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It’s 4:30 P.M., early December 2004, and a caravan of Humvees rumbles out of Camp Victory carrying Staff Sergeant Jeffrey S. Sarver and his team of bomb-squad technicians from the U.S. Army’s 788th Ordnance Company.
As Sarver’s team bounces down Victory’s rutted roads, the convoy passes a helipad where Chinooks, Black Hawks and Apaches thump in and out, some of them armed with laser-guided missiles and 30-millimeter cannons that fire fist-size shells. Sarver sees the Bradley and Abrams tanks sitting in neat rows, like cars at a dealership, their depleted-uranium bumpers aligned with precision.
All that lethal hardware is parked, more or less useless against the Iraqi insurgency’s main weapon in this phase of the war: improvised explosive devices made from artillery shells, nine-volt batteries and electrical tape—what the troops call IEDs.
As they leave the front gate, Sarver is in high spirits.
He grabs the radio and sings out in his West Virginia twang, “Hey, ah, do you want to be the dirty old man or the cute young boy?” “I’ll be the boy,” comes the response with a laugh. It’s Sarver’s junior team member, Specialist Jonathan Williams.
"Okay, cute boy. This is dirty old man, over." "Roger, ol’ man. We’re en route to the ah-ee-dee."
Families of American service members recently returned from foreign wars are committing suicide in untold numbers. CNN documented “The Uncounted.”
The emotional bond between soldiers and the machines they serve with is getting complicated. (via I [Heart] Robot])
Photo credit: Ralph Orlowski/Getty
A group of Israeli female soldiers, still in basic training, are in hot water for posting a picture of themselves—scantily clad—in combat gear.
This is a devastating story about a soldier and a cadet who were both assaulted on the same night by a Staff Sergeant, who infected them with HIV, leading to their ineligibility for military service. Oh, also? The cadet says they made it abundantly clear that day that the Army wasn’t liable for any medical care or benefits related to his diagnosis.
if an Army medic serving in Afghanistan is raped and becomes pregnant, she can’t use her military health plan to pay for an abortion. If she does decide to get an abortion, she will have to pay for it with her own money. And if she can’t prove she was raped—which is difficult before an investigation is completed—she may have to look for services off base, which can be dangerous or impossible in many parts of the world.
Wow. This is just cruel.
From MoJo: “Republican Senators John McCain, Scott Brown, and Susan Collins all support an effort by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat from New Hampshire, to expand abortion access for military women who are raped. But despite bipartisan support in the Senate, Shaheen’s proposal may not make it into the final version of the 2013 defense authorization bill—because House Republicans oppose it.”
Your townies are just about ready for an end-of-days war, our investigation has found. That’s…concerning! But surprising? Not at all.
From left: Bleu Copas, an Arabic linguist; Joseph Rocha, an IED expert; Hebrew linguist Jason Knight; and helicopter pilot Lissa Young. All were all kicked out of the military under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” but hope to re-enlist when the law is abolished. (Photo by Charles Ommanney/Getty Images for Newsweek.)
The current obsession with counterinsurgency is the direct result of two fateful errors. We didn’t get Bin Laden when we should have, and we invaded Iraq when we shouldn’t. Had the United States not made those two blunders, we wouldn’t have been fighting costly counterinsurgencies and we wouldn’t be contemplating a far-reaching revision of U.S. defense priorities and military doctrine.
The obvious question is: Does the United States really want to base its military strategy on two enormous blunders?
Walt, over at FP, makes an interesting point.