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

The attacks in New York City on September 11, 2001. Views
Monday, November 27, 2017
What If? An Alternative Strategy for Sept. 12, 2001
“Of all manifestations of power, restraint impresses men most.” -- Thucydides You’ve heard the platitude that hindsight is 20/20. It’s true enough and, though I’ve been a regular skeptic about what policymakers used to call the Global War on Terror, it’s always easier to poke holes in the past than...
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"So who exactly can antiwar activists or foreign policy skeptics of any sort rally to? If more than 70 years of recent history is any indication, Congress simply can’t be counted on when it comes time to stand, be heard, and vote on American wars." Views
Monday, November 06, 2017
Congress’s Romance with Cowardice
On September 1, 1970, soon after President Nixon expanded the Vietnam War by invading neighboring Cambodia, Democratic Senator George McGovern, a decorated World War II veteran and future presidential candidate, took to the floor of the Senate and said , “Every Senator [here] is partly responsible...
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American society is embracing its inner empire. Eventually, its long reach may come for us all. Views
Thursday, October 12, 2017
The Empire Comes Home
“ This... thing, [the War on Drugs] this ain't police work... I mean, you call something a war and pretty soon everybody gonna be running around acting like warriors... running around on a damn crusade, storming corners, slapping on cuffs, racking up body counts... pretty soon, damn near everybody...
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Never known for our collective self-awareness, we’re eternally aghast to discover that so many elsewhere find little but insincerity in the promise of U.S. foreign policy. Views
Thursday, September 07, 2017
Worth Dying For?
I used to command soldiers. Over the years, lots of them actually. In Iraq, Colorado, Afghanistan, and Kansas. And I’m still fixated on a few of them like this one private first class (PFC) in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in 2011. All of 18, he was short, scrawny, and popular. Nine months after...
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Thursday, June 29, 2017
Why the Next Afghan "Surge" Won't Work Either
We walked in a single file. Not because it was tactically sound. It wasn’t -- at least according to standard infantry doctrine. Patrolling southern Afghanistan in column formation limited maneuverability, made it difficult to mass fire, and exposed us to enfilading machine-gun bursts. Still, in...
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Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Beating the War Drums... Again
“Everywhere you look, if there is trouble in the region,” Secretary of Defense James Mattis told reporters on a mid-April visit to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, “you find Iran.” I must admit that when I stumbled across that quote it brought up uncomfortable personal memories. East Baghdad, January 25, 2007...
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Thursday, May 11, 2017
The Pro-War Movement and the Hazards of Military Worship
More, more, more. I was guilty of it myself. Commanding a small cavalry troop of about 85 soldiers in southwest Kandahar Province back in 2011, I certainly wanted and requested more: more troopers, more Special Forces advisers, more Afghan police, more air support, more supplies, more money, more...
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Tuesday, April 18, 2017
How to Lose the Next War in the Middle East (Short Answer: Fight it!)
Make no mistake: after 15 years of losing wars, spreading terror movements, and multiplying failed states across the Greater Middle East, America will fight the next versions of our ongoing wars. Not that we ever really stopped. Sure, Washington traded in George W. Bush’s expansive, almost...
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Friday, March 10, 2017
The Surge Delusion: An Iraq War Anniversary to Forget
The other day, I found myself flipping through old photos from my time in Iraq . One in particular from October 2006 stood out. I see my 23-year-old self, along with my platoon. We’re still at Camp Buerhing in Kuwait, posing in front of our squadron logo splashed across a huge concrete barrier. It...
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Tuesday, February 21, 2017
How We Got Here: The Misuse of American Military Power and The Middle East in Chaos
The United States has already lost -- its war for the Middle East, that is. Having taken my own crack at combat soldiering in both Iraq and Afghanistan, that couldn’t be clearer to me. Unfortunately, it’s evidently still not clear in Washington. Bush’s neo-imperial triumphalism failed. Obama’s...
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