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unhappycamper

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Member since: Wed Mar 16, 2005, 10:12 AM
Number of posts: 60,364

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If Corporations Don’t Pay Taxes, Why Should You?

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/03/12-0



If Corporations Don’t Pay Taxes, Why Should You?
by Robert Scheer
Published on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 by TruthDig.com

Go offshore young man and avoid paying taxes. Plunder at will in those foreign lands, and if you get in trouble, Uncle Sam will come rushing to your assistance, diplomatically, financially and militarily, even if you have managed to avoid paying for those government services. Just pretend you’re a multinational corporation.

That’s the honest instruction for business success provided by 60 of the largest U.S. corporations that, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis, “parked a total of $166 billion offshore last year” shielding more than 40 percent of their profits from U.S. taxes. They all do it, including Microsoft, GE and pharmaceutical giant Abbott Laboratories. Many, like GE, are so good at it that they have avoided taxes altogether in some recent years.

But they all still expect Uncle Sam to come to their aid with military firepower in case the natives abroad get restless and nationalize their company’s assets. We still have a blockade against Cuba because Fidel Castro more than a half century ago dared seize an American-owned telephone company. During that same period, we have consistently intervened to maintain the lock of U.S. corporations on the world’s resources, continuing to the present task of making Iraq and Libya safe for our oil companies.

America’s multinational corporations still need the Navy to protect shipping lanes and the Commerce Department to safeguard U.S. copyrights. They also expect the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department to intervene to provide bailouts and cheap money when the corporate financial swindlers get into trouble, like GE, which almost went aground when its GE Capital financial wing got caught in the great banking meltdown.
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Mar 12, 2013, 08:36 AM (3 replies)

One of First Iraq Veterans to Publicly Oppose War Will Die for Our Sins

http://www.alternet.org/one-first-iraq-veterans-publicly-oppose-war-will-die-our-sins?paging=off



Tomas Young is the face of war they do not want you to see.

One of First Iraq Veterans to Publicly Oppose War Will Die for Our Sins
By Chris Hedges
March 11, 2013 |


I flew to Kansas City last week to see Tomas Young. Young was paralyzed in Iraq in 2004. He is now receiving hospice care at his home. I knew him by reputation and the movie documentary “Body of War.”He was one of the first veterans to publicly oppose the war in Iraq. He fought as long and as hard as he could against the war that crippled him, until his physical deterioration caught up with him.

“I had been toying with the idea of suicide for a long time because I had become helpless,” he told me in his small house on the Kansas City outskirts where he intends to die. “I couldn’t dress myself. People have to help me with the most rudimentary of things. I decided I did not want to go through life like that anymore. The pain, the frustration. …”

He stopped abruptly and called his wife. “Claudia, can I get some water?” She opened a bottle of water, took a swig so it would not spill when he sipped and handed it to him.

“I felt at the end of my rope,” the 33-year-old Army veteran went on. “I made the decision to go on hospice care, to stop feeding and fade away. This way, instead of committing the conventional suicide and I am out of the picture, people have a way to stop by or call and say their goodbyes. I felt this was a fairer way to treat people than to just go out with a note. After the anoxic brain injury in 2008 [a complication that Young suffered] I lost a lot of dexterity and strength in my upper body. So I wouldn’t be able to shoot myself or even open the pill bottle to give myself an overdose. The only way I could think of doing it was to have Claudia open the pill bottle for me, but I didn’t want her implicated.”
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Mar 12, 2013, 08:18 AM (1 replies)

Military Contracts Awarded On 3.11.2013

http://www.defense.gov/contracts/contract.aspx?contractid=4994

Contracts valued at $6.5 million or more are announced each business day at 5 p.m. Contract announcements issued within the past 30 days are listed below.

FOR RELEASE AT
5 p.m. ET No. 138-13
March 11, 2013

CONTRACTS

NAVY

Bell/Boeing Joint Program Office, Amarillo, Texas, is being awarded a $73,002,094 cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract to repair 142 components in support of the V-22 aircraft. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas (80 percent) and Ridley Park, Pa. (20 percent), and the expected completion date is Sept. 8, 2015. Funding for this contract will be individual task orders. No funds will be obligated at time of award and therefore, will not expire before the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured in accordance with 10 USC 2304 (c)(1). The NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (N00383-13-D-017N).

