Nick Turse

Articles by this author

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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Thursday, April 27, 2017
The U.S. Military Moves Deeper into Africa
General Thomas Waldhauser sounded a little uneasy. “I would just say, they are on the ground. They are trying to influence the action,” commented the chief of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) at a Pentagon press briefing in March, when asked about Russian military personnel operating in North Africa...
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Thursday, January 05, 2017
The Year of the Commando
They could be found on the outskirts of Sirte, Libya , supporting local militia fighters, and in Mukalla, Yemen , backing troops from the United Arab Emirates. At Saakow, a remote outpost in southern Somalia , they assisted local commandos in killing several members of the terror group al-Shabab...
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Monday, December 19, 2016
Commandos Without Borders: America’s Elite Troops Partner with African Forces But Pursue US Aims
Al-Qaeda doesn’t care about borders. Neither does the Islamic State or Boko Haram. Brigadier General Donald Bolduc thinks the same way. “[T]errorists, criminals, and non-state actors aren’t bound by arbitrary borders,” the commander of Special Operations Command Africa (SOCAFRICA) told an...
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Monday, November 28, 2016
The Manhattan White House, the Secret Service, and the Painted Bikini Lady
High above, somewhere behind the black glass façade, President-elect Donald J. Trump was huddled with his inner circle, plotting just how they would “ drain the swamp ” and remake Washington, perhaps the world. On the street far below, inside a warren of metal fencing surrounded by hefty concrete...
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