War Archives

November 9, 2004

The Littlest Prisoner

abughraib.jpg It's a little late for the season this year, but the Stranger has a nice roundup of the year's scariest Halloween Costumes! Including such topical hits as: Arrest Protestor, Nancy Reagan, and Lyndie England. Like I say, these won't do you much good this year, but don't you kinda get the sense that "Jenna Bush's Liver" will still be in vogue in '05? I do.

November 16, 2004

One of the Missing

An Ambrose Bierce short story:

Jerome Searing, a private soldier of General Sherman's army, then confronting the enemy at and about Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia, turned his back upon a small group of officers with whom he had been talking in low tones, stepped across a light line of earthworks, and disappeared in a forest.

November 23, 2004

The Burdens of War

From a long and impassioned appeal to the marines that he's traveled and reported alongside, NBC cameraman Kevin Sites summarizes eloquently:

So here, ultimately, is how it all plays out: when the Iraqi man in the mosque posed a threat, he was your enemy; when he was subdued he was your responsibility; when he was killed in front of my eyes and my camera -- the story of his death became my responsibility.

The burdens of war, as you so well know, are unforgiving for all of us.

His narrative is long and well-measured. Balanced, sad, sorry even. It's well worth the read. For what it's worth, I'm personally saddened by the events in that mosque, but I don't quite know where to point the finger of blame, if 'blame' is what's necessary.

War. I blame war.

December 20, 2004

Stille Nacht

WWI's Christmas Truce was 90 years ago on Saturday:

'Merry Christmas. We not shoot, you not shoot.'

April 6, 2005

The Internet Amazes Me

How Pulp
Originally uploaded by texasaurus.
This is a great picture of troops in Afghanistan. How amazing that soldiers can self-publish in this way.

May 19, 2005

Good Old American Know-how

God bless our troops. American soldiers are a living testament to that old adage Neccesity is the mother of invention:

A young private in that platoon has one of those radio-controlled toy cars. When they find unidentifiable debris in the road, E.S. sends out his little RC car and rams it. If it's light enough to be moved or knocked over, it's too light to be a bomb, so we can approach it and get rid of it. If it's heavy, we call EOD. At night, they duct tape a flashlight to the car.
(Link found via Noel Franus.)

May 27, 2005

Howdy Neighbor

Wow. A military vet returns from operations in Haiti, goes to school, gets on with the living of life, and finds the enemy has come back with him:

So, let’s get this straight. In 1994, I deployed on an aircraft carrier, sailed 3,000 miles south to the Caribbean, participated in an air assault, seized an airport, and occupied a city just to oust men like Colonel Constant only to find myself living a few blocks away from him ten years later. Why did I put forth all that effort if we were just going to end up as neighbors?

November 30, 2005

Fugo Balloons

A strange footnote to WWII history is the tale of the Japanese Fugo Bombing Balloons:

It is estimated that about 9,000 of the balloons were launched by Japan between November, 1944 and April, 1945, but it is believed that less than 500 of them actually reached U.S. territory, with most of the rest self-destructing over, or falling into, the sea. Of those that did reach land, some were seen exploding in the air and others were found on the ground in remote areas, usually with the bomb loads missing but occasionally with some bombs still attached. The balloons reached Alaska, Canada, Mexico and 16 U.S. states, travelling as far east as Michigan and Texas. Most of the balloons were sighted or found in British Columbia, Washington state, Oregon, California, and Montana. Several minor forest fires, in California and Oregon, were possibly caused by the balloons, but this was never completely verified.
Sadly, the balloons, while largely ineffectual, did claim some victims:
A woman and five children, on a church picnic, were killed in a remote area near Bly, Oregon, after they discovered a downed balloon with a bomb still attached, and one of them moved the bomb, causing it to explode. These deaths were the only known fatalities on the U.S mainland from enemy attack during World War II.

January 13, 2006

Maunsell Army Sea Forts

A bit of British maritime history, the Maunsell Towers (with pictures!):

The Thames Estuary Army Forts were constructed in 1942 to a design by Guy Maunsell, following the successful construction and deployment of the Naval Sea Forts. Their purpose was to provide anti-aircraft fire within the Thames Estuary area. Each fort consisted of a group of seven towers with a walkway connecting them all to the central control tower. The fort, when viewed as a whole, comprised one Bofors tower, a control tower, four gun towers and a searchlight tower. They were arranged in a very specific way, with the control tower at the centre, the Bofors and gun towers arranged in a semi-circular fashion around it and the searchlight tower positioned further away, but still linked directly to the control tower via a walkway.
(Link via jwz.)

July 22, 2006

What's a diorama?

The register has spotted some strange goings-on in Huangyangtan, China. Someone has painstakingly recreated a 450x350-kilometer patch of the mountainous Chinese/Indian border, in scale. God, I hope we don't see a Chinese-Indian conflict in my lifetime. (Link via Robot Wisdom, not-very-funny entry title courtesy Ralph Wiggum.)

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