“A U.S. audit has found that the Pentagon cannot account for over 95 percent of $9.1 billion in Iraq reconstruction money, spotlighting Iraqi complaints that there is little to show for the massive funds pumped into their cash-strapped, war-ravaged nation,” reports the Associated Press.

Is there any conflict in the world too remote or too irrelevant to U.S. national security for Washington not to interfere in it somehow? Has Congress ever passed a bill ostensibly targeted at one problem that was not laden with paybacks to various special interests that were entirely irrelevant to the problem at hand? The answer to both appears to be no.

Eight U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan during a 24-hour period running from July 13-14. A NATO statement cited by AP and the New York Times said that the first attack came on the night of July 13, as a suicide bomber drove his car into the outer perimeter of the Afghan Civil Order Police headquarters in Kandahar, and was followed minutes later by attackers armed with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns.

Federal officials charged the alleged source for the April Wikileaks video that exposed U.S. helicopter gunners committing war crimes in Baghdad in 2007, Pfc. Bradley Manning, with a variety of charges July 5. The New York Times reported that Manning has also been “charged with downloading more than 150,000 highly classified diplomatic cables that could, if made public, reveal the inner workings of American embassies around the world, the military here announced on Tuesday.”

Obama in RacinePresident Obama renewed his call for a “Civilian Expeditionary Workforce” to supplement the efforts of soldiers in U.S. war-zones in Iraq and Afghanistan in a June 30, 2010 town meeting in Racine, Wisconsin. “So the military goes in there, they clear out everything, they’re making everything secure — and now the question is, all right, can we get the civilians to come in to work with the local governments to improve the situation. And a lot of times, that civilian side of it has been under-resourced.”

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