Troops

Iraq: Tanks for the Memories

The U.S. military invaded Iraq in 2003 without permission. But now that it no longer has approval from Baghdad’s post-Saddam government to stay beyond 2011, all U.S. forces will be pulling out by year’s end, President Obama said Friday. “After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over,” Obama said at the White House. …

“You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Vet”

The Department of Veterans Affairs released a study Friday into how to care for veterans…of 1991’s Gulf War, notorious for a spate of ailments lumped together as Gulf War syndrome. It notes:

Of the 529,034 Servicemembers who served in Operation Desert Shield (of whom approximately 6.8 percent were women), 152,126 Veterans filed

Libya: After-Action Report

Now that Moammar Gaddafi has been consigned to history, it’s time to figure out who — other than the Libyan people, hopefully — wins from the seven-month fight that toppled his 42-year regime.

As we noted Thursday — and was echoed Friday in the New York Times and Washington Post, among other foghorns — President Obama gets …

The Party

Only a month ago I was unable to disclose my status as a gay man in the military. Fast forward to Tuesday of last week, when I stood as a guest to a party celebrating the launch of the anthology “Our Time“, a collection of stories from other gay, lesbian, and straight servicemembers, negatively affected by the “Don’t Ask” ban on open …

Libya’s Lessons

Moammar Gaddafi’s death makes for an interesting punctuation mark in the ever-evolving U.S. approach to war. The key choice: should it be an exclamation point (“We got him! And not a single American died!) or a question mark (“Did we just get lucky? Is this a template for how the U.S. should wage future wars?”).

We shouldn’t …

The Story So Far

As of Thursday of this week, “Don’t Ask” has been dead for a month. To this point, the outreach I’ve received from peers and coworkers has been extremely positive, which appears to be the trend across all branches of the services. Contrary to all of the hullabaloo raised by those against the repeal, to my knowledge there hasn’t …

Hidden Wounds, Unhidden Costs

A new report out this week – combined with a new report out last week – suggest there will be hefty costs associated with taking care of the nation’s post-9/11 veterans. This week’s report, released Wednesday, says vets with mental-health ailments require a lot more treatment, at far higher cost, than those without such ills. …

SEAL Crash Scene…

The Pentagon has released photos of the CH-47 crash site in Afghanistan where 30 U.S. troops — including 17 SEALs — perished two months ago when an RPG brought their chopper down. CNN’s Security Clearance blog has posted them here.

Up-Armored Underwear

Marines are tough, but they know what isn’t. That’s why they’re now getting two layers of protection to shield their southern zones from improvised explosive devices (h/t TPM.)

Last Leathernecks Leave Iraq

Hard to believe, but the final 12 Marines have left Iraq. It’s funny how much attention we pay when they arrive, and how little we note when they leave. War tends to begin with a bang, and end with a whimper.

All U.S. troops are now slated to be out by December 31, except for embassy Marine guards, and any additional forces yet to …

Of Bracelets and Bits of Colored Ribbon, Earned Or Otherwise

Soldiers, like all of us, want recognition. Sure, the mission comes first, and then your buddies, and maybe, eventually, you. But such recognition is hard-earned, and outsiders tinker with it at their peril.

That’s why two recent events are worth noting. One involves — of all things — jewelry worn by Marines to honor those lost …

“Are U.S. Troops Leaving Afghanistan Prematurely?”

Or is it about time? That all depends, of course, on what you think the U.S. mission in Afghanistan — now a decade old — actually is. We have booted the Taliban from power, and recently killed Osama bin Laden, who orchestrated the 9/11 attacks from inside Afghanistan in a sanctuary the Taliban provided. Now President Obama has …

Auld Lang So Long…

There has been a flurry of conflicting stories over the weekend on the future of U.S. troops in Iraq. The U.S. plainly, desperately, wants to keep some troops on Iraqi soil, for several reasons: preserve the gains won there since 2003 in U.S. blood and treasure (along with Iraq’s), keep an eye on neighboring Iran, try to get more …

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