The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
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Foreign Policy

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The Forever Wars Go On Without Me
“Patriotism, in the trenches, was too remote a sentiment, and at once rejected as fit only for civilians, or prisoners.” -- Robert Graves, Goodbye To All That(1929). I’m one of the lucky ones. Leaving the madness of Army life with a modest pension and all of my limbs intact feels like a genuine escape. Both... Read More
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A Year of Forever War in Review
Leave it to liberals to pin their hopes on the oddest things. In particular, they seemed to find post-Trump solace in the strange combination of the two-year-old Mueller investigation and the good judgment of certain Trump appointees, the proverbial “adults in the room.” Remember that crew? It once included Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the... Read More
Still Trapped in a Greater Middle Eastern Quagmire, the U.S. Military Prepares for Global Combat
American militarism has gone off the rails -- and this middling career officer should have seen it coming. Earlier in this century, the U.S. military not surprisingly focused on counterinsurgency as it faced various indecisive and seemingly unending wars across the Greater Middle East and parts of Africa. Back in 2008, when I was still... Read More
Blowback From U.S. Policy in the Greater Middle East
He was shot in the back, the ultimate act of treachery. On September 3rd, a U.S Army sergeant major was killed by two Afghan police officers -- the very people his unit, the new Security Force Assistance Brigade, was there to train. It was the second fatal “insider attack,” as such incidents are regularly called,... Read More
Congress Offers a Bipartisan Blank Check to Donald Trump
It may be too late. The president of the United States is now a veritable autocrat in the realm of foreign policy. He has been since at least 1945, when the last congressionally declared war finally ended. Wars in Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen (among other places) were all... Read More
From War Hawks to Chickenhawks
Sometimes I get sick of saying it, but just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse… Donald Trump’s continual cabinet reshuffling -- otherwise the stuff of reality-TV drama -- has become genuinely frightening. Like so many Russian matryoshki or nesting dolls, the president has been removing one war hawk after another, only to reveal... Read More
Something for Everyone (in the Military-Industrial Complex)
Think of it as the chicken-or-the-egg question for the ages: Do very real threats to the United States inadvertently benefit the military-industrial complex or does the national security state, by its very nature, conjure up inflated threats to feed that defense machine? Back in 2008, some of us placed our faith, naively enough, in the... Read More
Yet More of More of the Same?
I remember the day President Obama let me down. It was December 1, 2009, and as soon as the young president took the podium at West Point and -- calm and cool as ever -- announced a new troop surge in Afghanistan, I knew. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind. In that instant, George... Read More
An Alternative Strategy for 9/12/2001
You’ve heard the platitude that hindsight is 20/20. It’s true enough and, though I’ve been a regular skeptic about what policymakers used to call the Global War on Terror, it’s always easier to poke holes in the past than to say what you would have done. My conservative father was the first to ask me... Read More
War Without War Powers (the Not-So-New American Way)
On September 1, 1970, soon after President Nixon expanded the Vietnam War by invading neighboring Cambodia, Democratic Senator George McGovern, a decorated World War II veteran and future presidential candidate, took to the floor of the Senate and said, “Every Senator [here] is partly responsible for sending 50,000 young Americans to an early grave... This... Read More
Counterinsurgency, Policing, and the Militarization of America’s Cities
“This... thing, [the War on Drugs] this ain't police work... I mean, you call something a war and pretty soon everybody gonna be running around acting like warriors... running around on a damn crusade, storming corners, slapping on cuffs, racking up body counts... pretty soon, damn near everybody on every corner is your f**king enemy.... Read More
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When It Comes to the War in the Greater Middle East, Maybe We’re the Bad Guys
I used to command soldiers. Over the years, lots of them actually. In Iraq, Colorado, Afghanistan, and Kansas. And I’m still fixated on a few of them like this one private first class (PFC) in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in 2011. All of 18, he was short, scrawny, and popular. Nine months after graduating from high school,... Read More
The Folly of the Next Afghan “Surge”
We walked in a single file. Not because it was tactically sound. It wasn’t -- at least according to standard infantry doctrine. Patrolling southern Afghanistan in column formation limited maneuverability, made it difficult to mass fire, and exposed us to enfilading machine-gun bursts. Still, in 2011, in the Pashmul District of Kandahar Province, single file... Read More
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The Irrationality of Iran Vilification
“Everywhere you look, if there is trouble in the region,” Secretary of Defense James Mattis told reporters on a mid-April visit to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, “you find Iran.” I must admit that when I stumbled across that quote it brought up uncomfortable personal memories. East Baghdad, January 25, 2007: my patrol had missed a turn... Read More
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Everyone Loves the Troops and Their Generals, But History Indicates That Military Advice Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be
More, more, more. I was guilty of it myself. Commanding a small cavalry troop of about 85 soldiers in southwest Kandahar Province back in 2011, I certainly wanted and requested more: more troopers, more Special Forces advisers, more Afghan police, more air support, more supplies, more money, more... everything. Like so many others in Afghanistan... Read More
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The Short Answer: Fight it!
Make no mistake: after 15 years of losing wars, spreading terror movements, and multiplying failed states across the Greater Middle East, America will fight the next versions of our ongoing wars. Not that we ever really stopped. Sure, Washington traded in George W. Bush’s expansive, almost messianic attitude toward his Global War on Terror for... Read More
An Iraq War Anniversary to Forget
The other day, I found myself flipping through old photos from my time in Iraq. One in particular from October 2006 stood out. I see my 23-year-old self, along with my platoon. We’re still at Camp Buerhing in Kuwait, posing in front of our squadron logo splashed across a huge concrete barrier. It was a... Read More
The Misuse of American Military Power and The Middle East in Chaos
The United States has already lost -- its war for the Middle East, that is. Having taken my own crack at combat soldiering in both Iraq and Afghanistan, that couldn’t be clearer to me. Unfortunately, it’s evidently still not clear in Washington. Bush’s neo-imperial triumphalism failed. Obama’s quiet shift to drones, Special Forces, and clandestine... Read More
PastClassics
What Was John McCain's True Wartime Record in Vietnam?
Are elite university admissions based on meritocracy and diversity as claimed?