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., San Diego, Calif., is being awarded a $71,623,427 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-incentive-fee, firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-12-C-0059) for the modification and delivery of six vertical take-off and landing tactical unmanned aerial vehicles (VTUAV) and seven ground control stations in support of the VTUAV endurance upgrade rapid deployment capability effort. Work will be performed in Dallas, Texas (32 percent); Ozark, Ala. (27 percent); Rancho Bernardo, Calif. (25 percent); Moss Point, Miss. (15 percent); and Point Mugu, Calif. (1 percent), and is expected to be completed in September 2014. Fiscal 2012 and 2013 Aircraft Procurement Navy contract funds in the amount of $71,623,427 are being obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

W.M. Robots LLC.*, Colmar, Pa, is being awarded an $18,081,851 modification to previously awarded firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N00174-11-D-0015) for the procurement of Vallon mine detectors and consumable spares in support of foreign military sales to Afghanistan (100 percent). Work will be performed in Colmar, Pa, and is expected to be completed by September 2013. Funding in the amount of $18,081,851 will be obligated at time of award. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Division, Indian Head, Md., is the contracting activity.

The Applied Physical Sciences Corp., Groton, Conn., is being awarded a $15,162,432 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for research and development of configurable technology to provide anti-submarine warfare surveillance over large, operationally relevant, deep ocean areas. This effort will include system architecture and design, sensors and processing, communications mobility, and energy requirements. This 15-month contract includes one, six-month option which, if exercised, would bring the potential value of this contract to $21,213,511. Work will be performed in Groton, Conn., and work is expected to be completed June 10, 2014. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency broad agency announcement (BAA 11-24), and published on the Federal Business Opportunities website and the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center e-Commerce Central website. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity (N66001-13-C-4006).

Lockheed Martin Corp., Mission Systems and Sensors (MS2), Manassas, Va., is being awarded a $9,040,687 not to exceed delivery order #1082 under a previously awarded basic ordering agreement (N00104-10-G-A109) for the repair of parts for the NA/UYQ-70 advanced display and processor systems for tactical and command, control, communication, computers intelligence (C4I) applications for target acquisition and tracking, weapons control, theater air defense, anti-submarine warfare, battle group communication and airborne surveillance and control. Work will be performed at 35 various locations throughout the United States and is expected to be completed by March 2014. Contract funds will not expire before the end of the current fiscal year. Fiscal 2013 Navy Working Capital funds in the amount of $4,429,936 will be obligated at the time of the award. One company was solicited for the non-competitive requirement and one offer was received in response to the original solicitation in accordance with 10 U.S.C. 2304 (c)(1). NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support, Mechanicsburg, Pa., is the contracting activity.

The Entwistle Co.*, Hudson, Mass., is being awarded a $7,433,459 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N68335-10-C-0313) to exercise an option to procure 48 A/S32P-25A fire fighting vehicle conversion kits. Work will be performed in Hudson, Mass., and is expected to be completed in September 2017. Fiscal 2011, 2012, and 2013 Aircraft Procurement, Navy contract funds in the amount of $7,433,459 are being obligated at time of award, $2,332,829 of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, N.J. is the contracting activity.

Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded a $6,563,713 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-12-C-2000) for the procurement of four torpedo tube launched (TTL) Tomahawk Block IV all-up-round missiles for the government of the United Kingdom under the Foreign Military Sales Program. The Tomahawk Block IV missile is capable of launch from surface ships equipped with the vertical launch system (VLS), submarines equipped with the capsule launch system (CLS), and submarines equipped with the TTL launch system. Work will be performed in Tucson, Ariz. (32.6 percent); Camden, Ark. (13 percent); Ogden, Utah (10.5 percent); Dallas, Tex. (3.5 percent); Minneapolis, Minn. (3.3 percent); Glenrothes, Scotland (3.3 percent); Spanish Fork, Utah (3.1 percent); El Segundo, Calif. (3 percent); Walled Lake, Mich. (2.6 percent); Anniston, Ala. (2.5 percent); Ft. Wayne, Ind. (2.3 percent); Ontario, Canada (2.2 percent); Vergennes, Vt. (2.1 percent); Berryville, Ark. (1.8 percent); Westminster, Colo. (1.6 percent); Largo, Fla. (1.5 percent); Middletown, Conn. (1.3 percent); Huntsville, Ala. (1.2 percent); Clearwater, Fla. (0.8 percent); Moorpark, Calif. (0.8 percent); El Monte, Calif. (0.6 percent); Salt Lake City, Utah (0.6 percent); Farmington, N.M. (0.2 percent); and various continental U.S. (CONUS) and outside CONUS locations (5.6 percent); and is expected to be completed in February 2015. Foreign Military Sales funding in the amount of $6,563,713 are being obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md. is the contracting activity.

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Jacksonville Jetport LLC., Jacksonville, Fla., was awarded contract SP0600-13-D-0046. The award is a fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment contract for $48,823,761 for aircraft fuel services. Location of performance is Florida with a March 31, 2017 performance completion date. Using military services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and federal civilian agencies. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2013 through fiscal 2017 Defense Working Capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Energy, Fort Belvoir, Va.

CTS Cement Manufacturing Corp.*, Cypress, Calif., was issued a modification exercising the second option period on contract SPM8EG-10-D-0001/P00092. The modification is a fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment, indefinite-quantity contract for $13,865,022 for rigid concrete repair. Location of performance is California with a March 10, 2014 performance completion date. Using military services are Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2013 Defense Revolving Capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pa.

U.S. SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND

Teledyne Brown Engineering Inc., Huntsville, Ala, was awarded an $8,467,615 estimated contract cost increase as a result of formal reprogramming under its indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the development and test of an engineering development model for the shallow water combat submersible program. The work will be performed in Huntsville, and is expected to be completed within twenty-four months from issuance of contract modification. The contracting activity is U.S. Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., (H92222-11-D-0002).

Remington Arms Co., LLC., Madison, N.C., is being awarded a ten year, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, firm-fixed-price contract for the purchase of the precision sniper rifle (PSR) system for U.S. Special Operations forces. The estimated contract value is $79,717,783. The maximum quantities for this requirement are projected to be 5,150 PSR systems and 4,696,800 rounds of ammunition. The work will be performed at Remington facilities in Ilion, N.Y., and Elizabethtown, Ky., and the ammunition at Barnes Bullets facility, Mona, Utah. The expected completion date is March 7, 2023. The contracting activity is U.S. Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., (H92222-13-D-0003).

AIR FORCE

MultiLingual Solutions, Rockville, Md., is being awarded an $8,011,321 contract modification (FA7037-10-D-0002-0006-01) for linguist/analyst services. The location of performance is Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.; Fort Meade, Md.; Fort Gordon, Ga.; Hurlburt Field, Fla.; Kadena Air Base, Japan; Royal Air Force Mildenhall, United Kingdom; Lackland Air Force Base, Texas; Salt Lake City, Utah; Fort Bragg, N.C.; Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, and Kunia, Hawaii. Work is expected to be completed by July 9, 2013. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2013. The contracting activity is AF ISR Agency, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Rolling Meadows, Ill., (FA8626-10-D-2132) is being awarded a $7,060,582 firm-fixed-price contract for Litening ATP-SE Phase IV Operational Flight Program. The location of performance is Rolling Meadows, Ill. Work is expected to be completed by Jan. 12, 2015. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2012. The contracting activity is AFLCMC/WNQK, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

*Small Business
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Mar 12, 2013, 07:57 AM (3 replies)

10 Companies Profiting Most From War: 24/7 Wall St.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/09/war-companies-profiting_n_2839564.html



10 Companies Profiting Most From War: 24/7 Wall St.
24/7 Wall St. | By Mike Sauter Posted: 03/09/2013 3:24 pm EST | Updated: 03/09/2013 3:33 pm EST

From 24/7 Wall St.: The business of war is profitable. In 2011, the 100 largest contractors sold $410 billion in arms and military services. Just 10 of those companies sold over $208 billion. Based on a list of the top 100 arms-producing and military services companies in 2011 compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 10 companies with the most military sales worldwide in 2011.

