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
. 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 -
"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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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
. 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
] or JSAF
(uh, among others
]) and you're good to go. (Previously on Metafilter: MC '02
posted by Fidel Cashflow
on Jun 22, 2006 -
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 -
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 -
Stitching Together Lives Torn Apart.
In a war with no fixed front, military hospitals in Iraq are closer than ever to the places where American troops are felled — most often by roadside bombs, but also by rockets, mortars and gunshots. Many of the most seriously wounded would have died in previous wars. In Vietnam, soldiers often bled to death before reaching a hospital. Because the wounded in Iraq are evacuated so quickly, 96% of those who make it alive to the Balad and Baghdad hospitals are saved. On the battlefield, medics are better-prepared. The lowliest grunt is given specialized lifesaver training. New blood-clotting agents and improved field bandages have helped save lives.
The amputation rate in Iraq is double that of previous wars. Many soldiers face the rest of their lives without arms or legs, or with severe brain damage. The LATimes special reporting: The Lifeline (graphic photo)
, part one of three.
posted by PenguinBukkake
on Apr 1, 2006 -
are supposed to come home with their coffins draped with the American flag -- greeted by a color guard. But in reality, many are arriving as freight on commercial airliners -- stuffed in the belly of a plane with suitcases and other cargo."
posted by EarBucket
on Dec 10, 2005 -
It sounds a lot like science fiction.
It moves at the speed of light and it can penetrate walls. The U.S. military has firepower that uses electromagnetic energy to blind, stun or kill targets. Defense contractors are eager, but the weapons
are not yet being deployed.
posted by dsquid
on Jul 12, 2005 -
To be successful, an occupation such as that contemplated after any hostilities in Iraq requires much detailed interagency planning, many forces, multi-year military commitment, and a national commitment to nation-building... To conduct their share of the essential tasks that must be accomplished to reconstruct an Iraqi state, military forces will be severely taxed in military police, civil affairs, engineer, and transportation units, in addition to possible severe security difficulties. The administration of an Iraqi occupation will be complicated by deep religious, ethnic, and tribal differences which dominate Iraqi society. U.S. forces may have to manage and adjudicate conflicts among Iraqis that they can barely comprehend. An exit strategy will require the establishment of political stability, which will be difficult to achieve given Iraq's fragmented population, weak political institutions, and propensity for rule by violence.
From the US Army War College in February 2003: Reconstructing Iraq: Insights, Challenges, and Missions for Military Forces in a Post-Conflict Scenario (PDF)
. From June 2005, Anthony Cordesman's analysis of factual misstatements in the President's recent address: Truth and spin on Iraq
. Foresight is 20/20. Irresponsibility and mendacity are timeless.
posted by y2karl
on Jun 30, 2005 -
Amazing reading from a fellow millitary blogger who is currently undergoing some high stress as a result of PTSD
and is blogging his prescriptions and counseling sessions.
posted by JJBotter
on May 21, 2005 -
Generals Offer Sober Outlook on Iraqi War From the What Do These Guys Know Department: "American military commanders in Baghdad and Washington gave a sobering new assessment on Wednesday of the war in Iraq, adding to the mood of anxiety that prompted Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to come to Baghdad last weekend to consult with the new government.
In interviews and briefings this week, some of the generals pulled back from recent suggestions, some by the same officers, that positive trends in Iraq could allow a major drawdown in the 138,000 American troops late this year or early in 2006. One officer suggested Wednesday that American military involvement could last "many years.""
posted by Postroad
on May 19, 2005 -
Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798 - 2004
This report lists hundreds of instances in which the United States has used its armed forces abroad in situations of military conflict or potential conflict or for other than normal peacetime purposes. It was compiled in part from various older lists and is intended primarily to provide a rough survey of past US military ventures abroad, without reference to the magnitude of the given instance noted. The listing often contains references, especially from 1980 forward, to continuing military deployments especially US military participation in multinational operations associated with NATO or the United Nations. Most of these post-1980 instances are summaries based on Presidential reports to Congress related to the War Powers Resolution. A comprehensive commentary regarding any of the instances listed is not undertaken here.
posted by Postroad
on Apr 29, 2005 -
For young deserters, refuge is hard to find
It seemed like a drastic but simple solution: a step over the border into a country that had offered sanctuary before to Americans fleeing their homeland.
Instead, the growing band of US soldiers who have sought political refuge in Canada after defying orders to serve in Iraq have found themselves in a political limbo.
posted by Postroad
on Apr 25, 2005 -
At the end of the Cold War, Americans said yes to military power. The skepticism about arms and armies that pervaded the American experiment from its founding, vanished. Political leaders, liberals and conservatives alike, became enamored with military might. The ensuing affair had and continues to have a heedless, Gatsby-like aspect, a passion pursued in utter disregard of any consequences that might ensue. Few in power have openly considered whether valuing military power for its own sake or cultivating permanent global military superiority might be at odds with American principles. Indeed, one striking aspect of America's drift toward militarism has been the absence of dissent offered by any political figure of genuine stature... The Normalization of War
and New Boys in Town - The Neocon Revolution and American Militarism
are two excerpts from Andrew J. Bacevich's
just released The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War
, concerning who and which there was a previous post here
posted by y2karl
on Apr 23, 2005 -
It is more likely than not that most of America’s enemies in the near future will continue to be at least as awkwardly and inconveniently asymmetrical as they have been over the past 15 years. However, it would be grossly imprudent to assume that they will all be led by politicians as incompetent at grand strategy as Saddam Hussein or Slobodan Milosevic. There is probably a General Aideed lurking out there, not to mention a General Giap. A no-less-troubling thought is recognition of the certainty that America’s strategic future will witness enemies initially of the second-rate, and eventually of the first... One may choose to recall the old aphorism that “unless you have fought the Germans, you don’t really know war.” That thought, though one hopes not its precise national example, holds for the future.How Has War Changed Since the End of the Cold War?
The answer seems to be not that much at all: The truth of the matter is that war is not changing its character, let alone miraculously accomplishing the impossible and changing its nature.
posted by y2karl
on Mar 15, 2005 -
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
posted by y2karl
on Feb 21, 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 -
is a guerilla tactic that goes back to the days of Alexander the Great fighting the Scythians (more here
). It was used by the anti-WTO protestors in the late 90s and is being used against US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. New equipment
being developed by the military will attempt to use swarming behaviours.
posted by rks404
on Jan 8, 2005 -
"We're not going to have any casualties."
This is the response that George W Bush gave to Pat Robertson, during a meeting in which Robertson expressed deep misgivings about the impending war in Iraq. There's been a lot of discussion about just how self-assured the President is on his positions (and how he won't admit any mistakes), but where does assurance end and delusion begin?
posted by almostcool
on Oct 20, 2004 -
Tom Ridge's war profiteering.
Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge has been reported to hold investments in at least seven different companies directly benefiting from new Homeland Security projects. "In response to a late afternoon telephone inquiry, DHS spokesman Brian Roehrkasse first said the department did not have enough time to answer questions ... Pressed further, he shouted an expletive to a reporter and hung up. "
posted by XQUZYPHYR
on Sep 25, 2004 -
The Wrong Morons.
(from the Army Times
) "Around the halls of the Pentagon, a term of caustic derision has emerged for the enlisted soldiers at the heart of the furor over the Abu Ghraib prison scandal: the six morons who lost the war...But the folks in the Pentagon are talking about the wrong morons."
posted by Ty Webb
on May 11, 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 -