Adam Serwer

Adam Serwer is a writing fellow at The American Prospect and a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He also blogs at Jack and Jill Politics and has written for The Village Voice, The Washington Post, The Root, and the Daily News.

Recent Articles

"HEADS WE STAY, TAILS WE NEVER LEAVE."

Tim and Ezra had some good comments yesterday the silly O'Hanlon/Pollack/Biddle Op-Ed . What bothers me is the omission of any admission that prolonging the stay of U.S. forces in Iraq is, in and of itself, a source of instability. Since Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki 's statement regarding Obama's plan for withdrawal, Bush and McCain have had to adjust their positions to call, at least nominally, for an eventual drawdown of U.S. forces. But the O'Hanlon/Pollack/Biddle approach suggests that there will always be another vitally important even that requires the support of the American military. An administration that say, wanted something close to an indefinite occupation can say "we want to leave," while always finding a new reason to stay. In this case, they argue that "to capitalize on this progress the next two rounds of elections -- provincial races this fall and a national contest next year -- must go smoothly and be seen as legitimate" and therefore, "American combat troops are...

THE WHITE HOUSE ISN'T MAD AT MALIKI FOR WHAT HE DIDN'T SAY.

President Bush sticks his fingers in his ears and pretends not to hear Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki say he liked Obama 's plan for withdrawal from Iraq: "I talk to him all the time, and that's not what I heard," Bush said in an interview with The Washington Post aboard Air Force One on the start of a trip to Asia. "I heard a man who wants to work with the United States to come up with a rational way to have the United States withdraw combat troops depending upon conditions on the ground, that's all." Of course, the problem with saying that is that not only did Maliki mention Obama by name and describe his plan as "the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes," but the clarification issued by Maliki's aide came after the White House contacted Maliki to express disapproval. But both Bush and McCain (who responded to a question about what he would do if the U.S. was asked to leave by Maliki by simply repeating "he won't," a bunch of times) are doing a...

MCCAIN FOUGHT FOR CIVIL RIGHTS LIKE BUSH FOUGHT IN VIETNAM.

I think the most striking thing about this video , showing McCain in a stunned silence as he attempts to answer two questions (How did Obama play the race card? And what has McCain done for black folks?) isn't his inability to respond, but rather the fact that campaign manager Rick Davis made this statement in the first place : We are not going to let anybody paint John McCain, who has fought his entire life for equal rights for everyone, to be able to be painted as racist. The problem with a statement like "fought his entire life for equal rights" is that there are people who actually did fight for equal rights, in the streets, in courtrooms, and in the halls of Congress. Some of these people were beaten, murdered, jailed, hounded by the police and the FBI, and yet they continued to demand the dignity due them as human beings. McCain himself described the marchers at Selma in 1965 as "the best kind of patriots." I would agree. But McCain himself does not have that kind of record ,...

THE AFGHANISTAN SURGE PART II: EVEN SURGIER.

Tim questions whether I can really discern the true motives behind Obama 's support for an escalation of troop levels in Afghanistan. The short answer is no, I'm not a mind reader. But I disagree with Tim's point that an Obama reversal on the subject "wouldn't be a hard sell". Voters may be ambivalent on Afghanistan, but they're equally ambivalent on Obama's ability to handle national security issues. The popular support for withdrawal from Iraq isn't present with Afghanistan. It still seems like a qualification for being "commander-in-chief" in this political/media climate includes holding hawkish views on foreign policy issues, which is why so many Democrats with presidential hopes voted for the Iraq war in the first place. I'm not sure that's fundamentally changed, so I can't imagine Obama changing his mind during the campaign, and I think in some ways it would be even more difficult for him to do so afterwards. But like I said, I'm also not convinced an escalation would be a bad...

IS A SURGE IN AFGHANISTAN INEVITABLE?

Via Kevin Drum , Rory Stewart and Robert Kaplan join Zbigniew Brzezinsk i in warning against a surge in Afghanistan. Stewart cautions that the Afghan government's problems of infrastructure are better solved by focusing on development and limiting our military objectives. Kaplan argues for a diplomatic effort to calm tensions between Pakistan and India and end decades of Afghanistan being used as for proxy battles between the two countries, arguing that "[t]he India-Pakistan rivalry is just one of several political problems in the region that negate the benefit of more troops". Kaplan further surmises that an agreement that assuages Pakistan's concerns about India would benefit efforts to combat the insurgents along the border. But is a surge inevitable? Below, Tim argues that there's "a growing cottage industry" of skepticism regarding a "surge" in Afghanistan, but that hasn't caught on in either of the campaigns. Obama has used his support for sending more troops to Afghanistan as a...

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