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Outsourcing Intelligence

The numbers are classified, the dollars are classified, but there's no doubt that the number of "Green Badgers" are catching up to, and sometimes surpassing, that of "Blue Badgers" in some of the US's most sensitive national security positions. Bob Baer is talking about it. Others have been, too. R.J. Hillhouse has been writing a blog for roughly six months now on the phenomenon: The Spy Who Billed Me.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze on Jul 8, 2007 - 17 comments

Air Force drops gay bomb

Make love not war? The Pentagon confirms that it was researching the possibility of a "gay bomb" that could "turn enemy soldiers into homosexuals and make them more interested in sex than fighting." BBC discusses this and other unorthodox U.S. weapons proposals.
posted by madamjujujive on Jun 9, 2007 - 86 comments

Don't Tread On Me

Dinos' might in army sights. The Comanche National Grasslands located near The Sex Change Capital of the World is under threat by an expanding Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site [attached to Fort Carson]. Home to countless fossils, and Native American cave art, the Purgatoire River could end up like The Stronghold Unit of the Badlands in South Dakota with one of the largest dinosaur tracks site in the world damaged or destroyed and rendered inaccessible to scientists.
posted by Stynxno on May 31, 2007 - 12 comments

AWOL W/PTSD? FUBAR

Court martialed for PTSD? "But I'm very concerned that, in a time when the Army is going out there and saying, we're trying to make sure that we provide good counseling for the troops, that, when someone has asked for help, they're potentially facing a court-martial. "
posted by Smedleyman on May 25, 2007 - 20 comments

We Reap What We Sow

Reaping What We Sow? Right now, White House lawyers are working up new rules that will govern what CIA interrogators can do to prisoners in secret. Those rules will set the standard not only for the CIA but also for what kind of treatment captured American soldiers can expect from their captors, now and in future wars. Before the president once again approves a policy of official cruelty, he should reflect on that.Charles C. Krulak was commandant of the Marine Corps from 1995 to 1999. Joseph P. Hoar was commander in chief of U.S. Central Command from 1991 to 1994. (Washington Post)
Some other opinions. (youtube) Thoughtful commentary. More.
posted by spitbull on May 17, 2007 - 75 comments

No web for you, Army Boy!

Soldiers may no longer use MySpace to communicate with family. The Defense Department will begin "worldwide" blocking access, as of today, to YouTube, Metacafe, IFilm, StupidVideos, FileCabi, MySpace, BlackPlanet, Hi5, Pandora, MTV, 1.fm, live365, and Photobucket on its computers and networks, according to a memo sent Friday by Gen. B.B. Bell, the U.S. Forces Korea commander. Note that most soldiers deployed in war zones don't have access to any network outside of the military network.
posted by dejah420 on May 14, 2007 - 76 comments

Dirty Sanchez: The Truth About A Conservative Gay Porn Star and Prostitute

Cpl. Matt Sanchez is the BFF of Ann Coulter and gay porn consumers. "Former journalist" Charles Wilson has launched an exhaustive site all about him and his alter ego, Rod Majors. Check out his biography, a filmography, an "evidence locker," a discussion forum, articles, forums posts, and transcripts of radio interviews. This is the most comprehsenive site about this dude the world will ever need.
posted by sneakin on May 4, 2007 - 183 comments

"Of 10 governments worldwide implicated in the recruitment or use of children as soldiers, nine receive US military assistance."

"Of 10 governments worldwide implicated in the recruitment or use of children as soldiers, nine receive US military assistance."
posted by chunking express on Apr 27, 2007 - 24 comments

John Arquilla interview re: the future of military technology and hardware

“[O]ur military today oversees spending of about a billion and a quarter dollars every day. Most of that is misspent. Over this past quarter-century, we've reinforced an old industrial-policy military with hardware that makes increasingly less sense, spending most on things that provide the least return. The principal argument for that is: ‘We have to keep the big, old-style military because we might fight a big, old-style war one day.’ But in the future the bigger you are, the harder you're going to fall to ever-more accurate weapons.”
posted by jason's_planet on Apr 10, 2007 - 58 comments

Charlie Foxtrot.

