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First Platoon: A Story of Modern War in the Age of Identity Dominance

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An urgent investigation into warfare, good, and evil in the age of biometrics, the technology that would allow the government to identify anyone, anywhere, at any time This is a story that starts off close and goes very big. The initial part of the story might sound familiar at first: It is about a platoon of mostly nineteen-year-old boys sent to Afghanistan, and an expe An urgent investigation into warfare, good, and evil in the age of biometrics, the technology that would allow the government to identify anyone, anywhere, at any time This is a story that starts off close and goes very big. The initial part of the story might sound familiar at first: It is about a platoon of mostly nineteen-year-old boys sent to Afghanistan, and an experience that ends abruptly in catastrophe. Their part of the story folds into the next: inexorably linked to those soldiers and never comprehensively reported before is the U.S. Department of Defense's quest to build the world's most powerful biometrics database, with the power to identify, monitor, catalogue, and police people all over the world. First Platoon is an American saga that illuminates a transformation of society made possible by this new technology. Part war story, part legal drama, it is about identity in the age of identification. About humanity--physical bravery, trauma, PTSD, a yearning to do right and good--in the age of biometrics, which reduce people to iris scans, fingerprint scans, voice patterning, detection by odor, gait, and more. And about the power of point-of-view in a burgeoning surveillance state. Based on hundreds of formerly classified documents, FOIA requests, and exclusive interviews, First Platoon is an investigative expos� by a master chronicler of government secrets. First Platoon reveals a post-9/11 Pentagon whose identification machines have grown more capable than the humans who must make sense of them. A Pentagon so powerful it can cover up its own internal mistakes in pursuit of endless wars. And a people at its mercy, in its last moments before a fundamental change so complete it might be impossible to take back.


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An urgent investigation into warfare, good, and evil in the age of biometrics, the technology that would allow the government to identify anyone, anywhere, at any time This is a story that starts off close and goes very big. The initial part of the story might sound familiar at first: It is about a platoon of mostly nineteen-year-old boys sent to Afghanistan, and an expe An urgent investigation into warfare, good, and evil in the age of biometrics, the technology that would allow the government to identify anyone, anywhere, at any time This is a story that starts off close and goes very big. The initial part of the story might sound familiar at first: It is about a platoon of mostly nineteen-year-old boys sent to Afghanistan, and an experience that ends abruptly in catastrophe. Their part of the story folds into the next: inexorably linked to those soldiers and never comprehensively reported before is the U.S. Department of Defense's quest to build the world's most powerful biometrics database, with the power to identify, monitor, catalogue, and police people all over the world. First Platoon is an American saga that illuminates a transformation of society made possible by this new technology. Part war story, part legal drama, it is about identity in the age of identification. About humanity--physical bravery, trauma, PTSD, a yearning to do right and good--in the age of biometrics, which reduce people to iris scans, fingerprint scans, voice patterning, detection by odor, gait, and more. And about the power of point-of-view in a burgeoning surveillance state. Based on hundreds of formerly classified documents, FOIA requests, and exclusive interviews, First Platoon is an investigative expos� by a master chronicler of government secrets. First Platoon reveals a post-9/11 Pentagon whose identification machines have grown more capable than the humans who must make sense of them. A Pentagon so powerful it can cover up its own internal mistakes in pursuit of endless wars. And a people at its mercy, in its last moments before a fundamental change so complete it might be impossible to take back.

30 review for First Platoon: A Story of Modern War in the Age of Identity Dominance

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mary Van Opstal

    I rarely read if ever books about the military or war, but my brother Spc. James Twist was heavily interviewed along with many of his peers in this book about his platoon in Afghanistan. Like many of his platoon members, he left with not only PTSD but was pushed out of the army because he and his peers turned in a superior. The book was well written about how biometrics were intertwined so heavily with the war in Afghanistan, and how it really messed up first Platoon. My brother took his own lif I rarely read if ever books about the military or war, but my brother Spc. James Twist was heavily interviewed along with many of his peers in this book about his platoon in Afghanistan. Like many of his platoon members, he left with not only PTSD but was pushed out of the army because he and his peers turned in a superior. The book was well written about how biometrics were intertwined so heavily with the war in Afghanistan, and how it really messed up first Platoon. My brother took his own life because of the intensity of his PTSD from his time there. This book made my mad because of the lies and deceit that occurred during their time over seas and here at home with the Clint Lorance case. We need to take care of our veterans, and we as a country don’t do enough.

