Nick Turse

Articles by this author

 "In the dystopian scenario used by the Pentagon to train its future leaders, today’s forever wars have proven ineffective and future threats are to be met with new, similarly ineffective, forever wars." (Photo: Wikimedia Commons / Ricky Best) Views
Tuesday, May 29, 2018
Tomorrow's Terror Today: Pentagon Documents Detail Dystopian Dangers
For almost 20 years, U.S. drone warfare was largely one-sided. Unlike Afghans and Yemenis, Iraqis and Somalis, Americans never had to worry about lethal robots hovering overhead and raining down missiles. Until, that is, one appeared in the skies above Florida. But that’s a story for later. For now...
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"While AFRICOM and, to a lesser extent, CENTCOM have made changes in how they track counternarcotics aid, both seemingly remain hooked on pouring money into efforts that have produced few successes." (Photo: Getty) Views
Thursday, February 08, 2018
Drug Wars, Missing Money, and a Phantom $500 Million
2017 was a year of investigations for U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). There was the investigation of the two-star commander of U.S. Army Africa who allegedly sent racy texts to an enlisted man’s wife. There was the investigation into the alleged killing of a Special Forces soldier by Navy SEALs in...
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“There is no persuasive security rationale for having U.S. Special Operations forces involved in an astonishing 149 countries, given that the results of these missions are just as likely to provoke greater conflict as they are to reduce it, in large part because a U.S. military presence is too often used as a recruiting tool by local terrorist organizations." (Photo: USASOC News Service/flickr/cc) Views
Tuesday, January 09, 2018
The Coming Year in U.S. Special Operations Failures
At around 11 o’clock that night, four Lockheed MC-130 Combat Talons, turboprop Special Operations aircraft, were flying through a moonless sky from Pakistani into Afghan airspace. On board were 199 Army Rangers with orders to seize an airstrip. One hundred miles to the northeast, Chinook and Black...
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"However, with special ops deployments rising above Bush and Obama administration levels to record-setting heights and the Trump administration embracing the use of commandos in quasi-wars in places like Somalia and Yemen, there appears to be little interest in the White House or on Capitol Hill in reining in the geographic scope and sweep of America’s most secretive troops." Views
Thursday, December 14, 2017
A Wider World of War: Under Donald Trump, U.S. Special Forces Deployed to 149 Countries in 2017
“We don’t know exactly where we’re at in the world, militarily, and what we’re doing,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, in October. That was in the wake of the combat deaths of four members of the Special Operations forces in the West African nation of...
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The United States isn’t alone in fielding a large contingent of special operations forces.  The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency estimates that Russia’s Spetsnaz (“special purpose”) troops number around 30,000, a sizeable force, although less than half the size of America’s contingent of commandos. Views
Monday, October 30, 2017
From America With Love
“They are very concerned about their adversary next door,” said General Raymond Thomas, the head of U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), at a national security conference in Aspen, Colorado, in July. “They make no bones about it.” The “they” in question were various Eastern European and Baltic...
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Joyce Tambu answers to a reporter's questions at a refugee camp in Gumbo Views
Friday, October 06, 2017
The Journalist and the Fixer
We were already roaring down the road when the young man called to me over his shoulder. There was a woman seated between us on the motorbike and with the distance, his accent, the rushing air, and the engine noise, it took a moment for me to decipher what he had just said: We might have enough gas...
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U.S. Marine stands with Vietnamese children as they watch their house burn after a patrol set it ablaze after finding AK-47 ammunition, Jan. 13, 1971, 25 miles south of Da Nang. (Photo: HJ/AP) Views
Friday, September 29, 2017
The Ken Burns Vietnam War Documentary Glosses Over Devastating Civilian Toll
“I think that when Americans talk about the Vietnam War … we tend to talk only about ourselves. But if we really want to understand it … or try to answer the fundamental question, ‘What happened?’ You’ve got to triangulate,” says filmmaker Ken Burns of his celebrated PBS documentary series “The...
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“The instability and large foreign presence in Afghanistan over the past 15 years make it difficult for young people to develop and appreciate Afghanistan’s cultural assets.” Views
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Afghanistan: A Military Mission That Never Fails to Fail
Last year, an internal report commissioned by the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the agency that oversees Voice of America and other U.S. government-supported foreign news outlets, examined the “perception of U.S. international media in Afghanistan.” This study, obtained by TomDispatch via the...
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"From Afghanistan to Iraq, Somalia to the Philippines, Libya to Yemen, military investments -- in lives and tax dollars -- have been costly and enduring victories essentially nonexistent." Views
Thursday, August 10, 2017
Counting Coups: Can the Pentagon Win When Putsch Comes to Shove?
Winning! It’s the White House watchword when it comes to the U.S. armed forces. “We will give our military the tools you need to prevent war and, if required, to fight war and only do one thing -- you know what that is? Win! Win!” President Donald Trump exclaimed earlier this year while standing...
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Monday, June 26, 2017
A Wide World of Winless War
The tabs on their shoulders read “Special Forces,” “Ranger,” “Airborne.” And soon their guidon -- the “colors” of Company B, 3rd Battalion of the U.S. Army’s 7th Special Forces Group -- would be adorned with the “Bandera de Guerra,” a Colombian combat decoration. “Today we commemorate sixteen years...
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