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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The ISIS Hysteria

The ISIS prob­lem in Iraq and Syria is get­ting worse. The most recent reports sug­gest there is a steady stream of recruits not just locally, but from Turkey, trav­el­ing into the coun­try to fight. The threat ISIS rep­re­sents (a grow­ing, finan­cially self-sustaining ter­ror state that is destroy­ing coun­tries, impris­on­ing thou­sands, and bru­tally mur­der­ing thou­sands more) […]

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The 1990s All Over Again

Over at Medium, I ana­lyzed Pres­i­dent Obama’s land­mark speech on Thurs­day and thought it sounded very famil­iar: If this sounds famil­iar, that’s because such poli­cies largely defined Amer­i­can for­eign pol­icy dur­ing the 1990s. The 1993 inter­ven­tion in Soma­lia is pos­si­bly the most mem­o­rable: human­i­tar­ian aid, gov­er­nance sup­port, and tar­geted strikes against mili­tia lead­ers as part of […]

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Do Drones Work?

For the Amer­i­can Prospect, I ask do drones actu­ally accom­plish the goal they’re meant to? Taken as a whole, drones seem to be quite good at what they’re sup­posed to do: dis­rupt­ing ter­ror­ist groups. But that isn’t enough to actu­ally end the threat posed by ter­ror groups. Are the civil­ian and psy­cho­log­i­cal costs drones incur worth it? […]

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PAPER: Oversight for Effectiveness: A Counterterrorism Perspective on the Targeted Killings “White Paper”

I wrote a paper for the National Secu­rity Net­work on what the OLC White Paper means for over­sight and coun­tert­er­ror­ism effec­tive­ness. *** In Feb­ru­ary 2013, a Depart­ment of Jus­tice White Paper was leaked, mak­ing pub­licly avail­able for the first time a sum­mary of two legal memos set­ting out the legal details of the administration’s justification […]

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