Archive: Iraq

Gates the Substitute Teacher

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates is at it again. In a speech in Colorado Springs yesterday, he implored the armed forces to cure themselves of what he calls "Next-War-Itis" and focus on current needs. Conventional wisdom has it that...

By William M. Arkin | May 14, 2008; 04:30 PM ET | Comments (15)

Another General Cashing In

Retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the Iraq commander from June 2003 to June 2004, is the latest soldier to head into the media spotlight in retirement. Coming tomorrow to a bookstore near you is "Wiser in Battle: A Soldier's Story."...

By William M. Arkin | May 5, 2008; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (33)

Unmanned and Dangerous: The Future U.S. Military?

The controversy over the availability of unmanned reconnaissance and strike drones in Iraq and Afghanistan has become one of those quintessential Washington dramas that plays while Rome burns. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates is pushing for more drones to...

By William M. Arkin | April 30, 2008; 06:00 AM ET | Comments (34)

King David at the Helm

Gen. David H. Petraeus -- "King David," the man behind the surge, the author of the new counter-insurgency strategy, the savior of Iraq, the photogenic Washington star -- has been nominated to be the top U.S. commander in the Middle...

By William M. Arkin | April 24, 2008; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (92)

TV Generals Make for a Dangerous Picture

From 1999 until the end of last year, I was a military analyst for NBC News, one of the few non-generals in that role. During the wars in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, I worked with generals who were retained by...

By William M. Arkin | April 22, 2008; 09:15 AM ET | Comments (30)

John McCain's Nightmare in Iraq

Last week's hearing on Iraq may have showcased three presidential candidates but one showed himself completely out of touch with the American people: John McCain. The retired Navy captain and Arizona senator may claim superior knowledge of Iraq, but his...

By William M. Arkin | April 15, 2008; 04:20 AM ET | Comments (49)

For the U.S. Military, Iraq is So Over

Gen. Petraeus's victory last week has no traction.

By William M. Arkin | April 14, 2008; 02:38 AM ET | Comments (28)

The Military Commands Bush

The decision to reduce the length of Army combat tours in Iraq is an internal matter of policy for the Pentagon. It doesn't require presidential approval. So why does the administration make such a show of President Bush announcing it?...

By William M. Arkin | April 10, 2008; 11:15 AM ET | Comments (93)

The Winner? Petraeus and the American Military

What can you say about a military commander who says that the surge has been successful and that Iraq is no longer on the brink of civil war, while also saying that the situation is "fragile and reversible"? You can...

By William M. Arkin | April 9, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (37)

Questions for Gen. Petraeus and the U.S. Military

Trying to get some clarity on a complicated situation.

By William M. Arkin | April 7, 2008; 08:30 AM ET | Comments (28)

On Iraq, Forging 'Stability' Is Everyone's Game

A complicated debate over Iraq gets even more complicated.

By William M. Arkin | March 31, 2008; 08:20 AM ET | Comments (92)

The Pause Is All About Military Self-Interest

Is the 'pause' for the troops or the policymakers? It's complicated.

By William M. Arkin | March 27, 2008; 07:50 AM ET | Comments (41)

4,000 Deaths: Is It All About the Numbers?

On Iraq, the numbers are complicated.

By William M. Arkin | March 24, 2008; 09:20 AM ET | Comments (81)

On Iraq, Listen to Cheney on Afghanistan

Can the Afghanistan model work for Iraq? It's complicated.

By William M. Arkin | March 21, 2008; 08:35 AM ET | Comments (62)

Iraq Is All About Iran? Not!

Evaluating the speeches on the five-year anniversary of the war.

By William M. Arkin | March 20, 2008; 08:40 AM ET | Comments (54)

In Iraq, Unanswered Prayers

Five years after the U.S. invasion, the situation in Iraq remains complicated.

By William M. Arkin | March 18, 2008; 09:40 AM ET | Comments (68)

McCain's Iraq Dilemma

It's getting hard for John McCain to defend his position on Iraq.

By William M. Arkin | March 17, 2008; 09:30 AM ET | Comments (57)

Petraeus Wins in Iraq Battle, Kills Iran War

The complicated relationship between Fallon and his 'subordinate.'

By William M. Arkin | March 13, 2008; 11:25 AM ET | Comments (226)

Commander's Resignation Shows a New Era of Micromanagement

The story behind William Fallon's resignation is complicated.

By William M. Arkin | March 12, 2008; 09:20 AM ET | Comments (169)

The U.S. Becomes More Dependent on Iraqi Radicals

The U.S. relationship with Muqtada al-Sadr is complicated and important.

By William M. Arkin | March 10, 2008; 09:25 AM ET | Comments (47)

Bureaucratic Rotations Undermine the War Effort

Comings and goings in Iraq are complicated and unhealthy.

By William M. Arkin | March 7, 2008; 09:30 AM ET | Comments (21)

The Military and the Next President

The civilian-military relationship is complicated.

By William M. Arkin | March 6, 2008; 08:30 AM ET | Comments (18)

Hillary Surges and Wins on the Surge

As a campaign issue, Iraq is complicated.

By William M. Arkin | March 5, 2008; 08:25 AM ET | Comments (78)

Global Progress, or Global Whack-a-Mole?

The war on terrorism is multifaceted and complicated.

By William M. Arkin | March 4, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (25)

Iran and Iraq: A Healthy Friendship

Relations between the two countries are complicated.

By William M. Arkin | March 3, 2008; 09:15 AM ET | Comments (15)

It is McCain Who Is Naive on Iraq

Strategies for the war in Iraq are complicated.

By William M. Arkin | February 29, 2008; 08:50 AM ET | Comments (152)

A 'Surge' Isn't Right for Afghanistan

The best we can do is create the conditions for the Afghan people to decide for themselves.

By William M. Arkin | February 28, 2008; 09:55 AM ET | Comments (23)

Pause in Iraq? Try Permanent Bases in the Region

The pause makes sense, but it's also part of an insidious plan.

By William M. Arkin | February 20, 2008; 08:40 AM ET | Comments (46)

Iraq Successes Hang in the Balance

Robert Gates and Condoleezza Rice, meet Mark Kimmitt.

By William M. Arkin | February 14, 2008; 09:00 AM ET | Comments (29)

Pause in Iraq Doesn't Harm Afghanistan War

The Pentagon doesn't think more troops are necessary in Afghanistan.

By William M. Arkin | February 12, 2008; 08:37 AM ET | Comments (19)

On Iraq, McCain and Obama Have Impossible Dreams

But it almost doesn't matter what the candidates say. The military establishment has its own priorities.