Embrace the Suck. Intensive military activity creates an incubator for slang. By bringing together people from geographically diverse backgrounds, putting them into stressful circumstances, and teaching them a new language of jargon and acronym, the armed forces create fertile ground for new idioms - many of which return home in civvies when the conflicts are over. In the Civil War, World War I and World War II, in Korea and in Viet Nam, servicepeople created or popularized now-familiar terms like shoddy, hotshot, cooties, tailspin, fleabag, face time, joystick, SNAFU, FUBAR, flaky, gung ho, no sweat, flame-out, and many, many others. Now, the GWOT brings us a new generation of 'milspeak'. Military columnist Austin Bay has published an early collection of neologisms from Gulf War II. On NPR, Bay explains what The Suck is, how to identify a fobbit, and why Marines look down on the attitude of Semper I.
posted by Miko on Mar 31, 2007 - 66 comments

Dr. Noori ... stayed home the day of the strike to prevent his workers from finding out that he knew many of the soldiers.

"I thought, 'Why don't we just raid the place?' " --the newest and only currently viable way to check up on how the billions and billions we're spending on reconstruction in Iraq is being spent--fake raids by the US military, making it seem like the recipients aren't receiving aid from us, and in fact are being targeted by us.
posted by amberglow on Mar 23, 2007 - 35 comments

Legio Patria Nostra

Like most boys, I grew up dreaming of a life filled with action and adventure. Unlike most men, I was able to live out those boyhood dreams during my five years in the French Foreign Legion. Previously.
posted by Sticherbeast on Mar 22, 2007 - 11 comments

"I miss Iraq. I miss my gun. I miss my war."

A Soldier's Lament by Brian Mockenhaupt in Esquire, brought to you via MSN. We've seen a similar post by a Marine officer recently, but I liked the tone of this one a bit more because it does a better job of showing us the inside of a warrior's head.
posted by pax digita on Mar 21, 2007 - 43 comments

Vet Kills Himself After VA Turns Him Away

Vet Kills Himself After VA Turns Him Away Marine veteran Jonathan Schulze survived the war in Iraq but almost two years after he came home, it ended up killing him, reports The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith. He had one of the toughest jobs in the war: taming the insurgent hotbed of Ramadi in 2004.
posted by Postroad on Mar 15, 2007 - 59 comments

Rape within the US military.

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."
posted by Sticherbeast on Mar 8, 2007 - 187 comments

Confessions of an Army Torturer

Confessions of an Army Torturer "...as an army interrogator, he tortured detainees for information he admits they rarely had. Since leaving Iraq he’s taken this story public, doing battle on national television against the war’s architects for giving him the orders he regrets he obeyed...
posted by Postroad on Mar 3, 2007 - 42 comments

Born to War

Born to War is a series of paintings of American women killed in Iraq. The combination of the increasing role of women in the American military and the blurring of lines between combat and non-combat roles in Iraq have made this the first war in which female US soldiers have died in direct combat. The focus on a smaller number of women provides a more approachable view of casualties than more general sites like Iraq Body Count and raises some interesting questions about the role of women in the US military.
posted by scottreynen on Feb 23, 2007 - 13 comments

Unmarked planes and Hidden Geographies

An interesting project from the latest Vectors Journal. "Legend has it that Paglen, who has been called the Fox Mulder of cultural geography, was personally instrumental in provoking the military to extend the perimeter around Area 51 by several miles in an attempt to thwart one of his counter-surveillance efforts" [via]
posted by tellurian on Feb 16, 2007 - 5 comments

Who's got my bore snake?

Kit Up! is a site where current and former soldiers report the one thing they absolutely could not have done without in their military life. Whether hitchhiking the galaxy or fighting the enemy, don't forget your towel. And don't even think about going door kicking without your Silly String.
posted by Turtles all the way down on Feb 15, 2007 - 12 comments

Prank Calling the Army

The President's call for a troop surge in Iraq will likely be a headache for military recruiters, who have already had to relax standards to (barely) meet their quotas. But just how desperate are they for warm bodies? Radar prank called recruiting stations around the country disguised as a veritable Breakfast Club of misfit would-be soldiers, all dramatically unqualified or unattractive for service in some way. The resulting transcripts are hysterically funny (the writer poses as a flamboyantly gay man, a mama's boy, a martial arts freak, a junkie, an IBS sufferer and a lobotomy patient). The recruiters turn out not to be quite as sleazy as you might imagine, but the conversations are priceless.
posted by P-Soque on Jan 30, 2007 - 30 comments

2 full birds and a light bird

The helicopter that was shot down over Iraq this weekend was carrying, among other high-ranking officers, the US Army's chief medical officer for troops in Iraq.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi on Jan 24, 2007 - 23 comments

Firing military reservists

Fired for serving her country - while reports about reservists losing their jobs upon returning home are nothing new, the story of one reservist and her fight against her previous employer has caught the attention of the national media (see "Coming Up" teaser), in addition to the local news (video link). Meet Lt. Col. Debra Muhl, a nurse and hospital administrator currently suing Sutter Health, her former employer, which less than three years ago promoted her military service as an asset to the organization (7MB pdf link - see page 5).
posted by dbolll on Jan 24, 2007 - 11 comments

Full Battle Rattle!

