Battleland

Defanging Those “Lone Wolves”



In this week of massive 9/11 coverage, it’s important to keep terror threats in perspective. The recent hot threat seems to be “lone wolves” who become jihadists over the Internet while living somewhere in America. To be sure, there are such animals; Exhibit A is Army Major Nidal Hassan, who killed 13 at Fort Hood in 2009. …

Kind of Makes You Wonder What It Takes to Win the Highest Award

The Air Force brass has nominated Staff Sergeant Robert Gutierrez for the Air Force Cross, its second-highest award for bravery. He was the lone Air Force targeteer assigned to an Army special-forces team in Afghanistan nearly two years ago. The unit’s night-time missi0n: capture a top Taliban leader in the western part of the …

Taking Stock: The U.S. Military a Decade After 9/11

The 10th anniversary of 9/11 closes in on us this week. Try as you might, you will not be able to avoid it. Amid the pathos and bathos, it’s time to take a knee and conduct a map check.

Just to cut to the chase: you can’t argue with success, and on 9/12 most Americans were petrified a second wave of attacks was likely. It hasn’t …

The Pentagon’s Shiny New Death Trap

Some government anti-terrorism officials worry that the shiny new Defense Department office complex just south of the Pentagon, the Mark Center, is a death trap. The massive, two-tower center is the new home for 6,400 employees of the Washington Headquarters Service, located about 3 miles south of the Pentagon. It’s part of BRAC and …

Body Count 2.0

One of the most depressing things about the Vietnam conflict was the steady stream of announcements that so many more Viet Cong and North Vietnamese had died during the prior week than U.S. troops. We felt good about that until some 58,000 Americans had been killed.

By then, we were beginning to suspect that someone on the U.S. …

Unending War

Greg Jaffe had a spot-on piece in the Washington Post‘s Labor Day edition discussing the U.S. government’s notion that permanent war is now the American way of life. He captures the all-but-paranoid notion that foreign enemies are forever plotting ways to end the American way of life, as we know it.

But while that is the view of …

Counterstrike: A Post-9/11 Report Card

There is a flood of 9/11 books now coming onto the market, but Counterstrike: The Untold Story of America’s Secret Campaign Against Al Qaeda by Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker of the New York Times should be atop the list of anyone curious about how the U.S. government has grappled with the challenges posed by al Qaeda.

Both authors …

“How Has U.S. National Security Changed Since 9/11?”

It’s hard to believe — at least for some of us — that it has been a decade since 9/11. Before then, covering the military meant going out to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, to witness future ways of war that, in hindsight, seem obsolete. For the past decade, the U.S. military — and indeed, the U.S. …

Soldier’s Heart?

My colleague Mark Thomspon has already highlighted the Miller-McCune piece about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder sometimes being thought of as an injury to the warrior’s soul. But I wanted to comment on this one as well. As I have noted here several times I was treated for PTSD both in theater and stateside. I’ve spent a lot of time …

Who Is Terry A. Hogan?

Adam Zagorin, a former TIME correspondent who has covered the dark corners of the post-9/11 world, is asking that question because that’s the name behind more than a dozen U.S. extraordinary renditions — seizing suspected terrorists around the world and flying them where they could be encouraged to tell what they knew. Yet while the …

General Donn Starry, 1925-2011

Donn Starry, 86, who helped rewrite Army plans for waging war a generation ago, died August 26 of cancer in Canton, Ohio. Many in the military cite him as a key architect responsible for rebuilding the U.S. Army following the Vietnam War. Starry helped draft and implement the Army’s so-called AirLand Battle conventional war-fighting …

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