By William M. Arkin | February 11, 2008; 08:36 AM ET | Comments (35)

Do We Really Support the Troops?

An email from a reader prompts the question.

By William M. Arkin | February 5, 2008; 09:00 AM ET | Comments (99)

Iraq Rules Need More Airing

A leaked document outlining rules of engagement for U.S. forces in Iraq says a lot about how cautious U.S. forces are.

By William M. Arkin | February 4, 2008; 07:57 AM ET | Comments (13)

'A Great and Severe Missed Opportunity'

Want to know how Iraq might look in retrospect? Take a look at a report on the Israeli-Hezbollah war.

By William M. Arkin | January 31, 2008; 08:33 AM ET | Comments (14)

Choices at the End of the Surge

Passing a stable Iraq on to the next president is more important than reducing the number of troops to below pre-surge levels.

By William M. Arkin | January 30, 2008; 08:26 AM ET | Comments (27)

Why Petraeus Should Stay

The assumption that Petraeus can make a difference is the most compelling reason for keeping him in Iraq and not moving him to Brussels.

By William M. Arkin | January 22, 2008; 07:22 AM ET | Comments (49)

Six More Years

The U.S. military is increasingly optimistic about Iraq, but while the majority of the country is pushing for withdrawal, the majority of active-duty forces think it will take six or more years for the U.S. to reach its goals there.

By William M. Arkin | January 3, 2008; 08:27 AM ET | Comments (130)

What Petraeus Achieved

Petraeus has shown himself to be an honest ambassador and inspiring commander. But not even he can win the Iraq war.

By William M. Arkin | January 2, 2008; 07:52 AM ET | Comments (45)

Refining the Preemption Doctrine

The U.S. and Turkey are dancing around the fact of their cooperation in bombing Iraq. But let's face it: We have entered an era where preemption, particularly in the name of fighting terrorism, is seen as not only acceptable but required.

By William M. Arkin | December 20, 2007; 08:31 AM ET | Comments (90)

Turkey Bombs, the U.S. Applauds

The rule of law took another hit this week. One sovereign country bombed the territory of another sovereign country. And not only did the U.S. refrain from protest -- it actually helped.

By William M. Arkin | December 18, 2007; 08:01 AM ET | Comments (39)

No End for 'Gulf War Syndrome'

The Pentagon has yet to find a U.S. soldier who became sick from depleted uranium exposure. That should be good news for Gulf War veterans and their families. But the issue is unlikely to go away.

By William M. Arkin | December 14, 2007; 08:06 AM ET | Comments (32)

The Gulf in the Gulf

The new intelligence estimate on Iran hasn't toned down Bush administration rhetoric -- or improved our understanding of the dynamics in that region.

By William M. Arkin | December 10, 2007; 08:33 AM ET | Comments (77)

Permanent Bases in Iraq? How About Permanent Civil War?

If anyone doubted the Bush administration's intent to pass the Iraq war on to the next president, or if anyone still believed the rhetoric about the withdrawal of American forces as Iraq "stood up," then yesterday's agreement between the United...

By William M. Arkin | November 27, 2007; 08:54 AM ET | Comments (75)

Progress In Iraq? We Still Need to Get Out

Violence is down. But is victory possible? The answer, I'm afraid, is no.

By William M. Arkin | November 26, 2007; 09:06 AM ET | Comments (29)

In Iraq, Where Does All Our Money Go?

We're spending $246 million a day in Iraq. So why are military efforts so strapped for cash?

By William M. Arkin | November 20, 2007; 09:59 AM ET | Comments (26)

Don't Believe the Desertions Story

Statistics about Army desertions are complicated and don't necessarily support the views of either pro-military or anti-war activists.

By William M. Arkin | November 19, 2007; 10:04 AM ET | Comments (10)

Congress and Iraq: A New Plan

What's the best way to make the transition to Iraq War II?

By William M. Arkin | November 1, 2007; 08:10 AM ET | Comments (58)

Yes, We Can Fight Wildfires and Terrorists at the Same Time

The federal government is big (and competent) enough to fight two enemies at once.

By William M. Arkin | October 25, 2007; 08:17 AM ET | Comments (40)

Turkey: Another Front in the War on Terror?

The Turkey-Iraq border could be the site of the next front in the war on terror.

By William M. Arkin | October 24, 2007; 09:13 AM ET | Comments (34)

Toward a Turkish Incursion

Turkish troops look increasingly likely to go into Iraq. And the Kurds look like they may use the occasion to push for an independent Kurdistan.

By William M. Arkin | October 23, 2007; 08:44 AM ET | Comments (48)

The World Conflict Risk of the Week

A Turkish attack on Kurds in Iraq could have a dangerous domino effect.

By William M. Arkin | October 18, 2007; 07:47 AM ET | Comments (17)

Blackwater and War Crimes: A Dangerous Equation

Is this the right war to decide to erode the distinction between civilian and military?

By William M. Arkin | October 15, 2007; 08:21 AM ET | Comments (38)

If Things Are Going so Well, Why War?

I don't mean to pick on my dear friend and onetime employer Seymour Hersh, but enough already with imminent war with Iran.

By William M. Arkin | October 9, 2007; 08:14 AM ET | Comments (20)

Blackwater's Black Eye

The future of Iraq is dependent on the U.S. allowing Iraqis to rule their own country -- including investigating Blackwater USA.

By William M. Arkin | September 18, 2007; 07:07 AM ET | Comments (51)

Does Bush Believe It?

If the successes are real and sustainable, you might think they would support the need to forge ahead.

By William M. Arkin | September 13, 2007; 09:42 PM ET | Comments (33)

Iraq and the U.S.: Can This Marriage Be Saved?

At this point, the war in Iraq is like a marriage on the rocks: We can try to save it, but we need our partner to cooperate.

By William M. Arkin | September 13, 2007; 06:46 AM ET | Comments (21)

How Safe Are We?

I dislike the way the war against terrorism is being fought. And I'm for withdrawing U.S. military forces from Iraq. But I also think that absolutely we're safer.

By William M. Arkin | September 11, 2007; 09:05 AM ET | Comments (31)

Bin Laden the Communist

A shift in bin Laden's message, and particularly his focus on corporate interests, could be quite revealing.

By William M. Arkin | September 10, 2007; 06:49 AM ET | Comments (134)

A Counterterrorism Celebration

While this week's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting has gained a lot of press, another Asian confab, celebrating cooperation of a different sort, has gone under the radar.

By William M. Arkin | September 7, 2007; 06:59 AM ET | Comments (9)

Sunni Rule Again in Iraq?