Fake Iraqi Towns For Training.
posted by Sticherbeast on Jan 12, 2007 - 12 comments

Et Tu Brutus?

President Bush has replaced Gen. John Abizaid as US commander in the Middle East. Et tu Brutus?
posted by augustweed on Jan 4, 2007 - 82 comments

It's 1993 again, but recruiting's harder

Second thoughts on gays in the military by former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. John Shalikashvili. (NYT link; do the Bugmenot thing if you need a username and password.) M/I
posted by pax digita on Jan 4, 2007 - 41 comments

Crash in Gander

Twenty-one years ago today a plane crashed in Gander, Newfoundland. The flight carried American soldiers heading home for the holidays, returning from a mission in the Sinai. Called the worst aviation disaster on Canadian soil, the crash killed the 248 soldiers and 8 crew members aboard. On December 16th, mere days after the crash, President Ronald Reagan gave a speech at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, to comfort the victims' families. As time passed, however, some of the families demanded answers from the US Government regarding the circumstances of the crash. In 1989, Robin Tallon, member of congress from South Carolina, assisted the families' by bringing the matter before Congress - and also sending a letter to then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney (scroll down page). In 1992, a Time Magazine article addressed forensic evidence which supported the idea of an on-board explosion prior to impact, as well as the flight's connections to Iran Contra and the terrorist group Islamic Jihad. This article also discusses the book written on the crash by Les Filotas, a dissenting member of the air safety board. The question was brought forth again in 1993, with a bill introduced requesting that a commission be formed to further investigate the circumstances of the crash. As with any disaster with unanswered questions, conspiracy theories abound. To this day, many of the questions surrounding Flight 1285 remain unanswered. While the crash may never be fully explained, one certainty remains - for the families whose loved ones never came home for Christmas, the twelfth day of the twelfth month will never be forgotten.
posted by SassHat on Dec 12, 2006 - 22 comments

Bill Moyers speech at West Point

Bill Moyers speech at West Point on "The Meaning of Freedom." I repeat: These are not palatable topics for soldiers about to go to war; I would like to speak of sweeter things. But freedom means we must face reality: “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” Free enough, surely, to think for yourselves about these breaches of contract that crudely undercut the traditions of an army of free men and women who have bound themselves voluntarily to serve the nation even unto death. Previously on MetaFilter: after 9/11, inequality, religion and democracy, the environment, right-wing media, public broadcasting. Wikipedia.
posted by russilwvong on Dec 1, 2006 - 36 comments

The wierd, wonderful and impractical

Wierd tanks: Tank design has pretty much come to the point where all tanks are alike. They are mostly 60 ton machines with single turret with a 120-125 mm main gun. A number of different approaches has been tried through history, tough. One is the the heavy multiturreted Soviet T-35 from the 30s. Another take is the Swedish S-tank from the 60s, which did away with the turret altogether. A bit more conventional, but pretty much a one-nation tailor-made design is the Israeli Merkava, which is balanced heavily in favour of crew survivability with the engine in front and the ability to carry along a few infantrymen. The strangest of the bunch is the Russian WWI Czar tank, but just a tad impractical, standing 9 meters tall.
posted by Harald74 on Nov 21, 2006 - 39 comments

Who do the troops support?

US Military Papers open fire on Rummy. Tomorrow, the Army Times -- and all other Military Times papers, including Navy and Air Force Times -- will run an editorial calling for Donald Rumsfeld to tender his resignation or be fired, due to his gross incompetence in handling the Iraq quagmire.
posted by lazaruslong on Nov 5, 2006 - 70 comments

A chilling precident

Issac Asimov's first Law of Robotics has been broken.
posted by icosahedral on Nov 3, 2006 - 80 comments

Off we go, into the wild blue yonder...

