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July 7, 2010

Afghanistan: Across The Chasm

<em> Chris Hondros/Getty Images</em>
Chris Hondros/Getty Images
<em> Chris Hondros/Getty Images</em>
Chris Hondros/Getty Images
<em> Chris Hondros/Getty Images</em>
Chris Hondros/Getty Images

It’s not like this effect — shooting the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan through the window of an armored vehicle — hasn’t been done before.  Benjamin Lowy, for example, used it prominently in Iraq.  Employing the same technique as Lowy, however, these photos by Chris Hondros transmit a different kind of message about our engagement in Afghanistan.

If Lowy’s shots out-the-window meant to emphasize how dangerous it was for American troops to brave the Iraqi streets, Chris’s caption on the first photo, interestingly enough, actually punctuates how the streets of Herat are considered safe by American and Italian foreign troops stationed there. So, why the glass?  In this case, the simple point is to illustrate the hard, if transparent barrier in culture and consciousness that exists between our two countries.

(caption 1: Pedestrians walk on the side on the road are seen through the window of a Humvee June 26, 2010 in Herat, Afghanistan. Historic Herat, one of Afghanistan’s largest cities, is bustling these days and is considered safe by American and Italian troops tasked with securing the region, who have mostly seen attacks in rural areas of the province. caption 2: Afghan schoolgirls seen through the window of a Humvee wave to a passing American convoy June 26, 2010 in downtown Herat, Afghanistan. Historic Herat, one of Afghanistan’s largest cities, is bustling these days and is considered safe by American and Italian troops tasked with securing the region, who have mostly seen attacks in rural areas of the province. caption 3: Goats and sheep graze in a field as seen through a window of a U.S. Army humvee June 26, 2010 in the village of Deh Moghol, Afghanistan. The 4th Brigage of the US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division has been working for nearly a year in Herat province, a historic crossroads near the Iranian and Turkmenistan borders.)

(Photos by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

  • Books Alive

    Responding to the dead-end street lined with barriers, here’s an item that I just learned about due to the BP oil blowout.

    It’s a British invention that is used to protect against flooding, but it can also be used in war zones. I love the registered name – Concertainer.

    When Yorkshire businessman, Jimi Heselden invented the Concertainer® unit in 1990, little could he have imagined the wide range of applications his patented product would have.

    [snip]

    They have been used across the world – to defend against coastal erosion; upgrading the levees in New Orleans in the
    aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; and most prolifically in Iraq and Afghanistan to provide blast protection for UK and US
    soldiers.

    These Hesco Baskets, when meant to be installed as a permanent barrier, can be planted with trees or shrubs to disguise their modest appearance. Here’s the story with a few photos of the baskets in place:

    http://www.hesco.com/pdf/CIVIL/LGEcasestudy.pdf

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