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 -
Daniel Soar on the militarisation of metaphor
: Spies aren’t known for their cultural sensitivity. So it was a surprise when news broke last month that IARPA, a US government agency that funds ‘high-risk/high-payoff research’ into areas of interest to the ‘intelligence community’, had put out a call for contributions to its Metaphor Program, a five-year project to discover what a foreign culture’s metaphors can reveal about its beliefs.
posted by jack_mo
on Jun 27, 2011 -
Ernestina Herrera de Noble
heads up The Clarin Group and the Clarin
newspaper (in Spanish), the largest in Argentina. She is the mother of two adopted children, Felipe and Marcela, heirs to the Clarin Group fortune.
She has been a controversial figure for much of her life. Currently, her paper stands in staunch opposition to the administration of President Cristina Kirchner, who in 2009 successfully pushed through legislation forcing the Clarin group to sell off some of its holdings. President Kirchner recently announced she will be seeking a second term
However, Mrs. Herrera de Noble's legacy will probably rest on the suit brought against her by the Grandmothers of the Plaza del Mayo
, forcing her children to submit DNA samples
to ascertain whether they are the children of detainees killed by the military during Argentina’s “Dirty War
”. The siblings and their mother have fought to avoid DNA testing, claiming it is a violation of their privacy, but there are families who claim that Felipe and Marcela are the natural born children of women pregnant when they were detained and subsequently disappeared
. Ernestina insists that the adoptions were “legal”, and her children stand by her side. If a genetic link is proven to former detainees, Mrs. Herrera de Noble may face a criminal investigation.
posted by msali
on Jun 22, 2011 -
In a 32 page report to Congress [pdf]
President Obama concludes:
...the current U.S. military operations in Libya are consistent
with the War Powers Resolution and do not under that law require
further congressional authorization, because U.S. military
operations are distinct from the kind of “hostilities”
contemplated by the Resolution’s 60 day termination provision.
Now, the New York Times reports
that this legal opinion was reached by rejecting the views of top lawyers at the Pentagon and the Justice Department. It is instructive to compare President Obama's actions
with those of his predecessor, George W. Bush. [more inside]
posted by ennui.bz
on Jun 20, 2011 -
is a veteran American cartoonist best known for his delightful comic-book guides to science and history, many of which have previews online. Chief among them is his long-running Cartoon History of the Universe
(later The Cartoon History of the Modern World
), a sprawling multi-volume opus documenting everything from the Big Bang to the Bush administration. Published over the course of three decades, it takes a truly global view -- its time-traveling Professor thoroughly explores not only familiar topics like Rome and World War II but the oft-neglected stories of Asia and Africa, blending caricature and myth with careful scholarship (cited by fun illustrated bibliographies
) and tackling even the most obscure events with intelligence and wit
. This savvy satire carried over to Gonick's Zinn
chronicle The Cartoon History of the United States
, along with a bevy of Cartoon Guides
to other topics, including Genetics, Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, Statistics, The Environment
, and (yes!) Sex
. Gonick has also maintained a few sideprojects, such as a webcomic look at Chinese invention
, assorted math comics
), the Muse magazine
mainstay Kokopelli & Co.
(featuring the shenanigans of his "New Muses"
), and more
. See also these lengthy interview snippets
, linked previously
. Want more? Amazon links to the complete oeuvre inside! [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Jun 6, 2011 -
The Witness to War project is not about the set piece movements of armies, the military strategies of generals, nor the geopolitical nuances that led to war. Instead, it is about the 'foxhole' view of combat as seen by the soldiers who experienced it.
posted by Horselover Phattie
on May 31, 2011 -
'The Pentagon has concluded
that computer sabotage coming from another country can constitute an act of war, a finding that for the first time opens the door for the U.S. to respond using traditional military force.'
posted by stbalbach
on May 31, 2011 -
In 2009, Ctrl.Alt.Shift
, the "youth initiative
of Christian Aid," held a national competition in the UK for aspiring filmmakers aged 18 to 25. Their mission: create a short film treatment based around three key issues: "War + Peace," "Gender + Power" and "HIV + Stigma." The results were then screened to an audience at the 2009 Raindance Film Festival. The films: 1000 Voices
, HIV: The Musical
, Man Made
, No Way Through
and War School
. (All YouTube links. Vimeo links and descriptions of each film are inside this post.) These films deal with adult subject matter and may be disturbing for some viewers. Some may also be nsfw. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on May 24, 2011 -
Born into War.
