MSF vs. MSF in Afghanistan and Syria

Liz Sly of the Washington Post wrote a deeply reported piece about how extensive Russia’s bombing campaign against civilians has become, and the horrible effects it is having on civilians and aid workers in the conflict. Without excusing the inexcusable U.S. strike in Kunduz, this makes for a revealing point of comparison for how human rights groups […]

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What Does a Humanitarian Double Standard Mean for Civilians?

Over at FPRI, where I am a non-resident fellow, I wrote about a troubling double standard in how human rights and other humanitarian organizations discuss rights violations in conflict zones. Specifically, they seem to reserve the vast majority of their opprobrium for the United States, while excusing other parties to conflict, including other governments: There […]

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On Moving On

Every once in a while I get an alert that something I wrote many years ago has been cited in a book or a monograph on the failures of counterinsurgency. It reflects an era of my life that I have deeply mixed emotions about, and prompted some thinking. I remember, when I wrote research papers for […]

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Afghanistan Should Inspire Skepticism of Syria

On Sunday, all American and British combat operations in Helmand province officially ended. It was a long time coming, as Helmand has long been a thorn in the side of both country’s militaries: resistant to the magic COIN dust, extremely violent, and politically unstable. It has been the scene of some of the worst excesses […]

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Interviewed in the L.A. Times

I spoke with The Los Angeles Times’ Shashank Bengali this week about why drone strikes in Afghanistan rose sharply in 2012. “With fewer troops, and even with fewer manned aircraft flying overhead, it’s harder to get traditional support in combat missions,” said Joshua Foust, a Washington-based analyst who has advised the U.S. military in Afghanistan. […]

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For PBS: Petraeus the Paper Tiger

Lost in the Petraeus affair is a very simple question: do we want a man who judged his subordinates’ intellectual capacity by how well they can hold a six-minute mile on his morning run to lead our premier intelligence agency? It was Petraeus’ lack of intellectual integrity and incredible narcissism that should prompt us to […]

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