CNN.com's 'Home and Away'
initiative honors the lives of U.S. and coalition troops who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. The extensive data visualization project tells the story of where and how the lives of these troops began and ended. The project is a sobering look at the human cost of two wars in the Middle East, and as such is restrained with a sober palette of blacks, whites and greys. [via
] [more inside]
America & Nation Building:
John Clint Williamson, a career federal prosecutor, now serving as the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, gives a TEDx talk on how to rebuild failed states, from the Balkans to Iraq. Sounds similar to Thomas P.M. Barnett
's call for a U.S.-run International "SysAdmin
Williamson's speech at Seton Hall: SLYT
They Fled from Our War.
"Among the many consequences of the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, the plight of millions of Iraqi refugees is seldom mentioned. The stories of such people as Burhan Abdulnour, whom we met in Sweden in 2008, have hardly been told."
on touring with the USO, Black Flag T-Shirts, Vanity Fair
and the Tea Party.
Wikileaks posts a classified US military video
(17:47) to YouTube. It depicts "the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad -- including two Reuters news staff." Supporting documents from military whistleblowers appear at the site they set up, Collateral Murder
Suicide bombers from Lebanon, the West Bank, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Chechnya have two things in common: they are Muslim and they live under occupation.
University of Chicago Professor Dr. Robert A. Pape, who has assembled a comprehensive database of every (or nearly every) suicide bombing since 1980, has been the most prominent proponent of the view that it is occupation, not religion, that is the single most important motivating factor for suicide bombers... more than 95% of suicide bombers come from countries under occupation...
Pape and his colleagues at the Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism, ask What Makes Chechen Women So Dangerous?
-Via The Washington Note
Iraq gave us the heavy-metal band Acrassicauda
), who have recently relocated to the US and released their first EP
. In Iran, indie-pop is a dangerously subversive underground phenomenon
, with innocuous-sounding twee-pop bands hiding from persecution by the authorities. And now Afghanistan has Kabul Dreams
, a duo who dress in skinny jeans and cardigans and write songs inspired by British guitar bands like Oasis, Radiohead and The Beatles.
The Pleasure of Flinching.
"In the viral video realm, amateur Iraq war footage ranks just behind pornography, celebrities’ drunken exploits, and shark attacks. Do these videos represent what Sontag called our 'right to view,' or are they a porn medium made from leftovers of a world filming its self-destruction?" [Via]
Searching for Saddam
: how the U.S. military used social networking to capture the Iraqi dictator
For quite some time, I’d wanted to make a screwball comedy. A fast-talking, wildly acclerating ensemble comedy that gets stupider and stupider. I never imagined it would be about a war, and inspired by a very recent war at that. But Simon, Jesse, Tony and I all felt that the more we found out about the dysfunction in Washington and the naivety in London leading up to the Iraq invasion, the more obvious it was that the only way to deal accurately and fairly with this topic was as a screwball comedy.
- The Oscar nominated script for In The Loop
, with an introduction by writer Armando Iannucci.
Earlier today, the first Viet Nam veteran ever elected to congress, died.
(as of this past Saturday, Pennsylvania’s longest serving congressman) was the 19 term representative of Pennsylvania’s 12th district, most notably the home of Johnstown
, and which for most of his service included Shanksville
. He was a hawkish, conservative Democrat, infamous for his involvement in the Abscam controversy
, and most recently the FBI’s inquiry into the lobbying firm PMA
. He could be said to have been very representative, and certainly very supportive
of his blue collar district—Pro-gun
, and at first a supporter of the invasion of Iraq
, but eventually one of its greatest critics
. But that criticism came at a price
John Murtha was 77. [more inside]
2010 Top Ten "Dubious Polling" Awards
of the Art Science Research Laboratory
's Media Ethics Project
. Highlighting "the most risible and outrageous pronouncements by polling organizations". Fuzzy Math Award goes to Fox News Network
, and the Fox in Sheep's Clothing Award to Scott Rasmussen
("Fox News’ favorite pollster"). Stonewalling/Coverup Award winners are Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
and Gilbert Burnham
, over the Lancet 2006 survey of Iraqi deaths
A farewell to Yasser.
The Times of London's driver of seven years in Baghdad was killed in a bombing this week. This was his story. [more inside]
The UK Government has banned
the export of the ADE651
to Afghanistan and Iraq. [more inside]
Insurgents Hack U.S. Drones.
