This week’s cover, if you missed it on Monday before we got all election crazy, features three soldiers the helicopter crew of DUSTOFF 73—a medevac team that took on a wildly perilous mission to save troops under fire in Afghanistan’s Kunar province.
They are heroes.
But they’re not alone.
Next week your nwktumblrs ship off to Washington, D.C. to cover Newsweek & The Daily Beast’s “Hero Summit,” a two-day “theatrical-journalism event” (a cooler name for a string of on-stage panel discussions between journalists and subjects) where, ahem, “we’ll hear powerful theories about the essence of leadership, showcase veterans whose stories illuminate the connection between military service and success in the private sector, and examine what it means to speak truth to power.”
It’s all about stories that celebrate our nation’s heroes—from fighting in the poppy fields of Afghanistan to diffusing a bomb in the streets of Iraq.
Also: Bono & Aaron Sorkin will be there! We’re pretty psyched. So stay tuned, we’ll have more next week starting Wednesday, likely all found on a ‘Hero Summit’ tumblr tag.
[Major thanks to our sponsor, Jeep, which is helping us celebrate our nation’s heroes for their service. Visit their website to share your support.]
Backstage at Women in the World, Afghan elder Bibi Hokmina asked U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to please stop the night raids in her country. U.S. and Afghan forces frequently drop from helicopters to search the homes of suspected Taliban fighters, a practice that’s tremendously unpopular in Afghanistan. Hokmina told Napolitano that the raids violate women and children, and Napolitano replied that she would take Hokmina’s message all the way to the top. Admiral William McRaven estimates 2,800 raids were carried out last year.
Look, the Taliban per se is not our enemy. That’s critical. There is not a single statement that the president has ever made in any of our policy assertions that the Taliban is our enemy because it threatens U.S. interests. If, in fact, the Taliban is able to collapse the existing government, which is cooperating with us in keeping the bad guys from being able to do damage to us, then that becomes a problem for us.
But are they actually our enemy? We originally went to Afghanistan in search of the terrorists behind 9/11. Now, Al Qaeda’s mostly moved on to other countries. But the Taliban, many argue, are just as guilty for harboring the terrorists in the first place—not to mention their continuing to kill American troops. What do you guys think?
Newsweek’s Middle East Editor (and tumblr-er!) Christopher Dickey stars in our latest ‘Op-Vid: Campaign 2012’ video, tackling what the word “Occupation” truly means. If you’ve been following the revolution in Egypt, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and yep, Occupy Wall Street, we think you’ll enjoy this three-minute video. nwk tumblr feels smarter already. Great job, Christopher!
Daily Pic: A recent image of Afghanistan by photographer Omar Mullick, from a portfolio that just launched on the Foreign Policy Web site. Mullick is part of a journalistic team called Basetrack, many of whose photos are taken with the iPhone’s Hipstamatic special-effects filters. What’s so interesting in this series is that the filter Mullick chose makes photos of today’s Afghanistan look like images from fifty or even 100 years ago, mixing black and white and a hint of watery color. I’m not sure you’d get away with such a collapsing of time in almost any other country. What I don’t know, is whether that’s because there’s a fundamental culture in Afghanistan that has stayed basically unchanged, or if we’ve bought into a Rudyard Kipling view of the place that we can’t jettison. Is Afghanistan static, or is it our vision that is? Can we afford any nostalgia in dealing with our mission there?
The Daily Pic, along with more global art news, can also be found on the Art Beast page at thedailybeast.com.
Hipstamatic + Afghanistan = This. Hauntingly beautiful.
Last week, Jeremy Morlock, a member of the “kill team,” pleaded guilty to murdering three Afghan civilians. He faces up to 24 years in prison.
Kudos to our multimedia team for this fascinating look at the Marja region of Afghanistan. Check it out.
Really amazing audio slideshow from our photo department, and photographer Seamus Murphy.