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Appetite for Self-Destruction

Appetite for Self-Destruction

By Steve Knopper
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Tag: War

Turning Soldiers Into Crusaders

“Fault Lines” has this disturbing look at efforts to transform American soldiers into “government-paid missionaries,” as one Christian fundamentalist group put it. Featuring Truthdig’s Chris Hedges.

Posted on Jun 26, 2009 READ MORE


Arlington

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Posted on Jun 25, 2009 READ MORE    


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AP photo / Karim Kadim

Bomb Rips Baghdad Market Ahead of U.S. Pullback

At least 76 people were killed and more than 150 wounded in Baghdad by a bomb detonated in a busy marketplace Wednesday night. The bombing, just six days before U.S. security forces are set to pull back from Iraq’s cities and towns, was the third such incident to inflict double-digit civilian casualties in the last two weeks.

Posted on Jun 25, 2009 READ MORE


Iran’s Regime Reveals Its Brutality

The truly significant result of the suppressed Iranian revolt is that the most important Islamist radical movement in the contemporary world has demonstrated that it has become a brutally repressive dictatorship whose leaders rig elections and beat down clear popular demands.

Posted on Jun 23, 2009 READ MORE


Promises, Promises

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Posted on Jun 23, 2009 READ MORE    



U.S. Navy / Lt. j.g. James Dietle

Order to U.S. Troops: No Firefights Near Afghan Villagers

Gen. Stanley McChrystal is rolling out a new order to U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan with the hope of reducing rampant civilian casualties. If soldiers find themselves in a fight near Afghan homes, they are to “remove themselves from the area” as long as they can do so “safely, without any undue danger to the forces,” a military spokesman explained.

Posted on Jun 22, 2009 READ MORE


Uncle Sam

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Posted on Jun 21, 2009 READ MORE    


Obama’s Iran Dilemma

The president’s initial caution served the interests of freedom by making clear that the revolt against Iran’s flawed election is homegrown. As the struggle continues, we cannot pretend that we are indifferent to its outcome.

Posted on Jun 21, 2009 READ MORE


Bill Maher

Bill Maher: ‘Democrats Are the New Republicans’

Last week Bill Maher took on the president. This week, the “Real Time” host accuses the Democrats of selling out their principles to hedge funds and polluters: ” ... over the last 30-odd years, Democrats have moved to the right and the right has moved into a mental hospital.”

Posted on Jun 21, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
Flickr/Foxtongue

Rise in GI Alcohol Abuse Indicated

The number of U.S. soldiers enrolled in alcohol dependency or abuse programs has doubled since 2003, which isn’t surprising considering GIs are deploying on more and longer tours with less down time between. And these stats are probably hiding a bigger problem in consumption, considering that commanders have to be notified if someone is in treatment. So what of those that aren’t seeking help?

Posted on Jun 19, 2009 READ MORE


Daring to Dream

Most of the great American advances, from the airplane to the Constitution, were born from reinvention, not tinkering. For all the positive, even admirable steps Obama’s America seems poised to take, the aspirations still seem too small, too unimaginative, too confined by old conceptions of how things must work.

Posted on Jun 18, 2009 READ MORE


The War Between Civilizations That Never Was

The West was wrong about this being a war of civilizations, and so were the Muslims. Islamic civilization is experiencing a double crisis, of modernity and of religion. Nothing could be clearer today in Tehran.

Posted on Jun 18, 2009 READ MORE



U.S. Air Force / Senior Airman Erica J. Knight

Congress Funds Wars With Billions to Spare

After the president signs a $106 billion emergency supplemental, the U.S. will have shelled out about $1 trillion in “emergency” funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—not including the Pentagon’s obscene annual budget, exponentially expanding health care costs for wounded troops, and the interest on all that debt. True to form, lawmakers threw in $2.7 billion worth of cargo planes no one asked for.

Posted on Jun 18, 2009 READ MORE


The Islamic Republic Is Not in Danger

Few think that the demonstrations in Tehran, and now in other Iranian cities, can produce a change in regime. What is being challenged is the reactionary social and political form the Iranian system has assumed under Ahmadinejad and the most conservative clerics.

Posted on Jun 16, 2009 READ MORE



Wikimedia Commons

The American Empire Is Bankrupt

This week marks the end of the dollar’s reign as the world’s reserve currency. It marks the start of a terrible period of economic and political decline in the United States. And it signals the last gasp of the American imperium. That’s over. It is not coming back. And what is to come will be very, very painful.

