The results of this weekend’s elections, many say, will have enormous consequences for the country’s future - from the status of ongoing U.S. military support, to whether recent civil rights gains are maintained. But the balloting has been marred by violence, and deep-seated concerns about fraud.
New Hampshire's elected officials joined the state's military leaders to welcome home a medevac unit that recently returned from Afghanistan. The 169th MEDEVAC unit went to Afghanistan in September 2012. Made up of National Guard units from New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania and Missouri, the group became known as "Jigsaw'' to reflect the merger of different units. The medics performed 471 lifesaving missions and carried 427 patients to higher levels of care. Soldiers in the unit, which returned in August, earned several medals including Bronze Stars. The ceremony was at 11 a.m.
A full decade into the drone war in the Middle East, we’re still asking questions: what does an unmanned military mean for the future of warfare? Who chooses who lives and who dies? What does it mean to pull the trigger on a target half a world away?
And what is like being a veteran of the drone war?
Matthew Power is a freelance print and radio journalist and a contributor to GQ Magazine, where he wrote a profile of former drone operator and Airman First Class Brandon Bryant.
Drawing on Dietrich Bonhoeffer's concept of "cheap grace," Andrew Bacevich exposes the chronic defects in the current U. S. approach to waging war. He explains why the world's most powerful military doesn't win and why the nation's reliance on professional soldiers has turned out to be such a bad bargain. When American soldiers deploy to places like Iraq and Afghanistan, what is the cause for which they fight? The patriotic answer is this: they fight for freedom. Challenge that proposition and you’ll likely pick a quarrel.
We hear the words honor, duty and sacrifice a lot around Veteran’s Day – and rightly so. What we rarely hear about are the individual, human stories that lead men and women to pick up the mantle of those powerful words and to fight in America’s name. “Where Soldiers Come From” follows a pack of close friends from Michigan’s icy Upper Peninsula as they transform from small town teenagers to National Guardsmen fighting in Afghanistan.
Check out the trailer for Where Soldiers Come From:
When we call dogs ‘man’s best friend’, we’re typically referring to their value as companions and protectors - but canines have a long history of helping people with affairs far more solemn that playing fetch. For centuries, dogs have played a pivotal role in aiding the disabled, in hunting, for search and rescue operations, and for their service in police and military applications. After a long hiatus, U.S. bomb-sniffing dogs were re-introduced to the battlefield in 2007. There are now some six-hundred military dogs deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
An inside look at the war in Afghanistan. Recently, an increasing number of American troops have died at the hands of their Afghan counterparts, raising questions about American efforts there. But these incidents don’t come as a surprise to award-winning Washington Post journalist Rajiv Chandrasekaran, who spent two years covering the war in Afghanistan. He's written a book on the conflict -- Little America: The War Within the War for Afghanistan.
This week, NATO Cabinet ministers, including U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, will try to tackle the problem of Afghan security. The basic plan for bringing American troops home from Afghanistan is to let Afghan security forces fight for their own country. But there's a hitch — finding a way to pay for the Afghan army.
Granite Stater, noted international attorney and independent advisor to the Afghan Ministry of Finance, Phillip Walker, gives his forecast for the political and economic future of Afghanistan. Despite the violence, he says civil institutions are beginning to take hold and the economy is growing rapidly. But, he warns, foreign aid must continue to flow into Afghanistan after NATO withdrawal for this progress to continue.
Afghanistan faces the daunting prospect of a drastic reduction in foreign aid, which currently makes up about 90 percent of the country's revenue. Some have seen an economic life raft in geological surveys that indicate huge deposits of copper, iron, uranium and lithium in various parts of the country. But multinational mining firms have been slow to invest in Afghanistan — not least because of questions about stability after American troops draw down.
Afghans say they're so inured to civilians killed in wars that they bury their dead and move on. That's not so easy for Muhammad Wazir. He lost his mother, his wife, a sister-in-law, a brother, a nephew, his four daughters and two of his sons in last week's mass shooting in two villages.
"My little boy, Habib Shah, is the only one left alive, and I love him very much," says Wazir.
Nearly four months after Pakistan closed the main supply lines for U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, the shutdown is creating hardship for Pakistani truckers and is forcing the U.S. to turn to costly and less-efficient alternatives.
The Pakistani move came after an errant U.S. airstrike left 24 Pakistani soldiers dead along the Afghan frontier back in November.
The killings of some 16 civilians in Afghanistan on Sunday allegedly by a U.S. soldier are raising new questions about U.S. military strategy: whether the surge of American troops worked, and whether the U.S. troops have won over the Afghan people or alienated them.
The place where the killings happened was a "no-go zone" for American and even Afghan troops as recently as two years ago — it was Taliban country.