Mercenary Army (cont.)

So plans are floating around the Pentagon — with the apparent blessing of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta — that call for a U.S. military force of only between 3,000 and 4,000 troops in Iraq starting next year. Under the existing deal with the Iraqi government — the one we helped install — all U.S. troops must be out by New Year’s …

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 …

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 …

“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. …

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 …

“Groundhog War”

Military scholar and Marine combat vet Bing West looks at Afghanistan’s future in the just-released September/October issue of Foreign Affairs through the prism of two recent documentaries, Restrepo and Armadillo, and doesn’t like what he sees:

Taken together, the films show how advanced technology and scholarly thinking do not …

Marine Housing Boom

Everything is more expensive these days. Check out the latest Marine barracks you bought earlier this week: we’re spending between $67,681,224 and $75,874,765 to build 400 Marine bedrooms. That works out to a per-bedroom price ranging from $169,203.06 to $189,686.91. That crudely translates into spending more than a half-million …

Could PTSD Really Be Post-Traumatic Soul Disorder?

Fascinating piece in Miller-McCune, a new and valued journal that asks tough questions, even if it can’t always come up with the answers. In Beyond PTSD: Soldiers Have Injured Souls, writer Diane Silver peers into soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder and suggests something else may be amiss:

What sometimes happens in war may …

Anchor Steam Aweigh

Kind of nice to know some things never change, according to the Standard newspaper of Hong Kong:

Happy hours have been extended again in Wan Chai bars – some 4,000 American marines and sailors are in town.

Just think of it as more hard-earned American dollars ending up in Chinese pockets.


Check out that big, fat zero for the month just ended: August 2011.

It’s the first month since the U.S. invaded Iraq in March 2003 that there hasn’t been a single U.S. death in Iraq.

Just glance at the monthly tolls for 2006 and 2007 to see when two or three U.S. troops were KIA every day.


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