While this front-page New York Times piece (“Secret Order Lets U.S. Raid Al Qaeda In Many Countries”) is understandably getting the pick-up on morning news shows, don’t over look Times photographer Tyler Hicks images of life at Combat Outpost Lowell near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border where American soldiers find themselves “a frequent target of attacks.” Powerful and poignant photos.

And accompanying Hicks’s images is C.J. Chivers’ s A-1 article describing the “singularly unattractive role” this outpost plays (it “lies exposed near the bottom of a natural amphitheater deep within territory out of government control” and “insurgents hide in caves surrounding it… operating unhindered…”) serving as “a Taliban magnet, drawing insurgents from more populated areas” or, as First Lt. Daniel Wright tells Chivers: “Basically, we’re the bullet sponge.”

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.