The Best Defense

The Best Defense

Welcome to Spartanburg!: The dangers of this growing American military obsession

Best Defense is in summer re-runs. This item originally ran on April 22, 2014.

By Jim Gourley Best Defense culture correspondent

There are 25 Spartan-branded obstacle course races in the United States. Microsoft's Halo game series, whose protagonist is the last member of an elite group of futuristic super-soldiers known as Spartans, is a multi-billion dollar franchise. Recently named one of the "hot 100" companies by Internet Retailer and profiled in the Army Times, Ranger Up apparel company made approximately $4 million last year on sales of over 300,000 t-shirts. Sixteen of their 150 designs feature images of Spartan warriors. They're so popular they've been grouped into their own sub-category on the company's website, which leads off with the sales pitch: "Let's face it. When it comes to the definition of the warrior ethos, it is hard to top the Spartans."

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The Best Defense

The people who most closely identified with President Obama are the ones shaken most by his foreign policy failures

By Tom Donnelly

Best Defense guest columnist

It is remarkable, considering the transformational, ocean-healing promise once attributed to Barack Obama's rise, how America and the world seem to be coming apart at the seams. The Davos Men -- and our president is, more than anything else, a representative of the soi-disant "meritocratic" elite -- are flummoxed and getting panicky.

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The Best Defense

Despite Foley's death, I don't think that we should consider ransoming reporters

Here's part of an op-ed piece I have in Politico today:

One day in 2007, I was being shown my bedroom at the Washington Post's bureau and house in Baghdad, where I was spending some time covering the U.S. military side of the war. I noticed an old AK-47 rifle leaning against the wall near the door of my room. The Post's local security chief, a tough-minded Iraqi, explained that it was for me to use "if they come into the house." When I heard "them" come upstairs, he advised, I should fire most of the weapon's magazine through the door, which might hold them off for a few minutes. But, he added, "save one for yourself."

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The Best Defense

Molotov-Ribbentrop: The most important anniversary nobody's celebrating this year

By Adrian Bonenberger

Best Defense guest columnist

Tomorrow is August 23. Some 75 years ago, the world was shocked to learn on that day that Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia had signed a non-aggression pact, many details of which remained secret. 

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The Best Defense

Sherman (VIII): Individual replacement is a better personnel system than rotation

Best Defense is in summer re-runs. This item originally ran on April 22, 2014.

It turns out that William T. Sherman, one of the best American generals ever, was no fan of the practice of rotation that the Army follows today.

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