Bring back the draft? A-gain?

Last time there was a national call to resume conscription, it came from former Marine and zillion-term Congressman Charles Rangel (left), who fought on the famous Hill 902 during the Korean War. Rangel’s bill to do so, introduced on the eve of the 2003 Iraq invasion, was mostly meant to highlight the still-deep inequity betweenContinue reading “Bring back the draft? A-gain?”

War films and books: Who can’t handle the truth?

Last fall, I thought a lot about what writing about war really meant.  Two articles this week went at that question kind of sideways: First, a Week in Review piece by Washington insider Elizabeth Bumiller, about the newest rack of books on the Iraq and Afghan wars, saying that these soldier-writers “explore the futility ofContinue reading “War films and books: Who can’t handle the truth?”

“the erroneous belief that they have rights”

Certainly not those guaranteed by the First Amendment, with its pesky talk of free speech. This just in from Iraq Veterans Against the War: The U.S .military plans to extradite stop-lossed Iraq war vet to Iraq for court martial over protest rap song Fort Stewart, Ga. – The US military plans to extradite a stop-lossedContinue reading ““the erroneous belief that they have rights””

today’s news: gay troops and those less gay

First, via Ben Chitty of Vietnam Veterans Against War, some long-overdue adjustment on the part of the Veterans Administration: More than 4300 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who were diagnosed in service as suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, but got low military disability ratings, have won an agreement with the Department of Defense to upgradeContinue reading “today’s news: gay troops and those less gay”

all enemies foreign and domestic

A shocker even from the always absorbing Home Fires, from a former 82nd Infantry officer recalled from the IRR to serve in Afghanistan. Roman Saskow offers us this is one of the most elegant glimpse you’ll see of a dissenting soldier’s interior: Tragically, over time, I became infected with the belief that our foreign, undeclaredContinue reading “all enemies foreign and domestic”

“His emotions were always on the rocks”

When I heard about this — first, from Paul Rieckoff of IAVA on Facebook — a simple Google search turned up quickly what felt like two determinative facts: that Joshua Hunter had just spent 15 months in Iraq, and that Fort Drum, where the shooting occurred, is in the process of mobilizing for the newContinue reading ““His emotions were always on the rocks””

“we’re stacking up insurgents like cordwood”

Is this guy who writes to Andrew Sullivan anywhere near right? We’re trying to learn counter insurgency, while at the same time, we’re stacking insurgent (the only accepted term at the moment) bodies like cordwood.  They’ve gotten a little bit afraid, and are growing more so every day.  The relatively fast 30k is going toContinue reading ““we’re stacking up insurgents like cordwood””

how do you spell “escalation?”

I don’t know about you, but I needed half a bottle of wine to get through watching President Obama at West Point. The freshman midshipmen, only a few years older than my dear nephew, watched soberly and crowded around him after for cellphone camera photos. As he smiled, Obama giving his trademark grin for theContinue reading “how do you spell “escalation?””

“because you can’t live that way and keep anything inside you”

That was my original title for the Guernica piece, a quote from All Quiet on the Western Front. I’m reminded of it now, as I’ve started to get letters from families of soldiers that tear at my heart.One, in particular, wrote that someone they loved …did two tours in Iraq and was nearly killed byContinue reading ““because you can’t live that way and keep anything inside you””