Jim Rice 07-09-2014

The targeting of tens of thousands of civilians was a barbaric act.

Shane Claiborne 02-01-2012
Artwork by the artist Banksy. Photo by Shane Claiborne.

Artwork by the artist Banksy. Photo by Shane Claiborne.

Today I was catching up on emails and came across two messages that deeply affected me, maybe because I read them back-to-back. 

The first one is from a friend who helped release the “Collateral Murder” video via Wikileaks, showing US troops shooting some unarmed folks in Baghdad, including two children sitting in a van as their family stopped to pick up the wounded and dead.  It is one of the most disturbing and heartbreaking videos I’ve ever seen. Feel free not to watch it.

NOTE:  If you do watch the video inside the blog, please know that it is contains vivid images of war. It was released here: 

The other email message I read was just the opposite. It was about life.

Duane Shank 11-07-2011
Vietnam War Memorial, Washington, D.C. Image via Wiki Commons.

Vietnam War Memorial, Washington, D.C. Image via Wiki Commons.

Despite all that I knew 40 years ago about the policy and politics of the Vietnam war, I learned much more by simply listening to veterans. Late at night, often in bars, I heard about the war from the experience of those who fought it. And that taught me more than everything I had ever read. With tens of thousands of vets coming home from Iraq in the next two months -- and many more returning from Afghanistan over the next two years -- we'll have plenty of opportunities to say thanks, and then just listen.

David Cortright 11-03-2011

Afghanistan Girl
During interviews with more than a dozen Afghan women leaders, researchers, international aid workers and former Afghan government officials, we learned of persistent dangers and threats to the country's future.

Afghan women face continuing repression. They are witnessing the erosion of previous gains as Taliban control spreads in the countryside and reactionary warlord influence increases within the Kabul regime. The government's own security forces are often responsible for violations of women's rights. Check back in a few days for a more detailed account of what we learned.
The withdrawal of foreign forces will produce an economic crisis for the government of Afghanistan, which remains almost completely dependent financially on the U.S. and other foreign governments, especially to pay for its huge 300,000-person security forces. I wrote about this funding failure in an earlier post.
A new security agreement between Kabul and Washington is likely to call for the continued presence of U.S. military forces in the country beyond the 2014 transition deadline. This is seen as necessary to provide security for Kabul, but it could also have the effect of prolonging the insurgency and impeding prospects for reconciliation.

It was clear from what we heard that maintaining security requires more than deploying a large number of troops.

Duane Shank 09-09-2011

? U.S. troops on the front line believe that the war will go on for another 10 years after they leave.

? An audit shows that the surge of U.S. civilian advisers has cost nearly $2 billion.

? The U.S. mission in Afghanistan has suspended the transfer of detainees to several Afghan jails, following torture allegations.

Erica Chenoweth 08-25-2011

Could nonviolent resistance have succeeded in Libya? Here are four points worth considering:

1) The movement was fairly spontaneous, unlike the highly coordinated campaign in Egypt. As Peter Ackerman consistently points out, planning is an essential element to a successful nonviolent revolution. As with any battlefield, a nonviolent campaign requires extensive preparation. But reports seem to indicate that Libyans began protesting in earnest around Feburary 15th, likely inspired by events in neighboring Egypt and Tunisia. Gadhafi seemed prepared for this and immediately cracked down using overwhelming violence. By February 19th, the movement had become violent in response to these crackdowns. Four days of civil resistance doesn't give it much time to work. Egyptian pro-democracy activists struggled for years before seeing Mubarak fall. Syrian oppositionists, thousands of whom have been killed by Bashar al-Assad's regime, have toiled along for the past six months. So, we can't really say whether or not nonviolence would have worked in Libya. It never had a chance to materialize in the first place.

Michael Nagler 08-23-2011

The recent British film In Our Name is a returning-soldier drama featuring a married woman, Suzy, who leaves her husband and little girl to fight in Iraq. Because she's involved in the killing of a little girl during her tour-this part is based on a true story, but it happened to a man -- she returns home only to steadily fall apart under the stress of soul-destroying anxieties.

Hannah Lythe 08-02-2011

Hidden Battles is a 65-minute documentary which follows a female Sandinista rebel, an Israeli officer, a Palestinian freedom fighter, and two American soldiers as they come to terms with their combat experiences. The film offers unique insight and hope into the internal conflicts that human beings around the world continue to face long after they have left the battlefield.

The documentary listens to the stories of these former soldiers as they reconcile what it means to have killed another human. A Vietnam veteran recalls that when he first killed, he was gripped by the feeling that he "did something -- literally against God." Watch this film and see how these veterans have fought to overcome. Each soldier deals with killing in his or her own unique way. Hidden Battles shows five ways in which this act is integrated into five different lives. Ultimately these stories testify to the resilience of the human spirit and hopefulness for the future.

Elizabeth Palmberg 05-26-2011
The folks at the Satellite Sentinel Project have confirmed that North Sudan has burned three villages in Abyei (a disputed border region which is supposed
Timothy King 05-04-2011
If I had been in a baseball stadium on Sunday night, I would have been chanting "USA!
Hannah Lythe 03-24-2011
[Editors' note: As part of Sojourners campaign to end the war in Afghanistan, we will run a weekly Afghanistan news digest to educate our readers about the latest news
In a northern Kabul neighborhood in December, I met with the director of the Afghan Women's Skills and Development Center, a non-governmental organization working to enhance the basic skills and ca
Eric Stoner 02-23-2011
For the tenth day in a row, protesters in Libya took to the streets today, despite the use of far more violence from the state than what happened during Egypt's recent uprising.
Becky Garrison 02-16-2011
Duke Divinity School is hosting an inter-faith conference on torture from March 25 to 26, with the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT), the Duke Human Rights Center, and the North C
Elizabeth Palmberg 08-30-2010
The stakes in Sudan are high, as there are less than six months until south Sudan is slated to vote on independence.
Maggie Goddard 07-30-2010
"I hate civilians," Warden Clooney barked into the microphone.
Jim Rice 06-02-2010
Along with shooting nine peace activists during their attack on the peace flotilla this week, Israeli commandos may have shot themselves in the foot
Duane Shank 05-12-2010
Two recent news reports on the war in Afghanistan present a more complete story together.
Josh Stieber 04-19-2010

Recently, Wikileaks, an online whistleblower site, released a video which was dubbed "Collateral Murder." I write as a former member of the Infantry c

Rabbi Arthur Waskow 04-08-2010
The end of Passover is said to mark the anniversary of the moment when Pharaoh's imperial horse-chariot army met disaster in the Red Sea.