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>


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)

THE BIG QUESTION...

as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot. That's what Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein tackles in her annual December column—"Billionaires Are Not the Answer"—about the state of journalism and our plans for the year ahead.

We can't afford to let independent reporting depend on the goodwill of the superrich: Please help Mother Jones build an alternative to oligarchy that is funded by and answerable to its readers. Please join us with a tax-deductible, year-end donation so we can keep going after the big stories without fear, favor, or false equivalency.

THE BIG QUESTION...

as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot.

Please read our annual column about the state of journalism and Mother Jones' plans for the year ahead, and help us build an alternative to oligarchy by supporting our people-powered journalism with a year-end gift today.

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

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.