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Wednesday, Mar 04th

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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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Ceremony In Afghanistan Officially Ends America's Longest War

Afghan war formally endsU.S. troops and their NATO allies in Afghanistan have formally ended what became America's longest war, furling their flag 13 years after a 2001 invasion to topple the country's Taliban regime in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

In a symbolic ceremony meant to mark the transition in the role of the remaining troops from combat to support, the commander of the International Security Assistance Force, Gen. John Campbell, put away the green-and-white ISAF flag and unfurled the flag of "Resolute Support," as the new international mission is known.

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As U.S. troops return to Iraq, more private contractors follow

US troops return from IraqThe U.S. government is preparing to boost the number of private contractors in Iraq as part of President Barack Obama's growing effort to beat back Islamic State militants threatening the Baghdad government, a senior U.S. official said.

How many contractors will deploy to Iraq - beyond the roughly 1,800 now working there for the U.S. State Department - will depend in part, the official said, on how widely dispersed U.S. troops advising Iraqi security forces are, and how far they are from U.S. diplomatic facilities.

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U.S.-led forces launch 13 air strikes in Iraq, three in Syria

Airstrikes on ISIS in IraqU.S.-led forces attacked Islamic State targets on Sunday with 13 air strikes in Iraq and three in Syria, using fighter, bomber and other aircraft, the U.S. military said.

Four of the Iraq strikes were near Sinjar in the north of the country, which destroyed Islamic State buildings, tactical units and vehicles, while other Iraqi cities targeted included Tal Afar, Ramadi, Mosul and Baiji, according to the Combined Joint Task Force.

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Taliban attack kills two U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan

2Americans killed in AfghanistanThe Afghan Taliban killed a Supreme Court official, a dozen mine clearers and several national and foreign soldiers but also suffered heavy losses from intensifying violence ahead of the withdrawal of most international troops in the next two weeks.

In Kabul on Saturday, a bomb ripped through a bus carrying soldiers in Kabul, killing at least seven of them, mangling the vehicle and sending a column of black smoke over the capital.

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The Appallingly High Number of Unidentified People Killed in America's Drone War

Drone deathsIn September 2009, a Pakistan daily newspaper reported that the commander of an al Qaeda-linked terrorist group had been killed in a U.S. drone strike. U.S. government officials claimed that the operation resulted in “huge loss for the militants fighting against the foreign forces in Afghanistan.”

In fact, the actual victims of the strike were a Pakistani family gathering around the dinner table during the holy month of Ramadan. The attack’s likely the intended target, Ilyas Kashmiri, was not killed. And he would reportedly die at least three more times, according to a recently published report by the human rights group Reprieve.

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How the West buys ‘conflict antiquities’ from Iraq and Syria (and funds terror)

US buys antiquities from ISIS“Many antique collectors unwillingly support terrorists like Islamic State, ” Michel van Rijn, one of the most successful smugglers of antique artifacts in the past century, told German broadcaster Das Erste this month.

And smuggling is booming in Iraq and Syria right now. In Iraq, 4,500 archaeological sites, some of them UNESCO World Heritage sites, are reportedly controlled by Islamic State and are exposed to looting. Iraqi intelligence claim that Islamic State alone has collected as much as $36 million from the sales of artifacts, some of them thousands of years old.

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