The Great Debate

Why the U.S. sticks with an ineffective strategy against Islamic militants

November 24, 2015
Participants: Jason Fields, Matthew Gault, Joseph Trevithick

Predator and Reaper drones hang in the sky above Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq and Syria. Mostly they observe, search for targets – and occasionally they unleash Hellfire missiles. Targets may be large gatherings of suspicious figures, convoys or training camps. They can also be private houses, and sometimes they turn out to be weddings.

How the Kremlin turns extremist attacks to its own advantage

November 24, 2015
People place photos of victims of a Russian airliner which crashed in Egypt, during a commemoration meeting at Dvortsovaya Square in St. Petersburg, Russia  November 1, 2015. An Airbus A321, operated by Russian airline Kogalymavia under the brand name Metrojet, carrying 224 passengers crashed into a mountainous area of Egypt's Sinai peninsula on Saturday shortly after losing radar contact near cruising altitude, killing all aboard. Russian President Vladimir Putin declared a day of national mourning for Sunday. REUTERS/Peter Kovalev - RTX1UA59

People place photos of victims of a Russian airliner which crashed in Egypt, during a commemoration meeting at Dvortsovaya Square in St. Petersburg, Russia November 1, 2015. REUTERS/Peter Kovalev

How an ugly, brutally effective warplane won the battle for its future

November 24, 2015
A U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt aircraft from Bagram Air Base flies a combat mission over Afghanistan, in this handout photograph taken on June 14, 2009 and obtained on May 20, 2014. A U.S. Congressional panel has rejected the military's proposal to retire the entire fleet of A-10 close-air support planes, as the annual defense policy bill continues to make its way through the House of Representatives. The White House said retiring the planes would save $4.2 billion through 2019. Picture taken June 14, 2009. REUTERS/Staff Sgt. Jason Robertson/U.S. Air Force/Handout via Reuters (AFGHANISTAN - Tags: TRANSPORT MILITARY) ATTENTION EDITORS - FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS - RTR3Q210

A U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt aircraft from Bagram Air Base flies a combat mission over Afghanistan, in this handout photograph taken on June 14, 2009 and obtained on May 20, 2014. REUTERS/Staff Sgt. Jason Robertson/U.S. Air Force/Handout via Reuters

In Syria, the joke’s on Washington

November 24, 2015
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (C) attend a meeting on Russian air force's activity in Syria at the national defence control centre in Moscow, Russia, November 17, 2015. Russia said on Tuesday it had stepped up air strikes against Islamist militants in Syria with long-range bombers and cruise missiles after the Kremlin said it wanted retribution for those responsible for blowing up a Russian airliner over Egypt. REUTERS/Alexei Nikolskyi/SPUTNIK/Kremlin ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. - RTS7KOT

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (C) attend a meeting on Russian air force’s activity in Syria at the national defence control centre in Moscow, Russia, November 17, 2015. REUTERS/Alexei Nikolskyi/SPUTNIK/Kremlin

Why I’m voting for the first time in 2016

November 23, 2015
Bianca Bush looks out from the ballot booth as her father Michael Bush casts his vote during the U.S. presidential election at a poling station in the Staten Island Borough of New York, November 6, 2012.  REUTERS/Keith Bedford (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS USA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION ELECTIONS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTR3A2FX

Bianca Bush looks out from the ballot booth as her father Michael Bush casts his vote during the U.S. presidential election at a poling station in New York, November 6, 2012. REUTERS/Keith Bedford

Why killers’ families always seem to be the last to know

November 23, 2015

Updated Dec. 7, 2015 Weapons and other evidence are shown on a tarp near a SUV involved in the Wednesdays attack is shown in San Bernardino, California December 3, 2015. Authorities on Thursday were working to determine why a man and a woman opened fire at a holiday party of his co-workers in Southern California, killing 14 people and wounding 17 in an attack that appeared to have been planned. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni       TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTX1X3FC

Weapons and other evidence are shown on a tarp near an SUV involved in Wednesday’s attack in San Bernardino, California, December 3, 2015. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Fear throws its hat into the ring for 2016 race

November 23, 2015
Supporters of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump react as a protestor interrupts a campaign rally in Worcester, Massachusetts November 18, 2015.  REUTERS/Brian Snyder      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTS7UQ4

Supporters of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump react as a protestor interrupts a campaign rally in Worcester, Massachusetts November 18, 2015. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

What the Paris attacks and the fall of Rome have in common: Nothing

November 20, 2015
ephesusnoon

The ruins of the Roman city of Ephesus in Turkey in 2007. COURTESY of Jason Fields

No, the Paris attacks don’t signal the end of Western Civilization

November 20, 2015
The Colosseum in Rome in May 2009. COURTESY of Jason Fields

The Colosseum in Rome in May 2009. COURTESY of Jason Fields

PARIS — In the days since the Paris attacks, the Place de la République — the majestic square near the Bataclan Theater, and five minutes on foot from my apartment — has become a kind of free university. At its center stands a 30-foot statue of Marianne, defiant symbol of the republic, trimmed now with candles, placards, and anti-terrorist graffiti. It is a place where France teaches itself about itself.

One phrase from Saudi clerics could begin the end of Islamic State

November 19, 2015
Participants: Jason Fields, Matthew Gault, Malcolm Nance

The recent terror attacks in Paris shook the world and put the focus back on Islamic State. This week on War College, we talk with American Special Operations intelligence veteran Malcolm Nance. Nance literally wrote the textbook on Iraq’s terrorists and is the executive director of the Terror Asymmetrics Project.