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

Prime Minister Netanyahu has recently, and probably accurately from his perspective, called Donald Trump “the best friend that Israel has ever had in the White House.”(Photo: Wikimedia Commons) Views
Thursday, February 13, 2020
America and Israel Against the World
My Spotify workout playlist is a time warp. Growing up in a blue-collar neighborhood of New York City in the 1990s and early 2000s, listening to popular East Coast hip-hop was practically required. So on a recent morning in which I had planned to write a column about Israel/Palestine, I jammed out...
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The current commander-in-chief could never have expanded America’s wars in the Greater Middle East (contra his campaign promises) or unilaterally drone-assassinated a foreign leader, without the militaristic foundations laid down for him by George W. Bush and Barack Obama. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons) Views
Friday, January 24, 2020
America's Global Chaos-Creating Death Machine
In March 1906, on the heels of the U.S. Army’s massacre of some 1,000 men, women, and children in the crater of a volcano in the American-occupied Philippines, humorist Mark Twain took his criticism public. A long-time anti-imperialist, he flippantly suggested that Old Glory should be redesigned “...
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Iranian pride, nationalism and basic sense of sovereignty, deeply wounded by Soleimani’s assassination, may demand an actual hot war with the U.S. (Photo: Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) Views
Monday, January 06, 2020
Trump’s Illegal, Impeachable Act of War
Violence begets violence; revenge engenders cycles of vengeance. This is exactly why war, or acts of war, must not be taken lightly. It also explains why America’s recent adventurism in the Middle East has only increased Islamic terrorism, killed hundreds of thousands worldwide, and ultimately left...
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A U.S. Army poster shows a romanticized view of the four-day battle of Bagsak Mountain on Jolo Island in the Philippines, June 11-15, 1913. (Photo: Wikipedia) Views
Tuesday, December 17, 2019
Remembering America’s First (and Longest) Forgotten War on Tribal Islamists
For a decade and a half, the U.S. Army waged war on fierce tribal Muslims in a remote land. Sound familiar? As it happens, that war unfolded half a world away from the Greater Middle East and more than a century ago in the southernmost islands of the Philippines. Back then, American soldiers fought...
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 I can’t help but surmise that the original sin of America’s Afghan war, particularly after the initial 2001 invasion, was the reflexive assumption that within this landlocked Central Asian country, an imposed, Western-style representative democracy could take root. (Photo: Scott Nelson/Getty Images) Views
Tuesday, December 10, 2019
I Knew the War in Afghanistan Was a Lie
Nightmares still haunt me. Sometimes it’s the standard stuff associated with classic post-traumatic stress disorder: flashbacks of horrible attacks and images of my mutilated troopers. More often, though, peculiar as it may sound, I dream that my sociopathic, career-obsessed colonel calls to give...
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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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