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Lisa Schirch
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Entries by Lisa Schirch

Getting Off the Wheel of Misfortune: US Policy and Syrian Suffering

(13) Comments | Posted August 29, 2013 | 3:15 PM

As political commentators argue on the pros and cons of punishing Assad, most conclude that the U.S. has found itself in yet another catch-22 in its seemingly endless wheel of foreign policy misfortune. The fantasy of a firepower solution in Syria is tempting. In an age of space...

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She Didn't Have a Gun... She Had MLK's Dream

(4) Comments | Posted August 23, 2013 | 12:31 PM

School staff Antoinette Tuff drew out compassion, courage, and love instead of a handgun when faced with someone armed with 500 rounds of ammunition intent on hurting chidren this week in Atlanta.

Fifty years after Martin Luther King's March on Washington, we don't have to dream about people...

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On Massacres, Masculinity, Human Rights and Gun Rights

(5) Comments | Posted December 17, 2012 | 4:00 PM

It doesn't just take a mentally disturbed young man to make the ingredients of a school massacre. It takes collective insanity.

In China , a young mentally-disturbed man walked into a school ready to do violence last Friday. Not able to procure a gun, he stabbed 23 people,...

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"Having it All" Myths: An Addendum to Ann Marie Slaughter

(3) Comments | Posted September 7, 2012 | 2:45 PM

A provocative article by former State Department Director of Policy Planning Ann Marie Slaughter went viral as women resonated with the basic arguments: A working woman with children has a hard time competing in the career ladder. The Washington hierarchy is not friendly to women in general, especially to women...

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9 Costs of Drone Strikes

(8) Comments | Posted June 28, 2012 | 12:07 PM

Proponents of using drones and "signature strikes" against suspected militants offer a variety of arguments supporting their use, including their comparative precision, lower risks to U.S. forces, and their impact on disrupting al Qaeda. With such benefits, the Obama administration directed the CIA to quadruple the number of...

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Kony 2012 and the Failed Fantasy of Firepower in Libya, Syria, Uganda...

(48) Comments | Posted March 10, 2012 | 8:45 AM

Echoes of victims call out to us over television or even twitter with bloodied images of civilians suffering. Those with empathy want to stop it. There is vast appeal for a fast fantasy of firepower solution. I sing along with Canadian Bruce Cockburn's song "If I had a...

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Qur'an Burnings Indicate Need for Mission Overhaul

(5) Comments | Posted February 28, 2012 | 4:13 PM

Recent news of US troops burning copies of the Qur'an in Afghanistan sparked protests and fueled violence. In response, US President Barack Obama apologized and US military leaders in Afghanistan announced that all foreign troops will receive training on how to handle religious materials. This current crisis signals the need...

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Afghan Civil Society Calls for a "Just Peace" in Bonn

(0) Comments | Posted December 14, 2011 | 10:45 AM

Bonn, Germany - Bonn's Beethoven Hall usually hosts violin, cello and bass players. From 2-3 December the stage supported Afghan engineers, university professors, media professionals and leaders from human rights, women's rights and Afghan NGOs harmonising their voices at the Afghan Civil Society Forum.

These Afghan calls for a just...

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The Afghan Road to Peace Could Start in Bonn

(2) Comments | Posted December 1, 2011 | 9:15 PM

This week I am traveling to Bonn, Germany to hear Afghan civil society leaders share their vision of a way forward just as the U.S. Senate speeds up a plan to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan. Reconciliation is one of many issues on the agenda at...

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Can the Tribes of NATO help the Tribes of Afghanistan?

(4) Comments | Posted October 10, 2011 | 11:04 AM

This week marks the 10th anniversary of the 2001 U.S.-led war in Afghanistan. With the assassination of the head of the Afghan Peace Council Berhanuddin Rabbani a few weeks ago, and data showing increased violence against civilians in 2011, it is hard to be optimistic....

