Did the Pentagon Help Strangle the Arab Spring?

Of all American military training programs around the world, the most publicized in recent years has been the one building up a local security force to replace U.S. (and NATO) troops as they ever so slowly withdraw from Afghanistan. By 2014, that country is supposed to possess an army and police force of at least … Continue reading “Did the Pentagon Help Strangle the Arab Spring?”

The Pentagon’s Spending Spree

China just launched a refitted Ukrainian aircraft carrier from the 1990s on its first test run — and that’s what the only projected “great power” enemy of the U.S. has to offer for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, the U.S. Navy has 11 aircraft carrier task forces to cruise the seven seas and plans … Continue reading “The Pentagon’s Spending Spree”

Uncovering the Military’s Secret Military

In “Getting bin Laden,” Nicholas Schmidle’s New Yorker report on the assault on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, here’s the money sentence, according to Noah Shachtman of Wired Magazine’s Danger Room blog: “The Abbottabad raid was not DEVGRU’s maiden venture into Pakistan, either. The team had surreptitiously entered the country on ten to … Continue reading “Uncovering the Military’s Secret Military”

War Fever Subsides in Washington

Imagine yourself in a typical Twilight Zone episode. You’ve been tossing and turning in delirium for some time and now, to your astonishment, you wake up to find yourself in an almost unrecognizable world. Your country, the former “sole superpower” on planet Earth, is in domestic gridlock, a financial hole, and can’t win a war … Continue reading “War Fever Subsides in Washington”

American Militarism Is Not a Fairy Tale

President Obama recently reshuffled his top Washington warriors, sending CIA Director Leon Panetta, a man who knows Congress well, on to the Pentagon to replace retiring Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. In turn, the president is bringing in Gen. David Petraeus, present Afghan War Commander, former CENTCOM commander, and former Iraq War commander (as well … Continue reading “American Militarism Is Not a Fairy Tale”

Across-the-Board Cuts Are the Only Road to Budget Reduction

Defense analysts and military personnel are trained to analyze the U.S. defense posture in a certain way. But even analysts who are trying to be restrained in their assessment of threats and force and equipment requirements are politically naïve about the way the real world of defense budgeting works. A different approach is needed to … Continue reading “Across-the-Board Cuts Are the Only Road to Budget Reduction”

Murder in Bahrain

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has been one busy official of late. Last week, on a surprise visit to Afghanistan, he managed to apologize for U.S. helicopters killing nine boys collecting wood on a hillside in Kunar Province, even as he announced that a negotiating team would soon be dispatched from Washington to work out … Continue reading “Murder in Bahrain”