Earl H. Tilford

Earl H. Tilford

Dr. Earl Tilford is a military historian and fellow for the Middle East & terrorism with The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. He currently lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama where he is writing a history of the University of Alabama in the 1960s. A retired Air Force intelligence officer, Dr. Tilford earned his PhD in American and European military history at George Washington University. From 1993 to 2001, he served as Director of Research at the U.S. Army’s Strategic Studies Institute. In 2001, he left Government service for a professorship at Grove City College, where he taught courses in military history, national security, and international and domestic terrorism and counter-terrorism.

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Time for face time with Vladimir

August 21, 2014 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge, The Path to Freedom

President Barack Obama has spent a lot of TV face time opining on race relations in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2009, on the George Zimmerman trial of 2012-13, on the riots in a St. Louis suburb last week, and plenty more. … More>

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The Strategic Imperative of ISIS: Deal with it Now or Die by it Later

August 14, 2014 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge, The Path to Freedom

During the 2012 presidential campaign President Obama repeatedly boasted, “Osama bin Laden is dead and Al-Qaeda is on the run.” He is right on both counts: bin Laden is gone and Al-Qaeda runs stronger than ever. The latest Al-Qaeda iteration, … More>

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The disappearance of Malaysian Airlines 370: It’s time for U.S. intelligence to take over

March 17, 2014 | by | Topic: The American Story, The Global Challenge

The disappearance of a Boeing 777 airliner with 239 people on board has ignited speculation ranging from catastrophic malfunction to hijacking. That the United States, a global power with the intelligence assets to solve this mystery, has decided to keep … More>

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President John F. Kennedy’s national security legacy

November 20, 2013 | by | Topic: The American Story, The Global Challenge, The Path to Freedom

Between January 1961 and Nov. 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy fundamentally changed U.S. national security policy. These changes resulted in structures and doctrines that enabled American forces to fight in Vietnam in a new way that ultimately defined Kennedy’s … More>

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Department of Defense’s death spiral

November 14, 2013 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge, The Path to Freedom

“Of the four wars in my lifetime none came about because the United States was too strong.”  

Ronald Reagan

The American armed forces are in a death spiral. The potential danger far exceeds the health insurance debacle occurring … More>

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V&V FLASHBACK: The man who predicted the Yom Kippur War

October 4, 2013 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

Editor’s Note: This “V&V Q&A” first appeared in October 2008, published by The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. It was reprinted by many media outlets.

On Oct. 6, 1973, the Egyptian army pulled off a … More>

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Camelot and the Syrian crisis

September 3, 2013 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

November 22 marks the 50th anniversary of the end of Camelot. During its tenure, President John F. Kennedy’s administration set national security precedents that have influenced the way Washington has approached military commitments to the present day.

For instance, … More>

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Reflections on Gettysburg

July 1, 2013 | by | Topic: The American Story

It’s July in Alabama and 100 degrees in the shade. Despite the heat, I crack the bedroom window at night to soak up the sounds and smells of the South. The crickets in the woods, a hoot owl on occasion, … More>

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Dropping the Benghazi ball

May 13, 2013 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

In the 1990s, the U.S. Air Force’s self-descriptor for its capabilities was “Global Reach, Global Power.”  On September 11, 2012, as Americans were being attacked and killed in the Middle East, the global reach of air power was confined to … More>

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The Gaza Trap

November 21, 2012 | by | Topic: The American Story, The Global Challenge, The Path to Freedom

Even though Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has announced an Israel-Gaza ceasefire, it’s apparent that Gaza still holds many traps for Israel.

For example, there’s the media trap. Hamas, like other Islamic terror groups, manipulates the Western media while toying … More>

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Intelligence and National Security Priorities

October 17, 2012 | by | Topic: The American Story, The Global Challenge, The Path to Freedom

A generation ago, in the 1970s, the U.S. intelligence community possessed the technology to discern whether or not a U.S. consulate was under attack by terrorists or by rioters run amok. Moreover, no one in the community ever wanted … More>

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A More Immediate Threat

August 31, 2012 | by | Topic: The American Story, The Global Challenge, The Path to Freedom

On July 23, 2012, Syria—one of seven nations not to sign the Chemical Weapons Convention—admitted owning a stockpile of chemical and biological weapons. A foreign ministry spokesman warned that Damascus would use these weapons against any force intervening in its … More>

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On a Wing and a …

July 13, 2012 | by | Topic: The American Story, The Content of Character, The Global Challenge

Not long ago, a group of 66 members of Congress sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, urging him to issue guidance to counter an “alarming pattern of attacks on faith” in the U.S. Air Force. This was … More>

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The Strategic Imperative of Security

June 25, 2012 | by | Topic: The American Story, The Global Challenge, The Path to Freedom, The Persuaders

In light of recent publicity about the U.S-British-Israeli cyber attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, we might want to consider intelligence lessons from the past.

