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 -
Creating a military-industrial-immigration complex.
In a world where basic services are being cut, an emerging policing apparatus in the borderlands is flourishing.
Since September 11, 2001, the United States has spent $791 billion on “homeland security” alone, an inflation-adjusted $300 billion more than the cost of the entire New Deal.
posted by adamvasco
on Jul 12, 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 -
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]
posted by zarq
on Mar 15, 2013 -
824,273 disabled veterans are currently awaiting a response on claims from the US Department of Veterans Affairs. On average, it takes the government 257 days to respond, and there has been a 7.2% growth in claims over the last 1.3 years -- so the delays are growing. While they wait, veterans often cannot access health care from the agency or receive disability compensation. Plus, the backlog on claim appeals is at least 3.5 years. So how can veterans avoid the backlog? A special investigation by the Bay Area Citizen shows that processing speed is a matter of geographic location: veterans in sparsely populated areas have their claims filled faster than those living in urban centers.
Interactive Map: Where is Worst Backlog
? Related video and transcript
posted by zarq
on Aug 30, 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 -
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]
posted by zarq
on Oct 12, 2011 -
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]
posted by zarq
on Jul 12, 2011 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
The Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday in Rumsfeld
, a case
challenging the Solomon Amendment
, a US federal law that allows the government to cut federal funding to universities that refuse to allow military recruiting on campus. FAIR is a coalition of law schools challenging this law on the basis that the US military's policy of prohibiting open homosexuals
from serving violates the schools' anti-discrimination policies
(see section 6-3). Summing the issue up nicely, the dean of one law school said of the US military
, "If it were a private employer who discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation, race or gender, we wouldn't allow them here on campus." .rm C-SPAN coverage here
posted by thirteenkiller
on Dec 7, 2005 -
Oveta Culp Hobby and the Women's Army Corps.
Early in 1941 Congresswoman Edith Nourse Rogers
of Massachusetts (the first woman to serve in the United States House of Representatives) met with General George C. Marshall
, the Army's Chief of Staff, and informed him that she intended to introduce a bill to establish an Army women's corps, separate and distinct from the existing Army Nurse Corps
. Rogers remembered the female civilians who had worked overseas with the Army under contract and as volunteers during World War I: serving without benefit of official status, they had to obtain their own food and quarters, and they received no legal protection or medical care. Upon their return home they were not entitled to the disability benefits or pensions available to U.S. military veterans. Rogers was determined that if women were to serve again with the Army in a wartime theater they would receive the same legal protection and benefits as their male counterparts. After a long and acrimonious debate, the following year the bill was finally approved by Congress and signed into law by FDR. Oveta Culp Hobby
, chairman of the board of the Houston Post, was appointed as Director
of the WAAC
posted by PenguinBukkake
on Sep 4, 2005 -
Washington Secures Long-Sought Hemispheric Outpost, Perhaps at the Expense of Regional Sovereignty
This press release from the Center for Hemispheric Relations is just about the only reporting I've found about the establishment on July 1 of a new US military base in Paraguay. There was a short article
in Prensa Latina on July 11, only 3 days after it first published a story that Paraguay had denied the establishment of the base
There are a very few stories here and there online, but nothing in the American press about this development. You have to know the story exists to find out anything about it. Which is more disturbing, that the US military is on the verge of establishing a new foothold in another sovereign nation or that the US media is not reporting it at all?
I really can't decide what I think about this.
posted by elgoose
on Jul 22, 2005 -
Virgins talk about sex.
Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, marines gotta kill the enemy
. I think 'Flippant'
is an accurate term from the Vice Adm. But most of the flak this monk
is catching is from folks who say how killing the enemy "should" be. He's been called a psychopath
, but it seems to me his emotional investment belies that.
So do we then want robots? The civilian issue of why or where or when to fight aside - do we have the right to derogate how a soldier feels about doing his duty?
posted by Smedleyman
on Feb 5, 2005 -
Marine Refuses to Use Guns ...
Marine Cpl. Joel D. Klimkewicz converted to the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day saints while in the Marines, and now believes that killing is against Jesus' teachings. As such, he refused to train with a gun though he says he would be willing to clear mines and work the front lines. The result is that the military has jailed him for his religious beliefs, convicting him of disobeying a direct order. Anyone think that Bill O'Reilly is going to say the military is trying to destroy Christianity?
posted by nathanrudy
on Jan 1, 2005 -
Confirming the Obvious: "A Knight Ridder review of the administration's Iraq policy and decisions has found that it invaded Iraq without a comprehensive plan in place to secure and rebuild the country... The Bush administration's failure to plan to win the peace in Iraq was the product of many of the same problems that plagued the administration's case for war, including wishful thinking, bad information from Iraqi exiles who said Iraqis would welcome American troops as liberators and contempt for dissenting opinions."
