Iraqi Suicide Bomb Instructor Accidentally Kills Himself And His Students

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A class on how to detonate a suicide vest at an insurgent camp just north of Baghdad went awry today when the instructor accidentally blew up himself and his students, killing 22 and wounding 15, the New York Times is reporting.


The extremists belonged to a disavowed offshoot of al Qaeda called the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

The felled instructor of his class, who martyred himself of the name of ... well, education, I suppose, is described by an Iraqi military official quoted in the Times report as “a prolific recruiter” who was “able to kill the bad guys for once,” albeit unintentionally.

Additionally, eight militants were taken into custody by Iraqi authorities as they attempted to flee the scene.

Iraq has in recent months seen a resurgence in the violence that U.S. and coalition forces spent years and billions of dollars beating back. The New York Times also recently reported on how the extremists raised a flag over the city of Fallujah, where in 2004, U.S. Marines and other forces engaged the insurgency in fierce fighting. News that the city had fallen back into the hands of the enemy elicited a passionate response from many of the veterans who fought there.

Among them was Hirepurpose’s founder and CEO Zach Iscol, who commanded Marines in that fateful battle.

Iscol recently appeared on a panel on Charlie Rose to discuss the situation in Iraq.

“The wrong question to ask is whether or not it was worth it based on what happens in Fallujah,” he said. “I think much more important is what happens to us as a country.

"Do we have a citizenry that becomes more involved because of the lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan? Do we have a citizenry that is asking these hard questions before we send men and women off to these wars again?”

A big stereotype surrounding U.S. service members and veterans is that they are defined only by their military service, from buying "Dysfunctional Veteran" t-shirts to playing hard-boiled, high-octane first-person shooters like Battlefield and Call of Duty (we honestly have no idea where anyone could get that impression).

But the folks at OSD (formerly called Operation Supply Drop), a non-profit veteran service organization that aims to help troops and vets connect with each other through free video games, service programs and other activities, recently found that most of the gamers they've served actually prefer less military-centric fare like sports games and fantasy RPGs.

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The fog of war, just kills, and war crimes are the focus of a new documentary series coming to STARZ. Titled Leavenworth, the six-part series profiles 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, the Army infantry officer who was convicted on murder charges for ordering his soldiers to fire on three unarmed Afghan men on a motorcycle, killing two and wounding the third, while deployed to the Zhari district in Kandahar province, on July 2, 2012.

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Joel Marrable (Laquna Ross via CNN)

Dawn Brys got an early taste of the crisis unfolding at the largest Veterans Affairs hospital in the Southeast.

The Air Force vet said she went to the Atlanta VA Medical Center in Decatur last year for surgery on a broken foot. But the doctor called it off because the surgical instruments hadn't been properly sterilized.

"The tools had condensation on them," recalled Brys, a 50-year-old Marietta resident. The doctor rescheduled it for the next day.

Now the 400-plus-bed hospital on Clairmont Road that serves about 120,000 military veterans is in a state of emergency. It suspended routine surgeries in late September after a string of incidents that exposed mismanagement and dangerous practices. It hopes to resume normal operations by early November as it struggles to retrain staff and hire new nurses.

The partial shutdown came about two weeks after Joel Marrable, a cancer patient in the same VA complex, was found covered with more than 100 ant bites by his daughter. Also in September, the hospital's canteen was temporarily closed for a pest investigation.

The mounting problems triggered a leadership shakeup Sept. 17, when regional director Leslie Wiggins was put on administrative leave. Dr. Arjay K. Dhawan, the regional medical director, was moved to administrative duties pending an investigation. Seven staff members were reassigned to non-patient care.

The only question for some military veterans and staff is why the VA waited so long. They say problems existed for years under Wiggins' leadership, but little was done.

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The former Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs thinks that the VA needs to start researching medical marijuana. Not in a bit. Not soon. Right goddamn now.

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Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney takes questions during a news briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., October 17, 2019. (Reuters/Leah Millis)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump's withholding of $391 million in military aid to Ukraine was linked to his request that the Ukrainians look into a claim — debunked as a conspiracy theory — about the 2016 U.S. election, a senior presidential aide said on Thursday, the first time the White House acknowledged such a connection.

Trump and administration officials had denied for weeks that they had demanded a "quid pro quo" - a Latin phrase meaning a favor for a favor - for delivering the U.S. aid, a key part of a controversy that has triggered an impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives against the Republican president.

But Mick Mulvaney, acting White House chief of staff, acknowledged in a briefing with reporters that the U.S. aid — already approved by Congress — was held up partly over Trump's concerns about a Democratic National Committee (DNC) computer server alleged to be in Ukraine.

"I have news for everybody: Get over it. There is going to be political influence in foreign policy," Mulvaney said.

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