May 05 2014 By Ghanizada, Khaama Press
At least six policemen were killed along with two local tribal following an attack by Taliban militants in northern Faryab province of Afghanistan. Provincial security chief Mohammad Naeem Adarabi said the incident took place late Sunday night in Garzewan district after a group of Taliban militants attacked a security check post.
Garzewan district Chief Abdul Razaq Kakar said the commander of the check post Abdul Salam Pahlawan was also killed and another policeman was injured following the attack.
Mr. Kakr further added that the Taliban militants killed two local tribal elders early Monday morning and fled the area after the attack.
He said Taliban militants have also taken some weapons and ammunition with them.
Faryab is among the volatile provinces in northern Afghanistan where anti-government armed militant groups are active in a number of its districts and frequently carry out insurgency attacks.
The anti-government armed militants also killed an intelligence official after he was abducted from Almar-Qaisar highway on Saturday.
Navy Chief, Executive Officer Fired:
Ordered Sailors To March In Formation On Pier Carrying Shit In Plastic Bags
[No, Not From The Duffle Blog] Dec 21, 2013 by Paul Szoldra, Business Insider [Late report]
The executive officer and the command master chief of the USS Jason Dunham have been removed after a Navy investigation found the pair failed to examine or report a hazing incident of 13 female sailors forced to carry plastic bags of their own feces along a pier, Navy Times reports.
On Oct. 15 with the ship’s sewage system under maintenance and some toilets tagged with "do not use" warnings, an unidentified chief petty officer discovered human waste in two toilets which were out of order, according to Navy Times.
The chief then ordered 19 enlisted female sailors to remove the waste from the toilets without proper protective equipment and led 13 of them down the pier to dispose of it in portable toilets, a statement from the Navy said.
"After cleaning the toilets they took the waste — which was solid waste, basically — and made them march in formation down the pier to dispose of it in a portable toilet at the end of the pier," spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Reann Mommsen told Navy Times. "The real hazing is them being marched down the pier in formation."
The waste could have been disposed in other functioning toilets on the ship, Mommsen told The Virginian-Pilot.
A number of sailors witnessed the incident, but the Dunham’s senior enlisted leader, Command Master Chief (SW/AW) Stephen Vandergrifft and Executive Officer Cmdr. Kenneth Rice were fired for failure to report or investigate.
The commanding officer of the ship, Cmdr. Michael Meredith, was not punished because he was unaware of the incident, but took appropriate action once informed on Oct. 21, according to the statement.
The Dunham is based in Norfolk, Va.
“At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. Oh had I the ability, and could reach the nation’s ear, I would, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. “For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. “We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.” “The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppose.” Frederick Douglass, 1852
“We have it in our power to begin the world over again.” -- Thomas Paine
“Young People Aren’t Being Drawn To Radical Islam Because They Have Been Seized By A Burning Desire For The Caliphate”
“They See What Is Going On In Syria, And With All The Energy And Idealism Of Youth, They Want To Fight Back”
“When They Seek Ways To Help, Look For Groups That Share Their Concerns And Can Give Them A Path To Support The Syrian People In This Struggle, They Don’t Find The Left”
“The Left Has All But Abandoned The Field, So There Is Irony In The Refusal Of Many On The Left To Support The Syrian Revolution Because They Think It Is Dominated By Islamists”
April 29, 2014 by Clay Claiborne, Linux Beach
While discussing the recruitment by radical Islam of fighters for Syria in the West, someone in a France24 debate this week compared this movement to the Lincoln Brigade and the other left-wing groups that formed up to fight fascism in what was later seen as the pre-conflict to the last world war, the Spanish Civil War.
The point was that in both cases, young people were motivated to leave relatively comfortable lives in the West to risk theirs because they saw the need to right a great wrong even while others whistled past it.
Today, young people all over the world are connected to what is happening through the Internet, and social media is their platform. This has given them a way to follow the agony of Syria in spite of the willful ignorance of the mainstream media.
If they are Muslim, read Arabic or are religiously inclined, because it is a basic tenet of Islam to help people in need, they will find a community of support for the Syrian people among Muslims, and through the most extreme Islamists, a path directly to the frontline, if they want to go that route.
