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I had this muzzle on with all these wounds and I couldn’t tell anybody

Behind the Mask - Revealing the Trauma of War "Brain injuries caused by blast events change soldiers in ways many can’t articulate. Some use art therapy, creating painted masks to express how they feel."
posted by gwint on Jan 23, 2015 - 6 comments

Beyond belief: HeroRats 🐀

HeroRats: "If people step on landmines, they will get hurt, but the HeroRats are too small to press the button that explodes the bomb. Then people can dig up the landmine without it exploding and no one gets hurt." (PDF document). The associated Twitter account: @HeroRATs. They tweet at celebrities for the LOLs and to raise awareness, as well as interacting with fellow Tweeters. [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Jan 21, 2015 - 20 comments

Confusion Through Sand

Confusion Through Sand. (YouTube.) An animated short in which "a nineteen year old finds himself alone in a hostile desert, scared as hell, and trained to react." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Jan 21, 2015 - 2 comments

"Frankly, I had enjoyed the war."

Adrian Carton de Wiart: The unkillable soldier
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jan 6, 2015 - 13 comments

Follow the trend lines, not the headlines.

How can we get a less hyperbolic assessment of the state of the world? Certainly not from daily journalism. News is about things that happen, not things that don’t happen. We never see a reporter saying to the camera, “Here we are, live from a country where a war has not broken out”—or a city that has not been bombed, or a school that has not been shot up. As long as violence has not vanished from the world, there will always be enough incidents to fill the evening news. And since the human mind estimates probability by the ease with which it can recall examples, newsreaders will always perceive that they live in dangerous times.
posted by ellieBOA on Jan 2, 2015 - 36 comments

US drone strikes: data analysis

41 men targeted, but 1,147 people killed: New analysis of data conducted by the human rights group Reprieve raises questions about the accuracy of intelligence guiding 'precise' drone strikes.
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Dec 19, 2014 - 84 comments

"As such, Helen herself has a beauty rating of 1.186 helens"

in the iliad helen speaks the last lament for hector. the only man in troy who showed her kindness is slain—and now, helen says, πάντες δέ με πεφρίκασιν, all men shudder at me. she doesn't speak in the iliad again. homer isn’t cruel to helen; her story is cruel enough.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 18, 2014 - 28 comments

Worse than a Defeat

The British army is back in Warminster and its other bases around the country. Its eight-year venture in southern Afghanistan is over. The extent of the military and political catastrophe it represents is hard to overstate. It was doomed to fail before it began, and fail it did, at a terrible cost in lives and money. How bad was it? In a way it was worse than a defeat, because to be defeated, an army and its masters must understand the nature of the conflict they are fighting. Britain never did understand, and now we would rather not think about it. (SLLRB)
posted by Jakey on Dec 11, 2014 - 47 comments

Veteran Art Project

The Veteran Art Project is a visual experiment by 27-year-old photographer Devin Mitchell "who is exploring a part of the veteran’s experience that is sometimes difficult to articulate." [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Dec 5, 2014 - 2 comments

Winter War

Finland commemorates the 75 anniversary of the start of the Winter War today with services held across the country. Hostilities began on 30 November 1939 with an attack by the Soviet Union including bombing raids on the capital Helsinki. via
posted by infini on Nov 30, 2014 - 21 comments

According to one senior official, “He wasn’t up to the job.”

President Obama will announce today that Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is submitting his resignation. According to the New York Times, "The officials described Mr. Obama’s decision to remove Mr. Hagel, 68, as a recognition that the threat from the Islamic State would require a different kind of skills than those that Mr. Hagel was brought on to employ." [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Nov 24, 2014 - 98 comments

Medical Legacy of the War 1914-1918

2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War 1: a pivotal time for Europe and a key transition point for medical science. The Lancet marks this centenary with a three part series ‘Legacy of the war 1914-1918’. The three papers examine the impact of World War 1 on infectious disease, military psychiatry, and amputation related pain.
posted by gemutlichkeit on Nov 13, 2014 - 3 comments

Praise for the glories of war and the futility of peace.

