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Posts Tagged ‘department of defense’


Huff Post- Posted: 2/15/12 | Updated: 2/15/12

By- David Wood

WASHINGTON –  The threat of punishing U.S. military strikes underlies Washington’s campaign to halt Iran’s nuclear weapons program. But there is no enthusiasm evident within the U.S. military for a war many believe would be messy, bloody, unpredictable and ultimately inconclusive.

Seeking to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons, President Barack Obama has focused on coordinating international economic pressure against Iran and moved to strengthen economic sanctions just last week. But he warned in the Jan. 24 State of the Union address, “Let there be no doubt: American is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal.”

It’s a truism of diplomacy to never to make a threat that you’re not prepared to carry out. There is no doubt that if ordered, the U.S. military would launch devastating attacks against Iran. Whether such strikes would come along with or instead of Israeli attacks, tactical planning is already under way, as is done routinely for a variety of potential military operations the Pentagon might be ordered to carry out, senior officers said.

“If called upon, I have no doubt that the armed forces of the United States will deal with whatever contingencies might unfold there,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said last week when asked about a possible military confrontation with Iran.

But Gen. Martin Dempsey, the crusty Army general who heads the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told National Journal last month that a war with Iran “would be really destabilizing … I personally believe that we should be in the business of deterring [war] as a first priority,” he said.

The Joint Chiefs are hardly a bunch of shrinking violets. Dempsey commanded the 1st Armored Division for 14 months of hard combat in Iraq and served there another two years directing the training of Iraqi security forces.

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House Votes To Kill F-35 Second Engine Program

HuffPost- Elise Foley

First Posted: 02/16/11 03:48 PM Updated: 02/16/11 05:44 PM

Amanda Terkel contributed reporting.

WASHINGTON — More than half of the House Republicans voted on Wednesday to earmark $450 million in funds for a duplicative fighter-jet engines that the Department of Defense has repeatedly said it does not need. But a bipartisan coalition, including just over half of GOP freshmen, voted against the F-35 engines, approving an amendment to strip an expenditure long bemoaned as pure pork, but defended by members of Congress from the states who would benefit from the project.

Support for or opposition to the project had more to do with region than party. Members from Ohio and Indiana, where General Electric Co. and Rolls-Royce would build the fighter engines, unanimously backed the extra engine. House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio is an outspoken supporter of the jet engine, but didn’t cast a vote, observing the speaker’s tradition of abstaining. The opposition from inside his party to a pet-project of Boehner’s is a rebuke to the speaker.

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General McChrystal’s Rolling Stone Interview A ‘Significant Mistake,’ Gates Says

ANNE GEARAN and JULIE PACE | 06/22/10 12:33 PM | AP – Via Huff Po

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the top U.S. general in Afghanistan made “a significant mistake” and used poor judgment in remarks to a magazine reporter.

Gates says Gen. Stanley McChrystal has apologized to him. Gates also says he has recalled McChrystal to Washington to discuss the matter in person. That’s on top of the White House summons that McChrystal appear there Wednesday.

The Pentagon says McChrystal will hold a separate meeting with Gates.

Gates’ statement says nothing about whether McChrystal should keep his job.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

WASHINGTON (AP) – Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the top U.S. general in Afghanistan made “a significant mistake” and used poor judgment in remarks to a magazine reporter.

Gates says Gen. Stanley McChrystal has apologized to him. Gates also says he has recalled McChrystal to Washington to discuss the matter in person. That’s on top of the White House summons that McChrystal appear there Wednesday.

The Pentagon says McChrystal will hold a separate meeting with Gates.

Gates’ statement says nothing about whether McChrystal should keep his job.

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McChrystal’s Rolling Stone Interview: General’s Team SLAMS Key Obama Officials (SLIDESHOW)

Huff Post- First Posted: 06-22-10 10:18 AM   |   Updated: 06-22-10 11:25 AM

Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s candid Rolling Stone interview prompted the White House to summon McChrystal, the most senior military commander in Afghanistan, to the capital for a standing meeting. McChrystal usually participates via teleconference.

Below are some of the most notable quotes and details from Michael Hasting’s profile of McChrystal, his staff, and the war that the U.S. is fighting in Afghanistan.

>>>PHOTOS HERE<<<

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White House Briefing Video: Live Stream Of Press Briefing With Robert Gibbs

Huffington Post First Posted: 06-22-10 12:54 PM   |   Updated: 06-22-10 12:55 PM

Visit this page for live streaming video whenever Press Secretary Robert Gibbs gives the White House press briefing.

>>>VIDEO HERE<<<

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Blackwater, Now Xe, Vying For $1 Billion Contract To Train Afghan National Police

HuffPo-  First Posted: 02- 8-10 12:36 PM   |   Updated: 02- 8-10 03:17 PM

“Blackwater Worldwide’s legal woes haven’t dimmed the company’s prospects in Afghanistan, where it’s a contender to be a key part of President Barack Obama’s strategy for stabilizing the country,” the AP reported recently.

