Was the Afghan government complicit in war crimes?

We ask Hamid Karzai about calls for an ICC Afghan war crimes investigation, and debate how to cover climate change.

In this week’s UpFront, we speak to former Afghan President Hamid Karzai about alleged war crimes, the continuing US military presence in the country and plans to send even more troops.   

Also on the show, we debate the best way to spur people into action about climate change, and whether we should constantly highlight or give credence to possible doomsday scenarios. 

Headliner: Hamid Karzai on the US, ISIL and war crimes

As US President Donald Trump plans to send more troops to fight in the 16-year-long war in Afghanistan, the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor now calls for investigating war crimes and crimes against humanity in the country. 

In this challenging interview, Hamid Karzai, the former president of Afghanistan, says he welcomes the ICC investigation of war crimes, including those committed under his watch between 2004 and 2014. 

“She’s right to launch such an investigation,” says Karzai, referring to ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. 

Karzai also acknowledged that there were human rights violations during his government, and possibly under his watch. “Definitely, there were violations by the Afghan security forces, by the US, and by others,” he says. 

When asked if he would cooperate with an investigation into his own potential complicity, he said, “Absolutely. Welcome. I have been asking for this so that they come to Afghanistan and investigate as to what has happened in this country.”

In this week’s Headliner, former Afghan President Hamid Karzai discusses the US strategy in Afghanistan, the Taliban and alleged human rights violations that may have taken place under his watch. 

Arena: Climate change – are we all doomed?

This month, the US released an exhaustive scientific report on climate change, citing humans as the dominant cause of global warming.

So, should we still be optimistic about humans’ ability to combat climate change? And should we be worried about the possible doomsday scenarios that have been presented in the media? Or are these scenarios counter-productive? 

David Wallace-Wells, the author of a controversial article titled The Uninhabitable Earth which paints a pessimistic doomsday scenario for planet Earth, believes people are not as worried as they should be about the grave consequences of climate change: 

“I think when you look at the public as a whole, it’s just very, very clear to me, and honestly, I don’t see a counter-argument, that the public is not alarmed enough about what is possible and not motivated enough by that alarm to take political action,” says Wallace-Wells, who is also a deputy editor at New York Magazine. 

For Andrew Freedman, senior science editor at Mashable, we need a more level approach: 

“Is climate change fatalism a bigger problem than climate complacency?” asks Freedman, who is also a former Science Writer at Climate Central. “I think they’re both big problems. Neither one of them is necessarily a solution. I would prefer, like, climate change realism here.” 

In this week’s Arena, David Wallace-Wells and Andrew Freedman debate how to cover climate change in a way that motivates the public to action. 

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