"Here's to words like courage, sacrifice, discipline, glory, maimed, dead. Here's to war." Joe Frank on war. [more inside]
posted by dancestoblue on Nov 11, 2014 - 31 comments

A lieutenant general's op-ed about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

Lieutenant General Daniel P. Bolger, recently retired from 35 years in the US Army, reflects on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. "As a general, I got it wrong."
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Nov 10, 2014 - 30 comments

the cult of the uniform

You don’t protect my freedom: Our childish insistence on calling soldiers heroes deadens real democracy [more inside]
posted by flex on Nov 10, 2014 - 221 comments

Mechawhales!

In 2037 mankind almost destroyed its own planet through greed, pollution and war. Salvation came through the evolution of a new species of hyper intelligent whales. Via telepathy the whales send their grief over the planets sorry state into the minds of every man and woman on earth. This made humanity rethink its ways and the Whale-Human Alliance was founded. With the guidance of the wise whales mankind healed its planet and began to peacefully explore the universe. But peace was not meant to last long. In deep space humanity encountered an evil race of marauding aliens bent on enslaving anyone in its path. Vastly outclassed by the weapons and fighting skills of the aliens the humans had to turn to their brother whales to defend them against this new threat...[2:55] [all videos contain animated violence and gore]
[more inside]
posted by Small Dollar on Nov 5, 2014 - 23 comments

It’s so starving, Aleppo, it’s so exhausted

It sounds like a jet approaching, and all of you, for a matter of instants, stare at one another, your words stifled in your mouths; but it’s only a gate that slides and shuts. A hatchet chopping firewood is a burst from a Kalashnikov; the step of a woman’s heel, a sniper shot. We look normal, in Aleppo. Fear is a cancer that wears us out only from within. [more inside]
posted by standardasparagus on Oct 26, 2014 - 25 comments

"When you hold a weapon, you don't cry, you just shoot."

Commander Pigeon is a collector of lost and exiled men. The quietest soldier once belonged to the Taliban. He had been captured by local police, escaped, and having heard about Commander Pigeon, walked miles to reach her home. He fell to his knees and begged for protection. She made him swear loyalty. I asked how she knew he wouldn't rebel. "I'm watching him closely," she said. "I'm converting Taliban to normal people."

Jen Percy for TNR: My Night With Afghanistan's Only Female Warlord, Commander Pigeon.
[more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Oct 15, 2014 - 6 comments

How To Talk To Terrorists

Above all, what these experiences demonstrate is that there isn’t really an alternative to talking to the terrorists if you want the conflict to end. Hugh Orde, the former chief constable in Northern Ireland, rightly says, “There is no example that I know of, of terrorism being policed out” – or fully defeated by physical force – anywhere in the world. Petraeus said that it was clear in Iraq that “we would not be able to kill or capture our way out of the industrial-strength insurgency that was tearing apart the very fabric of Iraqi society”. If you can’t kill them all, then sooner or later you come back to the same point, and it is a question of when, not whether, you talk. If there is a political cause then there has to be a political solution. [more inside]
posted by philip-random on Oct 10, 2014 - 36 comments

Why War?

It's a question Americans should be asking. Professor in the history department at West Point, Gregory A. Daddis, explores the changing utility of war in the post WWII environment. 'As the United States charges once more into war, little debate has centered on the actual utility of war. Instead, policymakers and pundits have focused their comments on combating the latest danger to our nation and its interests as posed by Islamic State militants.' 'For well over a decade — one might suggest over multiple decades — the United States has been engaged in war, yet so few in the public sphere seem willing to ask, as a Vietnam-era hit song did: “War, what is it good for?” It seems plausible to argue that war is a phenomenon increasingly serving itself rather than any durable political goals.' [more inside]
posted by VikingSword on Oct 4, 2014 - 352 comments

The zeal these young men have for killing surprises me.

