Most Americans are aware that U.S. forces are involved in missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. Those who pay closer attention to the news may know that American troops are also active in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. But according to Nick Turse of TomDispatch.com, those six nations comprise only five percent of the total number of countries in which the Department of Defense is conducting operations. “A secret force within the U.S. military,” says Turse, “is undertaking operations in a majority of the world’s countries” — at a rate of 70 such operations per day.

This “secret force” is known as the U.S. Special Operations Command, or SOCOM. “SOCOM carries out the United States’ most specialized and secret missions,” Turse writes. “These include assassinations, counterterrorist raids, long-range reconnaissance, intelligence analysis, foreign troop training, and weapons of mass destruction counter-proliferation operations.”

The Seventh U.S. Court of Appeals ruled August 8 that two American citizens detained and tortured without trial or court hearing by the Bush-era Defense Department may sue former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

U.S. Navy veteran Donald Vance and fellow American Nathan Ertel were employed by the private U.S. government contractor Shield Group Security in 2006 outside the Baghdad green zone and witnessed the sale of U.S government munitions to Iraqi rebel groups for money and alcohol. After becoming FBI informants, the two were detained and tortured by federal officials for 97 days (Donald Vance) and six weeks (Nathan Ertel) at Camp Cropper in Iraq after contacting the FBI about corruption in the now-defunct federal contractor.

Judge David Hamilton wrote in a 2-1 appellate court decision that concluded, "The wrongdoing alleged here violates the most basic terms of the constitutional compact between our government and the citizens of this country." The district court had earlier ruled that the allegations are the kind that “shocks the conscience."

With Texas Governor Rick Perry expected to make an "announcement" on Saturday at a conservative conference in South Carolina, scrutiny of his record is more important than ever — particularly a look at his record with regard to China. In spite of posturing as an independent Christian conservative, Perry has consistently contributed to what is called the Chinafication of America.

In a video produced by Vince Wade, Wade points out that Perry “preaches less government, less taxes, and other conservative cliches,” but his record says otherwise.

Until recently, Herman Cain was a largely unknown businessman whose major claims to fame included a high-level appointment in the Federal Reserve System and some degree of success in the private sector. But after an early GOP primary debate hosted by Fox News, his name exploded into the headlines as that of a serious contender for the 2012 Republican nomination. Some elements of the Tea Party movement quickly latched onto Cain’s candidacy — basking in his relatively conservative rhetoric, his harsh criticism of President Obama, and his perceived status as a political outsider. Some of that early enthusiasm, however, began to fade as Cain made the rounds on TV and talk radio.

While much of the nation's news for the past several weeks has been focused on the national debt, the killing of 30 U.S. and seven Afghan troops, along with an interpreter on Saturday reminded Americans of a debt to fighting forces that cannot be repaid. The shooting down of a Chinook transport helicopter by the Taliban insurgents, killing all on board, was another grim reminder that the cost of war cannot adequately be measured in trillions of dollars.

The passengers and crew were on a night-raid mission in Tangi Valley in Warduk Province when they were brought crashing to the earth, most likely by  a rocket-propelled grenade, according to a coalition source cited by the New York Times. The Taliban claimed credit for the attack that made Saturday the deadliest day for Americans in Afghanistan since U.S forces arrived there in search of Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda followers in the fall of 2001, just weeks after the terrorist attack of 9-11. The  dead on Saturday included 22 members of SEAL Team 6 unit responsible for the tracking down and killing of bin Laden in Pakistan on May 2 of this year, though the Seals on board the helicopter did not take part in that raid. 

Finger pointing is the answer to U.S. credit downgrade and economic woes; inflation is a form of default.

These governors are not sufficiently aware that “in China’s state-monopoly system of Leninist ‘capitalism,’ its corporations are instruments of national policy, fully integrated with, and subservient to, the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA).”

In 1958, Congress created NASA, the National Aeronautical and Space Administration. The rationale for America's first venture into outer space was national security: to insure that the country could defend itself against any threat from space. The Soviets appeared to have a head start through Sputnik and similar short space flights. The United States quickly realized the invaluable military benefits of satellites and developed "smart" weapons using geosynchronous communication systems to deliver ordnance precisely. Thus, all the first astronauts were military officers.

Since that time, the space endeavor has devolved into just another federal program. The United States faces no threat from any nation on Earth that can outflank it in space. Though NASA conducts certain research projects, there is little reason to believe that philanthropies and private corporations could not accomplish this research just as easily. In fact, one of the major breakthroughs in cosmology was accomplished at Bell Laboratories almost 50 years ago when scientists there discovered microwaves. Background radiation consistently showed that the basic temperature of outer space was four degrees Kelvin, or four degrees above absolute zero.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (i.e., the totalitarian Marxist monarchy on the northern half of the Korean peninsula) has demanded, in a statement issued on the 58th year anniversary of the armistice in the Korean War, that the United States sign a peace treaty. Kim Kye Gwan, Vice Foreign Minister of the slave state, said that a treaty could go a long way toward ending the deadlock in six-power talks, which include our nation, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, China, and Russia.

The military intervention against communist aggression in the Korean War was not the action of the United States. The United Nations Security Council determined that this was a self-defense action by the Republic of Korean, and so authorized military force to resist that aggression. This was only possible because the Soviet Union at the time was boycotting the United Nations in protest against the UN's insistence on recognizing government of the Republic of China, instead of the People’s Republic of China (Communist China, which murdered over 70 million people and which, at the time, was beginning its horrific genocide of the Tibetan people, a crime known to anyone who followed world events, but protested only by “crazy” anti-communists like Dr Schwarz's Christian Anti-Communism Crusade.)

When Chalmers Johnson, a retired Asian scholar and former Naval officer during the Korean War, visited Japan in the mid-1990s, he was surprised to discover 38 U.S. bases on Okinawa alone, half a century after U.S. forces captured the island in the last great battle of World War II. If Johnson, past president and founder of the Japan Policy Research Institute at the University of San Francisco and author of numerous scholarly books on Asian affairs, had been unaware of the enormity of America’s military involvement in far-off lands, it is hardly surprising that the public at large has been even less aware. The American people, he would later observe in The Sorrows of Empire, “do not realize that a vast network of American military bases on every continent except Antarctica actually constitutes a new form of empire.”

Most reasonably informed Americans know our country has long had a large number of overseas bases, but we seldom think about how extensive that network is or what it costs — in lives, in dollars, and in the simmering resentment of people living in the shadow of a foreign military power.
 

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