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ISIS seizes government compound after "vicious attack" in Ramadi
Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants on Friday captured the
main government compound in Ramadi, the capital of Iraq's western Anbar
province, after fierce clashes with security forces.
Ramadi's Mayor Dalaf al-Kubaisi says the militants raised the black
flag of ISIS over the area after troops were forced to withdraw from
the compound, which houses most of the city's government offices.
He said the ISIS militants, who also seized other parts of the city,
are now attacking the Anbar Operation Command, the military
headquarters for the province.
Stephanopoulos Caught in Clinton Cash Trap
The ABC anchor has admitted he donated the money to the Clinton Foundation. Republicans do not want to let the matter die.
News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos, who for 15 years expertly
navigated his re-invention from tough Clinton operative to respected
television journalist, has finally—and perhaps inevitably—slipped up.
His mistake, by any definition, is a beaut—no doubt prompting a blush
of shame and putting the network news division on the defensive.
It turns out that the 54-year-old Stephanopoulos—who served as a top
aide in Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign and first White House
term before leaving to teach, write an acclaimed memoir and join
ABC—failed to disclose to his ABC News bosses $75,000 in contributions
he made to the Clinton Foundation.
Worse, he didn’t tell viewers, keeping silent about the potential
conflict of interest even as he conducted a contentious interview
April 26 on his Sunday panel show, This Week With George
Stephanopoulos, with Clinton Foundation critic Peter Schweizer, author
of Clinton Cash.
U.S., China set for high-stakes rivalry in skies above South China Sea
the U.S. navy sent a littoral combat ship on its first patrol of the
disputed Spratly islands in the South China Sea during the past week,
it was watching the skies as well.
The USS Fort Worth, one of the most modern ships in the U.S. navy,
dispatched a reconnaissance drone and a Seahawk helicopter to patrol
the airspace, according to a little-noticed statement on the navy's
While the navy didn't mention China's rapid land reclamation in the
Spratlys, the ship's actions were a demonstration of U.S. capabilities
in the event Beijing declares an Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ)
in the area - a move experts and some U.S. military officials see as
Obama Trade Agenda Overcomes Opposition From Elizabeth Warren, Other Democrats
Barack Obama won a battle Thursday in his trade war as legislation to
give him larger authority to negotiate international trade deals
cleared a procedural hurdle in the Senate. Just two days earlier,
Democrats voted against giving their own president more flexibility,
but several Democrats switched positions after Republican leadership
allowed votes on two additional compromise measures, including
legislation aimed at preventing currency manipulation. Sen. Elizabeth
Warren, D-Mass., who has been an outspoken opponent of the deal that
Obama is pursuing, voted no.
The bill received 65 votes, more than the needed 60 votes to clear
“cloture,” the process of avoiding a filibuster. Only 33 voted in
opposition, with two senators absent. On Tuesday, a vote on the same
motion had failed 52-45, with Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., as the only
Democrat to support it.
House passes $612 Billion defense bill opposed by Obama
The House has passed a nearly $612 billion defense policy bill despite a veto threat by President Barack Obama.
Democrats oppose it because they say the measure paves the way to cutting domestic programs later this year.
Friday’s vote was 269-151 for the bill, which maps next year’s military and national security programs.
Cameron Considers More Powers for Scotland--but Not Fiscal
British Prime Minister David Cameron said Friday he would consider
handing over more power to Scotland, but stopped short of agreeing to
demands from Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to grant the
territory full fiscal autonomy.
Cameron and Sturgeon met in Edinburgh for their first talks since
Britain's national election last week, in which Sturgeon's
pro-independence Scottish National Party gained unprecedented national
Sturgeon called the talks "constructive," and said the two agreed that
previously drawn up plans to transfer greater governing powers from
London to Scotland should be implemented as soon as possible. But she
said she and Cameron disagreed on whether Scotland should control all
of its tax and spending policies.
Marine Gen. James Mattis' assessment of Obama
U.S. suffering 'strategic atrophy'
Retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis said the U.S. is suffering
“strategic atrophy” that will threaten the long-term security of the
The retired general and former Central Command (CENTCOM) commander made
the remarks while speaking at the Heritage Foundation, a prominent
conservative think tank in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.
“The perception [among allies] is we’re pulling back,” Gen. Mattis said, the U.S. Naval Institute reported Thursday.
Senate crackdown on China currency manipulation complicates Obama trade deal
Brushing aside President Obama’s objections, the Senate voted
overwhelming Thursday to push back against China and other countries
deemed guilty of depressing their own currencies to win a trade
advantage versus the U.S., potentially complicating the White House’s
push for fast-track trade negotiating powers.
Currency manipulation has emerged as a linchpin of the trade debate,
with top Democrats saying if Mr. Obama were to accede to pressure from
Congress to investigate other countries’ currency behavior, Mr. Obama
could win the votes he’ll need to secure the trade promotion authority
(TPA) powers he is seeking.
