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Thursday, December 31,2009

A look back at the Aughts

By Pamela White

2006: The toll on U.S. soldiers

U.S. soldiers use hip-hop to document their war experiences

May 11, 2006

After three years, the war in Iraq was taking its toll, not only on the U.S. economy, but also on the men and women serving in our military. Boulder Weekly explored the war’s impact from a variety of perspectives, starting on March 3, with a compilation of sobering statistics, graphs and facts titled, “Iraq three years later: the war in numbers.”

Then on May 11, Vince Darcangelo, a former arts and entertainment editor, reported on how some soldiers were turning to hip hop was a way to channel the horror and grief of their war experiences. Tracks like “Some Make It, Some Don’t” — found on Voices From the Frontline, a 24-track collection of music performed by U.S. soldiers who had or were currently serving in Iraq — expressed the pain soldiers felt at the death they witnessed all too frequently.

“One convoy I was on ... a soldier passed away, and I didn’t know how to deal with it. I came back, and I met my man [Deacon]. He told me, ‘Why don’t we go cypher.’ I was like, ‘Not tonight man.’ We ended up going out there, and we did it a cappella. ... We ended up, both of us, with a face full of tears just because every emotion you could possibly have, that was the only way to extinguish that pain that you felt,” Sgt. Christopher Tomlinson, aka Prophet, told the paper.

In our June 2 issue, we looked at the plight of lesbian women in the Army in “A woman’s place.” Two weeks later, on June 16, we visited a special training site in Colorado where U.S. soldiers were being trained to deal with conflict in urban Iraq.

Then on Dec. 15, freelancer Terje Langeland took us inside the ever-expanding U.S. role in Iraq in his cover story “Misson Creep: The U.S. military’s growing involvement in domestic affairs in Iraq.”

Though Bush had proclaimed “Mission Accomplished” three years past, it was clear that U.S. soldiers were bound long-term to a conflict that was far from over.

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