In the autumn of 1960, with the presidential race between Vice President Richard M. Nixon and … More>

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Afghanization

May 4, 2012 | by | Topic: The American Story, The Global Challenge

President Barack Obama’s five-point plan for turning the war back to the Afghans is designed to cover the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces and “forge a just and lasting peace.” What does the plan involve, and can it work?… More>

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Lessons Not Learned From Vietnam

April 27, 2012 | by | Topic: The American Story, The Global Challenge, The Path to Freedom

After the fall of Saigon on April 29, 1975, military and civilian strategists sought “lessons learned.” Many were tactical or technical, such as the operational effectiveness of precision-guided munitions and the continuing need for guns on jet fighters. At the … More>

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Bumper Sticker History: Remembering Some Truly Audacious Military Operations

March 26, 2012 | by | Topic: The DNA of Greatness, The Global Challenge

On March 19, speaking at a Morris Township, New Jersey Democratic Party fundraiser, Vice President Joe Biden provided what may be the mother of all election year bumper stickers when he asserted, “Osama Bin Laden is dead and General Motors … More>

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Iran: Israel’s Options

March 5, 2012 | by | Topic: The American Story, The Global Challenge

Late in the summer of 1961, President John F. Kennedy asked the Air Force to plan a nuclear first strike on the Soviet Union. The plan involved 55 B-52 bombers hitting 80 targets to degrade Soviet Long Range Air Force … More>

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Sorry Mess: Presidential Apologies and Pardons

March 1, 2012 | by | Topic: The American Story, The Global Challenge, The Path to Freedom

Much ink has flowed over the recent apologies from President Barack Obama, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and General John Allen, commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, following the burning of copies of the Koran … More>

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Strategic Abdication

February 15, 2012 | by | Topic: The American Story, The Global Challenge, The Path to Freedom

From Damascus to Tehran, a test for world leadership is underway. Daily, the Syrian military—well-armed, highly trained thugs whose current mission is to keep dictator Bashar Assad in power—kills up to 200 or more of its own citizens. Protests from … More>

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Preparing the Military for Future Threats

January 26, 2012 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

With breaking news of a U.S. Navy SEAL team successfully rescuing two hostages from pirates in Somalia, military pundits are quick to note how the deployment of small, elite units will fit in with President Barack Obama’s vision for More>

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Military Modernization: Back to the Future

January 18, 2012 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

President Barack Obama’s vision for modernizing the U.S. military is little more than an exercise in “back to the future.”

Consider: Back in 2001, the armed forces were nearly a decade into positing what 21st-century warfare would entail. These considerations … More>

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Iran: How to Lose

November 14, 2011 | by | Topic: The American Story, The Global Challenge

Once again, tensions between Iran and the international community are on the rise as the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, released a new report that warns of concealed attempts by Iran to produce an atomic bomb. … More>

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The Need to Restructure the DoD: Part III

August 17, 2011 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

Editor’s note: This article is Part III in a series. Click here to read Part I & Part II.

Armed forces, and the way they fight, reflect national cultures. That means that the United States will have the kind … More>

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The Need to Restructure the DoD: Part II

August 10, 2011 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

Editor’s note: This article is Part II in a series. Click here to read Part I & Part III.

The U.S. Department of Defense must restructure to accommodate deep budget cuts and, more importantly, be ready for the challenges … More>

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The Need to Restructure the DoD: Part I

August 3, 2011 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

Editor’s note: This article is Part I in a series. Click here to read Part II & Part III.

In 1914, on the eve of the Great War, the Duke of Cambridge wrote, “There is a time for all … More>

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A Report from Tuscaloosa’s Ground Zero

May 4, 2011 | by | Topic: The DNA of Greatness

The Warrior River borders the University of Alabama campus, separating old Tuscaloosa from up-scale housing developments to the north. Tuscaloosans know a “north of the river” address connotes six-figure incomes. The schools, public and private, are excellent. It’s the country … More>

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Latest “human-made-disaster” attack succeeds

March 25, 2010 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

History holds that during World War II the Army executed only one American soldier, Private Eddie Slovik. There was another, a footnote to history.

In 1944, B-24 Liberators taking off from a base in Italy began exploding when they “rotated,” … More>

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Strategic Misstep, Two-step, Setup or Prelude to Meltdown?