"Many Marines I talk to are skeptical of the aims used to justify the war - fighting terrorism, getting weapons of mass destruction (which they never see). Quite a few accept that this war was probably fought for oil." 'The Killer Elite', Evan Wright's coverage of a US Marine Corps Battalion in the 2003 Iraq War (later developed into the book and TV series Generation Kill). [more inside]
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Sep 25, 2014 - 69 comments

"I was the bravest in battle - I never lost my wits"

In 2008, Outside the Wire, a theater company, began productions of Sophocles' Ajax and Philoctetes to audiences of soldiers and marines returned from Iraq and Afghanistan.
And whither must I go? What end, what purpose Could urge thee to it? I am nothing, lost And dead already. Wherefore- tell me, wherefore?- Am I not still the same detested burthen, Loathsome and lame? Again must Philoctetes Disturb your holy rites? If I am with you How can you make libations? That was once Your vile pretence for inhumanity. Oh! may you perish for the deed! The gods Will grant it sure, if justice be their care And that it is I know. You had not left Your native soil to seek a wretch like me Had not some impulse from the powers above, Spite of yourselves, ordained it. O my country! And you, O gods! who look upon this deed, Punish, in pity to me, punish all The guilty band! Could I behold them perish, My wounds were nothing; that would heal them all.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Sep 21, 2014 - 14 comments

Geopolitical duct tape and costly disasters.

...the reality of ISIS and what this group seeks is opaque to the public, and to policymakers not clued into the private salons where the details of secrets can be discussed. Even among those policymakers, the compartmentalized national security establishment means that no one really grasps the whole picture. The attempt to get the US into a war in Syria a year ago was similarly opaque. The public cannot make well-informed decisions about national security choices because information critical to such choices is withheld from them. It is withheld from them at the source, through the classification-censorship process, then by obfuscations in the salons and think tanks of DC and New York, and then finally through the bottleneck of the mass media itself.
The Solution to ISIS Is the First Amendment by Matt Stoler [more inside]
posted by ennui.bz on Sep 17, 2014 - 39 comments

A once peaceful nation

Close Your Heart
A long-form article from Slate about the Central African Republic’s sectarian civil war.
posted by Joe in Australia on Sep 2, 2014 - 7 comments

Let's be clear: Russia is invading Ukraine right now

Russia has invaded Ukraine opening a second front to the south to open a land-bridge between Russia and Crimea. The Southern Front Catastrophe – August 27, 2014 translated from Ukraine has military details. Map of Operations Aug 10-27 (detail Mariupol and detail Lugansk pink/red is separatists). So far it's been a stealth invasion and slow escalation, today Russian troops, armor columns and artillery have openly crossed the border (video). Thousands more Russian troops are amassed. Ukraine has announced a reinstatement of the draft to commence in the Fall, and is demanding EU military assistance. An emergency UN meeting is currently in session (the 24th). Russia claims "No Russian forces are crossing in any point the border of Ukraine."
posted by stbalbach on Aug 28, 2014 - 359 comments

What's that rocket?

Arms Identification With Wikipedia, Holiday Photographs, and Shoe Size Conversion Charts - from the recently launched bellin¿cat 'by and for citizen investigative journalist'. [previously] [more previously]
posted by unliteral on Aug 20, 2014 - 9 comments

Run you cowardly Italian!

On 16 April 1746, the Jacobite forces of Charles Edward Stuart fought loyalist troops commanded by William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. In 1964, Peter Watkins wrote and produced a docudrama for the BBC, from the perspective of a documentary crew on the ground, depicting the battle and its aftermath: Culloden. [1:12:14]
posted by cthuljew on Aug 18, 2014 - 15 comments

Vice in the Islamic State

Vice has obtained "unprecedented access" inside the Islamic State in a 5-part documentary The Islamic State. War photographer and corespondent Medyan Dairieh spent weeks alone among the Jihadists. Other films by Dairieh include Rebels of the Bridge, and A City Left in Ruins: The Battle for Aleppo
posted by stbalbach on Aug 12, 2014 - 97 comments

"If we’re big enough to fight a war ...

