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

Threading The Needle

Images like the one above were once the stuff of science fiction. You know, like 1911’s Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle. This is a picture of Libya’s Ghardabiya airfield that the U.S. military precisely demilitarized over the weekend. As Vice Adm. William Gortney explains:

These strikes were carried out last night, East Coast time, by

Battleland Battleland

Operation Odyssey Dawn?

Remember how the late musician Frank Zappa named his kids Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet Emuukha Rodan and Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen? Have you noticed how the Pentagon’s names for its wars have become more bizarre since the Mothers of Invention front man left us in 1993? Perhaps his spirit has touched the Defense Department. You can imagine …

Battleland Battleland

Gaddafi Not Even a Target, Never Mind a Bullseye

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi concluded Sunday that 48 hours of bombing by allied warplanes and missiles are plenty, and called for a ceasefire – even as U.S. and allied leaders made it clear that removing him from the job he has held for 42 years isn’t a goal of Operation Odyssey Dawn.

Pentagon officials, noting that an earlier …

Battleland Battleland

Sunday in Libya: The Bombing Continues

The familiar trajectory of establishing a no-fly zone was confirmed anew Sunday morning, as U.S. defense officials declared U.S. and allied forces have degraded Libya’s air-defense network, even as attacks continue against surviving pieces of his plane-killing apparatus.

Nineteen U.S. warplanes on Sunday morning followed up on …

Battleland Battleland

Target Libya: Operation 'Odyssey Dawn' Begins

Last Updated: Sunday, 6:17 a.m.

U.S. and British warships launched a barrage of cruise missiles Saturday against Libyan air defenses. It is designed to suppress the threatening systems, and the communications nodes tying them together, before an international no-fly zone is imposed over Libya to protect civilians from attack by forces …

Battleland Battleland

U.S. Military Leery Of Libyan Mission

Poised to attack Libyan targets, the U.S. military is looking toward its NATO — Britain and France — along with its Persian Gulf — Qatar and UAE — allies to do the heavy lifting. This is not a mission the high command of the U.S. military wanted, and — waging two wars already — knows there isn’t a lot of slack to strike the …

Battleland Battleland

Meanwhile, 2,000 Miles East of Libya

Violence is happening in Bahrain. You can witness the shooting of a civilian protester in Sitrah by security forces earlier this week if you click on the video above. But you may not want to. Probably best to click “watch later” and forget about it; it’s pretty graphic. Not sure if the victim was hit by rubber bullets or something …

Battleland Battleland

War Is Hell

Until recently, the so-called “signature wound” of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq was traumatic brain injury — TBI — and the post-traumatic stress it could fuel. Unfortunately, there is a new category of wounds gaining prominence: genital trauma. It seems that soldiers on foot patrols — the preferred way of conducting …

Battleland Battleland

War With Libya Looms

After weeks of warning from the Pentagon about the downsides of launching a no-fly zone over Libya, the U.S. and its major European allies declared war on Muammar Gaddafi and his forces holding on to power in the north African nation. NATO surveillance aircraft have been scouring Libya for potential targets for more than a week. …

Battleland Battleland

Slippery Slope

We told you Monday that it was too late for the international community to impose a no-fly zone over Libya and think it would make any difference to the civil war down below. Wednesday, Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., agreed.

“The U.S. view is that we need to be prepared to contemplate steps that include, but perhaps go …

Battleland Battleland

Well, That Sounds Like It's Worth $85 Million

Some of us have been around long enough to recall the doomed Desert One mission to rescue the U.S. hostages held by Iran in 1980. That’s where eight U.S. troops died in the middle of the Iranian desert, their bodies abandoned in the survivors’ rush to leave. They perished in a night-time ground collision between two U.S. aircraft at a …

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