March 24, 2010 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

On Thursday, March 11, during Vice President Joe Biden’s trip to Israel to herald the re-initiation of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Israel’s Interior Ministry announced the construction of 1,600 housing units in Jerusalem’s Ramat Shlomo neighborhood, an area Palestinians want to include … More>

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The Uncertain Trumpet and Systemic Failure

January 11, 2010 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

In the mid-1960s, the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Notre Dame’s Rocky Bleier. Unfortunately, Steeler management failed to protect the prized rookie with the paperwork necessary to take advantage of a myriad of available conscription-law loopholes, and Bleier ended up in Vietnam … More>

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Christianity and Depravity in the Afterglow of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

August 14, 2009 | by | Topic: The Content of Character

Each year, in early August, debate reemerges over the use of atomic weapons to end World War II. Some historians justify their use given the prospects for a long, bloody invasion of Japan. Conversely, other historians, along with liberal theologians, … More>

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Limited Options for Dealing with North Korea

May 29, 2009 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

Kim Jong Il, North Korea’s psychotic “Dear Leader,” specializes in “guerrilla diplomacy.” He backs it up with a half-dozen or so nuclear weapons squirreled away deep inside mountain storage facilities that cannot be reached by our bunker-buster bombs, and an … More>

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Mission Accomplished?

January 23, 2009 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

“Deterrence is the art of producing in the mind of the enemy the fear to attack.”
— Dr. Merkwurdichliebe, 1964

“War kills men, and men deplore the loss; but war also crushes bad principles and tyrants and so saves society.”

More>

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Operation Cast Lead: A Necessary, Just and Legal Response

January 7, 2009 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

As soon as Israeli air strikes began striking Hamas-controlled Gaza, many American church leaders started calling for an immediate ceasefire based solely on human suffering rather than the political realities of the situation. Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s ongoing effort to … More>

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Israeli Attacks on Hamas Justified

December 30, 2008 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

The Hamas Charter proscribes peace with Israel. Ceasefires are possible only when advantageous to Hamas and always are temporary. Accordingly, as soon as the latest ceasefire expired, Hamas operatives fired a barrage of rockets and mortars from Gaza into Israel. … More>

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Testing Presidential Mettle: JFK and Obama

October 29, 2008 | by | Topic: The American Story

Democratic vice-presidential nominee Senator Joe Biden recently predicted that within the first six months of an Obama administration the freshman president would be tested by a contrived international crisis. Obama supporters quickly pointed to John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s handling of the … More>

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General Powell’s Endorsement

October 21, 2008 | by | Topic: The American Story

Many conservatives wonder why retired Army Gen. Colin Powell endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. The quick answer—and the most inadequate one—is that Powell is obliged to endorse the first African-American with a real chance to win the presidency. That … More>

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Why November 2008 Looks Like March 1936

October 9, 2008 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

Near the conclusion of Tuesday night’s second presidential “town-hall” style debate, a questioner from the audience asked each candidate what he would do if Iran attacked Israel. Both candidates gave somewhat vague replies, focusing on the traditionally close relationship between … More>

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Critical Mass: Economic Leadership or Dictatorship

October 6, 2008 | by | Topic: The American Story

Economic and political destabilization ranked high on al-Qaeda’s list of strategic objectives in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Washington, DC. In addition to killing nearly 3,000 innocent people, the attacks immediately inflicted over $80 billion dollars … More>

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V&V Q&A: The Man Who Predicted the Yom Kippur War

October 3, 2008 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge, Vision & Values Concise E-publications

Editor’s Note: The “V&V Q&A” is an e-publication from the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. Each issue will present an interview with an intriguing thinker or opinion-maker that we hope will prove illuminating to readers everywhereMore>

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Russia’s Georgia Take-Down: Implications for Russia and America

August 22, 2008 | by | Topic: The American Story

In December 1989, land, sea and air forces of the United States enveloped the security forces of Panama like a starfish attacking a clam. Operation Just Cause became the prototype for U.S. military operational doctrine for taking down an undersized … More>

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Avoiding Some Damned Thing in the Caucasus

August 14, 2008 | by | Topic: The American Story

As the old European powers of the late 19th century began their inexorable march toward mutual suicide on the battlefields of the 20th century, Germany’s “Iron Chancellor,” Otto von Bismarck, presciently predicted that any future conflagration might well start because … More>

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Strategic Disaster: Vietnam Lessons for the Current Political Season

July 28, 2008 | by | Topic: The American Story

During his recent Middle East and European tour, Senator Barack Obama stated his strategic positions on Iraq and Afghanistan, which involves a timetable for withdrawal of most, if not all, U.S. forces from Iraq, and redeploying some forces to Afghanistan, … More>

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Seduction by Air: Then and Now

June 16, 2008 | by | Topic: The American Story

Air power is seductive. From the Army Air Service’s Col. Billy Mitchell’s Winged Defense, written in the aftermath of the slaughter fields of the Great War, to U.S. Air Force Colonel John Warden’s The Air Campaign, first published … More>

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Victims of Their Own Making

May 21, 2008 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

As Israel celebrates its 60th anniversary, there are voices raised accusing Israel of victimizing the Palestinian Arabs and “running them out” of the Jewish state. Ironically, some 1,300,000 Arab-Israeli citizens live and work in Israel. They worship freely in mosques … More>

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From Udorn to Celina: The End of My Vietnam War

