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 Ann Jones Archive

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We tend to think of them as separate and distinct wars: the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq. Yet it’s not hard to trace the ways in which America’s knee-jerk overreaction to the terrorist attack of 9/11 and the “preemptive” invasion of Iraq that followed in 2003 destabilized whole regions, spreading conflict like the... Read More
Women make up more than half the population of the United States, about 51%. We women are 55% of college students and we take more degrees than men. About 44 million of us between the ages of 15 and 50 have children, but only 5 million or so are stay-at-home moms. That’s because we go... Read More
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The American Military’s Repetition-Compulsion Complex
Here we go again! Years after most Americans forgot about the longest war this country ever fought, American soldiers are again being deployed to Afghanistan. For almost 16 years now, at the command of three presidents and a sadly forgettable succession of generals, they have gone round and round like so many motorists trapped on... Read More
Medicare for All in One State
You may have noticed that quite a few of the formerly united states of America have been choosing to go their own way. My own state, Massachusetts, now blooms with sanctuary cities sworn to protect residents from federal intrusion. Its attorney general, Maura Healey, was among the first to raise the legal challenge to President... Read More
Donald Trump, the Greatest Victim in the History of the World
Donald Trump grabbed a new lifeline. Speaking at a rally in Charlotte, North Carolina, on October 15th, he raised a hand as if to take an oath and declared: “I am a victim!” The great business tycoon, the one and only man who could fix America and make the place great again (trust me, folks),... Read More
Making America Pain-Free for Plutocrats and Big Pharma, But Not Vets
A friend of mine, a Vietnam vet, told me about a veteran of the Iraq War who, when some civilian said, “Thank you for your service,” replied: “I didn’t serve, I was used.” That got me thinking about the many ways today’s veterans are used, conned, and exploited by big gamers right here at home.... Read More
Millions of Women See Through Him, Even If the Media Don’t
Last fall, when presidential wannabe Donald Trump famously boasted on CNN that he would “be the best thing that ever happened to women,” some may have fallen for it. Millions of women, however, reacted with laughter, irritation, disgust, and no little nausea. For while the media generate a daily fog of Trumpisms, speculating upon the... Read More
Or What Is It the Scandinavians Have That We Don’t?
[This is a joint TomDispatch/Nation article and appears in print in slightly shortened form in the new issue of the Nation magazine.] Some years ago, I faced up to the futility of reporting true things about America’s disastrous wars and so I left Afghanistan for another remote mountainous country far away. It was the polar... Read More
Once More Down the Rabbit Hole
Ten months ago, on December 28, 2014, a ceremony in Kabul officially marked the conclusion of America’s very long war in Afghanistan. President Obama called that day “a milestone for our country.” After more than 13 years, he said, “our combat mission in Afghanistan is ending, and the longest war in American history is coming... Read More
A "Martyr," a Murder, and the Making of a New Afghanistan?
I went to Kabul, Afghanistan, in March to see old friends. By chance, I arrived the day after a woman had been beaten to death and burned by a mob of young men. The world would soon come to know her name: Farkhunda. The name means “auspicious” or “jubilant.” She was killed in the very... Read More
Inquiring Minds Elsewhere Want to Know
Americans who live abroad -- more than six million of us worldwide (not counting those who work for the U.S. government) -- often face hard questions about our country from people we live among. Europeans, Asians, and Africans ask us to explain everything that baffles them about the increasingly odd and troubling conduct of the... Read More
After 13 Years of War, the Rule of Men, Not Law
On September 29th, power in Afghanistan changed hands for the first time in 13 years. At the Arg, the presidential palace in Kabul, Ashraf Ghani was sworn in as president, while the outgoing Hamid Karzai watched calmly from a front-row seat. Washington, congratulating itself on this “peaceful transition,” quickly collected the new president’s autograph on... Read More
MRAPs, Sprained Ankles, Air Conditioning, Farting Contests, and Other Snapshots from the American War in Afghanistan
In the eight years I’ve reported on Afghanistan, I’ve “embedded” regularly with Afghan civilians, especially women. Recently, however, with American troops “surging” and journalists getting into the swing of the military’s counterinsurgency “strategy” (better known by its acronym, COIN), I decided to get with the program as well. Last June, I filed a request to... Read More
[Note for TomDispatch Readers: For today’s “Best of” entry, I’ve turned to the remarkable Ann Jones, who has written a little introduction/update to her memorable 2010 piece, “There Be Dragons.” A year after she finished it, she was back in Afghanistan again (at age 73) following wounded American soldiers, fresh off the battlefield, into a... Read More
Will the State Department Torpedo Its Last Great Program?
Often it’s the little things coming out of Washington, obscured by the big, scary headlines, that matter most in the long run. Items that scarcely make the news, or fail to attract your attention, or once noticed seem trivial, may carry consequences that endure long after the latest front-page crisis has passed. They may, in... Read More
Up Close, Personal, and Bloody
After an argument about a leave denied, Specialist Ivan Lopez pulled out a .45-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun and began a shooting spree at Fort Hood, America’s biggest stateside base, that left three soldiers dead and 16 wounded. When he did so, he also pulled America’s fading wars out of the closet. This time, a... Read More
JROTC and the Militarizing of America
Congress surely meant to do the right thing when, in the fall of 2008, it passed theChild Soldiers Prevention Act (CSPA). The law was designed to protect kids worldwide from being forced to fight the wars of Big Men. From then on, any country that coerced children into becoming soldiers was supposed to lose all... Read More
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How Veterans Return From America’s Wars
[The text of this piece is an excerpt, slightly adapted, from Ann Jones's new book They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America's Wars -- The Untold Story, just published by Dispatch Books/Haymarket Books] In 2010, I began to follow U.S. soldiers down a long trail of waste and sorrow that led from the... Read More
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The Cost of War American-Style
The last time I saw American soldiers in Afghanistan, they were silent. Knocked out by gunfire and explosions that left them grievously injured, as well as drugs administered by medics in the field, they were carried from medevac helicopters into a base hospital to be plugged into machines that would measure how much life they... Read More
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12 Years in Afghanistan Down the Memory Hole
Will the U.S. still be meddling in Afghanistan 30 years from now? If history is any guide, the answer is yes. And if history is any guide, three decades from now most Americans will have only the haziest idea why. Since the 1950s, the U.S. has been trying to mold that remote land to its... Read More
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About Ann Jones

Ann Jones is the author of Kabul in Winter (Metropolitan, 2006). Her newest book about women in conflict zones, War Is Not Over When It’s Over, will be published by Metropolitan in September.


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