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Earl H. Tilford

    Wed, January 17, 2018

    North Korea: Avoid a Needless War

    “To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.” "Sun Tzu

    The recent bogus Hawaiian nuclear alert puts the smoldering crisis with North Korea ...

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    Wed, January 10, 2018

    The Big Button

    “Heck, I reckon you wouldn’t even be human beings if you didn’t have some pretty strong personal feelings about nuclear combat.”
    "King Kong, Major, USAF (from Dr. Strangelove)

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    Fri, June 30, 2017

    Talking with the Russians

    There is nothing new or untoward in American and Russian leaders talking. President Franklin Roosevelt met Joseph Stalin at Yalta and referred to him as “Uncle Joe.” President Dwight Eisenhower ...

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    Mon, June 05, 2017

    A Vision for Mid-East Peace

    President Donald Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia and then to Israel as part of his first foreign trip is as historically significant as President Richard Nixon's February 1972 visit to China and ...

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    Thu, June 01, 2017

    A Vision for Mid-East Peace

    President Donald Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia and then to Israel as part of his first foreign trip is as historically significant as President Richard Nixon's February 1972 visit to China and ...

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    Mon, May 01, 2017

    North Korea Requires Resolve and Caution

    In the cold reality of international relations, the boldness exhibited by President Donald Trump in his first 100 days is far preferable to the timidity of the past eight years of the former ...

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    Mon, April 10, 2017

    Trump Turns to the 'A' Team

    The ousting of Steve Bannon from the National Security Council (NSC) staff is part of a reorganization initiated by President Donald Trump's National Security Advisor, Army Lt. General H.R. McMaster. ...

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    Wed, February 22, 2017

    McMaster: Best Choice for National Security Advisor

    President Donald Trump has selected the best possible person to serve as his national security advisor. Army Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster epitomizes the warrior-scholar in the tradition of Carl ...

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    Wed, December 14, 2016

    In Defense of Military and Business Leaders

    Some seem to believe the election of Donald Trump reflects a general disintegration of American society evidenced by Time magazine's selection of Trump as "Person of the Year" presiding ...

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    Fri, November 18, 2016

    Grandchildren of the Sixties

    College students in the streets protesting a Trump presidency are not so very different from the demonstrators who took over Columbia University in April 1968. Nevertheless, what took place in less ...

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    Fri, October 28, 2016

    White House at What Cost?

    "The way to deter aggression … is to be willing and able to respond vigorously at places and with means of our own choosing." On October 12, 1954, Secretary of State John Foster ...

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    Mon, October 03, 2016

    Presidents Make Policy, Generals Make Plans

    "If, as Clausewitz so justly said, war is a continuation of national policy, so are war plans."
    –Barbara W. Tuchman, The Guns of August 1962

    Over the next two ...

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    Thu, June 02, 2016

    Vietnam in Rear View Mirror

    There were 2,709,918 Americans who served in the Vietnam War. Of that number approximately 850,000 are alive. The youngest is 54. Because there were senior officers and non-commissioned officers in ...

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    Mon, May 09, 2016

    Registering Women for the Draft, a Charade

    The Armed Services Committee (ASC) recently approved a measure requiring American women aged 18 to 26 to register for the draft and sent it to the full House for consideration. If this measure ...

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    Tue, April 12, 2016

    Chicago 1968 Speaks to 2016

    "The mob is the mother of tyrants." —Diogenes of Sinope

    In late August 1968, two months after an assassin killed presidential candidate Senator ...

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    Mon, March 21, 2016

    The Perils of Cooking Intelligence

    Recent revelations by the Pentagon's inspector general indicates that U.S. Central Command, which bears responsibility for military operations in the Middle East, altered intelligence analyses to ...

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    Thu, March 10, 2016

    Who Lost Iraq?

    My parents originally named me "Victory Japan" because my slightly premature birth resulted from mom and dad dancing in the streets of Saint Petersburg, Florida on the night of August 16, ...

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    Mon, February 22, 2016

    America Faces Historic Crossroads

    The Vietnam War provides lessons in how to lose. The United States never planned to defeat its opponents, the indigenous southern Viet Cong guerrillas and their northern supporters the Peoples' Army ...

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    Tue, December 01, 2015

    Abdication: Obama Cedes Leadership to Russia and France

    For months now, ISIS has sold oil on the international market through Turkey, and Russian President Vladimir Putin is furious with petroleum prices plunging along with Russia's economy. Consider that ...

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    Mon, November 09, 2015

    Not Losing is a Loser's Game

    The Obama administration's weak and failing Middle East policy–the struggle against ISIS and the ultimate fate of the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria–revolves around a non-strategy of ...

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    Wed, August 05, 2015

    Wisdom That Can Make a Difference

    "One death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic." —Joseph Stalin
    Late in the afternoon of December 25, 1991, Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev resigned, declared his office ...

