How the Military Collects Data on Millions of High School Students
Schools have long been used as military recruitment centers—as training grounds, in fact, with “hundreds of thousands of secondary students” undergoing military instruction on high school campuses well before they can legally consent to enlist.
With the help of schools across the country, the US military is exploiting a loophole in the law to gather personal information on millions of Americans.
'Disco Night Sept 11'
My tenth-grade American history teacher once told us that in the Civil War, twice as many men died of disease than died in combat.
That macabre Snapple fact is all I really remember from that class. It felt weighty, highlighting something that seemed revelatory because it was suddenly so goddamn obvious: War doesn’t exist in a vacuum. War exists in this world—this brutally unsexy place of sandwiches, video games, baseball, friends, soda, Walmart, foot cramps, allergies, and—of course—cold weather and disease. Maybe I was slow on the uptake, but this blew my little 15-year-old mind.
Now, ten years later, Magnum’s Peter van Agtmael plops his new book Disco Night Sept 11on my desk, and I’m suddenly having the revelation all over again, only this time with a more immediate relevance and bite.
Peter Marlow’s Incredible Photos of Eerie Crises
Peter Marlow’s career has covered everything from news photography and war reporting to street photography and a much-lauded collection of portraits. However, he is perhaps best known for his own, more personal projects—like his series on the closure of Longbridge’s Rover factory, or Liverpool: Looking Out to Sea, the book focusing on the urban degeneration of Liverpool—often covering the stories with a lack of human subjects, which lends much of his portfolio a sense of eerie stillness even at points of crisis.
I gave Marlow a call to speak about not being cut out for war, spotting the moments and details that bring spaces to life, and the importance of curiosity in photography.
VICE: I spoke to David Hurn for the previous column in this series. He was very open about his motivation for getting into war reporting—that it was the most direct way to become a professional photographer at the time. What were your motives?
Peter Marlow: I am a generation on from David. I left college in 1974, which was an era when you could actually live off your student grant. I led the life of Riley, left school, did some work in the summer, and had never thought about what the hell I was going to do after. We had the luxury of knowing we would probably get jobs easily, because back then people who went to university were much more of an elite than they are now. I’d always wanted to be a photographer. Influenced by color supplements that came out in the 70s, seeing the work of Don McCullin and Larry Burrows. There was an issue of the Telegraph Magazine on war photographers, and I thought, That’s what I want to do.
I got a job as a photographer on a cruise liner. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. The other photographer had to suggest to me that I focus and press the button with different hands in order to save me from moving them. After that I traveled around and spent a few months in Haiti. That was the first experience I had of what we used to call the Third World. It was an amazing eye-opener, the first genuine hardship I had seen. I look back at those pictures and think they’re some of the best work I’ve done—the first thing I did that was a serious piece of work.
I then started talking to some agencies in New York and finally at job as a photographer with Sygma, a French photo news agency, and basically went all over the world for a few years. Got everything from Northern Ireland to the revolution in the Philippines, and war in Angola. You name it.
Belfast, Northern Ireland, 1977. A Republican youth with a gun during the Queen’s Jubilee riots
Ex-Soldiers Are Being Given MDMA to Help Them with PTSD
If hanging out with a bunch of strangers in a foreign country, shooting at other strangers for a living wasn’t damaging enough, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is always there to prolong the trauma once combat soldiers return from war. Around 25 percent discharged American soldiers suffer from the disorder.
Tony Macie, an Iraq veteran, is one of those soldiers. Traumatized by the deaths of two of his friends in a truck bomb attack, Macie was prescribed conventional medication to treat his PTSD after returning to the US. When that wasn’t working out for him, he started to research alternative remedies and came across the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), which was offering an experimental treatment with MDMA.
I gave Tony a call and spoke to him about using the drug to try to overcome his post-Iraq trauma.
VICE: Hi, Tony. Can you tell me about your experience of serving in Iraq?
Tony Macie: I was there for 15 months. A lot of the time I was clearing roads, and there was a constant fear of being ambushed. I think it was six months into my tour. I wasn’t there when it happened, but a petrol base got hit by a truck bomb and killed a couple of my buddies. That was really upsetting; it was the point when I was like, “This is real. This is war.”
Do you think you were suffering more than your colleagues? Or was everyone in the same boat?
I think everyone was suffering. At times we didn’t realize it, though, because we were so focused on staying alive.
Were there any points when you felt particularly afraid for your life?
Probably just after the car bomb went off. We were there for three days straight guarding the road, just waiting for another car bomb to come. There was a point when we were sitting in the Humvee and we thought there was going to be an attack. Nothing happened in the end, but I was out there for three days, on night duty, just waiting for something to happen. Over there, death could have happened at any point. I was always expecting an ambush or a fire fight.
How did you feel when you got back to America?
At first, there was a lot of relief. I was glad to be back and felt kind of safe. But after a couple of days I couldn’t really sleep and I started overheating. After a couple of weeks I started drinking to go to sleep, and a month or two after that I started to have anxiety and panic attacks. That’s when I decided to go to the doctors.
“I wouldn’t kill another person myself—and to pay someone else to kill people in my name with my tax dollars, it’s essentially the same thing,” said David Hartsough, a Quaker peace activist in his 70s. “I don’t have to look at the blood, but the blood is on my hands.”
—Don’t listen to Lil B. Embrace war tax resistance. Don’t pay your taxes.
Taking Photos of Jihadis in Battle Isn’t As Easy As It Used to Be
When Robert Nickelsberg began his career as a photojournalist, all it took to embed with the mujahideen was a phone call to their PR representative. We talked to him about what’s changed.
The Syrian War Keeps Getting Worse for the People of Aleppo
A year ago, almost to the day, I watched a graffiti artist named Khalifa paint a huge smiley face onto a wall. The wall was pretty much all that remained of the house it had been part of, and every other house on the street was in a similarly bad state. The day before, the street had been hit by a Scud missile: That was Aleppo, Syria, in 2013.
Khalifa had sprayed a slogan next to the smiley face. It read, in Arabic, “Tomorrow this will be beautiful.”
He was wrong.