Games Without Rules is a Winner

Review of Games Without Rules: The Often Interrupted History of Afghanistan, by Tamim AnsaryGiven the length of the American attention span, it's useful to remind people from time to time that American forces are still deployed in Afghanistan. Despite (unwise?) campaign promises, President Obama has not only not removed troops from the ground in Central Asia, but has dedicated us to at least another two years there. While this is not the reason I originally started to Tamim Ansary's … [Read more...]

Gates Unhinged

Review of Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War by Robert M. GatesAccording to the rules of an old Washington parlor game, there is only one thing to do upon the release of a memoir by a former high-profile official: search the text for the most salacious, damning, or quotable put-downs of other officials and shout them over Twitter at your political opponents. Thus, if you have heard anything about former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ new memoir, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, you k … [Read more...]

Lone Survivor: The Good War

Review of Lone Survivor, Directed by Peter BergEleven years ago, when I was in the Army, some fellow troops and I went to see the Vietnam war movie We Were Soldiers (2002). We were a crowd of young guys who didn’t know anything, accompanied by one old master sergeant who was a Vietnam War veteran. The younger soldiers loved the movie and, afterwards, were palling around like normal. The old master sergeant was walking alone, quiet. I asked him what he thought of the movie. “There are some thi … [Read more...]

Justice at Zero Dark Thirty

Zero Dark Thirty, directed by Kathryn Bigelowby Paul D. MillerI was in Arizona on 9/11.  I was in the Army at the time, doing a summer of training at Ft. Huachuca.  Someone told us as we milled about after morning class that there was some kind of attack in New York.  By the time we got to lunch there were wild rumors about how many bombs had gone off and how many planes were in the air.  They cancelled afternoon class and we watched news the rest of the day, forty or fifty soldiers cro … [Read more...]