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The Forgotten War


Taylor Marsh has a fantastic interview with a freelance photojournalist who is embedded with a National Guard unit in Afghanistan.  Really amazing stuff — Taylor does a superb job with the interview, and their discussion is one that is both incredibly informative and also quite haunting.

Scott Kesterson is the name of the journalist that Taylor talks with in the interview, and what he has been able to see — and document — in Afghanistan is worth a whole lot of consideration.  Scott has served in the military, and comes at this project from a perspective of trying to document not just the Afghan culture, but what things are like for the Army grunts with whom he is spending his days.

My project is one of passion. It is the realization of a life long dream to work as a combat photographer. Having served with the Oregon Army National Guard, 41st Brigade during the mid 80's, in both the enlisted ranks, and eventually as a 2nd Lt., I also have a personal interest in documenting this narrative. My focus is and will be the human part of the story; that element that too often gets passed over in the face of headlines and dramatic events. I am a strong believer that the real drama is what happens in the lives of people through the events of the day to day.

Throughout my embed I will be reporting the events as I see them. Through my words, still imagery and video feeds you will be able to follow the operations of the soldiers of 41st Brigade. The mobilization and deployment will be in two parts. The initial 90 days will be at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, where the soldiers will be in-processed into the active Army, and, trained and conditioned for their work in Afghanistan. In June, the initial wave of deployment will begin, with deployments throughout the country of Afghanistan.

Scott has followed these folks through the whole of their mission thus far — with a unit in which he had previously served, and Taylor's interview allows him to tell the whole of the story — something that we see far too little of in a lot of the abbreviated articles and sound bite television news stories we've been able to get from Afghanistan (when we've been able to ge them).

Scott calls Afghanistan the "Forgotten War." Please, take some time to listen to this interview. It is amazing, and Taylor ought to be commended for doing such a fantastic job with it. 

And for the record, and not just because I adore Taylor and think she's one of the hardest working people I know, but because her voice on issues like this is sorely needed in a wider public sphere — someone needs to hire her and put her on progressive radio pronto.  THIS is the sort of work that needs to be going out to listeners across the country, because Taylor's gift is in making this sort of story accessible to everyone on both sides of the aisle.  And we could use that gift of hers on a daily show, reaching out to listeners and grabbing not just their intellects, but also their hearts.  Very effective stuff — and it is a shame not to have her on a more widely accessible format.

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com