Battleland

Last Leathernecks Leave Iraq

Hard to believe, but the final 12 Marines have left Iraq. It’s funny how much attention we pay when they arrive, and how little we note when they leave. War tends to begin with a bang, and end with a whimper.

All U.S. troops are now slated to be out by December 31, except for embassy Marine guards, and any additional forces yet to …

Of Bracelets and Bits of Colored Ribbon, Earned Or Otherwise

Soldiers, like all of us, want recognition. Sure, the mission comes first, and then your buddies, and maybe, eventually, you. But such recognition is hard-earned, and outsiders tinker with it at their peril.

That’s why two recent events are worth noting. One involves — of all things — jewelry worn by Marines to honor those lost …

Nuclear (Triad) Warfare

As the nation grapples with its need to cut hundreds of billions of dollars from its future defense budgets every year, one category seems MIA: the nuclear triad. But it’s worth noting that those who embrace it tend to be those running it, while the nation’s top military officers — who have to juggle competing demands, and not just …

A Terrorist by Any Other Name

Normally I would have let this go. But, wow, sometimes the level of stupidity demands a comment.

Yesterday, Rush Limbaugh took President Obama to task for sending troops to central Africa in an effort to take out Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army. This in itself isn’t newsworthy. Limbaugh would take the President to task …

Searching for the Not-So-Holy Grail

The State Department has put together a nifty guide for North African agents of fortune and influence (not to mention border guards) if they think they’ve come across some of the thousands of surface-to-air missiles purportedly pilfered during Libya’s recent unpleasantness. Given Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s surprise visit to …

“Are U.S. Troops Leaving Afghanistan Prematurely?”

Or is it about time? That all depends, of course, on what you think the U.S. mission in Afghanistan — now a decade old — actually is. We have booted the Taliban from power, and recently killed Osama bin Laden, who orchestrated the 9/11 attacks from inside Afghanistan in a sanctuary the Taliban provided. Now President Obama has …

Auld Lang So Long…

There has been a flurry of conflicting stories over the weekend on the future of U.S. troops in Iraq. The U.S. plainly, desperately, wants to keep some troops on Iraqi soil, for several reasons: preserve the gains won there since 2003 in U.S. blood and treasure (along with Iraq’s), keep an eye on neighboring Iran, try to get more …

Why Not Pot?

There have been a raft of articles here recently about PTSD and veterans including one on the difficulty of diagnosing PTSD, the staggering number of new veterans seeking mental health care at the VA, and the both surprising and somewhat sobering news that younger veterans are more willing to ask for mental health care—this is …

Africom to Work Lord’s Resistance Army Problem With Uganda


WAPO and NYT reporting over the weekend that the US will send around 100 armed advisers to help the Ugandan military work the stubborn problem of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a beyond-its-expiration-date insurgency that’s terrorized rural populations across four states for a couple of decades now. These guys really are the worst of …

U.S. to Go After Kony and the LRA

In a short statement on Friday, the State Department announced that the U.S. is sending 132 advisors to Uganda to help capture elusive rebel leader Joseph Kony and end the terrorism of his Lord’s Resistance Army. Kony has led the LRA for nearly 25 years. He and his lieutenants have been under an arrest warrant from the International …

1-in-7

Army leaders have been telling us for years that the post-9/11 wars have been chewing up their armor and other weapons. This week, the service’s top docs made clear the same thing is happening to the troops, although much of it isn’t combat-related.

Some 15% of active-duty troops – that’s one out of seven – is undeployable for …

Panetta Tells Super Committee to “Do the Right Thing”

Testifying before the House Armed Services Committee today, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta directly challenged the Congressional “Super Committee” to “do the right thing.” In Panetta’s view, the “right thing” is to solve the debt crisis by going after the drivers of America’s bulging debt. That would be the Big 3 …

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