How Can You Tell You’re About to Have a Civil War?
The Iraqi Kurd’s vote for independence in September 2017 sent shockwaves through the region. The day after the vote, the Iraqi military conducted a military exercise with Turkey. The government in Baghdad grounded international flights in and out of Kurdish Regional Government territory. And the Turkish government threatened to... Read more
George W. Bush Doesn’t Deserve His West Point Character Award
In George W. Bush’s home state of Texas, if you are an ordinary citizen found guilty of capital murder, the mandatory sentence is either life in prison or the death penalty. If, however, you are a former president of the United States responsible for initiating two illegal wars of... Read more
Iran Is Too Much of a Mess to Acquire Russian Weaponry
This story originally appeared on Sept. 12, 2016. News reports claim that the Islamic Republic of Iran is in the process of deploying Russian-made S-300 surface-to-air missiles and is either negotiating for, or has already placed an order for, 300 T-90 main battle tanks and at least 30 Sukhoi... Read more
Europe’s Greatest War-Risk Is in the Baltics
Since 2014, the NATO alliance has made numerous posture changes on its eastern flank to deter Russia. Essentially, the alliance’s goal is to change Russian behavior, but how does one measure such policy modifications in Moscow? The RAND Corporation recently released a new report that attempts to build an analytical... Read more
‘Tell Me How This Ends’
It took 14 years, but now we have an answer. It was March 2003, the invasion of Iraq was underway, and U.S. Army major general David Petraeus was in command of the 101st Airborne Division heading for the Iraqi capital Baghdad. Rick Atkinson, The Washington Post journalist and military... Read more
Donald Trump Is Doubling Down on Gitmo … and Its Cruelty
In 2009, when I wrote a book on the first days of Guantanamo, The Least Worst Place: Guantánamo’s First 100 Days, I assumed that Gitmo would prove a grim anomaly in our history. Today, it seems as if that “detention facility” will have a far longer life than I... Read more
Counterinsurgency, Policing and the Militarization of America’s Cities
I can remember both so well. 2006. My first raid in South Baghdad. 2014. Watching on YouTube as a New York police officer asphyxiated — murdered — Eric Garner for allegedly selling loose cigarettes on a Staten Island street corner not five miles from my old apartment. Both events... Read more
Even the Army’s Crowd-Control Rulebook Says Ferguson Police Tactics Were Dumb
This story  originally appeared on Aug. 15, 2014. The crackdown by police in the Ferguson, Missouri in 2014 protests revealed just how militarized American law enforcement has become. But it’s not just militarization of the police that’s a problem—it’s that police departments also are taking the wrong lessons from... Read more
South Korea Deploys Its Own Missile Shield
In the spring of 2017, the United States began deploying Terminal High Altitude Air Defense missile batteries to South Korea. The expensive THAAD system is designed to shoot-down ballistic missiles on their terminal trajectory as they plunge down their targets. While North Korea will likely soon possess missiles that... Read more
Let’s Talk About Who Really Benefits From U.S. Defense Spending
Hawks on Capitol Hill and in the U.S. military routinely justify increases in the Defense Department’s already munificent budget by arguing that yet more money is needed to “support the troops.” If you’re already nodding in agreement, let me explain just where a huge chunk of the Pentagon budget... Read more