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    Mon, June 22, 2015

    After Waterloo

    "Next to a battle lost, the greatest misery is a battle gained."
    –Sir Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, June 19, 1815

    The Battle of ...

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    Wed, May 13, 2015

    Iran: Gulf Region Bully

    Iran acts like a Persian Gulf hegemon because it can. Tehran's military, while capable of making a less-than-concerted attack costly, would be overmatched by the armed forces of the United States and ...

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    Mon, April 27, 2015

    The S-300 Slap Down

    The Russian-built S-300 anti-aircraft/anti-ballistic missile (AA/ABM, carrying the NATO designation SA-10, codenamed "Grumble"), while not the world's most advanced surface-to-air defensive ...

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    Mon, March 02, 2015

    American Crusades and Existential Threats

    "The logical end of a war of creeds is the final destruction of one."
    --T.E. Lawrence

    Speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast on February 5, ...

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    Fri, February 06, 2015

    The Future of War

    "We have tried since the birth of our nation to promote our love of peace by a display of weakness. This course has failed us utterly."
    -Gen. George C. Marshall, 1945

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    Wed, September 24, 2014

    Air Power's Siren Song

    In the early morning of September 23, 2014, American air forces–joined by the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Jordan–began striking targets in Syria as part of ongoing ...

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    Fri, September 19, 2014

    War A Matter of Semantics

    "Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind."
    –President John F. Kennedy

    For most people war is an unthinkable horror. ...

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    Fri, September 12, 2014

    Do We Have a Strategy for ISIS?

    President Obama in his September 10 speech did not deliver a viable war-fighting strategy against ISIS. In fact, the president doesn't seem to understand that ISIS is at war with the U.S.

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    Thu, September 04, 2014

    Strategy 101 for President Obama

    In August 1961, while the Soviets erected the Berlin Wall to plunge the Cold War into the deep freeze, President John F. Kennedy ordered the Joint Chiefs of Staff to devise a nuclear-first strike ...

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    Thu, August 21, 2014

    Face Time With Vladimir

    President Barack Obama has spent a lot of TV face time opining on race relations in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2009, on the George Zimmerman trial of 2012-13, on the riots in a St. Louis suburb last ...

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    Thu, August 14, 2014

    The Strategic Imperative of ISIS

    During the 2012 presidential campaign President Obama repeatedly boasted, "Osama bin Laden is dead and Al-Qaeda is on the run." He is right on both counts: bin Laden is gone and Al-Qaeda ...

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    Mon, March 17, 2014

    U.S. Should Take Lead in Finding Lost Airplane

    The disappearance of a Boeing 777 airliner with 239 people on board has ignited speculation ranging from catastrophic malfunction to hijacking. That the United States, a global power with the ...

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    Wed, November 20, 2013

    Kennedy Security Legacy

    Between January 1961 and Nov. 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy fundamentally changed U.S. national security policy. These changes resulted in structures and doctrines that enabled American forces ...

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    Tue, September 03, 2013

    Camelot and the Syrian Crisis

    November 22 marks the 50th anniversary of the end of Camelot. During its tenure, President John F. Kennedy's administration set national security precedents that have influenced the way Washington ...

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    Tue, July 02, 2013

    Reflections on Gettysburg

    It's July in Alabama and 100 degrees in the shade. Despite the heat, I crack the bedroom window at night to soak up the sounds and smells of the South. The crickets in the woods, a hoot owl on ...

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    Wed, November 21, 2012

    The Gaza Trap

    Even though Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has announced an Israel-Gaza ceasefire, it's apparent that Gaza still holds many traps for Israel.

    For example, there's the media trap. ...

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    Wed, October 17, 2012

    Intelligence and National Security Priorities

    A generation ago, in the 1970s, the U.S. intelligence community possessed the technology to discern whether or not a U.S. consulate was under attack by terrorists or by rioters run amok. Moreover, no ...

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    Sun, September 02, 2012

    A More Immediate Threat

    On July 23, 2012, Syria–one of seven nations not to sign the Chemical Weapons
    Convention–admitted owning a stockpile of chemical and biological weapons. A
    foreign ministry ...

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    Sun, July 15, 2012

    On a Wing and a . . .

    Not long ago, a group of 66 members of Congress sent a letter to Secretary of
    Defense Leon Panetta, urging him to issue guidance to counter an "alarming
    pattern of attacks on ...

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    Fri, May 04, 2012


    President Barack Obama's five-point plan for turning the war back to the Afghans is designed to cover the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces and "forge a just and lasting peace." What does ...

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    Tue, March 27, 2012

    Rembering Audacious Military Operations

    On March 19, speaking at a Morris Township, New Jersey Democratic Party fundraiser, Vice President Joe Biden provided what may be the mother of all election year bumper stickers when he asserted, ...

