Military History

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” History in 60 Days

Charlie Moskos, the nation’s most pre-eminent military sociologist and the architect of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” is dead. So is Les Aspin, who as a defensive defense secretary battling the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” official Pentagon policy in 1994. Friday, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will join those two men – …

Fully-Loaded Magazine

TIME published its report on Osama bin Laden’s death three days after it happened. It has taken bin Laden’s allies nearly three months. The latest issue of Inspire, the English-language jihadist magazine allegedly published by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, hails his sacrifice:

While we lament the loss of a great leader, we also

Vietnam’s Ghosts: Still Alive in the U.S. Government

There is really nothing new in the war game, as Haunting Legacy: Vietnam and the American Presidency from Ford to Obama by the father-daughter team of Marvin and Deborah Kalb makes clear. It could hardly be more timely, as America and its leaders grapple with the challenges posed by Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya – all at once. The …

Don’t Ask…About “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell…”

…because it is getting really confusing, as I tried to detail Wednesday night on the PBS NewsHour, along with Aubrey Sarvis of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, in a segment with Judy Woodruff. There’s a race now underway — will “Don’t Ask” die a merciful death, hospiced away under the Pentagon’s carefully thought-out …

Leroy Petry, the Medal of Honor and Intrepidity

This past weekend, I attended the wedding of my Army roommate who’s still on active duty. Among the many conversations of the assembled veterans, all junior officers who fought together in Iraq, was the award of the Medal of Honor to Sgt. First Class Leroy Petry, who sacrificed his hand to save his fellow Rangers in Afghanistan. …

Air Force: “A Quick Symphony of Planning”

As the war for Libya stretches into its fifth month next week, it’s easy to question the wisdom of entering into a conflict with as many caveats on it as this one. But there’s no questioning the gee-whizzedness of the Air Force’s initial strikes carried out by five bombers from bases in the United States. While that “quick symphony …

Inside the Battle for Kandahar

Army Major Rusty Bradley was commanding a Special Forces unit in Afghanistan that served as Taliban bait during 2006’s Operation Medusa, the largest offensive in NATO’s history. In his new book, Lions of Kandahar (co-written with journalist Kevin Maurer), Bradley takes the reader into battle. His goal: a patch of high ground called …

Why the War Machine Keeps on Running

Villefranche, France.

The United States has always meddled in other people’s affairs. For those readers who think this statement is an exaggeration, I urge them to peruse the chronology of interventions compiled by the Congressional Research Service. This historical predilection for meddling, however, grew enormously in depth and …

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Dead. Again. Perhaps Forever.

A federal appellate court has barred further enforcement of the U.S. military’s still-existing ban on openly gay men and women serving in uniform. Wednesday’s brief, two-page order from the California-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rules it is unconstitutional to treat gay Americans differently than their straight compatriots. …

Bringing the U.S. Sailors Home from Libya

President Obama and his national-security team have said will be no “U.S. boots on the ground” inside Libya. Yet 13 U.S. Navy commandos remain interred on Libyan soil. There’s a growing push to bring them home after more than 200 years on the shores of Tripoli. It’s a strange tale: the 13, led by Navy Master Commandant Richard …

Military’s Mission: To Kill, or Protect?

We can’t kill our way to victory.

— Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs

You can’t kill your way to victory.

— Under Secretary of Defense Michèle Flournoy

You just can’t kill your way to victory.

— Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., member of the armed services committee

British army veteran and …

Last Draftee Set to Retire

There was a spate of print and TV stories over the holiday weekend telling us that Sergeant Major Jeffrey Mellinger — drafted into the Army during the Vietnam War and believed by the service to be the last draftee still in uniform — is going to hang up his fatigues for good later this summer. We told you his story more than two years ago.

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