Tag: Afghanistan

Synthesis of select War Literature by Tim O’Brien, Ann Jones and Michael Herr

The hallmark of good literature is that it combines art with raising social consciousness. This is certainly true of the 3 classics perused for this essay. Falling into different genres like fiction, nonfiction and reportage, the three works treat the social consequences of war in their own unique ways. The rest of this essay will show how themes of love, loss, perception and reality are adequately addressed in these works.

The Things They Carried is an assortment of short stories penned by Tim O’Brien based on his first hand experiences in Vietnam. O’Brien was part of the platoon called Alpha Company, which was actively engaged in combat with the Vietnamese. As a result, though the stories contain fictitious additions, they are mostly based on real events witnessed by the author. Several themes recur through these stories. Chief among them are love, camaraderie and courage. Love is most pronounced in the relationship between Cross and Martha. Cross agrees to narrate his . . . Read More

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The Colossal Buddha Statues of Afghanistan

The Giant Buddha Statues of Afghanistan, also called the Buddhas of Bamiyan, are two of the oldest and culturally significant monuments.  But, unfortunately, by decree of the Islamic religious fundamentalist group, the Taliban, they have been destroyed in 2002.  Yet, documentary and photographic evidence of the site prior to 2002 offer a rich historical narrative on the two statues. Also, since 2002 numerous new discoveries of ancient statues, caves and paintings surrounding the two giant statues have been made.  The Giant Statues are unique in several respects.  They are sculpted into naturally formed mountain cliffs. The Buddha figures are unusual in that they are in a standing posture.  Usually Buddha statues, paintings and miniatures show him in sitting position. (Wriggins 1996)  Incidentally, a big statue of Buddha in the reclining position is unearthed recently in the area proximal to the two Giant Statues.

The Giant Statues were built in 6th century AD . . . Read More

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Defense Spending and the Military-Industrial Complex

Dwight Eisenhower’s warnings about the Military-Industrial Complex have proved prophetic in the years since. Addressing the nation on occasion of his tenure’s closure, he reminded Americans about the threat to democratic policy-making posed by this corrupt nexus. Levin-Waldman’s concept of the ‘iron triangle’ closely aligns with Eisenhower’s understanding. Indeed, the former President had to strike out Congress from his original Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex as his advisers deemed it to be too provocative (but factual nonetheless). In the Levin-Waldman model, we can substitute the Military as the dominant ‘interest group’, whose lobbyists are constantly pressurizing members of the Congress and Senate to get passed legislations favoring their industry.

The veracity of Eisenhower and Levin-Waldman claims are evidenced in budgetary allocations to the arms industry. The United States has by far the most powerful military in the world. Despite having no . . . Read More

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Successes of the United States Marine Corps Combined Action Program in South Vietnam

Explain the role of US Marines in the CAP. What was their unit organization and daily life like? Cite a specific patrol as an example of how CAP worked with indigenous force personnel. Identify three key strengths of the CAP and demonstrate three examples and their overall effectiveness in the war in South Vietnam. Give two examples of how the basic idea of CAP is in use today.

The Combined Action Program was a strategic military formation that was first devised to address a particular problem during the Vietnam War.  An infantry battalion faced challenges with an expanding Tactical Area of Responsibility (TAOR).  A squad of Marines is combined with locally recruited Popular Forces (PFs), which is collectively assigned a village to protect.  This strategy worked out very effectively during Vietnam War operations and proved to be a force multiplier.

The configuration of a village defense platoon is arrived upon combining a Marine squad with indigenous forces.  This . . . Read More

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What is the liability of employers for employee psychiatric illness in relation to the common law duty of care

Business corporations are instituted for the primary purpose of economic gain. Often, as the pressure to show impressive profits in each financial quarter increases, it is the workforce who are put under undue stress. Ranging from unreasonably high productivity standards, to sub-standard and hazardous work environments, workers face several potential risks to their mental and physical health. The paradox lies in the fact that an unhealthy and burnt-out workforce is less productive than that which is relaxed and contented. But despite this, work-related stress continues to be a nagging problem facing business leaders and workers alike. With the profit motive being paramount for business leaders, their policies and decisions should be regulated by law. The common law duty of care provisions were designed toward this end, namely to hold employers liable for psychiatric illnesses suffered by employees, and for especially those illnesses arising as a result of employees being made to . . . Read More

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Should Art be devoid of Politics?

There has long been the contention that art, in all its various manifestations, should ideally by apolitical in its content. And this debate on the separation of art from politics has been as old as art itself. And those instances in which an overlapping of the two occur, controversy if not outright censorship ensues. A classic illustration of this phenomenon in recent history is the Iranian theocracy’s issue of ‘fatwa’ (essentially a death sentence) against Litterateur Salman Rushdie, whose novel The Satanic Verses was accused of disparaging the Islamic faith. Notwithstanding the veracity of the accusations directed against Rushdie, the controversial novel should not be dismissed as being blasphemous without due critical consideration of its content, for often times, it is the dissenting and disturbing voices that also speak truth to power. In the case of the Satanic Verses affair it is theocratic power that was disturbed. But in today’s geo-political . . . Read More

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The Socio-economic Consequences of Landmines


Landmines have profound social and economic consequences to civilians. Although landmines are meant to curb enemy access to terrain, they affect the local civilian populations quite severely. They depopulate entire regions of the country, get in the way of agricultural production and interfere with transportation. They also bring down the economic infrastructure and kill/maim several innocent civilians. Landmines are at times deployed as a means of sabotage – they make useless strategic commercial structures and cripple the economy (. . . Read More

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