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]
In 2011, the CIA declassified documents admitting its involvement in the 1953 coup that overthrew Iran's elected government and installed Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, details of which were first first disclosed by the New York Times
in 2000. Timeline
. However, they refused to release them to the public
. Today, the National Security Archive research institute has (after a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit) obtained and made the 21 documents public. "Marking the sixtieth anniversary of the overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq, the National Security Archive is today posting recently declassified CIA documents on the United States' role in the controversial operation. American and British involvement in Mosaddeq's ouster has long been public knowledge, but today's posting includes what is believed to be the CIA's first formal acknowledgement that the agency helped to plan and execute the coup
. [more inside]
"We condition the poor and the working class to go to war. We promise them honor, status, glory, and adventure. We promise boys they will become men. We hold these promises up against the dead-end jobs of small-town life, the financial dislocations, credit card debt, bad marriages, lack of health insurance, and dread of unemployment. The military is the call of the Sirens, the enticement that has for generations seduced young Americans working in fast food restaurants or behind the counters of Walmarts to fight and die for war profiteers and elites."
-- War is Betrayal. Persistent Myths of Combat
, an essay by Chris Hedges
of Truthdig. Responses within. [more inside]
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]
It Don’t Gitmo Better Than This.
Inside the Dark Heart of Guantánamo Bay By Molly Crabapple.
A Deadly Triangle
- the proxy war in Afghanistan
Syria Options Go From Bad To Worse
As reports have surfaced of possible use of sarin gas in the Syrian civil war, calls by long-time proponents of U.S. intervention on behalf of the anti-Assad rebels have grown to a fever pitch. These same voices, both at home and abroad, have evoked the administration’s previously stated “red line” on use of chemical weapons. But even assuming that reports of WMD usage in Syria turn out to be true, the Obama Administration’s position may be far more nuanced than previously thought. [more inside]
"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]
is a collaborative collection of more than 3,000 royalty-free
photos from World War II's Battle of Normandy and its aftermath. (Photos date from June 6 to late August 1944). The main link goes to the photostream. You can also peruse sets
, which include 2700+ images from the US
The Things They Leave Behind.
"When the Vietnam Veterans Memorial opened 30 years ago, something unexpected happened: People started leaving things at the wall. One veteran has spent decades cataloging the letters, mementos, and other artifacts of loss — all 400,000 of them." (Via.) [more inside]
It begins, "The man who shot and killed Osama bin Laden sat in a wicker chair in my backyard, wondering how he was going to feed his wife and kids or pay for their medical care."
Between 2004 and 2005, "Rocky Mountain News reporter Jim Sheeler and photographer Todd Heisler spent a year with the Marines stationed at Aurora's Buckley Air Force Base who have found themselves called upon to notify families of the deaths of their sons in Iraq. In each case in this story, the families agreed to let Sheeler and Heisler chronicle their loss and grief. They wanted people to know their sons, the men and women who brought them home, and the bond of traditions more than 200 years old that unite them. Though readers are led through the story by the white-gloved hand of Maj. Steve Beck, he remains a reluctant hero. He is, he insists, only a small part of the massive mosaic that is the Marine Corps." The full story
ran on Veteran's Day, 2005 and won two Pulitzer Prizes: one for Feature Photography
, another for feature writing
in 2006. A nice single-page version of one section: Katherine Cathey and 2nd Lt. James J. Cathey
.) The Rocky Mountain News closed in 2009. [more inside]
"Tanks Are Mighty Fine Things!" And Other Tales Of Truthiness...
At the end of World War II, Chrysler sent small hardbound books to shareholders chronicling ways the company had contributed to the war effort. Two have now been placed online at the Chrysler Imperial Club
's website: "Tanks are Mighty Fine Things"
and "A War Job 'Thought Impossible' (The story of the Chrysler-Sperry Gyro-Compass)" (Via) [more inside]
100 Firefights, Three Weeks: Inside Afghanistan's Most Insane Fight
"In its first three weeks in Afghanistan’s Sangin district, the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines got into more than 100 firefights and sustained 62 casualties. The insurgents managed to negate the Marines’ night-vision gear, and rendered their traditional close-combat tactics useless. Things got so bad, the 3/5’s superior officers even suggested pulling their troops back. That didn’t happen. Instead, the 3/5 went after the militants, hard. When the 3/5 came home, they told counterinsurgency historian Mark Moyar all about their deeply unconventional approach to what was already an unconventional war."
This is an excerpt in Wired of Moyar’s 74-page after action report
. (pdf) [more inside]
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.
Robert F. Gallagher served in the United States Army's 815th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion (Third Army) in the European Theater during WWII. He has posted his memoir online: "Scratch One Messerschmitt,"
told from numerous photos he took during the war and the detailed notes he made shortly afterwards. [more inside]
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]
Combat operations in Iraq are over!
