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Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

Council on Foreign Relations Gayle Tzemach Lemmon is a regular contributor to Defense One. Lemmon is also a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of The Dressmaker of Khair Khana.
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Obama Insiders Frustrated Over Reluctance to Attack Syria and Iraq

August 22, 2014 President Barack Obama recently dismissed his critics who argue that arming the Syrian moderate opposition long ago would have made a difference in the fight against Bashar al-Assad. But louder than ever those critics – some from within his own administration – are saying, “We told you so.” That notion, ...

The White House Must Delegate More National Security, Officials Say

August 4, 2014 From the Gaza war to Ukraine, Iraq, Syria and the Afghan elections, there are so many conflicts occurring at once that the Obama administration’s tight-gripped method of handling global crises at the top is starting to show cracks. Former senior Defense Department and State Department officials are saying the growing ...

‘You Have to Kill Them’ Says Former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq

July 3, 2014 For months warnings have sounded over the rising threat posed by extremists operating unimpeded in Syria. Now those fighters are cutting their way through Iraq and plunging the region into a sectarian bloodbath with consequences that would stretch well beyond the Middle East. So exactly where do the ambitions of ...

It's the Afghan War, Not Bergdahl, That America Has Forgotten

June 5, 2014 Less than one percent of Americans have fought this 13 years of battle in their country’s name. And now America’s forgotten, invisible war in Afghanistan is suddenly and finally being remembered by a public that largely thought the fight had ended. It took the murky circumstances regarding a POW's return ...

Conditions on the Ground, Not Deadlines, Should Dictate Afghan Withdrawal

May 28, 2014 When President Barack Obama spoke about Afghanistan at the White House at West Point this week, four words were noticeably absent: “conditions on the ground.” The president announced plans to keep 9,800 U.S. troops in Afghanistan through 2015, provided the next Afghan president signs the bilateral security deal, then to ...

Searching for the Obama Doctrine

April 30, 2014 Americans are more wary of foreign involvements than they have been in recent decades, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll out Wednesday. And so are their leaders. While the United States winds down a decade of war, questions surrounding America’s desire to pull back from the world have ...

Gen. Allen: It’s Time Obama Commits To Staying in Afghanistan

April 6, 2014 Now that this weekend’s seeming successful and fairly peaceful presidential vote is over, the Obama administration quickly should make a public vow to keep United States troops beyond the end of the year, a former top U.S. war commander said Sunday. Ret. Marine Corps Gen. John Allen, who led U.S. ...

After Afghan Election, Debate Over Post-2014 Troops Continues

April 3, 2014 As Afghans head to the polls Saturday to elect their next president, those in Washington still pushing for a lasting United States commitment to the country are hoping fervently that things go well – or at least well enough – to keep both the Obama administration and the American public ...

Iraq’s Do-Nothing Legacy

March 20, 2014 Eleven years have now passed since United States armed forces invaded Iraq and pushed Saddam Hussein from power. But the political reverberations of the 2003 military intervention continue to be felt. And they have only grown stronger with the distance of time. The 2003 invasion now looms over every decision ...

Obama’s Foreign Policy Reality Check

March 6, 2014 President Barack Obama came to Washington in 2008 pledging to end the Iraq war and refocus on Afghanistan, the “war we have to win.” The idea was to settle the fights America already was involved in and to be certain not to embark upon new ones. Despite approving a troop ...