Listen to the soldiers' musical soundtrack of the Vietnam War


We Gotta Get Out of This Place: The Soundtrack of the Vietnam War is a new book by veteran Doug Bradley and Craig Werner, professor of Afro-American studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, about soldiers' musical memories and the impact of James Brown, Eric Burdon, Country Joe McDonald, and other popular artists on the Vietnam experience and our understanding of it.

At KQED's Next Avenue, Bradley shared the "Top 10 Songs of Vietnam" mentioned by the hundreds soldiers they interviewed for the book. Here are the top three with Bradley's comments on them:

1. We Gotta Get Out of This Place by The Animals

No one saw this coming. Not the writers of the song — the dynamic Brill Building duo of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil; not the group who recorded it — The Animals and their iconic lead singer, Eric Burdon; not the 3 million soldiers who fought in Vietnam who placed extra importance on the lyrics. But the fact is that We Gotta Get Out of This Place is regarded by most Vietnam vets as our We Shall Overcome, says Bobbie Keith, an Armed Forces Radio DJ in Vietnam from 1967-69. Or as Leroy Tecube, an Apache infantryman stationed south of Chu Lai in 1968, recalls: “When the chorus began, singing ability didn’t matter; drunk or sober, everyone joined in as loud as he could.” No wonder it became the title of our book!

2. I Feel Like I’m Fixin to Die Rag by Country Joe & The Fish

Misunderstood and misinterpreted by most Americans, Country Joe’s iconic song became a flashpoint for disagreements about the war and its politics.

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US warplane shot at survivors fleeing Doctors Without Borders hospital bombing, MSF reports

Debris litters the floor in MSF's Kunduz Trauma center. [Photo: MSF]

Doctors Without Borders released an internal report today that claims a U.S. warplane shot at people who were trying to escape the international medical aid group's hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, after the building was bombed by American forces.

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A peek inside Iraq's most notorious weapons market


The fun-loving Chinese journalists in this segment manage to out-VICE VICE. 侣行 On the Road is billed as “a homemade outdoor reality show” featuring an "extreme couple" who love adventure. The pair and their team got some great footage of an open-air weapons market in Sadr City.

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Research files on El Salvador stolen from human rights group suing CIA over El Salvador

image: Reuters

Confidential research files on human rights abuses in El Salvador were stolen from a human rights organization in Washington state, just weeks after that same organization sued the CIA for refusing to release documents related to those very same abuses.

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That time Dick Cheney complained Donald Rumsfeld drank too much coffee


Back in 1975, Dick Cheney, the worst person in the world, was Deputy Chief of Staff in Gerald Ford’s White House.

Here's a memo he wrote to Staff Secretary Jim Connor complaining that his boss, Donald Rumsfeld, also the the worst person in the world, was drinking too much coffee in the White House. According to Cheney's memo, Rummy was running up a bill in excess of $100 a month, which is around $450 in today's money.

What was in that coffee? Read the rest

Obama apologizes to aid group for bombing hospital. MSF: Thanks, but we want an investigation

Francoise Saulnier, MSF  legal counsel, next to Joanne Liu, President of MSF International. [REUTERS]

Doctors Without Borders received an apology from President Barack Obama today for the deadly U.S. bombing of its hospital in northern Afghanistan.

The international medical aid organization released a statement today:

"We reiterate our ask that the U.S. government consent to an independent investigation led by the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission to establish what happened in Kunduz, how it happened, and why it happened," said Dr. Joanne Liu, international president of the group, also known as Doctors Without Borders.

MSF headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland October 7, 2015. REUTERS

The aid group, also known also as Medecins Sans Frontieres, or MSF, said the proposed commission would gather evidence from the United States, NATO and Afghanistan. After that, the charity would decide whether to seek criminal charges for loss of life and damage.

“If we let this go, we are basically giving a blank check to any countries at war,” MSF International President Joanne Liu told reporters in Geneva. But she noted there was no commitment yet on official cooperation with an independent investigation.

The U.S. air attack Saturday killed 22 patients and medical staffers, including three children, in the northern Afghanistan city of Kunduz, which had been overrun by Taliban militants. Thirty-seven people were injured, including 19 staff members, the charity said.

