Engelhardt: Iraq War 4.0?

By: Friday November 28, 2014 6:45 pm

Let’s play a game, the kind that makes no sense on this single-superpower planet of ours. For a moment, do your best to suspend disbelief and imagine that there’s another superpower, great power, or even regional power somewhere that, between 2001 and 2003, launched two major wars in the Greater Middle East. We’re talking about full-scale invasions, long-term occupations, and nation-building programs, first in Afghanistan and then in Iraq.

In both countries, that power quickly succeeded in its stated objective of “regime change,” only to find itself mired in deadly conflicts with modestly armed minority insurgencies that it simply couldn’t win. In each country, to the tune of billions and billions of dollars, it built up a humongous army and allied “security” forces, poured money into “reconstruction” projects (most of which proved disasters of corruption and incompetence), and spent trillions of dollars of national treasure.


Peter Van Buren: Seven Bad Endings to the New War in the Middle East

By: Thursday October 16, 2014 3:14 pm

You know the joke? You describe something obviously heading for disaster — a friend crossing Death Valley with next to no gas in his car — and then add, “What could possibly go wrong?”

Such is the Middle East today. The U.S. is again at war there, bombing freely across Iraq and Syria, advising here, droning there, coalition-building in the region to loop in a little more firepower from a collection of recalcitrant allies, and searching desperately for some non-American boots to put on the ground.

Here, then, are seven worst-case scenarios in a part of the world where the worst case has regularly been the best that’s on offer. After all, with all that military power being brought to bear on the planet’s most volatile region, what could possibly go wrong?

Saturday Art: Influential Authors: Joe Haldeman

By: Saturday January 25, 2014 7:02 pm

I discovered Joe Haldeman’s work in a rather unusual fashion. I was living in Waltham, MA in a basement efficiency apartment. In the other side of the basement was a box of books. I asked the landlord about them and he told me to go ahead and grab and read any I wanted. The first one I picked up was a fairly slender book titled Mindbridge.

NIE: Afghan War Lost Without Nonexistent Pakistani Help

By: Monday December 13, 2010 3:15 pm

Here it is, to be laid out by the latest National Intelligence Estimates: no real partner in the corrupt central government, lagging development and security training, no buy-in from Pakistan to root out safe havens, fading support from the public, and a country still under Taliban control, for the most part.

Other than that, great war we’re running.

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