Reduced U.S. Role in Afghanistan: Politics, By Other Means

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s statement Wednesday that the U.S. plans to hand off all combat missions in Afghanistan sometime in 2013 has triggered howls from hawks who maintain it’s a step down a slippery slope headed to defeat. They may have a point. Nonetheless, the Obama Administration has plainly decided that its goals are

Obama’s War: U.S. Casualities in Afghanistan By Year

Charts can make clear too often what words only obscure. Take this arresting graphic, contained in a new Congressional Research Service study made available by Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists (CRS reports are generated solely for congressional use, and aren’t released to the public; Aftergood gets a lot of …

Who Lost Iraq?

The debate over Iraq’s future – hopeful, according to the Obama Administration, hopeless, according to its critics – has begun in earnest. It was kicked off by the Administration’s recent decision that all U.S. troops will be home for the holidays. The White House blames Iraq’s parliament, which has refused to grant U.S. troops the …

One in Three

Thirty-four percent, to be precise. That’s how many veterans believe the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were worth fighting, according to a new and dispiriting – but not surprising – Pew Research Center poll. Americans prefer wars like the first Gulf War – 100 days of bombing, followed by 96 hours of ground combat, then a victory …

Libya Falling: A Less-Costly American-led Way of Waging War

So the U.S. was able to spearhead the imminent collapse of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in Libya on the cheap. We launched full-fledged invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq against murderous tyrants, but elected not to do the same in Libya. Is this a new template for U.S. wars, or just an acknowledgment of a war-weary nation?

It’s a little …

The Military Legacy of David Petraeus

When David Petraeus retires from the Army at the end of this month to take the helm at the CIA, he’ll leave behind a radically different fighting force from what existed even a decade ago. As Joe writes in this week’s issue of TIME, Petraeus, the intellectual force behind the counter-insurgency campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, leaves a …

Seal Team Six

I’ve been trying to figure out how best to celebrate and mourn the members of Seal Team Six and our Afghan allies who were shot down in a Chinook helicopter last week. Hugh Hewitt does it well here. And I would add: those who would see this tragedy as another opportunity to make political points, on either side–please don’t. Not that …

View from the Afghan Front

Former Pentagon analyst and TIME cover man Chuck Spinney talks to a retired Army officer about a long e-mail from a colonel on the ground in Afghanistan:

“I talk to Soldiers and Marines of most ranks on a weekly basis, many of whom have just returned from Afghanistan. Not one says we are winning. They think Afghanistan is a waste of our

Drones Over Libya

Thompson reports President Obama has approved it:

Tellingly, Gates didn’t mention their deployment in his opening statement to reporters, but waited to reveal it in response to the first question he got, which ended with: “Is the Libyan regime using cluster bombs?”

News from the War Zones

You remember Afghanistan. The Washington Post has the weird news today that Gen. David Rodriguez–our most knowledgeable officer about Afghan customs and politics in theater–will be coming home this fall when David Petraeus steps aside as commander of the international forces.

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