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

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Remains the Law

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals – regarded as one of the most liberal in the land – decided Monday that the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that bars openly gay men and women from serving in the military stays in place, at least for now.

A 2-1 ruling extends a stay preserving the ban as the Justice Department …

Battleland Battleland

"Know The Enemy"

Sun Tzu, the Dave Petraeus of 500 B.C. China, coined the phrase. So just who is the enemy in Afghanistan? As we near President Obama’s promised December review – likely to lead to tweaking, rather than shifting, U.S. strategy there – it’s a vital question. Bill Roggio of Long War Journal has distilled the contents of a newly-released …

Battleland Battleland

"Every Marine Is A Rifleman"

That’s not a boast – it’s the truth. The average Marine is younger than those in the other military services, and more likely to be a trigger-puller. Youth and weapons probably explain this rash of recent shootings at Marine targets in the Washington area, including a second fusillade at the National Museum of the Marine Corps at …

Battleland Battleland

The Littlest Soldiers

The Pentagon always has had an exquisite sense of timing. Take this week, for example. The U.S. military announced Wednesday it has launched a website – myfuture.com – so youngsters can learn more about military careers. “The fact is, we found existing career and/or college exploration websites not affiliated with the DoD provide …

Battleland Battleland

Afghan Update

When I think of wars I’ve known, they seem to boil down to a three-legged stool: capability, will and time. The U.S. always has plenty of capability; will and time – not so much. Dollars can buy capability, but not the other two. Part of the dearth in will and time is due to the repeated perversity of Congress in shirking its …

Battleland Battleland

Pentagon Potshots II

You may recall early last week when we mentioned the pair of shootings at the Pentagon and the Marine museum at Quantico, Va., about 30 miles south. At the time, Pentagon officials thought the shootings “random” events but were studying “the possibility of a connection.” Today they connected them, after ballistics tests showed that …

Battleland Battleland

Snafus avoided

Foreign Policy magazine has rounded up what it calls the top 10 “cockamamie military schemes” ever concocted by civilian thinkers supposedly on our side. “Many proposals — while informal or semiserious — are preposterous and overlook even a basic understanding of political objectives, military strategy, geography, and logistics,” the …

Battleland Battleland

Actions v. Words, International Edition

There’s been a simmering dispute between the U.S. and China over repeated U.S. declarations that the aircraft carrier USS George Washington would sail into the Yellow Sea – also known as the West Sea due to its location west of the Korean peninsula — to caution North Korea to behave. After months of Washington bluster, they’re …

Battleland Battleland

WikiLeaks Releases Iraq War Logs

The long-awaited wave of classified U.S. military documents from WikiLeaks crashed ashore Friday afternoon, detailing battlefield tales of Iraqi brutality, higher-than-acknowledged Iraqi civilian deaths, and Iranian perfidy — but no jaw-dropping revelations.

– The documents detail repeated killings and torture by America’s Iraqi …

Battleland Battleland

"Doc! I've Been Hit!"

The Navy — whose medical corpsmen have been treating wounded sailors and Marines since the days of the Revolution — are under a lot of stress in Afghanistan and Iraq. That’s why the Navy has just published The Docs, a graphic novel designed to give those yet to deploy to a war zone a preview of what they’ll face. “Their dual roles as …

Battleland Battleland

Bang! You're Dead.

I recall watching some of the earliest firings of the Army’s Multiple-Launch Rocket System on a test range at Oklahoma’s Fort Sill nearly 30 years ago. The tracked vehicles “ripple fired” multiple rounds 20 miles downrange. It made a lot of noise and came pretty close to its targets, which generally were intended to be tanks and other …

Battleland Battleland

Not Particularly Revelatory

National Public Radio has canned long-time commentator Juan Williams for remarks he made to Bill O’Reilly on Fox News Monday. O’Reilly, a provocateur of the right who only matters if you let him, has been blaming Muslims en masse for the 9/11 attacks. He asked Williams about what O’Reilly called a “Muslim dilemma,” and that “the cold …

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