Last year, the unofficial Dean of the White House Press Corps, Helen Thomas,
spoke about the State of Israel on camera. (Previously)
: "Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine,"
and that the Jews "can go home"
to "Poland, Germany and America and everywhere else,"
sparked media outrage,
prompted her to issue an apology and retire
. After months of being out of the the public spotlight, she has now given her first long-form interview, which will appear in the April issue of Playboy Magazine
. In it, she explains what she meant, tells us how she would like to be remembered and expands upon her positions regarding Israel, Jewish political influence, Presidents Bush and Obama, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
posted by zarq
on Mar 22, 2011 -
How two American kids became big-time weapons traders
- "Working with nothing but an Internet connection, a couple of cellphones and a steady supply of weed, the two friends — one with a few college credits, the other a high school dropout — had beaten out Fortune 500 giants like General Dynamics to score the huge arms contract. With a single deal, two stoners from Miami Beach had turned themselves into the least likely merchants of death in history." (via
; previously on arms contractors
posted by kliuless
on Mar 21, 2011 -
] is an experimental media project, tracking the deployment of 1/8
– 1st Battalion, Eighth Marines, throughout the duration of their
deployment to southern Afghanistan. A small team of mobile media
operators is embedded with the battalion, transmitting their reports
and reflections from Helmand province as they travel across the
battalion’s area of operations.
posted by nushustu
on Mar 18, 2011 -
The Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Wellbutrin, Celexa, Effexor, Valium, Klonopin, Ativan, Restoril, Xanax, Adderall, Ritalin, Haldol, Risperdal, Seroquel, Ambien, Lunesta, Elavil, Trazodone War
New York Magazine's Jennifer Senior writes on prescription drug (ab)use among soldiers and veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. [more inside]
posted by l33tpolicywonk
on Feb 15, 2011 -
With Air Force's Gorgon Drone 'we can see everything.'
"In ancient times, Gorgon
was a mythical Greek creature whose unblinking eyes turned to stone those who beheld them. In modern times, Gorgon may be one of the military's most valuable new tools. This winter, the Air Force is set to deploy to Afghanistan what it says is a revolutionary airborne surveillance system called Gorgon Stare
, which will be able to transmit live video images of physical movement across an entire town."
posted by homunculus
on Jan 5, 2011 -
Since the spring of 2010
, all-volunteer units called Female Engagement Teams
have been doing what male soldiers can't: speak with women and children in rural Afghani communities
, both to gain information and to foster trust. These soldiers may carry M4 rifles, but their toolkit includes sidewalk chalk and jump ropes
, too. The FETs, trained for this specific mission grew out of more ad hoc programs like the Lioness program for traffic checkpoints in Iraq
. "The FET mission to me is so critical that if I had to exchange blood for it, I would," said Sgt. 1st Class Sawyer Alberi
, an FET team leader for the National Guard. "The FET mission is nested very closely in the COIN mission, and unless you do it, you're not doing the whole COIN mission." First Lieutenant Quincy Washa, platoon commander for the Female Engagement Team with Regimental Combat Team 1, describes the teams' role
. Despite the apparent importance of the FETs' work, the program is still an experiment; it is unclear whether it will continue after the current teams' deployment
posted by ocherdraco
on Jan 3, 2011 -
...if all these neocons who worship the Ancient Greeks, like Victor Davis Hanson, really want to know what their precious Greeks were like, those boy-fucking, throat-slitting, 400-verse war-song reciting founders of our glorious civilization and all that, they should go live in a Pashtun village.... Well, the Pashtun are sensible people too. They don’t have much to lose, and they’re not that scared of dying.... They’ve got nothing coming from the whole Thomas Friedman world, and they’d be fools to think they do.
from The War Nerd: Market Lessons from the Pashtun [more inside]
posted by orthogonality
on Dec 31, 2010 -
Restrepo is a feature-length documentary that chronicles the deployment of a platoon of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley. The movie focuses on a remote 15-man outpost, "Restrepo," named after a platoon medic who was killed in action. It was considered one of the most dangerous postings in the U.S. military. This is an entirely experiential film: the cameras never leave the valley; there are no interviews with generals or diplomats. The only goal is to make viewers feel as if they have just been through a 90-minute deployment. This is war, full stop. The conclusions are up to you. (previously) [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese
on Dec 14, 2010 -
"Regardless of political stance,
no one can deny the joy felt upon seeing your loved ones return home safely -- WelcomeHomeBlog.com
is a site celebrating that amazing feeling. Visit daily for heartwarming stories, videos and pictures of members of our courageous armed forces returning home to their families and friends..."
posted by zizzle
on Dec 1, 2010 -
The Soviet Collapse
"The document which effectively concluded the history of the Soviet Union was a letter from the Vneshekonombank in November 1991 to the Soviet leadership, informing them that the Soviet state had not a cent in its coffers."
