Troops

Fixing the Human Wreckage of War

Thousands of soldiers, gravely wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq, become as much as they can be through months of rehabilitation in the Army’s Warrior Transition Units. Every once in awhile a story pops up about how things fells apart for a specific WTU soldier. But most troops — somewhere around 80% — give their WTUs good grades, …

On the Front Lines: Better Living Through Chemistry

We reported on the growing use of prescription drugs by troops in Afghanistan and Iraq more than three years ago. The Pentagon is finally catching up. It wants to spend $23 million next year for drug testing to make sure troops aren’t illicitly taking legal drugs like Valium and Vicodin.

But the House Appropriations Committee has …

Why the Military Signed Up to a Faster Withdrawal Plan for Afghanistan

A senior White House official was eager Thursday night to hear from a reporter on just how President Obama’s decision to pull 10,000 troops out of Afghanistan by year’s end was playing. “How do you think he did?” he asked at the fringe of Pakistani ambassador Husain Haqanni’s annual barbeque. “Well, Mullen and Petraeus were pretty …

“Why I Love Bagram!”



As Washington debates the fate of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the 30,000 troops and others assigned to its main base — Bagram — north of Kabul are tending to more mundane matters. They’re leading the same sort of dreary lives, punctuated by horror and farce, that have defined soldiers’ lives in these parts since Alexander the Great …

The Military Outlook in Afghanistan: Betting Against the Odds

The U.S. troop presence has peaked in Afghanistan at 101,000 and from here on out the Afghans will increasingly be on their own, President Obama made clear Wednesday night. The military challenge going forward is easy to describe, but tough to execute: can the fledgling Afghan national security forces — salted with corruption, …

Afghanistan: To Carry On, or Carrion?

After a decade of war in Afghanistan, the battle lines — at least among the activists — are clearly drawn. The usual suspects have been rolling out their voice boxes atop soapboxes to explain, in advance of President Obama’s speech Wednesday night, why we must keep fighting, or come home. Few fall in-between.

This is what …

Cousin Itt Joins Special Forces




This pair of special-forces snipers from the Dominican army readies for an event at last week’s Fuerzas Comando 2011 near San Salvador at Shangallo Range in Ilopango, El Salvador. Fuerzas Comando, established in 2004, is an annual U.S. Southern Command-sponsored, special-operations skills competition and leader seminar among the …

The Looming Taliban Two-Step

The White House has announced that President Obama on June 22 is going to reveal the way forward in Afghanistan — which, boiled down, means how many of the 100,000 U.S. troops now there will be coming home in short order. Then, some 24 hours later, the Senate Intelligence Committee plans to hold a confirmation hearing for General …

PTSD and Veterans: Jobs Are What Is Needed

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been a controversial diagnosis since its inception. Originally called by many names (“compensation neurosis”), it was not officially given the name PTSD until well after the end of the Vietnam War. By then, many veterans with PTSD also were bedeviled with substance abuse, joblessness, and …

Reinforcements Dispatched to Afghanistan to Salvage Soldiers’ Brains

The battle against the never-ending detonations of roadside bombs in Afghanistan — which is killing, as well as maiming, thousands of U.S. troops each year — has signed up two new recruits: a pair of state-of-the-art MRI machines are going to begin operating in Afghanistan in hopes of detecting, and treating, traumatic brain …

Iraq: Marine Pilot Lands…in Federal Prison

Sherlock Holmes famously spoke of the dog that didn’t bark as a key clue in a case of Silver Blaze, a missing racehorse. Then there’s the case of the supposedly missing cash intended to rebuild Iraq. It too involves a criminal case, as well as something absent. In this case, the perpetrator – a Marine jet pilot – seems to have …

Dr. Frankenstein — or Military Miracle Worker?

A U.S. military doctor deployed to Iraq subjected troops suffering from traumatic brain injuries to treatment with an unapproved drug, in which he had a financial stake, that may have harmed them, Pentagon investigators report. But a colleague of the doctor insists the probe is a perplexing witch hunt — and that the medication helps …

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