  2. 5 out of 5

    John

    This is a fascinating book that takes one incident in Afghanistan and uses it to expose the Department of Defense's widespread use of biometrics in Afghanistan, how that affects one case of a lieutenant convicted of war crimes (rightly so it appears) whom President Donald Trump subsequently pardoned (relying on biometric evidence from the defense teams which seems to have been bogus). She then jumps off into a wider discussion of biometrics with a tentative discussion of how biometrics are comin This is a fascinating book that takes one incident in Afghanistan and uses it to expose the Department of Defense's widespread use of biometrics in Afghanistan, how that affects one case of a lieutenant convicted of war crimes (rightly so it appears) whom President Donald Trump subsequently pardoned (relying on biometric evidence from the defense teams which seems to have been bogus). She then jumps off into a wider discussion of biometrics with a tentative discussion of how biometrics are coming from the battlefield to your local village. It ends up being a frightening glimpse into Big Brother alive and thriving in the United States. "It would be years before these same military surveillance methodologies would eventually come home, to tag and track citizens in the United States," the author writes, but come they do and are in use at this moment with little to no legal oversight. When a guy who is intimately familiar with how this technology was used in Afghanistan and is only referred to as Kevin H tells you, "What Palantir is capable of is straight-up Big Brother. People should pay attention. For real." It seems wise to listen to that guy. Of course the difficulty is that we cannot pay attention because the technology and its use is highly secret, even when used against American citizens. An interesting read and a glimpse of the future, and it isn't good.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Annette

    Mind blowing stuff! I have no words!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    This is so different from any book I have read. Very thought provoking. I look forward to reading more of Annie Jacobsen’s books. Note: this reads like an in-depth research report, over 100 pages of citations and notes.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Awortwi Dzimah

    Essentially picked this book to read to leverage on military data mining and intelligence technologies for applications in mining engineering: military grade data mining advanced technologies could potentially be game-changers for the global mining industry. That said, I learnt a lot and, must say, overwhelmingly on the period between 2011 to 2020 of US military interventions in Afghanistan though in narrow terms to *The First Platoon* who had to lead in the biometric data intelligence war. Annie Essentially picked this book to read to leverage on military data mining and intelligence technologies for applications in mining engineering: military grade data mining advanced technologies could potentially be game-changers for the global mining industry. That said, I learnt a lot and, must say, overwhelmingly on the period between 2011 to 2020 of US military interventions in Afghanistan though in narrow terms to *The First Platoon* who had to lead in the biometric data intelligence war. Annie Jacobsen did a great exposé on the merits and demerits of bio data intelligence for law enforcement; I look forward to reading more of her books.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    I often wondered about all the cameras I see on top of a variety of street poles. I always suspected they do surveillance--aka "Identity Dominance"--and I think this book confirms my suspicion. The synopsis I read of the book says our civil liberties are threatened. I want to-read. I often wondered about all the cameras I see on top of a variety of street poles. I always suspected they do surveillance--aka "Identity Dominance"--and I think this book confirms my suspicion. The synopsis I read of the book says our civil liberties are threatened. I want to-read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Greg Jaffe

    my review.. https://www.washingtonpost.com/outloo... my review.. https://www.washingtonpost.com/outloo...

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jack Jacobson

    An important book. All Americans should be aware of what is happening to our privacy. This book lays it out in great detail, and it's frightening. An important book. All Americans should be aware of what is happening to our privacy. This book lays it out in great detail, and it's frightening.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kyle.L.Carroll

    A subject like this in a lesser authors hands would have floundered. Jacobsen makes it sing. An important book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    John

  11. 4 out of 5

    KC Kasberg

  12. 4 out of 5

    Brandon Frandsen

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nick Armenta

  14. 5 out of 5

    Corey Fegan

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Afzal

  17. 5 out of 5

    Michael John Toy

  18. 5 out of 5

    Maddie

  19. 4 out of 5

    Alex

  20. 5 out of 5

    Junjzhao

  21. 4 out of 5

    Trevor Pratte

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sebastian Wright Garcia

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sim

  24. 5 out of 5

    Brian

  25. 4 out of 5

    James LaPlante

  26. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin Wightman

  27. 5 out of 5

    Dustin Saxton

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ivan T

  29. 4 out of 5

    Christan

  30. 4 out of 5

    Łukasz

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