You’re reading this week’s At War newsletter. Sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox every Friday. Email us at [email protected] . This morning, At War published an account by Luke Ryan about the day he lost his best friend and three other teammates to a buried explosive in Kandahar Province. They were killed on Oct. 6, 2013, the day before the 12th anniversary of the American-led invasion of Afghanistan. Publishing this on the Friday before Memorial Day had me thinking about the ways in which the country has commemorated this holiday in the past. I dug through The Times’s archives, looking at coverage that immediately followed the end of American wars. I found the same language, the same calls for enduring peace and the same questions raised about the condition of service members after they return home — talking points that have been recycled for the last century. Below are some excerpts that stood out to me. Despite the repetition and the … [Read more...] about 100 Years of Memorial Day Commemorations
The following report compiles all significant security incidents confirmed by New York Times reporters throughout Afghanistan from the past seven days. It is necessarily incomplete as many local officials refuse to confirm casualty information. The report includes government claims of insurgent casualty figures, but in most cases these cannot be independently verified by The Times. Similarly, the reports do not include Taliban claims for their attacks on the government unless they can be verified. Both sides routinely inflate casualty totals for their opponents. At least 16 pro-government forces and 14 civilians were killed in Afghanistan during the past week. There was a notable decrease in attacks compared to the near-constant violence breaking out across the country in recent months, possibly because of Ramadan. Heavy rains in various parts of the country have also limited insurgents’ mobility. On Wednesday, a massive Taliban attack was thwarted by security forces in Ghazni … [Read more...] about Afghan War Casualty Report: May 17-23
It was a sleepy Tuesday in Santa Barbara, just before the new year, when a bunch of people who were once on a popular reality show swept into town. Their first stop was a winery nearby. They walked in, and then they walked out, and then they walked in again. Then they fought like children over whose seat was whose. “I was always sitting here,” said Stephanie Pratt, the sister of the show’s villain, Spencer Pratt. “Are you crazy?” said Justin (Bobby) Brescia, a former hairstylist for the band Maroon 5 and the show’s toxic bachelor. “You’re sitting here.” “No, you’re sitting there,” Stephanie said. “I’m sitting next to Jason,” Justin said. “Fine,” Stephanie said. “If it’s so important to you, you can sit there.” “Thank you. Perfect spot.” At a table some 50 yards away, Lauren Weber, the showrunner of “The Hills: New Beginnings,” was listening … [Read more...] about ‘The Hills’ Made Reality TV What It Is. Now It’s Back.
We’ve all been on the middle school field trip, with its high jinks and nervy bravado — pubescent energy burst free from the institutional rigor of classrooms. No wonder, then, that to the teenagers pouring through the stone corridors in Chase Twichell’s poem, the medieval architecture of the Met Cloisters seems like a walk-through peep show, each ornamentation more lurid than the next. Yet out of all the curiosities encountered during their cultural expedition, a chance piece of trash — ordinary, irrefutable evidence of the tumultuous changes their own bodies are undergoing — proves to be the most monstrous, provoking that primal reaction: violence. Selected by Rita Dove The Cloisters By Chase Twichell After the eighth grade gaped and shoved one another closer to the mask — and paused at the gap-toothed lion it was time for the bus home. Lying in the sparse underbrush The boys gathered around it. right on the blood spot. Rita Dove is a … [Read more...] about Poem: The Cloisters
Michael writes: My girlfriend Stacie and I have an ongoing argument. I don’t think it’s O.K. to go through the express lane at the grocery store unless you truly have 10 items or less. She says if you’re one or two items over, it’s fine. But I’ve seen her go through with far more. Stacie should ask the cashier if it’s fine to ignore the rule, and if the cashier says it’s fine, then it’s fine. But Stacie won’t ask because she knows it’s not fine — and she also knows that it doesn’t matter. What are the cashiers going to do? Hold her in contempt? We’ve all been reminded recently that this is not really a society governed by laws, but by power; and even power — such as, say, congressional oversight — can be easily overpowered by shamelessness. Is it overreacting to compare Stacie’s extra yogurts to the crumbling of our institutions? Anyone behind her in line would agree: nope. … [Read more...] about Judge John Hodgman on Express Lane Tomfoolery