If you ask Spc. Daniel McBroom of the Army National Guard, the hardest part of war was the wind. “Physically and mentally, the wind was the worst,” he recalls. “This endless hot wind, like 100-degree fans turned toward your body.” But McBroom, 23, who returned in June after serving a year in Iraq, says that the toll of war will be different for everyone. “There’s no doubt it will mark you, change your body. But I don’t think anyone can predict what that change will be.” McBroom is one of nearly 1.5 million Americans enlisted in the U.S. armed forces, […]

article card

After briefly discussing Afghanistan’s election woes, President Obama turned his attention to progress in Iraq during a press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. Obama and Maliki celebrated a new dimension of their relationship – the prospect of doing business. The two emphasized a shift in focus from military cooperation to more financial pursuits as Iraq gears up to hold its first business investors conference.

Not long after the so-called “civilian surge” was announced as part of the troop buildup in Afghanistan, a veteran State Department foreign service officer I spoke with posed a simple question: “Where are they going to come from?” He had recently returned from a year serving on a Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan and was grappling with the lack of civilian expertise that he said was so desperately needed for the state-building tasks there. “Is the new Secretary of Agriculture going to volunteer staff? The Secretary of the Treasury?” He suspected not. The diplomat’s insights get at a central challenge […]