Afghanistan







Reports ABC News: A senior Australian Defence Force officer has revealed details of how the Royal Australian Air Force deploys Israeli-owned drones for battlefield surveillance and to target anti-government Islamic fighters in…


Writes Alexander Abad-Santos on the Atlantic Wire:

This is a pretty terrible statistic: 154 active duty troops have committed suicide in the first 155 days of the new year–a rate alarmingly close to one per day. The number dead from suicides eclipses the U.S. forces killed in Afghanistan by about 50 percent.

For comparison, there were around 130 suicide deaths during the same time last year, reports The Associated Press’ Robert Burns. It’s difficult to wrap our brains around that number and that rate, and of course that statistic is just one more troubling recent finding from our troops. (Remember the reports that found that sexual assaults among members of the army were up 64 percent from 2006? Or the rise in alcohol abuse?) “It’s a sign in general of the stress the Army has been under over the 10 years of war,” Dr. Stephen N. Xenakis, a psychiatrist and retired Army general told Burns. “We’ve seen before that these signs show up even more dramatically when the fighting seems to go down and the Army is returning to garrison.”…





Ron Paul writes on the Daily Bell: This month Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki announced the addition of some 1,900 mental health nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers to its existing…



AirborneDavid Zucchino writes in the Los Angeles Times:

The paratroopers had their assignment: Check out reports that Afghan police had recovered the mangled remains of an insurgent suicide bomber. Try to get iris scans and fingerprints for identification.

The 82nd Airborne Division soldiers arrived at the police station in Afghanistan’s Zabol province in February 2010. They inspected the body parts. Then the mission turned macabre: The paratroopers posed for photos next to Afghan police, grinning while some held — and others squatted beside — the corpse’s severed legs.

A few months later, the same platoon was dispatched to investigate the remains of three insurgents who Afghan police said had accidentally blown themselves up. After obtaining a few fingerprints, they posed next to the remains, again grinning and mugging for photographs.






Sam Harris writes about the fallout from a recent visit with Joe Rogan on his blog:

I recently had a very enjoyable three-hour conversation with Joe Rogan on his podcast, where the topics ranged from jihad to probability theory to psychedelics. But I subsequently received a fair amount of abuse online for a few things I said about Islam and our adventures in the war on terror.

For instance, I appear to have left many viewers with the impression that I believe we invaded Afghanistan for the purpose of rescuing its women from the Taliban. However, the points I was actually making were rather different…



Paul Vallely writes at the Independent: There has been something artificially over-heated about the international reaction to the video of four American soldiers urinating on the bodies of their dead Taliban enemies…