Magazine March 7, 2011, Issue

What It Will Take

The Wrong War: Grit, Strategy, and the Way Out of Afghanistan, by Bing West (Random House, 336 pp., $28)

There is no more intrepid war correspondent today than Bing West. The author of two books on the Iraq War (and co-author of a third), West brings to the table a unique set of qualifications. On one hand, as an infantry veteran of Vietnam he possesses a rare empathy for those who bear the brunt of the fighting in our ongoing wars and an understanding of what they face on a daily basis. His affection and admiration for the “grunts” whose misery he has shared is clear.

On the other hand, as a former assistant secretary of defense during the Reagan

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Mackubin Thomas Owens is senior national-security fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI) in Philadelphia, editing its journal Orbis from 2008 to 2020. A Marine Corps infantry veteran of the Vietnam War, he was a professor of national-security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College from 1987 to 2015. He is the author of US Civil–Military Relations after 9/11: Renegotiating the Civil-Military Bargain.

In This Issue

Articles

Politics & Policy

Jailbreak Conservatives

To hear state representative Jerry Madden describe it, his effort to shrink Texas’s sprawling, 170,000-inmate prison system was pretty simple. “I figured we could either speed people coming out, or ...

Features

Politics & Policy

Pawlenty to Like

Kevin Krawczyk is disappointed. A manager at the Family Christian Store chain, he is hosting a book-signing for Tim Pawlenty in Lombard, Ill. “We were expecting more,” he says. The ...
Politics & Policy

A Frightful Democracy

What if the fundamental terms of our debate over Egypt’s revolution are wrong? Supposedly, the revolt that toppled Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak presented American policymakers with an agonizing choice: Do ...
Politics & Policy

With the Warriors

Patrol Base Fires, Sangin District, Helmand Province, Afghanistan The view from this platoon outpost in southern Afghanistan is unobstructed, both visually and strategically. On all sides stretch flat, bare, ...

Books, Arts & Manners

City Desk

Usable Past

I first started buying other people’s pasts when I wore second-hand clothes. Wide silk ties, tweed pants heavy as iron, cabana sets made “for the Stars of Hollywood” — I ...

Sections

Politics & Policy

Letters

Against the Seventeenth Amendment In an otherwise excellent article about the U.S. Senate (“The Sense of the Senate,” February 21), William Voegeli errs in saying that “the Lincoln–Douglas debates were the ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ People do have a lot of false ideas about Obama. Some of them think he’s a moderate. ‐ The guiding theme of President Obama’s new budget is “more.” Compared with ...
The Bent Pin

The Middling Class

When American Anglophiles need a fix our drug of choice is Masterpiece Theatre, but the days of savoring Edwardian class hierarchies may be over. Our all-time favorite, Upstairs, Downstairs, needed ...
Politics & Policy

Poetry

SAYING NOTHING ON WALNUT STREET For once thinking of the right Thing to say, not later on: At a Beckett play at Annenberg A Penn student snapped open A can as the second act started And ...

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