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Sixth generation warfare: boner pills.

The little blue pill goes to war.
posted by mek on Dec 26, 2008 - 74 comments

Iraq finds peace and unity...

"...relatives and fans of the shoe-throwing journalist, who has become a national hero, have staged a sit-in in a park adjacent to the Green Zone, and their numbers are growing. Army tanks and helicopters surrounded the 400 protesters and demanded they disband, but authorities were apparently persuaded that Iraq didn't need its own Tiananmen Square massacre, so the protest continues. Indeed, al-Zeidi has become a unifying figure for an Iraq split along a deep sectarian divide, with Sunnis from Samarra reportedly joining the predominantly Shi'ite supporters of the shoe-thrower. At last report, the two groups were sitting side by side eating lamb and vegetables, with the soldiers guarding them joining in." Via [more inside]
posted by 445supermag on Dec 22, 2008 - 77 comments

Successful Bush jobs initiative

The shoe hurled at President George W. Bush has sent sales soaring at the Turkish maker. "Istanbul-based Baydan Ayakkabicilik ...has received orders for 300,000 pairs of the shoes since the attack, more than four times the number his company sold each year since the model was introduced in 1999. The company plans to employ 100 more staff to meet demand, he said..."
posted by mojohand on Dec 21, 2008 - 48 comments

Shoes thrown at President Bush in Iraq

Shoes thrown at President Bush in Iraq. As America prepares to give him the boot, President Bush was forced to do some atypical sole searching during a press conference in Iraq when an Iraqi television reporter flung both shoes at him. HuffP has MSNBC video without ads and adds: "In Iraqi culture, throwing shoes at someone is a sign of contempt. Iraqis whacked a statue of Saddam Hussein with their shoes after U.S. marines toppled it to the ground after the 2003 invasion." This is a "gross insult in the Arab world." Value added video.
posted by xorry on Dec 14, 2008 - 286 comments

Septimius Severus - the Barack Obama of the Roman Empire?

Is history repeating itself? Note quite 2000 years ago, the Roman hegemony got its first black leader - a former senator whose father was African and mother was white. Septimius Severus inherited a failed military campaign in Iraq and an ailing economy. He first resolves the situation in Iraq, undertakes a number of new building projects, stamps out governmental corruption, raises taxes to pay for wage increases (and kicks British arse a few times). Ultimately though, it all might have only hastened the Empire's decline.
posted by zaebiz on Dec 8, 2008 - 95 comments

Pride in your work? Iraqi Translators

For the past two months, Iraqi interpreters working with US forces have been forbidden from wearing masks. This decision was recently overturned. Ostensibly, this was because the security situation had become better. Some believe instead that this rule was instated to prevent asylum claims. Some think that it reflects traditional army FUBAR decision making. Personally, I think they are becoming more cautious because the back up plan is a piece of junk. [more inside]
posted by marmaduke_yaverland on Dec 6, 2008 - 22 comments

Iraqi Clink.

The BBC was given the first look by foreign media inside Baghdad's Rusafa prison.
posted by gman on Nov 26, 2008 - 5 comments

Friendly fire coverup

New friendly fire coverup: Army shreds files on dead soldiers. "Hours after Salon revealed evidence that two Americans were killed by a U.S. tank, not enemy fire, military officials destroyed papers on the men."
posted by homunculus on Nov 19, 2008 - 46 comments

A mass-casualty exercise EVERY SINGLE DAY

Join Devin Friedman at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, a city of broken men. During the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany has blossomed into the hub of one of the most amazing and miraculous wartime medical systems in modern history. Each week sees 14 flights into and out of the medical center, delivering dozens of war wounded from the battlefield and back out to the more specialized care centers back stateside; the rapidity of care and transit from the war fronts to stable medical care has decreased the mortality of serious wartime military injuries to just ten percent, from the high-20s/low-30s of previous wars. This is an incredibly nice look at the Landstuhl system from the perspective of a single planeload of injured soldiers.
posted by delfuego on Nov 17, 2008 - 5 comments

