Paul Pillar

The Military Imperative

Bob Woodward has positively contributed to our understanding of how national security policy gets made, notwithstanding the criticisms that can legitimately be directed at his version of first-draft-of-history, with its unsourced channeling of score-settling among contending officials.  The early teasers in the press from his newest book suggest he has made another such contribution, about the making of the Obama adminis

A Glimpse into Israeli Priorities

Israel, and American supporters of Israeli policies, have described the construction of Israeli settlements in occupied territory in various ways intended to portray Palestinian and (during the brief period it lasted) U.S. insistence on stopping the construction as an unreasonable imposition of preconditions for negotiations.

Legacy of a Surge

Since the declaration three weeks ago of a supposed end to U.S. combat operations in Iraq, most Americans have seemed awfully quick to wash that war right out of their hair.

Seeking Perfect Security in Yemen

U.S. officials are reportedly divided over a proposed large new military aid package for Yemen.  The aid would provide Yemen with $1.2 billion in military equipment and training over the next six years, a significant increase over what it gets now.  U.S. Central Command proposed the package, and former CENTCOM chief General David Petraeus has been its most enthusiastic supporter.  The proponents argue it is necessary to put out the fire represented by an al-Qaeda affiliate in Yemen.

Connections to a Bygone War

On Saturday, the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, I was in the small town of Alexandria in western Minnesota to attend a ceremony dedicating a Department of Veterans Affairs outpatient clinic in honor of Max J. Beilke, who grew up in the area. Max Beilke was drafted during the Korean War and stayed in the army as a career.

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