Obama sends (a few) boots on the ground to fight ISIS

President Obama has authorized American troops to go to Syria to help with the fight against ISIS.  But there will only be 50 of them.  The Special Forces unit will help with the Kurdish troops already there.

So we have a new military commitment to Syria, but in such small numbers that the troops (good as they are) might be in danger. [Read more…]

U.S. troops will stay in Afghanistan

Reversing his earlier plans, President Obama has decided to keep 5,500 American troops in Afghanistan through 2017. [Read more…]

Jim Webb killed his enemy

At the Democratic debate, the candidates were asked “what enemy are you most proud of?”  O’Malley said, the NRA; Chafee said, the coal industry; Saunders said, pharmaceutical companies; Clinton said, Republicans.  Jim Webb said, “the enemy soldier who threw the grenade that wounded me, but he’s not around right now to talk to.”

I’d say.  Webb killed him.  And the reason Webb was wounded is that he threw himself between the grenade and one of his men, saving his life.

And that wasn’t all he did that day in Vietnam.  Details of the actions that earned him a Navy Star after the jump. [Read more…]

World War II ended 70 years ago yesterday

Yesterday was the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.  Not many of those who fought in that bloody epic conflict are still around.  We should salute those who are.

Do you think a world war on that scale could happen again?  Would we be capable of the same sacrifices, both on the battlefields and on the homefront?

A tribute to the anniversary after the jump. [Read more…]

Fighting in Armor

The estimable David Mills takes a break from writing about Planned Parenthood, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and other major issues to discuss something just because it’s cool:  What it was like for knights to fight in armor.

I’d always thought that the soldiers in armor were like human tanks, clumping slowly around and taking wide swings with a broadsword, and that when two of them met they used their swords more like clubs till one finally knocked down the other. They fought with force rather than technique. But no. The knight in his armor could run (or at least trot), climb ladders, and even do a forward roll if he had to. He had to learn the techniques of fighting in armor.

He goes on to show a video (reproduced after the jump) and links to recent research, showing that iron-clad warriors were quite nimble, but that their sword fighting looked quite different from what we have currently imagined. [Read more…]

The Gulf War 25 years later

August 1 was the 25th anniversary of the start of Operation Desert Storm, a.k.a. the Gulf War, fought to expel the Iraqis from Kuwait after Saddam Hussein invaded and took over that country.  That war had clear justification, a limited goal, and was over in six weeks.

Richard N. Haas, a national security advisor under George Bush I, tells about how the war unfolded in the White House and draws lessons from that conflict that we need to learn.  Here is his conclusion:

The Gulf War looks today like something of an anomaly: short and sharp, with a clear start and finish; focused on resisting external aggression, not nation-building; and fought on battlefields with combined arms, not in cities by special forces and irregulars. Most unusual of all in light of what would follow, the war was multilateral, inexpensive and successful.

After the jump, the seven lessons that he says we should learn from the Gulf War. [Read more…]


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