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Saturday, Aug 23rd

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2 Marines to be court-martialed in urination case

Marines court martialedTwo Marine non-commissioned officers will be court-martialed for allegedly urinating on the bodies of Taliban fighters last year in Afghanistan and posing for unofficial photos with casualties, the Marine Corps said Monday.

The charges against Staff Sgt. Joseph W. Chamblin and Staff Sgt. Edward W. Deptola are in addition to administrative punishments announced last month for three other, more junior Marines for their role in the urination episode.

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Afghan survivors of Ganjgal battle dispute official account of Medal of Honor feats

Ganjgal battleNine Afghan soldiers who survived a 2009 battle that brought the first Medal of Honor to a living Marine since the Vietnam War have disputed the official accounts of how Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer won the country’s highest military decoration.

The Afghans, whom U.S. military officials never interviewed , contradict key details of the narratives cited by President Barack Obama and the Marine Corps in awarding the decoration to Meyer for his actions during a battle that took place in the Ganjgal Valley in Afghanistan three years ago this past weekend.

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Report: US Navy deploys warships to Libyan coast

USS LaboonTwo U.S. Navy destroyers are steaming their way toward the Libyan coast in the latest move by the White House and Pentagon to bolster American security forces in the country.

The USS Laboon and USS McFaul, both Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, have reportedly been sent to the waters near the North African nation, according to reports by CNN. It remains unclear as to what the warships' mission will be once they arrive on station in the Mediterranean, but both vessels are armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles.

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Bradley Manning's lawyer demands sentence cut

Bradley ManningThe civilian lawyer of Bradley Manning, the US soldier suspected of transferring hundreds of thousands of state secrets to WikiLeaks, is demanding that at least seven years be lopped off any sentence he might be given on grounds that he was improperly treated while in military custody.

The legal pleading by David Coombs, Manning's chief lawyer, was disclosed in a new motion to the military court that is hearing the soldier's court martial that he posted on his blog on Monday . The motion discloses in heavily redacted form some of the information the defence has gleaned in recent weeks about the way the soldier was treated while he was held for almost 10 months in solitary confinement at the military brig in Quantico marine base in Virginia in 2010/11.

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The modern US army: unfit for service?

Gone are the days of the all-American army hero. These days, the US military is more like a sanctuary for racists, gang members and the chronically unfit.

The three most common barriers for potential recruits were failure to graduate high school, a criminal record and physical fitness issues, including obesity. The criminal record had been dealt with by "moral waivers" and the obesity problem by "medical waivers", but dropping the standards on educational attainment would not be so easy without seriously affecting operational readiness. There was a way for non-graduates to get into the military, however: the general equivalency degree, or GED, which can afford recruits a waiver if they score well enough on the military's entrance exam. The army accepts about 15% of recruits without a high school diploma if they have a GED. Alive to this loophole, the military instituted another program in 2008, the so-called GED Plus, to give more of America's youth the requisite qualifications they needed to go and fight. It opened its first prep school for the purpose, targeted at tough, inner-city areas.

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US troops escape criminal charges for incidents that outraged Afghanistan

US troops urinate on Afghan soldiersSix US army soldiers and three marines escaped criminal charges but received administrative punishments for mistakenly burning Qur'ans and urinating on the corpses of Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan, US military officials said Monday.

US military leaders widely condemned the incident revealed earlier this year. The Qur'an burning triggered riots and retribution killings: two US troops were shot by an Afghan soldier and two US military advisers were gunned down at their desks at the interior ministry.

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Why was a Navy adviser stripped of her career?

Gwenyth ToddGwenyth Todd had worked in a lot of places in Washington where powerful men didn’t hesitate to use sharp elbows. She had been a Middle East expert for the National Security Council in the Clinton administration. She had worked in the office of Defense Secretary Dick Cheney in the first Bush administration, where neoconservative hawks first began planning to overthrow Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

But she was not prepared a few years later in Bahrain when she encountered plans by high-ranking admirals to confront Iran, any one of which, she reckoned, could set the region on fire. It was 2007, and Todd, then 42, was a top political adviser to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.

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