Open for Service
November 25, 2008
Last month, retired Air Force General Merrill McPeak, one of Barack Obama’s highest-ranking military supporters during the campaign, reiterated his opposition to openly gay service. When McPeak participated in the debates over lifting the ban in 1993, he was Chief of Staff of the Air Force.
Who Is Jim Jones?
November 21, 2008
With many, including us, focused on the likelihood of Barack Obama naming James Steinberg as his national security adviser, word comes today that the job may go to Marine General James L. Jones, who retired last year after serving as Supreme Allied Commander of NATO and Commander of U.S. European Command. If true, like a Steinberg appointment, it would reinforce the impression that Obama is surrounding himself with powerful advisers known for their pragmatism. Jones has been less bipartisan than nonpartisan, hewing to the traditional idea of an apolitical military.
Indefinite Detention Center
November 13, 2008
The Associated Press reported Monday that advisors to President-Elect Barack Obama “are quietly crafting a proposal to ship dozens, if not hundreds, of imprisoned terrorism suspects to the United States to face criminal trials.” This likely signals a major policy shift in the detention and trial of “enemy combatants” at Guantanamo Bay. But the AP’s conclusion that the proposal “would make good on [Obama’s] promise to close the Guantanamo Bay prison” is premature.
Charles Fried, a professor at Harvard Law School, has long been one of the most important conservative thinkers in the United States. Under President Reagan, he served, with great distinction, as Solicitor General of the United States. Since then, he has been prominently associated with several Republican leaders and candidates, most recently John McCain, for whom he expressed his enthusiastic support in January. This week, Fried announced that he has voted for Obama-Biden by absentee ballot.
Speed Reading 'the War Within': The Book's Main Point
September 11, 2008
It's possible to skip the interminable first section of Bob Woodward's book and peek at a two-page summary of his conclusions about the war on pp. 320-21.
Speed Reading 'the War Within': Counterinsurgency Moment Of Zen
September 09, 2008
Whether or not they agree on the wisdom of the surge, most people believe that the adoption of counterinsurgency tactics--known by their shorthand as "clear, hold, and build"--has been the key to reducing violence in Iraq. It turns out that Donald Rumsfeld and General Casey were opposed to this strategy, considering it a "bumper sticker." They were more concerned with a disastrous attempt to pump out Iraqi army recruits as fast as possible, so U.S. troops could leave. (The insurgency spiraled out of control during this 2004-2006 period of the war, while U.S.
Speed Reading 'the War Within': Heck Of A Job, Casey
September 08, 2008
The first thing you notice out in the early pages of Bob Woodward's The War Within are the showy indictments of President Bush, who leans on poor General George Casey, Jr. like a fraternity pledge-master disappointed with his charge. Casey, who's something of an academic (he studied IR at Georgetown and the University of Denver, and he'd never been in combat) accuses Bush of focusing on body counts, an attitude that Casey identifies with the "Kill the bastards!
Witness To Musharraf's End
August 18, 2008
This afternoon, not long after Pervez Musharraf announced that he'd had his fill after almost nine years of ruling Pakistan, I wandered across Islamabad, to the headquarters of the Pakistan People's Party. The headquarters, which include a residence and a secretariat, are referred to collectively as the Zardari House, named after Asif Ali Zardari, Benazir Bhutto's widow. The Zardari House has been the nerve center for the push to oust Musharraf over the past year.
September 11, 2007
The full text of Joe Biden's opening statement at today's Petraeus-Crocker Senate hearing, after the jump: Six years ago this morning, agents of Al Qaeda attacked the United States of America and murdered 2,998 people. Please join me in a moment of silence for the victims of 9-11. [Moment of silence] Ambassador Crocker, General Petraeus: welcome.
September 10, 2007
Mike's piece on pro-withdrawal efforts in yesterday's Times Magazine had a smart quote about Petraeus's Congressional testimony from MoveOn's Washington director Tom Matzzie: "Most of what we have to do will be done before he lands in Washington," Matzzie told me in late August. "We have to frame his statements before he makes them. He's not Saint Petraeus--he's General Petraeus." Matzzie's right. As a general--much less as the general who came up with the surge strategy--it's virtually inconceivable that Petraeus would go before Congress and say that he can't get the job done.