Except, the AP says "our content should not refer to the end of combat in Iraq, or the end of U.S. military involvement."
Meanwhile, in Iraq, a new show has been airing since Ramadan that has been described as "Punk’d, Iraqi-Style, at a Checkpoint
." You can watch 14-minutes of the show (in Arabic, no English subtitles), here
"During World War I, the [US] Army lost 7 million person-days and discharged more than 10,000 men because they were ailing from STDs. Once Penicillin kicked in in the mid-1940s, such infections were treatable. But as a matter of national security, the military started distributing condoms and aggressively marketing prophylactics to the troops in the early 20th century
." [more inside]
"There is no conventional or chemical or biological threat out there that we cannot counter with our overwhelming conventional forces." ~ US President Barack Obama
The US 2010 Nuclear Posture Review Report (NPR) has been announced. (pdf) For the first time,
the United States is explicitly
committing not to use nuclear weapons except in "extreme circumstances"
, pledging not to develop new ones and limiting the use of those in storage -- even for self defense. Nuclear weapons will not be used against non-nuclear states that are in compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty
, even in response to a hypothetical biological or chemical weapons attack, or a crippling cyberattack. The new focus will be deterrence
. [more inside]
"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]
Bush requests $515.4 billion
in funds for the defense budget
So what do those numbers mean?
The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments
states the DoD’s base budget will grow to record (or near-record) levels and will require even greater increases in the coming years.
wouldn’t mind the planned pay raises commensurate with the private sector, housing that doesn’t smell like bug powder and mold, and chow that doesn’t turn your stomach.
But according to the CSBA’s analysis ( here
* caution PDF) , it’s doubtful that even an ideological Bush clone would be able to implement those increases given the economic realities.
Some vets blame the silence of the generals.
Should everything have changed post 9/11?
A riveting ten-minute interview with playwright and former US Army interrogator Joshua Casteel.
He discusses how a particular interrogation with an Iraqi prisoner--and an exchange of views on Islam and Christianity--motivated him to leave the armed forces and become a conscientious objector.
Sarko l'Americain addresses US Congress.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has told the US Congress it can count on France's support against terrorism in Afghanistan and Iran's nuclear plan. [Full Text here PDF
]. Here also, is a recent take on Franco-American relations [more inside]
Bush and Aznar pre-Iraq Invasion--
Transcript of their private conversations in Crawford, Feb 22, 2003: "Quedan dos semanas. En dos semanas estaremos militarmente listos. Estaremos en Bagdad a finales de marzo", le dijo a Aznar.
("2 weeks. In 2 weeks we will be ready militarily. We'll be in Baghdad by the end of March", he told Aznar.) Consider this historical documentation. Full transcript here
, and audio clips in first link. [more inside]
Al Hurra television, the U.S. government's $63 million-a-year effort at public diplomacy broadcasting in the Middle East, is run by executives and officials who cannot speak Arabic, according to a senior official who oversees the program.
That might explain why critics say the service has recently been caught broadcasting terrorist messages, ...
from their About US page: Alhurra is operated by non-profit corporation “The Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Inc.” (MBN). MBN is financed by the American people through the U.S Congress.
US Govt. Accountability Office abstract about other MBN problems here.
Senate backs Iraq withdrawal date
The US Senate has voted to approve a bill which requires US troops to be withdrawn from Iraq within 11 months.
Voices of the Fallen: the war in the words of the dead-- In letters and journals and e-mails, the war dead live on, their words—urgent, honest, unself-conscious—testament to the realities of combat. What do they have to say to us? ... The result is a window on Iraq we have not had before: the bravery, the fear and the chaos of war, and the loves and hates and dreams and nightmares of the warriors. Things are incredibly busy, then they are not. The Iraqis are welcoming, then they are not. The war is going well, then it is not. The mission makes sense, then it does not. ...
(video, audio, email, and text)
Meet the new jailers-- Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad is at the centre of fresh abuse allegations just a week after it was handed over to Iraqi authorities, with claims that inmates are being tortured by their new captors.
Mass executions, torture again, etc. How bad is it when the inmates plead for us
to come back? (Warning--this second link is graphic evidence of what we did there--NSFW)
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
How Much Oil Has Iraq Been Exporting Since We Invaded?
And how much revenue should be recorded? --Iraq’s oil exports hit another post-invasion low in December and January, according to the Oil & Gas Journal. How do they know? Good question: according to Reuters, production and exports have gone unmetered since the Coalition Provisional Authority took over the country following the 2003 invasion; until new meters are installed (in 1-2 more years), everybody’s just guessing.
Our Government's Energy Information Administration
has all sorts of statistics--anyone wanna figure out how they're derived regarding Iraq?