Team Lioness - Female Soldiers in Combat in Iraq

Team Lioness is the name given to a group of female soliders, (and the documentary about them) who were some of the first women in modern American warfare to engage in frontline combat — something that is officially forbidden by the military. "The female support soliders were assigned to the 1st Engineer Battalion and they were recruited to accompany Marine units during raids. Originally, the female soldiers were there to search and detain any women they came upon and to guard the unit's Arabic interpreter. Over time, however, as the situation in Ramadi deteriorated, the Marine units transitioned into a more offensive role, baiting insurgents into firefights in order to draw them out. Until officers higher up the chain got spooked over the possibility of a female soldier killed in combat and quietly disbanded the unit, members of Team Lioness were often right in the thick of things, including some of the fiercest urban firefights of the Iraq War."
posted by nooneyouknow on Nov 14, 2008 - 22 comments

The Downward Spiral

What killed Sgt. Gray? "He survived the war only to die at home. An exploration of his death and his combat unit's activities reveals what can happen to soldiers who feel the freedom -- or the pressure -- to do things in war they can't live with later." -- An American Radioworks documentary.
posted by empath on Nov 11, 2008 - 29 comments

UAVs over Sadr City

A sanitized look at the use of UAVs 1.9 miles above Sadr City, Iraq. [print version] [more inside]
posted by odinsdream on Nov 9, 2008 - 36 comments

Soldiers at War

Suzanne Opton's haunting soldier portraits, appearing on a billboard near you. (courtesy of Design Observer) [more inside]
posted by puckish on Nov 6, 2008 - 43 comments

Dissent: Voices of Conscience

"You can not come back to Canada until you have been criminally rehabilitated." Ann Wright, who had 29 years of military and govt service, resigned in protest on the eve of the Iraq War from her position as deputy ambassador to Mongolia. In this hour long talk, she discusses her story and the story of several others from various countries who resigned in protest. Her new book, Dissent: Voices of Conscience, details the story of 24 people who resigned in protest. [more inside]
posted by nooneyouknow on Nov 6, 2008 - 6 comments

Fixing Foreign Entanglements

Fred Kaplan gives President Obama suggestions on foreign policy repair.
posted by wittgenstein on Nov 6, 2008 - 22 comments

Wassupdate

The Wassup boys have had a tough eight years, but things are looking up. (SLYT.)
posted by william_boot on Oct 24, 2008 - 59 comments

America's Secret War

America's Secret War: charming Vanguard correspondent Mariana van Zeller travels to the Iraq-Iran border to investigate claims that the United States is supporting militant groups that are attacking Iran.
posted by Surfin' Bird on Oct 23, 2008 - 31 comments

US out of Iraq in the year 2525, er 2011

It's (semi) official: Washington and Baghdad have reached a final agreement after months of talks on a pact that would require U.S. forces to withdraw from Iraq by 2011, U.S. and Iraqi officials said on Wednesday. Additionally, "Iraq said it had secured the right to prosecute U.S. soldiers for serious crimes under certain circumstances" "Inside their bases, they will be under American law. Iraqi judicial law will be implemented in case these forces commit a serious and deliberate felony outside their military bases and when off duty." [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Oct 15, 2008 - 36 comments

Let's sit down and talk this over.

President Martti Ahtisaari wins the Nobel Peace Prize. A former Finnish President, an UN envoy, a social democrat, a school teacher and founder of Crisis Management Initiative has negotiated for peace in many troubled areas for three decades. Last fall and last summer CMI (without Ahtisaari's presence) called former Northern Ireland and South African militants to use their experience for finding Iraqi factions a way out of bloodshed. A plan for Kosovo. Negotiations ending 30-year conflict in Aceh, Indonesia. Negotiating Namibia independence. Got conflict? Mr. Ahtisaari is your man.
posted by Free word order! on Oct 10, 2008 - 16 comments

Isn't it a long way down?

