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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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Soldiers May Be Leaving Iraq, But Contractors Will Remain

Contractors stay in IraqAmerican troops may be leaving Iraq before the end of the year, but U.S. contractors aren’t going anywhere soon.

ABC News reports that the State Department “is expected to have about 5,000 security contractors in Iraq as of January 2012 (they already have about 3,000 in country).” There will also be 4,500 “general life support” contractors to provide food and medical services.

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Killing warning missed in slayings of Afghan civilians

Stryker BrigadeJoint Base Lewis-McChord’s operations center was hindered by high turnover and inconsistent training when it missed an early warning that could have tipped off the Army about a series of murders allegedly committed by U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, according to an Army investigation obtained by The News Tribune.

Lt. Col. Charles Roede’s report primarily faults the noncommissioned officer who failed to act on a phone call he received Feb. 14, 2010, describing plots to kill Afghan civilians.

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Arms trade to repressive regimes largely from US, Russia and Europe

military weaponsArms shipments to repressive regimes in the Middle East and North Africa were largely from the United States, Russian and Europe, Amnesty International said.

Amnesty International, in an assessment of arms transfers, referred to a "stark failure" of arms exports controls across the board. The rights group said that, before the Arab Spring, the United States, Russian and several European countries supplied huge quantities of weapons to repressive regimes in the region.

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Investigation: Army platoon was 'out of control' in Afghanistan

Stryker unitMore than 75 Afghan elders filed into a meeting with U.S. Army officers early last year to deliver a disturbing message: Soldiers patrolling villages in southern Afghanistan were out of control.

Stryker platoonmates from Joint Base Lewis-McChord were shooting dogs. They were breaking cultural taboos by searching homes with only women and children around. And they had killed two innocent young men.

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US abandons plans to keep U.S. troops in Iraq

US drops plans to keep troops in IraqThe U.S. is abandoning plans to keep U.S. troops in Iraq past a year-end withdrawal deadline, The Associated Press has learned. The decision to pull out fully by January will effectively end more than eight years of U.S. involvement in the Iraq war, despite ongoing concerns about its security forces and the potential for instability.

The decision ends months of hand-wringing by U.S. officials over whether to stick to a Dec. 31 withdrawal deadline that was set in 2008 or negotiate a new security agreement to ensure that gains made and more than 4,400 American military lives lost since March 2003 do not go to waste.

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