President Bush's surprise visit to Iraq will be read by many Iraqis, and by many others in the Islamic world, as part of America's great conspiracy to create an American-Sunni alliance, restore the Sunni minority to power and suppress the Shiite majority.

By William M. Arkin | September 4, 2007; 08:17 AM ET | Comments (47)

Sustainable Military Development

A little dispatch from this morning's Pentagon news clips helps explain why the Army cannot sustain deployments in Iraq beyond next summer -- and may offer offer a solution to its chronic personnel shortage.

By William M. Arkin | August 30, 2007; 07:24 AM ET | Comments (20)

Keeping a Low Political Profile at the Pentagon

A Pentagon memo shows the contrast in political style from Donald Rumsfeld to Robert Gates.

By William M. Arkin | August 29, 2007; 08:23 AM ET | Comments (17)

They're Marching, But for What?

Four thousand marched against the Iraq war in Kennebunkport Saturday, an event that I surely would have missed except for being in Maine, where the Portland Press-Herald had multiple days of respectful page one coverage. The Kennebunkport march isn't the...

By William M. Arkin | August 27, 2007; 11:05 AM ET | Comments (164)

Washington to Maliki: Help!

Oust Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki? By criticizing him, Washington will just make him more popular than ever.

By William M. Arkin | August 21, 2007; 08:09 AM ET | Comments (53)

Iraq and the Market: Volatility and Uncertainty Ahead

Both stories are important, and how they play out will affect all of us. Still, some people will closely watch the daily ticker, while others won't.

By William M. Arkin | August 20, 2007; 08:27 AM ET | Comments (19)

The Man Who Won't Be (But Should Be) King

On foreign policy, Bill Richardson makes more sense than any of the other candidates. Too bad he doesn't have a prayer of becoming the next president.

By William M. Arkin | August 17, 2007; 08:14 AM ET | Comments (24)

250 Dead: The Surge is Working?

Listen to the military commanders and spokesmen, and to the new cadre of Petraeus propagandists, and you may think that the death of at least 250 Iraqi civilians signals progress for the U.S. strategy in Iraq.

By William M. Arkin | August 16, 2007; 08:27 AM ET | Comments (54)

Obama's Facts and Afghanistan's Casualties

Despite what the senator says, there's no evidence that air power is more deadly to civilians than ground forces.

By William M. Arkin | August 15, 2007; 06:53 AM ET | Comments (53)

Partisan Warfare

As Congress and the American public prepare for the testimony of Gen. David Petraeus on the progress of the surge in Iraq, we'll hear a lot about the value of 'professional' military advice. But top military officers are also political partisans.

By William M. Arkin | August 14, 2007; 08:43 AM ET | Comments (13)

Pat Tillman and the Coming Witch Hunt on Iraq

Interrupting his retirement and in need of a haircut, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld showed up on Capitol Hill yesterday for the first time since leaving the Pentagon. He had been called to testify not about Iraq, Iran, Pakistan...

By William M. Arkin | August 2, 2007; 08:03 AM ET | Comments (47)

Middle East Alliance 2.0

There has been no official talk of a new U.S. military alliance in the Middle East. But my sense is that the Bush administration may be looking to solidify one before it leaves office.

By William M. Arkin | August 1, 2007; 07:54 AM ET | Comments (29)

A New Mideast Military Alliance?

The United States has now officially unveiled its $60-billion-plus arms package for the Middle East. The arms increasingly look like the sweeteners for a new and more formalized American-led alliance of like-minded "moderate" regimes, a kind of Middle East version...

By William M. Arkin | July 31, 2007; 07:59 AM ET | Comments (62)

Another Poke in the Eye to Islam

The political debate has already begun over the Bush administration's recently announced $20 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia and other Mideast nations. And it's already clear that it's missing the point. Some members of Congress have vowed to block...

By William M. Arkin | July 30, 2007; 07:37 AM ET | Comments (63)

Standing Up to Pakistan?

In nearly six years since 9/11, al- Qaeda has rebuilt its infrastructure in a mountainous and remote part of northwest Pakistan and gathered a larger set of affiliates around the world.

By William M. Arkin | July 18, 2007; 07:18 AM ET | Comments (59)

Ready for Surge II?

Come September, we could be looking at Surge II.

By William M. Arkin | July 17, 2007; 07:35 AM ET | Comments (115)

Hillary Clinton and the Terrorists

Fred Hiatt's column in today's Post helps explain why Sen. Hillary Clinton will probably be the next president of the United States. If Hiatt is right -- and I think he is -- Sen. Clinton believes that "winning" in Iraq,...

By William M. Arkin | July 16, 2007; 07:10 AM ET | Comments (28)

Listening to the Generals?

At his press conference yesterday, President Bush urged Congress and the American people to let the military leadership determine the "conditions on the ground" in Iraq and the possibilities for success. He urged support and respect for the "command structure."...

By William M. Arkin | July 13, 2007; 07:58 AM ET | Comments (34)

Is a Bigger Army a Better Army?

Prospective soldiers are voting with their feet. For the second consecutive month, the Army has missed its active-duty recruiting goal, even with its lower standards for new recruits. As long as the war in Iraq continues, the Army will have...

By William M. Arkin | July 10, 2007; 07:24 AM ET | Comments (38)

Iran in Iraq

Promoters of the Iraq war and the hyper-martial are increasingly warning that Iran is responsible for killing U.S. soldiers, training Iraqi insurgents and supplying deadly ordnance to opponents of U.S. military forces in Iraq. Iran even has agents on the...

By William M. Arkin | July 6, 2007; 09:50 AM ET | Comments (40)

The Low-Tech War Against Terrorists

Lebanon has been at the forefront of future conflict for at least a year, first with last summer's ill-named "Katyusha" rocket war and now with the death of six Spanish peacekeepers by an "improvised explosive device," or IED, an innovation...

By William M. Arkin | June 25, 2007; 09:19 AM ET | Comments (12)

On Iraq, (Partial) Agreement From an Unexpected Source

If you don't believe me, then take it from retired Army Gen. John Abizaid: Nothing in Iraq is going to be resolved before November 2008. Moreover, Abizaid acknowledges what I wrote earlier this week, that U.S. military forces need a...

By William M. Arkin | June 21, 2007; 08:14 AM ET | Comments (17)

Expertise Can Help Win the War, Too

Do we understand Iraq, its people and culture, any better today than we did in 2003 -- or in 1990, for that matter? The United States has been at war with Iraq or in Iraq for almost 17 years, bombing,...