Ain't this cute: The US State Dept. has outsourced a Private military contractor to investigate Blackwater. There are still some questions in the air for U.S. Investigations Services (USIS) regarding Ted Westhusing. There is Controversy In The Military; Will Anything Change? Remember that Military Rules Don't Apply when Outsourcing Fear. ( Related 1, 2, 3 ).
posted by adamvasco on Oct 9, 2008 - 41 comments

The path to 'victory'

Is This a 'Victory'? "We hear again and again from Washington that we have turned a corner in Iraq and are on the path to victory. If so, it is a strange victory."
posted by homunculus on Sep 28, 2008 - 52 comments

The Wars of John McCain

The Wars of John McCain. "John McCain believes the Vietnam War was winnable. Now he argues that an Obama administration would accept defeat in Iraq, with grave costs to American honor and national security. Is McCain’s quest for victory a reflection of an antiquated pre-Vietnam mind-set? Or of a commitment to principles we abandon at our peril? Is there any war McCain thinks can’t be won?"
posted by homunculus on Sep 26, 2008 - 93 comments

Baghdad Nights

Baghdad nights: evaluating the US military ‘surge’ using nighttime light signatures (PDF). A team of UCLA geographers using satellite imagery to track the amount of light emitted in Baghdad at night found that electricity use in Sunni neighborhoods fell prior to the surge and never returned, indicating that ethnic cleansing by Shiite militias drove the Sunnis away before the surge began and was largely responsible for the subsequent decrease in violence. [Via Passport]
posted by homunculus on Sep 23, 2008 - 33 comments

We regret to inform you.

In Their Boots is a new online "magazine show" about the impact of the wars on US servicemembers and their families. The latest episode features the founder of the American Widow Project, a new documentary and an organization dedicated to helping out other war widows across the country.
posted by lullaby on Sep 13, 2008 - 5 comments

Dog Days of Occupation of Iraq

Endgame in Iraq - 9/11 release of Sean Smith's latest video. This one, finished this summer, is of candid interviews with soldiers in the 101st Airborne in Baghdad. [more inside]
posted by Surfurrus on Sep 12, 2008 - 7 comments

"We are living in a metal world"

Iraqi heavy metal? Sure, there's Acrassicauda. They're named after a scorpion. The Guardian has an informative article about them. There's been a movie made about them, which the New York Times has written about. Four members of the group, more recently based in Turkey, were seeking refugee status. Are they any good? I dunno, I guess so, but I''m not all that keen on metal, myself, so I'm not the best person to ask. Just go listen to 'em at their MySpace page.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Sep 11, 2008 - 14 comments

The War Within

Bob Woodward has a new book released today titled The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006-2008. The Politico has a lengthy review by Mike Allen. Bloomberg also has an early, less flattering, review. [more inside]
posted by McGuillicuddy on Sep 8, 2008 - 24 comments

Don't Ask, Don't Tell -- Kill

The Surge is working [tm] -- but for gay Iraqis who face a murderous new spate of violence by theocrats and militiamen, notsomuch. "More than 430 gay men have been murdered in Iraq since 2003... [but] many officials say they feel that in a country at war, there are more pressing concerns than gay rights."
posted by digaman on Aug 27, 2008 - 58 comments

US Military Presence Worldwide

Mission Creep: "Bush and Rumsfeld may be history, but America's new global footprint lives on." [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Aug 26, 2008 - 33 comments

Ghaith Abdul-Ahad's Killing Fields

An Iraqi national with a fascinating background, Ghaith Abdul-Ahad has been documenting the situation in Iraq. His video report is in three parts on YouTube (1, 2, 3). Of particular note is the cemetery on the outskirts of Sadr City (at 2:13 of segment 2), which is disturbing beyond words.
posted by dbiedny on Aug 18, 2008 - 14 comments

Bacevich speaks to Moyer about the American Empire

Ret. Col. Andrew Bacevich speaks to Bill Moyers (transcript) about the American empire and his new book "The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism."
posted by geos on Aug 18, 2008 - 81 comments

