Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

A merry Christmas from Best Defense

See you next week. I aim to get some writing done on my book, and also to take the dogs for some long walks in the snowy woods. My little pups do not think it queer to hike without a farmhouse near. Until then, here’s something to watch: I don’t know quite what to make ...

BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images
BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images
BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images

See you next week. I aim to get some writing done on my book, and also to take the dogs for some long walks in the snowy woods. My little pups do not think it queer to hike without a farmhouse near.

Until then, here's something to watch: I don't know quite what to make of this video, apparently from the friendly folks at the Swedish air force. As I watched I kept on wondering why the jet blast didn't hit the sledders. Also, here is a good video on how Joe Biden rolls.

A special holiday greeting to former Home Depot chief Bernie Marcus, for funding a special rehabilitation project for brain-injured soldiers.

See you next week. I aim to get some writing done on my book, and also to take the dogs for some long walks in the snowy woods. My little pups do not think it queer to hike without a farmhouse near.

Until then, here’s something to watch: I don’t know quite what to make of this video, apparently from the friendly folks at the Swedish air force. As I watched I kept on wondering why the jet blast didn’t hit the sledders. Also, here is a good video on how Joe Biden rolls.

A special holiday greeting to former Home Depot chief Bernie Marcus, for funding a special rehabilitation project for brain-injured soldiers.

And a salute to Harvard president Drew Gilpin Faust for swift action in letting ROTC back on campus. Here is commentary from that rarest of creatures, a Harvard ROTC grad. (Soldiers would wonder at his presence in Iraq, he recalls, because they thought "Harvard grads were the people who sent them half-way around the world to some forgotten hell-hole, not the ones who went there with them." He also says the real test will come the next time the United States gets into an unpopular war.) The White House says President Obama will sign the law repealing the ban on being honestly gay in the military tomorrow. But Virginia may kick Ashley Wilkes out of its National Guard.

A big lump of coal to the government of Iran, which just sentenced Jafar Panahi, maker of the lovely film Offside, to six years in prison, and also banned him from making films for 20 years.

And please feel free to use this post to talk amongst yourselves. One issue: A reader wants to know some good books about Yemen to read over the holiday break. Any suggestions?

And with that, this blog is closed for the week.

(HT to BH & AM)

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.