"Militants in Iraq have used $26 off-the-shelf software to intercept live video feeds from U.S. Predator drones
, potentially providing them with information they need to evade or monitor U.S. military operations." [Via]
"Liberal Hawk" Peter Galbraith
played a major role in justifying the American invasion of Iraq. Later he helped write the new Iraqi constitution. Turns out he failed to disclose the hundreds of millions
he stands to make on Kurdish oil fields, in part because of his engineering of the same constitution
to put him in a favorable business position. Another blogger remembers the good ol' days of 2003 when the media and politicians were shocked --shocked!
-- that anyone would dare suggest that the invasion and occupation of Iraq was "all about oil."
Iraq Swears by Bomb Detector U.S. (Correctly) Sees as Useless.
Similar to the now debunked Sniffex
(as seen previously
on Metafilter), the ADE651 detects explosives, firearms, grenades, narcotics, elephant ivory, bank notes, and according to its manufacturer's website
, "human research." [more inside]
Tricked on Halloween
(in the nicest way imaginable).
This is how an American soldier is made.
A fascinating photo essay that details 27 months in the life of new US Army recruit Ian Fisher. It chronicles his recruitment, induction, training, deployment and finally, his return from combat.
The number of refugees from Iraq and Afghanistan seeking asylum in Europe
continues to grow. Recently, despite criticism
from the UN, deportations
have begun. Most of those on a recent flight to Iraq were forced to return
to the UK (the nationalities of some remains unclear
, as does their fate
). Furthermore, the move to deport has meant denying that Iraq and Afghanistan are each in a state of war
Jamie Leigh Jones alleges she was drugged and gang-raped
by co-workers at Camp Harper in Iraq while employed by KBR. As explained by Senator Al Franken in this youtube clip
, Ms. Jones had signed a contract requiring binding arbitration of employment related disputes. Sen. Franken introduced Amendment 2588
, which would prohibit any use of Federal funds for Federal contractors that require such agreements. The amendment passed 68-30 (roll call)
. [more inside]
Mazen had had his pectoral muscles cut off. There were two drill holes in Namir’s left leg, below the knee. Both had been shot in the head, apparently from close range. “Two young men were killed on Thursday,” an unnamed Sadr City official told the Reuters news agency in a story published that same day. “They were sexual deviants. Their tribes killed them to restore their family honor.” How a few New Yorkers are trying to save the hunted gay men of Iraq.
"After six years of humiliation, of indignity, of killing and violations of sanctity, and desecration of houses of worship
, the killer comes, boasting, bragging about victory and democracy. He came to say goodbye to his victims and wanted flowers in response.
"Put simply, that was my flower to the occupier, and to all who are in league with him, whether by spreading lies or taking action, before the occupation or after."
Muntadhar al Zaidi
, the journalist sentenced to three years of prison for assaulting a foreign leader after throwing his shoes at President Bush
, has been released from prison
after serving only nine months. [more inside]
Adam Davidson, of Planet Money
fame, was a reporter in Iraq. While there, Davidson decided to rent a house. To pay the rent, he decided to sublet rooms out to other journalists. You can read about his misadventures as a landlord in Baghdad here
, and listen to the account on this episode of This American Life
The Iraqi who saved Norway from oil:
requires registration, but it's worth it.
...dependency on natural resources can poison a country’s economic and political system. Inflows of hard currency push up prices, squeezing the competitiveness of non-oil businesses and starving them of capital. As a result, productivity growth withers (a phenomenon known as “Dutch disease” after the negative effects of North Sea gas production on the Netherlands). Meanwhile, the state institutions in charge of oil often become corrupt and evade democratic control. And oil-rich states almost invariably waste the income it brings, many ending their oil booms deeper in debt than when they started.
The Road to Moloch
. A short film.
Will the genre of rag-tag band of (battle-hardened soldiers/sex-crazy students/escaped convicts) stumbles upon (cave in the desert/cabin in the woods/house on the hill) and unearths (unspeakable zombie terror/undead apocalypse/soul stealing demons) ever
Three female US soldiers talk about their experiences
in the military. (sound starts automatically) [more inside]
- It is the poet's obligation, wrote Plato, to bear witness.
With the official inquiry into Iraq imminent and the war in Afghanistan returning dead teenagers; Carol Duffy
, recently elected UK Poet Laureate
invited a range of her fellow poets to bear witness, each in their own way, to these matters of war.
