Nick Turse
[T]he press is not supposed to be cozy with the powerful. Journalists are supposed to be a check on power, and that means not being afraid to be adversarial when needed: to dig out the truth when people don’t want us to, to state it clearly and let the chips fall where they may.

—  New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan, from Lodestars in a Murky Media World - NYTimes.com

Real journalists are not for sale, not for insider access, a free lunch or the prospect of a future book contract. The best journalism is about truth-seeking and truth-telling; it’s meant to serve the public… the press is not supposed to be cozy with the powerful. Journalists are supposed to be a check on power, and that means not being afraid to be adversarial when needed: to dig out the truth when people don’t want us to, to state it clearly and let the chips fall where they may.
New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan, from Lodestars in a Murky Media World - NYTimes.com
 “The Oriental doesn’t put the same high price on life as does the Westerner,” [U.S. commander, General William] Westmoreland famously said. “Life is plentiful, life is cheap in the Orient.”Having spoken to survivors of massacres by United States forces at Phi Phu, Trieu Ai, My Luoc and so many other hamlets, I can say with certainty that Westmoreland’s assessment was false.Decades after the conflict ended, villagers still mourn loved ones — spouses, parents, children — slain in horrific spasms of violence. They told me, too, about what it was like to live for years under American bombs, artillery shells and helicopter gunships; about what it was like to negotiate every aspect of their lives around the “American war,” as they call it; how the war transformed the most mundane tasks — getting water from a well or relieving oneself or working in the fields or gathering vegetables for a hungry family — into life-or-death decisions; about what it was like to live under United States policies that couldn’t have been more callous or contemptuous toward human life. 
Nick Turse, “For America, Life Was Cheap in Vietnam” - NYTimes.com

 “The Oriental doesn’t put the same high price on life as does the Westerner,” [U.S. commander, General William] Westmoreland famously said. “Life is plentiful, life is cheap in the Orient.”

Having spoken to survivors of massacres by United States forces at Phi Phu, Trieu Ai, My Luoc and so many other hamlets, I can say with certainty that Westmoreland’s assessment was false.

Decades after the conflict ended, villagers still mourn loved ones — spouses, parents, children — slain in horrific spasms of violence. They told me, too, about what it was like to live for years under American bombs, artillery shells and helicopter gunships; about what it was like to negotiate every aspect of their lives around the “American war,” as they call it; how the war transformed the most mundane tasks — getting water from a well or relieving oneself or working in the fields or gathering vegetables for a hungry family — into life-or-death decisions; about what it was like to live under United States policies that couldn’t have been more callous or contemptuous toward human life.

Nick Turse, “For America, Life Was Cheap in Vietnam” - NYTimes.com

…the federal government’s main terrorist watch list has grown to at least 700,000 people, with little scrutiny over how the determinations are made or the impact on those marked with the terrorist label.
Spencer Platt’s “Beirut Residents Continue to Flock to Southern Neighborhoods,” an image of young Lebanese driving by ruins, is one of the works in “War/Photography: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath,” at the Brooklyn Museum.
Credit: Spencer Platt/2006 Getty Images; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Thanks NYT!

Spencer Platt’s “Beirut Residents Continue to Flock to Southern Neighborhoods,” an image of young Lebanese driving by ruins, is one of the works in “War/Photography: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath,” at the Brooklyn Museum.

Credit: Spencer Platt/2006 Getty Images; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Angry Over U.S. Surveillance, Tech Giants Bolster Defenses
The New York Times reports that reports that the tech giants are taking a series of anti-NSA counter-measures.  Specifically:
“Google has spent months and millions of dollars encrypting email, search queries and other information flowing among its data centers worldwide. Facebook’s chief executive said at a conference this fall that the government ‘blew it.’ And though it has not been announced publicly, Twitter plans to set up new types of encryption to protect messages from snoops.”

Angry Over U.S. Surveillance, Tech Giants Bolster Defenses

The New York Times reports that reports that the tech giants are taking a series of anti-NSA counter-measures.  Specifically:

Google has spent months and millions of dollars encrypting email, search queries and other information flowing among its data centers worldwide. Facebook’s chief executive said at a conference this fall that the government ‘blew it.’ And though it has not been announced publicly, Twitter plans to set up new types of encryption to protect messages from snoops.”

'The Oriental doesn’t put the same high price on life as does the Westerner,' [U.S. commander, General William] Westmoreland famously said. 'Life is plentiful, life is cheap in the Orient.'

Having spoken to survivors of massacres by United States forces at Phi Phu, Trieu Ai, My Luoc and so many other hamlets, I can say with certainty that Westmoreland’s assessment was false.

Decades after the conflict ended, villagers still mourn loved ones — spouses, parents, children — slain in horrific spasms of violence. They told me, too, about what it was like to live for years under American bombs, artillery shells and helicopter gunships; about what it was like to negotiate every aspect of their lives around the “American war,” as they call it; how the war transformed the most mundane tasks — getting water from a well or relieving oneself or working in the fields or gathering vegetables for a hungry family — into life-or-death decisions; about what it was like to live under United States policies that couldn’t have been more callous or contemptuous toward human life.

The people are panic-stricken. All that could have left. The poor are nearly all on our hands; no money in the city treasury. All pecuniary aid will be thankfully received. Fever increasing.
A September 1873 telegram from Samuel Levy, the mayor Shreveport, Louisiana to U.S. Senator J.R. West of that same state as yellow fever swept through his city.  For the full story and an eye-opening analysis of public health and panic from the 19th century to today, check out "A Brief History of Panic" — NYTimes.com
U.S. Plans Base for Surveillance Drones in Africa - NYTimes.com
This “new drone base in northwest Africa would join a constellation of small airstrips in recent years on the continent, including in Ethiopia, for surveillance missions flown by drones or turboprop planes designed to look like civilian aircraft,” writes Eric Schmitt in today’s New York Times.  He continues: “If the base is approved, the most likely location for it would be in Niger, a largely desert nation on the eastern border of Mali. The American military’s Africa Command, or Africom, is also discussing options for the base with other countries in the region, including Burkina Faso, officials said.”

U.S. Plans Base for Surveillance Drones in Africa - NYTimes.com

This “new drone base in northwest Africa would join a constellation of small airstrips in recent years on the continent, including in Ethiopia, for surveillance missions flown by drones or turboprop planes designed to look like civilian aircraft,” writes Eric Schmitt in today’s New York Times.  He continues: “If the base is approved, the most likely location for it would be in Niger, a largely desert nation on the eastern border of Mali. The American military’s Africa Command, or Africom, is also discussing options for the base with other countries in the region, including Burkina Faso, officials said.”

Ideally, the 66,000 American troops would already be leaving, and all of them would be out as soon as safely possible; by our estimate, that would be the end of this year. The war that started after Sept. 11, 2001, would be over and securing the country would be up to Afghanistan’s 350,000-member security force, including the army and police, which the United States has spent $39 billion to train and equip over a decade.

But there is a conflict between the ideal and the political reality. Mr. Obama has yet to decide how fast he will withdraw the remaining troops, and the longer he delays, the more he enables military commanders who inevitably want to keep the maximum number of troops in Afghanistan for the maximum amount of time.