Parting Thoughts, for Now

This will be the last "On War" column, at least for the foreseeable future. I will (unexpectedly) retire from the Free Congress Foundation, where I have worked for 22 years, at the end of this month. Once I am reestablished, either with a new institution or in retirement, I intend to restart the column. When … Continue reading “Parting Thoughts, for Now”


"O=W" is a bumper sticker beginning to show up on liberals’ cars. After the president’s speech Tuesday night at West Point, I suspect it will spread rapidly. For eight years, conservatives endured the agony of watching President George W. Bush attach the label "conservative" to a host of policies that were anti-conservative: Wilsonian wars, American … Continue reading “O=W”

Last Exit Before Quagmire

The Washington Post yesterday made available an unclassified version of Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s long-awaited report on the war in Afghanistan. Politically, the report is bold, in that it acknowledges the enemy has the initiative and we have been fighting the war – for eight years – in counterproductive ways. But intellectually, both as analysis and … Continue reading “Last Exit Before Quagmire”

The Silence of the Sheep

In early July, U.S. Army Col. Timothy Reese committed truth. According to a story by Michael Gordon in the New York Times (reprinted in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, where I saw it), Col. Reese wrote "an unusually blunt memo [concluding] that Iraqi forces suffer from entrenched deficiencies but are now able to protect the Iraqi … Continue reading “The Silence of the Sheep”

One Step Forward,
One Step Back

According to the July 3 Cleveland Plain Dealer, President Barack Obama said something very interesting last week. He told the AP that he has "a very narrow definition of success when it comes to our national security interests" in Afghanistan. "And that is that al-Qaeda and its affiliates cannot set up safe havens from which … Continue reading “One Step Forward,
One Step Back”

Back to the Balkans

A story I read years ago culminated with the protagonist holed up in a cheap hotel in the Balkans, listening unwillingly through the paper-thin wall as the man in the room next door beat his wife. As he pummeled her, she cried again and again, "Balkan! Balkan!" "Balkan," it seems, may be a term of … Continue reading “Back to the Balkans”

DOD Can’t Handle the Truth?

At the height of the Cold War, a U.S. Army corps commander in Europe asked for information on his Soviet opposite, the commander of the corps facing him across the inter-German border. All the U.S. intelligence agencies, working with classified material, came up with very little. He then took his question to Chris Donnelly, who … Continue reading “DOD Can’t Handle the Truth?”