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)

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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