The Air Force finally went and got themselves a proper memorial. Although he’s now deceased, the man who designed it also designed some other buildings around town. It’s a unique structure, with time-tested big lead balls to compensate for the wind. On opening day, a ‘sky-parade’ of old and new aircraft paid tribute, flying overhead in sequence. Some like it, some don’t.
posted by matty on Oct 18, 2006 - 40 comments

The Sandbox

The Sandbox A Doonesbury driven non-partisan non-policy community blog on the details of being human in a global war on terror.
posted by srboisvert on Oct 10, 2006 - 22 comments

The Sin of Competence

Lieutenant Commander Charles Swift is the Navy lawyer who took the case of defending Salim Ahmed Hamdan (aka Osama bin Laden's driver). A quick plea-bargain was expected, but Swift managed to get his client a hearing before the Supreme Court in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. While a complicated and nuanced decision, most would agree that "Swift, one of five judge advocate general lawyers assigned to represent the first round of commission defendants, determinedly stepped through this looking glass, defying skepticism at home and abroad that he and his colleagues would do more than a perfunctory job." However, despite all of his efforts and obvious legal abilities, he was recently passed over for promotion and effectively fired under the military's "up or out" promotion system. (Previously: [1] [2] [3])
posted by bardic on Oct 9, 2006 - 30 comments

On a wing and a prayer...

An Israeli military training mission gone bad. A mid-air collision during a simulated dogfight. An A4 Skyhawk goes down, and an F-15 Eagle decides to try and make it the 10 miles back to base. When the pilot lands, he finds out that he has definitively answered the question, Can this aircraft fly on just one wing? [video]
posted by NotMyselfRightNow on Oct 4, 2006 - 28 comments

Iraq War Deserters

Since 2000, at least 40,000 soldiers have deserted the Army--most of them as a result of the Iraq War. 50,000 deserted during Vietnam. How do we compare their statements of moral outrage with those of Siegfried Sassoon? (related)
posted by mattbucher on Sep 7, 2006 - 73 comments

The album's title is taken from a line by the poet Apollinaire

So Much Fire To Roast Human Flesh from Arthur Magazine--an 18-track, multi-artist compilation CD curated by Foster featuring exclusive contributions from some of the more outspoken members of the nation's burgeoning psychedelic folk scene, ... All profits will be distributed to specific counter-military recruitment and pacifist organizations and programs who effectively advise high school students and other Americans at risk of being taken advantage of ... (and you can listen here). Some might remember Arthur vs. Godsmack--their music is heavily featured in recruiting ads.
posted by amberglow on Sep 1, 2006 - 8 comments

"All guilty had been punished already."

The Nedelin disaster remains the most fatal catastrophe in the history of rocketry. On October 26, 1960 an R-16 ICBM designed by Mikhail Yangel accidentally ignited killing over 100 within moments. The incident remained in strict secrecy for thirty years until it was unearthed by James Oberg. The true casualty rate remains a mystery and Kazakhstan still sees more than its fair share of rocket mishaps.
posted by Alison on Aug 31, 2006 - 16 comments

Coup D'Etat

American Coup D'Etat. Will the most powerful and well-funded institution on the planet remain under civilian command indefinitely? As the domestic spying saga unfolds and militarism rises, Harper's brought four experts - both academics and brass - to discuss the possibilities.
"To subdue America entirely, the only route remaining would be to seize the machinery of state itself, to steer it toward malign ends—to carry out, that is, a coup d'état."
(See also The Origins of the Military Coup of 2012 [previous])
posted by trinarian on Aug 26, 2006 - 29 comments

http://www.h-pep.com/icepaw.html

I'm Coming Home (video/sound warning)
posted by spock on Aug 23, 2006 - 27 comments

...Failure to Communicate...

The Great War on Terror shall be won with Powerpoint.
[Army Lt. General David] McKiernan had another, smaller but nagging issue: He couldn't get Franks to issue clear orders that stated explicitly what he wanted done, how he wanted to do it, and why. Rather, Franks passed along PowerPoint briefing slides that he had shown to Rumsfeld: "It's quite frustrating the way this works, but the way we do things nowadays is combatant commanders brief their products in PowerPoint up in Washington to OSD and Secretary of Defense…In lieu of an order, or a frag [fragmentary order], or plan, you get a bunch of PowerPoint slides…[T]hat is frustrating, because nobody wants to plan [img] against PowerPoint slides."
(Here's briefing standards *.ppt, clipart, and some earlier governmental [pdf] uses of PowerPoint [Cryptome], FAS, along with one from ABCNEWS making the case against Iran.) Also, here are previously related MeFi PowerPoint threads on the Downing Street Memos and the Columbia disaster.
posted by rzklkng on Aug 17, 2006 - 97 comments

Military History links

Whether you are looking for Soviet War Photos or some free monographs, this incredible collection of military history links should be your first stop.
posted by mattbucher on Aug 7, 2006 - 23 comments

The problem with the two kiloton hand grenade...