By William M. Arkin | June 19, 2007; 07:33 AM ET | Comments (12)

Petraeus' Perspective on Iraq

The top U.S. commander in Iraq, Army Gen. David Petraeus, does not believe that the situation there will be sufficiently stable by September to allow a drawdown of U.S. forces. Yesterday he hinted that the U.S. military will likely be...

By William M. Arkin | June 18, 2007; 08:04 AM ET | Comments (44)

New Pentagon Leadership, Same Iraq Strategy

Ask around the Pentagon, or the U.S. military in general, and the consensus seems to be that the United States is on its way out of Iraq. That's what's behind the recent changes in the military leadership, people say: The...

By William M. Arkin | June 15, 2007; 07:20 AM ET | Comments (39)

A New Chairman's Power Point?

Under Adm. Michael G. Mullen, the Navy has more than tripled the number of people it has "on the ground" in the support of the war in Iraq and in the Middle East. The next chairman of the Joint Chiefs...

By William M. Arkin | June 12, 2007; 07:43 AM ET | Comments (9)

New Chairman, Same War

When Robert Gates said on Friday that Marine Gen. Peter Pace would step down as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he said that congressional hearings on a new two-year tenure for Pace would be too "contentious." Gates was...

By William M. Arkin | June 11, 2007; 09:34 AM ET | Comments (37)

Gates Is Wrong: Europe Should Go Its Own Way

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates was in France yesterday for D-Day commemorations, urging an even stronger Atlantic alliance. I'm arguing for a weaker one. The world would be better off it Europe went its own way, with its own...

By William M. Arkin | June 7, 2007; 08:34 AM ET | Comments (112)

The Caliphate Scare

Since 9/11, the Bush administration has used many analogies to describe the grave threat that Al Qaeda and terrorists represent. President Bush has likened the war against terror to World War II. The Cold War is also invoked, and the...

By William M. Arkin | June 2, 2007; 12:00 AM ET | Comments (43)

More on Baseball and Blogs

My inbox has been filled with comments from Red Sox fans and MilBloggers ever since I attempted to link the two last week. I used the metaphor of sports reporting to observe that Americans would be better off if we...

By William M. Arkin | May 30, 2007; 07:50 AM ET | Comments (13)

A Bloody August Could Precede the Fall

Yesterday was the true beginning of the end of the war in Iraq, with the administration signaling its readiness to begin withdrawal of U.S. forces and to adopt the recommendations of the once-rejected Iraq Study Group. President Bush, speaking at...

By William M. Arkin | May 25, 2007; 09:01 AM ET | Comments (86)

If Only War Reporting Were More Like Sports Reporting

Let's see if I can do this without insulting either baseball fans or bloggers. Blogging baseball fans, I ask for your forgiveness preemptively. I went to a Red Sox game on Saturday, and up above home plate I couldn't help...

By William M. Arkin | May 22, 2007; 11:01 AM ET | Comments (44)

A National Security Sea Change?

Let me clarify the sea change I identified yesterday in the op-ed by the two generals calling for an end to torture: Beyond the war in Iraq, there are an increasing number of voices, public and private, asking whether we...

By William M. Arkin | May 18, 2007; 08:03 AM ET | Comments (21)

Can American Values Improve American Security?

The extraordinary op-ed today in The Post by two retired Marine Corps four-star generals might signal a post-9/11 turning point for America. Might. As we pursue our foreign policy and our war against terrorism, Charles Krulak and Joseph Hoar write,...

By William M. Arkin | May 17, 2007; 08:22 AM ET | Comments (42)

When the YouTube Generation Goes to War

If Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates had a blog, most people in the military wouldn't be able to read it. At military bases throughout the world, the .mil domain filters out and restricts access to blogs and other "personal"...

By William M. Arkin | May 16, 2007; 09:54 AM ET | Comments (70)

Dick Cheney's Policy of Retreat

Last week Vice President Dick Cheney visited sailors aboard the USS John C. Stennis aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf, and the headlines reported yet another broadside against Iran. Since I've been hearing from Pentagon sources that Iran war planning...

By William M. Arkin | May 15, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (23)

Give the Iraqis a Break

Washington empties out every August as members of Congress and administration officials leave for their annual summer vacations. So why isn't this American political tradition good enough for Iraqi officials in Baghdad? President Bush and Vice President Cheney have both...

By William M. Arkin | May 10, 2007; 09:39 AM ET | Comments (88)

George Tenet's Fairytale History of the Iraq War

On the morning of March 19, 2003, Saddam Hussein's son Qusay arrived at the Central Bank of Iraq with 50 goons from the regime's Special Security Organization to make a withdrawal of $1 billion in cash. President Bush's 48-hour "deadline"...

By William M. Arkin | May 9, 2007; 09:50 AM ET | Comments (13)

Tenet's Slam Dunk Support for Dick Cheney

Most reviews of George Tenet's book have focused on Iraq's nonexistent weapons of mass destruction. The former CIA director's explanations of the internal administration fight over the Iraq-al Qaeda link has gone almost without comment. In the "At the Center...

By William M. Arkin | May 8, 2007; 08:32 AM ET | Comments (18)

The Tenet/Myers Now-They-Tell-Us Club

Former CIA Director George Tenet spends much of his new book removing his fingerprints from the buildup to the war in Iraq and making a case for why the core al-Qaeda terrorist threat continues to be of paramount importance. Former...

By William M. Arkin | May 7, 2007; 10:56 AM ET | Comments (60)

On Plan B, Look to Ronald Reagan

With everyone now committed to finding "common ground" in Iraq, it appears that the Democratic Party commitment to force an end to the war was just theater. Compromise now means benchmarks and Presidential certification after which the Congress can still...

By William M. Arkin | May 2, 2007; 08:43 AM ET | Comments (147)

Body Counts Tell Us Very Little

The Washington Post has a front page story today, "April Toll Is Highest Of '07 For U.S. Troops," that could just as much read "Surge's Successes Bring Higher U.S. death toll." Meanwhile, the State Department's 2006 Country Reports on Terrorism...

By William M. Arkin | May 1, 2007; 09:17 AM ET | Comments (166)

Jessica Lynch's Real Lesson

Private Jessica Lynch has again been made very public, used by Congressional Democrats to make a political point about the administration's evil deceptions. Congress missed the true story in 2003, and misses it today. Jessica Lynch and her compatriots found...

By William M. Arkin | April 30, 2007; 09:11 AM ET | Comments (26)

Obama Bows to the American Military

Does America really need a larger military? If the United States got out of Iraq, and refocused its counter-terrorism efforts to stress non-military as well as military tools, bolstered its diplomacy, improved its alliances and pushed further burden-sharing, would it...

