What began in 2001 as a focused effort to topple the Taliban and rout al Qaeda has become an endless, costly, and unrealistic effort with no clearly discernible endpoint... It has become our forgotten war, and the chief aim of those in charge of the operation seems to be keeping it off the front pages... And make no mistake, it is a war. Afghan civilian casualties hit a new high in 2016, and government security forces suffered more than 15,000 casualties and more than 5,000 killed.

For months, Assad's army has been on the advance across Syria. But its military success has only been possible due to the significant assistance...from Iran and Russia -- and from local Syrian militias. Now, these fighters are taking over control in many areas, committing murder, looting and harassing civilians. And nobody can stop them, not even Assad himself. Indeed, the militias are now more powerful than even the country's leader and have become the real holders of power in Syria.

Military canteens played the role of first adopters. Once Japanese soldiers became accustomed to a food, they would eventually introduce it to the wider public when they returned to civilian life. Such was the case with curry, which started appearing in Japan in the late 19th century. It was a borrowing not directly from India, but from the British Empire... It enters military menus and canteens and continues after [World War II] into school canteens. By the 1950s and 1960s it is a national dish

A focus on “balancing” legitimate kills and innocents killed sidesteps one of the most potent critiques of Obama’s approach: that many aspects of targeted killing policy are on dubious legal footing, and that Obama has set hugely dangerous precedents ... The administration asked Americans to believe not only that it was empowered to kill an American in secret, but that after the fact, courts should refrain from judging whether such killings violated the right to life of the target.

The kingdom may have stretched its current limits by extracting a record of around 10.7 million bpd this year... one reason why Riyadh pushed so hard for a global deal to cut production. Riyadh... felt the burn of cheap oil this year...as the reality of its costly war in Yemen and the task of shaking up its economy to create thousands of jobs began to sink in. The government is trying to boost non-oil revenue and modernize the economy through an ambitious reform plan called "Vision 2030."

Saudi Arabia is critical because of its unique position in the Afghan conflict: It is on both sides. A longtime ally of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia has backed Islamabad’s promotion of the Taliban. Over the years, wealthy Saudi sheikhs and rich philanthropists have also stoked the war by privately financing the insurgents ... the Saudis — through private or covert channels — have tacitly supported the Taliban in ways that make the kingdom an indispensable power broker.

military campaigns to retake Aleppo and Mosul reveal a strange new paradox of modern combat: the difficulty, if not impossibility, of reclaiming urban terrain from entrenched rebels without paying a high humanitarian price. It is “strange” because at first blush, the offensive firepower of today’s armies would seem to work in their favor. Yet, even in the face of heavy artillery and indiscriminate air strikes, under-armed rebels have consistently been able to hold on to large swaths of cities.

Most devastating, Americans simply underestimated the Japanese. Their success at Pearl Harbor was due partly to astounding good luck, but also to American complacency, anchored in two assumptions: that our Asian adversary lacked the military deftness and technological proficiency to pull off an attack so daring and so complicated, and that Japan knew and accepted that it would be futile to make war on a nation as powerful as the United States.

The Obama administration is giving the elite Joint Special Operations Command...expanded power to track, plan and potentially launch attacks on terrorist cells around the globe ... it will elevate JSOC from being a highly-valued strike tool used by regional military commands to leading a new multiagency intelligence and action force ... The missions could occur well beyond the battlefields...where Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) has carried out clandestine operations in the past.

A major component to the well-known Iraq surge of 2007 in response to rising sectarian violence was the mission to clear and secure the neighborhoods of Baghdad. US forces found concrete to be their most effective weapon to reduce violence and protect the local population. They used concrete to reduce the complexity of the environment. They walled in neighborhoods...into what were effectively new, smaller, cities or neighborhoods within the larger environment.