In 2003, not long after the American invasion, Dahr Jamail, a youthful freelance journalist from Alaska, headed to Iraq. He wasn’t then a reporter for anyone or, put another way, he was at that moment perhaps the most “unembedded” reporter on the face of the Earth. In the years to come, he would visit that occupied country numerous times, traveling alone (except for a translator) and remarkably fearlessly, as he reported vividly for a variety of publications, including (begining in 2005) this website, on the kinds of devastation the U.S. military brought to Iraq. He would write a book, Beyond the Green Zone, on his experiences.
Meanwhile, his own land still seemed far away indeed from war. Small groups of protesters aside, most Americans, even as their country militarized and the national security state became the fourth branch of government, continued with their lives as if the distant wars being fought in their name had nothing to do with them. Existing under the implacable buzz of Hellfire-missile-armed drones, experiencing special-ops raids, finding jihadists spreading in your town or city, watching your country shatter before your eyes, being uprooted from your home and put to flight, all of that and more was the unimaginable experience of foreign peoples in distant lands. All of it had nothing to do with Americans (or our policies or our military), even as so many of them became refugees or terrorists (neither of whom we wanted in this country).
So imagine Jamail’s surprise on discovering in Alaska that the U.S. military and its depredations were anything but far from our shores. He first covered the Navy’s war games in the Gulf of Alaska and the ways in which they represented a kind of war against the American environment in May 2015. It was a joint report for this site and the invaluable Truthout (where he continues, among other things, to write stunning monthly summaries of the latest news and scientific information on the effects of climate change on our world). Now, he returns with a jolting update.