A Personal Message from Major Danny Sjursen

This is all very intimate for me; hard to speak on, really. Suffice it to say that this middling soldier gave his youth, and innocence, to what we used to call the Global War on Terror (GWOT). I left several of my boys in the meaningless streets and fields of Iraq and Afghanistan: five killed … Continue reading “A Personal Message from Major Danny Sjursen”

The Tragic Record of American Regime Change

This article originally appeared at TruthDig. We used to call him “Mookie.” God, we hated him. Back in 2006-07, while patrolling the streets of east Baghdad, Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army militia was our sworn enemy. These impoverished, slum-dwelling Shiite youths hit us with sniper fire and deadly improvised explosive devices day after day. They killed … Continue reading “The Tragic Record of American Regime Change”

Skip the Fire and Fury: Avoiding a Cataclysmic War With North Korea

One minute he’s threatening nuclear war via tweet; the next his adoring followers are chanting "Nobel, Nobel!" at one of his ubiquitous, campaign-style rallies. It’s hard to keep up with President Trump’s North Korea policy, such as it is. First thing’s first: though I’ve been a regular critic of this administration, I fully support the … Continue reading “Skip the Fire and Fury: Avoiding a Cataclysmic War With North Korea”

Unwarranted Hysteria: The Iranian Threat Is Inflated and Regional War Would Be a Disaster

"The declared policy of the United States should be the overthrow of the mullahs’ regime in Tehran. The behavior and the objectives of the [Iranian] regime are not going to change and, therefore, the only solution is to change the regime itself. And that’s why, before 2019, we here will celebrate in Tehran!" ~ National … Continue reading “Unwarranted Hysteria: The Iranian Threat Is Inflated and Regional War Would Be a Disaster”

A Veteran’s Gaza Stream-of-Consciousness: Just What’ve I Been Fighting For?

"After the first death, there is no other." ~ Dylan Thomas I’m ashamed. It’s 5:55 AM and I wake up for one more of my last few days in the army – the end of middling soldier’s career – here at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The BBC (I refuse to watch mainstream American news in 2018) is … Continue reading “A Veteran’s Gaza Stream-of-Consciousness: Just What’ve I Been Fighting For?”

Don’t Poke the Dragon: War with China Would Be an Unnecessary Disaster

There’s nothing military men like more than obsessively training for wars they will never have to fight. The trick is not to stumble into a conflict that no one will win. Let’s everyone take a breath. Yes, China presents a potential threat to American interests in the economic, cyber, and naval realms. The U.S. must … Continue reading “Don’t Poke the Dragon: War with China Would Be an Unnecessary Disaster”

War and the Imperial Presidency

Originally posted at TomDispatch. It began, of course, with the invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001, the second Afghan war of our era. In November 2002, in Yemen, the CIA conducted its first drone assassination strike outside of Afghanistan, killing six al-Qaeda suspects in a car. (More strikes would follow there years later, along with … Continue reading “War and the Imperial Presidency”

The Non-Options: 4 Wars the Military Prepares for But Shouldn’t Fight

There’s nothing military men like more than obsessively training for wars they will never have to fight. The trick is not to stumble into a conflict that no one will win. The most senior officers and sergeants refer to them as the "good old days." The Cold War era, that is. I can still hear … Continue reading “The Non-Options: 4 Wars the Military Prepares for But Shouldn’t Fight”

Some Lives Matter (More Than Others)

Why does the U.S. president feel inclined to attack Bashar al-Assad’s forces only in the case of chemical attacks – as opposed to more frequent conventional bombings – and why do the lives of Syrian (but not Yemeni) children matter enough to warrant missile strikes? It appears that President Trump does, in fact, have a … Continue reading “Some Lives Matter (More Than Others)”