Battleland

Afghanistan 2.0

Some old-timers speak of deja vu all over again: just as Afghanistan became the Soviet Union’s Vietnam, it could also become America’s. Tuesday’s complex attack on the U.S. embassy in Kabul — reputed to be a safer place — raises anew questions about the scope of the decade-old U.S. war in Afghanistan, and its chances for success.

“How Did the U.S. Military Retool Itself Post-9/11?”

In the decade after 9/11, just how much did the U.S. military have to recalibrate to fight the wars it found itself launching in Afghanistan and, 18 months later, in Iraq? This week, on Command Post, we discuss the retooling of the American armed forces with Eric Schmitt of the New York Times — co-author of Counterstrike: The Untold

The Haze of War



At the tail end of last Friday’s hearing into military suicides before the House Armed Services Committee’s personnel subcommittee, Rep. Judy Chu finally got a chance to speak. Although not a member of the panel — she serves on the Education and Labor, Judiciary, and Small Business committees — chairman Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., …

Talking With the Taliban

If the U.S. is going to stick to its timetable to pull its forces out of Afghanistan in 2014, it’s going to have to negotiate with the Taliban. It’s strange to say that the morning after the 10th anniversary of the attacks that led the U.S. to invade Afghanistan in an effort to drive the Taliban from power. It was the Taliban, after …

A Decade of War

The past decade has generated a wealth of stories for anyone lucky enough to be covering national security since 9/11. It’s sort of the third chapter in my career. My first, which ran from 1979 to 1991, involved the Cold War and the possibility of superpower conflict with the Soviet Union. When it collapsed, I wondered what we’d …

Remembrances and Sacrifices…

September 9th is my cousin Laura’s birthday. She would have been 62. She died Wednesday, of lung cancer, shortly after I arrived from a 14-hour marathon drive from Bremerton, Wash. On my way down, I prayed that she would die peacefully. Instead she died gasping for her last breaths. It was horrific and heartbreaking.

In this …

Redefining Patriotism: Reflecting on the Past Decade

In an era where yellow “Support the Troops” magnets adorn every other vehicle on the road and where rubber bracelets (color-coded for the cause célèbre) serve more as accessories than symbols of true compassion, I find myself wondering what we have learned as a nation during a decade of war. As the tenth anniversary of 9/11 …

Not Only That: They Missed

A tough week is nearly over. It’s been pouring nonstop in the East, floods are inundating the northeast, GOP presidential candidates are hectoring one another, fires are racing across Texas, President Obama’s pleading for work from Congress, and someone turned the lights out in San Diego.

Just thank God you’re not Commander Mark …

Back to the 1980s: Over-Priced Pentagon Spare Parts

It’s not the $7,600 coffee pot or the $640 toilet seat — those 1980s-era examples of Pentagon over-spending that even normal taxpayers like us could understand — but it’s close. On Thursday the Pentagon issued a summary of an investigation into Sikorsky helicopter parts bought by the Army and found:

The Army “did not effectively …

The Helluvacopter

Roadside bombs kill too much. Pilots cost too much. Answer: an unmanned helicopter to ferry supplies to troops in the most dangerous corners of the world. This recent exercise shows it can be done. Next stop: a six-month field test in Afghanistan starting this fall.

Play Ball!

That’s just what the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team does:

It has been a difficult path to the ballpark for many of the players. After life-altering injuries, they had to rebuild. They were forced to heal with the help of rehabilitation and prosthetics, learned to accept their new physiques, and relearn how to do many of the

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