Up the Command Ladder


This update in today’s New York Times on the prosecution of soldiers involved in two deaths at Bagram base in Afghanistan raises a vital question: “What is the responsibility of more senior military personnel for the abuses that took place?” As it turns out, the soldiers involved in the Bagram deaths (two are at issue here—both stem from the application of “severe trauma to the men’s legs”) have relatively strong claims that they were trained to treat the prisoners in a way that ultimately resulted in these two deaths. That could mean that the military will have more difficulty portraying these abuses as wildcat actions by a few bad guards or interrogators.

Of course, we know that the culture that promoted the actions leading these deaths goes right to the very top. But so far this hasn’t meant any responsibility for commanders or civilian policy makers. I won’t hold much hope, but maybe the little noted Bagram deaths can net some bigger fish.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.