Back in 2008, Adm. Michael Mullen, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made what seemed like a self-evident observation, seven years into the Afghanistan war and five years into Iraq: “We can’t kill our way to victory.” Nine years and nearly 2,000 U.S. combat deaths later, the U.S. Naval Institute has published Can’t Kill Enough to Win? Think Again, an op-ed by two retired lieutenant colonels who charge that Mullen was dead wrong, in thrall to a culture of weakness that has permeated and hamstrung the U.S. military. The USNI is a serious outlet for professional military thought; the authors of this particular piece, David Bolgiano and John Taylor, are former paratroopers and JAGs. This article is serious but sorely misguided, another reminder that the military is slow to adapt and has never fully adjusted to counterinsurgency.
The U.S. Naval Institute recently released a video of the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) patrolling the Philippine sea with four Japanese guided-missile destroyers, a U.S. Ticonderoga-class cruiser, and an Arleigh-Burke-class guided-missile destroyer.
Laws were looser back in the olden days of the U.S. military. If you were a soldier during the Civil War and you screwed up big time, you were looking at a truly painful consequence. It wasn’t uncommon to be flogged or tied up by the thumbs for your misdeeds back then — and it took our country nearly a century to realize that corporal punishment was probably bad for troops and morale. Here are 10 crazy punishments that used to be legal in the U.S. armed forces.