• State Building,  War

    State wants $1.5 billion to protect Baghdad embassy, reconstruction teams

    State’s wants a piece of the budgetary pie. Richard Lardner of AP, writes:  The State Department’s request for $1.5 billion to protect U.S. diplomats and a growing number of reconstruction teams on the ground is a pricey reminder that the war-torn country remains a dangerous place. …Over $500 million of the proposed 2008 spending would go to three private security firms [Blackwater, Triple Canopy, and DynCorp]… The Baghdad security money also will pay for armored vehicles, bulletproof vests, ammunition, X-ray machines, bomb-sniffing dogs, barriers to prevent attacks by suicide bombers, and overhead shields to deflect mortar attacks, according to an Oct. 22 budget document sent to Congress. And, now time…

  • Public Diplomacy,  Terrorism,  War

    Waterboarding is Torture… Period

    While the new AG won’t admit waterboarding is torture, a man I respect and have talked with in the past disagrees. Read Malcolm Nance over at Small Wars Journal’s Blog: If you support the use of waterboarding on enemy captives, you support the use of that torture on any future American captives. The Small Wars Council had a spirited discussion about this earlier in the year, especially when former Marine Generals Krulak and Hoar rejected all arguments for torture.

  • Public Diplomacy,  War

    Two new blogs in town: Kings of War and CSIS’s Smart Power

    The Department of War Studies at King’s College London, home of many a smart person, just started a cleverly named blog: Kings of War. There’s nothing but a welcome message, but expect good discussions from them. No pressure though…. Second, CSIS’s Smart Power project recently launched a blog and have been uploading a steady stream of posts ever since.

  • Civil-Military Relations,  Private Military Companies,  War

    “No one is actually at war except the Armed Forces, their US civilian contractors, and the CIA”

    "..the purpose of my testimony is not to talk about the ongoing tactical operations in CENTCOM -- but instead the disastrous state of America's ground combat forces. Congress has been missing-in-action during the past several years while undebated and misguided strategies were implemented by former Secretary Rumsfeld and his team of arrogant and inexperienced civilian associates in the Pentagon. The JCS failed to protect the Armed Forces from bad judgment and illegal orders..."

  • Public Diplomacy,  War

    If the surge is working, why are we still losing?

    Question: if the surge is working, why are we still losing? That’s the oft asked question that starts from the wrong premise: that we’re losing. Seth at Security Dilemmas gets the point of the surge:  The surge is intended not to pacify the country, but rather to provide sufficient security to create breathing room in which the government can pass needed laws and stabilize the political situation. But while the surge may be working, the political process is not. All of the people cited above for their optimism on the military aspect of the surge also voiced their pessimism about the political side. Admiral Mullen stated that “there does not appear…

  • Book Reviews,  War

    Movie Review: No End in Sight

    I had the privilege to see Charles Ferguson’s movie “No End in Sight” this evening. Opening this weekend, tonight was a special screening co-hosted by the Center for American Progress and USC’s Center on Public Diplomacy. Phil was there and got in a good question. Nick said he would, but I didn’t see him.

  • Counterinsurgency,  Public Diplomacy,  War

    Upcoming movie screening: No End in Sight

    If you are in Los Angeles Tuesday, July 24, 2007, you might want to checkout “No End in Sight”, a movie direct by Charles Ferguson, a political scientist and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Based on over 200 hours of footage, this critically acclaimed film provides a candid retelling of the events following the fall of Baghdad in 2003 by high ranking officials such as former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, Ambassador Barbara Bodine (in charge of Baghdad during the Spring of 2003), former Chief of Staff to Colin Powell, Lawrence Wilkerson, and General Jay Garner (in charge of the occupation of Iraq through May 2003),…

  • War

    Remembering the Fourth of July

    For Americans everywhere, the Fourth of July should be more than a time to think about barbeque and apple pie. Much like Memorial Day, many (most?) Americans forget the reality behind the holiday, neglecting the sacrifices made in the name and spirit of the United States of America, good or bad. The birth of America wasn’t easy and it wasn’t a task taken lightly. Often forgotten are the countless and often nameless Revolutionaries that fought as both uniformed and insurgent forces against an unjust rule. At first, they just wanted the wrongs righted, believing the King didn’t know what his advisors were doing. Soon they realized the truth. The Founding…