Brian Mockenhaupt

The Last Patrol

In September 2009, the second platoon of Charlie Company arrived in Afghanistan with 42 men. Ten months later, nearly half had been killed or wounded, mostly in the Arghandab Valley—a key to controlling southern Afghanistan. Now these 82nd Airborne troops were getting ready to leave the Arghandab behind. They had one more dangerous job to do: a joint mission with the untried artillery unit that would replace them patrolling the fields, orchards, and villages they called the Devil’s Playground.

Man Versus Afghanistan

Divided by geography, cursed by corruption, stunted by poverty, staggered by a growing insurgency—Afghanistan seems beyond salvation. Is it? From Somalia and the Balkans to Iraq, the U.S. military has been embroiled in conflicts that reflect an age-old debate: Can individual agency triumph over deep-seated historical, cultural, ethnic, and economic forces? Drawing on his experiences in Iraq, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, Stanley McChrystal, has his own answer to that question.

Dear President Bush,

Americans want, and need, to move on from the debate over torture in Iraq and Afghanistan and close this tragic chapter in our nation’s history. Prosecuting those responsible could tear apart a country at war. Instead, the best way to confront the crimes of the past is for the man who authorized them to take full responsibility. An open letter to President George W. Bush. (Photo by Christopher Morris/VII)

Prophetic Justice

The United States is now prosecuting suspected terrorists on the basis of their intentions, not just their actions. But in the case of Islamic extremists, how can American jurors fairly weigh words and beliefs when Muslims themselves can’t agree on what they mean?

Jihad 2.0

With the loss of training camps in Afghanistan, terrorists have turned to the Internet to find and train recruits. The story of one pioneer of this effort—the enigmatic “Irhabi 007”—shows how

Big Brother Is Listening

The NSA has the ability to eavesdrop on your communications—landlines, cell phones, e-mails, BlackBerry messages, Internet searches, and more—with ease. What happens when the technology of espionage outstrips the law’s ability to protect ordinary citizens from it?

The Coming Normalcy?

Whatever else the American occupation of Iraq may be, it serves as a laboratory for ideas about how to wring stability out of chaos—the great foreign-policy challenge of the twenty-first century

Five Days in Fallujah

Since the beginning of spring Fallujah has been at the heart of U.S. military preoccupations in Iraq. Our correspondent accompanied the first unit of Marines to assault the city after the murder and mutilation last April of four American civilians. He filed this report

Blind Into Baghdad

The U.S. occupation of Iraq is a debacle not because the government did no planning but because a vast amount of expert planning was willfully ignored by the people in charge. The inside story of a historic failure

The Dark Art of Interrogation

The most effective way to gather intelligence and thwart terrorism can also be a direct route into morally repugnant terrain. A survey of the landscape of persuasion

The Kabul-ki Dance

Inside the cockpit with the pilots and wizzos of the 391st Fighter Squadron, the top guns of America's air war in Afghanistan

Tales of the Tyrant

What does Saddam Hussein see in himself that no one else in the world seems to see? The answer is perhaps best revealed by the intimate details of the Iraqi leader's daily life

What Went Wrong?

By all standards of the modern world—economic development, literacy, scientific achievement—Muslim civilization, once a mighty enterprise, has fallen low. Many in the Middle East blame a variety of outside forces. But underlying much of the Muslim world's travail may be a simple lack of freedom