‘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
In America’s Wars, Failure Is the New Success
It was bloody and brutal, a true generational struggle, but give them credit. In the end, they won when so many lost. James Comey was axed. Sean Spicer went down in a heap of ashes. Anthony Scaramucci crashed and burned instantaneously. Reince Priebus hung on for dear life but... Read more
High Crimes and Demeanors in the Age of Donald Trump
Let me try to get this straight — from the moment the Soviet Union imploded in 1991 until recently just about every politician and mainstream pundit in America assured us that we were the planet’s indispensable nation, the only truly exceptional one on this small orb of ours. We... Read more
Precision Warfare? Don’t Make Me Laugh
You remember. It was supposed to be 21st-century war, American-style — precise beyond imagining; smart bombs; drones capable of taking out a carefully identified and tracked human being just about anywhere on earth; special operations raids so pinpoint-accurate that they would represent a triumph of modern military science. Everything... Read more
Mosul on My Mind
The closest I ever got to Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, was 1,720.7 miles away — or so the Internet assures me. Although I’ve had a lifelong interest in history, I know next to nothing about Mosul’s, nor do I have more than a glancing sense of what it... Read more
The Honeymoon of the Generals
MOAB sounds more like an incestuous, war-torn biblical kingdom than the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast, aka “the mother of all bombs.”  Still, give Donald Trump credit.  Only the really, really big bombs, whether North Korean nukes or those 21,600 pounds of MOAB, truly get his attention. He wasn’t... Read more
The Demobilization of Permanent-War America
On successive days recently, I saw two museum shows that caught something of a lost American world and seemed eerily relevant in the Age of Trump. The first, “Hippie Modernism,” an exploration of the counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s–heavy on psychedelic posters–was appropriately enough at the Berkeley Art... Read more
The American Way of War as a Do-Over
With Gen. John Campbell’s tour of duty in Afghanistan finished, a new commander has taken over. Admittedly, things did not go well during Campbell’s year and a half heading up the International Security Assistance Force, but that’s par for the course. In late 2015, while he was in the... Read more
In 2016, Let’s Stop Freaking Out So Much About Terrorism
It’s time to panic! As 2015 ended, this country was certifiably terror-stricken. It had the Islamic State on the brain. Hoax terror threats or terror imbroglios shut down school systems from Los Angeles to New Hampshire, Indiana to a rural county in Virginia. The Dallas Symphony Orchestra, citing terror attacks... Read more
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