Department of Defense

Bureaucratic Warriors

Is Foreign Policy Any Different When It's Crafted by Veterans?

The long, confused history of warriors as policymakers.

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WaPo's editorial board has given two completely opposite reasons for disliking Hagel.

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At the heart of our fiscal challenge is a clash between the present and the future, and the future is losing. Intended or not, the top priorities for Republicans and Democrats add up to a relentless squeeze on discretionary spending. That means less for education, less for research, less for infrastructure—the vital public investments that have nourished innovation and growth throughout our history.

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Yes, the GOP is just pretending—but they're right. She's the better pick.

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A powerful new documentary indicts the U.S. military for its inaction on the problem of soldiers raping soldiers.

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Why Scott Gration really resigned.

"Some people had to go to some real shit holes to escape him."

Updated at 3:03 p.m. When U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Scott Gration resigned his position early this morning, he said in an emailed statement, “differences with Washington regarding my leadership style and certain priorities lead me to believe that it's now time to leave." That's putting it gently. A former State Department official with a long service record in the Africa bureau and a former ambassador told me that Gration’s tenure in Kenya was marked by constant friction with his superiors and a refusal to abide by State Department protocol and security measures.

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In remarks at the Pentagon today, President Obama outlined a new military strategy that scales back the size and goals of the armed forces.

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I'm a little surprised that this nice get by the Concord Monitor has not been getting more attention today. Reporter Molly A.K. Connors interviewed Gingrich about one of his pet issues: neuroscience research.

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Euphemism-Free-Zone

The Defense department is no stranger to euphemism, starting with its name (which used to be "War department"). If the Pentagon truly confined itself to providing defense then presumably we wouldn't need a whole separate government agency to provide "Homeland Security." The best-publicized recent creepy example of DoD euphemism is the term "kinetic warfare," which manages to make the killing of other human beings sound like performance art. It first gained traction during the presidency of George W. Bush and went viral in the Obama era. But God bless drone warfare.

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Several weeks ago, a military chaplain came to brief my battalion, via PowerPoint presentation, on the Department of Defense’s official stance on "Don’t Ask Don’t Tell," the policy that for the past 18 years has barred soldiers from identifying as gay, and whose repeal will officially go into effect today, September 20, 2011. As the chaplain stood at the front of the auditorium, a fellow soldier leaned over to me and whispered, “There goes the fabric of the country.” I didn’t acknowledge his comment. He didn’t know I was gay, and I didn’t think this was the time or the place to tell him.

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