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 -
Women make up roughly half of the 42 million Pashtun people in the borderland. The kind of hardship they know is rare. Some are bought and sold, others killed for perceived slights against family honor. But this doesn’t render them passive. Most of the Pashtun women I know possess a rebellious and caustic humor beneath their cerulean burkas, which have become symbols of submission. This finds expression in an ancient form of folk poetry called landay. Two lines and 22 syllables long, they can be rather startling to the uninitiated. War, drones, sex, a husband’s manhood—these poems are short and dangerous, like the poisonous snake for which they’re named.
posted by jason's_planet
on Jul 1, 2014 -
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 -
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 -
"When you say ‘war photographer’ the first image that comes to mind is someone crazy for the bang bang. Not Anja. She was an artist. She used her sensitivity and sense of understanding to access the human side of war." In Memoriam: Anja Niedringhaus (1965—2014)
are powerful and beautiful.
posted by mareli
on Apr 4, 2014 -
The Far Post
is a journalism series by Roads and Kingdoms and Sports Illustrated on global soccer culture that will run every other week until the start of "the largest theater that has ever existed in human history," the World Cup. So far there are five articles: Brazil 2014 Starts Now
by Laurent Dubois gives an overview of the history of the World Cup and what it means now. Messi in Kolkata
by Kanishk Tharoor is about a visit by the Argentine national team to Kolkata and the state of the game in India. Afghanistan United
By May Jeong is the story of the incredible triumph of the Afghan national team at the 2013 South Asian Championship. Soccer and the Street in Istanbul
by Izzy Finkel reports on the links between soccer and politics in Turkey. The Long Revolution of the Ultras Ahlawy
by Patrick Kingsley is the account of how hardcore soccerfans in Egypt, at the center of the 2011 revolution, have fared in the aftermath.
posted by Kattullus
on Nov 21, 2013 -
The A-Team Killings
"Last spring, the remains of 10 missing Afghan villagers were dug up outside a U.S. Special Forces base – was it a war crime or just another episode in a very dirty war?"
posted by andoatnp
on Nov 6, 2013 -
The Sound of Terror: Phenomenology of a Drone Strike
Opponents of drone strikes say they violate international law and have caused unacknowledged civilian deaths. Proponents insist they actually save the lives of both U.S. soldiers, who would otherwise be deployed in dangerous ground operations, and of civilians, because of the drone’s capacity to survey and strike more precisely than combat. If the alternative is a prolonged and messy ground operation, the advantage of drone strikes in terms of casualties is indisputable, and it is not my intention to dispute it here.
But the terms of this debate give a one-sided view of both the larger financial and political costs of drones, as well as the less than lethal but nonetheless chronic and intense harm continuous strikes wage on communities. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns
on Oct 19, 2013 -
During the communist coup and Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1978-1979, thousands of Afghan people disappeared. It was always suspected that most of these people had been murdered, but for many victims this couldn't be proved, which left their family in uncertainty for decades. A war crimes investigation by the International Crimes Unit of the Dutch police however turned up evidence that will end some of this uncertainty
. This evidence, in the form of transport orders
and death lists
for some 5,000 victims has now been put online by the Dutch ministry of justice.
posted by MartinWisse
on Sep 18, 2013 -
Soccer Euphoria The Olympic Stadium in Kabul has not seen this big a crowd since the Taliban used the place for public executions. No coercion was needed on Thursday to bring tens of thousands of delirious fans here to greet their national soccer team on its return from winning its first international championship. The underdog team stunned India, the defending South Asian champions, in a 2-0 victory in Katmandu, Nepal.
posted by Golden Eternity
on Sep 12, 2013 -
In 1971, the newly-created US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hired a bunch of freelance photographers to collectively document environmental issues around the country. They were given free rein to shoot whatever they wanted, and the project, named Documerica
, lasted through 1977. After 40 years, the EPA is now encouraging photographers to take current versions of the original Documerica photos and are showcasing them on flickr at State of the Environment
. There are location challenges
, and a set has been created with some of the submissions, making side-by-side comparisons
. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Aug 8, 2013 -
"A Gazette investigation
shows an increasing number of soldiers, including wounded combat veterans, are being kicked out of the service for misconduct, often with no benefits, as the Army downsizes after a decade of war."
