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US forces suffer their deadliest month yet in Afghan campaign

The Independent
By David Usborne
August 31, 2011

The US has lost 66 military personnel this month, including the 30 who were killed when a Chinook was shot down.

The cost of war is coming into painful focus for Americans as the month of August closes as the deadliest so far in the decade-long war in Afghanistan, and as a Congressional watchdog releases research showing that tens of billions of dollars meant for contractors in both the Afghan and Iraq conflicts have been squandered.

As of last night, the US military had lost 66 personnel in Afghanistan since the start of the month, topping by one the death toll for July 2010, which was previously the deadliest single month since the invasion was first ordered by President George W Bush in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

While a disturbing statistic by any measure, particularly at a time when President Barack Obama has ordered the withdrawal by September 2012 of all 33,000 of the extra troops he sent in as part of a surge strategy in Afghanistan, it was skewed by a single attack on a Chinook helicopter on 6 August which killed 30 US service personnel, including 17 Navy Seals. It marked the single-largest loss of life since the start of the war. …

Read on: www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/us-forces-suffer-their-deadliest-month-yet-in-afghan-campaign-2346562.html

John McCain Promised To Help Gaddafi Obtain US Military Hardware

The Raw News
By Stephen C. Webster
August 24th, 2011

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) promised to help former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi obtain U.S. military hardware as one of the United States’ partners in the war on terror, according to a U.S. diplomatic cable released Wednesday by anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.

The meeting, which took place just over a year ago on Aug. 14, 2009, included other influential Americans, such as Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sen. Susan Collins (R-SC) and Senate Armed Services Committee staffer Richard Fontaine, the document explains.

McCain opened the meeting by characterizing Libya’s relationship with the U.S. as “excellent,” to which Liebermann added: “We never would have guessed ten years ago that we would be sitting in Tripoli, being welcomed by a son of Muammar al-Qadhafi.”

“Lieberman called Libya an important ally in the war on terrorism, noting that common enemies sometimes make better friends,” the cable continues. “The Senators recognized Libya’s cooperation on counterterrorism and conveyed that it was in the interest of both countries to make the relationship stronger.”

Part and parcel to that relationship: military hardware, including helicopters and non-lethal weaponry, meant to ensure the security of Tripoli. In exchange for this and assisting the nation in rehabilitating its image with other lawmakers, Gaddafi pledged to send Libya’s highly enriched uranium supplies to Russia for proper disposal. …

Read on: www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/08/24/leaked-cable-sen-mccain-promised-to-help-gaddafi-obtain-u-s-military-hardware/

US military deaths in Iraq war at 4,474

Associated Press
August 23 2011

As of Tuesday, August 23, 2011, at least 4,474 members of the U.S. military have died in the Iraq war since it began in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

The figure includes nine military civilians killed in action.

At least 3,524 military personnel died as a result of hostile action, according to the military’s numbers.

The AP count is three fewer than the Defense Department’s tally, last updated Tuesday at 10 a.m. EDT.

Since the start of U.S. military operations in Iraq, 32,175 U.S. service members have been wounded in hostile action, according to the Defense Department’s weekly tally. …


The numbers of people killed refer to members of the US military – please see Iraq Body Count (at right hand side of this page) for civilian deaths.

US Military Intervention in Libya Cost At Least $896 Million

ABC News Blog
By Luis Martinez
August 22, 2011

The cost of U.S. military intervention in Libya has cost American taxpayers an estimated $896 million through July 31, the Pentagon said today.

The price tag includes the amounts for daily military operations, munitions used in the operation and humanitarian assistance for the Libyan people.

The U.S. has also promised $25 million in non-lethal aid to the Libyan Transitional National Council, half of which the Defense Department has already on MRE’s (military lingo for Meals, Ready to Eat).

The military delivered 120,000 Halal MRE’s to Benghazi in May and a second shipment that included medical supplies, boots, tents, uniforms, and personal protective gear in June.

While Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi appears on the way out, NATO says flight missions over Tripoli will continue, with the U.S. playing a role in helping to keep a tight window over the area that’s been in effect for weeks.

Over the past 12 days, U.S. planes have flown 391 sorties for a total of 5,316 since April 1, according to figures provided by the Defense Department. That total includes 1,210 airstrike missions over the same three and a half month period. The U.S. has also conducted 101 Predator drone strike missions in Libya. …

Read on: http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2011/08/us-military-intervention-in-libya-cost-at-least-896-million-.html

Marshall Islanders fear aborted US tests

August 20, 2011

Marshall Islanders living in the flight path of US missile tests expressed fears for their safety Saturday following two aborted missions.

Concerns were raised after a missile re-entry vehicle was blown up northeast of Kwajalein Atoll in July and a hypersonic glider disappeared on its way to a target near Kwajalein last week.

“It ditched, but where?” asked Kwajalein Senator Tony deBrum of the Falcon hypersonic glider.