April 25, 2008 | by | Topic: The American Story

The Vietnam War ended for me on a cold Monday afternoon in late November 2007 at a lonely, windswept graveyard in Celina, Ohio. It took four hours to drive the 270 miles from Grove City, Pennsylvania to Celina, Ohio. That … More>

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Why the Christian Left is Down on Israel

April 23, 2008 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

Within the mainline Protestant denominations there are a number of initiatives inimical to the well-being of the nation of Israel, including a divestment initiative to be considered at the annual conference of the United Methodist Church (this month) and a … More>

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Middle East & Terrorism

April 16, 2008 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

According to recent intelligence reports, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) killed 40 Hamas terrorists in Gaza this past December without inflicting a single civilian casualty. In fact, over the past five years collateral damage and civilian casualties caused by Israeli … More>

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Anti-Semitism and the Religious Left

March 28, 2008 | by | Topic: The American Story

For a generation after World War II, particularly given revelations of the Holocaust, most American Protestant denominations embraced a more tolerant attitude toward Jews. Since the 1980s, however, there has been a marked shift, evident in the anti-Israeli positions adopted … More>

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V&V Q&A: On the Religious Left, Part II (with Dr. Earl Tilford)

March 20, 2008 | by | Topic: The Content of Character, Vision & Values Concise E-publications

Editor’s Note: The “V&V Q&A” is an e-publication from the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. Each issue will present an interview with an intriguing thinker or opinion-maker that we hope will prove illuminating to readers everywhere. More>

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V&V Q&A: On the Religious Left and the Prince of Peace (with Dr. Earl Tilford)

March 19, 2008 | by | Topic: The Content of Character, Vision & Values Concise E-publications

Editor’s Note: The “V&V Q&A” is an e-publication from the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. Each issue will present an interview with an intriguing thinker or opinion-maker that we hope will prove illuminating to readers everywhere. More>

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Casualties of War: The Untold Story

January 9, 2008 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

According to recent intelligence reports, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) killed 40 Hamas terrorists in Gaza this past December without inflicting a single civilian casualty. In fact, over the past five years collateral damage and civilian casualties caused by Israeli … More>

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Where Have All the Flower Children Gone?

January 4, 2008 | by | Topic: The American Story

The American left clings to the myth that the anti-war movement ended the U.S. war in Vietnam. In fact, the anti-war movement failed to prompt any substantive changes in U.S. war policy. Rather than “pricking the conscience of the nation,” … More>

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No Exit

October 16, 2007 | by | Topic: The American Story

“The man who runs away will fight again.”
- Menander, 303 B.C.

In April 1972, with North Vietnamese forces advancing as part of their Nguyen Hue Offensive, Seventh Air Force Headquarters in Saigon began drawing up evacuation plans. Approximately 60,000 … More>

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Kick the Tires and Light the Fires

October 2, 2007 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

Back in the early 1970s I served as an Air Force intelligence officer at Udorn Air Base in Thailand, home of the 432nd Tactical Fighter Reconnaissance Wing. Most of the bombing in 1970 and 1971 focused on Laos, especially the … More>

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Victory Japan Tilford

August 9, 2007 | by | Topic: The American Story

In early August, members of the Witherspoon Society, a “progressive” religious advocacy group affiliated with the Presbyterian Church USA, attended the “Ghost Ranch Week of Peace” in rural New Mexico. Ghost Ranch participants generally are anti-war and anti-military, support the … More>

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Avoiding the Iraq Hangover

June 11, 2007 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

After Saigon fell to a North Vietnamese onslaught on April 29, 1975, Americans experienced a “Vietnam hangover” lasting until the electorate emerged from its grogginess to elect Ronald Reagan to the presidency in 1980. If you have ever gotten “knee-crawlin’, … More>

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Listen up, Vladimir: A Limited Missile Defense Makes Sense for Everyone

June 8, 2007 | by | Topic: The American Story

Last week Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened to target Europe with missiles if the United States deployed components of a limited missile defense system to the Czech Republic and Poland. Maybe I’m being charitable, but perhaps Putin recalls how the … More>

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Point of Collapse

April 11, 2007 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

American policy and the global war against al Qaeda, associated groups and nations that support them—Iran and Syria—are collapsing. Blame goes beyond liberal politicians intent on destroying the Bush administration, a pernicious press and the radical left who rule academe, … More>

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Stopping Iran’s Quest for the Bomb

March 7, 2007 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

At the invitation of the Iraqi regime, the United States recently agreed to multi-lateral talks with Iran and Syria aimed at breaking the diplomatic impasse between Iran and the United Nations over Tehran’s nuclear program. Negotiation supporters point to recent … More>

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V&V PAPER — Operation Change of Direction: Israel vs. Hezbollah in the summer of 2006

January 26, 2007 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge, White Papers

Editor’s note: Dr. Earl Tilford is Professor of History at Grove City College. He enjoyed an extensive military career and after retiring from the U.S. Air Force, served as an associate professor of history at Troy State University in Montgomery More>

