The Best Defense

The Best Defense

Doctrine Man interrogates Tom about books, Homer Simpson, and the beard

"1.     Tom Ricks seems to be everywhere these days. Is there a limit to your energy?

Funny, I don't feel that way, on either count. I feel very out of it, remote from Washington. I spend most of the year in rural Maine. I live 35 miles from the nearest stoplight. To get to the post office, I walk through woods and past a pond, and often see blue herons, kingfishers, ducks, and deer, and sometimes a bald eagle.

Continue Reading

The Best Defense

Fighting ISIS: We should admit that what we are doing is a containment strategy

By Col. Gary Anderson, USMC (Ret.)

Best Defense guest columnist                       

Our current strategy against ISIS is undoable because the president's articulated end state of destroying the Islamic State is simply impossible to achieve; you cannot destroy a movement.

Continue Reading

The Best Defense

Fighting ISIS (II): To work, this must be more than just a military operation

By Jim Sisco

Best Defense guest columnist

The current strategy to "defeat" ISIS will not work and will eventually evolve into a protracted campaign similar to the wars against terrorism, al-Qaeda, al-Shabab, and Boko Haram. As Chris Holshek explained on the Peace Channel, military means alone, delivered through air strikes and training Iraqi, Syrian, and Kurdish forces, cannot dislodge an ideology that is attempting to entrench itself into the social fabric of these societies.

Continue Reading

The Best Defense

Bungay's 'The Most Dangerous Enemy': A fine analysis of a fascinating campaign

A few months ago, one of youse told me to read Stephen Bungay's history of the Battle of Britain. Again, thank you. Even if I didn't care about the subject, I would have enjoyed the book. Bungay can write, he can analyze, and he appears to be meticulous and thoughtful in his research.

Continue Reading

The Best Defense

Do Iraq and Syria no longer exist? (6): They still exist, but they are dying slowly

Laurence Pope, retired American diplomat: 

"Both regimes still control their capitals, if not much territory...They are disintegrating, and we have nothing to replace them with, nor the means to prevent their further decay. My point is that rebuilding political legitimacy in the Bilad ash-Sham will be the work of a generation, and there are no international mechanisms for unmaking a modern nation state. Which means that in their moribund state, they may still be troublesome for many years."

Continue Reading