… there’s a sense in the Pentagon that the improvised bomb has now become a permanent threat. Over the last six months, there’s been an average of 245 jury-rigged explosives found or detonated — outside of Iraq and Afghanistan. The IED has gone global.
“The ones who survived, who lived to see other Christmases in the war, themselves expressed amazement that this had occurred,” Eksteins said. “The emotions had changed to such a degree that the sort of humanity seen in Christmas 1914 seemed inconceivable.”
Today spouses and troops, based in even the most remote areas of Afghanistan, can trade messages and phone calls dozens of times a day. In good times, the minute-by-minute status updates provide peace of mind.
In moments of crisis, the connectivity can make the looming possibility of death seem almost suffocating. The spouses jump with each phone call.
It’s difficult for researchers to climb into the mountains of Waziristan and systematically assess whether the villagers welcome operations that loosen the extremists’ grip, or whether the drones are breeding a new generation of men who want to kill Westerners.