The Best Defense

The Best Defense

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

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

I think this is the fundamental problem in U.S. civil-military relations these days

The other day I was speaking on an Army base to a bunch of bright officers. Talking and listening, I came away with this thought: The fundamental problem in 21st century American civil-military relations is that we need presidents willing to listen and learn from dissenting generals -- and generals who know how to dissent in strategic discussions, and are willing to do so.

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The Best Defense

Hunter: Wash Post obit of Gen. Mundy was a shamefully disguised editorial

By Duncan Hunter Best Defense guest columnist

Using an obituary to editorialize against a man is the worst of bad taste. 

Matt Schudel's obituary for the Washington Post on former Marine Corps Commandant General Carl Mundy appeared to be more of an editorial espousing liberal views on gays in the military and women in combat. The column served neither the truth nor the legacy of a great Marine general. 

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