Jeremy Scahill talks with the brightest minds on our most pressing issues.

[1, 2]

Vice:

TAKE A STROLL… WITH ROB DELANEY - COOKING UP A WAR? DON’T FORGET THE PISS
People are understandably upset after video emerged of what appears to be U.S. Marines urinating on Afghan corpses. If they’re surprised, however, they need to pick up a history book. Soldiers piss on corpses in every war. On both sides. Soldiers rape civilians, as a rule, in every war that has ever taken place since time immemorial. Rape is a weapon of war. Piss, some people are now learning, is a weapon of war. Some fucked-up, disgusting combination of the two, plus shit and dismemberment, is a weapon of war. Bad guys do it. “Good” guys do it. When a country’s government decides to wage war, they are deciding to sanction piss, rape, and the torture and murder of women and children who had the colossally bad fortune to be in the midst of the war. When the U.S. decided to enter into Afghanistan and then Iraq, they (i.e. Congress and the president, and the myriad companies that profit from war) knew this. I’m not singling out the U.S. here; while we’re as good at implementing the more horrific, soul-erasing weapons as anyone, we’re not alone. Does your country have a military? In times of war, they kill people, and sometimes they piss on them.
If it isn’t clear why I’m detailing this, it is because I want to express an old thought: war is the very worst thing there is. And if you command an army, you better the fuck understand, in your probably cowardly, definitely privileged, likely draft-dodging bones, that when you send soldiers out to fight and die, they are going to do some unconscionable, irreversible things. And they are doing it in your name. Because you told them to.  And pissing on a corpse is a FUCKING POEM compared to issuing an order for beautiful young people to go and kill other beautiful young people in a land far away, because you, in essence, “felt like it.”

Vice:

TAKE A STROLL… WITH ROB DELANEY - COOKING UP A WAR? DON’T FORGET THE PISS

People are understandably upset after video emerged of what appears to be U.S. Marines urinating on Afghan corpses. If they’re surprised, however, they need to pick up a history book. Soldiers piss on corpses in every war. On both sides. Soldiers rape civilians, as a rule, in every war that has ever taken place since time immemorial. Rape is a weapon of war. Piss, some people are now learning, is a weapon of war. Some fucked-up, disgusting combination of the two, plus shit and dismemberment, is a weapon of war. Bad guys do it. “Good” guys do it. When a country’s government decides to wage war, they are deciding to sanction piss, rape, and the torture and murder of women and children who had the colossally bad fortune to be in the midst of the war. When the U.S. decided to enter into Afghanistan and then Iraq, they (i.e. Congress and the president, and the myriad companies that profit from war) knew this. I’m not singling out the U.S. here; while we’re as good at implementing the more horrific, soul-erasing weapons as anyone, we’re not alone. Does your country have a military? In times of war, they kill people, and sometimes they piss on them.

If it isn’t clear why I’m detailing this, it is because I want to express an old thought: war is the very worst thing there is. And if you command an army, you better the fuck understand, in your probably cowardly, definitely privileged, likely draft-dodging bones, that when you send soldiers out to fight and die, they are going to do some unconscionable, irreversible things. And they are doing it in your name. Because you told them to.  And pissing on a corpse is a FUCKING POEM compared to issuing an order for beautiful young people to go and kill other beautiful young people in a land far away, because you, in essence, “felt like it.”

latimes:

Friday, Nov. 25, 2011, marked 10 years since Marines from Camp Pendleton first landed in the Afghanistan desert, the first conventional U.S. troops into Afghanistan after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Above, Sgt. Ricardo Ramirez, 29, who lost his hand in an accident in 2006 but lobbied successfully to keep his infantry job. Ramirez has served in Iraq and Afghanistan. View more photos on Framework.
Photo credit: Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times

latimes:

Friday, Nov. 25, 2011, marked 10 years since Marines from Camp Pendleton first landed in the Afghanistan desert, the first conventional U.S. troops into Afghanistan after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Above, Sgt. Ricardo Ramirez, 29, who lost his hand in an accident in 2006 but lobbied successfully to keep his infantry job. Ramirez has served in Iraq and Afghanistan. View more photos on Framework.

