Collateral Damage

Refer to this if you need a reminder of the characters.

Unless some new information arises, it seems that General Allen, at least, is just collateral damage in the Petraeus situation. Clearly he exercised bad judgment in his relationship with Jill Kelley, but associating with a loon is not a national security concern. I still [...]

Protracted War in the Information Age

By now, you’ve all seen and digested this. From the LA Times:

The paratroopers had their assignment: Check out reports that Afghan police had recovered the mangled remains of an insurgent suicide bomber. Try to get iris scans and fingerprints for identification.

The 82nd Airborne Division soldiers arrived at the police station in Afghanistan’s Zabol [...]

The Nature of Racism

I don’t really have much to say about the whole Trayvon Martin case. I don’t know what happened. But I do think a lot of people misunderstand what is meant by the argument that race played a key role. If I accuse the Sanford PD of racism, a lot of people assume that this implies [...]

The Petraeus Problem

So, I’ve finally managed to work my through through the bulk of Broadwell and Loeb’s All In: The Education of General David Petraeus, and I’m sorry to say it is as bad as the excerpts in the Washington Post suggested. It is one-sided, defensive, and well, just an inch short of hagiography. The problem is [...]

The Military and the Media

Back in 2010, when General Stanley McChrystal seemed omni-present on TV and elsewhere rapidly becoming the face of the Afghan surge, I wrote an essay for a volume on national security reform that argued:

A fundamental challenge is that in the United States we have come to so venerate military service that the moment a [...]

Libya and Other Stuff

I have not written much on the Middle East (or anything else) recently. Let me explain why:

(1) I don’t have much to say. One reason I decided to leave the think tank world was that I hated the pressure of feeling I always needed to have something to say. Look, I’m a smart guy. [...]

Exum, Broadwell, and COIN Metrics

In a recent post, Andrew Exum noted that though strategic challenges were quite serious in Afghanistan that “Counterinsurgency, as practiced at the tactical level, is the best I have ever seen it practiced.” I have to admit, I have no idea what this means.

Exum then had an exchange with Foust on this issue, which, [...]

Obama’s Wars

Obama’s Wars is the title of Bob Woodward’s new book. But at least according to the excerpts, the big story is how little control Obama had over the process. There are dozens of interesting issues that will likely come out of this book, but I’ll address just a few for now.

First, Woodward. Whenever he [...]