These companies have benefited tremendously from the growth in military spending in the U.S., which by far has the largest military budget in the world. In 2000, the U.S. defense budget was approximately $312 billion. By 2011, that figure had grown to $712 billion. Arm sales grew alongside general defense spending growth. SIPRI noted that between 2002 and 2011, arms sales among the top 100 companies grew by 51%.

However, the trend has reversed recently. In 2011, the top 100 arms dealers sold 5% less compared to 2010. Susan Jackson, a defense expert at SIPRI, said in an email to 24/7 Wall St. that austerity measures in Western Europe and the U.S. have delayed or slowed down the procurement of different weapons systems. Austerity concerns have exacerbated matters since 2011. The U.S. federal government budget cuts that took effect beginning this month — commonly known as sequestration — mean that military spending could contract by more than $500 billion over the coming decade unless some of the cuts are reversed.

In addition, the U.S.’s involvement in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have wound down significantly. The last American convoy in Iraq left the country in December of 2011. Troop withdrawals from Afghanistan also began in 2011. Finally, SIPRI pointed out that sanctions on arms transfers to Libya also played a role in declining arms sales.



unhappycamper comment: There is a slide show at the end of the article IDing who makes the big bucks in the war bidness.
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Mar 12, 2013, 07:50 AM (0 replies)

N.Y. Times and Thomas Friedman call for killing Keystone

http://grist.org/news/n-y-times-and-thomas-friedman-call-for-killing-keystone/?utm_campaign=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter



N.Y. Times and Thomas Friedman call for killing Keystone
By Lisa Hymas
11 Mar 2013 1:41 PM

The New York Times editorial board and Times columnist Thomas Friedman have both come out swinging against the Keystone XL pipeline.

A strong editorial today calls on Obama to kill the project. The headline: “When to Say No.”

(Obama) should say no, and for one overriding reason: A president who has repeatedly identified climate change as one of humanity’s most pressing dangers cannot in good conscience approve a project that — even by the State Department’s most cautious calculations — can only add to the problem. …

Supporters of the pipeline have argued that this is oil from a friendly country and that Canada will sell it anyway. We hope Mr. Obama will see the flaw in this argument. Saying no to the pipeline will not stop Canada from developing the tar sands, but it will force the construction of new pipelines through Canada itself. And that will require Canadians to play a larger role in deciding whether a massive expansion of tar sands development is prudent. At the very least, saying no to the Keystone XL will slow down plans to triple tar sands production from just under two million barrels a day now to six million barrels a day by 2030. …
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Mar 12, 2013, 07:44 AM (3 replies)

VA’s ability to quickly provide benefits plummets under Obama

http://cironline.org/reports/va%E2%80%99s-ability-quickly-provide-benefits-plummets-under-obama-4241







In August, the VA’s inspector general said the weight of paper files at the agency’s Winston-Salem, N.C., office had compromised the structural integrity of the building.

VA’s ability to quickly provide benefits plummets under Obama
Aaron Glantz
Mar 11, 2013

he Department of Veterans Affairs has failed to provide key information to Congress and the public that shows the agency’s ability to quickly provide service-related benefits has virtually collapsed under President Barack Obama.

Internal VA documents, obtained by the Center for Investigative Reporting and authenticated by the agency, reveal that delays newly returning veterans face before receiving disability compensation and other benefits are far longer than the agency has publicly acknowledged. The documents also offer insight into some of the reasons for those delays.

The agency tracks and widely reports the average wait time: 273 days. But the internal data indicates that veterans filing their first claim, including those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, wait nearly two months longer, between 316 and 327 days. Those filing for the first time in America’s major population centers wait up to twice as long – 642 days in New York, 619 days in Los Angeles and 542 days in Chicago.

The ranks of veterans waiting more than a year for their benefits grew from 11,000 in 2009, the first year of Obama’s presidency, to 245,000 in December – an increase of more than 2,000 percent.

Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Mar 12, 2013, 07:30 AM (0 replies)

Elizabeth Warren Comes Out Swinging Against Banks

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2013/03/elizabeth-warren-comes-out-swinging-banks-regulators.php



Elizabeth Warren Comes Out Swinging Against Banks
Sahil Kapur March 11, 2013, 1:25 PM

~snip~

The latest example came last Thursday during a Banking Committee hearing, when Warren demanded answers from a panel of federal regulators as to why the multinational bank HSBC got off with a fine for money laundering for Mexican drug cartels — along with violating international sanctions against several countries, including Iran and Libya — when people caught with drugs go to jail for life.

“No one individual went to trial, no individual was banned from banking and there was no hearing to consider shutting down HSBC’s activities here in the United States,” Warren said. “So … what does it take? How many billions of dollars do you have to launder for drug lords and how many economic sanctions do you have to violate before someone will consider shutting down a financial institution like this?”

When her questions were repeatedly dodged by Treasury’s overseer of financial crimes David Cohen and Federal Reserve governor Jerome Powell, it set her off.

“If you’re caught with an ounce of cocaine, the chances are good you’re going to go to jail. If it happens repeatedly, you may go to jail for the rest of your life,” Warren said. “But evidently, if you launder nearly a billion dollars for drug cartels and violate international sanctions, your company pays a fine and you go home and sleep in your own bed at night — every single individual associated with this. I just — I think that’s fundamentally wrong.”
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Mar 12, 2013, 07:21 AM (2 replies)

And a river (of oil) runs through it: How the Keystone XL pipeline will bleed Africa's future dry

http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2013-03-12-and-a-river-of-oil-runs-through-it-how-the-keystone-xl-pipeline-will-bleed-africas-future-dry/



At the present moment, the greatest opponents to the Keystone XL pipeline –basically a tube of money that will ferry environment slaughtering tar sands oil from Canada to America – are tree huggers and folks who wear sandals and socks. In reality, it’s Africans who should be lobbying against Keystone. Because when the United States becomes a net energy exporter, the resources “boom” in Africa is over.

And a river (of oil) runs through it: How the Keystone XL pipeline will bleed Africa's future dry
Richard Poplak
12 March 2013 02:08 (South Africa)

If you enjoy birds, grass, trees, animals, First Nations people, the future, or any combination of the aforementioned, the TransCanada Keystone Pipeline will probably rub you the wrong way. The pipeline is a long-in-the-works project designed to schlep 830,000 barrels of tar sands oil a day, from the Canadian province of Alberta to Steele City, Nebraska, and onwards to the Gulf Coast region (roughly Houston, Texas, to Lake Charles, Louisiana), almost all of which is meant for export. The pipeline itself would run almost 3,500km, through some fairly pristine terrain, including untouched parts of Nebraska.

Climate change has been top-ish of the Obama agenda since he rallied hundreds of thousands of beardos and granolas during his 2008 campaign, duly throwing those constituents under the proverbial diesel-spewing bus when he no longer needed to add Twitter followers. No US president has paid such lip service to the environment and done so little in support of it. But the environment lobby’s cause célèbre – it’s Death Star, if you will – is the Keystone pipeline. If Obama allows this to happen, his legacy will be forever smeared with goops of filthy crude, like a BP-kissed sea bird.

The State Department has just published a second environmental assessment of a recently revised route for Keystone that now avoids the sensitive Sand Hills area of Nebraska. The assessment is sober in the extreme, and avoids any recommendations on whether the pipeline should go forward or not. The crappily Photoshopped cover page of the executive summary is comprised of a badly rendered map, and thumbnails of several animals and birds, none of which I have encountered before. (One looks like a cross between a panda, an otter and a house cat – in other words, nothing you’d want drown in a pool of 93 unleaded.) There are also images of farmland, and a body of water, presumably a lake. You get the picture – it’s all about the nature, dude!

