The Best Defense

The Best Defense

Who will the next Sec Def be? I'd rather know who has turned the job down so far

I think the really interesting question about the next secretary of defense isn't who gets it, but how many people turn down the job.

I mean, with this White House staff, what is the upside of trying to run the Pentagon? Unless you have total White House backing in the first place, the job is almost impossible. Without such a commitment, it is just a nightmare.

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The Best Defense

The 10 things you need to know about radical Islamist beheadings: A primer

By Robert J. Bunker

Best Defense guest columnist

The recent Islamic State (IS) beheading aftermath video of Peter (Abdul-Rahman) Kassig -- he was not beheaded on camera -- on Nov. 16 follows a spate of individual beheadings of Westerners posted by this radical Islamist group in addition to the postings of some of the mass beheadings of Syrian and Iraqi nationals belonging to the security services, competing groups, and tribes in opposition to the establishment of the IS-envisioned caliphate. These recent IS beheadings have gained extensive media attention from the major news services along with numerous forms of social media networks.         

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The Best Defense

Steve Coll's 'Unblinking Stare' highlights contradictions in U.S. drone campaign

By Bailey Cahall

Best Defense office of drone affairs

North Waziristan, a remote Pakistani tribal region and one of the hardest hit by U.S. drone strikes, has long been a place where access is restricted and Western journalists cannot go. Yet in his latest New Yorker piece, "The Unblinking Stare," which details the United States' drone war in Pakistan, Steve Coll brings it to us by highlighting the work of Noor Behram, a local journalist who drives around on a motorcycle documenting the aftermath of CIA drone strikes. (Full disclosure: Coll is the former president of New America, where I work as a policy analyst, and is still a member of the organization's International Security Advisory Council, though we have never met. Tom is also affiliated with New America. And he used to work for Steve at the Washington Post. They also share a prize-winning book publisher, Penguin Press. But we digress.)

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The Best Defense

Tales of war: Getting 12 approvals for a relatively minor mission in Afghanistan

 

Here's a striking excerpt from a new book by Michael G. Waltz titled Warrior Diplomat: A Green Beret's Battles from Washington to Afghanistan. In this passage, Waltz is briefing Michael Vickers, a visiting Pentagon official, and himself a former Special Forces soldier. 

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