Photo credit: Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times

(Source: Los Angeles Times)

everqueer:

Some jerk sent us two boxes of this awful book (SPOILER ALERT: George Washington - Patriot; George Soros - Pinhead) instead of anything soldiers at a remote outpost in Afghanistan might need, like, say, food or soap. Just burned the whole lot of them on my Commander’s orders. 

(Source: )

washingtonpoststyle:

Ten years ago today, the war in Afghanistan began as the good war.
Today it is the good-enough war.
Photo by Nikki Kahn (The Washington Post)

washingtonpoststyle:

Ten years ago today, the war in Afghanistan began as the good war.

Today it is the good-enough war.

Photo by Nikki Kahn (The Washington Post)

adrianschulte:

Girls school opening on Flickr.
This was taken in 2005 at the opening if an all girl school in Herat, Afghanistan. One of my all-time favorite pictures I’ve taken.

adrianschulte:

Girls school opening on Flickr.

This was taken in 2005 at the opening if an all girl school in Herat, Afghanistan. One of my all-time favorite pictures I’ve taken.

(via slezzle)

shortformblog:

Ex-Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani killed by attacker: Rabbani, president of Afghanistan from 1992 and 1996 and the leader of the Afghan Peace Council, was reportedly killed Tuesday. This is a serious blow to any sort of diplomatic process with the Taliban. source
Follow ShortFormBlog

shortformblog:

Ex-Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani killed by attacker: Rabbani, president of Afghanistan from 1992 and 1996 and the leader of the Afghan Peace Council, was reportedly killed Tuesday. This is a serious blow to any sort of diplomatic process with the Taliban. source

Follow ShortFormBlog

(Source: shortformblog)

ABC News:

Afghanistan War: Hobbyists’ Toy Truck Saves 6 Soldiers’ Lives

Staff Sgt. Christopher Fessenden is on duty in Afghanistan now after tours with the Army in Iraq. He has traveled with standard-issue equipment — weapons, helmet, uniform, boots and so forth — plus a radio-controlled model truck his brother Ernie sent.

The truck is not a toy to him. He says it just saved six soldiers’ lives.

"We cannot thank you enough," said Sgt. Fessenden in an email from the front that Ernie, a software engineer in Rochester, Minn., shared with ABC News.

The little truck was used by the troops to run ahead of them on patrols and look for roadside bombs. Fessenden has had it since 2007, when Ernie and Kevin Guy, the owner of the Everything Hobby shop in Rochester, rigged it with a wireless video camera and shipped it to him.

Last week, it paid off. Chris Fessenden said he had loaned the truck to a group of fellow soldiers, who used it to check the road ahead of them on a patrol. It got tangled in a trip wire connected to what Fessenden guesses could have been 500 lbs. of explosives. The bomb went off. The six soldiers controlling the truck from their Humvee were unhurt.

"Monday morning, Ernie comes running into my store and says, ‘You’re not going to believe this,’" said Guy, recounting the story in a telephone interview.

"I got an email from [Chris] that said, ‘Hey, man, I’m sorry, but the truck is gone,’" said Ernie, admitting he still found it all pretty hard to believe. "The neat thing is that the guys in the Humvee were all right."

(Source: soupsoup)

lauralauramc:

pantslessprogressive:

“In this unique collection of photographs, largely taken on iPhones using an app called Hipstamatic that allows users to digitally manipulate “lenses,” “flashes,” and “film stock,” we found something exceptionally powerful: a record of the lives of U.S. Marines in Helmand province in 2010 and 2011 and of the Afghans they interacted with. It is by no means a comprehensive look at 10 years of war, but it is an evocative and profound slice of life — at the beginning of the end of the longest conflict in U.S. history.

This experiment in photojournalism comes to FP by way of Teru Kuwayama and Balazs Gardi, who embedded with Marine Battalion 1/8 in Helmand for five months starting in September 2010. They collaborated with three other photographers on a project called Basetrack — a multiplatform, social-media cornucopia; a hybrid of digital maps and feeds, Facebook posts and musings, interviews and stunning photographs.”