: Surge in discharges includes wounded soldiers"
: No break for the wounded"
: Army struggles with wounded soldiers"
posted by andoatnp
on Jun 2, 2013 -
"Women get flustered under fire. They're too fragile, too emotional. They lack the ferocity required to take a life. They can't handle pain. They're a distraction, a threat to cohesion, a provocative tease to close-quartered men. These are the sort of myths you hear from people who oppose the U.S. military's evolving new rules about women in combat. But for women who have already been in combat, who have earned medals fighting alongside men, the war stories they tell don't sound a thing like myths
" [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Apr 25, 2013 -
On April 7, an airstrike
on a Taliban commander killed him and a total of 16 civilians, 12 of them children. Hamid Karzai condemns the attack and says
that the CIA is carelessly planning these airstrikes that go awry far too often. Kunar district was the site of another airstrike that killed civilians in February. [more inside]
posted by Sleeper
on Apr 22, 2013 -
"Malalai has seen more of Afghanistan than many of the white-bearded men who run this country. She's been travelling in the cockpit of military helicopters since she was two months old; her mother is an Afghan army pilot."
This is a beautifully illustrated long read
posted by puffl
on Feb 14, 2013 -
"Moving is what nomads do. For the Kyrgyz of Afghanistan, it’s from two to four times a year, depending on the weather and the availability of grass for the animals. They call their homeland Bam-e Dunya, which means “roof of the world.” This might sound poetic and beautiful—it is undeniably beautiful—but it’s also an environment at the very cusp of human survivability. Their land consists of two long, glacier-carved valleys, called pamirs, stashed deep within the great mountains of Central Asia. Much of it is above 14,000 feet. The wind is furious; crops are impossible to grow. The temperature can drop below freezing 340 days a year. Many Kyrgyz have never seen a tree." Welcome to life at the upper altitudes of the Wakhan Corridor
, above the tree line and on the roof of the world. [more inside]
posted by Eyebrows McGee
on Jan 21, 2013 -
"We're just trying to lead normal lives, doing what we want to do.
Why shouldn't we?" The members [of Afghanistan women's national team], who range in age from 16 to 24, are up against widespread resentment from their relatives* and neighbors, and threats from men who disapprove of women playing sports
. They managed to participate in an inclusive tournament in Berlin
and they registered their first official win as they defeated Pakistan national women's team 4-0 and reached the semi-finals of the 2nd SAFF women's championship in 2012 improving on their past performance (rough 2010 SAFF footage
). They're able to practice just three times a week for 90 minutes, occasionally at the stadium
) or in its gym, but more often at a helicopter landing pad on a base for NATO troops, where practices are interrupted by takeoffs and landings.
Players have some outside support from hummel
, the sponsor of the women's
and the men's
team, and have had football clinics in Stuttgart
and with Olympic U.S. player Lorrie Fair in Kabul
. [more inside]
posted by ersatz
on Jan 19, 2013 -
"The Ideology of Hatred": An interview with Niza Yanay
- "Once we understand how hatred operates as an apparatus of power relations, and particularly how the discourse of hatred is motivated and mobilised in national conflicts, serious questions about misrecognition, veiled desires and symptomatic expressions arise. These questions have, to a large extent, been left unaddressed in studies of hatred between groups in conflict." [more inside]
posted by flex
on Nov 15, 2012 -
Saving Aesha She came to America after the Taliban hacked off her nose and ears, a symbol of the oppression of women in Afghanistan. Since then, she's been passed around by well-meaning strangers, showcased like a star and shielded like a fragile child. The fairy-tale ending everyone hoped for has remained elusive.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies
on Oct 13, 2012 -
From 1967-1968, Dr. Bill Podlich took a leave of absence from Arizona State University to join UNESCO, teaching in the Higher Teachers College of Kabul, Afghanistan. He took many photographs
posted by ChuraChura
on Sep 19, 2012 -
'While they never met, they had some things in common. Both were Army captains, engaged in important work for the nation, their costly educations paid for by U.S. taxpayers. Ian Morrison, 26, returned to Fort Hood, Texas, last December after nine months flying 70 combat missions over Iraq. Dr. Michael McCaddon, 37, was an ob-gyn resident at Hawaii’s Tripler Army Medical Center. The pilot and the doctor shared one other thing: they found themselves in a darkening, soul-sucking funnel
that has trapped some 2,500 military personnel since 9/11. Like them, each died, at his own hand, on March 21, nearly 4,000 miles apart.' [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns
on Aug 16, 2012 -
Alex Jansen is a lieutenant in the US Army currently deployed in Afghanistan. He is embedded as a liaison officer working with and training the Afghan National Army. He's been taking photos of his experiences and posting them on the Pentax forums, offering a different view of the life of soldiers in Afghanistan. Forum posts: 1
, 10 [more inside]
posted by jontyjago
on Jul 9, 2012 -
"It took years to lock them up. Hundreds of enemy fighters captured during some of the fiercest combat of the war. But then, one night last spring, as American troops surged into Taliban territory, all of those prisoners, all of that progress, disappeared. Prof. Luke Mogelson ventures down the rabbit hole
to find them."
posted by vidur
on May 30, 2012 -