Assessing the Human Cost of Air Strikes in Iraq

logo_npr_125.gifI’m listening to this incredibly fascinating Fresh Air right now. It’s an interview with a guy who used to plan bomb strikes in Iraq, and then went to work for an organization that helps civilian victims of those very bombs.

As chief of high-value targeting for the Pentagon, Marc Garlasco helped plan the targets of laser-guided bombs during the invasion of Iraq. Now a senior analyst with Human Rights Watch, he visits war zones where he assesses the damage being done to civilians by bombs and lobbies for greater deliberation in the use of air power.

Inside the Black Budget with Arm Patches


The NYT has a pretty interesting article on secret divisions within the US armed services – and their boy scout badges. The patches go from mysterious to creepy to almost whimsical in nature, and they offer a small glimpse into a world of shadowy military dealings.

It is, according to a new book, part of the hidden reality behind the Pentagon’s classified, or “black,” budget that delivers billions of dollars to stealthy armies of high-tech warriors. The book offers a glimpse of this dark world through a revealing lens — patches — the kind worn on military uniforms.

“It’s a fresh approach to secret government,” Steven Aftergood, a security expert at the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, said in an interview. “It shows that these secret programs have their own culture, vocabulary and even sense of humor.”

One patch shows a space alien with huge eyes holding a stealth bomber near its mouth. “To Serve Man” reads the text above, a reference to a classic “Twilight Zone” episode in which man is the entree, not the customer. “Gustatus Similis Pullus” reads the caption below, dog Latin for “Tastes Like Chicken.”