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Stuck in the Sixties

November 3, 2006 | by | Topic: The American Story

The 1960s was nirvana for American liberalism. From the day John F. Kennedy inspired a new generation of Americans to the time that newest of the new generations, my generation now entering our sixties, rebelled against the war in Vietnam, … More>

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Storm Warnings

October 17, 2006 | by | Topic: The American Story

“The aircraft carrier Eisenhower, accompanied by the guided-missile cruiser USS Anzio, guided-missile destroyer USS Ramage, guided-missile destroyer USS Mason and the fast-attack submarine USS Newport News, is, as I write, making its way to the Straits of Hormuz off Iran. … More>

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Apocalyptic Visions

October 11, 2006 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

“If the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle?”
I Corinthians 14:8

Five years ago 19 Islamist Jihadists murdered nearly 3,000 Americans in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania.  In carrying out their “martyrdom … More>

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V&V Fellow Featured in Groundbreaking Documentary

September 9, 2006 | by | Topic: The DNA of Greatness

Noted military historian and Fellow for the Middle East & Terrorism with the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College—Dr. Earl Tilford—was featured alongside prominent scholars and commentators in a groundbreaking documentary produced by Coral Ridge Ministries. The … More>

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Reasoning by Historical Analogies

August 25, 2006 | by | Topic: The American Story

Reasoning by historical analogy is dangerous. Georges Santayana notwithstanding, history does not repeat itself. Rather, the value of history is in what we learn from the past. Failures are as instructive as successes, if not more so.

From the day … More>

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Proportionality in Wars with Terrorists

August 1, 2006 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

The scale of violence in warfare inevitably rises to meet the level of objectives. During World War II, Germany’s strategic objectives included dominating Eurasia from the Baltic to the Mediterranean and from the English Channel to the Urals along with … More>

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Sheep for the Slaughter: Christians and Jews in the Sights of Islamic Jihadists

July 14, 2006 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge, White Papers

Editor’s note: Dr. Earl Tilford is Professor of History and Fellow for the Middle East & Terrorism with the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. He enjoyed an extensive military career and after retiring from the U.S. More>

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Why Terrorism? Because it Works

July 14, 2006 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

When Hamas terrorists tunneled from Gaza into southern Israel, killed two Israeli soldiers and abducted Corporal Galid Shalit, that probably put the nail in the coffin of any prospect for a peaceful settlement between Israel and the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Authority. … More>

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A Duel to the Death

May 5, 2006 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

War is nothing but a duel on a larger scale. Countless duels go to make up war, but a picture of it as a whole can be formed by imagining a pair of wrestlers.  Each tries through physical force to More>

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Ungracious Idiocy

March 24, 2006 | by | Topic: The American Story

War is such a dangerous business that the mistakes
which come from kindness are the very worst.
—Carl von Clausewitz, On War, 1832

The Father of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, Vladimir Lenin, used the term “useful idiots” to describe … More>

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Dishonest Divestment

March 16, 2006 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

In 2004, at its 216th General Assembly, the national governing body of the Presbyterian Church, USA (PCUSA), instructed its Mission Responsibility through Investment Committee to consider divesting stock in companies doing business with Israel. The 2.7 million member denomination did … More>

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Can You Name this War?

March 3, 2006 | by | Topic: The American Story

Can you name the war which so far has claimed over 6,000 American lives, more than half that number being innocent civilians? First we called it “The War on Terrorism,” which didn’t work because making war on terrorism made as … More>

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Pow’r in the Blood

January 30, 2006 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

In the early 1950s, when I was barely in grammar school, my father got religion like a case of the flu. And not just any religion. He caught the Chattanooga-Tennessee-Born-Again-Christ-Crucified-for-Sinners-Washed-in-the-Blood-of-the-Lamb faith flu. Every Sunday morning, Dad and Mom hauled me … More>

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What Happened to Bluto’s America?

January 20, 2006 | by | Topic: The American Story

My favorite movie is Animal House. Towards the end, after the villainous Dean Vernon Wormer shuts down Delta Tau Chi, expels its members from Faber College  and notifies draft boards they are “all, all eligible for military service,” a … More>

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Those “First Christmases After”

December 12, 2005 | by | Topic: The Persuaders

While I cannot say I look forward to Christmas, I celebrate it, even if less enthusiastically as time passes. Perhaps it’s the “bah humbug factor” that comes with fading eyesight and the other vicissitudes of what is, however—at least for … More>

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Beware of Reasoning by Historical Analogy

November 28, 2005 | by | Topic: The American Story

Thirty years ago, in the wake of the Vietnam War, historian James Clay Thompson warned: the primary lesson learned was that the United States should never again go to war in a former French colony located on the other side … More>

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White House Names CVV Fellow to Army War College Board of Visitors

October 18, 2005 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

The White House appointed Center for Vision & Values Fellow and Grove City College Professor of History Dr. Earl Tilford to the U.S. Army War College Board of Visitors. The Board is equivalent to a board of trustees and meets … More>

