US troops in Afghanistan will end “most” combat operations this spring, US President Barack Obama and Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai have agreed.
American forces are expected to switch to a support role, slightly earlier than originally scheduled, as Afghan troops take the security lead.
The two leaders also backed the holding of talks between the Afghan government and Taliban leaders in Doha, Qatar.
Most of the 66,000 US troops in Afghanistan are due to leave in 2014.
“Starting this spring, our troops will have a different mission - training, advising, assisting Afghan forces,” Mr Obama said in remarks at the White House on Friday, as Mr Karzai stood alongside.
More: US Troops Will End ‘Most’ Afghanistan Combat This Spring
The real facts are that every 4th of July President Obama invites a lot of the troops to his house for a bbq.
President Obama pulled a fast one on Karl Rove and the National Review, who claimed he was in Paris raising cash on July 4th, when he was, in fact, doing what he does every year — throwing a party for our troops on the South Lawn of the White House.
President Obama and the First Lady had their annual July 4th barbeque for our service members and Obama spoke a few words, ending on a consistent note of being there for our troops as they have been there for us, saying, “And as long as I have the honor of being your Commander-in-Chief, I want you all — our men and women in uniform, our veterans and their families — to know this: America will always remember. We will always be there for you, just as you’ve been there for us.”
While our president was drinking beer and shooting the shit with the troops, Mitt Romney was at his elite retreat in the Hamptons.
The IDF is gearing up together with US forces for a major missile defense exercise, the army announced Thursday, as tension between Iran and the international community escalates.
The drill is called “Austere Challenge 12” and is designed to improve defense systems and cooperation between the US and Israeli forces. It follows a 10-day Iranian naval exercise near the strategic Strait of Hormuz.
The IDF said the drill with the US was planned long ago and is not tied to recent events. Both Israeli and US officials said the exercise would be the largest-ever joint drill by the two countries.
The IDF spokesman did not give a date for the drill Thursday, but a senior military official said it would be in the next few weeks. He was speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.
The Israeli official said thousands of American and Israeli soldiers from different units would take part. He said the drill would test multiple Israeli and US air defense systems against incoming missiles and rockets. Israel has deployed the “Arrow” system, jointly developed and funded with the US, designed to intercept Iranian missiles in the stratosphere, far from Israel.
“The US European Command and the Israel Defense Forces periodically conduct routine exercises in Israel,” the IDF said in a statement.
If you tell yourself that you wouldn’t do the same in al-Maliki’s shoes then you are lying. I love the US, but if roles were reversed the only right call is that the foreign troops are either subject to civil law, or they go. This is a ploy that gets Obama a win prior to our election and troops home for Christmas while strengthening the elected government of Iraq. After almost 9 years it’s overdue.
Iraq’s prime minister said Saturday that U.S. troops are leaving Iraq after nearly nine years of war because Baghdad rejected American demands that any U.S. military forces to stay would have to be shielded from prosecution or lawsuits.
The comments by Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, made clear that it was Iraq who refused to let the U.S. military remain under the Americans’ terms.
A day earlier, President Barack Obama had hailed the troops’ withdrawal as the result of his commitment - promised shortly after taking office in 2009 - to end the war that he once described as “dumb.”
“When the Americans asked for immunity, the Iraqi side answered that it was not possible,” al-Maliki told reporters in Baghdad. “The discussions over the number of trainers and the place of training stopped. Now that the issue of immunity was decided and that no immunity to be given, the withdrawal has started.”
Nearly 40,000 U.S. troops remain in Iraq, all of whom will withdraw by Dec. 31 - a deadline set in a 2008 security agreement between Baghdad and Washington.
The courtiers in the Hall of Mirrors that is Versailles on the Potomac are lining up to give Leon Panetta advice on how to manage the Pentagon in the coming era of budget “constraints.” Most of this wisdom takes the form of platitudes of how important it is to have a strategy and to make the hard choices needed to budget for that strategy. Duh!
My current favorite is Dr. Daniel Goure’s recent blog on the web page of the Lexington Institute, a pro-defense “think tank.” Goure starts his advisory by saying:
Let’s be honest. The current U.S. defense program is underfunded, even at over $500 billion a year in the base budget and another $100 billion plus in contingency expenses.
