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.
Oh, honey, that Axis of Evil getup is so 2002. You need to get with the times and try on this little number called a Wolf Pack of Rogue States, designed by Mike Pence.
Yes, the Axis is Evil is out, and the Wolf Pack of Rogue States is so, so in.
The vice president mentioned the latest and greatest phrase to describe anti-American super-villain states during a conference in Washington on Wednesday, and clearly, they must all be running around the desert together looking for strippers and cocaine.
"Beyond our global competitors, the United States faces a wolf pack of rogue states. No shared ideology or objective unites our competitors and adversaries except this one: They seek to overturn the international order that the United States has upheld for more that half a century."
According to Pence, the Wolf Pack includes Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. Notably absent: China and Russia, the two states that actually have a shot at seeking "to overturn the international order."
As Daniel Larison notes at The American Conservative, the Wolf Pack crowd's "ability to 'overturn the international order' is practically nil, and it isn't even certain that most of them desire that outcome. If North Korea, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua are our main adversaries, we are as secure as can be and we have very little to worry about."
Pence's wolf pack phrase follows another tried by National Security Advisor John Bolton back in November, when he labeled Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua as a "troika of tyranny" and a "triangle of terror," which make for interesting death metal band names, but seem kind of lame in comparison to the infamous 2002 "Axis of Evil" phrase from David Frum.
But perhaps they can consult with Stitch Jones, the Ayatollah of Rock-and-rolla, for some better branding.
Heartbreak Ridge - Stitch Jones meets Gunnery Sergeant Highway
Maj. Matthew Golsteyn in Afghanistan. (Photo courtesy of Philip Stackhouse.)
Army Special Forces Maj. Matthew Golsteyn – whom President Donald Trump has called "a U.S. Military hero" – will face an Article 32 hearing in March after being charged with murder for allegedly killing a suspected Taliban bomb-maker.
On Dec. 18, the convening authority for Golestyn's case decided to hold the preliminary hearing in connection with the Feb. 28, 2010 incident, Army officials have announced. The proceedings are slated to start on March 14 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.