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So Crazy I Tried to Bury a Cat with My Daughter

August 25, 2005 | by | Topic: The American Story

On July 6, 1992, Tory, my fourteen-year old daughter died after a ten year battle with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. The grief one feels at the loss of a child is indescribable. The natural order is for children to bury their … More>

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Strategy and Purposes of War

July 11, 2005 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

Devising a strategy appropriate to the war at hand is fundamental to military success. Neither massive firepower nor effusions of heroically-shed blood will redeem a faulty strategy. The big question in the “Global War on Terror” must be, “Is U.S. … More>

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Three Weeks in a Progressive Swamp

June 16, 2005 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

Through the first three weeks of May, the Rockridge Institute, a California-based politically progressive think tank, partnered with a coalition of religious organizations to host an online conference on “Values and Building a Movement.” After going to http://www.rockridgeinstitute.org, signing on … More>

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The Downing Street Dead End

June 14, 2005 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

For the American radical left the July 23, 2002 “Iraq: Prime Minister’s Meeting” memorandum, dubbed “The Downing Street Memo,” was the “smoking gun” that convicted President George W. Bush of manipulating intelligence to support his decision to go to war … More>

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Avoiding a D.O.D. Train Wreck

May 23, 2005 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

“There is a time for all things: there is even a time for change; and that is when it can no longer be resisted.”
– Duke of Cambridge, 1904

The howling started as soon as the Department of Defense released … More>

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Vietnam War Thirty Years in Retrospect

May 2, 2005 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

Thirty years ago Friday, April 29, a North Vietnamese tank crashed through the walls of Saigon’s Presidential Palace to raise a Viet Cong flag over Ho Chi Minh City ending the twenty-year Republic of Vietnam and America’s longest war. This … More>

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Uli with the Uzi and Childlike Faith

March 10, 2005 | by | Topic: The Content of Character

arly last summer, I was among a dozen American university professors studying terrorism in Israel. On the Sabbath we took a day off to visit the religious sites in Jerusalem.

Given the terrorist threat, armed security personnel always accompanied us. … More>

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Generalissimo Bush

February 28, 2005 | by | Topic: The American Story

Effective wartime presidents are generalissimos, commanders-in-chiefs wielding military power to achieve historically monumental strategic ends; visionaries who shape and mold events through bold political and military action. Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt, America’s two greatest wartime Presidents, served the … More>

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Hard Realities in the War on Terror

December 21, 2004 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge, White Papers

(Download the PDF white paper here.)

World War IV, the “Global War on Terror,” like World War II and World War III (the Cold War), is a struggle between competing worldviews which, like the Cold War, could last a long … More>

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Home by Christmas…the Short War Delusion

December 10, 2004 | by | Topic: The American Story

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s response to a question concerning the lack of proper equipment, “You go to war with the Army you have,” rightly prompted some pointed critiques. While the US Army is the world’s finest ground force, it … More>

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“By Means and at Places of Our Own Choosing…”

December 2, 2004 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

In January 1954, in a speech before the New York Council on Foreign Relations, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles articulated the essence of the Eisenhower administration’s national security policy. Dulles warned the Soviet Union and Communist China that future … More>

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That Right-Wing Conservative Christian Fundamentalist Beast

November 5, 2004 | by | Topic: The Content of Character

Forty-four years ago, at the age of thirteen, I became “politically aware” while reading Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater’s “Conscience of a Conservative.” Four years later, as I entered college, Goldwater, accepting the Republican Party’s nomination for president, declared that extremism … More>

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VISION & VALUES CONCISE: Do You Miss the Smell of Tear Gas in the Morning?

October 8, 2004 | by | Topic: The American Story, Vision & Values Concise E-publications

Aging boomers nostalgic for those long ago days of anti-war demonstrations and that whiff of tear gas floating across the quad, take heart. On October 14, four Princeton Theological Seminary professors and Assyrian Catholic Church of Iraq peace activist, Sister … More>

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Retribution, Hatred and the Role of the Media in World War IV

September 22, 2004 | by | Topic: The American Story

Fighting itself will stir up hostile feelings: violence committed on superior orders will stir up the desire for revenge and retaliation against the perpetrator rather than against the powers that ordered the action.
- Carl von Clausewitz (On War, Book … More>

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There’s a War to be Won

September 7, 2004 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

President George W. Bush’s recent misstatement that the “War on Terror is unwinnable,” corrected by the President the next day on the Rush Limbaugh Show with an explanation that the war will not end with a surrender ceremony reminiscent of … More>

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Why Not Iran or North Korea?

August 11, 2004 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

In his State of the Union Address on January 29, 2002, fourteen months before the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom, President Bush posited an “Axis of Evil” between Iraq, Iran and North Korea.  While infiltration of Iranian Hezbollah fighters and … More>

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The ’64 Dogs

August 6, 2004 | by | Topic: The Persuaders

Forty years after we graduated about half the Sheffield High School class of 1964 gathered on a July Saturday night at a local Holiday Inn for our fortieth reunion.  Four decades had passed since I left Sheffield, Alabama.