Posted on Jun 14, 2009 READ MORE


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defenseimagery.mil / Staff Sgt. William Greeson

Violence Up—Way Up—in Afghanistan

Gen. David Petraeus announced Thursday that violence in Afghanistan has spiked 59 percent in recent months, hitting its highest level since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. American troops in the country now number 56,000 and will increase to 68,000 in the second half of this year. Petraeus said a coming increase in U.S. military activity signals that the trend of rising violence and casualties will continue.

Posted on Jun 12, 2009 READ MORE


McChrystal
wordpress.com

Hearts and Minds Redux

“Decapitation strategies don’t work.” Those words, uttered by the newly named U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, mark a shift in the military strategy in Afghanistan. Yes, indeed—it seems to have taken the Pentagon eight years to realize that “you’re going to have to convince people, not kill them.”

Posted on Jun 12, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Ben Curtis

America’s Foreign Policy Phobias Are Overblown

Recent developments in the Middle East and Central Asia, from Iran’s raucous election to Pakistan’s tribal revolt against the Taliban, cast doubt once again on Washington’s basic assumptions and anxieties.

Posted on Jun 10, 2009 READ MORE


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Posted on Jun 10, 2009 READ MORE    



news.bbc.co.uk

America’s Bombs Are Still Exploding in Laos

When the United States finished bombing Laos back in the early 1970s, it left behind an estimated 80 million unexploded bombs. They are still exploding, maiming an average of 300 people a year in the sparsely populated country. What horrors will our current adventures bring decades from now?

Posted on Jun 10, 2009 READ MORE


Two Men Who Stood Under the Plunderers’ Knives

Ken Saro-Wiwa and Alberto Pizango never met, but they are united by a passion for the preservation of their people and their land, and by the fervor with which they were targeted by their respective governments.

Posted on Jun 9, 2009 READ MORE


‘Colbert Report’ Invades Iraq

Stephen Colbert, in a hilarious outfit, has taken his show to one of Saddam Hussein’s old palaces in Baghdad to entertain the men and women of the U.S military. Watch President Obama order Gen. Ray Odierno to give Colbert’s coif a military makeover. Update: Full videos added.

Posted on Jun 9, 2009 READ MORE


Being Obama Matters

I used to fear that the president was overestimating the power of his personal history as an instrument of foreign policy. Now I wonder if he might have been underestimating.

Posted on Jun 8, 2009 READ MORE



Mr. Fish

Hold Your Applause

We may thrill to Obama’s rhetoric, but very few of the 1.3 billion Muslims in the world are as deluded. They grasp that nothing so far has changed for Muslims in the Middle East under the Obama administration.

Posted on Jun 8, 2009 READ MORE


book cover

Susie Linfield on How to Think About the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

A provocative new book, “One State, Two States,” by revisionist Israeli historian Benny Morris breaks a taboo by asking whether anti-Zionism has become the anti-imperialism of fools. Can his polemic act as the ax that helps break up the frozen and brittle nature of a debate over the seemingly intractable war between Palestinians and Jews?

Posted on Jun 5, 2009 READ MORE


Whither the Sacred Campaign Promise?

Historically, Americans generally held campaign promises sacred. Just ask the first President Bush. But now behavior by President Obama suggests a systemic assault on the campaign promise is under way.

Posted on Jun 4, 2009 READ MORE


Obama’s Cairo Speech: Significant, Eloquent—and Perhaps Just the Beginning

Obama’s speech was distinguished by the quality of his previous major speeches, that of speaking as an adult to adults. He promised to say what he thought, and did so on all of the topics he addressed. Correction

Posted on Jun 4, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
uscmc.mil

U.N. Official Seeks More Clarity on Civilian Deaths

U.N. rapporteur Philip Alston called for greater disclosure and accountability for the number of civilian deaths caused by the U.S. in its overseas conflicts. He expressed “strong concern at the continuing problem of preventable civilian casualties” and demanded “real accountability based on credible independent investigations.”

Posted on Jun 4, 2009 READ MORE



USMC / Lance Cpl. Chad J. Pulliam

Airstrike Rules Broken, Pentagon Finds

U.S. forces in Afghanistan have developed a reputation for bombing first and asking questions later. According to The New York Times, an internal Pentagon investigation confirms that the rules of engagement were not followed properly during airstrikes on May 4, resulting in the deaths of 20 to 140 civilians (depending on whether you take the U.S. or Afghan estimate).

Posted on Jun 3, 2009 READ MORE


Petraeus
USAF / Staff Sgt. Bradley A. Lail

Replace Petraeus

Gen. David Petraeus has proven the rule that past military victories do not guarantee future success. The general has made a mess of Afghanistan and Pakistan, yet he remains dangerously popular.