By William M. Arkin | April 26, 2007; 09:46 AM ET | Comments (46)

McCain on Iraq: So Much Integrity, So Wrong

The conventional political interpretation of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who will formally launch his Presidential bid today, is that he is so committed to winning the Iraq war, and thus so identified with President Bush, that he has no chance...

By William M. Arkin | April 25, 2007; 10:30 AM ET | Comments (52)

'Loss' in Iraq and the Arkin Plan

Nevada Democratic Sen. Harry M. Reid's plan is no way to end the war. Sen. Reid's comments last week regarding Iraq: "I believe ... that this war is lost, and this surge is not accomplishing anything, as is shown by...

By William M. Arkin | April 24, 2007; 11:18 AM ET | Comments (86)

Bad News From Iraq

I spent my vacation last week in southern California, reading the San Diego Union-Tribune, a newspaper no one would mistake for either being either elite liberal or anti-military. All week though, I couldn't help but noticing that the San Diego...

By William M. Arkin | April 23, 2007; 09:04 AM ET | Comments (105)

Saddam Thought Baghdad's Green Zone Was Safe Too

The penetration of security in Baghdad's Green Zone in broad daylight yesterday by a suicide bomber, into Iraq's Parliament building located in the old Saddam Conference Center on its western edge, symbolizes everything that is wrong in Iraq. The Zone...

By William M. Arkin | April 13, 2007; 08:09 AM ET | Comments (220)

Is Iraq Making China the Next Soviet Union?

Reading the current issue of Air Force Magazine, I came away with the overwhelming impression that while the military is at war, America surely isn't. The April 2007 issue reads to me like a catalog of post-Iraq disasters and threats:...

By William M. Arkin | April 12, 2007; 07:28 AM ET | Comments (65)

Why is the Military at a Breaking Point?

I don't question that our military is at a breaking point, I just question why. We are experiencing record defense budgets and outlays, and yet we have exhausted our troops and worn out our gear. We have 2.2 million men...

By William M. Arkin | April 11, 2007; 10:32 AM ET | Comments (122)

Is Giuliani Another World Trade Center Casualty?

Retired Gen. Tommy Franks, medal of whatever recipient and knucklehead U.S. commander four years ago in Iraq, continues to make a killing on the speaking circuit. The only threat to Franks' future is Rudy Giuliani, a 9/11 icon who has...

By William M. Arkin | April 10, 2007; 08:28 AM ET | Comments (1016)

Wounded Warriors and the America Way

When I got the Defense Department press advisory that the Marine Corps would be unveiling its new Wounded Warrior Regiment yesterday, I didn't know what to think. But of course I know exactly what I'm supposed to think....

By William M. Arkin | April 5, 2007; 09:20 AM ET | Comments (35)

As Congress Debates, the Surge Grows

Saturday, nearly three months after President Bush announced his new, new Iraq strategy and a surge of "more than 20,000 additional American troops to Iraq," the headquarters of the 3rd Infantry Division uncased its colors in south Baghdad and took...

By William M. Arkin | April 3, 2007; 09:50 AM ET | Comments (38)

Elite Terrorist Hunters in Iraq

U.S. "black" special operations forces in Iraq have conducted as many as 300 "takedown" operations, an activity that an influential retired general calls "simply magic." The assessment appears in an eight-page trip report written by retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey,...

By William M. Arkin | March 28, 2007; 07:34 AM ET | Comments (135)

Don't Ask Don't Tell in Iraq

We all know, despite the surge and the new, new military strategy, that the only real prospect for success in Iraq is political: the fragile Baghdad government governs and hangs on, enough Iraqis of all stripes band together in uneasy...

By William M. Arkin | March 27, 2007; 10:34 AM ET | Comments (25)

It's Time to Stop Making 'War' on Terrorists

Controversies surrounding the war in Iraq -- the manipulation of intelligence, ideology feeding overconfidence, mismanagement and potential failure -- have so stained the Bush administration there is a tendency on the part of many to reject all of the government's...

By William M. Arkin | March 26, 2007; 10:15 AM ET | Comments (59)

Shock and Awe Worked, God Help Us

That is airpower's continuing allure: military engagement with no commitment.

By William M. Arkin | March 19, 2007; 07:45 AM ET | Comments (58)

An Admiral Takes the Helm in the Middle East

Adm. William J. Fallon takes over as Commander of U.S. Central Command today, with headquarters in Tampa, Florida. I've written a couple of articles about Fallon, about his views on Iran and his legacy in Asia as U.S. Pacific commander....

By William M. Arkin | March 16, 2007; 08:21 AM ET | Comments (10)

Diplomacy is Now Us?

All of reasonable Washington is gaga over the news that the United States will sit down with Iranian and Syrian officials in "regional security" talks on Iraq, the highest-level contact in more than two years -- a story broken by...

By William M. Arkin | March 1, 2007; 08:37 AM ET | Comments (59)

Special Operations: Democratic 'Fetish' or False Conception?

With Vice President Dick Cheney in Pakistan this week urging more aggressive action against a resurgent al-Qaeda and pleading for "cross border" authority so that U.S. forces can pursue Taliban and terrorist fighters, the mind naturally gravitates not towards NATO...

By William M. Arkin | February 27, 2007; 09:08 AM ET | Comments (43)

In War Planning for Iran, Truth Is the Linchpin

Kuwait. Every American adventure overseas has a geographic linchpin, an essential country that the United States needs to go to war. In the case of Iraq 2003, it was Kuwait. Without Kuwaiti bases, the United States would not have been...

By William M. Arkin | February 26, 2007; 08:34 AM ET | Comments (62)

What's Really Going on in Iraq

"I hope that since the president seems unwilling to listen to the results of the November election or to the new Democratic majority in Congress, that he would at least listen to someone who he has claimed has been his...

By William M. Arkin | February 22, 2007; 08:17 AM ET | Comments (60)

Pinning It All on Rumsfeld

If Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) thinks that the buck stops with Donald Rumsfeld, he is not qualified to be President. On the campaign trail, McCain labeled the former Secretary of Defense the worst in history Monday. Sure there is a...

By William M. Arkin | February 21, 2007; 08:28 AM ET | Comments (126)

Readers Speak: The "M" Word

Here is the last batch of e-mails from readers I'll post, this time from some who are reflecting on the "mercenary" label I used in a recent, controversial column. This will be the last of the e-mail postings before I...