The Battle of Glorieta Pass
is considered the turning point of the Civil War, in terms of the New Mexico Territory. It happened March 26-28th, 1862. Initially Charles L. Pyron
and William Reed Scurry's
Confederate force, based at Johnson's Ranch
, thought that they had won the battle. They would soon learn that the Union troops, lead by John P. Slough
, had circled and destroyed their supplies, leading to Scurry's retreat towards San Antonio. More detailed battle info: [1
]-Some site photos.
Abu Ghraib, continued.
A new cache of disturbing images and videos from the original interrogations, with commentary from Salon. [Definitely NSFW, or for Earth, for that matter.]
Zeitgeistfilter: Lumpen Leisure
and Welcome to Middle-Class Lockdown... Now Shut Up and Buy Something
-- two fine rants about our current state of disunion by James Howard Kuntsler, author of The Long Emergency
), and writer and Vietnam vet Joe Bageant
. "All over but the keening for our soon-to-be-lost machine world," Kunstler predicts in The American Conservative
, while Bageant taps the inner stream-of-unconsciousness for Dissident Voice
: "Things cannot be as bad as the alarmists say. They cannot be as bad as I often suspect they are. If there really were such a thing as global warming they would be starting to do something about it. And besides, even if it were true, science will find a way to fix it. If there really were genocide going on in so many places far more people would be concerned... If the earth were heating up we would surely notice it. If our soldiers and government agencies were torturing people around the world it would make the news. If millions were being exterminated, it would be more obvious, would it not?" (Kunstler's book previously discussed here
, Bageant here
A Disturbance in the Blogosphere: Publishing the UK/US/Uzbekistan Torture Memo.
Braving arrest, bloggers
have broken the UK’s law of silence with the truth about torture.
Bloggers are mass publishing the leaked UK/US/Uzbekistan Torture Memos. The memos are from the correspondences of Craig Murray who was the United Kingdom's ambassador to Uzbekistan.
These memos are evidence and a memorandum of record outlining the rendition and torture of US-arrested prisoners in Uzbekistan.
From Craig Murray's Memo:
12. On the usefulness of the material obtained, this is irrelevant. Article 2 of the [UN] Convention, to which we are a party, could not be plainer: "No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture."
13. Nonetheless, I repeat that this material is useless – we are selling our souls for dross. It is in fact positively harmful.
Estimated civilian casualties in Iraq: 25,000
. A new study by the Oxford Research Group
and Iraq Body Count
estimates that 1 in 1000 Iraqis have been killed since the US invasion began. They further estimate that 37 percent of these deaths were caused by coalition forces, and 9 percent were killed by the insurgents. Estimated civilian wounded: 42,500. Over 1700 US troops have also died
, and over 18,000 have been injured.
The next terrorist attack on America may be perpetrated by Europeans.
Radical Islam is spreading across Europe among descendants of Muslim immigrants. Disenfranchised and disillusioned by the failure of integration, some European Muslims have taken up jihad against the West. They are dangerous and committed -- and can enter the United States without a visa.
"It wouldn't surprise me if we paid rewards"
--As part of the AP's receipt of transcripts of the millitary tribunals in Guantanamo, multiple reports of our allies using money the US gave them to buy "terrorists" for shipment there. ..."When I was in jail, they said I needed to pay them money and if I didn't pay them, they'd make up wrong accusations about me and sell me to the Americans and I'd definitely go to Cuba," he told the tribunal. "After that I was held for two months and 20 days in their detention, so they could make wrong accusations about me and my (censored), so they could sell us to you."
Another prisoner said he was on his way to Germany in 2001 when he was captured and sold for "a briefcase full of money" then flown to Afghanistan before being sent to Guantanamo....
Freedom Fries to French Fries:
"Sorry dear. It was a momentary lapse of reason. It was a combination of God's hand and a constituent's request. I wish it had never happened.
The argument I make in my book is that what I describe as the new American militarism arises as an unintended consequence of the reaction to the Vietnam War and more broadly, to the sixties... If some people think that the sixties constituted a revolution, that revolution produced a counterrevolution, launched by a variety of groups that had one thing in common: they saw revival of American military power, institutions, and values as the antidote to everything that in their minds had gone wrong. None of these groups — the neoconservatives, large numbers of Protestant evangelicals, politicians like Ronald Reagan, the so-called defense intellectuals, and the officer corps — set out saying, “Militarism is a good idea.” But I argue that this is what we’ve ended up with: a sense of what military power can do, a sort of deference to the military, and an attribution of virtue to the men and women who serve in uniform. Together this constitutes such a pernicious and distorted attitude toward military affairs that it qualifies as militarism. An interview with Andrew Bacevich
, international relations professor and former Army colonel, and author of The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War
--and here is a review
. Recently by Bacevich: We Aren't Fighting to Win Anymore - U.S. troops in Iraq are only trying to buy time