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Six Things to Grieve on 9/11 Anniversary

(8) Comments | Posted September 12, 2011 | 12:29 PM

In the days after 9/11, my colleague and I wrote a short article outlining A Long Term Strategy for American Security detailing ways the U.S. could respond to this crisis. But without any real public deliberation or contemplation, the U.S. rolled out the Global War on Terror playbook...

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U.S. Drones Mobilize Pakistani Nonviolent Movement

(3) Comments | Posted April 25, 2011 | 1:18 AM

As a foreigner visiting Pakistan, this weekend's protests in Peshawar against U.S. drones remind me of prior Pakistani calls for sovereignty and independence.

On April 23, 1930, British troops opened fire on peaceful Muslim protestors in Peshawar in a vigil to gain their independence from British colonial powers. Eighty...

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A 3D Approach to US Foreign Policy

(0) Comments | Posted February 10, 2011 | 8:48 AM

Do we use development funds and diplomacy to bend hearts and minds toward political leaders abroad, giving the U.S. short-term access to natural resources or protecting geopolitical interests related to global power dynamics? Or are development and diplomacy fundamentally about building a shared vision of freedom, participatory governance, and human...

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Egypt and the US "We Know Best" Syndrome

(0) Comments | Posted January 30, 2011 | 2:26 PM

The American "We know best" attitude favoring President Mubarak's continued reign contradicts the evidence that Egyptians favor "change" over "stability."

Egypt isn't the only place where US policy dances between a ruthless rigid "stability" and a chaotic "change" featuring riots and street violence.

In Afghanistan, the US articulates a...

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Reconciliation in the War of Symbols: Ground Zero, the Islamic Center and the Florida Church

(6) Comments | Posted September 13, 2010 | 1:14 PM

There was a "war of symbols" this week with people in every corner of the world discussing what is sacred. From a conflict resolution point of view, these events offer opportunities for reconciliation.

The war of symbols started with right-wing pundits claiming an Islamic Center is a symbol of terrorism,...

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What Washington Should Learn From the Death of Aid Workers in Afghanistan

(7) Comments | Posted August 10, 2010 | 6:16 PM

The deaths of ten humanitarian workers this week in a remote region of Afghanistan underscore the unique but silent work done by American citizens not serving in government or military.

Glen Lapp, one of those killed with the International Assistance Mission (IAM) team of medics, was my host in...

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Supreme Court Ruling Impacts Peacebuilding in Afghanistan

(0) Comments | Posted July 19, 2010 | 12:01 PM

Here on the dusty streets of Kabul, the recent Supreme Court decision prohibiting nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) from teaching negotiation and peacebuilding to members of the Taliban because it is deemed "aiding and abetting a terrorist organization" doesn't make sense. I expected some loss of freedom as an American in a...

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A Diplomatic Surge in Afghanistan?

(4) Comments | Posted January 27, 2010 | 8:36 PM

Afghan President Hamid Karzai will unveil new reconciliation efforts with the Taliban at this week's London Conference on Afghanistan's political future. After US President Barack Obama's announcement of another troop surge last month, Afghans have been asking: "Where is the diplomatic surge to address the root causes of Afghanistan's turmoil?"

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Missing Elements of a Comprehensive Strategy in Afghanistan

(1) Comments | Posted November 17, 2009 | 12:33 PM

U.S. policymakers should articulate a comprehensive military, diplomatic and development approach to Afghanistan. Too much public discussion in the U.S. focuses on military troop levels in Afghanistan rather than a more comprehensive U.S. diplomatic and development strategy. This article lays out missing or under-emphasized elements of U.S. policy in Afghanistan.

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Building Confidence Between the US and Pakistan

(7) Comments | Posted November 12, 2009 | 9:22 AM

By Saira Yamin and Lisa Schirch
Common Ground News Service

WASHINGTON -- During her recent visit to Pakistan, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton emphasized the need to foster a relationship of respect between the United States and Pakistan. Although Pakistan's civilian government and military establishment are closely...

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