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.

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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.

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The Best Defense

Unfit for battle: America's military is growing tired, injured and overweight

By Jim Gourley Best Defense military health columnist

In 2010 the national security organization Mission: Readiness grabbed headlines with a report stating that obesity and other weight-related health conditions were the reason why nearly one-third of American youth were ineligible for military service. Titled "Too Fat to Fight," the report concluded that if American schools did not reform diet and exercise programs, the diminished pool of recruits might constitute a national security crisis. Though Mission: Readiness released a follow-up report in 2012, changes in American schools have been slow and sporadic, and the growth of obesity in Americans continues apace. During that time, the American military has had to recruit from the available population while facing other extraordinary challenges: continued operations in Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa even as new conflicts develop in Europe and the Middle East, fiscal austerity and emerging threats in west Africa and Asia.

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The Best Defense

Guest war dog of the week: ‘Mike’ of Parris Island, a World War II terrier

Rebecca has run away to join the media circus over her war dog book, which is surging on Amazon. Americans may be tired of war, but they never get tired of dogs.

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The Best Defense

Do Iraq and Syria no longer really exist? And if so, should that be the basis of revising U.S. policy? A roundup (1): Yes

Yes, on Syria; not clear on Iraq

Joel Rayburn, author of Iraq after America: Strongmen, Sectarians, Resistance:

"Syria no longer exists, certainly not in the way that we have known it, and I think the Syrian state can never be reconstituted within its old borders. In other words, some new political arrangement is going to emerge in Syria, and in my opinion it is highly unlikely to be a unitary state.

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