Monday, October 27, 2008

Dexter Filkins reviews The Wild Card

In June, Dexter Filkins wrote a lengthy review of a book about Muqtada al Sadr, The Wild Card. There is a lot of history and information in the review, it is well worth reading.

Nir Rosen: "The Myth of the Surge"

Nir Rosen wrote an incredible article for Rolling Stone last spring titled "The Myth of the Surge" which still should be required reading for everyone...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Dexter Filkins, The Forever War.

I had the pleasure of attending a talk given by Dexter at the Decatur Library. The book gives chilling accounts of thing Dexter has witnessed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I like the book because it is a series of short stories. My time to read is so limited, that makes it tough to get through a book.

I also liked that the book was very nonpartisan. However, it was not hard for me to dislike "you know who" even more after reading the book. Just my opinion.

The slide show of breathtaking photographs was the highlight of the talk. Taken by photographer James Hill. (If you're over 40 it's a slide show, if you're under 40 it's a PowerPoint!)

How shall I say this, Dexter is "easy on the eyes" and has a wonderful personality.

This clip is from Google Books, and is very close to the presentation in Atlanta.

Between Duty and Downtime in Afghanistan has some wonderful photo streams on nearly every topic. The above is from Between Duty and Downtime in Afghanistan by Marco di Lauro, a photojournalist for Getty Images who documented "the daily life of British soldiers deployed in the battle against the Taliban."

I've always been amazed at the ability of photojournalist to capture the pain, fear, brutality and beauty of a war zone in a split-second shot.

It was not easy, and I had the distinct feeling of violating his privacy. I had experienced the same feeling the day after the attack, when I went to the various hospitals to photograph the survivors, some of whom were in critical condition. It was painful to approach the families, trying to be as discreet as possible, and ask them, while they stood vigil at the deathbeds of their loved ones, "Good day. Would you mind if I took some photographs?"

There are times when I feel like a jackal feeding on the pain of others. Yet it is my hope that, by telling the stories of people who, quite often, might otherwise never be heard from, my work can serve as a lesson, heightening the awareness of those sitting comfortably in their chairs throughout the rest of the world, reading their newspapers.

That is Marco di Lauro's own words from a report he did covering the hotel bombings in Jordan nearly 3 years ago. To Die at Your Children's Wedding

Thursday, October 23, 2008

John Burns: Prospects in Afghanistan, Not Looking Good

John Burns, a foreign correspondent for the New York Times, was recently interviewed by the Council on Foreign Relations on his recent visit to Afghanistan.  Burns has spent many years in Afghanistan during the 1980s and 1990s and had the following to say with respect to the front line on the war on terrorism:

"The asymmetric war which was effectively deployed by the insurgents and al-Qaeda in Iraq is moving to Afghanistan.  Indeed, some of the practitioners are moving.  We have been briefed by American military in Iraq that former fighters who in the past were flooding to Iraq, mostly Arabs and Central Asians, are now making Afghanistan their war of choice; which means, in effect, that Senator Barack Obama and the insurgency in Iraq agree on one thing and that is that the front line of the war on terrorism is now Afghanistan and not Iraq."
You can also find Burn's most recent New York Times article on Afghanistan here.

Sebastian Junger in the Korengal Valley

Sebastian Junger has done some great reporting for Vanity Fair from Korengal Valley in Afghanistan.

This is an article and video from January 2008: Into the Valley of Death

And an update from this month: Return to the Valley of Death

NBC's Richard Engel behind-the-scenes in Afghanistan

I just saw this on MSNBC website. Does NBC copy CNN's BackStory. I don't think so...

Now, if we could have the same type of report on CNN with an Australian warco with his cute producer... Just a thought!

All this hard and dangerous work for these two stories:

"Confronting Afghanistan's 'Valley of Death'"

"Seeing the enemy in Afghanistan"