January 16, 2013
During the Vietnam War, Sen. George Aiken, a Vermont Republican, was famous for suggesting that we declare victory and go home. (What he actually said is a little more nuanced, but that was the popular perception.)
By Mark Thompson
January 14, 2013
Hawkish historian Max Boot is out with a book on insurgency. In Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present, the emphasis is on the epic – the tome weighs in at 750 pages. It’ll be released Tuesday, Jan. 15.
Seeing as the campaigns in both Afghanistan and Iraq have been more irregular than regular, perhaps it’s an apt time for a primer on the topic. And who’s a better guide than Boot, author of 2002′s The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power, and 2006′s War Made New: Technology, Warfare, and the Course of History, 1500 to Today. Battleland conducted this email chat with Boot, who hangs his helmet at the Council on Foreign Relations, last week:
January 8, 2013
Writing is generally a solitary undertaking, but with my latest book, Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present, I received an invaluable assist from my editor at W. W. Norton & Co., Robert Weil. Instead of tooting my own horn here, I'd much rather tell you how great Bob is, and how much he added to my manuscript.
January 6, 2013
Modern generals' memoirs are mostly ghostwritten these days and follow a familiar template: open with a battle scene to hook the reader, then flash back to the author's youth, before bringing the story up to the present day, focusing most of the attention on the last and highest-profile assignment. "My Share of the Task" by Stanley McChrystal follows this general outline, but it is considerably more thoughtful and better crafted than most.
December 23, 2012
The Obama administration appears determined to vacate Afghanistan as fast as possible. If the latest leaks are to be believed, officials are willing to leave as few as 6,000 U.S. troops behind after 2014, concentrated at the Bagram air base and a few other installations around Kabul. The mind boggles at what this would mean in military terms.
December 19, 2012
The Marines are the most celebrated but least understood of our four military services. They have done a brilliant job of burnishing their martial image, from the days of the 1949 John Wayne movie "The Sands of Iwo Jima" to today's "The Few, the Proud, the Marines" commercials. With nearly 200,000 personnel and their own aircraft, tanks and artillery, they comprise one of the most capable military forces in the world. But so adept have the Marines become at telling their story—somehow the even less-than-heroic portrayals in "Gomer Pyle, USMC" and "Full Metal Jacket" have enhanced their reputation—that it isn't always easy to separate myth from reality.