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Trump declares mission accomplished in Syria
President Donald Trump radiated optimism on Wednesday as he announced that he expected the cease fire between Turkish and Kurdish forces in northeast Syria to become permanent.
"However, you would also define the word 'permanent' in that part of the world as somewhat questionable," the president said during a speech at the White House. "We all understand that. But I do believe it will be permanent."
Accordingly, Trump has ordered the treasury secretary to lift all sanctions imposed against Turkey after the start of its invasion of Kurdish-held Syria earlier this month.
"Turkey, Syria, and all forms of the Kurds have been fighting for centuries," the president said. "We have done them a great service and we've done a great job for all of them — and now we're getting out."
A "small number of U.S. troops" will remain in Syria to protect oilfields, he said, adding the United States would decide what to do with the oil in the future.
The president boasted that the U.S.-brokered ceasefire had saved the lives of tens of thousands of Kurds "without spilling one drop of American blood."
Trump also claimed that the agreement could not have been made without Turkey's invasion, which he described as a "short-term outburst" of violence.
During his 15-minute speech, the president touched on several themes that are the core of his foreign policy philosophy: The United States cannot police the world; the post 9/11 wars have been a waste of lives and money; the Middle East has become less stable because of U.S. military interventions over the past two decades; and it's time for other countries to ensure that ISIS does not regain any of its former territory.
"Let someone else fight over this long, blood-stained sand," Trump said.
The president also took aim at critics, whom he said have argued the U.S. military should have protected its Kurdish partners from the Turks and their proxies.
Such a move would have required the U.S. military to deploy tens of thousands of troops to fight Turkey, a NATO ally, he said.
"The same people that I watched and read giving me and the United States advice were the people that I have been watching and reading for many years," Trump said. "They are the ones that got us into the Middle East mess but never had the vision or the courage to get us out. They just talk. How many Americans must die in the Middle East in the midst of these ancient, sectarian, and tribal conflicts?"
"When we commit American troops to battle, we must do so only when a vital national interest is at stake and when we have a clear objective and plan for victory and a path out of conflict," the president continued. "That's what we have to have. We need a plan of victory. We will only win."
‘Take what’s inside and get it outside’ — Air Force psychologist reminds airmen of mental health resources
Kirtland Air Force Base isn't much different from the world beyond its gates when it comes to dealing with mental illnesses, a base clinical psychologist says.
Maj. Benjamin Carter told the Journal the most frequent diagnosis on the base is an anxiety disorder.
"It's not a surprise, but I anticipate about anytime in the population in America, about 20% of the population has some form of diagnosable anxiety disorder, and it's no different in the military," he said.
Leading the way among the anxiety disorders, he said, were post-traumatic stress disorder "or something like panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder."
The DNA of a niece and nephew, who never met their uncle, has helped identify the remains of the Kansas Marine who died in WWII.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced that 21-year-old U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Pfc. Raymond Warren was identified using DNA and circumstantial evidence. Warren had been buried in a cemetery in the Gilbert Islands, where he was killed when U.S. forces tried to take secure one of the islands from the Japanese.
The Battle of Tarawa lasted from Nov. 20 to Nov. 23, 1943, and claimed the lives of 1,021 U.S. marines and sailors, more than 3,000 Japanese soldiers and an estimated 1,000 Korean laborers before the U.S. troops seized control, the agency said.
Arizona lawmakers are vowing to fight a plan by the Air Force to start retiring some of the nation's fleet of A-10 Thunderbolt II ground-attack jets — a major operation at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base — as part of a plan to drop some older, legacy weapon systems to help pay for new programs.
U.S. Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., a former A-10 pilot, and U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., both vowed to fight the move to retire 44 of the oldest A-10s starting this year.
During a press briefing last week, Air Force officials unveiled plans to start mothballing several older platforms, including retiring some A-10s even as it refits others with new wings.
MOSCOW/SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea, whose leader Kim Jong Un was filmed riding through the snow on a white stallion last year, has spent tens of thousands of dollars on 12 purebred horses from Russia, according to Russian customs data.
Accompanied by senior North Korean figures, Kim took two well-publicized rides on the snowy slopes of the sacred Paektu Mountain in October and December.
State media heralded the jaunts as important displays of strength in the face of international pressure and the photos of Kim astride a galloping white steed were seen around the world.
North Korea has a long history of buying pricey horses from Russia and customs data first reported by Seoul-based NK News suggests that North Korea may have bolstered its herd in October.
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A high-profile local Taliban figure who announced and justified the 2012 attack on teenage Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai has escaped detention, Pakistan's interior minister confirmed a few days after the militant announced his breakout on social media.
Former Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan, who claimed responsibility on behalf of his group for scores of Taliban attacks, proclaimed his escape on Twitter and then in an audio message sent to Pakistani media earlier this month.
The Pakistani military, which had kept Ehsan in detention for three years, has declined to comment but, asked by reporters about the report, Interior Minister Ijaz Shah, said: "That is correct, that is correct."
Shah, a retired brigadier general, added that "you will hear good news" in response to questions about whether there had been progress in hunting down Ehsan.