Posts tagged military
Camp Lejeune and the U.S. Military’s Polluted Legacy

Camp Lejeune, in Jacksonville, North Carolina, is a toxic paradox, a place where young men and women were poisoned while in the service of their nation. They swore to defend this land, and the land made them sick. 

And there are hundreds of Camp Lejeunes across the country, military sites contaminated with all manner of pollutants, from chemical weapon graveyards to vast groundwater deposits of gasoline. 

Soldiers know they might be felled by a sniper’s bullet in Baghdad or a roadside bomb in the gullies of Afghanistan. They might even expect it. 

But waterborne carcinogens are not an enemy whose ambush they prepare for.

That toxic enemy is far more prevalent than most American suspect, not to mention far more intractable. 

That the Department of Defense is the world’s worst polluter is a refrain one often hears from environmentalists, who have long-standing, unsurprising gripes with the military-industrial complex. 

But politics aside, the greenies have a convincing point. 

Dive into the numbers, as I did, and the Pentagon starts to make Koch Industries look like an organic farm.

Camp Lejeune and the U.S. Military’s Polluted Legacy

Camp Lejeune, in Jacksonville, North Carolina, is a toxic paradox, a place where young men and women were poisoned while in the service of their nation. They swore to defend this land, and the land made them sick.

And there are hundreds of Camp Lejeunes across the country, military sites contaminated with all manner of pollutants, from chemical weapon graveyards to vast groundwater deposits of gasoline.

Soldiers know they might be felled by a sniper’s bullet in Baghdad or a roadside bomb in the gullies of Afghanistan. They might even expect it.

But waterborne carcinogens are not an enemy whose ambush they prepare for.

That toxic enemy is far more prevalent than most American suspect, not to mention far more intractable.

That the Department of Defense is the world’s worst polluter is a refrain one often hears from environmentalists, who have long-standing, unsurprising gripes with the military-industrial complex.

But politics aside, the greenies have a convincing point.

Dive into the numbers, as I did, and the Pentagon starts to make Koch Industries look like an organic farm.

Samson Dawah was nervous. For two weeks, he had waited for any bit of information regarding his niece, who was among the 234 Nigerian school girls likely kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram. This week, he gathered his extended family. He had news but also an unusual request. He asked that the elderly not attend. He wasn’t sure they could bear what he had to say.

“We have heard from members of the forest community where they took the girls,” he told them, adding that there had been a mass marriage. ”They said there had been mass marriages and the girls are being shared out as wives among the Boko Haram militants.”

The girl’s father fainted, the Guardian reported, and has since been hospitalized. But the news got worse. Village elder Pogo Bitrus told Agence France Presse locals had consulted with “various sources” in the nation’s forested northeast. 

“From the information we received yesterday from Cameroonian border towns our abducted girls were taken… into Chad and Cameroon,” he said, adding that each girl was sold as a bride to Islamist militants for 2,000 naira — $12.

The Washington Post could not independently verify such claims, and the Nigerian defense ministry didn’t immediately return requests for comment Wednesday morning. But if true, the news would add another terrifying wrinkle to an already horrifying set of events that has galvanized the nation, spurred foreign leaders to take notice, and exposed the powerlessness of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration in the face of a radicalized and murderous militant group named Boko Haram. 

Hundreds of kidnapped Nigerian school girls reportedly sold as brides to militants for $12, relatives say

Samson Dawah was nervous. For two weeks, he had waited for any bit of information regarding his niece, who was among the 234 Nigerian school girls likely kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram. This week, he gathered his extended family. He had news but also an unusual request. He asked that the elderly not attend. He wasn’t sure they could bear what he had to say.

“We have heard from members of the forest community where they took the girls,” he told them, adding that there had been a mass marriage. ”They said there had been mass marriages and the girls are being shared out as wives among the Boko Haram militants.”

The girl’s father fainted, the Guardian reported, and has since been hospitalized. But the news got worse. Village elder Pogo Bitrus told Agence France Presse locals had consulted with “various sources” in the nation’s forested northeast.

“From the information we received yesterday from Cameroonian border towns our abducted girls were taken… into Chad and Cameroon,” he said, adding that each girl was sold as a bride to Islamist militants for 2,000 naira — $12.

The Washington Post could not independently verify such claims, and the Nigerian defense ministry didn’t immediately return requests for comment Wednesday morning. But if true, the news would add another terrifying wrinkle to an already horrifying set of events that has galvanized the nation, spurred foreign leaders to take notice, and exposed the powerlessness of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration in the face of a radicalized and murderous militant group named Boko Haram.

Hundreds of kidnapped Nigerian school girls reportedly sold as brides to militants for $12, relatives say

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." 

The Man in the Bomb Suit: The Story That Inspired The Hurt Locker

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."

The Man in the Bomb Suit: The Story That Inspired The Hurt Locker

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.

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.

Heartbreak

House GOP Blocking Abortion Access for Raped Soldiershttp://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/06/shaheen-amendment-military-rape-abortion

wontoo3fore:

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.”

(via motherjones)

Thousands of local police departments nationwide have been amassing stockpiles of military-style equipment in the name of homeland security, aided by more than $34 billion in federal grants since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a Daily Beast investigation conducted by the Center for Investigative Reporting has found.
Your townies are just about ready for an end-of-days war, our investigation has found. That’s…concerning! But surprising? Not at all.

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.