posted by bitmage
on Nov 19, 2010 -
A Year at War:
One Battalion's Wrenching Deployment to Afghanistan
: "Some 30,000 American soldiers are taking part in the Afghanistan surge. Here are the stories of the men and women of First Battalion, 87th Infantry of the 10th Mountain Division" out of Fort Drum, NY., based in Kunduz Province
, Afghanistan. Over the next year, The New York Times will follow their journey, chronicling the battalion’s part in the surge in northern Afghanistan and the impact of war on individual soldiers and their families back home. (First link is an interactive feature containing images and autoplaying video, and requires flash. Second link is a standard-style article.) [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Oct 21, 2010 -
Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri are believed to be hiding close to each other in houses in northwest Pakistan, but are not together, a senior NATO official said. ... al Qaeda's top leadership is believed to be living in relative comfort, protected by locals and some members of the Pakistani intelligence services... The official would not discuss how the coalition has come to know any of this information, but he has access to some of the most sensitive information in the NATO alliance. [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese
on Oct 18, 2010 -
Last Wednesday, October 6, a panel of speakers from a variety of political positions met antiwar activists at the First Unitarian Universalist Church in San Francisco to discuss how to build a consensus to end the war in Afghanistan. The speakers included Daniel Ellsberg of Pentagon Papers fame, Antiwar.com’s Angela Keaton, Republican congressional candidate John Dennis, labor leader Michael Eisenscher, and radio talk show host Karel. The moderator was Jeff Johnson of PeacePundit.com, and included remarks by Unitarian Church leaders Dolores Perez Priem, Sandra Schwartz, Jeremiah Halliday, and Louis Vitale, and Anthony Gregory of the Independent Institute. (via) Daniel Ellsberg - part I - part II - part III [more inside]
posted by AElfwine Evenstar
on Oct 10, 2010 -
is an open letter written by Noman Benotman, a former commander in the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and a former associate of Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. In al Qaeda strategy meetings in Kandahar in 2000, Benotman warned the al-Qaeda leadership of ‘total failure' to realise their aims and called on bin Laden and al-Zawahiri to abandon violence. Soon after the 9/11 attacks, he distanced himself from al-Qaeda and later resigned from his own jihadist organisation. He has more recently been instrumental in negotiations with Libya's government to free former LIFG leaders, and in persuading these leaders to formally renounce terrorism. He also recently joined the London-based Quilliam Foundation as a Senior Analyst.
posted by bardophile
on Sep 13, 2010 -
"In most cases, when a book that deals with potentially classified military information is due to be published, one of the United States's many government divisions inspect it, redact sensitive parts, and either let publication continue or stop it entirely. But a clash in opinion between the U.S. Army and the Defense Intelligence Agency may lead to the DIA buying up all 10,000 copies of [a] new memoir's first printing
-- and promptly pulping the books." "The publication of Operation Dark Heart
, by Anthony A. Shaffer
, a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer and a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve, has divided military security reviewers and highlighted the uncertainty about what information poses a genuine threat to security."* [more inside]
posted by ericb
on Sep 10, 2010 -
EA's new Medal of Honor
video game allows players to take the role of Taliban insurgents
killing American troops. In response, the US military has banned sales of the game
on all military bases, including in privately run businesses (such as GameStop) present on bases. Military members (who game) don't seem too happy about the decision here
. (More military member comments, some pro, some against, can be found here
.) You can watch someone playing as a Taliban insurgent here
. (Warning: MoH gameplay is rated 'M' for mature.)
posted by GnomeChompsky
on Sep 4, 2010 -
"If you spend 72 hours in a place you’ve never been, talking to people whose language you don’t speak about social, political, and economic complexities you don’t understand, and you come back as the world’s biggest know-it-all, you’re a reporter." - PJ O'Rourke visits Kabul
posted by TheOtherGuy
on Aug 24, 2010 -
Dr. Karen Woo, one of the 10 medical aid workers slain in Afghanistan, kept a blog
of her experiences. I've spent the last two days doing Afghan medicals - en masse I have been terrifying Afghan men with my femaleness and daring use of the stethoscope. [more inside]
posted by ThePinkSuperhero
on Aug 10, 2010 -
"Sixteen-year-old Sabera, with a pretty yellow head scarf, frets that she is missing school. 'I was about to get engaged, and the boy came to ask me himself, before sending his parents. A lady in our neighbourhood saw us, and called the police,' she explains. She was sentenced to three years but, in an act of mercy, it was shortened to 18 months . . ." The BBC reports from an Afghan women's prison. [more inside]
posted by Jaltcoh
on Jun 30, 2010 -
The Karzai government is crumbling before our eyes, and if we delude ourselves that this is not the case, we could yet face a replay of 1842.
Why the Taliban is winning in Afghanistan
- William Dalrymple. (1
A long in- depth article with historical overtones, which leads to the question: Why Are We in Afghanistan? (2006
posted by adamvasco
on Jun 29, 2010 -
General Stanley McChrystal is in hot water
over a Rolling Stone article
(pdf) where he and his staff are quoted criticizing Obama, Biden, and senior administration officials. (Previously
on McChrystal's appointment.)
posted by Forktine
on Jun 22, 2010 -
U.S. Identifies Vast Riches of Minerals in Afghanistan.
The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials.
The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.
posted by scalefree
on Jun 13, 2010 -