The War in Hipstamatic

The War in hipstomatic.

(via mchughla)

TheGuardian:

America’s ‘detainee 001’ – the persecution of John Walker Lindh
Frank Lindh, father of ‘American Taliban’ John Walker Lindh, explains why his son is an innocent victim of America’s ‘war on terror’
John Phillip Walker Lindh, my son, was raised a Roman Catholic, but converted to Islam when he was 16 years old. He has an older brother and a younger sister. John is scholarly and devout, devoted to his family, and blessed with a powerful intellect, a curious mind, and a wry sense of humour.
Labelled by the American government as “Detainee 001” in the “war on terror”, John occupies a prison cell in Terre Haute, Indiana. He has been a prisoner of the American government since 1 December 2001, less than three months after the terror attacks of 9/11.
John is entirely innocent of any involvement in the terror attacks, or any allegiance to terrorism. That is not disputed by the American government. Indeed, all accusations of terrorism against John were dropped by the government in a plea bargain, which in turn was approved by the US district court in which the case was brought.
Despite its proud history as a stable constitutional democracy, the US has, for 10 years, been affected by post-traumatic shock, following the horrific events of 11 September 2001. I can find no other explanation for the barbaric mistreatment and continued detention of a gentle young man like John Lindh.
[Read More]

TheGuardian:

America’s ‘detainee 001’ – the persecution of John Walker Lindh

Frank Lindh, father of ‘American Taliban’ John Walker Lindh, explains why his son is an innocent victim of America’s ‘war on terror’

John Phillip Walker Lindh, my son, was raised a Roman Catholic, but converted to Islam when he was 16 years old. He has an older brother and a younger sister. John is scholarly and devout, devoted to his family, and blessed with a powerful intellect, a curious mind, and a wry sense of humour.

Labelled by the American government as “Detainee 001” in the “war on terror”, John occupies a prison cell in Terre Haute, Indiana. He has been a prisoner of the American government since 1 December 2001, less than three months after the terror attacks of 9/11.

John is entirely innocent of any involvement in the terror attacks, or any allegiance to terrorism. That is not disputed by the American government. Indeed, all accusations of terrorism against John were dropped by the government in a plea bargain, which in turn was approved by the US district court in which the case was brought.

Despite its proud history as a stable constitutional democracy, the US has, for 10 years, been affected by post-traumatic shock, following the horrific events of 11 September 2001. I can find no other explanation for the barbaric mistreatment and continued detention of a gentle young man like John Lindh.

[Read More]

Happening now on Reddit:

IAmA combat vet. who has lived the horrors of war AMA
I am 23 years old and a Marine who served in Marjah, Afghanistan in 2010. I’ve seen really bad stuff but also so touching/ funny things too. My doctor suggested I share some of my stories to help his my stress. Normally I only share when I’m piss drunk, but I’m willing to share honestly with the reddit community. Ask away.
edt. Wow i wasnt expecting this many questions, luckily I’m unemployed and i have all day to answer, I’ll try to answer as many as i can in a timely manner

Happening now on Reddit:

IAmA combat vet. who has lived the horrors of war AMA

I am 23 years old and a Marine who served in Marjah, Afghanistan in 2010. I’ve seen really bad stuff but also so touching/ funny things too. My doctor suggested I share some of my stories to help his my stress. Normally I only share when I’m piss drunk, but I’m willing to share honestly with the reddit community. Ask away.

edt. Wow i wasnt expecting this many questions, luckily I’m unemployed and i have all day to answer, I’ll try to answer as many as i can in a timely manner

inothernews:

President  Barack Obama shakes the prosthetic hand of U.S. Army Sgt. First Class  Leroy Arthur Petry of Santa Fe, New Mexico, who received the Medal of Honor  for his valor in Afghanistan in a ceremony in the East Room of the White  House, July 12, 2011. Petry lost his right hand as he picked up and tossed aside a  live grenade during a 2008 firefight in Afghanistan, sparing the lives  of his fellow Army Rangers.  (Photo: Charles Dharapak / AP via MSNBC.com)

inothernews:

