Victor Kumin, Harvard graduate with a degree in Chemistry, helped create the Atomic Bomb under direction of J. Robert Oppenheimer. He lives in Warner, New Hampshire with his wife, the former U.S. Poet Laureate, Maxine Kumin. The two exchanged 575 letters back and forth during their courtship. These letters will be the subject of an article, written by Maxine, in the September 2012 issue of the American Scholar.
For U.S. defense officials, knowledge is power. It’s clear, in-depth and actionable intelligence that makes the difference in keeping the country safe. So officials at the pentagon and in homeland security are gathering huge amounts of raw data. And who, who can help them sort through thousands of hours of video to find and stop these existential threats? Most of us don’t associate the cast of Jersey Shore with U.S.
During this country's early years, military service was considered the price of citizenship in a free society. Over time, veterans gained in prestige, especially after World War II. Our wars since – some unpopular -- have brought about new attitudes. In his new book, Those Who Have Borne the Battle: A History of America's Wars and Those Who Fought Them, former Dartmouth College President James Wright describes the complicated relationship between this country and its military.
Ever get the feeling that someone is watching you? Well, you may want to get used to it. While the US government has been putting un-manned drones to heavy use in war zones in recent years, the flying robots will soon be soaring American skies.
Afghan Army soldiers stand during a security transition ceremony in Mazar-e-Sharif, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, on July 23, 2011. The Afghan government officially took control of security in the capital of the peaceful northern province of Balkh on July 23, as part of an effort to begin handing over all security responsibilities to Afghan forces by 2014.
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.
In a quest to get to better know members of the Hezbollah militia in Lebanon, four Western journalists and a former U.S. Army Ranger last year arranged to play paintball in Beirut with some men who said they were among the group's fighters.
A branch of the military is taking a new tack in intelligence gathering…video games. The US Navy has contracted a private firm to buy up used gaming consoles - mostly in foreign markets to extract sensitive data on gamers. Jacob Aronwrote about the new strategy for New Scientist.
Afghan miners in a makeshift emerald mine in the Panjshir Valley in 2010. Reports suggest that Afghanistan is sitting on significant deposits of oil, gas, copper, iron, gold and coal, as well as a range of precious gems like emeralds and rubies. Currently these minerals are largely untapped and are still being mapped.
Credit Benjamin Lowy / Getty Images
Hesco barriers and concertina wire surround the living quarters of the Chinese-owned Ainak copper mine in Logar, Afghanistan, in 2011.
Credit Majid Saeedi / Getty Images
Afghan miners work a coal mine some 60 miles east of the western city of Herat, Afghanistan, in 2010.
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.
The U.S. military is trying to improve treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. But many veterans say they're still under pressure to deny they have problems. Here, military personnel attend a presentation on PTSD at Fort Hamilton Army Garrison in Brooklyn, N.Y., in December 2009.
Credit Jeff Gentner / AP
Some mental health experts are worried that the case of Staff Sgt. Robert Bales — who is charged with killing 17 Afghan civilians — will make it harder for veterans with PTSD to ask for help.
The case of Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the U.S. soldier charged with killing 17 Afghan villagers, has led the Army to review how troops are screened for post-traumatic stress disorder. The Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs say they have invested heavily in the treatment of PTSD to deal with a growing caseload.
But the stigma associated with the disorder continues to complicate efforts to treat it. It has also fueled serious misconceptions about its effects — such as the notion that PTSD causes acts of extreme violence.
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.
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.
A member of the Free Syrian Army looks at the valley in the village of Ain al-Baida, in Syria's Idlib province, near the Turkish border, in December. Syrians fleeing the fighting in their country are flowing out across the border with Turkey, but opposition fighters say very few weapons are flowing in.
Credit Sean Carberry / NPR
Mohammed Ibrahim lies in a hospital bed in Antakya, Turkey. The 18-year-old Syrian tried to help victims of an artillery shelling in his village near Hama when another shell shattered his right leg. His leg was amputated and his body is filled with shrapnel.
Credit Seyaki Erken / AFP/Getty Images
Members of the Free Syrian Army stand guard near the village of Ain al-Baida. The opposition says most of its weapons come from within Syria.
In a nondescript apartment room in Turkey, just across the border from Syria, clouds of cigarette smoke drift toward the ceiling as Syrian opposition activists ponder how to keep people and supplies moving across the border.
Abu Jafaar is the alias of a Syrian smuggler who has been dodging Syrian army patrols for the past several months.
Attorney General Eric Holder discusses the controversial U.S. drone program during a speech at Northwestern Law School in Chicago on Monday.
Credit SITE Intelligence Group / AP
In this image taken from video and released by SITE Intelligence Group, U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki speaks in a video message posted on radical websites in November 2010. Awlaki was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011.
It's one of the most serious actions the U.S. government could ever take: targeting one of its own citizens with lethal force.
Since last year, U.S. drones have killed three Americans overseas. But Attorney General Eric Holder says the ongoing fight against al-Qaida means those kinds of deadly strikes are now a way of life. And judging from the reaction to his national security speech at Northwestern University Law School on Monday, so is the hot debate over the legality of the U.S. drone program.