I've come to realise that Afghanistan has forever changed me. It has ruined me, destroyed part of me. It has left an intangible impression upon me. At the same time, it has made me, matured me, grown me, expanded my potential as a human being, taught me the importance of life, love and the little things.
Whilst there is absolutely no justification for the killing of women and children in Islam, Muslim leaders have made the all-too-common mistake of apologising and condemning a crime which was not carried out in the name of religion. Rather, the unfortunate event that occurred was as a result of an ongoing cycle of violence that began in 2001.
Conventional operations are starting to wind down in Afghanistan - we are months away from the international troops leaving. But drone strikes are likely to continue. Drones are widely assumed to be a clean, remote way of pursuing western counter-terrorism objectives there. Yet in its work on Pakistan, the Bureau has shown on countless occasions that drones are not as surgical as claimed.
I didn't know Jacob nearly as well as many others and yet I've still been walking around in a fog since I heard Jacob took his life.The energy and passion Jacob lived by made it difficutl not to feel connected to him within minutes of meeting him. Twenty two veterans killing themselves a day is an abstract statistic. Until it's not, and you've lost a friend.
It is now more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier in modern conflict... Throughout history, the abuse of women has been seen as an inevitable by-product of conflict and it wasn't until the late 90s when the international community recognised the use of sexual violence as a crime of war and against humanity.
As Randolph Bourne said when writing about World War I in 1918, war is the health of the state. As America's power has grown, so has its propensity for war. Regardless of the debates about the justness or morality of war, the numbers have shown peace to be the exception in America while war has been the rule, making this last century since the start of World War I undeniably a century of warfare.