By William M. Arkin | February 16, 2007; 02:17 PM ET | Comments (130)

The Threat, The Problem, In Their Own Words

For the third day in a row, I'm showcasing e-mails I've received from readers, here those -- families, soldiers, veterans, others -- who support the war and decry the news media and those who would criticize the war effort....

By William M. Arkin | February 15, 2007; 01:41 PM ET | Comments (110)

The Soldiers Speak

I've received about 400 e-mails from active duty, reserve, and recently serving soldiers, many of whom have seen duty in Iraq. The following is a representative sampling. As I said yesterday, I hope that by publishing some of the most...

By William M. Arkin | February 14, 2007; 08:48 AM ET | Comments (111)

The Families Speak

My e-mail continues to be filled with hundreds of responses a day to my controversial column last week, fueled partly by the blogosphere, Bill O'Reilly, and various electronic chain letters. There are too many to respond to each individually, but...

By William M. Arkin | February 13, 2007; 10:42 AM ET | Comments (84)

Demonization and Responsibility

I've been making my way through the mail and online comments I've received in response to my columns last week. The many e-mails I've gotten privately from people serving in the military are, not surprisingly, the most respectful and reflective....

By William M. Arkin | February 6, 2007; 10:14 AM ET | Comments (1531)

A Note to My Readers on Supporting the Troops

Editor's Note: More than 1,500 comments have been posted to this entry -- making the page too long for some computers to download and display quickly and properly. We're therefore allowing no new comments to be added to the page....

By William M. Arkin | February 1, 2007; 05:31 PM ET | Comments (1566)

The Arrogant and Intolerant Speak Out

Editor's Note: More than 900 comments have been posted to this entry -- making the page too long for some computers to download and display quickly and properly. We're therefore allowing no new comments to be added to the page....

By William M. Arkin | February 1, 2007; 09:39 AM ET | Comments (855)

New Middle East Commander Correctly Stays in His Lane

Adm. William J. Fallon, the incoming commander of U.S. military forces in the Middle East, showed a bit of his Navy biases yesterday, speaking of Iran's ability to deny U.S. access to Persian Gulf oil. Fallon also described the Horn...

By William M. Arkin | January 31, 2007; 08:29 AM ET | Comments (57)

The Troops Also Need to Support the American People

Editor's Note: More than 900 comments have been posted to this entry -- making the page too long for some computers to download and display quickly and properly. We're therefore allowing no new comments to be added to the page....

By William M. Arkin | January 30, 2007; 08:51 AM ET | Comments (998)

A Feather of Force for Iraq

Sometime late last week, amidst more of the same in Iraq, amidst Congressional resolutions, new poll numbers, and anti-war protests, the Secretary of Defense woke up to realize that the surge is really a trickle. Robert M. Gates told reporters...

By William M. Arkin | January 29, 2007; 08:39 AM ET | Comments (41)

Resolved: The Surge Is Already On

A number of people have asked me whether the vote of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to oppose the deployment of an additional 21,500 troops to Iraq will stop the surge. Hello people, the resolution is non-binding. And besides, the...

By William M. Arkin | January 25, 2007; 07:52 AM ET | Comments (79)

The Democrats Fumble and Stumble

I don't know about you, but I expected the President's message on Iraq last night to be predictable and muddled. That is why all day Washington tittered about mood and body language and atmospherics: there wasn't much more he could...

By William M. Arkin | January 24, 2007; 06:44 AM ET | Comments (42)

Ready or Not, Here We Come

Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus, the incoming Iraq commander, who is testifying before the Senate today, is said by his aides and supporters to be ready to walk the streets of Baghdad, to fire up his troops, to be much...

By William M. Arkin | January 23, 2007; 08:38 AM ET | Comments (42)

The Surge Begins!! Shhh!

The first of 3,200 soldiers from the 2nd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division began arriving in Baghdad last week, an event that somehow the Washington Post and New York Times thought not worthy of reporting until this morning (and...

By William M. Arkin | January 22, 2007; 08:27 AM ET | Comments (26)

All Over the Globe, the New, New Strategy is to Pile On

There's some interesting geo-political tidying up going on in the Bush administration, some new tough words about the world that seems part of the new strategy for Iraq and a scene-setter intended to launch the President's State of the Union...

By William M. Arkin | January 17, 2007; 08:29 AM ET | Comments (35)

Congress Goes Along in Iraq, Gates Says Not So Fast

Has the President made a huge mistake in appointing Robert M. Gates as Secretary of Defense? The President unveils a new Iraq strategy - put aside for a moment whether it is really new - and he has a new...

By William M. Arkin | January 16, 2007; 08:38 AM ET | Comments (29)

Secretary Rice on the Threat to Iran

On the Today Show this morning, Matt Lauer asked Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice if the President was saying last night that military action inside Iran and Syria is a possibility. Here is the exchange: SECRETARY RICE: The President is...

By William M. Arkin | January 11, 2007; 09:00 AM ET | Comments (144)

War With Syria and Iran = Peace With Iraq?

Seek out and destroy. If there's anything in the President Bush's remarks tonight that we didn't already know or didn't anticipate him saying militarily about Iraq, it is his evident willingness to go to war with Syria and Iran to...

By William M. Arkin | January 10, 2007; 09:55 PM ET | Comments (162)

Tonight's the Night

I'll be blogging "live" tonight after the President's speech on Iraq. We know the outlines of the surge, and I've already written about the bind Congress is in -- they will have to give the President one more chance --...

By William M. Arkin | January 10, 2007; 01:57 PM ET | Comments (12)

Congress, and the American People vs. The Troops

President Bush travels to Ft. Benning, Georgia, on Thursday to begin his PR effort to sell his Iraq plan. The troops there are just background: The target is the Democratic Congress. The only way the President will get what he...

By William M. Arkin | January 9, 2007; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (93)

The American Military Cleans Up Again

A Red Line abandoned, an Admiral looking to the future, the smartest general around who's going to save the day. The change in American military leadership, from Rumsfeld on down, is also meant to put maximum pressure on the Democratic...

By William M. Arkin | January 8, 2007; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (27)

The Overrated General Petraeus

The prospective new commander of U.S. military forces in Iraq, Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus, is being hailed in these pages and elsewhere in the news media as just what the doctor ordered. Petraeus "gained fame for his early success...

By William M. Arkin | January 5, 2007; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (67)

Predictions for 2007, and one surprising death

A surge of troops in Iraq now a foregone conclusion -- the Democratic Congress will prove to have neither the courage nor vision to stop the President -- what does 2007 hold out for national security? I've made some predictions,...