Just in case anyone you know is still pretending this administration had the slightest idea what it was doing after "Mission Accomplished."
posted by jscalzi
on Oct 16, 2004 -
Terrorising free speech.
Al Lorentz is a reserve Non-Commissioned Officer currently serving in Iraq. His blazingly clear, succinct article on Iraq, titled "Why we cannot win"
, has raged over the wires (also at MeFi) since it was published on LewRockwell.com. Now, the military chain of command is considering charging Al with violation of Article 134 for making a statement with the intent to promote disloyalty or disaffection toward the U.S. by any member of the Armed forces. The military is also considering charging Al with violation of 1344.10, the conduct of partisan political activity, and violation of Standards of Conduct for unauthorized use of Government assets to create and email stories.
posted by acrobat
on Sep 29, 2004 -
John Edwards: "No military draft if Democrats win"
- which comes as a relief to me today as my own son turns eighteen. However, as it stands, the Selective Service System has been ramping up its ability to begin a draft as early as Spring 2005
, especially a possibility should Congressional Bills S. 89
and H.R. 163
, known as the "Universal National Service Act of 2003
" pass in the House and Senate. Many people who have been in the military feel a draft would actually degrade the quality of our military forces
. Nonetheless, this time around, a draft would include men and women. And the Selective Service is also looking for a few good people to become a Selective Service System Local Board Member
, one of the tasks of which is to guarantee
"that each CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR is properly CLASSIFIED, PLACED, and
posted by jackspace
on Sep 15, 2004 -
A Farewell to the Corps Colonel Wayne Shaw, USMC, Quantico, Virginia In recent years I've heard many Marines on the occasion of retirements, farewells, promotions and changes of command refer to the "fun" they've had in the Marine Corps. "I loved every day of it and had a lot of fun" has been voiced far too often. Their definition of "fun" must be radically different from mine. Since first signing my name on the dotted line 28 ½ years ago I have had very little fun.
posted by konolia
on Jul 14, 2004 -
The dog ate my service records.
The Pentagon has announced that the payroll records for National Guard service for three months between 1972 and 1973 have been accidentally destroyed. These three months coincidentally cover the disputed period of George W. Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard. (Similar Google link here
, via dKos
posted by XQUZYPHYR
on Jul 9, 2004 -
An American in Mongolia. A new breed of American soldier—call him the soldier-diplomat—has come into being since the end of the Cold War. Meet the colonel who was our man in Mongolia, an officer who probably wielded more local influence than many Mongol rulers of yore.
posted by kablam
on Feb 20, 2004 -
Implications of a 4-Star Command in Iraq.
In an small press release, it was recently announced that Iraq *may* be getting a 4-star general, but *not* to replace the current 3-star military commander of that nation. So what difference does a single star make?
"...In other words, the Defense Department is putting forward the idea of another regional command because it anticipates the possibility of intensifying combat operations throughout the region.
The war in Iraq might be coming under control, but from the standpoint of the Defense Department, the end of the Iraq campaign is the preface to follow-on campaigns.
posted by kablam
on Jan 20, 2004 -
Army Stops Many Soldiers From Quitting According to their contracts, expectations and desires, all three soldiers should have been civilians by now. But Fontaine and Costas are currently serving in Iraq, and Eagle has just been deployed. On their Army paychecks, the expiration date of their military service is now listed sometime after 2030 -- the payroll computer's way of saying, "Who knows?"
The three are among thousands of soldiers forbidden to leave military service under the Army's "stop-loss" orders, intended to stanch the seepage of troops, through retirement and discharge, from a military stretched thin by its burgeoning overseas missions.
As Helena Cobham notes
, They don't want to call it a draft but it sure ain't your father's "all-volunteer military" any more... Marine's Girl
, Cobham's cause celebre
of some time ago, writes about stop-loss here
. See also Army reservists choosing to be citizens, not soldiers
posted by y2karl
on Dec 30, 2003 -
Labor Day's forgotten ones.
"...there is one class of workers who are largely ignored during Labor Day celebrations, even as our country remains at war on multiple fronts: members of the U.S. armed forces."
posted by skallas
on Sep 7, 2003 -