Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Poor old Gary Powers

I defer to Pulitzer Prize-winning David "Dead Hand" Hoffman, the King of the Cold War Archives, but I was surprised to read in this account of Gary Powers’ downing that the U.S. government concluded that he had actually descended in his U-2 and defected. The government analysts were mistaken because they were confused by another ...

-/AFP/Getty Images
-/AFP/Getty Images
-/AFP/Getty Images

I defer to Pulitzer Prize-winning David "Dead Hand" Hoffman, the King of the Cold War Archives, but I was surprised to read in this account of Gary Powers' downing that the U.S. government concluded that he had actually descended in his U-2 and defected. The government analysts were mistaken because they were confused by another aircraft that the eager-beaver Reds mistakenly whacked at the same time.

I defer to Pulitzer Prize-winning David "Dead Hand" Hoffman, the King of the Cold War Archives, but I was surprised to read in this account of Gary Powers’ downing that the U.S. government concluded that he had actually descended in his U-2 and defected. The government analysts were mistaken because they were confused by another aircraft that the eager-beaver Reds mistakenly whacked at the same time.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

More from Foreign Policy

A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.
A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

Lessons for the Next War

Twelve experts weigh in on how to prevent, deter, and—if necessary—fight the next conflict.

An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It’s High Time to Prepare for Russia’s Collapse

Not planning for the possibility of disintegration betrays a dangerous lack of imagination.

An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.
An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.

Turkey Is Sending Cold War-Era Cluster Bombs to Ukraine

The artillery-fired cluster munitions could be lethal to Russian troops—and Ukrainian civilians.

A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol  January 8, 2009 in Washington.
A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol January 8, 2009 in Washington.

Congrats, You’re a Member of Congress. Now Listen Up.

Some brief foreign-policy advice for the newest members of the U.S. legislature.