Danny Sjursen

Danny Sjursen

Major Danny Sjursen is a U.S. Army strategist and former history instructor at West Point. He served tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has written a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge.  He lives with his wife and four sons near Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Articles by this author

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Tuesday, December 03, 2019
Humanity Is Riding Delusion to Extinction
Horses sporting gas masks. That, of all things, has been on my mind lately. Bear with me, now. Gaze at the ever-so-cockamamie photo. A horse, wearing a gas mask. Nothing so illustrates the rank absurdity and irrationality of the human condition. It was during World War I—which killed an unheard-of...
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Friday, November 22, 2019
Trump's War Crime Pardons Will Forever Be a Stain on the United States
Donald Trump loves him some bluster, worships machismo, and always has. Spectacle over substance has long been the name of his game. Decades before his successful presidential run, back when he was still a cartoon billionaire playboy, Trump took out a full-page newspaper advertisement that argued...
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They are, in other words, doomed to repeat my own unfulfilling, damaging journey—in some cases, on the very same ground in Iraq and Afghanistan where I fought. (Photo: Caitlin O’hara/AFP/Getty Images) Views
Thursday, November 07, 2019
Watching My Students Turn Into Soldiers of Empire
Patches, pins, medals, and badges are the visible signs of an exclusive military culture, a silent language by which soldiers and officers judge each other's experiences, accomplishments, and general worth. In July 2001, when I first walked through the gate of the U.S. Military Academy at West...
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Former U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis visits FOX News Channel’s "The Story with Martha MacCallum" on September 03, 2019 in New York City. (Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images) Views
Friday, October 25, 2019
Angered Over the Whiff of US Troop Withdrawals, Now the Generals Speak Up?
Now they’ve decided to speak out! For years, I’ve published searing critiques of America’s senior generals and admirals for their failure to speak out publicly against U.S. foreign policy and warmongering. Specifically, I’ve argued that it’s their duty to loudly dissent, and if necessary resign, in...
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The Obama administration further shattered the Greater Middle East and beyond through a string of military interventions. (Photo: Larry Downing/Reuters) Views
Monday, September 23, 2019
Just When I Thought Endless War Couldn't Get Any Worse…
Recently, on a beautiful Kansas Saturday, I fell asleep early, exhausted by the excitement and ultimate disappointment of the Army football team's double overtime loss to highly favored Michigan. Having turned against America's forever wars and the U.S. military as an institution while I was still...
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Monday, July 29, 2019
How America's Wars End (Messily)
Could Donald Trump end the Afghan war someday? I don’t know if such a possibility has been on your mind, but it’s certainly been on the mind of this retired U.S. Army major who fought in that land so long ago. And here’s the context in which I’ve been thinking about that very possibility. Back in...
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California Rep. Duncan Hunter. (Photo: Denis Poroy / AP) Views
Friday, June 07, 2019
Whitewashing War Crimes Has Become the American Way
Just after dawn on March 16, 1968, a company of U.S. Army infantrymen, led by Capt. Ernest Medina and spearheaded by Lt. William Calley, entered the small hamlet of My Lai in Quang Ngai province, South Vietnam. The villagers, mostly women and children, had no idea what was coming that day. If they...
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President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, King Salman of Saudi Arabia, and Melania Trump and President Trump during the opening of an anti-extremist center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in 2017. Views
Thursday, May 30, 2019
The Real 'Troika of Tyranny' is Made Up of U.S. Allies
American foreign policy can be so retro, not to mention absurd. Despite being bogged down in more military interventions than it can reasonably handle, the Trump team recently picked a new fight—in Latin America. That's right! Uncle Sam kicked off a sequel to the Cold War with some of our southern...
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Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), a 2020 presidential candidate, speaks during a news conference with fellow Democrats at the U.S. Capitol October 25, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) Views
Friday, May 17, 2019
Where Is the Democratic Alternative to Forever War?
There sure are lots to choose from. By now, more than 20 candidates have announced a run for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. And with national security adviser John “Regime Change” Bolton, along with the others in the four Bs cabal—Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, Mohammed bin Salman of...
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Those who needed the money the military offered and were lured by modest cash bonuses would serve, while the wealthiest, perhaps unsurprisingly, opted out. (Photo: U.S. military) Views
Thursday, April 04, 2019
Was Ending the Draft a Grave Mistake?
I spent last week at Angelo State University in remote central Texas as a panelist for the annual All-Volunteer Force (AVF) Forum . It was a strange forum in many ways, but nonetheless instructive. I was the youngest (and most progressive) member, as well as the lowest-ranking veteran among a group...
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