… we should be big enough to look at it." From The Atlantic, The War Photo No One Would Publish
posted by flapjax at midnite on Aug 8, 2014 - 94 comments

An essay on the biology of pregnancy

"The mammal mother works hard to stop her children from taking more than she is willing to give. The children fight back with manipulation, blackmail and violence. Their ferocity is nowhere more evident than in the womb [...] Pregnancy is a lot more like war than we might care to admit."
posted by daniel_charms on Aug 8, 2014 - 28 comments

A beacon of conscience in Australia's capital

Featured in the Australian literary journal Meanjin, Restless Indigenous Remains is a Paul Daley essay on how the Australian government's National Museum handles the remains of Indigenous people accumulated during Australia's colonial period. An engaging, thoughtful and sobering piece, it covers the history of 'remains collection' in Australia, as well as the current debate concerning whether the Indigenous defenders against colonial expansion should be recognized by the Australian War Memorial.
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Aug 6, 2014 - 6 comments

to end all wars

First world war – a century on, time to hail the peacemakers
"On the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War, we should remember those who tried to stop a catastrophe" [more inside]
posted by flex on Aug 4, 2014 - 27 comments

War + communicable disease = the greatest pandemic ever known

The Great War helped create the influenza pandemic of 1918, which eventually brought an early end to the Great War. "I had a little bird, Its name was Enza.  I opened the window, And in-flu-enza. ~ Children's Skipping Rhyme, 1918"
posted by Dashy on Jul 31, 2014 - 14 comments

Beauty As Duty during WW2

Putting on a brave face. It isn’t easy to do without, but to do without while giving the impression that little has changed offers necessary courage to one living in an otherwise terrifying situation. Women had no power over the volatile state of the world, and after conscription was introduced, they also lost control over which jobs they held and where these jobs took them; if they could succeed in appearing strong and unruffled on the outside, perhaps on the inside they might also feel capable of succeeding in the midst of the uncertainty that had become their lives
posted by ellieBOA on Jul 31, 2014 - 12 comments

From Above

How the US Stumbled into the Drone Era [WSJ] As ubiquitous as Predators, Reapers, Global Hawks and their ilk may now seem, the U.S. actually stumbled into the drone era. Washington got into the business of using drones for counterterrorism well before 9/11—not out of any steely strategic design or master plan but out of bureaucratic frustration, bickering and a series of only half-intentional decisions.
posted by modernnomad on Jul 29, 2014 - 6 comments

The Lasting Impact of World War I

"The Wall Street Journal has selected 100 legacies from World War I that continue to shape our lives today." You can sort according to your interest via the tabs at the top of the page. [Previously]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Jul 27, 2014 - 13 comments

How I learned to start worrying and hate the bomb.

Diary of an atomic bomb technician. "I will not be responsible for my actions if you keep me here in this programme."
posted by bitmage on Jul 26, 2014 - 19 comments

The Vietnam Center and Archive

The Texas Tech Vietnam Center and Archive "collects and preserves the documentary record of the Vietnam War, and supports and encourages research and education regarding all aspects of the American Vietnam Experience." It includes vast sections of digitized material, including audio, video, maps, as well as all manner of documents. [more inside]
posted by MoonOrb on Jul 2, 2014 - 7 comments

Rule number one is: young men die. And rule number two is...

Doctors can't change rule number one.

The televisions series, M*A*S*H, developed by Larry Gelbart and Gene Reynolds, was broadcast on CBS for over a decade, from the pilot on September 17, 1972, to the highly-rated final episode on February 28, 1983. Yet reports of its demise are fictional, M*A*S*H is alive and well. [SPOILERS within if you haven't seen the series.] [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Jul 2, 2014 - 130 comments

A Triumph of the Wet-Plate, Among Other Things

The Photographic History of the Civil War (10 vols.; 1911) offered context for thousands of striking images from the American Civil War: 1 - The Opening Battles; 2 - Two Years of Grim War; 3 - The Decisive Battles; 4 - The Cavalry; 5 - Forts and Artillery; 6 - The Navies; 7 - Prisons and Hospitals; 8 - Soldier Life / Secret Service; 9 - Poetry and Eloquence of Blue and Gray; 10 - Armies and Leaders. It was also a capstone in the intriguing career of a little-known popular historian and silent era filmmaker. [more inside]
posted by Monsieur Caution on Jun 21, 2014 - 9 comments

But they hadn't destroyed it.