The two kiloton hand-grenade and the dental x-ray machine. For several years, the military spent well over $30 million on a new kind of bomb, based on an isomer of hafnium that would have an explosive power just shy of a nuclear weapon, despite the fact that physicists said it was impossible. Sharon Weinberger (the author of the article in the main link) wrote a book about this project, with a related website. In response, the scientist behind the isomer bomb effort created an oddly childish parody website to mock her book. And, if that isn't strange enough, people have been arrested in the UK for attempting to obtain an imaginary substance, that may or may not be linked to the concept of the isomer bomb.
posted by blahblahblah on Aug 6, 2006 - 28 comments

Underground Bases

Underground bases [you decide] This is a list of known or suspected U.S. Underground Bases, the purpose of each (hey, I'm just passing on the reports...), how they're set up and any other info known about them. Although most of these are supposed to be a secret, this list is culled from publicly available records (is that good or bad?) and of course people who worked in them, live by them or those who have retired and offer info. Some wish to remain anonymous. Some have written to me with stories that have been terrifying - just to tell me things - not meaning for me to put them up.
posted by Postroad on Jul 21, 2006 - 64 comments

I'd like to go to Tchepone, but I haven't got the tickets.

If you're interested in military geography, this ebook from the National Defense University website should be good reading for you.
posted by Heywood Mogroot on Jul 11, 2006 - 5 comments

I'm not kidding...

The tradition of the Regimental Goat extends as far back as 1775 and the Battle of Bunker Hill, if not earlier. Canada's own Batisse IX is said to be a direct descendant of Tibetan goats presented by the Shah of Persia to Queen Victoria in 1884. Ask any regimental goat and they will tell you they are well respected, but military discipline can be severe when the regimental goat steps out of line.
posted by furtive on Jun 24, 2006 - 13 comments

Valiant Shield '06

The largest gathering of Navy ships in the Pacific since the Vietnam war is happening right now, off the coast of Guam. Valiant Shield 06, the first in a series of proposed biennial joint war-games, is a massive military training exercise involving three Carrier Strike groups, more than 300 air craft, and 22,000 personnel. While primarily an ASW event, all branches of the military are there practicing one thing or another. The Department of Defense has invited a number of other counties to watch the games, including China for the first time ever. Some believe the game was just designed to put a scare into North Korea (Not true, it's been in planning for a year).

But how does one run a massive war simulation? Well, you just find yourself a copy of OneSAF [FAQ] or JSAF (uh, among others [.ppt-to-html]) and you're good to go. (Previously on Metafilter: MC '02 [2])
posted by Fidel Cashflow on Jun 22, 2006 - 25 comments

News from the home front

Suzanne Swift, a Eugene soldier, has been arrested for refusing to return to Iraq after leave. She reports that she was sexually harassed by superiors. She was picked up at home by Homeland Security agents (according to local heresay) and held in Lane County Jail overnight, before being transferred to Fort Lewis in Washington. More local news here.
(Disclaimer: I attempted to link a Military.com story on it, for balance, but was unable to.)
posted by Danf on Jun 15, 2006 - 73 comments

What it's like to lose a son in the Iraq war.

Never Coming Home is about the families of five young men killed in Iraq. Slate presents a short documentary that focuses on the bereavement of the parents, or in one case, a brother. This portrait of grief and sacrifice is brought to life through the use of still photography and the recorded voices of family members.
posted by ND¢ on Jun 12, 2006 - 24 comments

A film on homeless veterans

When I Came Home: Iraq War veteran Herold Noel suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and lives out of his car in Brooklyn. Using Noel's story as a fulcrum, this doc examines the wider issue of homeless U.S. military veterans-from Vietnam to Iraq-who have to fight tooth-and-nail to receive the benefits promised to them by their government.
posted by riley370 on May 21, 2006 - 45 comments

Snoring inhibits killing capitalists.

The Chinese Military is evidently big enough that they can now afford to bar chronic snorers from enlisting. Uh oh.
posted by borkingchikapa on Apr 24, 2006 - 21 comments

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