U.S Army/Elizabeth Fraser/Arlington National Cemetery
The four Army Special Forces personnel killed by ISIS militants in Niger last year as part of the Department of Defense’s deepening counterterrorism fight across Africa are unlikely to be the last U.S. service members to die in combat there. That is, unless the Pentagon invests heavily in its rapid-response medical and casualty evacuation efforts across the continent — a prospect that seems deeply unlikely.
I’m beginning to suspect that constantly writing about war isn’t good for my psychological health. Since starting at Task & Purpose two years ago, I don’t think I’ve had a single dream that didn’t feature at least one firefight or an incoming mortar round. I’ve heard other veterans say that they find writing about their war experiences therapeutic, and, honestly, I thought that was going to be the case. But it hasn’t been at all. My first job as a writer was at Maxim. I liked those dreams a lot better.
With tensions between the U.S. government and North Korea at a historic high, the Department of Defense spent 2017 deterring an armed confrontation with Kim Jong Un’s regime on the Korean peninsula. The Pentagon deployed three carrier strike groups to the Western Pacific for the first time in a decade; stood up THAAD missile defense batteries in South Korea; and deployed squadrons of F-22 and F-35 fighter jets to patrol the skies near Pyongyang. All the stakeholders know that, even with overwhelming U.S. might and decades of wargaming, an invasion involving the 28,500 U.S. troops currently stationed in South Korea could bring massive casualties for military personnel and civilians, including an estimated 20,000 South Korean deaths a day from North Korean artillery.