Something interesting has been going on at Rolling Stone magazine.
Investigative journalism published by the magazine known for its coverage of music has reached a peak of excellence in reporting that other magazines can only envy.
Beginning back with the July 8-22, 2010 issue with the piece entitled “Runaway General” (RS 1108/1109) by contributing editor Michael Hastings, that piece profiling then Top Dog General Stanley McChrystal set off a series of events that ultimately ended in McChrystal’s dismissal as the head of our fighting forces. [General David Petraeus subsequently replaced McChrystal.]
Now, in a second example of superb investigative journalism (complete with gory pictures, and additional photos at www.rollingstone.com/kill-team) entitled “The Kill Team: How U.S. Soldiers in Afghanistan Murdered Innocent Civilians for Sport” (sub-titled “Worse than Abu Ghraib: the War Crime Photos the Pentagon Doesn’t Want You to See”) by Mark Boal in the April 14, 2011 issue of Rolling Stone (Rihanna on the cover), continues the tradition and another story first published by Rolling Stone has set off Congressional investigations. [Mark Boal won an Oscar for his screenplay for “The Hurt Locker;” his story “Everyone Will Remember Me As Some Sort of Monster” ran in RS 1059.]
It is also noteworthy that the February 17, 2011 issue (Issue 1124) featured another article by contributing editor Michael Hastings entitled “King David’s War,” (pp.50-57) which takes a critical look at America’s wars. Although the February issue has not set off actual Congressional investigations or the resignation of a sitting General, as the previous 2 “Rolling Stone” pieces did, it contains the information (p. 57) that 2/3 of Americans don’t think the war (in Afghanistan) is worth fighting and that resistance to further funding the war amongst Democrats has swelled from 32 against funding in 2009 to 102 Democrats voting against funding it today.
“Rolling Stone” sketches how the tides of war are turning by explaining some key personnel shifts. Joe Biden definitely wanted to bring troops home, as he explained in great detail on the stump during the 2008 Iowa caucuses. Now, of course, then-candidate Biden is Vice President. No doubt Biden, the foreign policy expert, has President Obama’s ear.
Obama appointed Tom Donilon to replace General James Jones as his national security advisor at the end of last year. Donilon’s brother is a top aide to Joe Biden. Donilon’s wife is Jill Biden’s chief of staff. Donilon is known to have serious doubts about the war and is close friends with Vice President Biden. Appointing Donilon, says “Rolling Stone,” was a clear signal to the Pentagon about the seriousness of Obama’s intentions to get the U.S. out of Afghanistan. Defense Secretary Gates reportedly said that Donilon’s appointment would be “a disaster.” He meant a disaster in terms of the military’s continuation of a war that famously started with General David Petraeus (now the man in charge) asking, of the Bush administration (which had no exit strategy in place), “Tell me how this ends.”
In another article, “Arms and the Dudes” by Guy Lawson in the March 31 issue of Rolling Stone (read more at www.WeeklyWilson.com), specifics of an arms deal brokered by the Rock Island (IL) Arsenal were detailed by Rolling Stone. The entire deal was meant to arm the Afghans so that they could continue to fight no matter whether the president in the White House was Republican or Democratic.
This Republican party apparently does not believe in the words of its own old warrior, Dwight David Eisenhower, who said, “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed…Any nation that pours its treasure into the purchase of armaments is spending more than mere money. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.”
To emphasize his point, Ike’s example on April 16, 1953 in the wake of Joseph Stalin’s death on March 5th, 1953, nearly 60 years ago, was this: “The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities…We pay for a single fighter with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.” (*And these comparisons were in 1953 dollars).
Kudos to Rolling Stone magazine for keeping the public informed of the atrocities committed during America’s wars such as those described in gruesome detail in this latest piece (“The Kill Team”) and in at least 5 separate articles that have appeared within its pages over the past year.