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Sunday, Mar 29th

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A General’s Apology for Iraq & Afghanistan

apology for itaq and afghanistanThe basic trajectories of events in the two American campaigns chronicled in Why We Lost are strikingly similar, and equally disconcerting. First in Afghanistan and then in Iraq, U.S.-led coalitions light on numbers but heavy on advanced technology and lethality crush the enemy regimes in a matter of a few months. In displays of astonishing naiveté, “major combat” is blithely declared at an end by the Bush administration. In fact, the wars have just begun.

Nasty and protracted insurgencies break out, spearheaded by a jumble of jihadist extremists, warlords, and sectarian militias. Caught off guard and unprepared, the Americans and their coalition partners struggle to cobble together massive aid and re-construction programs, establish stable governments with dependable clients, and train indigenous armies and security forces to carry on the fight for the long haul.

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Islamic State presence confirmed in Afghanistan

isisThe Islamic State terrorist organization has been confirmed to be operating within Afghanistan.

Lt. Gen. Murad Ali Murad, a commander of the Afghan army, said the group has been attempting to recruit soldiers, but also stated the Afghan army was prepared to deal with any enemy.

Al Jazeera's Jennifer Glasse said the Taliban rejected the claim, saying "all mujahideen [self-declared holy warriors] fight under one flag."

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$500K Afghan Training Center Melts Down

Afghan training center meelts downThis report discusses the results of SIGAR’s inspection of the Afghan Special Police Training Center’s dry fire range (DFR) located in Wardak province. The DFR replicates a typical Afghan village and is used to conduct simulated police search and clearance exercises.

It was constructed in 2012, under the direction of the Regional Contracting Center at Forward Operating Base Shank, which falls under U.S. Central Command’s
Joint Theater Support Contracting Command.

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$14 Million an Hour: The War on 'Terror' Has Cost $1.6 Trillion

war on terror costIn the 13 years since 9/11, the United States’ “War on Terror” could be considered a failure. ISIS swept aside the US-backed Iraqi army earlier this year, the Taliban still launches deadly attacks, including an assault on a school last month that killed 145 people, and American interventions only seem to worsen sectarian bloodshed in the region.

The geopolitical disaster has come at a tremendous cost to American taxpayers, according to a recently released report by the Congressional Research Service, a non-partisan government organization. The report estimated that since 9/11 American taxpayers have shelled out close to $1.6 trillion on war spending (that’s $14 million an hour), with almost 95 percent of that money going projects related to Iraq and Afghanistan.

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US-led strikes hit IS-held oil sites in Syria

US atrikes syria oil fieldU.S.-led airstrikes targeted Syrian oil installations held by the militant Islamic State group overnight and early Thursday, killing nearly 20 people as the militants released dozens of detainees in their de facto capital, fearing further raids, activists said.

The latest strikes came on the third day of a U.S.-led air campaign aimed at rolling back the Islamic State group in Syria, and appeared to be aimed at one of the militants' main revenue streams. The U.S. has been conducting air raids against the group in neighboring Iraq for more than a month.

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Blackwater on trial over killing of 14 Iraqi civilians in 2007

Blackwater trialAfter years of delays, four former guards from the security firm Blackwater Worldwide are facing trial in the killings of 14 Iraqi civilians and the wounding of 18 others in bloodshed that inflamed anti-American sentiment around the globe.

Whether the shootings were self-defense or an unprovoked attack, the carnage of 16 September 2007 was seen by critics of the George W Bush administration as an illustration of a war gone horribly wrong.

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The Toll Of 5 Years Of Drone Strikes: 2,400 Dead

Drone deathsThe U.S. drone program under President Barack Obama reached its fifth anniversary on Thursday having tallied up an estimated death toll of at least 2,400 people.

As the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a U.K.-based non-profit, details on its website, five years ago the CIA conducted the first drone strikes of the Obama presidency. Although there were reports of suspected "militants" killed, at least 14 civilians also died that day.

After those initial mistakes, TBIJ notes, Obama rapidly ramped up the drone program in Pakistan and increased its use in Yemen and Somalia, two countries where al Qaeda affiliates expanded their presence during Obama's presidency.

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