Here's a letter I sent last week to the fine people who run Task & Purpose. We'll be wrapping things up over the next week or so.—Tom
Paul, Jared and Zach—
Having had time to reflect over the last couple of weeks, I have decided it is time for me to stop writing the Long March column.
The primary reason is that has been taking too much time away from my main job, which is writing books. Moreover, my current book project is a work of history that takes place in the 18th century, so there's little of the overlap with column topics that I had when writing previous books. I spend most of my book-writing time mentally far away, and find myself thinking less about current events than I once did. The result is that the column is becoming more of an effort for me to produce.
I was already thinking about ending it when the news arrived that James Mattis was leaving the Pentagon. That nailed it. His departure marks the end of an era for me. That is, for the last 25 years, I have known every defense secretary and the people around them, and could provide value from that personal knowledge. But it is unlikely I will be familiar with the new crowd coming in.
So the time feels right to end it. As for the question of when to close it down, I still have about a dozen guest columns to run. To fulfill my obligation to the people who wrote them, I'd like to get them published, so I'd like to continue the column it until at least mid-January. After that, it is up to you. I don't want to leave you hanging, so please let me know if you want me to take it longer.
I have no major complaints about Task & Purpose, and I wish you and the site well. I will continue to be a fan, and aim to remain in touch.
Dan Caldwell, the executive director of Concerned Veterans for America, and Jon Soltz, the chairman for VoteVets on MSNBC's Morning Joe on March 18 discussing their campaign to see Congress end America's Forever Wars. (MSNBC/Youtube)
Two political veterans groups, one conservative, the other liberal, have spent millions fighting each other on various fronts, from Department of Veterans Affairs reform — what one group calls "choice" and the other calls "privatization" — to getting their pick of candidates into office.
But they've found common ground on at least one issue: It's time for Congress to have an open debate about ending the Forever Wars.
Up to 1,000 U.S. troops could remain in Syria — more than twice as many as originally announced, according to the Wall Street Journal.
President Donald Trump initially announced in December that he would withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria, but U.S. officials said in February that several hundred troops are expected to remain in Syria to create a "safe zone" along the border with Turkey and to man the al-Tanf garrison, which is located along a supply rote that would allow Iran to supply its proxies in Syria.
On Sunday, Dion Nissenbaum and Nancy Youssef of the Wall Street Journal first reported that the U.S. military is considering leaving as many as 1,000 troops in Syria to prevent Turkey from attacking the United States' Kurdish allies. So far, the United States and Turkey have failed to agree on how to secure the proposed safe zone.
U.S. Army Sgt. James R. Moore of Portland, Ore., a logitstics NCO with the 642nd Regional Support Group, shoots at the Fort Pickett rifle range as part of the Mortuary Affairs Exercise Aug. 15, 2018. (U.S. Army/Sgt. 1st Class Gary A. Witte, 642nd Regional Support Group)
White supremacists take part in a march the night before the 'Unite the Right' rally in Charlottesville, VA. (Associated Press photo)
Seven U.S. service members have reportedly been identified as members of Identity Evropa, a white nationalist group founded by a Marine veteran and tied to the 2017 Charlottesville rally, according to leaked online chat logs examined by HuffPost.