Goure then goes on to discuss the need for vision, particularly concerning controlling personnel and health costs and avoiding duplication by transferring work done in government facilities, and by the military, to contractors. In other words, when times are tough, return to the old game of protecting industry at the expense of the soldier and the taxpayer.
Thanks for your honesty, Daniel, but more of the same won’t cut it this time.
Goure is correct about one thing, however. The defense program is underfunded. But before dispensing advice on how to shovel money to his friends in industry, Goure ought to explain how and why the highest budget since the end of World War II could possibly end up underfunding the current program. After all, the United States is engaged in a tough but relatively small war on terror, with far smaller forces and minuscule operational tempos compared to those deployed to either Korea and Vietnam.
Moreover, the United States no longer needs to spend a large part of the defense budget to maintain a large forward deployed conventional and nuclear forces to counter the threat posed by the Soviet Union. With a few minor exceptions, the United States is also fielding the smallest combat-coded force structures since 1950. Nevertheless, despite a defense budget that has almost doubled in inflation adjusted dollars since 1998, Mr. Panetta is inheriting a defense program approaching the programmatic equivalent of a meltdown.
If Mr. Panetta wants to nurse the Pentagon into to health he must come to grips with the real causes of the Defense Death Spiral — a problem I have been studying and writing about since the late 1970s.
The central management problem plaguing the Department of Defense — i.e., the meltdown of the entire defense program — can be characterized in a general sense as being produced by the mutually reinforcing effects of …
WARNING: Do not watch if you are squeamish, people are murdered in this clip. this is not for the faint of heart, and even if you are a brave soul this will wreck the rest of your day if you watch it.
Bahrain’s army deliberately kills peaceful protesters with live rounds ( automatic weapon )
Sudanese military officials say at least 20 people were killed in fighting that erupted between troops when some refused to redeploy ahead of south Sudan’s becoming an independent nation.
This story is about the small teaching school of California State University - East Bay, which I’m proud to call my alma mater and which has seen veteran enrollment double as a result of the G.I. Bill:
HAYWARD, Calif. (KGO) — Veterans are getting new education opportunities with an enhanced G.I. Bill. Here is a look at what two veterans are doing to get ahead on one California university campus.
The demographics are changing at college campuses across the country. There’s a swell of older students enrolling. They’re veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, taking advantage of the G.I. Bill.
Nicholas Roberts, 25, is from Pleasanton. He’s pursuing a degree in international business at Cal State East Bay. Three tours as a Marine in Iraq make him conscious of his surroundings.
“I sit in the class. I don’t like people sitting behind me. It makes me feel real uncomfortable and I always make sure I can see all the entryways in the classroom,” said Roberts.
Roberts is one of more than 200 vets on the Cal State East Bay campus. One of more than 260,000 vets using the G.I. Bill across the country.
Angelo Garza, 34, served in Iraq with the Army. He’s working on a degree for a career in law enforcement. He, too, believes his military background makes him a more serious student.
“That structure definitely helps me concentrate and focus more on my studies. Time management, just making sure that I’m disciplined, taking care of everything that I need to do,” said Garza.
Pentagon officials credit the G.I. Bill for helping with recruitment and retention of military personnel. Starting last year, education benefits can be transferred to spouses or children. 50,000 dependents are taking advantage of that provision. The path from the war front to the future is a journey that goes one step at a time.
The number of veterans on the Cal State East Bay campus has nearly doubled in two years, and with operations winding down in Iraq, it’s expected that enrollment of veterans will increase across the country in the months ahead.
This is the stuff that breaks your heart.
“At Fort Bliss, we found that even soldiers who are diagnosed with such injuries often do not receive the treatment they need.
Most specialists say it is critical for patients who show lingering effects from head trauma to get intensive therapy as soon as possible. In the civilian world, such therapy is increasingly seen as the best way to minimize permanent damage, helping to retrain the mind to compensate for deficits.
Yet brain-injured soldiers at Fort Bliss have had to wait weeks and sometimes months just to get appointments with doctors, medical records show. Many have received far less therapy than is typical at well-regarded civilian clinics. In some instances, Fort Bliss medical officers have suggested that the soldiers are malingerers or that the main root of their cognitive problems is psychological.”