Mark Thompson

Pulitzer Prize-winner Mark Thompson has covered national security in Washington since 1979, and for Time since 1994. Follow him on Twitter at @MarkThompson_DC

Articles from Contributor

Battleland Battleland

The Ultimate In Camouflage

More than 60 years after rescuing Europe from Adolf Hitler — and incurring more than 100,000 casualties in the valiant effort — U.S. commanders have ordered American troops based in Europe not to wear their uniforms off post. It’s to keep them from becoming terrorist targets. It comes three weeks after a German-born Muslim militant …

Battleland Battleland

Grim Reading

A woman alleged rape in federal court in Virginia earlier this week. Her complaint blames the Pentagon for turning a terrible event into a nightmare that continues today, nearly five years after the claimed assault. In its dry, legal prose, the document alleges just how poorly the U.S. military often handles these kinds of cases.

Battleland Battleland

Just Who Are These Libyan Rebels?

Iraq was at its most violent in 2006 and 2007, just as the U.S. “surge” of 30,000 additional troops into the country was getting underway. A West Point analysis of the foreign fighters involved in the increasing carnage showed that the nation sending the most militants to Iraq from August 2006 to August 2007, was, on a per-capita basis, Libya.

Battleland Battleland

De-Americanizing the Libyan War

MARCH 30 UPDATE: Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., at Tuesday’s armed services committee hearing about the U.S. handing off the Libyan war to NATO:

When the U.S. turns responsibility over to NATO, it’s not like we’re taking a hot potato and throwing it to somebody else. We’re NATO.

Lots of push now underway, including Thursday morning’s

Battleland Battleland


This is a word that crops up whenever a military coalition gets underway. It’s like making laws, sausage or journalism — messy up close. Generally, there’s a week or two of bumps, and then smooth sailing. Sometimes — like in Iraq, for example — it can take years, but that’s due more to inept U.S. planning and resourcing than any …

Battleland Battleland

Non-War Is Hell

The Obama Administration is telling Capitol Hill we are “not at war” with Libya. Meanwhile, over at the Pentagon, they’ve just released a list of the non-war missions conducted over Libya, including 108 “strike sorties, meaning they encountered opposition from Muammar Gaddafi’s forces,” and that “Tomahawk missile launches numbered 162.” …

Battleland Battleland

A Woman Is Running the U.S. Air War Over Libya

The Obama Administration is pushing back hard that it was women – specifically Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. ambassador to the UN Susan Rice, and National Security Council staffer Samantha Power – who exhorted the White House into war with Libya. But they can’t deny that it’s a woman – for the first time in U.S. …

Battleland Battleland

War Pix

Enough of Presidents and potentates and defence ministers and generals and admirals. Check out U.S. Africa Command’s Flickr feed on Operation Odyssey Dawn to see a good cross-section of young Americans who are actually waging this war. Be sure to click the slideshow button in the upper right to watch, and the show info button once …

Battleland Battleland

Obama, 2007

“The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

Battleland Battleland

Yemen Warning

John McCreary is a long-time Defense Intelligence Agency analyst who writes the well-read NightWatch blog now that he’s no longer working for the U.S. government. Today’s installment has this disconcerting prediction about Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh:

Battleland Battleland

President Obama's Libya War Challenges

The Libya war is going just swimmingly, militarily. Unfortunately, it’s more of a political war than a military one. If military might were the sole arbiter of the outcome, any alliance led by the U.S. would triumph. No one comes close to matching our military strength. But as we have learned after a decade in Afghanistan, firepower is …

Battleland Battleland

Libyan Grey Matters

Soldiers love black and white. It is becoming increasingly clear that Libya is becoming increasingly grey. Mike Crowley just detailed how the White House is trying to separate Libyan rebels from Libyan civilians when it comes to trying to figure out whom to bomb. The Pentagon is neck-deep in this debate, as well.

Army General Carter …

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