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Wednesday, Apr 16th

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U.S. pullout leaves Iraqi interpreters in 'dangerous limbo'

Ali Kanaan, interpreter for US in IraqI am an Iraqi citizen who worked as an interpreter with the U.S. military for two years. It was an honor to serve, and I did it because I believed that bringing freedom to Iraq required brave people to stand up and try to make a difference. Now, as a result of my service, I find myself in a dangerous limbo.

Before 2003, I thought of the U.S. primarily as the home of Bruce Willis, Hollywood and Las Vegas. But it was also a dream, a dream of freedom.

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Multiple missteps led to drone killing U.S. troops in Afghanistan

US Predator droneOn the evening of April 5, a pilot settled into a leather captain's chair at Creech Air Force Base in southern Nevada and took the controls of a Predator drone flying over one of the most violent areas of southwestern Afghanistan. Minutes later, his radio crackled.

A firefight had broken out. Taliban insurgents had ambushed about two dozen Marines patrolling a bitterly contested road.

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Report: Military Blew $1 Trillion on Weapons Since 9/11

One trillion blown on weapons since 9/11Capitol Hill conservatives and Pentagon brass fighting cuts to defense spending have argued that the military is limping off the battlefield with decrepit hardware. It's quite the sob story: At a hearing last week, Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), the chair of the House armed services committee, cut his remarks short to literally sob for "these young men that are going outside the wire over in Afghanistan, every day on patrol."

But a new report shows the US defense establishment is in much better shape than it claims: The DOD has blown roughly $1 trillion on shiny new tanks, ships, and jets since the 9/11 attacks—and it's often done so with dollars that were supposed to be spent on those troops on the battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Afghanistan, Iraq Crime Increasing, According To New Report

Crime in Iraq, Afghanistan increasingA Marine in Iraq sent home $43,000 in stolen cash by hiding it in a footlocker among American flags. A soldier shipped thousands more concealed in a toy stuffed animal. An embassy employee tricked the State Department into wiring $240,000 into his foreign bank account.

As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down, the number of people indicted and convicted by the U.S. for bribery, theft and other reconstruction-related crimes in both countries is rapidly rising, according to two government reports released Sunday.

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U.S. tracks 'millions' of dollars stolen by Iraqi officials

US tracks millions stolen in IraqOut of the billions of dollars in cash that the U.S. shipped to Iraq during the war, "hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars . . . was stolen by senior Iraqi officials for their own personal gain," the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction tells CNBC.

In a new audit report, the inspector tracked a subset of the total amount — $6.6 billion in funds that the New York Federal Reserve made available to the Iraqi government during the war.

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Wartime Contracting Panel Seals Records for Next 20 Years

Established by Congress to investigate and expose government waste, the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan has decided to not reveal its volumes of materials to the public for another two decades.

After three years of work, the commission officially shut down last week, having concluded that the U.S. misspent between $31 billion and $60 billion in contracting for services in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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State Department’s Iraq police training program a 'bottomless pit' for US taxpayers

Iraq police trainingA key piece of America’s enduring presence in Iraq — a multimillion-dollar program to train police forces — could become a “bottomless pit” for taxpayer funding if officials fail to adequately assess the needs of Iraqi security forces and obtain assurances from Iraqi officials about the program’s future, according to a new federal watchdog report.

Since 2003, the United States has spent about $8 billion to train, staff and equip Iraqi police forces. With the U.S. military preparing to leave Iraq at the end of December, responsibility for the police training program transferred to the State Department this month. The department has requested $887 million to continue operating the program this fiscal year.

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