Crossing Zero

Crossing Zero
The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire


"The authors seek to expose what they see as American failures in the Afghan War that have led to the proliferation of militant groups in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. They look at the potential consequences for American interests and make suggestions for improving American policy."


"The 200-page book, just released, is a brilliant indictment of the insane US military occupation of Afghanistan. It also casts grave doubts on the rationale for continuing American interventionism and makes a strong case for retrenchment."

Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould: The 9/11 and Psychological Warfare series
Sep 23, 2011

"Top notch journalists Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould reflect here on 9/11 and psychological warfare. It is always a pleasure to read these two. The high quality of their work needs to be praised. I could analyse in details these articles but I think it is best if you just read for yourself the fabulous research that they have done."

- Lys d'Or

Went 2 the Bridge

"In their latest book Crossing Zero: The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire, Gould and Fitzgerald not only present the NATO nation-building project as failed, but they join a growing chorus of voices reporting that the effort to subdue insurgency in the region is rapidly losing ground. Their explanation of why this might be so focuses primarily on two factors: the role of Pakistan, and the Pasthun tribe straddling the Durand Line. They also hint at a third factor rising: the U.S. may simply run out of money to continue."

A "Moment" of reflection for Hamid & Ahmed Wali Karzai
Jul 21, 2011

"The death of Ahmed Wali Karzai closes off a major option for his half brother Hamid at a crucial moment when Washington has shifted into phase two of its ten year program for Central Asia and with the Durand line once again the focus of the U.S. war. Next up comes the large military bases that the U.S. wants to occupy beyond 2014 and a status of forces agreement. This is something which Karzai cannot afford to allow for fear of alienating Afghanistan's population and his regional neighbors and at the same time cannot refuse and continue to accept protection as an American client. Karzai is desperate to find allies to save him, but time is short. Should he get the nod from strongman Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s backers in Iran and Pakistan to merge his dwindling political forces with those of the Hesb-i Islami he may get a reprieve, but without his man in Kandahar, Ahmed Wali to do his dirty work, Hamid Karzai’s 'Hafizullah Amin moment' may be right around the corner."

- Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould, Boiling Frogs Post

"Huffpost missed the biggest Jaw-Dropping Journalism Scandal of all!"
Jul 13, 2011

 "As the first journalists to enter Kabul in 1981 for CBS News with Dan Rather following the expulsion of the Western media the previous year, we continue to be amazed at how the American disinformation campaign between Hollywood, Washington and Wall Street built around the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan lives on. We've seen this pattern from the media again and again. It happened AGAIN in Huffpost's July 8th '10 Jaw-Dropping Journalism Scandals' that missed the biggest scandal of all."

- Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould, The Huffington Post

Exposing the Official 1980s
Jun 24, 2011

"Watch this 1980s news montage in which Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould examine propaganda created by the MSM to support Charlie Wilson's War. Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould, a husband and wife team, began their experience in Afghanistan when they were the first American journalists to acquire permission to enter behind Soviet lines in 1981 for CBS News and produced a documentary, Afghanistan Between Three Worlds, for PBS. In 1983 they returned to Kabul with Harvard Negotiation project director Roger Fisher for ABC Nightline and contributed to the MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour. They continued to research, write and lecture about the long-term run-up that led to the US invasion of Afghanistan."

Click here for the Mary Williams Walsh interview referred to at the end of the video from the May 1990 issue of The Progressive Magazine titled "Journalistic Jihad: Holes in the Coverage of a Holy War, by Erwin Knoll."

- Sibel Edmonds, Boiling Frogs

Crossing Bones at Zero Line
May 23, 2011

"Most Americans don't know what goes on inside the secrets halls of Skull and Bones anymore than what kind of secret dealings led to their country being embroiled in the war on terror. But it's safe to assume that after ten years the only thing the war on terror shares with the war on drugs or poverty, hearts or minds or the sensitivities of Islamic fundamentalists, is failure."

- Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould, Huffington Post

What does the death of Osama bin Laden mean?
May 2, 2011

"What does the death of Osama bin Laden mean to the world today, after ten years of the so-called 'War on Terror'? Listen to Paul Fitzgerald discussing bin Laden's death on this Your Call with a panel of guests including Aunohita Mojumdar, a freelance journalist currently based in Kabul, and Ali Kamran Asdar, associate professor of anthropology, Middle East Studies and Asian Studies at the University of Texas, Austin."