President Barack Obama shakes the prosthetic hand of U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Leroy Arthur Petry of Santa Fe, New Mexico, who received the Medal of Honor for his valor in Afghanistan in a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, July 12, 2011. Petry lost his right hand as he picked up and tossed aside a live grenade during a 2008 firefight in Afghanistan, sparing the lives of his fellow Army Rangers.  (Photo: Charles Dharapak / AP via MSNBC.com)

(via mchughla)

mohandasgandhi:

Why the US won’t leave Afghanistan: How US military bases and the energy war play out

No more than “50-75 ‘al-Qaeda types’ in Afghanistan”, according to the  CIA, have been responsible for draining the US government by no less  than US $10 billion a month, or $120 billion a year.  At the  same time, outgoing US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has been adamant  that withdrawing troops from Afghanistan is “premature”. The Pentagon  wants the White House to “hold off on ending the Afghanistan troop surge  until the fall of 2012.” That of course shadows the fact that  even if there were a full draw down, the final result would be the same  number of US troops before the Obama administration-ordered AfPak surge.  And even if there is some sort of draw down, it will mostly  impact troops in supporting roles - which can be easily replaced by  “private contractors” (euphemism for mercenaries). There are already  over 100,000 “private contractors” in Afghanistan.  
A recent, detailed study by the Eisenhower Research Project at Brown  University revealed that the war on terror has cost the US economy, so  far, from $3.7 trillion (the most conservative estimate) to $4.4  trillion (the moderate estimate). Then there are interest payments on  these costs - another $1 trillion. That makes the total cost of  the war on terror to be, at least, a staggering $5.4 trillion. And that  does not include, as the report mentions, “additional macroeconomic  consequences of war spending”, or a promised (and undelivered) $5.3  billion reconstruction aid for Afghanistan. Who’s profiting from this bonanza? That’s easy - US military contractors and a global banking/financial elite.The  notion that the US government would spend $10 billion a month just to  chase a few “al-Qaeda types” in the Hindu Kush is nonsense. The  Pentagon itself has dismissed the notion - insisting that just capturing  and killing Osama bin Laden does not change the equation; the Taliban  are still a threat. 
In numerous occasions Taliban leader Mullah Omar himself has  characterised his struggle as a “nationalist movement”. Apart from the  historical record showing that Washington always fears and fights  nationalist movements, Omar’s comment also shows that the Taliban  strategy has nothing to do with al-Qaeda’s aim of establishing a  Caliphate via global jihad.  
So al-Qaeda is not the major enemy -  not anymore, nor has it been for quite some time now. This is a war  between a superpower and a fierce, nationalist, predominantly Pashtun  movement - of which the Taliban are a major strand; regardless of their  medieval ways, they are fighting a foreign occupation and doing what  they can to undermine a puppet regime (Hamid Karzai’s). 
In the famous November 1, 2004 video that played a crucial part in  assuring the reelection of George W. Bush, Osama bin Laden - or a clone  of Osama bin Laden - once again expanded on how the “mujahedeen bled  Russia for 10 years until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in  defeat.” That’s the exact same strategy al-Qaeda has deployed  against the US; according to Bin Laden at the time, “all that we have to  do is to send two mujahedeen to the farthest point East to raise a  piece of cloth on which is written al-Qaeda in order to make the  generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and  political losses without their achieving for it anything of note, other  than some benefits to their private companies.”The record since  9/11 shows that’s exactly what’s happening. The war on terror has  totally depleted the US treasury - to the point that the White House and  Congress are now immersed in a titanic battle over a $4 trillion debt  ceiling.  What is never mentioned is that these trillions of  dollars were ruthlessly subtracted from the wellbeing of average  Americans - smashing the carefully constructed myth of the American  dream. So what’s the endgame for these trillions of dollars? 
(Read more)

The Trans-Afghan Pipeline, geopolitical strategy, billions of dollars sent to contractors, an increase in domestic security and military spending, etc.? Wars make a few rich white guys even richer and the rest of the population pays for it. We bought the deaths of all those Iraqis, Afghans, and U.S. soldiers so a few guys in several very corrupted industries could make a fast buck and we kept reelecting the same politicians that continuously voted to increase war funding to make this all possible. Was it worth it?

mohandasgandhi:

Why the US won’t leave Afghanistan: How US military bases and the energy war play out

No more than “50-75 ‘al-Qaeda types’ in Afghanistan”, according to the CIA, have been responsible for draining the US government by no less than US $10 billion a month, or $120 billion a year.  