Posted on Jun 2, 2009 READ MORE


laughing dick cheney
White House photo by David Bohrer

Cheney Disavows 9/11-Iraq Link

On Monday, former Veep Dick Cheney admitted at long last that there was no link between the Sept. 11 attacks and Iraq, contrary to what the Bush administration had led the nation to believe in 2003 in order to justify waging a war on a country rich in history, culture ... and oil. Tens of thousands of Iraqi and American casualties later, we thank you, Dick.

Posted on Jun 1, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Khalid Mohammed

War Is Sin

Those who return from war have learned something which is often incomprehensible to those who have stayed home. We are not a virtuous nation. War is neither glorious nor noble. And we carry within us the capacity for evil we ascribe to those we fight.

Posted on Jun 1, 2009 READ MORE


America’s Changing Moral Universe

Way back in 2004, pollsters and pundits just knew that cultural and moral issues were the wave of the future. But a funny thing happened on the road to the revival tent. Updated

Posted on May 31, 2009 READ MORE


The Horror

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Posted on May 31, 2009 READ MORE


Bill Maher: America Is Greedy, Not Good

The “Real Time” host takes exception to American exceptionalism, the idea that Americans are unique and superior despite a penchant for poisoning, imprisoning and killing each other just to make a buck.

Posted on May 31, 2009 READ MORE


What Will Obama Say in Cairo?

Next week President Barack Obama travels to Cairo to deliver what is expected to be a major statement on relations between the United States and the Islamic world, but informed skeptics predict his new approach to the region will resemble the late months of the Bush administration.

Posted on May 29, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / trokilinochchi

20,000 Killed While No One Was Watching

The London Times reports that the final weeks of fighting in Sri Lanka’s civil war claimed more than 20,000 civilian lives, mostly at the hands of government forces. A U.N. official tells the paper the actual figure is “Higher. ... Keep going.” The government kept aid workers and reporters away during a three-week bombardment that ultimately ended the 26-year war.

Posted on May 28, 2009 READ MORE


flag at half mast
Flickr/medigirol

Escalating Suicides Shut Down Routine Duties at Base

Fort Campbell, a military base in Kentucky that had the most suicides of any Army base this year, has halted routine duties for three days in order to seek out and aid distressed soldiers who may be thinking of taking their own lives. In January through March alone, the base saw an average of one suicide per week.

Posted on May 28, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / Foreign and Commonwealth Office

U.N. Official Calls for Probe of Sri Lanka War Crimes

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said both sides in Sri Lanka’s civil war “grossly disregarded the fundamental principle of the inviolability of civilians.” She has called for an “independent and credible international investigation,” although she’s up against the notoriously impotent U.N. Human Rights Council and a bristling Sri Lankan government.

Posted on May 26, 2009 READ MORE


The West’s Reckless Approach to Relations With Russia

The basic question is whether the United States wishes to treat Russia as a permanent enemy, even if it is not. The result of treating states as enemies is that sooner or later they become them.

Posted on May 26, 2009 READ MORE



interactive.usc.edu

U.S. Joins the Digital Arms Race

Jealous of Russia and China’s hacking prowess, the Pentagon is trying to beef up its cyberwarfare capabilities by developing a gadget that would enable a run-of-the-mill soldier to hop on your wireless network, take over a power plant and everything between.

Posted on May 26, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Lawrence Jackson

Obama Sends Rebs a Wreath

President Obama decided not to break with White House custom this Memorial Day and sent a wreath to honor the fallen Confederate soldiers who wanted nothing to do with the Union. But he also started a new and long-overdue tradition by honoring the hundreds of thousands of black Americans who fought against the South.

Posted on May 25, 2009 READ MORE


Democracy

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Posted on May 25, 2009 READ MORE    


Daisy Gun

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Posted on May 25, 2009 READ MORE    


Shooting Shit

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Posted on May 25, 2009 READ MORE    


Real One

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Posted on May 25, 2009 READ MORE    


Memorial Day

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Posted on May 25, 2009 READ MORE    


Obama and the Limits of Mastery

President Obama wants to build a new liberal majority and to do it he’s trying to charm everyone left of Rush Limbaugh. That strategy has led to some awkward moments.

Posted on May 24, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
DefenseImagery.mil / Sgt. Edwin Bridges

U.S. Soldier Guns Down 5 Comrades

An American soldier was taken into custody after shooting five fellow military personnel to death and wounding three others in Baghdad on Monday. The incident, which occurred at a combat stress center, marks the highest single-incident death toll for the U.S. military since April.

Posted on May 11, 2009 READ MORE


Gates Orders a Change of Command in Afghanistan

The Pentagon will be replacing the current top American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David McKiernan, who has served in the position a mere 11 months. The decision comes on the heels of President Obama’s new plan for Afghanistan and Pakistan and marks a clear change in strategy in an increasingly complex war.

Posted on May 11, 2009 READ MORE


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