'A torrent of ghastly revelations': what military service taught me about America

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Training on a base in California, and later serving in Afghanistan, made me confront the reality of American empire, and the injustice that pervades society at home.

By Lyle Jeremy Rubin

My first and only war tour took place in Afghanistan in 2010. I was a US Marine lieutenant then, a signals intelligence officer tasked with leading a platoon-size element of 80 to 90 men, spread across an area of operations the size of my home state of Connecticut, in the interception and exploitation of enemy communications. That was the official job description, anyway. The year-long reality consisted of a tangle of rearguard management and frontline supervision.

Years before Helmand province, Afghanistan, however, there was Twentynine Palms, California. From the summer of 2006 to the summer of 2007, I was trained as a lance corporal in my military occupational specialty of tactical data systems administration (a specialty I would later jettison after earning my officer commission in 2008). My schoolhouse was the Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School, which was abbreviated as MCCES, pronounced “mick-sess”. For many, the wider location became “Twentynine Stumps” or “the Stumps”. But for me it just became “the Palms”.

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Link : ‘A torrent of ghastly revelations’: what military service taught me about America


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