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

Payday Aboard the Abe

Never one to begrudge a good wage for military personnel, it is, however, worth noting that these bonuses average nearly $57,000 per sailor. It ain’t like hitting the lottery, but it ain’t peanuts, either. Especially because the bonuses are tax-free, given that the sailors re-upped while in a combat zone battling the Taliban and al Qaeda fleets.

Battleland Battleland

Wounded Inaction

Given the amazing medical facilities the U.S. military has in Afghanistan and Iraq, medical evacuations of U.S. troops from those countries are reserved for only the most seriously wounded or sick. Between 2001 and last October 1, some 2 million Americans served in the war zones; 62,087 of them had to be evacuated for medical care. …

Battleland Battleland

A GOP-Pentagon Clash Looms Over Spending

There’s a game of chicken now under way in Congress — and the Pentagon is caught in the middle. House Republicans, eager to show they’re serious about cutting spending, are talking about a series of so-called “continuing resolutions” that will basically freeze government funding at 2010 levels unless Senate Democrats agree to deeper …

Battleland Battleland

Love Walks In

The Nashua Telegraph reports on an interesting New Hampshire wedding last weekend between a soldier wounded in Afghanistan and his bride. Last August, Stanley Medai was a gunner on a Humvee as it rumbled through Paktia Province south of Kabul. It was third in a four-vehicle convoy, headed out on a routine mission, when an IED …

Battleland Battleland

Military Shrinks Not Shrinking

The Pentagon has told Congress that “due to increased screening referrals and help-seeking in the face of sustained operations,” the number of mental-health professionals working for the military jumped from 43,716 in 2007 to 55,868 in 2009 — a 28 percent increase.

Among those working full time for the military, the total mushroomed …

Battleland Battleland

U.S.S. Tobacco

While the Navy has banned smoking on submarines, it can’t do that aboard surface ships, where most of its sailors go to sea. That’s because, according to this fascinating article in an upcoming issue of the American Journal of Public Health, the tobacco industry convinced Congress to mandate the availability of the cancer sticks aboard …

Battleland Battleland

Big Bucks, Little Oversight, Big Trouble

Much of the billions of dollars U.S. taxpayers are spending rebuilding Afghanistan and Iraq is likely being wasted because no one is ensuring the contractors involved are doing a good job. That’s the bottom line in Monday’s report from the congressionally-mandated Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan. More than 90 …

Battleland Battleland

Dissing The Dictator, Libyan Version

In the olden days, like maybe 10 years ago, dissidents in a particular country could only broadcast their disdain for their leaders and plot their ouster through underground cells, clandestinely-posted posters, crude samizdat publications and graffiti. It was tough to reach hundreds of people that way, never mind millions. Well, social …

Battleland Battleland

`No-Fly Zone' Questions

The debate over imposing a so-called “no-fly zone” over Libya to make sure Muammar Gaddafi’s air force can’t strafe his subjects from the skies is now in full swing. From the outside, it seems like a perfect answer: using a dram of airpower to protect helpless innocents on the ground. Of course, it’s never that simple.

The New York

Battleland Battleland

Is al Qaeda History?

As an unprecedented sirocco sweeps across North Africa and the Middle East, something amazing is happening: al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden are being left behind in the dust. Neither Islamic fundamentalism nor hatred of Israel or the United States is generating this force. Young people, linked as never before by technology that didn’t …

Battleland Battleland

The Last Doughboy, R.I.P.

There used to be a newsletter for American veterans of World War I. When I first saw it some two decades or more ago, it noted there were some 4,000 of them still alive. I haven’t seen it in many years — I don’t recall its name, but it might have been The Torch. Amazing that any were still alive, given that their war began in this …

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