Sebastian Junger tells Terry Gross about the day the late photographer Tim Hetherington started taking pictures of sleeping soldiers while the two were filming Restrepo:
It was a very hot day, boring day. We hadn’t been in a fire fight for at least a week, perhaps more, and the guys were just zoned out. … [S]oldiers kind of sleep as much as they can. One of them said to me, “You know, if you sleep half the time it’s only a six-month deployment,” and so they were sleeping in the middle of the day, sprawled on the ground in their little bunks … and the flies were buzzing around and Tim was scuttling around photographing them. I was like, “Tim, man, what are you doing?” For me it was the ultimate situation where nothing’s going on journalistically and you can just space out and he said, “Don’t you get it? All the photos you see of soldiers, they’re all geared up and they’ve got their weapons and they’re all tough-looking, but when they’re asleep they look like what they really are which are little boys.” And they did: they all looked like they’re about 10-years-old, so vulnerable, you know. And no nation wants to think that their soldiers are vulnerable, but of course they are and Tim saw that.
Nevalla, Korengal Valley, Kunar Province, Afghanistan, 2008. © Tim Hetherington via the International Center for Photography
GlobalPost and Tracey Shelton won a Polk Award for coverage in Syria.
From her latest report:
Mohammed Ali, a rebel fighter for Suqur al-Sham brigade, was among the first to enter the cells to free the prisoners.
“There was a state of panic and fear among the prisoners,” he said as he walked through the now empty and largely destroyed cells.
“They had undergone the worst kinds of torture. As we entered, the regime guards had conducted field executions, shooting on some prisoners who were screaming for help and asking us to save them.”
Photos by Tracey Shelton/GlobalPost
BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. — It’s been a bad week for Washington’s image.
First, a leaked Justice Department memoprovided a handy legal framework to justify the US government’s killing of its own citizens without even a semblance of due process. Then a report by a respected international body alleged, in excruciating detail, gross violations of international law by the United States and its allies in a process known as “extraordinary rendition.”
And Tuesday night, The New York Times website revealed the location of a previously secret drone base in Saudi Arabia from where the United States launches strikes against Al Qaeda militants inside Yemen — including US citizens.
The revelations come at a particularly sensitive time for Barack Obama. As he heads into his second term, the president is crafting a new foreign policy agenda with a brand new team. Confirmation hearings for Obama’s pick for the Pentagon were very contentious, and the nominee, Chuck Hagel, hasn’t yet been confirmed.
Another key post, head of the Central Intelligence Agency, is also likely to be hard going for the White House, with John Brennan set to face the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday.
Photo by AFP/Getty Images
The United Nations-Arab League peace envoy for Syria said the conflict has reached “unprecedented levels of horror.”
“The country is breaking up before everyone’s eyes,” Lakhdar Brahimi told a closed door meeting of the UN Security Council, the BBC reported. ”Only the international community can help, and first and foremost the Security Council.”
Photo by AFP/Getty Images
Outgoing US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta formally announced Thursday that the military’s ban on women in combat roles will come to an end, allowing female soldiers to move into jobs previously closed to them.
“Our military is more capable, and our force is more powerful, when we use all of the great diverse strengths of the American people” said Panetta, in comments before the official announcement, according to the Associated Press.
Outgoing US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta formally announced Thursday that the military’s ban on women in combat roles will come to an end, allowing female soldiers to move into jobs previously closed to them, the BBC reported.
“Our military is more capable, and our force is more powerful, when we use all of the great diverse strengths of the American people” said Panetta, in comments before the official announcement.
Continue reading: Leon Panetta announces women will be allowed to serve in combat roles
At 3 a.m. Tuesday, by the light of a kerosene lamp, Yasmeen Raslan was born into a world of hardship, sorrow and loss.
As the Syrian war stretches on, nearing the end of its second year, death is all around. The United Nations estimates the overall toll at around 60,000, and President Bashar al-Assad’s forces remain locked in conflict with various rebel factions.
The night Yasmeen was born, explosions could be heard in the distance as the nightly missiles fell. As she took her first breath, others would breathe their last, their lives cut short by the regime’s relentless bombardment of the villages that form the rebel stronghold of Jabal al-Zawia.
Photo and story by GlobalPost’s Tracey Shelton
Francois Hollande, France’s president, has committed more French troops to countering an Islamist insurgency in Mali, adding to the 750 already there.
Also today, Nigeria said it will send nearly 200 troops to Mali within the next 24 hours to shore up French efforts to oust Islamist militants there, according to the Associated Press, a pledge that comes a day after France defended the operation and rebels seized a Mali town.
Continue reading: Hollande says France to boost troops numbers in Mali offensive
December in Afghanistan is traditionally a quiet period in the country’s decades-old war, and coalition troops suffered only 14 deaths last month, half as many as the previous year. Yesterday, General John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, submitted a post-2014 plan to the Pentagon, laying out options to keep between 6,000 and 15,000 troops in the country after the official NATO withdrawal. (Current troop levels are around 66,000.) The smaller forces would be mainly focused on counterterrorism operations and engaging members of the Taliban and al Qaeda. These photos show just a glimpse of this conflict over the past month, part of the ongoing series here on Afghanistan.
See more. [Images: Reuters, AP, Getty]
DAMASCUS, Syria — Six months after being driven out of central Damascus, rebel fighters are battling to gain control of it.
They have launched a concerted campaign against military bases and the international airport, within an arc of opposition strongholds that now encircle the capital.
Read more: Syria: The siege of Damascus