You know what they say: If at first you don't succeed, keep plodding on for two decades with no hope for victory.

That's the story about the Afghanistan war in a nutshell.

Despite the fact that recruits will soon enter boot camp to train to fight in a war that began before they were born, Army Gen. Mark Milley said it is too soon to pull out of Afghanistan.

"I think pulling out prematurely would be a strategic mistake," Milley said during his July 11 confirmation hearing to become the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.'

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Jeff Schogol

Hear me readers: Your friend and humble narrator needs your assistance.

Those of us who have long been inside the Five-Sided Fun-House have grown accustomed to some of the building's eccentricities. For example, not too far from this reporter's cubicle, a purple water fountain sits encased in glass along with a plaque that says no one knows how or why this particular Pentagon water fountain is made out of purple marble.

"As all legends go, no one is quite sure of the origin of this 'Purple Miracle,'" the plaque says. "However, one fact is certain. Of the 685 water fountains in the Pentagon, only one is purple. (Were the original Pentagon engineers one fountain short and given the option of taking the purple water fountain to fill the void?)

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Beloved readers: It's been a rough week inside the Five-Sided Fun House as it looked like the United States and Iran were on a collision course until President Donald Trump aborted planned air and missile strikes at the eleventh hour.

As your beleaguered friend and narrator writes this, the Pentagon has not scheduled any briefings about how close the U.S. military was to attacking Iran, or even if those strikes have been called off or are on hold.

It would be nice to know whether we are at war or not. One would think the headquarters of the U.S. military would be a good place to find out. But the Trump administration has one spokesman: the president himself. His tweets have replaced Pentagon's briefings as the primary source for military news.

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(AP Photo/South Bend Tribune, Greg Swiercz)

Your humble Pentagon correspondent has never been one of the "cool kids" in the world of Washington media, and never has that been more evident than in my failed attempts to interview Navy veteran Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and one of the roughly 50,000 Democrats running for president.

To the media, Buttigieg is so hot right now that he could melt the stealth coating off an F-35 – which is actually not as hard as it sounds. He is fluent in more forms of communication than C-3PO – in April, he offered his condolences to the French people for the Notre Dame fire in perfect French. He's had no problem getting media coverage from all sorts of media outlets, including National Public Radio, the New York Times, or even Fox News.

Your intrepid Pentagon correspondent was briefly on Mayor Pete's schedule, when his director of campaign operations Max Harris set up an interview for Feb. 26. But less than an hour later, Harris emailed back to say he might have to reschedule the interview due to scheduling conflicts.

Four months of silence followed. (To be fair, his campaign manager Lis Smith did confirm in March that Buttigieg had formed an exploratory committee to run for president.)

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(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Let's talk about UFOs.

To be clear, your friend and humble narrator does not wear a tinfoil hat, nor does this reporter believe the U.S. government is competent enough to keep proof of alien life secret from the American public. (Just remember, the same government that conspiracy theorists allege is keeping the truth about UFOs under wraps also runs the Defense Finance and Accounting Service.)

Yet a number of credible media outlets have reported that Navy pilots are increasingly reporting sightings of unidentified aircraft, and the service is taking them seriously for a change. Politico's Bryan Bender reported in April that the Navy was working on new guidelines for reporting such aircraft in the wake of increased sightings in military ranges and airspace.

Helene Cooper of the New York Times recently reported that Navy pilots saw a slew of unidentified aircraft in 2014 and 2015 while flying training missions off the East Coast. In fact, a pilot from Virginia Beach nearly collided with one of the unknown aircraft in late 2014.

The strange aircraft had no visible engine or infrared exhaust plumes, the New York Times reported. They could fly up to 30,000 feet and they were able to loiter in the area of U.S. warships for 12 hours at high speeds.

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Unless you've been living in a parallel dimension, you probably have noticed the Navy is constantly in the news for all the wrong reasons.

If all of the military services were baseball teams, the Navy would be the 1962 Mets – a team so bad that columnist Jimmy Breslin wrote a book about them called, "Can't Anybody Here Play This Game?"

The gaffe-prone sea service is still dealing with the uproar caused by media reports on Wednesday that the White House asked the Navy to keep the destroyer USS John S. McCain "out of sight" during President Donald Trump's recent visit to Japan.

Navy officials initially reacted to the news stories by issuing non-denial denials, but two days after the story broke Navy spokesman Rear Adm. Charlie Brown finally acknowledged on Friday: "A request was made to the U.S. Navy to minimize the visibility of USS John S. McCain, however, all ships remained in their normal configuration during the president's visit."

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