This Week in National Insecurity

DOD photo / <a href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:US_soldiers_stuck_in_sand_in_southern_Afghanistan.jpg">Wikimedia Commons</a>

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Whichever side of the fence you land on, chances are you agree that America’s not a very secure nation these days: economically, electorally, and of course, physically. So we grabbed our lensatic compass, rucksack, and canteen, then mounted out across the global media landscape for a quick recon. Whether you’re scared because our military isn’t good enough—or you’re scared because it’s too good—here’s all the ammunition you need, in a handy debrief.

In this installment: Female vets, incompetent soldiers, the LAPD does counterinsurgency, Taliban monkeys, eco-friendly bullets, DADT roundup, and more cash for contractors in Iraq.

The sitrep:

The United States government’s national threat level is Elevated, or Yellow. You’re welcome.

  • Did you know female vets also return from war with wounds seen and unseen? (No, you didn’t. Stop lying.) In this must-read—by a Northwestern journalism student!—women recount how their combat trauma has been compounded by ignorance: the VA’s and society’s. (Military Times)
  • Back when Petraeus and McChrystal did their Washington watusi, MoJo wrote how the Army quietly exonerated three officers whose alleged incompetence got their soldiers killed in a big Afghanistan firefight. Foreign Policy‘s estimable Tom Ricks documents the frustrations of the fallen soldiers’ families, and it’s getting ugly. Really ugly. Will the Army respond? (Best Defense)
  • Some Marines, headed for action in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, are training for counterinsurgency…with the Los Angeles Police Department. One lesson: Call Taliban fighters “gangsters,” not terrorists. Another lesson: Whatever Daryl Gates did, do the opposite. Can’t we all just get along? (NBC-LA)
  • The Army is switching its service rifles over to a lead-free “green bullet,” and the Marine Corps may follow suit, with an order out for 1.8 million rounds. The green bullet is supposed to be friendler to the environment, if by environment you don’t mean torsos of Taliban terrorists—er, gangsters. (Marine Corps Times)
  • Speaking of the Taliban, Stars & Stripes set out to debunk a rumor that the South Asian gangsters are training monkeys! To kill people! With AK-47s and “other weapons”! Taliban monkeys: The 500-pound guerrilla in the room. (Stars & Stripes)
  • In DADT news, the gay-friendly Log Cabin Republicans are suing to end the military’s discrimination policies, using President Obama’s own admission that DADT is bad for national security. Congratulations to the LCR for figuring out how to support the troops and gay rights while still tossin’ the commander in chief under a bus. (The Associated Press)
  • Speaking of DADT, MoJo senior editor Mike Mechanic dredges up a 2001 comic book issued by the Pentagon to illustrate to soldiers how the policy works. Although, according to the guys at Wired’s Danger Room blog, all it teaches is how to be a snitch. Affirmative. (Mother Jones and Wired)
  • So, we get a peace dividend for pulling troops out of Iraq, right? No; private military contractors get it. Officials say the companies are going to be getting more money, more contracts, and more responsibilities “that are inherently governmental.” I smell a solution to the unemployment problem… (Defense News)

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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