Ring of Fire

Each soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan generated around 10 pounds of garbage per day. Most of that trash—along with used equipment and medical supplies and other wastes of war—was burned in open-air pits, emitting a toxic smoke that many soliders blame for their poor health today.

Iraq's Baby Noor

Born with spina bifida, Noor al-Zahra Haider entered the media spotlight in 2005 after U.S. troops arranged her life-saving surgery in America. This is what happened when she returned to Iraq.

The Invisible Army

The expansion of private-security contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan is well known. But armed security personnel account for only about sixteen per cent of the over-all contracting force. The vast majority—more than sixty per cent of the total in Iraq—aren’t hired guns but hired hands. These workers, primarily from South Asia and Africa, often live in barbed-wire compounds on U.S. bases, eat at meagre chow halls, and host dance parties featuring Nepalese romance ballads and Ugandan church songs. A large number are employed by fly-by-night subcontractors who are financed by the American taxpayer but who often operate outside the law.