Nick Turse

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.

In response to my FOIA request, the U.S. Navy reveals “China’s Grand Design” with just a few slight redactions..

In response to my FOIA request, the U.S. Navy reveals “China’s Grand Design” with just a few slight redactions..

Where did the tears come from?

My best guess, strange as it might sound, is that our ancestors were in the habit of punching each other on the nose. Such injuries would have resulted in copious tear production. And there is an independent line of evidence to suggest that they were common. According to recent analysis by David Carrier and Michael Morgan from Utah University, the shape of human facial bones might well have evolved to withstand the physical trauma of frequent punching. Thickly buttressed facial bones are first seen in fossils of Australopithecus, which appeared following our split with chimpanzees. Carrier and Morgan further argue that Australopithecus was our first ancestor whose hand was capable of making a tight fist. So, the reason we weep now may well be that our ancestors discussed their differences by hitting each other in the face. Some of us still do, I suppose.

About 10 years ago I was walking down the central corridor in my lab at Princeton University when something wet smacked me from behind. I gave a most undignified squawk and ducked with my hands thrown up around my head. Turning around, I saw not one but two of my students — one with a squirt gun, the other with a video camera.
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.

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.

Your tax dollars at work, America!

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…

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

A view of my idyllic workspace at George’s Bar at the Logali House in Juba where I wrote much of my latest article on the desperate situation at a UN camp for internally displaced persons in Malakal, South Sudan
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. 

A view of my idyllic workspace at George’s Bar at the Logali House in Juba where I wrote much of my latest article on the desperate situation at a UN camp for internally displaced persons in Malakal, South Sudan

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.