What We’re Reading: Week 9

By Chad Garland, News21

What We’re Reading, Week 9:

Photo Exhibit Spanning Decades Reveals Our Collective War Story (Kainaz Amaria, 7/15, NPR) The Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington exhibit “War/Photography,” consists of 309 photographs from 25 nationalities with conflicts that span 165 years. “It’s organized in the order of war,” said Anne Tucker, curator of photography for the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. Her team spent 10 years scanning more than 1 million photographs from more than 17 countries to come up with a different approach to presenting the images of war, even some images not typically associated with war.

Shooting the messengers (Ed Caesar, 7/9, GQ Magazine, UK edition) A few high profile cases of war correspondents killed in the course of duty underscores the danger of reporting in war zones, Ed Caesar said. As deaths and kidnappings mount – 2012 was among the worst years for journalists, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists – Caesar wonders what has changed to make journalists increasingly vulnerable to, if not targets of, the violence they cover.

Woman’s work (Francesca Borri, 7/1, Columbia Journalism Review) “The only story to tell in war is how to live without fear,” writes Francesca Borri, an Italian freelancer working in Syria. Contrary to the romantic notions of freelance journalists as free, Borri said they are trapped at the frontline, where the competition to report on “the blood, the bang-bang” is cutthroat.

For Veterans, a Fight for College Credit (Jody Serrano, 7/17, The Texas Tribune) A pilot program that helps veterans in Texas get college credit for their military experience won’t be made permanent; it failed to reach the full House during this year’s legislative session, but the Texas Workforce Commission will be able to expand the program thanks to federal grants. On average, veterans have received about a year of credits based on military experience, allowing them to complete their degree and enter the workforce more quickly. The program sponsor might re-file to make it permanent in 2015.

How the Pentagon’s payroll quagmire traps soldiers (Scot J. Paltrow and Kelly Carr, 7/2, Reuters) The Defense Finance and Accounting Service, or DFAS, a Pentagon agency responsible for accurately paying America’s 2.7 million active-duty and reserve service members, has a problem – costly failures. A variety of factors, from technology decades out of date, to systems that can’t communicate and military leaders who shirk responsibilities, all contribute to errors that harm some military personnel, while benefiting others.

What We’re Reading: Week 4

By Chad Garland, News21

War is complicated. Despite its gruesome horror though, war also can be a catalyst for good. Whether that good takes the form of, well, let’s call it spiritual growth, scientific research or educational opportunity for veterans and their families, more than a decade of military conflict has reshaped American culture and our understanding of ourselves.

What We’re Reading:

War Junkie (David Axe, 6/5, Medium) From the archive of war correspondent David Axe’s blog: a tale of war and its psychological, perhaps spiritual effects. Axe offers a moving account of his 2005 trip to Baqubah, Iraq. It’s where he covered the South Carolina National Guard and the country’s first democratic elections since 1958, and where he became acquainted with war.

Looking past monuments, parades for vets’ next steps (Leo Shane III, 6/12, Stars and Stripes) Groups such as Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America have called for parades to welcome home war veterans. Other nonprofits have pursued the mission of putting veterans to work, volunteering or staying physically fit as a way to reintegrate and find a second calling in civilian life.

New Bill Would Give GI Bill to Surviving Spouses (Terry Howell, 5/23, Military.com) The Spouses of Heroes Education Act would give spouses of fallen service members the same full undergraduate education benefits their children receive through the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the bill could cost $200 million over the next decade.

PTSD may be prevented, researchers find (Alan Zarembo, 6/5, Los Angeles Times) Scientists have linked a particular, “relatively common,” variation of a gene to activation of a receptor in the brain that might make some more susceptible to suffering PTSD. This could provide new methods of preventing the disorder, some researchers say.