Department of Defense

‘Green’ Jobs, the IT Analogy
September 13, 2011

Several pundits and writers have recently suggested that the green economy is small and unlikely to be a major source of job growth anytime in the near future. So, the argument goes, it’s not a worthy investment. As evidence for the first claim, some critics of green policies have cited the job growth figures from our recent “Sizing the Clean Economy” report while arguing that the bankruptcy of Solyndra, a solar photovoltaic manufacturer, illustrates both the failures of green policies and the weakness of the industry.

How to Win When You’re Unpopular: What Obama Can Learn From Truman
August 15, 2011

With an economy seemingly on the precipice of a renewed recession, an angry conservative movement that regards him with disdain, and a disillusioned liberal base disappointed in his first term, Barack Obama’s bid for reelection next year will, by all indications, be a tough, maybe even uphill fight. But daunting as the campaign may seem, the president can at least take some solace in a precedent from 64 years ago: Harry Truman’s campaign for reelection in 1948—successful, despite a poor economic climate, and a polarized electorate—offers a promising path for Obama’s reelection.

We Have No Idea What We Are Doing in Libya
July 21, 2011

Four months after American submarines began launching missiles and U.S. pilots began flying sorties, does anyone, perhaps even including President Obama, really know what we are trying to do in Libya? It is true that, compared to Afghanistan, a major war whose outcome is generally agreed to hang in the balance, and to Iraq, from which we have not yet completely withdrawn, and even to Somalia and Yemen, where the tempo of our counterinsurgency operations have been steadily increasing, both directly and by proxy, Libya may seem minor.

A Marine Sgt. Major On Gays In The Military
June 21, 2011

This is what social progress looks like: Sgt. Maj. Barrett also tackled questions on the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the military’s ban on gays serving openly in uniform. The Department of Defense is preparing to implement repeal, and Sgt. Maj. Barrett addressed that issue directly. “Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution is pretty simple,” he told a group of Marines at a base in South Korea. “It says, ‘Raise an army.’ It says absolutely nothing about race, color, creed, sexual orientation. “You all joined for a reason: to serve,” he continued.

Robert Gates Is Right About Iraq
June 03, 2011

The U.S. war in Iraq has just been given an unexpected seal of approval. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, in what he billed as his “last major policy speech in Washington,” has owned up to the gains in Iraq, to the surprise that Iraq has emerged as “the most advanced Arab democracy in the region.” It was messy, this Iraqi democratic experience, but Iraqis “weren’t in the streets shooting each other, the government wasn’t in the streets shooting its people,” Gates observed.

Republican Debt-Ceiling Denialism
May 20, 2011

In recent weeks, we've seen an entirely new issue where conservatives have persuaded themselves to believe a proposition which experts, as a matter of objective reality rather than normative values, consider bonkers. The new belief is that the United States doesn't really have to lift the debt ceiling -- the strong version being that it's completely unnecessary or even beneficial, and the weak version being that the authorities are merely scaremongering.

The Immediate Question
May 05, 2011

David Rieff writes about America’s futile war in Afghanistan.

Speak, Obama
May 05, 2011

Joseph Margulies asks if torture was used to find Osama bin Laden.

Step Assad
April 09, 2011

During the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Syria’s Assad regime was helping insurgents to cross the border and kill Americans. In response to the Syrian provocation, the Bush administration considered a broad range of policy options. But one family of options always remained off the table: regime change or any combination of pressures that might destabilize Damascus. The prevailing interagency concern was that Syria without Assad could prove even more militant than under his terrorist-supporting regime. At the Department of Defense—where I worked—we held a dissenting view.

OK, Let's Talk About Death Panels
March 25, 2011

Critics of the Affordable Care Act keep saying health care reform will kill people. Perhaps they should talk to Dallas Wiens. Wiens, 25, lost most of his face in a freak work accident. Earlier this week, doctors in Boston performed an experimental face transplant. The Defense Department and the hospital underwrote the surgery. (The Pentagon hopes the know-how can someday help wounded soldiers.) But Wiens will depend on expensive immunosuppressant drugs for the rest of his life. The Affordable Care Act will allow Wiens to pay for those drugs.