An Army Apart: The Widening Military-Civilian Gap

The U.S. military and American society are drifting apart. It’s tough inside the civilian world to discern the drift. But troops in all the military services sense it, smell it — and talk about it. So do their superiors. We have a professional military of volunteers that has been stoically at war for more than a decade. But as the …

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. …

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 …

Happy 10th, Afghan War

I vividly recall being in the Pentagon 10 years ago today, awaiting the beginning of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, a military counterpunch to the 9/11 attacks that had shocked the nation four weeks earlier. Army General Tommy Franks was in charge as the head of U.S. Central Command, and Don Rumsfeldwas the maestro overseeing …

One in Three.

Thirty-four percent, to be precise. That’s how many veterans believe the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were worth fighting, according to a new and dispiriting – but not surprising – Pew Research Center poll. Americans prefer wars like the first Gulf War – 100 days of bombing, followed by 96 hours of ground combat, then a …


The Pentagon has set up a new website for its military commissions being held at Guantanamo Bay. It promises “fairness, transparency, justice.”

Ain’t Gonna Study War No More…

There’s a military-history professor down Texas way by the name of Joyce Goldberg who has given up teaching military history after nearly 30 years. Increasingly, she writes in the Chronicle of Higher Education, her classes have been filled with recent military veterans more interested in binding their own mental war wounds than …

The Human Toll Taken by a Decade of War

Just how worn out are our troops because of non-stop combat since 9/11? To what degree has that contributed to problems like PTSD, family breakups and suicide in the ranks? This week, on Command Post, we discuss the tenacity of U.S. troops, as well as the cracks that can appear after a decade of fighting. Margaret Harrell, a

Afghanistan 2.0

Some old-timers speak of deja vu all over again: just as Afghanistan became the Soviet Union’s Vietnam, it could also become America’s. Tuesday’s complex attack on the U.S. embassy in Kabul — reputed to be a safer place — raises anew questions about the scope of the decade-old U.S. war in Afghanistan, and its chances for success.

“How Did the U.S. Military Retool Itself Post-9/11?”

In the decade after 9/11, just how much did the U.S. military have to recalibrate to fight the wars it found itself launching in Afghanistan and, 18 months later, in Iraq? This week, on Command Post, we discuss the retooling of the American armed forces with Eric Schmitt of the New York Times — co-author of Counterstrike: The Untold

Talking With the Taliban

If the U.S. is going to stick to its timetable to pull its forces out of Afghanistan in 2014, it’s going to have to negotiate with the Taliban. It’s strange to say that the morning after the 10th anniversary of the attacks that led the U.S. to invade Afghanistan in an effort to drive the Taliban from power. It was the Taliban, after …

A Decade of War

The past decade has generated a wealth of stories for anyone lucky enough to be covering national security since 9/11. It’s sort of the third chapter in my career. My first, which ran from 1979 to 1991, involved the Cold War and the possibility of superpower conflict with the Soviet Union. When it collapsed, I wondered what we’d …

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