Tag: The Insecurity Complex

Duncan Hunter Did Something Right

Congressman Duncan Hunter seemed in no hurry to get back inside to the Christmas party at a Capitol Hill Mexican restaurant thrown by a Norwegian weapons company, so we each lit up another cigarette, and he called me a bitch for smoking Marlboro Lights. Hunter preferred unfiltereds, but that night, the Republican firebrand wasn’t above […]

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The War-Crimes Presidency

Eight years ago, a friend sent me a photograph of Marines in Afghanistan proudly posing with a Nazi SS flag. As a former soldier, Iraq veteran, and historian who focuses on the German military during the Holocaust, I was shocked, and I reported the incident to the Marines’ inspector general. “Some symbols simply have pretty […]

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Is It Imperialist to “Green” the Military?

It was a bold twist on an old progressive saw. “In short, climate change is real, it is worsening by the day,” the announcement stated; then came the reveal: “and it is undermining our military readiness.” So began Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren’s push last spring for a “Defense Climate Resiliency and Readiness Act to harden […]

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America Lost the Iraq War. These Cables Show How

In 2013, a decade after the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division entered Baghdad and toppled Saddam Hussein, the service undertook a major exercise in self-reflection. Commissioned by General Ray Odierno, the Army chief, and finished under General Mark Milley—now the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff—the Army’s two volume, 1,300-page assessment of the Iraq War, […]

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The War Criminals I Have Known

The lower-ranking accused war criminals I’ve known all struck me as really nice guys, right up until it seemed they weren’t. That’s war for you. Things are fine until they’re not, and then after that someone is probably dead, and everyone left alive thinks about it for the rest of their lives.  Jonathan Keefe was one […]

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Trump Makes Japan an Offer It Can’t Refuse

NATO has faced plenty of existential scares in the era of President Donald Trump, but now the United States’ longstanding allies in East Asia have become victims of the president’s haphazard transactional worldview. Last week, Trump announced that he would seek a fivefold increase in the nearly $1 billion a year South Korea contributes to […]

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The Veterans Day Freebie Anti-PTSD Diet

Was I scamming Toby Keith, or was Toby Keith scamming me? I’m not a fan of his brand of chickenhawk-rock-inlaw country music, but I am a fan of the American Soldier burger at his restaurant—Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill—at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The meal is well […]

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The “Deep State” Is a Political Party

It was, in the eyes of Trump World, the very clubhouse of the Deep State: the plush, blue-carpeted, wood-paneled 13th floor auditorium of the National Press Club, located in the heart of the Washington swamp, just two blocks from the White House. The Halloween-eve panel discussion featured a line-up of heinous perps indicted by the […]

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Celebrating 150 Years of Simulated Warfare

On November 6, 1869, Rutgers and Princeton—which, just two weeks earlier, had changed its name from the College of New Jersey—played America’s first official college football game. They followed London Football Association rules: 25 on each side, no throwing the ball, no carrying the ball. Also: no pads, no helmets, no targeting penalties. (Rutgers won, […]

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Keep American Skies Open to Russia

If you’re a nuclear superpower and you’re trying to convince the only other nuclear superpower that you’re not about to attack them, what can you do to build that trust? This was one key problem of the early Cold War, when both the United States and the Soviet Union were in effect learning what nuclear […]

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J Street Is Minding the Mainstream

Twelve hundred college students sat—and, frequently enough, jumped and applauded—in a cavernous convention space in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, rallying to get the Democratic National Committee to include the word “occupation” in the party’s national platform. One young woman from Tufts University rose to tell the crowd about her experiences on a tour of Israel […]

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What Did Turkey Know About Baghdadi’s Hideout?

The death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi last weekend set spy services to public bragging: CIA officials told The New York Times that the discovery of the ISIS leader’s location came after the arrest and interrogation of one of his wives and a courier this summer. Kurdish leaders, who said back in April that Baghdadi was in Idlib, told The Washington Post they had provided intelligence for the […]

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How We Misremember the Internet’s Origins

The first message transmitted over ARPANET, the pioneering Pentagon-funded data-sharing network, late in the evening on October 29, 1969, was incomplete due to a technical error. UCLA graduate student Charley Kline was testing a “host to host” connection across the nascent network to a machine at SRI in Menlo Park, California, and things seemed to […]

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“Blood for Oil” Is Official U.S. Policy Now

In between playing five hours of golf on Saturday and getting booed at a baseball game on Sunday, President Donald Trump caught up on his other favorite sport: playing military. American service members in Syria cornered and killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the titular leader of ISIS, as Trump spectated; the following morning, in advance of […]

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The Syria Withdrawal’s Other Victims

In Deir Ezzor, the largest city in eastern Syria, on the banks of the Euphrates River, protesters last week chanted and raised signs calling for the downfall of Bashar al-Assad’s dictatorial regime. But they also raised U.S. and French flags, hoping the anti-ISIS coalition might keep its forces in the region. “I remember when we […]

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The Weapons America Is Leaving Behind in Syria

Less than a week after President Donald Trump formally ordered the U.S. military to withdraw the majority of its forces from Syria, the Pentagon carried out an unusual mission in the northeastern part of the country. A pair of F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jets delivered a precision airstrike, not to protect a joint U.S.-Turkish patrol […]

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The Forgotten Christian Terror Cult That Presaged Trump’s Memes

Last Christmas, I found myself alone, stoned, and poolside at the Trump National Doral Miami wearing a “Fake News” T-shirt under a fluffy white Trump robe. Before the noon checkout, I’d gone to catch some rays and take a video of myself reading a passage about Mike Flynn from a galley of my book.  I’d […]

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Why Are U.S. Nuclear Bombs Still in Turkey?

The American relationship with Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkey has been fraught for half a decade, but never this bad. Last week, American troops were intentionally targeted by Turkish artillery units in Northern Syria as Erdogan’s forces advanced and President Donald Trump ordered the U.S. into a unilateral withdrawal. The Pentagon sternly warned that Turkey’s troops […]

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The Madman Has No Clothes

If you pretended you oversaw the most powerful military, diplomatic corps, and liberal political system in human history, and you wanted to discover the one single action that would threaten a friendly people with atrocities, war crimes, and genocide; expose U.S. troops to attack by a foreign state’s military; scatter Islamist terrorist prisoners to the […]

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The Moral Dilemma of a Left-Right Antiwar Alliance

“Let’s do a little experiment,” the featured speaker told the crowd at the National Press Club in Washington. It was March 2016, the election was still up for grabs, and the audience had assembled for a daylong discussion on “Israel’s Influence” in U.S. politics. “Which candidate said the following?” He read the candidate’s quote: “As […]

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America Is Screwing the Kurds Yet Again

The United Nations had just opened its general assembly in late September last year when President Donald Trump gave a rare, 81-minute press conference. Kurdish journalist Rahim Rashidi, who was born in Iran and had fled to Iraq, then Turkey, then claimed refuge in Sweden before settling into a new life in Washington, raised his […]

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The Coveted, Overpriced Missile at the Heart of Trump’s Ukraine Scandal

However narrow the managers may try to make it, the impeachment inquiry that has finally engulfed the presidency of Donald Trump after nearly three years of malfeasance is a scandalous goulash: a bald attempt to solicit foreign interference in the 2020 presidential election, to strongarm a foreign leader into cooperation, to retain power at all […]

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