Aid group seeks independent probe into U.S. attack on Afghan hospital

Afghan guards stand at the gate of MSF hospital after an air strike in the city of Kunduz. REUTERS Read the rest

The Nazis made this exploding chocolate bar to kill Winston Churchill


In World War II, the Nazis made a bunch of different booby trapped items, including thermos flasks, mess tins, motor oil cans, watches, and even a chocolate bar designed to kill Winston Churchill when he bit into it. Fortunately, England's Prime Minister did not sink his teeth into the candy-coated bomb, and the MI5 hired an artist to illustrate it and the other German booby traps it had discovered. These drawings were lost in a drawer for 70 years, but were recently found and have been published by the BBC. Read the rest

Molly Crabapple's illustrations from Syria


The illustrator collaborated with Syrian writer Marwan Hisham (a pseudonym), who sent her mobile-phone photos from Syria that she used as the basis for a striking and moving series of illustrations for a Vanity Fair feature. Read the rest

Scientists remove first seeds from ‘doomsday’ Arctic seed vault. Why? War in Syria.

The Global Seed Vault in Norway. REUTERS

The ongoing war in Syria has led researchers to make the first withdrawal of seeds from a "doomsday" vault in an Arctic mountainside, to protect global food supplies. Read the rest

How a World War II German sub captain used the toilet wrong and sunk his vessel

On April 14, 1945, German captain Karl-Adolf Schlitt took a fancy U-1206 submarine into combat patrol for the first time. The sub had a new high-tech toilet that, according to the War Is Boring blog, "directed human waste through a series of chambers to a pressurized airlock" and "then blasted it into the sea with compressed air, sort of like a poop torpedo." After using the new-fangled crapper Schlitt apparently turned the wrong valve, allowing a backflow of waste and seawater into the sub, and it only got worse from there:

The unpleasant liquid filled the toilet compartment and began to stream down onto the submarine’s giant internal batteries — located directly beneath the bathroom — which reacted chemically and began producing chlorine gas.

As the poisonous gas filled the submarine, Schlitt frantically ordered the boat to the surface. The crew blew the ballast tanks and fired their torpedoes in an effort to improve the flooded vessel’s buoyancy.

Somehow, it got worse when the submarine reached the surface. “At this point in time British planes and patrols discovered us,” Schlitt wrote in his official account.

After taking damage from an air attack, the only option was to scuttle the sub and order the sailors overboard.

"The High-Tech Toilet That Sank a Submarine" Read the rest

Wacky dudes in Russia open 1940s war ration can and eat it because Russia


According to the uploader's description, these jolly Russian gentlemen here are opening what is identified as a 70-year-old package of Soviet fighter pilot war chow.

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Hamas claims Israel is using dolphins as spies


According to an article in the Palestinian daily al-Quds, Israel has "recruited a watery pet, the dolphin, known for his friendship with humans, to use for operations to kill Qassam Brigade Naval Commandos." Read the rest

CIA boss John Brennan drafted this never-sent apology letter to senators over the CIA hacking

Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan.
“The CIA accidentally released a document to me under FOIA and then asked that I refrain from posting it,” says VICE reporter Jason Leopold. He declined their request.

Coming soon: Space Wars. Really.


China, Russia, and the United Sates are developing new weapons to wage war in space. It starts by knocking out satellites using missiles, lasers, microwave interference, or spacecraft that "could simply approach a satellite and spray paint over its optics, or manually snap off its communications antennas, or destabilize its orbit," writes Lee Billings in Scientific American. Read the rest

We Are Legion: a battlefield game with no limit on army size

The gameplay video preview starts out mildly unimpressive, showing soldiers in their dozens milling around, unable to even go diagonally. Then it starts zooming out.

Ancient China, 220 AD. China is in disarray and within years the population plummets from 60 million to less than 20 million. Massive war involving millions of men devastates the land. When General Huangfu Song 義真 was asked how he got around the unit caps to build such massive armies, he replied “小馬是世界上最好的開發商” which in the barbarian tongue of English means roughly, “What the %$#^ are unit caps, this is war!”

Forget about micro. Forget about build orders. This war is about one thing. Ridiculous, uncompromising, seething masses of blood hungry warriors massacring each other by the hundreds every second.

There is no unit cap. Control armies of hundreds of thousands, even millions. Send orders to a single unit, or send orders to a million units. Frantically maintain control of your resources across epic sized maps, while constantly building out your fleet of barracks to churn out millions of more units.

There's something genuinely scary about the sheer number of sprites getting wiped out there! I humbly suggest that rather than Chinese antiquity, this game instead be recast as LEMMINGS: TOTAL WAR. Read the rest

Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking call for ban on “autonomous weapons”


Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, and hundreds of artificial intelligence researchers and experts have signed a letter calling for a worldwide ban on “autonomous weapons.” Read the rest

Word Wars: Daily war headlines transformed into an automated Star Wars intro crawl

News from the Empire.

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