Happy Independence Day!

We honor our fallen troops on Memorial Day, all former troops on Veterans’ Day. On the 4th of July, we justly honor their role in winning, and keeping, our independence. Boeing had a full-page ad in the Washington Post on Sunday to “proudly salute the men and women of the armed forces,” and Lockheed and Northrop chimed in …

Robert Widmer Slips the Surly Bonds of Earth

Robert Widmer has achieved escape velocity. Never heard of him? How about the weapons he pioneered, ranging from the B-36 – the Air Force’s largest bomber – to the F-16 — its most nimble fighter — to the Tomahawk cruise missile?

Reports Sunday’s New York Times in an appreciative obit:

Mr. Widmer was so valuable to the

“Eating Us Alive”

That’s what former defense secretary Robert Gates said about Pentagon health-care costs. A just-released Congressional Budget Office chart makes that stunningly clear: Defense Department medical costs have skyrocketed over the past 30 years, going from about $10 billion in 1980 to $50 billion annually now — and are on track to reach …

Focusing on Skills, Not Gender, in the Military

The latest issue of the Association of the United States Navy’s magazine sits down with Vice Admiral Ann Rondeau, the Navy’s senior three-star officer and president of the National Defense University, to chat about how far women have come in the military — and how far they have yet to go. She discusses the myriad of changes in …

Afghanistan 0-for-3 In Halting Human Trafficking

The fate of women in Afghanistan has routinely been cited as a bonus of the U.S. presence there. It has reduced the oppression of women and expanded educational opportunities for girls. Things will only get worse for women if the U.S. pulls out too fast, the conventional wisdom suggests. But tough to see how things could get much …

Don’t Get “Inspired” by al-Qaeda, Because We Might Kill You

Are you feeling “inspired to take action in furtherance of the goals of al-Qaeda —the organization and the ideology—including by engaging in violence regardless of whether such violence is targeted at the United States, its citizens, or its interests?”

Well, look out. We might kill you.

Droning On To a New Way of War

So the U.S. government — if not the military, then the CIA — is now using drones to kill suspected terrorists in at least six different countries — Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. Congress — the entity charged with declaring war, according to the Constitution — has basically green-lighted only the attacks …

Meet The New Boss

Leon Panetta became defense secretary Friday. He has just sent a message to U.S. troops around the world, including the 150,000 in combat zones in Afghanistan and Iraq:

Today, I was honored to take the oath of office to become the 23rd Secretary of Defense. I am mindful of the great responsibility the President has entrusted to

U.S. To Probe CIA-Linked Death of “The Iceman”

As first detailed by Adam Zagorin on Battleland two weeks ago, the Justice Department has launched a full criminal probe into the death of the “Ice Man” at Iraq’s notorious Abu Ghraib prison in 2003.

The department issued a statement in Attorney General Eric Holder’s name Thursday saying he has accepted U.S. Attorney John Durham’s …

A New Chinese Threat

Some crazies are going to have fun with this:

LOS ANGELES — An El Monte, Calif., man was sentenced to three years in state prison Wednesday in connection with a scheme to recruit 200 Chinese nationals and charge them for joining a phony Army Special Forces unit that he led as “supreme commander,” Los Angeles County prosecutors …

On Priggishness

Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I was a private. Most, if not all, of my leaders were Vietnam veterans. I remember seeing a picture of my platoon sergeant when he was an advisor to the ARVN. In the photo he had just been awarded a Silver Star for gallantry. He had a big smile on his face, the medal hanging from the pocket flap of …

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