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American Military

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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
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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
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
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
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
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
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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