Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
The US Won't Admit Just How Badly It Poisoned Military Base Water Supplies
The White House and Environmental Protection Agency have spent a month pushing to prevent the release of a sprawling health study detailing the scope of the contaminated water supplies that resulted in cancer and birth defects at nearly 126 military bases across the country — and lawmakers are fucking pissed.
- A bipartisan group of U.S. senators on Tuesday demanded the Trump administration release the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) study on the per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) found in firefighting chemicals used by base emergency personnel to put out aircraft fires.
- A March DoD report to the House Armed Service Committee revealed that at least 126 U.S. military installations — 50 Air Force, 49 Navy or Marine Corps, 25 Army, and two Defense Logistics Agency facilities — tested at "higher than acceptable levels" of PFAS concentration, Military Times reported in April. An eye-popping 61% of nearby groundwater wells tested by the DoD yielded the same results.
- PFAS contamination of water sources can yield, among other horrifying consequences, "developmental delays in fetuses & children; decreased fertility; increased cholesterol; changes to the immune system; increased uric acid levels; changes in liver enzymes; and prostate, kidney, and testicular cancer," per the HASC report. Good thing the DoD's been using those chemicals since the 1970s!
- "Given the wide use of PFAS and presence of these chemicals in communities across the U.S., it is critical that this report be released without delay and that EPA act immediately to update its guidelines to ensure Americans are informed of and protected from the danger of exposure to these toxins," the lawmakers wrote in the June 12 letter. "We are especially concerned since PFAS have been discovered in community water systems as well as on multiple Department of Defense installations."
This is all well and good, but it's not like a strongly-worded letter is going all of a sudden induce the DoD to get its contaminated shit together. The Intercept reported in February that while the Pentagon plans on shelling out a hefty $2 billion to address the widespread water contamination, that plan involves replacing "older foam with a newer formulation that contains only slightly tweaked versions of the same problematic compounds" that "pose many of the same dangers."
The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Harriet Lane intercepted a suspected semi-submersible smuggling vessel in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean and seized approximately 5,000 pounds of cocaine October 23.
A U.S. Air Force combat controller will receive the nation's third highest award for valor this week for playing an essential role in two intense firefight missions against the Taliban in Afghanistan last year.
Tech. Sgt. Cody Smith, an airman with the 26th Special Tactics Squadron, 24th Special Operations Wing at Air Force Special Operations Command, will receive the Silver Star at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico on Nov. 22, the service announced Monday.
SARASOTA, Fla. — With data continuing to roll in that underscores the health benefits of cannabis, two Florida legislators aren't waiting for clarity in the national policy debates and are sponsoring bills designed to give medical marijuana cards to military veterans free of charge.
Former Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, whom President Donald Trump recently pardoned of his 2013 murder conviction, claims he was nothing more than a pawn whom generals sacrificed for political expediency.
The infantry officer had been sentenced to 19 years in prison for ordering his soldiers to open fire on three unarmed Afghan men in 2012. Two of the men were killed.
During a Monday interview on Fox & Friends, Lorance accused his superiors of betraying him.
"A service member who knows that their commanders love them will go to the gates of hell for their country and knock them down," Lorance said. "I think that's extremely important. Anybody who is not part of the senior Pentagon brass will tell you the same thing."
"I think folks that start putting stars on their collar — anybody that has got to be confirmed by the Senate for a promotion — they are no longer a soldier, they are a politician," he continued. "And so I think they lose some of their values — and they certainly lose a lot of their respect from their subordinates — when they do what they did to me, which was throw me under the bus."
Fifteen years after the U.S. military toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein, the Army's massive two-volume study of the Iraq War closed with a sobering assessment of the campaign's outcome: With nearly 3,500 U.S. service members killed in action and trillions of dollars spent, "an emboldened and expansionist Iran appears to be the only victor.
Thanks to roughly 700 pages of newly-publicized secret Iranian intelligence cables, we now have a good idea as to why.