On Memorial Day, Debate Over Counter-Insurgency at West Point

By: Monday May 28, 2012 10:54 am

The President laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery today, and he made a proclamation: “After a decade under the dark cloud of war, we can see the light of a new day on the horizon,” he said at Arlington National Cemetery, drawing applause when he noted the [...]

Iraq Detaining US Contractors Over Visa, Licensing Issues

By: Monday January 16, 2012 11:34 am

Some US contractors are getting a lesson in the new Iraq. The Iraqi government has detained hundreds of contractors, including some who work for the State Department at the US embassy, on a variety of charges. Iraqi authorities have detained a few hundred foreign contractors in recent weeks, industry officials say, including many Americans who [...]

White House Confident State Department Can Manage Enormous Private Security Contractor Force in Iraq

By: Friday October 21, 2011 3:13 pm

On a conference call with progressive media, White House deputy national security adviser for strategic communication Ben Rhodes stressed that the United States would now commence a “normal” relationship with the Iraqi government, an equal partnership between two sovereign nations. But it’s hard to square that with the reality that the United States will have [...]

Republicans Deeply Upset by Withdrawal of Military Troops from Iraq

By: Friday October 21, 2011 1:43 pm

Republicans, who never met a war they didn’t like, are responding to the announcement that the President would bring all military troops home from Iraq with a mixture of petulance and rage. Here’s a representative sample from the sine qua non of petulance, Lindsey Graham: “I respectfully disagree with President Obama. I feel all we [...]

Post-2011 Military Presence in Iraq Falters on Question of Immunity

By: Sunday October 9, 2011 9:47 am

A few things have become clear about the post-2011 Iraq operation for US military forces. First, the Iraqi leadership wants a training force to stay in the country to help Iraqi security forces, particularly the air force and border patrol. Second, they want that training mission to be totally confined to Iraqi bases, and they [...]

Mullen: US Troops “On Track” to Withdraw From Iraq By End of the Year

By: Wednesday September 21, 2011 7:30 am

Initially it was reported that Mike Mullen announced a reduction of troops in Iraq to 30,000 by the end of this month. That seemed a bit high with 10 days to go in the month, considering that around 44,500 are on the ground now. That eventually was revised to 40,000. But Mullen made some key [...]

The Privatization of War in Somalia

By: Thursday August 11, 2011 1:30 pm

Buried in with today’s news was this story about one of our secret wars, this time in Somalia. It appears that now we’re using African proxies to fight Al Shabab there. Richard Rouget, a gun for hire over two decades of bloody African conflict, is the unlikely face of the American campaign against militants in [...]

“Trainers” Eyed for Iraq Post-Withdrawal

By: Monday July 18, 2011 12:52 pm

It was more than clear that the Iraqi government, as currently constructed, would not possibly allow for an extended US military presence beyond the outlined date in the status of forces agreement at the end of 2011. There are serious obstacles, mainly that a significant bloc of the coalition has already announced they would collapsed [...]

As Military Budget Cuts Loom, Contracting Costs Spiral

By: Friday July 1, 2011 8:15 am

If there will be a debt limit deal, I think it’s becoming clear that it will include defense cuts, perhaps even bigger than the $400 billion floated by the President, though I doubt as high as the $1 trillion which Barney Frank and Ron Paul have submitted. The Hill couldn’t find that many House Republicans [...]

Construction Contracts Point to Permanent Bases in Afghanistan

By: Tuesday June 28, 2011 1:49 pm

Walter Pincus was the guy at the Washington Post known for writing skeptical stories about the Iraq debacle that wound up on page A17. He still gets that level of respect today, even when he’s got better information than anyone else. In this case, Pincus advances the story of permanent bases in Afghanistan (I’m calling [...]

The End of Counter-Insurgency?

By: Friday June 24, 2011 9:35 am

Could the gradual drawdown in Afghanistan signal an end to the military’s flirtation with counter-insurgency? I’m skeptical. COIN basically took over at the highest levels of the military over the past several years, and the officer corps, the next generation of leaders, has been engaged in COIN tactics in Iraq and Afghanistan. For the next [...]

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