Welcome to wtf, over — an email newsletter by Paul Szoldra.
View in your web browser
It's official. We have a new President of the United States. Donald J. Trump. It still feels weird to even write that, given that no one, probably not even Trump himself, could have predicted this end result as the 2016 election began.

But here we are. I'm probably speaking for plenty of people when I say that I'm really anxious over what comes next, and hope he's successful. I really do. There's so much uncertainty about Trump and what his actual policies are going to be, so for now, we'll just have to wait and see.

Mere moments after he was sworn-in, the White House website was updated with a number of his policy positions. Oddly enough, his number one priority for foreign policy is defeating ISIS. While I certainly think defeating ISIS should be a priority, I didn't expect it to be numero uno *cough* Russia in the Baltics *cough* China militarizing the South China Sea *cough*
The other big story of the week was former President Obama's commutation of Chelsea Manning's sentence. The move quite typically brought about anger from the right, while many on the left offered praise.

What I found more interesting was the military community's view of it. Defense Secretary Ash Carter reportedly advised against it. And the military writ large (at least from what I could see) was fairly pissed off about the affair. To many troops, Manning was a disgruntled soldier who stabbed his unit and the Army in the back, violating their trust. Even after more than six years in jail, Manning isn't going to get that back.

I found this essay by Jay Huwieler particularly fascinating. Titled "I knew Chelsea Manning in Basic Combat Training. Here's the story you haven't heard," Huweiler reveals much more of the character of Manning. The biggest thing I took away from the piece was that Manning should never have even made it through basic training, let alone been assigned to an intelligence unit.

I'm curious to see where Manning goes from here. Since her sentence was commuted, as opposed to receiving a pardon, she'll still be booted from the Army with a dishonorable discharge. My guess is she'll join some non-profit or start giving speeches. Just please, Lord save us, if we have to endure an Army private talking about US military strategy.
Other stories worth a mention: New documents reported by The Washington Post reveal internal feuding at the CIA over the Bush-era "enhanced interrogation program."

The New York Times also put out more details of the program on Thursday, with CIA memos sometimes describing techniques such as waterboarding in bureaucrat-ese: "water treatment was applied."

The Onion had a brilliant send-off for President Obama and his love of drones: "Departing Obama tearfully shoos away loyal drone following him out of White House."
wtf, over is a weekly newsletter for people interested in national security, military culture, and other stuff — delivered with no nonsense and a tinge of humor.
Hi, I'm Paul Szoldra. I'm the guy behind Duffel Blog, also a reporter for Business Insider, and a US Marine Corps veteran. Besides that, I'm a news junkie, a total smart ass, and a Sagittarius. Please swipe right.
Articles worth reading this weekend:
  • To Obama With Love, and Hate, and Desperation. A fascinating look inside the White House mail room, where dozens of staffers sift through millions of letters meant for the President of the United States.

    "This pile, that pile, another pile over there; pull from the middle if you want. The narrative was sloppy and urgent, America talking all at once. No filter. The handwriting, the ink, the choice of letterhead — every letter was a real object from a real person, and now you were holding it, and so now you were responsible for it."
Forwarded this email by a friend? If you enjoyed it, click here to sign up. It takes less than 5 seconds.

Follow me elsewhere:

Do you have something to say? A short opinion piece? A suggestion for an article I may have missed? Perhaps a recommendation for a good book to read that you'd like to share with fellow wtfo'ers? Whatever it is, you can always reach me by replying to this email.

Thank you so much for reading. —Paul
Copyright © 2017 wtf, over., All rights reserved.