In 1863, a 3 yr old John J. Pershing was pinned to the floor
by his mother to protect him from confederate raiders. In 1886, he left West Point for the western frontier, having been elected class president four years in a row. In 1890 he was present at the Wounded Knee Massacre
. In 1898 he fought with Buffalo Soldiers
in Cuba, commanding a black cavalry regiment at San Juan Hill. From 1898 to 1901 he was fighting Philippine insurgents
. In 1905 he served as an observer
in the Russo-Japanese War, arguably the first "modern" war. In 1906 Teddy Roosevelt promoted him to Brigadier General
, skipping over 862 senior officers
. In 1916 he was hunting Poncho Villa
in Mexico. In 1917, Pershing was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Entire American Expeditionary Force of WW1
, in which he built an army almost from scratch, organizing, training, and supplying an inexperienced force that eventually numbered two million. 1919 saw Pershing promoted to the highest U.S. Army rank in history, "General of the Armies
", a position held previously by George Washington. Pershing lived to see Allied Victory before his death in 1948
posted by thisisdrew
on May 19, 2011 -
"In the course of researching my book The Emotional Life of Nations, I discovered that just before and during wars the nation was regularly depicted as a Dangerous Woman. I collected thousands of magazine covers and political cartoons before wars to see if there were any visual patterns that could predict the moods that led to war, and routinely found images of dangerous, bloodthirsty women.
Sociologist, political psychologist, and founder of The Institute for Psychohistory (no not that one)
Lloyd deMause has written eight books and 90 articles on the link between warfare and parenting practices. With thousands of references to psychological and anthropological studies, deMause makes the case that outbursts of nationalist violence are reenactments of childhood experiences common to large groups.
His book The Origins of War In Child Abuse
is available as a ten-part, free audiobook
; read by Stefan Molyneux
. [more inside]
posted by clarknova
on May 3, 2011 -
The Burns Archive
is a collection of over 700,000 historical photographs that document disturbing
subject matter: obsolete medical practices and experiments, death, disease, disasters, crime, revolutions, riots and war. Newsweek posted a select gallery
this past October, as well as a video interview and walk-through
with curator and collector Dr. Stanley B. Burns, a New York opthalmologist. (Via) (Content at links may be disturbing to some.) [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Apr 26, 2011 -
Iraq Vet Who Advocated For Others Kills Himself
"Handsome and friendly, Clay Hunt so epitomized a vibrant Iraq veteran that he was chosen for a public service announcement reminding veterans that they aren't alone." - Clay Hunt died March 31 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The article states he had been dealing with "survivors guilt" and frustrated by a difficult disability claim process from wounds received in Iraq.
posted by randomkeystrike
on Apr 22, 2011 -
A Look Back at the Vietnam War on the 35th Anniversary of the Fall of Saigon. (The following photo collection contains some graphic violence and depictions of dead bodies.)
posted by docgonzo
on Apr 21, 2011 -
802 Prisoners attempted escape from Auschwitz. 144 were successful. Kazimierz Piechowski, a Polish boy scout, was one of them. Today, at age 91, he tells his story
. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Apr 13, 2011 -
A Tragedy of Errors.
On Feb. 21, 2010, a convoy of vehicles carrying civilians headed down a mountain in central Afghanistan and American eyes in the sky were watching. "The Americans were using some of the most sophisticated tools
in the history of war, technological marvels of surveillance and intelligence gathering that allowed them to see into once-inaccessible corners of the battlefield. But the high-tech wizardry would fail
in its most elemental purpose: to tell the difference between friend and foe." FOIA
of US cockpit and radio conversations and an interactive feature
provide a more in-depth understanding of what happened.
posted by zarq
on Apr 10, 2011 -