The Best Counterinsurgency: Unentangle

Retired Air Force Colonel Chet Richards has published another short, good book: If We Keep It: A National Security Manifesto for the Next Administration. The “it” in question is a republic, which we are unlikely to keep since republics require a virtuous citizenry. But suggesting a rational, prudent defense policy for the next administration is … Continue reading “The Best Counterinsurgency: Unentangle”

Side Effects of Our War in Afghanistan

As we observe the slow and increasingly certain disintegration of Pakistan, we should force ourselves to confront an uncomfortable fact: events in Pakistan are to a large degree side effects of our war in Afghanistan. The Jan. 12 Washington Times headline was "Pentagon Spies al-Qaeda in Pakistan," as if this were somehow news. It quotes … Continue reading “Side Effects of Our War in Afghanistan”

Kicking the Can Down the Road

A piece in the December 27, 2007 Cleveland Plain Dealer, "Vote on fate of Kirkuk postponed," by Tina Susman and Asso Ahmed of the L.A. Times, reported that "Kurdish lawmakers agreed Wednesday to a six-month delay in a referendum on whether the oil-rich city of Kirkuk should join the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan or remain … Continue reading “Kicking the Can Down the Road”

No, the US Is Not Winning in Anbar

Major General John Kelly is one of the Marine Corps’ most thoughtful and most able leaders. Many who hope to see the Marine Corps’ doctrine of Maneuver Warfare someday become real instead of just words on paper pray he has a bright future. When, as a major, he was commander of Infantry Officers’ Course at … Continue reading “No, the US Is Not Winning in Anbar”

The Petraeus Report:
More Kabuki?

September approaches, and with it the supposed watershed in the Iraq war that Gen. David Petraeus’ report to Congress will represent. In reality, the report will make little difference in what the Democratically controlled Congress does, because it has already decided what it will do, namely pretend to try to end the war while actually … Continue reading “The Petraeus Report:
More Kabuki?”

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

The “surge” in Iraq continues to generate good news, at least in the American press. Today’s Cleveland Plain Dealer includes a typical story, in this case by Robert Burns of the Associated Press: "The new U.S. military strategy in Iraq, unveiled six months ago to little acclaim, is working… "The U.S. military, partnering in many … Continue reading “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back”

America’s Last Successful Mideast War

Americans who know any history – there may be a couple of dozen left – are all familiar with America’s first Mideast war, that against Tripoli under President Jefferson. Far less well known is our war with Algiers in 1815. A nicely-written new book, The End of Barbary Terror (well, for a while, anyway) by … Continue reading “America’s Last Successful Mideast War”