Writing Archive

When Ethno-Religious Groups Can’t Play Nice in the Sandbox

At the height of sectarian violence in Iraq in May, 2006, Joe Biden penned a column in the Times proposing to decentralize the Iraqi federal government, “giving each ethno-religious group — Kurd, Sunni Arab and Shiite Arab — room to run its own affairs.”
The plan called for “three largely autonomous regions,” but it stopped short [...]

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Wikileaks Highlight Violence in Pashtunistan

The Afghan War Diary leaks didn’t so much reveal as confirm. Specifically, the documents gave merit to suspicions that the ISI is working the Taliban, and thanks to fantastic maps from the Guardian, it illustrated that the war is mostly being waged in so-called Pashtunistan.
Anyone who has paid attention in the last eight years [...]

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The Geography of Secrecy

The Post has a fascinating series up today called “Top Secret America” about the 3,202 government organizations and private companies “that work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations nationwide.”
One of the more interesting aspects of the series is the interactive map detailing programs per state, region, or town. [...]

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Soviet Invasion Plans of the US

Evidently Obama and Medvedev have “reset” US-Russia relations.  In fact, the White House actually re-Tweeted the Kremlin account yesterday and the two ran off for a midday Hellburger. But it’s worth checking out this fascinating Cold War map that illustrates the history between the two nations.
It’s from an old Yugoslav atlas via the gold-standard cartography [...]

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Where Will “RollingStan” Hurt Obama?

The RollingStan shakeup is the kind of event that will reverberate through the national political landscape, but it will also likely be felt in certain place more than others.  Looking through the 2012 lens, for example, hawkish North Carolina will react different than dovish Minnesota.
One way we can examine the geography of the fallout on [...]

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The Pentagon’s Maps of Afghanistan

Before the Pentagon’s top man in Afghanistan trashed the Commander-in-Chief to the magazine that once put Jane Fonda on its cover, the Pentagon released its own official progress report on Afghanistan in April.  Four maps in the 151-page report caught my attention:
- The first one shows insurgent areas of operation in Afghanistan.  The purple is [...]

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Livin’ on the Edge

George Will has been criticizing what he calls Obama’s “flawed Afghanistan strategy” for months and noted in his Sunday column that “The Pentagon’s map of Afghanistan’s 80 most key districts shows only five ’sympathetic’ to the Afghan government — and none supporting it.”  It’s certainly Obama’s most pressing foreign affairs issue.
But according to Foreign Policy’s [...]

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Honoring the Fallen on Google Maps

On this week of Memorial Day, I wanted to highlight a project called Map the Fallen that plots the hometowns of each of the U.S. service members who have died in Iraq or Afghanistan, as well as the locations were they died.  On one hand, I don’t think a point on a map does a [...]

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Where Do Military Recruits Come From?

Dante Chinni at the Patchwork Nation blog has a new map up that busts three prominent myths about where our military recruits come from:

Myth 1: The Military is Over-Represented by Southerners: In his fascinating book, “Born Fighting,” Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) consistently returns to the themes that the Scots-Irish who represent Jacksonian American and Appalachia [...]

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