Battleland

Defense on the Chopping Block?

That’s the word from Capitol Hill as detailed in this morning’s lead story in the Washington Post:

Freshman Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) could serve as a poster boy for the new breed of conservatives who are eager to wipe out government waste and inefficiency, no matter where they find it. Kinzinger, an active-duty Air National

Was There an Anthrax Push into War With Iraq?

David Willman’s new book, The Mirage Man, dives deeply into the anthrax mailings that took place shortly after 9/11 and further panicked an already-distraught American public. He hones in on Dr. Bruce Ivins as the perpetrator, and details a strong case implicating the Army bio-weapons expert, who committed suicide three years ago as …

The New U.S. “Smalls” Air Force Over Afghanistan

We’ve all seen the airplane-sized Predator and Reaper drones now flying and fighting over Afghanistan, Libya, Pakistan and Yemen. They’re fairly big (the Predator has a 48-foot [15-m.] wingspan) and costly ($5 million each). But there are fleets of smaller and cheaper man-launched drones that have been, um, flying under the radar in …

White House, Congress on Collision Course over Detainees

President Obama and Congress are on a collision course as the White House rejects congressional efforts to tinker with how the administration detains and prosecutes potential terrorists. The fight is being played out through the House and Senate versions of defense spending and authorization bills.

The White House on Thursday

Fixing the Human Wreckage of War

Thousands of soldiers, gravely wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq, become as much as they can be through months of rehabilitation in the Army’s Warrior Transition Units. Every once in awhile a story pops up about how things fells apart for a specific WTU soldier. But most troops — somewhere around 80% — give their WTUs good grades, …

On the Front Lines: Better Living Through Chemistry

We reported on the growing use of prescription drugs by troops in Afghanistan and Iraq more than three years ago. The Pentagon is finally catching up. It wants to spend $23 million next year for drug testing to make sure troops aren’t illicitly taking legal drugs like Valium and Vicodin.

But the House Appropriations Committee has …

Mutual Respect and `Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

Within minutes of my blog going live yesterday,  Secretary Gates made a public statement that he was not going to certify the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) before he leaves his post on June 30. To be honest, I was crushed. I don’t understand what benefit there is in delaying the process any further.

Why the Military Signed Up to a Faster Withdrawal Plan for Afghanistan

A senior White House official was eager Thursday night to hear from a reporter on just how President Obama’s decision to pull 10,000 troops out of Afghanistan by year’s end was playing. “How do you think he did?” he asked at the fringe of Pakistani ambassador Husain Haqanni’s annual barbeque. “Well, Mullen and Petraeus were pretty …

Five Questions on Ending the Afghan War

The always impertinent Tony Karon, over on our Global Spin blog, has some questions he wants President Obama to answer:

1. What will Obama tell the loved ones of Americans killed in Afghanistan in the next three years?

2. How does the U.S. persuade Afghan civilians or neighboring countries to do its bidding when it acknowledges its …

Petraeus’ 450-Word Version of “No”

During his confirmation hearing in the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday, California Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein asked Gen. David Petraeus whether he supported President Obama’s timetable to withdraw over 30,000 troops from Afghanistan. Rather than say “No,” he delivered this impenetrable monologue.

Long Time Gone

This is, of course, the title of a David Crosby song featured on the eponymous 1969 album Crosby, Stills and Nash. And more than just riffing on the title of my colleague Mark Thompson’s post from earlier today, it also describes the sensation I had during a meeting held at the Library of Congress for authors and historians as an …

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