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29 Jan 2012 11:26


World: The Department of Defense can’t account for a crapload of Iraq War spending

  • $2 billion of DoD’s Iraq War spending unaccounted for (oops) source
  • » Audit time! With the Iraq War’s chapter effectively closed, now’s apparently a good time to look back at all the money we spent there. There’s a problem, however: Of the $3 billion the Iraqi government set aside for the Department of Defense to use for reconstruction between 2004 and 2007, approximately two-thirds of that is unaccounted for. Worse, auditors can’t even find most of the documents: “From July 2004 through December 2007, DoD should have provided 42 monthly reports,” an audit says. “However, it can locate only the first four reports.” Ever lose track of like $2 billion bucks? It’s fun, right?

26 Jan 2012 14:36


World: More deaths as apparent sectarian violence in Iraq continues

  • 17 Iraqis killed in bombings and shootings today source
  • » Deciphering the discord: The state of affairs in Iraq since the withdrawal of U.S. combat forces (not to suggest Iraq was an entirely safe place when those forces were there, obviously) has somewhat undeniably deteriorated, plagued by mass attacks of a sectarian nature. Today was one such grisly example — as the political struggle for representation between Shiite and Sunni has intensified, it has been shadowed by an increasing frequency of attacks, apparently by sectarian militants (al-Qaeda in Iraq among them).

05 Jan 2012 14:20


World: Bloody day in Iraq as sectarian tensions deepen

  • 72 killed in Iraq by bombings in various Shia provinces source
  • » Danger and strife: Provincial government sources suggest grimly conventional tactics being used — a suicide bomber detonated himself amidst a group traveling to Karbala, and in Sadr City a man parked a motorbike near a group of day laborers seeking work, which exploded minutes after he left. The upheaval is both lethal and political; an arrest warrant is out for Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi (a Sunni) on terrorism charges, which he denies. In response, the Sunni bloc of parliament has accused Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of power monopoly and abuse, and threatens to boycott the assembly.

27 Dec 2011 14:45


World: Muqtada al-Sadr calls for dissolution of Iraqi parliament

  • From violence to political turmoil? Such seems the case in Iraq, just weeks after the official end of U.S. military involvement there. That some violence and upheaval would occur upon U.S. withdrawal was perhaps inevitable; there are many forces within Iraq that are aligned against a unity government, the al-Qaeda front “Islamic State of Iraq” chiefly among them (they claimed responsibility for attacks that killed 70 on Thursday). Now comes word that Muqtada al-Sadr, leader of the Shi’ite political bloc known as the Sadrists (as well as a staunch anti-American cleric) has called for the dissolution of the Iraqi parliament, and for early elections, threatening to deepen the country’s increasing Islamic sectarian crisis. source

03 Dec 2011 18:14


World: Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki: We’re ready for U.S. troop pullout

  • Nothing has changed with the withdrawal of the American forces from Iraq on the security level because basically it has been in our hands.
  • Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki • Emphasizing that the country can handle the forthcoming departure of U.S. troops, as an eight-year war dies down. Al-Maliki says he has “no concerns whatsoever” about the ability of his troops to maintain security in the region, and says the sectarian violence that broke out immediately in the wake of the downfall of the Saddam Hussein government is a thing of the past. “I assure the world that the Iraqi forces and the general situation in the country hasn’t changed and will not change,” he emphasizes. source

23 Oct 2011 16:33


Politics, U.S., World: Bachmann: Iraq should repay money used in US invasion

  • I believe that Iraq should reimburse the United States fully for the amount of money that we have spent to liberate these people. They are not a poor country.
  • Rep. Michele Bachmann during an interview with CBS News’ “Face the Nation” Sunday morning.• Bachmann added that Iraq was a “wealthy country” that would be “subject to dominance by Iran and their influence in the region” once American troops withdraw by the end of the year. source

15 Oct 2011 21:55


World: Iraq War: Conflicting reports on forthcoming troop departures

  • claim Both the Associated Press and the New York Times report that, despite prior reports to the contrary, the U.S. will not keep troops in Iraq past 2011 due to significant security concerns.
  • rebuttal However, a Reuters article says that both the White House and Pentagon deny this fact, claiming that no decision has been made. Which major news outlet do you believe on this issue? source

26 Sep 2011 21:19


U.S.: U.S. Army cutting nearly 9 percent of its forces by 2016

  • 50k number of troops the U.S. Army plans to trim from its roster
  • 8.6% the share of the Army being cut over the next five years
  • 22k number of soldiers getting cut in the first round source
  • » Going on a diet: With over half a million soldiers, the U.S. Army isn’t lacking in warm bodies, but those numbers went way up in recent years, in part due to the troop surge in Afghanistan. With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan winding down, the Army is ready to move on. “We feel that with the demand going down in Iraq and Afghanistan, and given the time to conduct a reasonable drawdown, we can manage (the force reduction) just as we have managed drawdowns in the past,” noted Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick. Is this nearly enough?

06 Sep 2011 13:53


U.S., World: Report: Iraq War U.S. troop levels may fall to historic lows

  • 3,000 total number of troops in Iraq at end of 2011 source
  • » A steep drop: Currently, between 46,000 and 50,000 troops are in the region as of 2011 (though combat operations ended last year), so this would be a massive drop if the number is accurate. And the decision would be controversial. One Pentagon source puts it as such: “We can’t secure everybody with only 3,000 on the ground nor can we do what we need to with the Iraqis.” Is this the right move, guys?

06 Jul 2011 13:29


U.S.: President changes military condolence policy for suicides

  • This issue is emotional, painful, and complicated. But these Americans served our nation bravely … we need to do everything in our power to honor their service, and to help them stay strong for themselves, for their families and for our nation.
  • President Barack Obama • Reversing a previous policy that didn’t send military families condolence letters if their family member had committed suicide. This is definitely a good thing, because suicide is actually a common cause of death in Iraq and Afghanistan. Just because a soldier isn’t killed by the enemy, doesn’t mean their life means any less — military families deserve a letter from the president, regardless of the cause of death. source