I found this article while glancing at Thomas Ricks' blog at FP–It's about the issues that US troops have been facing in Afghanistan with the weapons they're assigned. I've commented on similar micro-level issues before and I think this AP article is pretty closely related, although it focuses more on the US side. I really think framing the issue in the way that the AP does undercuts our ability to understand what the problem is.
While browsing newly posted articles at the Social Science Research Network, I came across this paper by Garett Jones and Tim Kane. The abstract: In the midst of a major U.S. military effort in Iraq and the Middle East, economists should be able to assess the relationship between U.S. troops and growth. The necessity of military force in providing security for nation-building is a common assumption among policymakers and international affairs experts, but there has never been an econometric analysis of the impact of troops on growth. We use a newly constructed disaggregated dataset on the deployment of U.S. troops over the Continue reading Do Deployed US Troops foster Economic Growth?
Academics in all subfields of political science often lament that policy and military failures arise from the lack of communication between policy-makers and the academic community. The recent tragic death of Michael Bhatia highlights some of the issues involved with the tenuous collaboration between those who analyze data and those who generate them, and the sometimes unfortunate consequences. Bhatia was killed on May 7 in an explosion that targeted the American soldiers with whom he had been embedded in Afghanistan. Bhatia had been teaching at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies as well as working on a doctoral degree Continue reading When War and Academia Collide