Since the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021, the situation there has gone from bad to worse. Today, 20 million Afghans are starving and millions are internally displaced. The Taliban is back in power. They are once again providing sanctuary to terrorist groups that threaten the United States. They have decreed that Afghan girls shall not have access to education above the sixth grade. And they have prohibited Afghan women from driving, taking public transport and holding jobs.
In a recent report to Congress, John Sopko, the U.S. special inspector general for Afghanistan, wrote: “Unless the U.S. government understands and accounts for what went wrong, why it went wrong, and how it went wrong, it will likely repeat the same mistakes in the next conflict.”
In the Feb. 21 broadcast of “Talking Foreign Policy,” host Michael Scharf, co-dean of the School of Law, will assemble a group of experts, including Inspector General Sopko, who will seek to answer those questions.
About the experts
Headlining the group is Case Western Reserve law alum John Sopko, who was sworn in as special inspector general for Afghanistan Reconstruction on July 2, 2012. He was appointed by President Barack Obama, served under President Donald Trump, and continues to serve under President Biden. For the last 10 years, he and his staff have raised concerns about waste, fraud, and abuse of U.S. assistance funds for Afghanistan, as well as the sustainability and viability of the Afghan government and military ahead of the U.S. withdrawal in 2021.
Joining Sopko is Shannon French, director of the Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence at Case Western Reserve University. She was previously a professor at the U.S. Naval Academy and was recently named the General Hugh Shelton Distinguished Chair in Ethics by the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. She is the author of the acclaimed book The Code of the Warrior: Exploring Warrior Values, Past and Present.
Also joining the discussion is Paul Williams, president of the Public International Law & Policy Group, a Nobel Peace Prize-nominated NGO. Williams has served as legal adviser in 15 peace negotiations and is the author of the recently published book, Lawyering Peace (Cambridge University Press, 2022)..
And the final expert is Greg Noone, director of Fairmont State College’s National Security and Intelligence Program. Noone is a retired captain in the U.S. Navy who served as head of the International Law Branch in the Pentagon.
About the broadcast
The hour-long broadcast is divided into three segments. In the first, the experts will discuss the goals, strategies and tactics of the longest war in U.S. history. In the second segment, they will examine what went right and what went wrong. And in the final segment, they’ll discuss the lessons learned and apply them to other current conflicts in which the U.S. is engaged such as Ukraine.
CWRU School of Law is the only law school with a public radio foreign policy show and podcast. Produced in partnership with Ideastream Media, “Talking Foreign Policy” has been broadcast quarterly since 2012.
“The Afghanistan Debacle” will be broadcast Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 9 a.m. and again at 9 p.m. In Cleveland, it will air on WKSU 89.7 FM. The show will stream worldwide online at ideastream.org. It also will be available as a podcast for listening anytime after its initial air date.