Tom Ricks has covered the U.S. military for several decades and is the author of six books, most recently Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom. He has won some prizes.



The Disturbing Meaning Of Kanye West’s Visit To The White House

October 15, 2018

President Donald Trump meets with musician Kanye West in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, in Washington.
Donald Trump is the first president to rise to that office by being a celebrity, and that carries enormous implications for his behavior and for how many people react to him. He is also the first president to not have served in another office or in the military before ascending to the White House. He … Read More

Why I Never Liked Those Videos Of Deployed Soldiers Surprising Their Kids At School

October 15, 2018

xaver boston soldeirs surprising thewir kids
It always seemed kind of unfair to me. Kids with deployed parents have enough uncertainty in their lives. I think kinder to say, “I’m coming home tomorrow,” and then meeting in private. Lots of emotions flow at such moments. Give the kid some room. I mention this because an Army Reserve MP featured in a … Read More

Movies And Shows You Need To Watch To Understand The US Military, By A British Army Officer

October 12, 2018

band of brothers
I’m not sure that books are necessarily the best medium for understanding the US military. I’m inclined to think that a combination of television and movies (the ultimate expression of American culture as they are) are probably more help in understanding the US military. At the very least they show us (foreigners) how the Americans … Read More

A Vietnam Vet’s Reflections: ‘When I Think’

October 12, 2018

My mind’s eye sees the truly great. The line of grunts, stooped and low. Running to the fire. Grasping life by the handguard. Always to the front. Exhaustion, pain, frustration, and fear. They walk through each soul’s history. Through corridors of light, dark, and haze. The memories firm and the pain less. The fog of … Read More

Friday Dog: War Dogs In The Phillipines During World War II

October 12, 2018

military working dogs war dogs world war II philippines
Is it just my eyes, or are those soldiers looking particularly skinny, especially the one on the left? Surprisingly little information on this photo, only that it is a pre-patrol briefing on Luzon.

We’ve All Deceived Ourselves About Why We’re Fighting In Afghanistan

October 11, 2018

It took me a long time to work out what was going on in Afghanistan. What I saw in front of me—everyone’s behaviour—did not match any of the narratives describing the war. This mess was thrown into stark relief when I observed British company commanders in charge of the predominant fighting unit, a company of … Read More

The US Needs A Better Strategy For Competing With China — Or Else Military Conflict Is Inevitable

October 11, 2018

gassed john singer sargent american art of war
A defining question of the 21st century is whether a third world war between China and the United States is inevitable, or whether these would-be adversaries can find a way to coexist. At this time, the two countries seem to be on a path that leads to kinetic conflict, even as new technologies are changing … Read More

The AI Column: Time For A Moral Reckoning Down In Silicon Valley

October 10, 2018

moral reckoning silicon valley china
The recent revelation that China’s security services had successfully compromised the servers of thousands of leading tech’ firms cloud computing platforms has sent shockwaves through the tech world. The hardware hack may have compromised some of the most sensitive computer systems used by the military and intelligence services. While the scope and sophistication of the … Read More