Department of Defense

Dod Document Dump: Grave Concerns
May 14, 2008

Remember that Pentagon program, revealed last month, that fed talking points to supposedly objective military analysts to push the Bush administration's line on Iraq? The Department of Defense just released thousands of documents from the program, so we asked Government Executive correspondent and TNR contributor Alyssa Rosenberg to sift through the documents and see what she can find: One of our commenters on an earlier post joked about the "dangerous, bizarre and downright sadistic task" of going through 8,000 pages of DOD memos.

Dod Document Dump: Girl Power!
May 13, 2008

Remember that Pentagon program, revealed last month, that fed talking points to supposedly objective military analysts to push the Bush administration's line on Iraq? The Department of Defense just released thousands of documents from the program, so we asked Government Executive correspondent and TNR contributor Alyssa Rosenberg to sift through the documents and see what she can find: The Bush administration has never been shy about switching rationales for the war in Iraq: Weapons of mass destruction, democracy promotion, fighting terrorism.

The Man Who Would Be King
February 27, 2008

In April 2005, when President Bush decided to transfer Zalmay Khalilzad from Afghanistan to Iraq, Afghan President Hamid Karzai complained. The Afghan-born Khalilzad had been serving as U.S. ambassador to his native country, and his relationship with Karzai--which dated back to the late 1990s, when both men advised the U.S. oil company Unocal on the construction of a Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan pipeline--was strong.

The Fixer
April 23, 2007

BEFORE THERE WAS Walter Reed—before the revelations in The Washington Post, before the congressional hearings and presidential commissions and resigning generals—there was Joshua Murphy and his bad dream. In November 2005, Murphy returned home to Wichita Falls, Texas, after service that included a year patrolling the treacherous Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City as a specialist in the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment. Prior to the war, he had been outgoing, social, well-liked—“just your basic eighteen-year-old kid,” in the words of his mother, Monica.

Leaving Normal
April 02, 2007

In the historical race to the bottom that is Nixon v. Bush, the late trickster would seem to have the edge: He was an unimpeachable lawbreaker-- actually, an impeachable one--a claim that doesn't quite stick to Bush. But, in the last month, Bush has been closing fast. While he may not have any second- rate burglaries under his belt, his record now includes his very own version of the Saturday Night Massacre, thanks to the purging of eight U.S. attorneys.

Air America
January 23, 2006

Editor’s Note: Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout was convicted last November of four counts of conspiracy to kill U.S. citizens and provide material support to terrorists. Last week, Bout’s lawyer filed papers requesting that the judge dismiss the indictment—and cited this January 2006 TNR article as a reason. “As a result of the embarrassing New Republic disclosure of the incompetence—or worse—of the Departments of Defense and State in their dealings with Bout, someone in the government decided it was time to ‘get’ Viktor Bout,” the lawyer wrote.

Low Clearance
October 10, 2005

In January 2006, a court in Northern Virginia will hear a case in which, for the first time, the federal government has charged two private citizens with leaking state secrets. CBS News first reported the highly classified investigation that led to this prosecution on the eve of the Republican National Convention. On August 27, 2004, Lesley Stahl told her viewers that, in a "full-fledged espionage investigation," the FBI would soon "roll up" a "suspected mole" who had funneled Pentagon policy deliberations concerning Iran to Israel.

Closing of the Presidential Mind
July 05, 2004

On February 27, 2001, George W. Bush addressed a joint session of Congress. When the president had last ventured to the Capitol for his inauguration 37 days earlier, he had delivered a homily urging the nation to move past the sting of the Florida recount.

Best Intentions
June 28, 2004

THE DICTATORS IN the Arab-Muslim world, and those in Europe who tolerate them, can now rest easier. The Syrian dictator will not be chased into a "spider hole." And the Iranian theocracy will not be sacked by soldiers from West Virginia and Indiana and Vermont. The Iranians will have to secure their own liberty; we know better than to provide it to strangers sure to second- guess the morning after. Yes, America is embattled in Iraq. But its leaders took up the sword against Arab-Muslim troubles and dared to think that tyranny was not fated and inevitable for the Arabs.

Mobbed Up
June 28, 2004

The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies, and Nations By James Surowiecki (Doubleday, 296 pp., $24.95) In the summer of 2003, analysts at the Department of Defense had an unusual idea. To predict important events in the world, including terrorist attacks, they would create a kind of market in which ordinary people could actually place bets.

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