If they are more secular, progressive, and look left for guidance and leadership, say to the likes of KPFK in Los Angeles, ICUJP, VFP and such, they will find them at one with the mainstream media’s boycott of Syria except for occasional outbursts of support for Bashar al-Assad.
Young people aren’t being drawn to radical Islam because they have been seized by a burning desire for the Caliphate.
They are being drawn to radical Islam because they have refused to bury their heads in the sand like so many of their elders.
They see what is going on in Syria, and with all the energy and idealism of youth, they want to fight back.
When they seek ways to help, look for groups that share their concerns and can give them a path to support the Syrian people in this struggle, they don’t find the Left.
They will, in fact, be repelled by the Left.
Through Islamic groups they may find a way, and through the most radical Islamic groups they may even find a way to fight, Lincoln Brigade style, although they will be tutored in an ideology very different from those of the 1930’s leftists.
They will be schooled by a radical version of Islam that is extremely reactionary but incorporates many features attractive to the young and has an explanation as to why the so-called more "progressive" and more "western" parts of the world are so willing to sit on their hands while a hundred thousand people are slaughtered on YouTube.
The US Left is in decline and one important reason is because it has chosen to ignore, or worse - support the prosecution of, the greatest humanitarian crisis and the greatest social injustice of our time. As a young man who turned 20 in 1968, I wasn’t won to the Left by Marx or Mao or the ideologies of any of the left groups, not at first, but I wanted badly to do something about the Vietnam War.
I wanted to feel connected to this great tragedy of our time and to be able to do something about it, so I was drawn to the people and groups that were leading that struggle, the anti-war movement, and the Left that was leading it.
The re-invigorated Left that grew out of the civil rights struggle and the anti-Vietnam war movement received a badly needed injection of youth when it led Western opposition to the US invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Radical Islam also grew by opposing these US wars.
They were able to use these wars to make propaganda points for their argument that the West was carrying out a systematic war against Islam, use US atrocities as recruiting tools, and with the help of President Bashar al-Assad, who ran the jihadist rat-line through Syria, send these new recruits to engage US troops in Iraq. Thus, while Assad was building his ties to the jihadists, ties that serve him so well in the double-game he is playing now, he was endearing himself to so many in the American Left as an "anti-imperialist."
That may go a long ways towards explaining the silence of the Left on Syria.
There has always been a section of die-hard Assad supporters, most notably ANSWER Coalition and International Action Committee, and they had played a leading role in the Iraq and Afghanistan anti-war movement.
Others, while not as forthright about their support for Assad, see his opposition as little more than puppets of the GCC and the West.
They deny the agency of the Syrian people. The Syrian situation is extremely complicated and requires a lot of time to understand, so most on the Left have tried to avoid Syria all together and otherwise made themselves agreeable to whatever builds "unity." Nonetheless, the Syrian conflict grinds on and the death count grows. Some are saying the likely real count now is close to three hundred thousand and the number of people driven from their homes is around nine million, as a government uses starvation, scuds, barrel-bombs, helicopters, chemical weapons and mass bombardment against its own people with impunity.
This is the 21st century and anyone who chooses to look can see exactly what is going on. The most caring and concerned among us cannot help but be drawn to the plight of these people and we will seek leadership from those who share our concerns, not those who invite us to look away. Frankly, I think it unfortunate that there isn’t the equivalent of a Left led Lincoln Brigade sending people to Syria, and certainly more Left led peace and justice projects designed to support the Syrian people by providing direct aid to refugees and building political pressure for international intervention.
Instead of developing a revolutionary socialist analysis of the Syrian struggle from participation in it, these so-called leftists prefer to sit back and point to a lack of Left leadership in the Syrian struggle. Maybe the fact that the two so-called communist parties in Syria sided with Assad had something to do with that?
When it comes to leadership in or support for the Syrian Revolution, the Left has all but abandoned the field, so there is irony in the refusal of many on the Left to support the Syrian Revolution because they think it is dominated by Islamists.
In Syria, Assad has this trick where he allows Islamists to take Christian villages by withdrawing.
Then he claims atrocities and condemns the whole revolution. It seems like the US Left has adopted a similar strategy.
