A former U.S. Marine Cpl. who disregarded orders, fighting five times through an enemy ambush in an Afghan valley to help rescue three dozen comrades and recover four fallen American soldiers, received the Medal of Honor, America’s highest military award, in a September 15 White House ceremony. The MarineCorps Times reported that 23-year-old Dakota Meyer was honored “for his actions in the infamous Battle of Ganjgal, a six-hour ambush and firefight that killed some of his best friends on Sept. 8, 2009, in Kunar province, Afghanistan.”
As he placed the Medal over Meyer’s shoulders, President Obama praised the soldier as a “humble young man who repeatedly placed himself in extraordinary danger to save men he regarded as his brothers,” reported the New York Times. Said the President: “Today we pay tribute to an American who placed himself in the thick of the fight — again and again and again.”
Meyer, who is the first living Marine to receive the Medal of Honor for actions in the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts, has repeatedly downplayed his heroism, telling the Times in an interview that the honor is “a platform for representation of the guys who are out there fighting every day. My story is one of millions, and the others aren’t often told.”
The communist Chinese regime was, at the very least, plotting to covertly arm Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in violation of United Nations sanctions as recently as late July, documents discovered in Tripoli suggest. And despite official denials, analysts and rebel leaders said Beijing had actually delivered some of the weapons stockpiles.
The Libyan memos, found and published by the Canadian Globe and Mail earlier this month, describe a meeting between Gaddafi “security” officials and the Chinese dictatorship’s state-controlled arms manufacturers. Three “companies” offered their entire inventory to the Libyan despot and even promised to manufacture more if needed.
The $200 million in heavy weaponry included anti-tank missiles and surface-to-air rockets capable of bringing down airplanes. To sidestep the arms embargo against Gaddafi, the shipments were supposed to be routed through third-party nations.
NATO and U.S.-backed rebel forces in Libya are reportedly engaging in systematic attacks against the black population in what some analysts have called war crimes and even genocide, sparking condemnation worldwide from human-rights groups and officials.
Reports and photographic evidence indicate that numerous atrocities including mass executions have taken place even in recent weeks. Many black victims were found with their hands bound behind their backs and bullets through their skulls.
Horrific internment camps, systematic rape, torture, lynching, and looting of businesses owned by blacks have all been reported as well. And countless sub-Saharan Africans have been forced to flee their homes in Libya to avoid the same fate.
The al-Qaeda-linked rebels’ campaign of racist terror began shortly after the Benghazi uprising in February. More than a few videos surfaced on the internet in the early months of the conflict showing brutal lynchings and beheadings while Western-backed rebels cheered.
The CNN/Tea Party Express debate continued to expose the difference between Texas Representative Ron Paul and the rest of the Republican field on the issue of America's multiplying foreign wars. An audience member asked the candidates if any defense spending cuts should be considered.
Newt Gingrich began the foreign policy and military-spending discussion with an alarmist and unrealistic statement that "I think we are at the edge of an enormous crisis in national security. I think that we are greatly underestimating the threat to this country. And I think the day after we celebrated the 10th anniversary of 9/11, we should be reminded exactly what is at stake if a foreign terrorist gets a nuclear weapon into this country."
Of course, only a handful of nation-states have nuclear weapons of any kind. And the ability to make easily transportable nuclear weapons is perhaps limited to the United States, Russia, and Britain.
Democratic Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio has been harshly critical of the Obama administration as of late, and is now advocating a challenge to President Obama in a primary. According to Kucinich, such an endeavor would likely turn Obama into a better president.
Kucinich said on CNN:
Can I see someone coming forward to challenge President Obama from the ranks of the Democratic Party? I suppose it’s possible. There again, it’s going to be about the economy, and that’s what it should be about. We have to get America back to work. And frankly, we have to stop wasting money on these wars that’s causing us to be able to lose the resources we need to focus money at home. So should President Obama have a challenge? I say he should. I think it would make him a better president if he received a Democratic challenge in the Democratic primary. Will I be that candidate? No.
The military-industrial complex is pulling out all the stops to ensure that not one dime of its vast federal largess is taken away even as the nation faces nearly $15 trillion in debt. Defense contractors, Representatives and Senators, and current and former Defense Secretaries are working together to thwart actual and potential cuts in defense spending resulting from the August debt ceiling deal.
The deal calls for $350 billion in defense cuts over 10 years — an average of $35 billion per year. In addition, it tasks the newly created congressional super-committee with finding an additional $1.2 trillion in savings over that same time period. Should the committee fail to come to an agreement on those savings, automatic cuts totaling the same amount, split evenly between defense and domestic spending, are slated to occur. If that took place, defense spending would then be reduced by $600 billion, an average of $60 billion per year.
That may sound like a huge dent in the Pentagon’s budget, but there are two things to keep in mind.
The U.S. is leaning on the government in Baghdad for a new Status of Forces Agreement that will keep American troops in Iraq beyond the end of the year. The current agreement, signed by the U.S. and Iraq in 2008, requires the removal of all U.S. military forces by December 31, 2011. If nothing changes, Americans will adhere to that deadline, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told the New York Times.
"I think our public position, our private position, hasn't changed, that our plan is to withdraw by the end of the year," Nuland said. "Were the Iraqi government to come forward and make a request for some continued security assistance, we would be prepared to look at it."
But it appears the U.S. is asking to be asked, and has been for some time. Fox News reported Tuesday that the Pentagon recently secured a commitment from the Iraqis to negotiate on the matter and the question is not whether, but how many, American troops remain in Iraq.
U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker told Reuters that American forces must continue the fight against the Taliban and for a stable Afghanistan as "the ultimate guarantee that there will not be another 9/11."
"It is going to require more resources, its going to require time," said Crocker, a career diplomat who also served as Ambassador to Iraq. "I hope we can bring all those to bear, because as hard, painful, as expensive as this has been in blood and treasure, it has cost a lot less than 9/11 did."
The Central Intelligence Agency continues to rapidly expand its global extrajudicial assassination program under the Obama administration, secretly murdering people with drones from Pakistan and Afghanistan to Somalia and Yemen. Even American citizens are fair game, according to the President.
The dramatic evolution of the agency’s priorities and operations has become so extreme that a former senior intelligence official told the Washington Post the CIA had been turned into “one hell of a killing machine.” The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the paramilitary transformation was “nothing short of a wonderment.”
But the dramatic metamorphosis, detailed in a recent exposé by the Post, entitled “CIA shifts focus to killing targets,” is hardly without critics. Some experts have even warned Congress that the illegal killings may constitute war crimes.