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    Mon, March 05, 2012

    Israel's Options

    Late in the summer of 1961, President John F. Kennedy asked the Air Force to plan a nuclear first strike on the Soviet Union. The plan involved 55 B-52 bombers hitting 80 targets to degrade Soviet ...

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    Thu, March 01, 2012

    Sorry Mess: Presidential Apologies and Pardons

    Much ink has flowed over the recent apologies from President Barack Obama, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and General John Allen, commander of NATO forces in ...

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    Fri, February 17, 2012

    Strategic Abdication

    From Damascus to Tehran, a test for world leadership is underway. Daily, the Syrian military–well-armed, highly trained thugs whose current mission is to keep dictator Bashar Assad in ...

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    Thu, January 26, 2012

    Preparing the Military for Future Threats

    With breaking news of a U.S. Navy SEAL team successfully [4]rescuing two
    hostages from pirates in Somalia, military pundits are quick to note how the
    deployment of small, elite units will ...

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    Wed, January 18, 2012

    Military Modernization: Back to the Future

    President Barack Obama's vision for modernizing the U.S. military is little more than an exercise in "back to the future."

    Consider: Back in 2001, the armed forces were nearly a ...

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    Wed, August 10, 2011

    Need to Restructure DOD (Part II)

    The U.S. Department of Defense must restructure to accommodate deep budget cuts and, more importantly, be ready for the challenges of 21st-century warfare. Those challenges will include ...

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    Thu, August 04, 2011

    The Need to Restructure DOD

    In 1914, on the eve of the Great War, the Duke of Cambridge wrote, "There is a time for all things. There is even a time for change; and that is when it can no longer be avoided."

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    Wed, May 04, 2011

    A Report from Tuscaloosa's Ground Zero

    The Warrior River borders the University of Alabama campus, separating old
    Tuscaloosa from up-scale housing developments to the north. Tuscaloosans know a
    "north of the river" ...

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    Wed, March 24, 2010

    Strategic Misstep or Prelude to Meltdown?

    On Thursday, March 11, during Vice President Joe Biden's trip to Israel to herald the re-initiation of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Israel's Interior Ministry announced the construction of 1,600 ...

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    Mon, January 11, 2010

    The Uncertain Trumpet and Systemic Failure

    _In the mid-1960s, the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Notre Dame's Rocky Bleier. Unfortunately, Steeler management failed to protect the prized rookie with the paperwork necessary to take advantage of a ...

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    Thu, December 31, 2009

    Latest 'Human Made Disaster" Attack Succeeds

    History holds that during World War II the Army executed only one American soldier, Private Eddie Slovik. There was another, a footnote to history.

    In 1944, B-24 Liberators taking off ...

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    Mon, August 17, 2009

    Christianity and Depravity in the Afterglow of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

    Each year, in early August, debate reemerges over the use of atomic weapons to end World War II. Some historians justify their use given the prospects for a long, bloody invasion of Japan. ...

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    Fri, May 29, 2009

    Limited Options for Dealing with North Korea

    Kim Jong Il, North Korea's psychotic "Dear Leader," specializes in "guerrilla diplomacy." He backs it up with a half-dozen or so nuclear weapons squirreled away deep inside ...

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    Wed, January 07, 2009

    Operation Cast Lead:

    A Necessary, Just and Legal Response

    As soon as Israeli air strikes began striking Hamas-controlled Gaza, many American church leaders started calling for an immediate ceasefire based solely on human suffering rather than the political ...

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    Tue, December 30, 2008

    Israeli Attacks on Hamas Justified

    The Hamas Charter proscribes peace with Israel. Ceasefires are possible only when advantageous to Hamas and always are temporary. Accordingly, as soon as the latest ceasefire expired, Hamas ...

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    Thu, October 30, 2008

    Testing Presidential Mettle: JFK and Obama

    Democratic vice-presidential nominee Senator Joe Biden recently predicted that within the first six months of an Obama administration the freshman president would be tested by a contrived ...

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    Wed, October 22, 2008

    General Powell's Endorsement

    Many conservatives wonder why retired Army Gen. Colin Powell endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. The quick answer–and the most inadequate one–is that Powell is ...

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    Fri, October 10, 2008

    Why November 2008 Looks Like March 1936

    Near the conclusion of Tuesday night's second presidential "town-hall" style debate, a questioner from the audience asked each candidate what he would do if Iran attacked Israel. Both ...

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    Mon, October 06, 2008

    Critical Mass:

    Economic Leadership or Dictatorship

    Economic and political destabilization ranked high on al-Qaeda's list of strategic objectives in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Washington, DC. In addition to killing nearly 3,000 ...

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