Danny Leffler is an editorial assistant at Task & Purpose. He holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Texas State University, where he studied Arabic language and Middle Eastern history. He is currently working toward a master’s degree in Global Policy Studies at the University of Texas’ Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. Leffler has lived and traveled throughout the Middle East, North Africa, Southeast Asia and Northwest Pacific.
‘Forever war’ is now officially part of U.S. foreign policy. A pair of letters recently sent by the Departments of Defense and State reveal that U.S. troops deployed to Syria for anti-ISIS operations are settling in for an open-ended presence in the war-torn country.
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
On Feb. 7, the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS unleashed a torrent of airstrikes and artillery fire in a far-flung area of eastern Syria. The barrage was successful, beating back hundreds of fighters attempting to overrun a position held by coalition forces and their local allies. The action might have gone largely unnoticed — the coalition has, after all, carried out nearly 15,000 airstrikes in Syria — but for one thing: These bombs didn’t fall on ISIS, they killed forces loyal to the Syrian government.
Several years ago, Nathan Fitch, a Peace Corps volunteer, was strolling along one of the beaches of Kosrae, a tiny island state encircled by the turquoise waters of the Pacific, when he met a man who introduced himself as a U.S. Army soldier. Fitch was shocked. The man wasn’t American. He was a local. And he had just returned from a tour of duty in the Middle East.
Long before Ernest Hemingway wrote, drank and fought his way into the ranks of America’s legendary wordsmiths, the beloved author cut his literary teeth on the beat of a Canadian newspaper. Fresh off a stint driving an ambulance for the Red Cross on the Italian front during World War I, the young Hemingway landed at The Toronto Star Weekly in early 1920, where he covered everything from mobsters to the complete uselessness of wedding gifts — including the rise of stolen valor and the lousy market for war medals that accompanied the end of the Great War.