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Analysis

U.S. now involved in 134 wars, or none, depending on your definition

The White House spent much of last week trying to figure out if the word “war” was the right one to describe its military actions against the Islamic State. So how many wars is the U.S. fighting right now? Somewhere between zero and 134.... Read more»

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Sorting murky issues on the POW swap

A lot of gray area surrounds the political rhetoric about the White House’s decision to swap Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban figures detained at Guantanamo.... Read more»

Afghanistan Newspeak: 10 ways the U.S. skews the narrative

As the clock ticks down to the promised withdrawal from Afghanistan, the U.S. military is trying to figure out how to market the idea that the international intervention has actually accomplished its core mission — bringing peace and stability to a nation that has known little of either for the past 35 years. The solution: a little Newspeak.... Read more»

The 8 most surprising nations that still require birth control Rx

You can get the pill over the counter in Pakistan, but not in Canada or the US.... Read more»

Global progress seen in securing nuclear materials

Nations around the globe have taken important steps over the past two years to safeguard nuclear weapons materials from potential thefts by terrorists, an expert Washington-based group concluded Jan. 8 in a comprehensive report.... Read more»

In big win for defense industry, Obama rolls back export limits

The United States is loosening controls over military exports, in a shift that former U.S. officials and human rights advocates say could increase the flow of American-made military parts to the world’s conflicts and make it harder to enforce arms sanctions.... Read more»

What we know (and don’t know) about the drone war

Drones, or “unmanned aerial vehicles” as the military prefers to call them, have been used to strike al Qaeda targets in Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia as a centerpiece of the Obama administration’s national security protocol. But as ProPublica fellow Cora Currier has detailed in her reporting, much of the drone war remains shrouded in secrecy.... Read more»

3 other places the U.S. military bombed in the past month

Not every bombing campaign is as well publicized as the one probably coming to Syria. Here’s what else the U.S. military is up to.... Read more»

Pakistani cop pulled bin Laden over for speeding

Osama bin Laden might have been detected eight years before the Navy SEAL raid that ended his life, had a Pakistani traffic policeman spotted the world’s most-wanted man in a car he stopped for speeding.... Read more»

Hearts, minds and dollars: condolence payments in the drone strike age

In February, during his confirmation process, CIA director John Brennan offered an unusually straightforward explanation:  “Where possible, we also work with local governments to gather facts, and, if appropriate, provide condolence payments to families of those killed.”... Read more»

Analysis

War on drugs: What is it good for?

It’s not just Colorado and Washington: The world is abandoning the U.S.-backed drug war in favor of a more liberal approach to cannabis. Four decades after President Nixon declared war on drugs, nearly everyone agrees it’s time for a truce.... Read more»2

Commentary

In long run, drones may be counter-productive

For a president who is reluctant to play the role of world policeman, drones look like an easy option, a simple way to show a war-weary public that he is “doing something” to defend America. They may also be the cheap option. But like the sanctions program that is supposed to force Iran to give up its presumed nuclear weapons program, some experts have grave doubts that the drone program can achieve its objective of deterring terrorist acts.... Read more»

U.S. marking unidentified men in Pakistan & Yemen as drone targets

What little we know about the evidence needed to justify a drone strike on unidentified people. While President Obama and administration officials have framed the drone program as targeting particular members of al-Qaeda, attacks against unknown militants reportedly may account for the majority of strikes.... Read more»

'Signature strikes'

The drone war doctrine we still know nothing about

The focus on the targeting of American citizens overlooks many other strikes in which the U.S. doesn’t know who it’s killing. In these attacks, known as “signature strikes,” drone operators fire on people whose identities they do not know based on evidence of suspicious behavior or other “signatures.”... Read more»

Drone strikes test legal grounds for war on terror

The Obama administration has justified its counter-terror strategy on a law Congress passed just days after 9/11. But more than a decade later, does it fit the facts on the ground?... Read more»

Everything we know so far about drone strikes

The U.S. is conducting drone strikes in in at least three countries beyond Iraq and Afghanistan. Here’s a reading guide to understanding the U.S.’ shadow wars.... Read more»

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