Swearing Out Time From: Dennis Serdel
To: Military Resistance Newsletter
Sent: May 06, 2013
Subject: Swearing Out Time
Written by Dennis Serdel, Vietnam 1967-68 (one tour) Light Infantry, Americal Div. 11th Brigade; United Auto Workers GM Retiree
Swearing Out Time The Vietnam Combat Vets
in Oakland, California writing by Dennis Serdel for Military Resistance
DO YOU HAVE A FRIEND OR RELATIVE IN THE MILITARY?
Forward Military Resistance along, or send us the email address if you wish and we’ll send it regularly with your best wishes. Whether in Afghanistan or at a base in the USA, this is extra important for your service friend, too often cut off from access to encouraging news of growing resistance to injustices, inside the armed services and at home. Send email requests to address up top or write to: Military Resistance, Box 126, 2576 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10025-5657.
“And All Is Hushed At Shiloh”
The Civil War Told By Those Who Lived It:
“Devastating Are The Private Letters Written By Soldiers Who Attempt To Describe Their Experiences Without The Celebratory Rhetoric That Afflicted Both Sides Back Home”
Library of Congress
The Civil War: Told By Those Who Lived It
Edited by Aaron Sheehan-Dean, Stephen W. Sears and Brooks D. Simpson
Library of America,
3,478 pages, $157.50
"I noticed an old doll baby with only one leg lying by the side of a Federal soldier just as it dropped from his pocket when he fell writhing in the agony of death. It was obviously a memento of some little loved one at home which he had brought so far with him and had worn close to his heart on this day of danger and death. It was strange to see that emblem of childhood, that token of a father’s love lying there amidst the dead and dying. . . . “I dismounted, picked it up and stuffed it back into the poor fellow’s cold bosom that it might rest with him in the bloody grave which was to be forever unknown to those who loved and mourned him in his distant home." April 25, 2014 By Randall Fuller, Wall Street Journal [Excerpts]
Mr. Fuller, the Chapman Professor of English at the University of Tulsa, is the 2014-2015 Guggenheim Fellow in American Literature.
In 1866, as the nation began its fragile, anxious efforts at reconciliation after the Civil War, Herman Melville published a sprawling book of poems, "Battle-pieces, or Aspects of the War."
The collection contained more than 70 poems, and it attempted to do something rare in the literature of the period.
Rather than engage in partisan celebration or denounce the enemy, Melville’s poetry captured America’s most bloody war in all its confounding totality.
It presented dozens of aspects, or viewpoints—including those of Northerners and Southerners, soldiers and civilians—ultimately revealing that both sides were to blame.
The Library of America has attempted something similarly panoptic in its handsome four-volume anthology "The Civil War: Told by Those Who Lived It."
Edited by Aaron Sheehan-Dean, Stephen W. Sears and Brooks D. Simpson, the series weighs in at a hefty 2,914 pages—and this total doesn’t include the useful chronologies or the highly detailed biographical and historical notes.
Taken together, the four books exhibit the same epic ambition that produced Melville’s poems (or, for that matter, Shelby Foote’s magisterial three-volume narrative and Ken Burns’s nine-episode pageant): to show the war from as many sides as possible.
"The Civil War" is arranged chronologically, with each volume covering roughly a single year of the conflict, beginning with the election of Abraham Lincoln in November 1860 and the subsequent debates over secession and concluding, more than four years later, with the stunned efforts by war-weary survivors to make sense of the hundreds of thousands of dead young men. Each selection (some are excerpts of much longer pieces) is introduced by a terse but informative biographical sketch that situates the author in historical context.
These introductions stitch together a telegraphic narrative of events that enables the diligent enthusiast to read through all four volumes with some sense of the war’s unfolding.
A compendium of voices, the series contains newspaper editorials, diary entries, civilian letters, political speeches, poems and reminiscences.
Some of the material is familiar (what anthology of Civil War writing can exclude Lincoln’s First Inaugural, for instance?). More surprising is the wealth of primary sources that are almost entirely unknown. The Civil War was waged at a time when as many as 90% of white adults were literate and when writing was the only form of long-distance communication.
The literary critic Edmund Wilson once asked, "Has there ever been another historical crisis of the magnitude of 1861-65 in which so many people were so articulate?" The answer, confirmed definitively by this collection, is no. All these articulate people create a cast of characters worthy of a Dickens triple-decker novel.
In addition to the clipped and steely Ulysses S. Grant and the ever-waspish Jefferson Davis, "The Civil War" is populated with obscure figures who briefly take their turn onstage and then disappear.