Now called Xe Services, the company is in the running for a Pentagon contract potentially worth $1 billion to train Afghanistan’s troubled national police force. Xe has been shifting to training, aviation and logistics work after its security guards were accused of killing unarmed Iraqi civilians more than two years ago.Yet even with a new name and focus, the expanded role would seem an unlikely one for Xe because Democrats have held such a negative opinion of the company following the Iraqi deaths, which are still reverberating in Baghdad and Washington.

During the presidential campaign, then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, now Obama’s secretary of state, backed legislation to ban Blackwater and other private security contractors from Iraq.

Xe eventually lost its license to operate as guardian of U.S. diplomats in Iraq and the State Department, with Clinton at the helm, elected not to rehire the company when the contract expired in 2009. Delays in getting a new company in place led to a temporary extension of the State contract.

Derrick Crowe of Rethink Afghanistan notes that Xe is in the running for this contract “despite the fact that they’ve ‘trained’ the notoriously corrupt and incompetent Afghan Border Police. Recently, two Blackwater / Xe trainers were indicted for murdering Afghan civilians, and the company has a history of hiring people with a criminal record. Xe Services / Blackwater is a liability to the American cause around the world and doesn’t deserve another dime of taxpayer money.”

Rethink Afghanistan has posted a new video on the topic featuring Afghanistan-based correspondent Anand Gopal.

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Obama Could Issue an Executive Order to End the Wars Tomorrow (Yes, It’s That Simple)

By Nora Eisenberg, AlterNet. Posted January 29, 2009.

In a wide-ranging interview, veteran Paul Sullivan discusses Bush, Obama and the legacies of the Gulf War.

Paul Sullivan is a veteran of the 1991 Gulf War, serving in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq as a Cavalry Scout with the Army’s 1st Armored Division.

As executive director of the National Gulf War Resource Center from 1997 to 2000, he advocated for the passage of the Persian Gulf Veterans Act of 1998, which expanded health care and disability benefits for Gulf War veterans. From 2000 to 2006, he was Veterans Affairs project manager, leading a team that produced reports related to the Gulf War, Iraq war and Afghanistan war.

Sullivan is a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Disabled American Veterans and is presently the executive director of Veterans for Common Sense, a Washington nonprofit organization focusing on issues related to national security, veterans’ rights and benefits and civil liberties.

Two days after the inauguration, Paul spoke with me about a number of topics, including: the lies, drugs and poisons involved in the Gulf War and its current sequels; the suicide epidemic among Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans; the rash of homicides around military bases; the need for a truth commission; skewed research on Gulf War illness at VA; signs of conspiracy and subterfuge; the legacies of Bush 41 and Bush 43; the first days of Barack Obama; and his hopes for Michelle Obama as a true friend of veterans and veterans’ families.

Nora Eisenberg: You’ve been involved with veterans’ issues and rights for close to two decades — as a veteran and advocate for veterans. Why have you devoted your life to this?

Paul Sullivan: The military taught us a valuable lesson during war: never leave a fallen comrade behind. We are now applying that essential lesson for use outside the war zone: We must never leave a fellow veteran behind.

Most people don’t know that under a little-noticed 1991 law, the Gulf War began on Aug. 2, 1990, and it continues through today. The devastation that began with the bombing of Iraq on Jan. 17, 1991, continues through today. … Out of 700,000 Gulf War veterans, 290,000 filed disability claims against VA. VA also reports that 250,000 Gulf War veterans sought medical care at VA hospitals.

Friends of mine completed suicide after the Gulf War because VA delayed or denied assistance. A few friends suffered without answers from Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as ALS, for years before dying early, often after fighting VA.

The Gulf War continues as the new Iraq and Afghanistan wars. VA reports an additional 330,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans have already filed disability claims against VA, and 400,000 have already been treated at VA hospitals. That’s a grand total of 620,000 disability claims and 650,000 veteran patients.

We continue fighting for veterans because they need it, and because we are successful. Our 2007 lawsuit forced VA to establish a toll-free suicide-prevention hot line. In the first 15 months, the hot line received 85,000 calls and performed more than 2,100 rescues of suicidal veterans.

We fought for and secured $1.8 billion in emergency funding in 2007 that VA used to hire thousands of new doctors and claims processors. VCS testified repeatedly about the need to reform VA’s broken claims system, and Congress acted by passing an overhaul bill in late 2008. Yet much more work needs to be done in 2009 and beyond.

The time has come to bring common sense to our U.S. government — we must end the wars, bring our troops home with a responsible plan, provide medical care and benefits to our veterans, begin repairing our Constitution and our international reputation, and create a truth commission that will present the facts about the causes, conduct and consequences of the war to the American public. Then we can learn from our mistakes and move forward.

Now that President Bush has been peaceably removed from office, President Obama need only sign an executive order to end the wars (see Title 38, United States Code, Section 101, Paragraph 33). Congress also has the authority under the Constitution to end the war. Yes, it is that simple.

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