Located in … More>

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Babbling in Political Tongues

July 2, 2004 | by | Topic: The Content of Character

Just before midnight on June 1, 2001, a Palestinian suicide bomber strolled into a crowd of youngsters cued up outside Tel Aviv’s hottest nightclub, the Dolphinarium, located on the seafront promenade about a mile north of the ancient port of … More>

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Post-Modern Terrorism

June 24, 2004 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

World War IV is total war on a global scale. While numerous nations are arrayed against a myriad of terrorist organizations, the United States is at war with al Qaeda, a terrorist network that traces its origins to the Soviet … More>

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Iran and World War IV

June 19, 2004 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

The word “crusade” long ago became anathema to the politically correct.Nevertheless, America’s most successful wars were crusades fought against demonstrably evil foes to right blatant wrongs. The American Civil War, World Wars I and II and the Cold War (World … More>

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VISION & VALUES CONCISE: The Theater of Terror

June 16, 2004 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge, Vision & Values Concise E-publications

At this writing, American contractor Paul Marshal Johnson may face a gruesome death at the hands of his al-Qaeda captors. The image of a blindfolded Johnson accompanied by a message demanding the release of terrorists in Saudi custody, seen around … More>

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The Theater of Terror

June 16, 2004 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

At this writing, American contractor Paul Marshal Johnson may face a gruesome death at the hands of his al-Qaeda captors. The image of a blindfolded Johnson accompanied by a message demanding the release of terrorists in Saudi custody, seen around … More>

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Pornographic Scholarship and the War on Terror

May 13, 2004 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

At the 1991 annual convention of the American Popular Cultural Association, an event best described as “the Gong Show of American Academia,” I presented a paper on the air war in Vietnam. On the panel before ours, a professor from … More>

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Stay Out of the Draft

May 5, 2004 | by | Topic: The American Story

After the Vietnam War, when the draft was history, Army Chief of Staff General Creighton Abrams redesigned the all volunteer Army so it would never again be sent to war without the support of the American people. To that end, … More>

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Beware the Serpent’s Promises

May 3, 2004 | by | Topic: The American Story

I teach courses in humanities and military history at Grove City College, an “enthusiastically Christian” college in rural northwestern Pennsylvania. This morning I concluded my Humanities 302 course with the Home Box Office movie “Conspiracy” which depicts a conference held … More>

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From Munich to Baghdad: Cautions on Reasoning by Historical Analogy

April 8, 2004 | by | Topic: The American Story

Speaking at the Brookings Institution, Senator Ted Kennedy recently raised the specter of Vietnam by stating, “Iraq has become George Bush’s Vietnam.” In the nearly thirty years since North Vietnamese forces hoisted a Viet Cong flag over the Presidential Palace … More>

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Do You Know What You Believe?

March 21, 2004 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

In October 1999, I spoke in Abu Dhabi at a conference on the 21st century sponsored by the United Arab Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research. The audience was composed almost entirely of Moslems; soldiers, scholars, imams and government … More>

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David Didn’t Love Goliath to Death

March 4, 2004 | by | Topic: The Content of Character

At Grove City College I teach courses in military history, Russian history, national security and the humanities. The Lord called me to Grove City College after a 32-year career with the Air Force and Army. While Grove City is an … More>

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What Did You Do in the Vietnam War?

February 12, 2004 | by | Topic: The American Story

The statue of three soldiers positioned near the Vietnam War Memorial misrepresents the typical Vietnam veteran. While the statue depicts soldiers in a rifle platoon, only a minority, about 20-percent of all Vietnam War veterans, served in such a capacity. … More>

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‘Happy Talk’

January 26, 2004 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

Chief Weapons Inspector David Kay’s resignation and announcement that, in all likelihood, Iraq did not have a weapons of mass destruction (WMD) program at the time the U.S.-led war began is bad news for the Bush administration. Like a pack … More>

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The Rumsfeld Memo Demonstrates a Defense Quandary

October 23, 2003 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

More than two years ago on Sept. 11, 2001, America’s sense of security was shattered by brutal terrorist attacks. The Bush administration responded with a War on Terror. As a result, if you ask the typical American when the War … More>

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Generally Apoplectic About a General’s Beliefs

October 20, 2003 | by | Topic: The American Story

Los Angeles Times staff writer Richard T. Cooper, in an October 16th article titled, “General Casts War in Religious Terms,” waxed apoplectic about remarks made by Army Lt. Gen. William G. “Jerry” Boykin, Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence. What upsets … More>

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Touching the Future with Peter the Great and the All Drunken Sobar of Fools and Jesters

October 13, 2003 | by | Topic: The Battle for the Mind

As I pulled into the campus parking lot last Wednesday morning it struck me that ambushes in Baghdad resemble those that plagued our troops in the jungles of Vietnam a generation ago. While I walked from the car to my … More>

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America: 12/8/41 to 9/12/01 and Beyond

September 15, 2003 | by | Topic: The American Story

On Monday, Dec. 8, 1941, my mother’s 48-year-old father and her 20-year-old brother went to the Army recruiting office to volunteer to fight Japan. The Army took my uncle but rejected my grandfather based on age.

