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U.S. to deploy 560 additional troops to Iraq in Islamic State fight

Ash CarterDuring a visit to Baghdad, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter on Monday said the United States will deploy 560 additional troops to Iraq to assist Iraqi security forces in combating the Islamic State.

Carter's announcement follows the capture of the Qayyarah Air Base by Iraqi security forces on Saturday away from the control of the Islamic State, also known as ISIL, Daesh and ISIS. The air base, also known as Qayyarah Airfield West, is about 25 miles south of Mosul and 20 miles west of the town of Qayyarah.

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US veterans on Chilcot: we need our own Iraq war inquiry to avoid repeating mistakes

Bush and BlairFollowing the devastating British inquiry into the 2003 invasion of Iraq, American veterans and their families have warned that the US is liable to repeat the mistakes without a similarly comprehensive investigation.

The UK’s Chilcot inquiry was released on Wednesday, and while it is no secret in the US that the invasion was a failure, nothing so damning as the 2.6m-word British inquiry has been released by an independent US government body.

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Navy: SEAL Chris Kyle never earned a 2nd Silver Star

Chris Kyle: fewer awards than claimedThe Navy has concluded there is no evidence that famed Navy SEAL Chris Kyle received two of the valor awards he had claimed in his best-selling memoir, including a second Silver Star.

In an unusual move, the service has re-issued the DD-214 discharge paperwork to support the medals that the late Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Chris Kyle received during his 10-year Navy career, finding no records for two of six Bronze Stars with combat 'V' and the second Silver Star, two of which he had claimed in "American Sniper." However, the renowned SEAL sniper had earned the Silver Star and four Bronze Stars, the review confirmed.

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VA suicide hotline workers ripped for failing vets

Suicide hotline failing vetsMore than a third of troubled veterans are not getting through to the best trained suicide-hotline staffers because of poor work habits at the Department of Veteran's Affair's call center, according to VA emails obtained by USA TODAY.

Some workers handle only one to five calls each day and leave before their shifts end even though phone lines have gotten busier, the emails say. As a result, 35% to 50% of the calls roll over to back-up centers where workers have less training to deal with the emotional problems of former servicemembers.

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Pentagon lifts ban on transgender troops

Transgender ban lifted in militaryDefense Secretary Ash Carter announced Thursday that the military will no longer discriminate against transgender troops, knocking down one of the last barriers to service based on sex.

The move, nearly a year in the making, came despite last-minute concerns were raised by top brass about how to deal with the medical, housing and uniform issues for troops who are transitioning to the other sex.

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CIA weapons for Syrian rebels funneled onto black markets: report

CIA weapons end up on black marketWeapons shipped to the Middle East by the CIA to arm Syrian rebels have systematically landed on the black market in Jordan, a new report finds.

An investigation by The New York Times and Al Jazeera found that millions of dollars worth of arms sent to Jordan intended for U.S.-backed Syrian groups were routinely stolen in a scheme by Jordanian operatives.

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Pentagon To Repeal Ban On Transgender Troops

Transgender ban lifted in militaryThe Pentagon plans to announce the repeal of its ban on openly serving transgender service members next month, U.S. defense officials said.

The repeal would come five years after a 2011 decision to end the U.S. military’s ban on gays and lesbians serving openly, despite fears - which proved unfounded - that such a move would be too great a burden in wartime and would undermine readiness.

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