Because the pipeline crosses national borders, the decision falls directly with the president’s office – Obama must sign the executive order, and it is his signature, and his alone, that seals its fate. He knows that oil from the Canadian tar sands is filthier, costlier and more damaging to his climate credentials than any other on Earth. (Fouling Nigeria is less of a worry, as far as North Americans are concerned.) According to the New York Times, the process yields 17 times the greenhouse gas emissions of regular crude oil, to say nothing of the vast tracks of forest that lie atop the sands, all ready to be mowed down for further development. The tar sands foul streams and waterways, and ruin land owned by First Nations peoples. (Who, by the way, are largely onside, given how much they stand to benefit financially.)

Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Mar 12, 2013, 06:35 AM (0 replies)

How Americans were swindled by the hidden cost of the Iraq war

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/03/12/how-americans-were-swindled-by-the-hidden-cost-of-the-iraq-war/



How Americans were swindled by the hidden cost of the Iraq war
By Michael Boyle, The Guardian
Tuesday, March 12, 2013 1:42 EDT

When the US invaded Iraq in March 2003, the Bush administration estimated that it would cost $50-60bn to overthrow Saddam Hussein and establish a functioning government. This estimate was catastrophically wrong: the war in Iraq has cost $823.2bn between 2003 and 2011. Some estimates suggesting that it may eventually cost as much as $3.7tn when factoring in the long-term costs of caring for the wounded and the families of those killed.

The most striking fact about the cost of the war in Iraq has been the extent to which it has been kept “off the books” of the government’s ledgers and hidden from the American people. This was done by design. A fundamental assumption of the Bush administration’s approach to the war was that it was only politically sustainable if it was portrayed as near-costless to the American public and to key constituencies in Washington. The dirty little secret of the Iraq war – one that both Bush and the war hawks in the Democratic party knew, but would never admit – was that the American people would only support a war to get rid of Saddam Hussein if they could be assured that they would pay almost nothing for it.

The most obvious way in which the true cost of this war was kept hidden was with the use of supplemental appropriations to fund the occupation. By one estimate, 70% of the costs of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2003 and 2008 were funded with supplemental or emergency appropriations approved outside the Pentagon’s annual budget. These appropriations allowed the Bush administration to shield the Pentagon’s budget from the cuts otherwise needed to finance the war, to keep the Pentagon’s pet programs intact and to escape the scrutiny that Congress gives to its normal annual regular appropriations.

With the Iraq war treated as an “off the books” expense, the Pentagon was allowed to keep spending on high-end military equipment and cutting-edge technology. In fiscal terms, it was as if the messy wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were never happening.
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Mar 12, 2013, 05:30 AM (0 replies)

As U.S. troops prepare to leave, they rush to teach Afghans to hunt for roadside bombs

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/03/11/185264/as-us-troops-prepare-to-leave.html



Afghan National Army engineers train on how to dig out triggers on improvised explosive devices at a training center in Qalat, Afghanistan.

As U.S. troops prepare to leave, they rush to teach Afghans to hunt for roadside bombs
By Jay Price | McClatchy Newspapers
Posted on Monday, March 11, 2013

QALAT, Afghanistan — Improvised bombs have killed more American troops in Afghanistan than anything else since the war here began 11 years ago, and they’ll remain a favored insurgent weapon against Afghan soldiers, police and civilians after U.S. forces end their combat mission next year.

That’s why U.S. advisers across Afghanistan are rushing to train hundreds of Afghan engineers to take over the crucial but often unsung task of running routine patrols to sweep the roads of bombs before large numbers of American soldiers start leaving this fall.

“Our conflict right now with the Taliban is only IEDs (improvised explosive devices), because they can’t fight us any other way, so to protect our troops we really need to be good at defeating bombs," said Capt. Muhammed Fahim, who commands one of the front-line Afghan engineer units that will perform “route clearance,” as the job is called.

Fahim’s, unit, part of the 2nd Brigade of the Afghan 205th Corps, works out of Camp Eagle, a major Afghan army base in Zabul province in the restive southeast corner of the country. They’ve already done some independent operations on their own but need more training. He says their skills now are about 40 percent of what they will need to operate on their own, but that within a few months they’ll be ready.

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/03/11/185264/as-us-troops-prepare-to-leave.html#storylink=cpy
Posted by unhappycamper | Mon Mar 11, 2013, 07:27 AM (0 replies)
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