- Holly Kernan, Your Call Radio

Elizabeth Gould and Paul Fitzgerald talk about their book, Crossing Zero: The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire
Apr 28, 2011

"Elizabeth Gould and Paul Fitzgerald join Boiling Frog to talk about their recently released book, Crossing Zero: The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire. They discuss the origins of the Taliban and the array of armed groups in AfPak that are lumped together as 'Taliban' by US media and politicians. Gould-Fitzgerald talk about Pakistan's double play, the struggle for oil and gas that is the basis for the conflict, pipeline politics, the confused or even lack of strategy in the senseless costly war, the current corruption ridden puppet regime in Afghanistan, Obama administration's drone-mania, their 8-point plan for ending the US occupation, and more!"

- Sibel Edmonds, Boiling Frogs Post

Mission Accomplished?
May 9, 2011

"Everything is on the table for the U.S. in its AfPak war, the grand plan that began some thirty odd years ago with the Soviets trapped in their own Vietnam has come full circle but the cards are looking slim. The U.S. wants a long term agreement to stay in Afghanistan after 2014 and has been building bases as it did in Iraq for the long haul. The Russians and Iranians are opposed. They don't want the U.S. military on their border indefinitely. So that's China, Pakistan, Iran and Russia lobbying against U.S. interests. And what are those interests? If it's geopolitical control of the region, how likely is it that China will loan the U.S. the money to make that happen? Not likely. But what about Saudi Arabia?"

- Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould, Huffington Post

How and Why the Media Misses the Af-Pak Story
Apr 14, 2011

"In the years since 9/11 they continued to follow the AF/Pak story closely, ultimately writing a book entitled Invisible History: Afghanistan's Untold Story. Their latest effort, Crossing Zero: The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire, examines what they call 'the bizarre and often paralyzing contradictions of America’s strategy' in the region."

- Rory O' Connor, AlterNet

Sonali Kolhatkar interviews Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould
Apr 4, 2011

"Hekmatyar and what he represents about U.S. policy in Afghanistan is featured heavily in a new book called Crossing Zero: the AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire by Elizabeth Gould and Paul Fitzgerald. Gould and Fitzgerald have a long history of covering Afghanistan. Following from their 2009 book Invisible History: Afghanistan's Untold Story, in this new book, they explore the war’s expansion into Pakistan, its various contradictions, and consequences for the region."

- Sonali Kolhatkar

Crossing Zero: The AfPak War At the Turning Point of American Empire
Apr 4, 2011

"As U.S. and NATO troops become increasingly less popular, American forces are prepared to hand over authority to Afghan government forces starting this June. In response, former U.S. ally and war criminal Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has called for a national uprising against the U.S. backed government of Hamid Karzai. Hekmatyar and what he represents about U.S. policy in Afghanistan is featured heavily in a new book called Crossing Zero: the AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire by Elizabeth Gould and Paul Fitzgerald. Gould and Fitzgerald have a long history of covering Afghanistan. Following from their 2009 book Invisible History: Afghanistan's Untold Story, in this new book, they explore the war's expansion into Pakistan, its various contradictions, and consequences for the region."


KPFA, Letters and Politics
Mar 30, 2011

Listen to Elizabeth Gould and Paul Fitzgerald discuss their new book Crossing Zero on KPFA radio.


KALW, Your Call
Mar 31, 2011

Elizabeth Gould and Paul Fitzgerald discuss Crossing Zero: The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire.


Vast majority of Americans want significant troop withdrawal from Afghan war
Mar 19, 2011

"In Elizabeth Gould and Paul Fitzgerald's book, 'Crossing Zero', a dire depiction of a waning U.S. empire is made. As a lone super-power, what if we faced the Truman doctrine of containment—except directed at us—restraining American power instead of protecting it?"

- Byron DeLear, Progressive Examiner

CIA drone kills 40 civilians in Pakistan, fuels already-simmering extremism
Mar 18, 2011

"A U.S. Predator drone missile strike killed up to 40 innocent civilians in Pakistan's tribal area on Thursday, outraging Pakistani government and military officials. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani condemned the 'irrational' attack and said it will 'only strengthen [the] hands of radical and extremist elements.'

Elizabeth Gould and Paul Fitzgerald, two renowned experts on Afghanistan, see this as yet another illustration of waning American power, reminiscent of another empire that tried to once dominate the region."

