As America’s efforts to “degrade and ultimately destroy” Islamic State militants extend into Syria, Iraq War III has seamlessly morphed into Greater Middle East Battlefield XIV. That is, Syria has become at least the 14th country in the Islamic world that U.S. forces have invaded or occupied or bombed, and in which American soldiers have killed or been killed. And that’s just since 1980.
Let’s tick them off: Iran (1980, 1987-1988), Libya (1981, 1986, 1989, 2011), Lebanon (1983), Kuwait (1991), Iraq (1991-2011, 2014-), Somalia (1992-1993, 2007-), Bosnia (1995), Saudi Arabia (1991, 1996), Afghanistan (1998, 2001-), Sudan (1998), Kosovo (1999), Yemen (2000, 2002-), Pakistan (2004-) and now Syria. Whew.
With our 14th front barely opened, the Pentagon foresees a campaign likely to last for years. Yet even at this early date, this much already seems clear: Even if we win, we lose.
Even if we defeat the Islamic State, we’ll still lose the bigger war - The Washington Post
Life of Wonderment
Swoon Blurs the Line Between Art and Activism
"Since she began illegally pasting images around the city 15 years ago, Swoon has inspired a lot of wonderment. Born Caledonia Curry, she started her career as a street artist, but quickly leapfrogged to the attention of gallerists and museum curators, which let her expand to installation and performance art, often with an activist, progressive bent. Her intricate paper-cut portraits and cityscapes, often affixed to walls in hardscrabble places, are meant to disintegrate in place, a refrain to the life around them. Meanwhile, her socially minded work has focused on building cultural hubs for far-flung artistically welcoming communities."
Nice to see Callie and her art getting the attention it deserves, courtesy of the NYT…
As a Man-Made Famine Looms, Christmas Comes Early to South Sudan
My latest reporting from South Sudan takes you from a Christmas-in-July party at the U.S. Embassy in Juba to a dismal, muddy UN camp deep in the countryside outside Malakal. Already, 3.9 million South Sudanese are facing catastrophic food insecurity and 50,000 children may die of malnutrition by the end of the year. Right now, experts in Juba are crunching numbers to decide if and when famine can be declared. “Half the kids may already be dead by the time famine is actually declared,” one UNICEF official told me.
Stephen Colbert goes retro to pay homage to the 40th anniversary of Richard Nixon’s resignation in a segment titled “A Fond Look Back, ‘74.”
Thanks Comedy Central!
"We need to listen to Rebecca Solnit… she’s one of the most brilliant thinkers of our time, tracing the past and future of America and the world through her incisive and provocative prose," writes Elisabeth Donnelly in an introduction to a new interview with Solnit at Flavorwire. "Solnit writes mind-expanding books that make connections upon connections about crucial topics. Her latest work, Men Explain Things to Me, is a quick shot of Solnit: seven related essays on feminism, gender roles, and violence against women." (via Rebecca Solnit on Mansplaining and Men Explain Things to Me – Flavorwire)
Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things To Me is out today! Get the new feminist instant classic that the Boston Globe says “hums with power and wit" and that Entertainment Weekly calls “brilliant” for 25% off with code SOLNIT25 http://bit.ly/LVh4np
I have been to the darkest corners of government, and what they fear is light.
I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions, and that the return of this information to the public marks my end. I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon, and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed for even an instant. If you seek to help, join the open source community and fight to keep the spirit of the press alive and the internet free. I have been to the darkest corners of government, and what they fear is light.