is that the numbers of U.S. and Ag=fghani sorties has increased to more than 1500 in 2016 and already more than 1000 this year.  As a result, statistically, the chance for inadvertant bombings simply increases.  However, everytime this happens, it makes it even harder for the Americans to be successful.  And again, they aren't winning. 

This should be an interesting conversation.  Further, considering  


[Russian TV Moscow] June 20th: Jack Talks Green on Blue Attacks in Afghanistan

I appear on Russian TV Moscow on June 20th.  This isn't the first time that this has happened.  In fact it has happened many times and it will sadly happen again.  In fact, this is absolutely one of the things American soldiers need to be conscious of: attacks from allied Afghan soldiers with whom they are conducting joint operations.  The Russians wants me to come on and talk about a recent attack where three U.S. soldiers were killed by an Afghanistan soldier.  What does this say?

I remember being in Iraq and out on joint patrol with the Americans and poorly trained Iraq soldiers in the streets of Baghdad.  First of all, the Iraqis at the time weren't very good.  That's certainly a problem but its not the only problem.  Another big problem is whether they have been vetted very well.  The fear is that at any point, one of those allied soldiers could turn around and take down a half a dozen of their American counterparts.  It is a petrifying possibility and, again, has happened again and agin.

In my case, we were storming  a building and I was running up a flight of stairs with the American and Iraqi solders and at some point through all of the confusion, I was in the middle of a very dangerous environment and something occurred to me: there were no American or other Western soldiers around me at all.  I was surrounded by a very poorly trained and marginally vetted Iraqi unit.  I can tell you, I have rarely felt more exposed.  Sometimes being completely alone would be more preferred.  Thankfully, things played out just fine but it could have just as easily gone a different direction.  

We will talk history, experience and the political situation in Afghanistan.  This will be interesting.


[Fox 9 Minneapolis] April 13th: Jack Talks Why the U.S. Loves Big Bombs.

I appear on Fox 9 Minneapolis on April 13th at 9 p.m. c.s.t.  I like big bombs and I cannot lie . . . or something like that.  Its strange how America'as citizens seem to wake up and instinctively cheer when we kill people, blow things up or pound our collective chest.  It is a really interesting phenomenon but it continues to hold true.  And then this latest story of a bomb that carries 11,000 lbs of explosives known as a MOAB?  Oh, the rapture.  It's pretty wild actually.nn I will appear and talk about what the UlS., was trying to do, whether it was successful and whwther it will make any difference.