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Tag Archives: Middle East

Publications – the budget’s silver lining for the U.S. Army

Yes, the President’s proposed 2013 budget hit the Army hard, as expected, but there were some surprisingly silvery linings for the service: The Army may be in the cross-hairs of the budget cutters, but it’s had a surprisingly good week. While the number of soldiers will drop to 490,000 as long expected, the service is [...]

Commentary – killing Anwar al-Awlaki was justified

Today, the National Journal expert blog takes on the killing by a US drone of Anwar al-Awlaki, an al-Qaeda leader in Yemen but also a U.S. citizen. My take may please the hardcore war-on-terror crowd more than last week’s criticism of Israel: Imagine an FBI sniper who’s got a criminal in his sights. Law enforcement [...]

Commentary – stop enabling Israel’s self-destruction

A decade studying America’s wars in the Islamic world have given me a different perspective on the Arab-Israeli conflict, one that probably wouldn’t be too popular in Tel Aviv — or many places in this country, either. My latest commentary on the National Journal “expert blog” lays out my strategic argument: Here’s the strategic bottom [...]

Commentary – Optimistic about Libya, Pessimistic about Syria

The Arab Spring’s turn towards bloodshed remains, rightly, topic number one over at the National Journal security blog. I’ve commented lately on both Libya and Syria.  Today’s optimistic post on the fall of Qaddafi: Certainly it’s a mess. Certainly, everyone involved screwed up in ways that cost human lives – but war is like that [...]

Commentary – Libya, and Why the War Powers Act is a dodge

I just posted my take on whether the War Powers Act applies to our intervention in Libya over at the National Journal expert blog: I call bullshit. Even if the War Powers Act is valid constitutionally – and I don’t think it is – it’s morally a dodge. To be clear: I support intervention in [...]

Commentary – Long odds for democracy in Yemen

I commented further on the Yemeni revolution over at the National Journal security blog, arguing that the ouster of president Ali Abdullah Saleh is no great loss for American counter-terrorism, but that a democratic Yemen is unlikely: The United States has no national interest in Saleh’s survival. We do have an interest in a stable [...]

Commentary – I’m pessimistic about Syria

I made my own gloomy contribution to the debate on the National Journal expert blog about the prospects for democracy in Syria: [T]he ruling Alawite minority knows that losing power would not just be a personal disaster for them and their families but a general disaster for the entire Alawite community….[so t]here’s no sign the Syrian [...]

Commentary – My daughter’s take on Osama bin Laden

My daughter provided guest commentary on the National Journal blog today, with me doing the actual writing since she can’t write yet: The first person I discussed bin Laden’s death with was my daughter. She was born in 2004 and has known since she could speak full sentences that “our soldiers” are fighting “the terrorists” [...]

Publications – 2004-2010 articles about Afghans & Iraqis

Learning From Veterans began as a project I did interviewing Iraq and Afghanistan veterans for my longtime employer, National Journal. NJ relies on subscription revenue and guards its archives jealously, but the editors there have generously unlocked all my articles that draw on these military oral histories and made them available to the public for [...]

Commentary – Libyan rebels, get a tactical clue

Over at the National Journal blog, I give vent to my frustration with the Libyan rebels’ incapacity for basic tactics and offer them some advice: I’m beginning to feel like a Chicago Cubs fan here. Guys, stop running straight up and down the highway already and try outflanking someone for a change. As long as [...]