“At war, it can protect you; at home, it can kill you.”

Now that’s a Monday morning wake-up for you. Fallujah vet Andrew Chambers’s TedX talk from an Ohio correctional facility: Like so many of this generation, Chambers begins by telling his 9/11 story, watching a TV in Ohio as it showed the destruction of the Twin Towers. My J-school sensei Dale Maharidge, author of Homeland, will recognize theContinue reading ““At war, it can protect you; at home, it can kill you.””

When troops say no, justice can happen

I hadn’t been following the Lorance case, apparently the right-wing media’s Chelsea Manning — a commander that ordered the shooting of Afghan civilians on a motorcycle, to the shock of the veterans in his platoon: “War is hard, there is collateral da mage. I get that — I’ve got my own stories,” Staff Sgt. DanielContinue reading “When troops say no, justice can happen”

A veteran #suicide story that’s about much more

 A day rarely passes when I don’t hear of a suicide by a vet of these 21st-century wars.I’d do little else if I tried to note each one, but this story out of Tampa tells us that the MST struggle is so far from won: “I suspect she was assaulted, and she didn’t feel comfortableContinue reading “A veteran #suicide story that’s about much more”

On Veterans’ Day, some important voices on this new forever war

The commentary below was published today in shorter form on Al-Jazeera America, but I liked the whole thing enough to share it here. Inherent Resolve? Try inherent blowback, say recent vets of Iraq war Veterans Day this year falls almost exactly two months after Pres Obama announced an ongoing military campaign against the ‘Islamic State’Continue reading “On Veterans’ Day, some important voices on this new forever war”

bowe bergdahl, who walked away from Omelas

Despite all the time and spilled pixels, it feels like we know less about Bergdahl than we did when he was still a Taliban prisoner and we had only Michael Hastings’ vivid 2012 Rolling Stone portrait. What we have instead is speculation, and the understandable anger from members of the unit he walked away from, never to return, and measured words from his parents and his attorneys.

yet another mash note to Dexter Filkins

I’ve been impressed with the work of Dexter Filkins since long before I started on my own zig-zag path to this book. When I made the Iraq war the theme of a writing class I was teaching at La Guardia Community College in 2004, I found Filkins’ reporting from Iraq essential reading, and even assignedContinue reading “yet another mash note to Dexter Filkins”

From prison, Chelsea Manning speaks out

I don’t know about you, but I found this as surprising as it is heartening. In accepting the Sam Adams Integrity Award from a task force of intelligence experts, Chelsea Manning issues what feels like her first political statement — a comment on the White House’s refusal to provide information about on the drone war.Continue reading “From prison, Chelsea Manning speaks out”

Veterans Day musings on moral injury

Moral injury, Jonathan Shay reminds us, puts land mines in a soldier’s heart: “The body codes moral injury as physical attack and reacts with the same massive mobilization” in response.