Target Practice

“It’s amazing how many people are shooting. This is probably the heaviest shooting we’ve witnessed, and although it’s Memorial Day, you can’t just blame it on the United States. France, Denmark, Ireland, UK, Canada, so it’s not one place – almost global shooting.” [previously]
posted by oldleada on Aug 8, 2008 - 2 comments

From Shock and Awe to Culture Shock

Leaving Baghdad: Culture Shock in America. Personal reflections on coming to America from Iraqi sculptor and blogger, Ahmad Fadam, who recently took up a visiting fellowship at the University of North Carolina. (Via the NY Times' Baghdad Bureau.) [more inside]
posted by saulgoodman on Aug 6, 2008 - 21 comments

So...what are we doing there? Anyone? Anyone?

In a new GAO report it's noted that the Iraqi government will have a $79 billion dollar surplus by the end of the year (accumulated from 2005-2008). All of this is on top of the $48 billion dollars that the US has contributed to Iraq since 2005. [more inside]
posted by jourman2 on Aug 5, 2008 - 40 comments

Soldier's Legacy

"The blogger Andrew Sullivan linked to the Blade account and encouraged readers to complain to the Post. “I can see why outing someone who is alive and closeted is unethical,” he wrote. “Inning someone who is dead and was out is a function of utterly misplaced sensitivity, rooted in well-intentioned but incontrovertible homophobia.”" A Soldier's Legacy.
posted by wittgenstein on Aug 2, 2008 - 16 comments

To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.

Women Explorers and Travellers of Asia and the Middle East - In an age where women struggled for basic human rights, these individuals were literal trailblazers. Leaving their homelands for varying motivations (but often due to dissatisfaction with their social lot in life), they devoted their lives to "explore these antique lands before they are irretrievably caught up in the cacaphonic whirl of the modern world." [more inside]
posted by ikahime on Aug 1, 2008 - 10 comments

A Social History of the Surge

A Social History of the Surge by Juan Cole.
posted by homunculus on Jul 29, 2008 - 33 comments

Battlemind

Battlemind: Armor for Your Mind is a U.S. Army website designed to help, in part, families deal with deployment, including a series of cartoons and videos intended for children whose parents may be sent to or be returning from warzones. Part of the Army's Behavioral Health program, these give intriguing insight into military culture. [more inside]
posted by Rumple on Jul 29, 2008 - 6 comments

The Devastation of Iraq's Past

The Devastation of Iraq's Past. "Since the looting of the Iraq Museum in Baghdad in April 2003, the international press has accorded considerable space to the country's imperiled ancient heritage. Much of this coverage, however, has been devoted to the museum, the impressive campaign to recover its stolen works, and the continued struggle to reopen its galleries. Only occasional, anecdotal reports—mostly from the first year of the conflict—have borne witness to large-scale plunder of archaeological sites, to which the damage is irreversible."
posted by homunculus on Jul 23, 2008 - 9 comments

The psychological impact of war

For the former U.S. marine Michael Elliott the psychological impact of war is the latest and most challenging battle. Private Joseph Dwyer survived rocket-propelled grenades and shocking violence, made his way back to his family and friends, but couldn't escape the “demons” that followed him home. Experts say up to 30% of returning soldiers will require psychiatric help: a number not seen since the end of the Vietnam War. Today 60% of war veterans suffering from PTSD don't receive any help at all.
posted by Surfin' Bird on Jul 16, 2008 - 18 comments

Magnum Photos' two newest nominees

American-Dutch photographer Peter van Agtmael and English photographer Olivia Arthur are the two newest nominees recently welcomed into Magnum Photos. Agtmael's images of Afghanistan and Iraq are very powerful - he discusses his work in Conscientious. Arthur's recent work has focused on women's experiences in what she calls the Middle Distance. [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive on Jul 8, 2008 - 8 comments

