"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]
Six years ago, US Army Captain Ivan Castro was severely wounded in a mortar attack in Iraq that left him permanently and completely blinded. Today, he's one of only three blind active duty Army officers, and the very first to serve in the US Army Special Forces. Thirteen months and 36 surgeries after the attack, Castro ran the 2007 Marine Corps Marathon in 4:14 and the
Army Ten Miler in 1:25. And he's still going: In the last 15 months, he's completed 14 marathons. Why? "Because I still can. Because people need to see what's possible." [more inside]
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 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]
has had two tours in Iraq," Jerome Lee said. "He's been through a lot, and we just want to get Lex home to our family
and let him have a happy life." It is the first time a working dog has been granted retirement to live with a handler's family. [more inside]
Injured in Iraq.
The story of the soldier who may have changed Congressman Murtha's mind about the war.
The private war of women soldiers.
"Last year, Col. Janis Karpinski caused a stir by publicly reporting that in 2003, three female soldiers had died of dehydration in Iraq, which can get up to 126 degrees in the summer, because they refused to drink liquids late in the day. They were afraid of being raped by male soldiers if they walked to the latrines after dark."
While there have been many posts on Mefi of blogs written by those affected by the Iraq War, I have not seen this one posted. No matter your stance on the war, your opinion of American soldiers, or the amount of other Iraq war blogs you've read, all I ask is that you at least read these few entries
. I've used too many words already, when the journal does more than enough to speak for itself. A Soldier's Thoughts. (via) [more inside]
In Memoriam and in Protest
--why not use an online deathmatch as a pedestal for speaking out against a war?
Artist/Professor uses US Govt-developed America's Army
(...placing Soldiering front and center within popular culture and showcasing the roles training, teamwork and technology play in the Army. ...
) as protest and art space. DeLappe's homepage (and jpgs) here
Brotherly Love. "When a young Fort Lewis soldier returned from Iraq paralyzed from the upper chest down, it was his teenage brother who assumed the role of roommate and primary caretaker."
The Seattle Times tells the story of Brandon and Blaine Powell.
Be sure to check out the audio slideshow
, which features Brandon speaking over photographer Alan Berner
He wasn't asked. He didn't tell. Now he's out — and discharged.
Eye-opening tale of Jeff Howe, courtesy of Raw Story. After 9/11, feeling personally unfulfilled and wanting to serve his country, Howe enlisted at the age of 29. Knowing he was gay but realizing that Army guidelines forbade his kind, he re-entered the closet, underwent basic training, and was shipped to Iraq. After a two-year stint on the front lines, with five commendations, he returned stateside. Then he was stop-lossed, shipped back to Iraq, and started writing a blog. That began a chain of events that, through no apparent fault of his own — or loose lip-flapping — led to Jeff Howe and the Army parting company.
Double Plus Ungood
--so there's this soldier in Iraq with a blog, All The King's Horses
. He usually complains a little, tells readers about what he does, talks about the stop-loss thing that's keeping him in Iraq, etc. So, the Operation Truth site posts something by him,
and the next thing you know, the blog is dead, and an unwilling public apology and retraction and statement of support for Bush and his leadership is posted. ... it breaks my heart to say that this will be my last post on this blog. I wish I could just stop there, but I can not. The following also needs to be said:
For the record, I am officially a supporter of the administration and of her policies. ...
His hand had been blown off in Iraq, his body pierced by shrapnel.
He could not walk. Robert Loria was flown home for a long recovery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where he tried to bear up against intense physical pain and reimagine his life's possibilities
But nine months after Loria was wounded, the Army garnished his wages and then, as he prepared to leave the service, hit him with a $6,200 debt. That was just before last Christmas, and several lawmakers scrambled to help. This spring, a collection agency started calling. He owed another $646 for military housing.
"I think my beliefs had changed once we were on the ground. Within days we had seized all of the oil fields
in northern Iraq and our primary mission was to protect them. Bush had said this war wasn't about oil
, but there I was defending oil fields
at all costs in the middle of Iraq. A lot of the piping and workings of the fields had been destroyed by the fleeing army and before we even started
to help the people by fixing the power or water supplies, they had construction crews trying to get everything up and running on the oil fields."
⇒An interview with Zechariah, 25, of Lynnwood, Washington.
He enlisted in the Army when he was 21, and was deployed to Iraq from March 2003 to January 2004 with the 173rd Airborne Brigade as a medic.
Rap is becoming the pulse of the Iraq War.
We've talked about the Mess O' Potamia already today
, but the idea of troops making uncensored music
about their day to day in an overseas warzone I think creates a unique situation
. For the first time, music will be made there and come back to the people back home, rather than the other way around. The downside is that if you just plain don't like rap music, you're not going to be exposed to it. Sadly, those may be the people who need to hear it most
. (via Newsweek
One soldier's opinion. "If you voted for Bush, didn't vote, or voted no on gay marriage, I hope you get drafted.
I hope they stick you in my unit, and you go with me to Iraq when my unit goes back in September. I will laugh when you see what soldiers in that country face on a daily basis. I hope you work with gay soldiers too. I did. One of them saved my life. Think he shouldn't have the right to get married? Fuck you. He fought just as hard as I did and on most days, did his job better than me. Don't tell me gays don't have the same rights you do. Think the war in Iraq is a good thing? I'll donate my M-16 to you and you can go in my place."
Through the lens of a soldier.
Pictures taken by CPL Prieve of the 101st Airborne in Mosul, Iraq
A soldier's letter home, or clever propaganda?
This "letter" has been making the rounds as an email, supposedly from an officer, stationed in Iraq, named "Mark". He certainly seems to know a lot about what's going on. He loves his job, likes his generals, and admires the Iraqi people, who like him and other Americans; and he hates the press and the foreigners he says are fighting reconstruction.
Sounds a little too good to be true.
And then the fallen.
"I want President Bush to get a good look at this, really good look here," his father, Michael, said, holding up a picture of the dead marine. "This is the only son I had, only son." More