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

After Trump’s announcement of troop withdrawals, just about every MSNBC host slammed the president and suddenly sounded more hawkish than the clowns over at Fox News. (Photo: The U.S. Army / Flickr) Views
Friday, January 11, 2019
The 'Liberal' Foreign Policy Establishment's Hypocrisy Knows No Bounds
If anyone else were president, the “liberals” would be celebrating. After all, pulling American soldiers out of a couple of failing, endless wars seems like a “win” for progressives. Heck, if Obama did it there might be a ticker-tape parade down Broadway. And there should be. The intervention in...
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Monday, December 24, 2018
The World According to the 'Adults in the Room'
Leave it to liberals to pin their hopes on the oddest things. In particular, they seemed to find post-Trump solace in the strange combination of the two-year-old Mueller investigation and the good judgment of certain Trump appointees, the proverbial “ adults in the room .” Remember that crew? It...
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Think of these developments as establishing a potential formula for perpetual conflict that just might lead the United States into a truly cataclysmic war it neither needs nor can meaningfully win.(Photo: Debra Sweet/flickr/cc) Views
Tuesday, November 20, 2018
Planet of War
American militarism has gone off the rails -- and this middling career officer should have seen it coming. Earlier in this century, the U.S. military not surprisingly focused on counterinsurgency as it faced various indecisive and seemingly unending wars across the Greater Middle East and parts of...
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 Is anything the U.S. doing, anyone it is empowering or arming, likely to make the Middle East or America any safer? If not, wouldn’t a different, less interventionist approach be the essence of sober strategy?(Photo: Alisdare Hickson/flickr/cc) Views
Monday, October 01, 2018
Backfires and More Blowback: A Generation of American Folly
He was shot in the back , the ultimate act of treachery. On September 3rd, a U.S Army sergeant major was killed by two Afghan police officers -- the very people his unit, the new Security Force Assistance Brigade, was there to train. It was the second fatal “insider attack,” as such incidents are...
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"A remarkable formula for forever war." (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Russell Bassett) Views
Thursday, May 03, 2018
Hail, (Donald) Caesar!: War and the Imperial Presidency
It may be too late. The president of the United States is now a veritable autocrat in the realm of foreign policy. He has been since at least 1945, when the last congressionally declared war finally ended. Wars in Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen...
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Bolton still insists that the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which shattered that country and the entire region, was justified, a fact that ought in itself to have disqualified him in the eyes of a president who, on the campaign trail, repeatedly called that war “dumb.(Photo: Fibonacci Blue/flickr/cc) Views
Friday, April 06, 2018
The Dolls of Militarism
Sometimes I get sick of saying it, but just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse… Donald Trump’s continual cabinet reshuffling -- otherwise the stuff of reality-TV drama -- has become genuinely frightening. Like so many Russian matryoshki or nesting dolls, the president has been removing one...
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Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Unmitigated Failure: Operation Iraqi Freedom, 15 Years Later
We were always caught in the middle. We still are. As a young man, a new lieutenant, and a true believer, I once led a US Army scout platoon just south of Baghdad. It was autumn 2006, and my platoon patrolled – mainly aimlessly – through the streets and surrounding fields of Salman Pak. To our...
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"Is the U.S. military actually the correct tool with which to combat persistent terrorism?" (Photo: Amy Statton/flickr/cc) Views
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Trump’s National Defense Strategy
Think of it as the chicken-or-the-egg question for the ages: Do very real threats to the United States inadvertently benefit the military-industrial complex or does the national security state, by its very nature, conjure up inflated threats to feed that defense machine? Back in 2008, some of us...
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"The hearts and minders and Clausewitzians atop the military establishment since 9/11 are never likely to stop citing their versions of the Vietnam War as the key to victory today; that is, they will never stop focusing on a war that was always unwinnable and never worth fighting." (Photo: Quora/Wikimedia) Views
Monday, January 29, 2018
The War That Never Ends (for the U.S. Military High Command)
Vietnam: it’s always there. Looming in the past, informing American futures. A 50-year-old war, once labeled the longest in our history, is still alive and well and still being refought by one group of Americans: the military high command. And almost half a century later, they’re still losing it...
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 "Don’t be surprised when extended U.S. military presence in eastern Syria starts to resemble occupation and a new anti-American insurgency flares up. Call it ISIS 2.0." (Photo: Kurdishstruggle/flickr/cc) Views
Thursday, January 25, 2018
America’s Syria Trap
Remember when a ground invasion of a sovereign country—perpetrated by a NATO ally—would constitute a big story? Before Donald Trump, “Russiagate” and the mainstream media’s apparent obligation to cover every presidential tweet, Turkish planes bombing —and tanks rumbling through—Syria might’ve been...
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