- Michael Hughes,

Is WikiLeaks the antidote to the Washington K Street Kool-Aid?
Jul 29, 2010

"Since the end of the cold war, the U.S. had been looking for an enemy to match the Soviet Union and came up empty handed until 9/11. Refocusing the efforts of the world's largest and most expensive military empire on Al Qaeda would provide the incentive for a massive re-armament, just the way the Soviet "invasion" of Afghanistan had done two decades before. According to a Washington Post report within nine years of America's invasion of Afghanistan, hunting Al Qaeda had become the raison d'être of the American national security bureaucracy employing 854,000 military personnel, civil servants and private contractors with more than 263 organizations transformed or created including the Office of Homeland Security. The sheer scope of the growth and the extensive privatization of intelligence and security was so profound that it represented 'an alternative geography of the United States, a Top Secret America hidden from public view and lacking in oversight.'"

- Elizabeth Gould and Paul Fitzgerald, Sibel Edmond's Boiling Points

Library Journal

"The authors portray policies of previous years (e.g., U.S. support of insurgents fighting the Soviet invasion) as now coming back to hurt us, part of a repetition of errors previously made by European powers in the region over the past 400 years. They have marshaled an impressive array of sources, both journalistic and academic, to demonstrate that their ideas have long been available, if only policymakers had chosen to heed them. . . . Readers with a serious interest in U.S. foreign policy or military strategy will find it helpful in thinking about a long-lived issue."

WikilLeaks: The Pakistan Connection
Jul 29, 2010

Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould discuss the WikiLeaks Pakistan Taliban connection in a three-part interview.

- Paul Jay, The REAL News Network

The Doug Noll Show

 "Crossing Zero is an in-depth analysis of the American intervention in Afghanistan and Pakistan. What this book will teach you is that the entire adventure in Afghanistan and Pakistan has been and will continue to be a fiscal, military, diplomatic, and international disaster for the United States."
--The Doug Noll Show

Julien Mercille

"In 'Crossing Zero', Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould provide a much needed antidote to mainstream accounts of the AfPak war by documenting in detail the disastrous consequences of United States and NATO military intervention in the region. Drawing from a wide range of sources, and written in crisp, clear prose, the book will be useful to students, researchers, policy makers, and anyone interested in knowing the truth." —Julien Mercille, University College Dublin

Huffington Post

"Crossing Zero thoroughly documents how the best-laid plans of Western powers have led to three decades of incessant war and the annihilation of Afghanistan's secular tribal structure, transforming it into one of the most violent and poverty-stricken places on earth. . . . Afghanistan has become more than just a stark illustration of the ineptitude of Obama’s misguided AfPak strategy – it reflects the futility of de-emphasizing diplomacy and how U.S. militarism has worked against our own interests. War and the endless preparations for it do more harm than good, destroying what they claim to protect."

Drone Escalation or ethical pause after the blowback?
May 17, 2010

"Paul Fitzgerald has written a brilliant article on the legality, consequences and long term blowback from the policy to continue drone attacks in a sovereign country. He starts off with a conversation between Willam Roper and Sir Thomas More, the Renaissance man in medieval Britain."

- Pakistan Patriot

Crossing Zero: The Vanishing Point for the American Empire
May 3, 2010

"The region today delineated as both Afghanistan and Pakistan has known many borders over the millennia, yet none have been more artificial or contentious than the one today separating Pakistan from Afghanistan known as the Durand line but referred to by the military and intelligence community as Zero line. A funny thing happened to the United States when the Obama administration decided to cross Zero line and bring the Afghan war into Pakistan. Instead of resolution, after nearly two years into the administration's AfPak strategy, it would seem the gap between reality and the Washington beltway has only widened."

- Paul Fitzgerlad & Elizabeth Gould,

Elizabeth Gould and Paul Fitzgerald, News Analysis, Pakistan and Afghanistan, Muhammad Khurshid in Tribal Region of Pakistan
Apr 21, 2010

"Elizabeth Gould and Paul Fitzgerald provide their expert news analysis on Afghanistan and Pakistan. The threat to these journalists from War Lord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's U.S. representative, and in Pakistan.

And journalist Muhammad Khurshid describes threats to civilians, journalists, political figures, and others, as a month of April terror continues to unfold in Pakistan. Journalists are being threatened by various forces including government ones, he says, and he blames the US, and US dollars to corrupt actors in the region and leaders is adding fuel to the fires of war."

- Dori Smith, Talk Nation Radio