Nick Turse

Articles by this author

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Thursday, January 05, 2017
The Year of the Commando
They could be found on the outskirts of Sirte, Libya , supporting local militia fighters, and in Mukalla, Yemen , backing troops from the United Arab Emirates. At Saakow, a remote outpost in southern Somalia , they assisted local commandos in killing several members of the terror group al-Shabab...
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Monday, December 19, 2016
Commandos Without Borders: America’s Elite Troops Partner with African Forces But Pursue US Aims
Al-Qaeda doesn’t care about borders. Neither does the Islamic State or Boko Haram. Brigadier General Donald Bolduc thinks the same way. “[T]errorists, criminals, and non-state actors aren’t bound by arbitrary borders,” the commander of Special Operations Command Africa (SOCAFRICA) told an...
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Monday, November 28, 2016
The Manhattan White House, the Secret Service, and the Painted Bikini Lady
High above, somewhere behind the black glass façade, President-elect Donald J. Trump was huddled with his inner circle, plotting just how they would “ drain the swamp ” and remake Washington, perhaps the world. On the street far below, inside a warren of metal fencing surrounded by hefty concrete...
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Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Trump's America and the Dismal Tide
“So is he going to win?” The question washed over me as I slumped in my hard plastic chair. I had passed the day walking through a town where most homes lay in ruins and human remains were strewn across a field, a day spent looking over my shoulder for soldiers and melting in the 110-degree heat...
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Thursday, October 20, 2016
A Perpetual Killing Field in the Worst Place on Earth
LEER, South Sudan -- There it is again. That sickening smell. I’m standing on the threshold of a ghost of a home. Its footprint is all that’s left. In the ruins sits a bulbous little silver teakettle -- metal, softly rounded, charred but otherwise perfect, save for two punctures. Something tore...
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Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Killing People, Breaking Things, and America's Winless Wars
Winning: it’s written into the DNA of the U.S.A. After all, what’s more American than football legend Vince Lombardi’s famous (if purloined ) maxim : “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing”? Americans expect to be number one. First Lady Michelle Obama recently called the United States the “...
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Tuesday, September 06, 2016
What the US Military Doesn't Know (and Neither Do You)
Sometimes the real news is in the details -- or even in the discrepancies. Take, for instance, missions by America’s most elite troops in Africa. It was September 2014. The sky was bright and clear and ice blue as the camouflage-clad men walked to the open door and tumbled out into nothing. One...
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Thursday, August 25, 2016
The Burden of More Than 150 Years of Warfare
America has been committed to supporting the veterans of its wars since long before it had “United States of” in front of it. “It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fire... horrible was the stink and scent thereof,” William Bradford wrote after soldiers of the Massachusetts Bay...
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Tuesday, August 02, 2016
The U.S. Military Pivots to Africa and That Continent Goes Down the Drain
It’s rare to hear one top military commander publicly badmouth another, call attention to his faults, or simply point out his shortcomings. Despite a seemingly endless supply of debacles from strategic setbacks to quagmire conflicts since 9/11, the top brass rarely criticize each other or, even in...
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Tuesday, July 05, 2016
Leaker, Speaker, Soldier, Spy
I ran into David Petraeus the other night. Or rather, I ran after him. It’s been more than a year since I first tried to connect with the retired four-star general and ex-CIA director -- and no luck yet. On a recent evening, as the sky was turning from a crisp ice blue into a host of Easter-egg...
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