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Mattis Shuts Down The Idea Of Privatizing The War In Afghanistan
Breaking from his usual detachment, Defense Secretary James Mattis called bullshit on Erik Prince's scheme to hand over the Afghanistan war to mercenaries.
- “When the Americans put their nation's credibility on the line, privatizing it is probably not a wise idea,” Mattis said when asked Tuesday if there were any advantages to using a private army in Afghanistan.
- Prince founded the private security firm Blackwater, which became infamous in September 2007 when the company’s contractors killed 17 Iraqi civilians and wounded another 20 in Baghdad's Nisour Square.
- For more than a year, Prince has been trying to whisper into President Donald Trump’s ear that his legion of contractors could do a better job fighting the Taliban than American and coalition troops.
- Prince is now making another push to privatize the war amid recent Taliban successes, hoping to find a more receptive audience in Trump.
- Mattis argued valiantly on Tuesday that the U.S. military is successfully applying pressure on the Taliban to move toward peace negotiations with the Afghan government. He got into a heated exchange with one reporter, who asked why Afghan troops and police were unable to stop the Taliban from occupying the city of Ghazni.
- “First of all, I would not say they fell apart because there were six military objectives in Ghazni,” Mattis said. “They [the Taliban] did not achieve a single one. Now, could they go in and shoot up the residential neighborhood, chase the police out where they outnumbered them, outgunned them? This is not an easy fight. We’ve never said it was. I wouldn’t jump to a larger conclusion about this being emblematic. The fact is: innocent people are vulnerable to terrorism, whether they be in Brussels or New York City or Ghazni.”
'It just happened' — the Iraq War’s first living Medal of Honor recipient recalls his harrowing fight against 5 insurgents
On Nov, 10, 2004, Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia knew that he stood a good chance of dying as he tried to save his squad.
Bellavia survived the intense enemy fire and went on to single-handedly kill five insurgents as he cleared a three-story house in Fallujah during the iconic battle for the city. For his bravery that day, President Trump will present Bellavia with the Medal of Honor on Tuesday, making him the first living Iraq war veteran to receive the award.
In an interview with Task & Purpose, Bellavia recalled that the house where he fought insurgents was dark and filled with putrid water that flowed from broken pipes. The battle itself was an assault on his senses: The stench from the water, the darkness inside the home, and the sounds of footsteps that seemed to envelope him.
With the Imperial Japanese Army hot on his heels, Oscar Leonard says he barely slipped away from getting caught in the grueling Bataan Death March in 1942 by jumping into a choppy bay in the dark of the night, clinging to a log and paddling to the Allied-fortified island of Corregidor.
After many weeks of fighting there and at Mindanao, he was finally captured by the Japanese and spent the next several years languishing under brutal conditions in Filipino and Japanese World War II POW camps.
Now, having just turned 100 years old, the Antioch resident has been recognized for his 42-month ordeal as a prisoner of war, thanks to the efforts of his friends at the Brentwood VFW Post #10789 and Congressman Jerry McNerney.
McNerney, Brentwood VFW Commander Steve Todd and Junior Vice Commander John Bradley helped obtain a POW award after doing research and requesting records to surprise Leonard during a birthday party last month.
Hundreds of Marines will join their British counterparts at a massive urban training center this summer that will test the leathernecks' ability to fight a tech-savvy enemy in a crowded city filled with innocent civilians.
The North Carolina-based Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, will test drones, robots and other high-tech equipment at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center near Butlerville, Indiana, in August.
They'll spend weeks weaving through underground tunnels and simulating fires in a mock packed downtown city center. They'll also face off against their peers, who will be equipped with off-the-shelf drones and other gadgets the enemy is now easily able to bring to the fight.
It's the start of a four-year effort, known as Project Metropolis, that leaders say will transform the way Marines train for urban battles. The effort is being led by the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, based in Quantico, Virginia. It comes after service leaders identified a troubling problem following nearly two decades of war in the Middle East: adversaries have been studying their tactics and weaknesses, and now they know how to exploit them.
WASHINGTON/RIYADH (Reuters) - President Donald Trump imposed new U.S. sanctions onIran on Monday following Tehran's downing of an unmanned American drone and said the measures would target Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Trump told reporters he was signing an executive order for the sanctions amid tensions between the United States and Iran that have grown since May, when Washington ordered all countries to halt imports of Iranian oil.
Trump also said the sanctions would have been imposed regardless of the incident over the drone. He said the supreme leaders was ultimately responsible for what Trump called "the hostile conduct of the regime."
"Sanctions imposed through the executive order ... will deny the Supreme Leader and the Supreme Leader's office, and those closely affiliated with him and the office, access to key financial resources and support," Trump said.
While it can be difficult to peg down just how star-spangled a state is, one indicator is the rate at which citizens enlist in the military, especially during the United States' longest period of sustained conflict. At least, that's the thinking behind WalletHub's new study, 2019's Most Patriotic States in America.