According to one of his captors and Afghan intelligence officials, missing U.S. Army Private Bowe Bergdahl of Hailey, Idaho, has become a Muslim and is training Taliban fighters in bomb-making and ambush skills.
The first U.S. soldier in Iraq has been killed since the withdrawal of the last “combat” brigade from the country on August 18, according to the Manchester (UK) Guardian. The death demonstrates that Americans will continue to fight and die in Iraq even though President Obama publicly announced “combat operations” have officially ended. The soldier was reportedly killed in a mortar attack on a U.S. air base in Basra, and the Pentagon has not yet released the name of the deceased. The Pentagon estimates that 52,000 U.S. Army soldiers and Marines remain in Iraq.
Two days after taking the oath of office, President Barack Obama signed an executive order stating that “the detention facilities at Guantanamo … shall be closed as soon as practicable, and no later than 1 year from the date of this order.”
“Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama will try to jump-start economic links this week as Russia’s president travels to Silicon Valley and Washington, building on improved political ties after the U.S. ‘reset’ relations,” Bloomberg Businessweek reported on June 21.
For years, conservatives and constitutionalists have called for the United States to withdraw from the United Nations for a variety of reasons, specifically the United Nations’ notorious anti-Americanism and inefficient-at-best handling of world crises. There is no better example of the UN’s ineptitude than the Oil for Food program, which has been an ample breeding ground for corruption by large organizations, including General Electric. In July, the Securities and Exchange Commission fined General Electric $23.5 million for its corrupt dealings in Iraq during the Oil for Food program. According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, General Electric violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by illegally offering equipment and services in exchange for contracts with Iraqi officials.
“If George W. Bush is remembered by getting America stuck in Afghanistan and Iraq, it’s looking like Obama wants to be remembered as the president who got America stuck in Yemen.” These words, from a March Internet address by Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born cleric and al-Qaeda leader now hiding in Yemen, sum up well the August 14 New York Times report in which they appear.
Two British newspapers, the Daily Telegraph and the Guardian, quoted in their August 12 editions statements made by Iraqi Lieutenant General Babakir Zebari, who at a defense conference in Baghdad the previous day called on the United States to leave troops in Iraq beyond next year’s planned withdrawal. "If I were asked about the withdrawal, I would say to politicians: the U.S. army must stay until the Iraqi army is fully ready in 2020,” said Zebari.
The New York Times reported on August 11 that U.S. military officials are building a case to reduce the planned withdrawal of some troops from Afghanistan, scheduled to begin next July. The article explained that the case is geared toward countering pressure being exerted on President Obama from within his own party to proceed quickly with the process of winding down the war.
A USA Today/Gallup poll released last week found that public support for President Obama’s Afghanistan war policy declined from 48 percent in February to 36 percent. USA Today attributed the 12-percent decline to “a rising U.S. death toll and the unauthorized release of classified military documents.”
President Barack Obama announced “America’s combat mission in Iraq would end” in an August 2 address to the Disabled American Veterans, but the details of the announcement have revealed that American soldiers will continue to fight and die in Iraq for at least another 18 months, if not longer.
The federal government loves corporate whistleblowers; they get paraded before congressional committees and treated as selfless heroes out to protect the little guy from big, bad business. Let someone blow the whistle on the government, however, and Uncle Sam’s long knives come out.