Rethink afghanistan

Rethink Afghanistan
File:Rethink Afghanistan.jpg
Directed by Robert Greenwald
Release date(s)
Language English

Rethink Afghanistan is a 2009 documentary about the ongoing war in Afghanistan. This full-length documentary campaign features experts from Afghanistan, the U.S., and Russia among others discussing critical issues like military escalation, how escalation will affect Pakistan and the surrounding region, the cost of war, civilian casualties, and the rights of Afghan women.

Rethink Afghanistan also gave birth to a movement based out of the growing need and desire for non-military solutions in the region. Through the production of the full-length documentary film coupled with an online and on-the-ground campaign, Rethink Afghanistan advocates an alternative vision to the current U.S. policy on Afghanistan.

Creators Robert Greenwald and Brave New Foundation are releasing this film in real time, enabling them to stay atop an ever-changing news cycle.[1] They have "released all segments of this six-part documentary".[2]

The film interviews experts like Andrew Bacevich, Stephen Kinzer, Anand Gopal, Steve Coll, Ann Jones, Linda Bilmes, Jo Comerford, Dr. Roshanak Warnak, and more.

As part of the filmmaking process, acclaimed Director Robert Greenwald (Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers, Outfoxed, Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price) traveled to Afghanistan to meet with and interview members of Afghanistan's parliament, bloggers, women's rights organizations, and groups committed to the peace movement.

The ultimate goal of this documentary campaign is to raise the level of public discourse, compel people to ask key questions about the war, and urge Congress to vote NO for any the escalation of U.S. troops in the war in afghanistan. Already, the campaign has successfully helped retired Corporal Rick Reyes and other veterans testify before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and meet with members of Congress.[3] Reyes, who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, testified before Sen. John Kerry and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

He told the committee, "Sending more troops will not make the US safer; it will only build more opposition against us. I urge you on behalf of truth and patriotism to consider carefully and Rethink Afghanistan."[4]


Part 1 – Troops

In the first part of the film the experts argue that due to the rural nature of Afghanistan and the autonomous nature of its tribal people, who adhere to a strict code of honour violated by the invading western forces, a troop surge similar to the one undertaken in Iraq will fail to work and will, in fact, fuel more anti-American terrorism.

Part 2 – Pakistan

In the second part of the film the experts argue that the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan was an artificial creation of 19th century British policy which has no reality for the Taliban, who, with the assistance of the weakened Pakistani government, which fears Indian encirclement, have re-invented themselves as a Pashtu nationalist army intent on controlling both countries.

Part 3 – Cost of War

In the third part of the film the experts argue that supply problems in a rural, mountainous, landlocked country, lack of oversight and accountability on private contractors resulting in war profiteering and hidden costs such as care for veterans have created an unsustainably expensive war which has contributed to the financial crisis.

Part 4 – Civilian Casualties

In the fourth part of the film the experts, supported by interviews and disturbing footage from destroyed communities and IDP (Internally Displace Person) camps, that the bombardment of villages and mosques resulting in the deaths and dismemberment of innocent civilians including children is converting villagers into suicide bombers for the Taliban.

Part 5 – Afghan Women

In the fifth part of the film the experts argue that, due to the increased militarisation of the society and misogynist Mujahedeen who have taken key positions in the government and judiciary, violence against women, including rape, child abduction and acid attacks, has increased and statistics about literacy, age range and maternal and infant mortality have not improved since the US invasion.

Part 6 – Security

In the sixth and final part of the film the experts argue that the avowed aim of making America more secure is untrue and the world is now less safe for Americans and American operations overseas as terrorism has increased due to the US governments attempts to fight a conventional war in Afghanistan where Al Qaeda no longer has a substantial presence.


  • Anand Gopal - Afghanistan Correspondent, Christian Science Monitor
  • Robert Pape - Professor, Political Science & Author, Dying to Win
  • Andrew Bacevich - Professor, International Relations and History & Author, The Limits of Power
  • Faiysal Alikhan - Founder FIDA (Foundation for Integrated Development Action) & Executive Director, The PESCO Group
  • Stephen Kinzer - Foreign Correspondent & Author, Overthrow
  • Ruslan Aushev - Lt. General, Russian Army (Ret.) & Chief, Committee of Russian Afghan Veterans
  • Thomas J. Barfield - Professor, Anthropology & Pres., The American Institute of Afghanistan Studies
  • Dr. Ramazan Bashardost - Member, Afghan Parliament & Presidential Candidate
  • Shukria Barakzai - Member, Afghan Parliament & Founder/Editor-in-Chief, Aina-e-Zan (Women's Mirror)
  • Mohammed Osman Tariq - Former Mujahid Commander, Soviet-Afghan War & Pres., The National Council for Peace and Democracy in Afghanistan
  • Carl Conetta - Co-Director, The Project on Defense Alternatives
  • Tariq Ali - Historian & Author, The Duel: Pakistan on the Flight Path of American Power
  • Steve Coll - President/CEO, New America Foundation & Author, Ghost Wars
  • Ahmed Rashid - Pakistani Journalist & Author, Descent into Chaos: The U.S. and the Failure of Nation Building in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia
  • Rory Stewart - Director, The Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Harvard University & Author, The Places in Between
  • Catherine Collins - Co-Author, The Man from Pakistan
  • Lawrence Korb - Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress & Senior Advisor, Center for Defense Information
  • Linda Blimes - Co-Author, The Three Trillion Dollar War
  • SSG. Christopher Bentley - United States Marine Corps
  • Winslow Wheeler - Director, Straus Military Reform Project
  • Jo Comerford - Executive Director, National Priorities Project
  • Pratap Chatterjee - Managing Editor, Corpwatch
  • Sonali Kolhatkar - Afghan Women's Mission
  • Erica Gaston - CIVIC (Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict)
  • Ann Jones - Author, Kabul in Winter|
  • Orzala Ashraf Nemet - Afghan Women's Network
  • Kavita Ramdas - President/CEO, Global Fund for Women
  • Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy - Journalist & Filmmaker
  • Fahima Vorgetts - Director, Afghan Women's Fund
  • Fatana Gailani - Founder, Afghanistan Women Council
  • Robert Baer - Former CIA Field Operative, Middle East & Author, See No Evil
  • Graham Fuller - Former CIA Station Chief, Kabul, Afghanistan & Former Vice-Chair, National Intelligence Council
  • Tom Hayden - Author, The Long Sixties
  • Robert Grenier - Former CIA Station Chief, Islamabad, Pakistan & Former Director, Counterterrorism Center
  • Ursala Rahmani - Former Taliban Official
  • Juan Cole - Author, Engaging the Muslim World


External links

  • Internet Movie Database
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