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WAR: About that War

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Washington Post

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's move appeared to disregard the wishes of the U.S. government, which has quietly lobbied against the plebiscite. American officials fear it could lead to the annulment of an agreement allowing U.S. troops to stay until the end of 2011, and instead force them out by the start of that year.

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Washington Post

Mullen traveled to Kabul in April to confront McKiernan. The chairman hoped the commander would opt to save face and retire, but he refused. 

You're going to have to fire me, he told Mullen.

Two weeks later, Gates did. It was the first sacking of a wartime theater commander since President Harry S. Truman dismissed Gen. Douglas MacArthur in 1951 for opposing his Korean War policy.

 

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McClatchy News

A notorious Afghan warlord accused of allowing the murder of hundreds, if not thousands, of prisoners and then destroying the evidence returned to Afghanistan Sunday night as part of what appears to be a political deal brokered with President Hamid Karzai.

Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum arrived from Turkey just four days before the Afghan presidential elections, in which his support could be key to Karzai's chances of securing more than 50 percent of the vote - the threshold for avoiding a second round of elections.

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Washington Post

Afghan villagers, many of whom fled the Marines' advance, say they feel caught in a tug of war between U.S. forces and the Taliban, and are fearful of both. The Afghans, primarily illiterate farmers who tend livestock and crops in the irrigated lands alongside the Helmand River, often say they simply want to be left in peace.

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AP

The Pentagon presented a grim portrait of the Afghanistan war, offering no assurances about how long Americans will be fighting there or how many U.S. combat troops it will take to win.

Defeating the Taliban and al-Qaida will take "a few years," Defense Secretary Robert Gates said, with success on a larger scale in the desperately poor country a much longer proposition. He acknowledged that the Taliban has a firm hold on parts of the country President Barack Obama has called vital to U.S. security.

 

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London Times

[I wondered where my tax money was going.]

Supporters of President Karzai are preparing to rig voting in next week’s presidential elections in unstable parts of Afghanistan’s south as Taleban violence threatens to intimidate voters and hit turnout in his traditional support base.

The Times has talked to several witnesses whose reports will bolster suspicions within the international community that there will be electoral fraud across the south, some of it allegedly orchestrated by Mr Karzai’s half-brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai.

 

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CommonDreams.org

A former Blackwater employee and an ex-US Marine who has worked as a security operative for the company have made a series of explosive allegations in sworn statements filed on August 3 in federal court in Virginia. The two men claim that the company's owner, Erik Prince, may have murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals who were cooperating with federal authorities investigating the company. The former employee also alleges that Prince "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe," and that Prince's companies "encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life."

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Washington Post

The House would prohibit use of funds to reduce strategic nuclear weapons under a new treaty with Russia -- unless the president certified there were sufficient verification measures and that neither U.S. missile defense systems nor conventional offensive weapons were under limits. It would also have to be determined that the U.S. nuclear weapons programs were adequately funded.

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NYT

It would have been the most far-reaching case of computer sabotage in history. In 2003, the Pentagon and American intelligence agencies made plans for a cyberattack to freeze billions of dollars in the bank accounts of Saddam Hussein and cripple his government’s financial system before the United States invaded Iraq. He would have no money for war supplies. No money to pay troops.

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Democracy Now

The story focuses on a single battalion based at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment. Soldiers from the brigade have have been involved in brawls, beatings, rapes, drunk driving, drug deals, domestic violence, shootings, stabbings, kidnapping and suicides. The Army unit’s murder rate is 114 times the rate for Colorado Springs.

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The Washington Post

The Democratic-controlled House is poised to give the Pentagon dozens of new ships, planes, helicopters and armored vehicles that Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates says the military does not need to fund next year, acting in many cases in response to defense industry pressures and campaign contributions under an approach he has decried as "business as usual" and vowed to help end.

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Washington and Beijing are working closely on a range of economic, environmental and security issues. So it might seem strange that U.S. Pacific Air Force’s new annual wargame, “Pacific Vision,” imagines a no-holds-barred assault by Chinese forces on the U.S. military’s Pacific outposts — and how U.S. forces might dodge the attacks. “A key subject was dispersal of aircraft, in particular, during a military emergency since bases in Okinawa, Guam, Hawaii and Alaska are now considered vulnerable to attack by ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, cyber weapons and directed energy such as lasers and high power microwaves,” Ares’ David Fulghum reports.

An October study by think-tank RAND claimed that a volley of 34 Chinese ballistic missiles could damage, destroy or strand 75 percent of aircraft” at Kadena Air Force Base in Japan, pictured. Kadena is the Pentagon’s most important outpost for East Asian air operations. The perceived vulnerability of existing U.S. air base

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AP

President Hamid Karzai said he wants new rules governing the conduct of U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan and would be willing to talk with Taliban leaders who publicly renounce violence and endorse peace.

But Karzai, acknowledging shaky relations with his international partners in the war on terror, told The Associated Press in an interview that he was not prepared at this time to discuss the key Taliban demand — a timetable for the withdrawal of all foreign troops.

 

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AP

U.S. military authorities in Afghanistan may hire a private contractor to provide around-the-clock security at dozens of bases and protect vehicle convoys moving throughout the country.  The possibility of awarding a security contract comes as the Obama administration is sending thousands of more troops into Afghanistan to quell rising violence fueled by a resurgent Taliban. As the number of American forces grow over the next several months, so too does the demand to guard their outposts.

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Colorado Springs The Gazette

Before the murders started, Anthony Marquez’s mom dialed his sergeant at Fort Carson to warn that her son was poised to kill.

It was February 2006, and the 21-year-old soldier had not been the same since being wounded and coming home from Iraq 8 months before. He had violent outbursts and thrashing nightmares. He was devouring pain pills and drinking too much. He always packed a gun.

 

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McClatchy News

With bipartisan support, a resolution has been introduced in the House of Representatives to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Pig War.

The name, age, sex, and size of the pig has long been forgotten but the dispute its death triggered is the reason the border is where it is today between Washington state and Canada.

The pig was part of a herd owned by the Hudson's Bay Co., a British outfit. An American farmer shot it in the summer of 1859.

Killing livestock on the frontier was a serious offense. The farmer offered to pay restitution. Hudson's Bay wanted $100, an exorbitant sum back then. The farmer balked. Both countries sent in troops, with weapons were locked and loaded.

Nearly 500 U.S. Army regulars were commanded by Capt. George Pickett, who four years later would lead the charge almost 3,000 miles away at Gettysburg. The British had 400 battle-tested Royal Marines who had fought in conflicts such as the Opium War

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UrukNet

Military propaganda makes it on air in the US and is disguised as news. At least two Wisconsin TV stations have aired military propaganda with one putting their own reporter over it (Jeff Alexander) to read the military's copy. Madison Wisconsin's WKOWTV offers a pure propaganda look (video report) at the US run Iraqi prison Camp Cropper.

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