More about the poets inside: [more inside]
Just released: Saddam Hussein Talks to the FBI
. FBI special agents carried out 20 formal interviews and at least 5 "casual conversations" with former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein after his capture by U.S. troops in December 2003, according to secret FBI reports released as the result of Freedom of Information Act requests by the National Security Archive.
Via this Washington Post article.
Photographer Richard Mosse's
pictures of Saddam Hussein's palaces
A Gay Soldier's Husband
— In the backdrop of the conservative activist Supreme Court's recent decision against hearing a challenge
to the US military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
policy, one gay American relates the difficulties he faces having a partner on active duty in Iraq. In Iraq itself, death squads
continue to murder gay and lesbian Iraqis, while American occupying forces look the other way
Jeremy Scahill talked with Bill Moyers recently
about the continued role and increasing centrality of private military contractors in Afghanistan and Iraq, the use of military drones, and other issues related to these two ongoing wars. [more inside]
At least one picture shows an American soldier apparently raping a female prisoner while another is said to show a male translator raping a male detainee. Further photographs are said to depict sexual assaults on prisoners with objects
] including a truncheon, wire and a phosphorescent tube. Another apparently shows a female prisoner having her clothing forcibly removed to expose her breasts. Detail of the content emerged from Major General Antonio Taguba, the former army officer who conducted an inquiry into the Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq. [more inside]
Heads in the Sand.
"The so-called Sunni Awakening, in which American forces formed tactical alliances with local sheikhs, has been credited with dampening the insurgency in much of Iraq. But new evidence suggests that the Sunnis were offering the same deal as early as 2004—one that was eagerly embraced by commanders on the ground, but rejected out of hand at the highest levels of the Bush administration."
"In the days surrounding the invasion of Iraq, cover sheets
...began adorning top-secret intelligence briefings produced by [former defense secretary] Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon. The sheets juxtaposed war images with inspirational Bible quotes and were delivered by Rumsfeld himself to the White House, where they were read by the man who, after September 11, referred to America's war on terror as a 'crusade.'" [more inside]
Rachel Maddow recently interviewed former head of the Iraq Survey Group Charles Duelfer
- who claims that Washington suggested using stronger interrogation techniques against an Iraqi official who was already cooperating
- and former NBC News investigative producer Robert Windrem
who says two sources confirmed to him that the suggestion from Washington was to use waterboarding, that the purpose was to find a link between Al-Qaida and Iraq, and that it came from the Vice President's office
. [more inside]
The U.S. replaces the top General in Afghanistan
after he'd held his post for less than a year. General McKiernan
is being replaced by Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, who came under some criticism in the past
for the treatment of detainees by his Special Operations forces under his command. He is credited
with the death of Al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab Zarqawi in 2006, and the Obama administrations hopes he will bring unconventional thinking to the use of force in Afghanistan. He is already working on some new ideas in military civilian collaboration
, but does he play poker
? Will he embrace the population-centered warfare approach
? Will this General, a prominent figure in Bush's war on terror, be an effective tool in the use of Smart Power
, or just make matters worse
What lingering doubts anyone might have about the case for war in Iraq took another body blow today, as the former deputy director of MI6, claimed Britain had been "dragged into" the war
. [more inside]
Iraq air raids hit mostly women and children.
"Air strikes and artillery barrages have taken a heavy toll among the most vulnerable of the Iraqi people, with children and women forming a disproportionate number of the dead. Analysis
carried out for the research group Iraq Body Count (IBC)
found that 39 per cent of those killed in air raids by the US-led coalition were children and 46 per cent were women. Fatalities caused by mortars, used by American and Iraqi government forces as well as insurgents, were 42 per cent children and 44 per cent women."
"Get a grip, man. you can't let this wash over you. You have no control over what happens right now. But you can do one thing. Get up on top of the fear. Get above it. " Louis C.K.
) is writing about his recent experience on a USO tour in the Middle East. It's funny and genuine, and he's a decent photographer
. Also, Dino Stamatopoulos
"The war has uprooted 4.7 million people from their homes. So where are they?"
With the election of Obama and the economic crisis, the topic of Iraq has fallen by the wayside. As hard as things may be right now, Iraqis
have been going through far worse for years now. If you're curious about what they have to say
, hear them tell it in their own words. Iraqi Refugee Stories. [more inside]
Iraqi shoe-thrower sentenced to three years in jail.
Can an internet campaign for his release be far behind?