On Sept. 11, 2001, … More>

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The Horror … the Horror … the Horror

September 10, 2003 | by | Topic: The American Story

In Francis Ford Coppola’s 1980 allegory of the Vietnam War, “Apocalypse Now,” Marlon Brando plays renegade U.S. Army Special Forces Colonel Walter E. Kurtz, a highly-decorated soldier who had “split” from the Army by taking his band of Montagnard warriors … More>

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At the Crux of the Matter: God’s Truth Wins

August 7, 2003 | by | Topic: The Content of Character

The confirmation by the Episcopal Church, U.S.A., of Bishop Gene Robinson, a gay clergyman openly living in a homosexual relationship, is part of an immense struggle within the so-called seven “mainline” protestant denominations. In the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., in which … More>

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Gephardt’s Gaffe

July 29, 2003 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

Amid the several contortions in logic apparent in presidential candidate Representative Dick Gephardt’s (D-Missouri) July 22 presentation to the San Francisco Bar Association was the contention that the operational and tactical successes achieved by American forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom … More>

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Saigon to Baghdad: Reasoning by Historical Analogy

July 11, 2003 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

For over thirty years the American left raised the specter of Vietnam to oppose US military interventions from Central America to the Balkans to Afghanistan and, most recently, Iraq. Reasoning by historical analogy can be dangerous, as the Munich analogies … More>

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From the Stagnant Fen in the Lost World of the Progressive Swamp

June 23, 2003 | by | Topic: The Content of Character

“When logic and proportion
Have fallen down sloppy dead,
And the White Knight is talking backwards
And the Red Queens off with her head…”

– White Rabbit
Jefferson Airplane

Six weeks ago I entered the online conference “Spiritual Progressives: A … More>

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Up from Segregation: Coming Full Circle

June 6, 2003 | by | Topic: The American Story

The United States Supreme Court soon will deal with whether or not the University of Michigan can use race as a determinant in admissions. I thought the courts already settled this in the 1960s. At least that’s the way it … More>

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Ground Forces and the Future of Warfare

May 1, 2003 | by | Topic: The American Story

Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) was the most impressive use of combined arms to achieve a decisive victory in recent military history. Only Operation Just Cause, the hydra-like “take down” of Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega in December 1989 came close to … More>

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A Politician Whose Morality is Informed by Christian Convictions

April 23, 2003 | by | Topic: The Content of Character

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), a devout Roman Catholic, sowed the wind to reap a whirlwind when he stated regarding a pending Supreme Court case on the Texas sodomy law, “If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to … More>

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Freedom: It’s Worth a Fight

April 14, 2003 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

Operation Iraqi Freedom is indeed remarkable. In a little over three weeks American and British forces liberated Iraq from a despotic and murderous dictator. Iraqis and Kurds are celebrating their new-found freedom from fear and tyranny by dancing in the … More>

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A Grover by Another Name

March 21, 2003 | by | Topic: The DNA of Greatness

He’s 19 or 20 years old and a Marine Rifleman fighting in Iraq. His hair’s cut “high and tight” and he’s muscled, weighs about 150 pounds on average. He’d get carded in a bar and in six or seven years … More>

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Have You Asked Hannibal?

March 5, 2003 | by | Topic: The DNA of Greatness

There’s a serial killer in Louisiana who kidnaps, rapes and murders women. Another may be active in the Los Angeles area. Have the police in Louisiana and Los Angeles-and presumably the F.B.I.-gone to Anthony Hopkins for advice?

Who would know … More>

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The Morality of War

September 9, 2002 | by | Topic: The American Story

Jesus said, in Luke 11: 21-22, “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides … More>

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Don’t Dally, Let’s Roll!

August 30, 2002 | by | Topic: The American Story

Grand strategy on the international scale is not an American strength. Historically, Americans have been open, impatient, alternatively idealistic or pragmatic, and until the twentieth century isolated from serious external threats.

Still, successful powers from Rome to the British Empire … More>

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Camelot, Clausewitz or Clinton?

August 5, 2002 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

When President John F. Kennedy pledged in his inaugural address to “pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and success of liberty,” he unknowingly turned Carl von Clausewitz … More>

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On the Rantings of Peter Singer

July 15, 2002 | by | Topic: The Persuaders

Dr. Peter Singer, the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics in the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University, speaking to the 2002 Animal Rights Conference held in McLean, Va., earlier this month, gave a talk in which he … More>

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