A staggering total of 109 soldiers assigned to Fort Bragg died in 2020 and 2021. In this important investigation, Seth Harp reports on record deaths at the U.S. Army’s largest base, including homicides, suicides, and accidental fentanyl overdoses. Otherwise healthy soldiers, like Matthew Disney, have been found “unresponsive” and slumped over in rooms and parked vehicles. But the Army continues to downplay this crisis, sweeping soldiers’ deaths under the rug — their deaths not made public, their families left wondering what happened.
Perhaps there is no greater symbol of our definitive loss in that interminable war than Fort Bragg itself. From this flagship base, the beating heart of the U.S. special-operations complex, the military apparatus behind the global War on Drugs deploys to the far corners of the world. Green Berets train security forces in countries like Colombia, El Salvador, and Honduras. Delta Force reportedly took part in the anti-cartel operations that killed Pablo Escobar and captured El Chapo Guzmán. Yet drive down Bragg Boulevard into the Bonnie Doone neighborhood of Fayetteville, and in between the storage facilities, mobile-home dealerships, and tattoo parlors, you will find roach motels full of addicts, indigent veterans camped out beneath bridges, and strung-out junkies hanging around boarded-up trap houses. The dismal tide of synthetic opioids and amphetamines has penetrated Fort Bragg’s high-security gates, permeated through to the lowliest privates’ barracks, and caused at least a dozen overdose deaths in just the last year. These dead soldiers, who far outnumber combat casualties, are clearer proof of the United States’ unequivocal defeat in its longest-running international military campaign than a white flag run up over the main parade field. As the old saying goes: The War on Drugs is over — drugs won.
Matt Sullivan conducts a deep exploration into the story of Larry Rudolph, a larger-than-life character who is at best an adulterer, and at worst a murderer.
Larry fooled around, longtime former friends and co-workers say, like he hunted big game: for sport at first, and, as he became a minor celebrity in the incestuous world of the gun, as a power trip.
Laura Jedeed vividly brings to life a bizarre evening she spent at James O’Keefe’s book launch. She is left bemused by the spectacle, and no wonder — it’s a wild ride!
Fake news. Those two words singlehandedly rescued O’Keefe from obscurity and set him on a path to greatness. By Trump’s metric, Project Veritas’ journalism was as real as it gets. As his popularity spread, so too did his conviction that mainstream media could not be trusted. His supporters turned, more and more, to sources that supported the things they already knew to be true.
You may remember the Syrian government’s chemical attacks on civilians. You may also remember the international deal struck to destroy President Bashar al-Assad’s weapons’ stockpile. What you almost certainly don’t know is how the deadly chemicals were actually destroyed, or who figured out how to do it. This is the behind-the-scenes story.
The unlikely solution would ultimately involve the cooperation of 17 countries, the warp-speed work of a small cohort of U.S. Army chemists, and squabbling and infighting within the highest echelons of the U.S. government. It headed off U.S. military intervention in Syria and helped earn the Nobel Peace Prize for the intergovernmental organization under whose banner it was carried out. But before all that, the kernel of the idea — to destroy Assad’s chemical arsenal on a boat in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea — and the duty of seeing it through began with a team of anonymous young women in a dismal office, burrowed deep inside an obscure federal agency.
“At six feet four and 260 pounds, he fills up a room without meaning to, though he never wastes time trying to merge with his surroundings. He’s funny and profane and could charm a lampshade off its base with his whiskey-sour drawl and Harley swagger. Small wonder that even strangers at the Quik Mart call him Tex, though he’s as much from Amarillo as you or me.
But being a giant with full tat sleeves is its own disguise: No one sees you and thinks ‘plainclothes cop’ hiding cameras in your leathers. That’s the trademark of a crack undercover: a genius for playing yourself.”
“When his celebrity was at its height and he couldn’t walk a street on this planet without getting recognized, jiujitsu gave Bourdain a new, anonymous world to traverse, one where he was just one of us.”
“Even as speculation grew online that Warner was Wood’s alleged abuser, the traditional media remained largely silent. Virtually no major outlets prior to 2020 directly referenced or alluded to the accusations against him in their profiles, interviews, or album reviews.”
“China has produced some of the most vital indie rock on the planet. But can the scene survive gentrification, government crackdowns, and a hit TV show?”
“He was not a pilot; he worked ground crew for Horizon Air. His core duties revolved around loading baggage onto short-haul flights, but he was also trained to tow planes on the tarmac. Silently, and without warning, he’d gone rogue.”