Secret moves against Iran

Preparing the Battlefield: The Bush Administration steps up its secret moves against Iran.
posted by homunculus on Jun 29, 2008 - 147 comments

Waiting for the New Way Forward

Fables of the Reconstruction. According to a new GAO report [PDF of full report], the surge has resulted in security gains and reduced violence in Iraq, but the political goals the surge was supposed to buy time for mostly haven't happened. [more inside]
posted by kirkaracha on Jun 24, 2008 - 32 comments

Military tattoos in the age of Iraq

The Skins They Carried. Military tattoos in the age of Iraq. [more inside]
posted by thatwhichfalls on Jun 22, 2008 - 32 comments

"What are they gonna do, send you to Vietnam?"

[NSFW]"The following program is in living color and has been rated X by the Vietnam academy of maggots. The purpose of this program is to bring vital news, information and hard acid rock to the first termers and non-re-enlistees in the Republic of Vietnam. Radio First Termer operates under no Air Force regulations or manuals. In the event of a vice squad raid this program will automatically self-destruct." Radio First Termer was a pirate radio show broadcast by "Dave Rabbit," an anonymous USAF sergeant, for 63 hours between January 1st and 21st, 1971, out of the back room of a brothel in Saigon, gracing the dial at 69 MHz and 690 AM. Fearing reprisal from his superiors, Dave Rabbit then shut Radio First Termer down and, after returning to the States, went back to living a normal life. 34 years later, while helping his son on a homework assignment, Dave came across old recordings of his show. He's since revived his old persona via podcast, and has also brought Radio First Termer back to the warzone--to Baghdad, Iraq. [more inside]
posted by not_on_display on Jun 11, 2008 - 11 comments

"A venal, dysfunctional government"

"A venal, dysfunctional government." That is how the San Francisco Chronicle describes the Bush administration's handling of the war in Iraq. Now an investigation by the BBC's respected Panorama TV program estimates that around $23bn (£11.75bn) may have been lost, stolen or just not properly accounted for in Iraq. But they are not allowed to report fully because of US gagging order.
posted by Susurration on Jun 10, 2008 - 40 comments

Hurrah! We're all Free Now!

New Allegations Have Surfaced that the US Is Effectively Holding Iraq's Oil Revenues Hostage to Force through a Proposed Long-Term Strategic Alliance, Raising New Questions about the US' Committment to an Independent, Self-Governing Iraq. The Deal, Which in its Current Form is Said to Provide for an Indefinite American Military Presence and Blanket Immunity from Iraqi Law for All American Troops and Civilian Contractors, Is Understandably Not All That Popular with Many Iraqi Citizens. Iraqi Lawmakers Have Also Expressed Doubts about the Deal. (IRAQ WAR/POLITICS FILTER.)
posted by saulgoodman on Jun 6, 2008 - 79 comments

Senate Intelligence Committee Phase II Reports

Senate Intelligence Committee Unveils Final Phase II Reports on Prewar Iraq Intelligence. Phase II Report on Public Statements [PDF] and Phase II Report on DoD Policy Office [PDF]. This may come as a shock, but most of what the Bush Administration said about Iraq wasn't true. Republican co-chair Bond, Kit Bond, says the reports are "political theatre." [more inside]
posted by kirkaracha on Jun 5, 2008 - 70 comments

PCs in Iraq

As Close as Any Brother - Ali Hameed, an Iraqi NYT employee, writes about PCs in daily life in Iraq. Once a mortar fell near to our house. Everyone stopped what they were doing, I mean if it was eating, watching TV, sleeping — except Rana. She kept on typing and typing. I yelled at her: "Rana leave the PC and come here, you are sitting near the glass!" She told me, "Just a minute, I want to talk to my friend, she is online and it has been a long time since I connected with her." From NYT's Baghdad Bureau blog.
posted by russilwvong on May 29, 2008 - 4 comments

Remembering Ricky

A war widow at age 20. That is all.
posted by Kibbutz on May 24, 2008 - 175 comments

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