By William M. Arkin | January 4, 2007; 10:30 AM ET | Comments (21)

2007 from the War Room

To fully understand President Bush's decision to surge forces into Iraq and stick with the mission, to understand that it is not just stubbornness or some grand vision of a greater good being pursued, one has to look at the...

By William M. Arkin | January 3, 2007; 12:00 PM ET | Comments (22)

Saddam Hussein: I'm Going to Miss Him

Call me a Saddam-symp, but I'm going miss him. I'm well aware of Saddam Hussein's many crimes, and because people might take what I'm about to say the wrong way, I will dutifully innumerate some of them: He was a...

By William M. Arkin | January 2, 2007; 08:37 AM ET | Comments (273)

Gates Disses the Troops, and the American People

Strategy means being mindful that what you do today pays-off tomorrow. In communications, that means saying the things that build to an overall message. In action, it means understanding timing and gesture so that deeds and messages culminate with the...

By William M. Arkin | December 22, 2006; 09:14 AM ET | Comments (205)

More Troops Buys Silence of the Lambs

An offer to add tens of thousands of permanent troops to the Army and Marine Corps at a time when there is speculation of a rift between the President and the Generals? While the new Secretary of Defense is hearing...

By William M. Arkin | December 21, 2006; 09:00 AM ET | Comments (21)

More Troops? Come on.

Five years after Sept. 11, barely five weeks after a losing election, the President of the United States decides America needs a larger military? These guys can't see past today's events to craft a strategy for tomorrow. They say that...

By William M. Arkin | December 20, 2006; 09:00 AM ET | Comments (192)

Failure in Iraq? We've Already Failed

"Failure in Iraq at this juncture would be a calamity that would haunt our nation, impair our credibility, and endanger Americans for decades to come," Robert M. Gates said yesterday upon taking the oath to be Secretary of Defense. Public...

By William M. Arkin | December 19, 2006; 08:39 AM ET | Comments (53)

What a "Surge" of Forces Really Means in Iraq

Out of the November election, where the majority clearly expressed their displeasure with the Iraq war and the President, we have witnessed the creation of the "surge." Dismissed initially as a fanciful quest by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), a surge...

By William M. Arkin | December 18, 2006; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (45)

Wasting Time on Princess Di

I don't know which is more embarrassing or more damaging: the Tommy Franks Leadership Institute and Museum planned for Oklahoma, or the news that the NSA eavesdropped in on Princess Diana's communications right before she died. I couldn't care less...

By William M. Arkin | December 11, 2006; 10:33 AM ET | Comments (34)

The New Extremists

Extremist-in-chief George W. Bush yesterday continued along his merry way, going over the heads of the wise men and defying Washington moderation and the glories of bipartisan centrism to remind the American public that he is also the protector. "The...

By William M. Arkin | December 8, 2006; 09:20 AM ET | Comments (59)

Not What the American or Iraqi People Want

For all the hype, the Iraq Study Group offers two fundamental recommendations that the president might even be able to implement: The group calls for the United States to engage Iraq's neighbors, specifically Iran and Syria. The group recommends a...

By William M. Arkin | December 7, 2006; 09:00 AM ET | Comments (59)

Do We Understand Iraq?

Yesterday President Bush told Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, head of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and the largest single Shiite party in the Iraqi parliament that the United States was not satisfied with the progress in Iraq....

By William M. Arkin | December 5, 2006; 10:17 AM ET | Comments (30)

Gates and 2008

Non-ideological, world-class experience, sober-minded, knows the issues well. That's how retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey, a long-time Donald Rumsfeld critic, described defense secretary nominee Robert M. Gates in the Houston Chronicle. On the other hand, The Washington Post brings up...

By William M. Arkin | December 4, 2006; 10:21 AM ET | Comments (8)

Joint Chiefs See Victory or Are Playing a Game?

Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said yesterday that the U.S. is once again shifting forces to Baghdad duty. The Washington Times reports this morning that all six members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff oppose...

By William M. Arkin | November 30, 2006; 10:30 AM ET | Comments (27)

The Wrong Road on Iraq

Regardless of what happens now, our failed enterprise in Iraq is leaves some dangerous impressions behind about America, ours strengths and what we stand for. Despite having the greatest military in the world, we are now shown to be fallible...

By William M. Arkin | November 29, 2006; 10:30 AM ET | Comments (63)

Civil War: What's in a Name?

Now that Television has decided to label the fighting in Iraq a civil war, it's-a-civil-war pundits will wage battle against members of the it's-not-a-civil-war camp. I suppose there are some in the middle who argue without political intent that the...

By William M. Arkin | November 28, 2006; 10:20 AM ET | Comments (53)

World War II and Iraq: It's More Than Just Days That Are Different

Today's news that the Iraq war now exceeds World War II in number of days doesn't strike me as commentary on the failures of the Bush administration or Donald Rumsfeld. It strikes me first as a failure of official Washington,...

By William M. Arkin | November 27, 2006; 10:14 AM ET | Comments (27)

Threads that lead to a Turkey

The assassination of Lebanese Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel yesterday and the inevitable connection to Syria and Hezbollah puts the kibosh of the dream of a grand regional solution to Iraq, a solution I questioned yesterday. Christian Gemayel was an outspoken...

By William M. Arkin | November 22, 2006; 09:35 AM ET | Comments (21)

Can Iran and Syria Save Us, and What Will They Want?

The bipartisan Iraq Study Group is reported favoring dialogue and former Secretary of State James Baker reportedly has met with Iranian and Syrian officials. Speaking in Chicago this week, Sen. Barak Obama (D-IL) suggests improved diplomacy with Iran and Syria....

By William M. Arkin | November 21, 2006; 10:30 AM ET | Comments (36)

The Fake Options Debate

By now, it should be clear to everyone that the options being bandied about for what to do in Iraq are all about the limitations of the United States military. As Tom Ricks reports today in The Post there may...

By William M. Arkin | November 20, 2006; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (112)

The Gates Agenda and the Public Demand

Donald Rumsfeld hasn't left the building and Bob Gates doesn't have his new business cards -- yet already everyone is maneuvering to assert what went wrong in the old regime and what needs to be done in the new. Rumsfeld...

By William M. Arkin | November 13, 2006; 10:43 AM ET | Comments (28)

Second Chance Gates

"I'm open to any idea or suggestion that will help us achieve our goals of defeating the terrorists and ensuring that Iraq's democratic government succeeds," President Bush said yesterday. A Democratic majority and the purging of Secretary of Defense Donald...

By William M. Arkin | November 10, 2006; 10:25 AM ET | Comments (40)

Rumsfeld's Legacy

The ritual sacrifice of Donald Rumsfeld serves one purpose for the Bush administration: crafting a bipartisan exit strategy in Iraq with the absence of a polarizing and immovable figure. The danger ahead though is that the brilliant minds in Washington...