There is Susan C. Woolker, a barely literate North Carolina woman prompted to write the governor because her children are starving: "I beg you to have things arranged better for if you don’t the soldiers will get disheartened and come home and I don’t want them to have to come home without an honerable peace and ef they will find me plenty to eat my husband will fight through this war if he is spaired to live."
There is Jim Heiskell, a 13-year-old Tennessee slave who recounts how, during the spring of 1864, after a beating that lasted more than 30 minutes, he managed to escape into the protection of the Union Army in Knoxville, Tenn., his feet still chained.
Of his enslavement he writes, "I was whipped three or four times a week, sometimes with a cowhide and sometimes with a hickory. . . . I would have staid on the plantation if I had been well used." (While African-American accounts of the war are richly presented in this series, they are often, as in this case, transcribed by literate whites.)
The Library of America’s trove of primary documents reminds us of an important fact: The Civil War was waged not only with Minié bullets and artillery but with words.
Grant’s crisp military directives, divested of latinate words and figurative language in a way that anticipates the stripped language of Hemingway, were one sort of weapon.
(Requesting fresh troops at the 1862 Battle of Shiloh, Grant writes with masterly understatement: "The attack on my forces has been very spirited from early this morning.") Frederick Douglass’s flaming oratory as he tirelessly lobbied the Union Army to enlist African-American soldiers was another.
More subtle but equally devastating are the private letters written by soldiers who attempt to describe their experiences without the celebratory rhetoric that afflicted both sides back home. A Union solider named James A. Connolly evokes the lush Georgia landscape to his wife in language rid of all pieties about sacred causes.
The Georgia fields, he writes, "are reddened by the blood of our soldiers, and the hundreds of little mounds that are rising by the wayside day by day mark the footprints of the God of War as he stalks along through this beautiful country."
In one unforgettable passage from a letter home, Confederate soldier Charles Minor Blackford recalls a seemingly trivial incident as he rode across the battlefield at Bull Run: "I noticed an old doll baby with only one leg lying by the side of a Federal soldier just as it dropped from his pocket when he fell writhing in the agony of death. It was obviously a memento of some little loved one at home which he had brought so far with him and had worn close to his heart on this day of danger and death. It was strange to see that emblem of childhood, that token of a father’s love lying there amidst the dead and dying. . . . “I dismounted, picked it up and stuffed it back into the poor fellow’s cold bosom that it might rest with him in the bloody grave which was to be forever unknown to those who loved and mourned him in his distant home." Occasionally a single, understated sentence conveys a world made strange and desolate by war.
Describing the aftermath of the 1863 Battle of Chickamauga (the second-bloodiest of the entire war), John S. Jackman, an enlisted man in the Confederate Fifth Kentucky Infantry, tells his family of bodies "lying so thick over the ground, one could hardly walk for them," while nearby infantrymen were "lying in line of battle, and cracking jokes as usual."
In a letter to the abolitionist author Lydia Maria Child, African-American memoirist Harriet Jacobs depicts a camp for former slaves where she had volunteered for relief work: "We are now collecting together the orphan children, of whom there are a great number, owing to the many deaths that have occurred of late."
And Lt. Charles Harvey Brewster of Massachusetts admits with admirable simplicity: "I am scared most to death every battle we have."
The strength of this series—its plenitude of material—is also its potential weakness. At times the very quantity of writing threatens to obscure the broader outlines of the war. History, in the final analysis, is story: the narrative of what happened. What makes Foote’s history so compelling is his sense of story—a sense no doubt cultivated by his long apprenticeship as a novelist.
Mr. Burns’s documentary "The Civil War" remains a masterpiece of cinematic storytelling. Both works employ primary sources only so far as they advance plot and coherence.
But with hundreds of narrators describing even more events, the story that emerges in these four volumes can at times seem as fractured and disjointed as a modernist novel. If a single insight links all of this writing together, it is the reminder that people living through the war simply had no idea at the time about its outcome. A century and a half of historical analysis has pronounced the Civil War a watershed moment that ended slavery and strengthened the nation.
It is helpful to be reminded that these effects were by no means certain.
In fact, about the only thing that seems certain to many of these writers is that the war had introduced the unknown and the unfamiliar into their lives.