On Tuesday, a group of Islamic militants that were thrown out of al-Qaeda for being too violent took over Iraq's second largest city. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (abbreviated as ISIS) kicked the Iraqi Army out of Mosul, a wealthy city in northwestern Iraq. Today, ISIS secured another northern city, Tikrit. It currently controls an area "the size of Belgium," according to Jason Lyall, a Yale University political scientist who studies insurgencies. [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle on Jun 11, 2014 - 215 comments

"Just because we have the best hammer"

Presdient Obama gave a speech (video, transcript) at the United States Military Academy last month that outlined American foreign policy.
Reaction has been mixed. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 10, 2014 - 57 comments

War fatigue

The young men and women enlisting in the armed forces now were in pre-school on 9/11. "As a nation we have internalized our longest military conflict; it has suffused the social, political, and cultural body. The war is not something the nation is doing; it's simply something that is." Vox on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, from Jessica Lynch to Bowe Bergdahl. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jun 8, 2014 - 91 comments

German Rocket Cats: A Meditation

On March 5th, the Associated Press asked: “What are seemingly jet-propelled cats and birds doing in a 16th century German artillery manual?” It was a good question. [...] European History People sent burning pigs stampeding toward their neighbors regularly and would put a rooster on trial for real actually with a lawyer and everything if someone said it laid an egg without a yolk. If someone like that was soberly strapping a rocket to a cat and you interrupted them in their cat-to-rocket-strapping-room they’d look up like “Yeah?” and they would have this big pinky white person expression on their face like it wasn’t even a little bit weird. [more inside]
posted by 23 on Jun 6, 2014 - 34 comments

The war to end...what?

A century ago, mankind fought a war "To End all Wars". The scars and reliquaries from that time still endure today.
posted by pjern on May 27, 2014 - 34 comments

like greyhounds in the slips

Why Men Love War. "What people can't understand is how much fun Vietnam was. I loved it. I loved it, and I can't tell anybody."
posted by four panels on May 24, 2014 - 97 comments

The ground gives up its secrets.

The closest his memories usually come to the surface is when he insists those memories no longer hold any power over him. "All of this stuff," he says, "helped me realize that you have to be happy in life. I had my childhood. It was fun. I would never change my childhood." Twenty years after fleeing with his family from the Bosnian War, Vedad Ibasevic has led his national team to an appearance in the World Cup. But nothing can stay buried. [more inside]
posted by Snarl Furillo on May 17, 2014 - 3 comments

Identity Dominance: The U.S. Military’s Biometric War in Afghanistan

As part of its effort to combat insurgent forces interspersed within an indigenous population, the use of biometrics has become a central component of the U.S. war effort. Having expanded heavily since its introduction during the war in Iraq, biometric identification and tracking of individuals has become a core mission in Afghanistan with initiatives sponsored by the U.S. and Afghan governments seeking to obtain the biometric identifiers of nearly everyone in the country. [more inside]
posted by gorbweaver on Apr 23, 2014 - 4 comments

Did they call my birthday?

Waiting for your lottery number. James, Oklahoma, 1969, No. 365. I arrived at the dorm and went to my friend’s room where 12 of us were watching the lottery. I remember we had cases of beers to help us through. We knew this day could forever change our lives. When I came into the room I could feel the tension and see that the lottery had already started. It wasn't a big show on TV; it was just a series of numbers scrolling across the bottom of the screen while “I Love Lucy” played above. [more inside]
posted by goofyfoot on Apr 16, 2014 - 69 comments

The better robots of our nature

War! What was it good for? Quite a lot, argues historian and archaeologist Ian Morris. Over thousands of years humans used war to build our societies, then turned it against itself. With luck our newly acquired habits and forthcoming robots will keep the world from returning to older levels of bloodshed.
posted by doctornemo on Apr 14, 2014 - 23 comments

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