At the same time, outgoing US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has been adamant that withdrawing troops from Afghanistan is “premature”. The Pentagon wants the White House to “hold off on ending the Afghanistan troop surge until the fall of 2012.”

That of course shadows the fact that even if there were a full draw down, the final result would be the same number of US troops before the Obama administration-ordered AfPak surge.

And even if there is some sort of draw down, it will mostly impact troops in supporting roles - which can be easily replaced by “private contractors” (euphemism for mercenaries). There are already over 100,000 “private contractors” in Afghanistan. 

A recent, detailed study by the Eisenhower Research Project at Brown University revealed that the war on terror has cost the US economy, so far, from $3.7 trillion (the most conservative estimate) to $4.4 trillion (the moderate estimate). Then there are interest payments on these costs - another $1 trillion.

That makes the total cost of the war on terror to be, at least, a staggering $5.4 trillion. And that does not include, as the report mentions, “additional macroeconomic consequences of war spending”, or a promised (and undelivered) $5.3 billion reconstruction aid for Afghanistan.

Who’s profiting from this bonanza? That’s easy - US military contractors and a global banking/financial elite.

The notion that the US government would spend $10 billion a month just to chase a few “al-Qaeda types” in the Hindu Kush is nonsense.

The Pentagon itself has dismissed the notion - insisting that just capturing and killing Osama bin Laden does not change the equation; the Taliban are still a threat. 

In numerous occasions Taliban leader Mullah Omar himself has characterised his struggle as a “nationalist movement”. Apart from the historical record showing that Washington always fears and fights nationalist movements, Omar’s comment also shows that the Taliban strategy has nothing to do with al-Qaeda’s aim of establishing a Caliphate via global jihad.  

So al-Qaeda is not the major enemy - not anymore, nor has it been for quite some time now. This is a war between a superpower and a fierce, nationalist, predominantly Pashtun movement - of which the Taliban are a major strand; regardless of their medieval ways, they are fighting a foreign occupation and doing what they can to undermine a puppet regime (Hamid Karzai’s). 

In the famous November 1, 2004 video that played a crucial part in assuring the reelection of George W. Bush, Osama bin Laden - or a clone of Osama bin Laden - once again expanded on how the “mujahedeen bled Russia for 10 years until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat.”

That’s the exact same strategy al-Qaeda has deployed against the US; according to Bin Laden at the time, “all that we have to do is to send two mujahedeen to the farthest point East to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al-Qaeda in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note, other than some benefits to their private companies.”

The record since 9/11 shows that’s exactly what’s happening. The war on terror has totally depleted the US treasury - to the point that the White House and Congress are now immersed in a titanic battle over a $4 trillion debt ceiling.  

What is never mentioned is that these trillions of dollars were ruthlessly subtracted from the wellbeing of average Americans - smashing the carefully constructed myth of the American dream.

So what’s the endgame for these trillions of dollars?

(Read more)

The Trans-Afghan Pipeline, geopolitical strategy, billions of dollars sent to contractors, an increase in domestic security and military spending, etc.? Wars make a few rich white guys even richer and the rest of the population pays for it. We bought the deaths of all those Iraqis, Afghans, and U.S. soldiers so a few guys in several very corrupted industries could make a fast buck and we kept reelecting the same politicians that continuously voted to increase war funding to make this all possible. Was it worth it?

letsgottoafghanistan:

This is one of the THREE trucks we got stuck in a river crossing.
Today was a bad day (I didn’t even get to use my AK).

letsgottoafghanistan:

This is one of the THREE trucks we got stuck in a river crossing.

Today was a bad day (I didn’t even get to use my AK).