“We are concerned that with all these ditched and aborted flights our constituencies down-range face increasingly significant risk of equipment failure or of tests simply gone awry.

“What hazard do these shots pose to people down range?” …

The hypersonic glider, an unmanned vehicle designed to deliver a weapons payload to any point on the globe, was reportedly traveling at about 13,000 miles per hour (21,000 kilometres per hour), nearly 20 times the speed of sound. …

Read on: www.spacedaily.com/reports/Marshall_Islanders_fear_aborted_US_tests_999.html

US troops may stay in Afghanistan until 2024

The Telegraph
By Ben Farmer, Kabul
August 19, 2011

America and Afghanistan are close to signing a strategic pact which would allow thousands of United States troops to remain in the country until at least 2024 …

The agreement would allow not only military trainers to stay to build up the Afghan army and police, but also American special forces soldiers and air power to remain.

The prospect of such a deal has already been met with anger among Afghanistan’s neighbours including, publicly, Iran and, privately, Pakistan.

It also risks being rejected by the Taliban and derailing any attempt to coax them to the negotiating table, according to one senior member of Hamid Karzai’s peace council. …

“In the Afghan proposal we are talking about 10 years from 2014, but this is under discussion.” America would not be granted its own bases, and would be a guest on Afghan bases …

Read in full: www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/afghanistan/8712701/US-troops-may-stay-in-Afghanistan-until-2024.html

US to send more drones to Libya

Press Association
August 18, 2011

The US military has sent two more armed Predator drones to the Libya conflict in response to requests from commanders seeking more intelligence-gathering capabilities. …

President Barack Obama approved the use of armed drones in the Libya conflict in April. Since then, they have flown routine surveillance operations, but they can strike targets when needed …


Washington backs joint Agent Orange cleanup project in Vietnam

Stara and Stripes
By Andrew Headland Jr.
August 14, 2011

A joint U.S.-Vietnamese team is working to clean up approximately 62 acres near Da Nang airport, the site of a U.S. base during the Vietnam where drums of Agent Orange were stored, The Asahi Shimbum reported.

The highly toxic defoliant still torments the land and exceeds international safety standards by 400 percent nearly 50 years after the chemical was first used by the U.S., the newspaper reported.

The U.S. will provide about $32 million to finance the decontamination work, which both governments aim to complete by 2013, Asahi reported.

More than 84,000 Vietnam veterans afflicted with heart disease, Parkinson’s disease or B-cell leukemia can now draw disability compensation when the Department of Veterans Affairs earlier this month expanded the list of ailments presumed caused by exposure to herbicides, including Agent Orange.

A joint U.S.-South Korea investigation team earlier this month found no evidence of Agent Orange at Camp Carroll in South Korea despite recent claims to the contrary by former soldiers.


Mach 20 test goes awry, military craft lost

CBS News
By Tariq Malik
August 11, 2011

The U.S. military lost contact with an unmanned hypersonic glider shortly after it launched on a test flight today (Aug. 12) as part of a global strike weapons program to develop vehicles capable of flying at Mach 20 and reach any target in the world in an hour. …

According to DARPA updates, the test flight appeared to go well until the glide phase, when monitoring stations lost contact with the HTV-2 vehicle. …

“Range assets have lost telemetry with HTV2,” DARPA officials wrote in a Twitter post about 36 minutes after launch.

Monitoring stations further down range of the vehicle’s flight path over the Pacific Ocean also did not find the hypersonic HTV-2 glider. The vehicle is designed to crash itself into the ocean at the end of its mission.

“Downrange assets did not reacquire tracking or telemetry. HTV2 has an autonomous flight termination capability,” DARPA officials wrote.

Whether the test flight met all of its objecties still remains unclear, but this is the second test flight of the Falcon HTV–2 program that ended prematurely. An April 2010 test flight ended nine minutes into flight, also due to loss of contact. …

Read on: www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/08/11/scitech/main20091239.shtml

Experimental Mach-20 aircraft set for launch at Vandenberg AFB

Los Angeles Times
By W.J. Hennigan
August 10, 2011

The Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 is part of a program that would deliver a military strike anywhere in the world in less than an hour.

An experimental, arrowhead-shaped aircraft that could reach blistering speeds of 13,000 mph above the Pacific Ocean is set to blast off on a test flight Wednesday from Vandenberg Air Force Base, northwest of Santa Barbara.

The flight is scheduled to test new technology that would provide the Pentagon with a vehicle capable of delivering a military strike anywhere in the world in less than an hour.

The unmanned aircraft, dubbed Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2, is scheduled to be launched at 7 a.m. PDT into the upper reaches of the Earth’s atmosphere aboard an eight-story Minotaur IV rocket …

Read on: www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-vandenberg-hypersonic-aircraft-20110810,0,6272069.story