By William M. Arkin | November 9, 2006; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (36)

The Democrats' Martial Plan

A solid majority of voting Americans, according to both exit polls and the results, disapprove of the Iraq war and President Bush's job performance, mostly due to his handling of national security. The Democrats and the administration now need to...

By William M. Arkin | November 8, 2006; 08:30 AM ET | Comments (56)

A Draft Might Help Us

Poor John Kerry. False debate and fake scandal. Here's my perspective on the fact that I got more than 100 comments on my John Kerry blog as well as dozens of e-mails, many decrying the media focus on this story:...

By William M. Arkin | November 2, 2006; 12:39 PM ET | Comments (79)

Sen. Kerry Gets Stuck in Iraq

If anyone is proof positive that a good education has nothing to do with being stuck in Iraq, it's John Kerry. The Massachusetts senator removed the silver spoon from his mouth just long enough to insert foot, bobbing and weaving...

By William M. Arkin | November 1, 2006; 08:25 AM ET | Comments (181)

The Pentagon's Wrong-Headed PR Strategy

For months now, the Pentagon has been undertaking an aggressive public relations and anti-mainstream media effort, writing op-eds and letters to the editor to "correct" what it considers off-base press stories and respond to what it perceives as consistently false...

By William M. Arkin | October 25, 2006; 02:57 AM ET | Comments (16)

The Human Side of Civilian Casualties

Death is what it's all about in Iraq these days: The growing number of U.S. deaths confounds military commanders and exasperates the public; the Iraqi death spiral widens with no end in sight. It's not as though anyone is going...

By William M. Arkin | October 24, 2006; 10:43 AM ET | Comments (48)

Taking Advantage of Our Defeat in Iraq

Long ago, the Bush administration decided, with its stand-up/stand-down policy, that it was content not to "win" the Iraq war. The American people got it, and withdrew their support. Beyond politics, because American honor and credibility, and American security, were...

By William M. Arkin | October 20, 2006; 10:45 AM ET | Comments (156)

600,000 Iraqis Killed By War, Credible?

Johns Hopkins demographers, who this week released a study of Iraqi deaths since 2003, probably knew they'd need their flak jackets here in the United States as well: a war with endless controversy, a study released a month before an...

By William M. Arkin | October 13, 2006; 10:33 AM ET | Comments (144)

Woodward v. Bush

I'll admit I haven't read Woodward's book yet, but like the rest of America, I'm enjoying the fracas.As for the substance of Woodward's four talking points -- attempts by some in the White House to fire Mr. Rumsfeld; the administration's...

By William M. Arkin | October 3, 2006; 02:33 PM ET | Comments (64)

A World Without the Iraq War

What if there had never been an Iraq war? The core of Democratic Party's criticism of the Bush administration, the core of most "alternative" national security policies on offer today, is a more focused, more intense effort to go after Osama...

By William M. Arkin | September 29, 2006; 09:32 AM ET | Comments (136)

The Final Verdict on Able Danger

Distrust of the White House and Congress has become so epidemic, vast numbers of Americans now accept conspiracy theories about September 11, 2001, including the most diabolical: that the U.S. government somehow was complicit and even responsible for the events.A...

By William M. Arkin | September 25, 2006; 09:19 AM ET | Comments (42)

Through Our Enemies' Eyes

Is the war on terror "a battle for the future of civilization?" These are the words Vice President Cheney used earlier this week when speaking in Salt Lake City. Yesterday, President Bush told the American Legion that the Iraq...

By William M. Arkin | September 1, 2006; 11:09 AM ET | Comments (203)

Paving the Way to War with Iran

U.S. intelligence -- duh -- lacks the ability to assess Iran's nuclear program and intentions, a House Intelligence Committee report says. The op-ed pages are filled with hard-line and dovish advice on what to do about Iran. President Bush...

By William M. Arkin | August 24, 2006; 10:31 AM ET | Comments (186)

Where Have All the Soldiers Gone?

News of an involuntary call-up of Marine Corps reservists and a Defense Department budget so out-of-control that even the Republican Senate Budget Committee chair speaks of Congress' failure of oversight, is music to my ears. Not because I'm some...

By William M. Arkin | August 23, 2006; 09:58 AM ET | Comments (152)

The President's Argument for Withdrawal

President Bush yesterday repeated an increasingly questionable assumption about the U.S. enterprise in Iraq, and of military withdrawal: A "failed" Iraq will provide a haven for terrorists, threatening the United States. The image the president and the administration want...

By William M. Arkin | August 22, 2006; 11:51 AM ET | Comments (35)

McCain's Easy Call for More Troops

When Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) called for more U.S. soldiers in Iraq yesterday on NBC's "Meet the Press," I thought, "What an idiot." This is supposed to be a courageous Republican, standing up to the administration? This is supposed...

By William M. Arkin | August 21, 2006; 07:01 AM ET | Comments (59)

In Iraq, It's All About Strategic Communications

More on the Bush administration's campaign to portray the Iraq fighting as anything but a "civil war": The U.S. military on Wednesday joined the new line of argument that it is all al-Qaeda’s fault. So, on your toes people...

By William M. Arkin | August 18, 2006; 07:46 AM ET | Comments (51)

What Are We Fighting For? Not Democracy

The Bush administration is again shifting the justification for the United States' presence in Iraq.It's been a long and rocky road. First, we had to wage a preemptive war to remove Saddam Hussein as threat to the world with his...

By William M. Arkin | August 16, 2006; 12:28 PM ET | Comments (91)

On Iraq, the Military Shares Some Blame

In the post-Lieberman world, with the Iraq war declared little more than a looming electoral mandate, one group is left not just holding the bag but seems excused from judgment: the American military. Those on the ground in Iraq...

By William M. Arkin | August 10, 2006; 09:42 AM ET | Comments (33)

A Solution Lost to Bureaucracy

Israel has lost its current war against Hezbollah. Not because it hasn't achieved many of its military goals and isn't on the way to achieving more. Not because airpower and technology intrinsically are useless in fighting the "new" war....

By William M. Arkin | August 9, 2006; 10:50 AM ET | Comments (48)

A Fenway's Worth of Injuries

I'm trying a new experiment, provoked by a new editor, who urges more postings to convey the large and small of what's on my mind.This just in from the Air Force:Since October 2001, when the Afghanistan War began, the U.S....

By William M. Arkin | July 24, 2006; 11:13 AM ET | Comments (4)

 

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