Amtrak spends millions on fancy high-speed cars, little on basic maintenance
Dozens of federal watchdog reports over the past decade have revealed a
culture of financial irresponsibility and mismanagement at Amtrak that
has led to billions of wasted taxpayer dollars over the years and may
have put travelers at risk.
Amtrak has consumed almost $40 billion in federal subsidies since 1971,
but has never earned a profit, and most of its routes lose money
running empty trains. In addition, federal reports reveal that Amtrak
regularly loses tens of millions of dollars on food sales and improper
Defense bill shows Pelosi's power waning in House
A whopping 41
Democrats bucked Rep. Nancy Pelosi, one the most powerful Democrat in
the House, and voted Friday for the defense authorization Friday — even
though she demanded her colleagues oppose the measure.
Leader Pelosi led the charge to vote down an increase in Pentagon
funding, pushing a Democratic plan to hold spending to limits set in
the 2011 budget “sequestration” deal. Herr coalition broke apart and
more than three dozen abandoned her.
Boehner said the 142 Democrats who opposed the legislation are “letting
politics come before national security. With all the threats our troops
face and the sacrifices they make, Democrats’ opposition to this
defense bill is in fact indefensible,” he said.
B.B. King, 'King of the Blues' guitar legend, dies at age 89
B.B. King, whose scorching guitar licks and heartfelt vocals
made him the idol of generations of musicians and fans while earning
him the nickname King of the Blues, died late Thursday at home in Las
Vegas. He was 89.
His attorney, Brent Bryson, told The Associated Press that King died
peacefully in his sleep at 9:40 p.m. PDT. He said funeral arrangements
Marco Rubio fires an impressive opening shot
No presidential campaign guru ever posted a sign in headquarters
warning the warriors that “it’s foreign policy, Stupid.” Americans are
so pleased to be where they are they have little interest in what’s
going on anywhere else. Americans had zero interest in the gathering
storm in the Pacific on Dec. 6, 1941, and on Sept. 10, 2001, nobody
gave the Muslims, angry or otherwise, a second (or even third) thought.
This makes it tough sometimes for candidates who shun the provincial
and the shortsighted. “Foreign policy” just doesn’t compute in the
brains of most voters, who typically have more important things to
worry about: Can Tom Brady and the New England Patriots inflate anew
the respect of football fans? Will Don Draper die in the final
installment of “Mad Men?”
A Chinese-Russian alliance that complicates the Middle East
Though on a
very small scale, Russian and Chinese navies have engaged in their
first joint exercises in the Mediterranean. On the one hand, it shows a
level of cooperation and the expanding horizons of Chinese maritime
interests in the Middle East. On the other hand, Russian and Chinese
interests in the region are divergent.
Since the end
of the Cold War, Russia has been eager to restore its naval presence in
the Mediterranean. Russia retains a foothold in the Syrian port of
Tartus, albeit the future of Russian interests is tied to the future of
President Bashar Assad.
until recently, been uninvolved in the Middle East, delegating
responsibility for the maintenance of regional stability to the United
States. With the withdrawal of U.S. forces and the continued Chinese
reliance on Middle East oil, the military equation has shifted with the
Chinese keen on securing shipping lanes for trade. As a consequence,
the Chinese have been caught up in the region’s upheavals, picking up
several hundred Chinese workers from Yemen and Libya who were in
Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action
enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving
Armed Services of the United States.
to its recipient by the President of the
United States of America in the name of Congress.
first award of the Medal of Honor was made March 25, 1863 to
JACOB PARROTT.The last award of the Medal of Honor was made
September 15, 2011
to Sergeant DAKOTA MEYER.
then there have been: •
3458 recipients of the Medal of Honor.
Today there are 85 Living Recipients of the
Medal of Honor.
BENAVIDEZ, ROY P.
Rank: Master Sergeant
Organization: U.S. Army
Company: Detachment B-56
Division: 5th Special Forces Group
BENAVIDEZ, ROY P.
Master Sergeant (then Staff Sergeant) Roy P. Benavidez
United States Army, who distinguished himself by a series of daring and
extremely valorous actions on 2 May 1968 while assigned to Detachment
B56, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces, Republic
of Vietnam. On the morning of 2 May 1968, a 12-man Special Forces
Reconnaissance Team was inserted by helicopters in a dense jungle area
west of Loc Ninh, Vietnam to gather intelligence information about
confirmed large-scale enemy activity. This area was controlled and
routinely patrolled by the North Vietnamese Army. After a short period
of time on the ground, the team met heavy enemy resistance, and
requested emergency extraction. Three helicopters attempted extraction,
but were unable to land due to intense enemy small arms and
anti-aircraft fire. Sergeant Benavidez was at the Forward Operating
Base in Loc Ninh monitoring the operation by radio when these
helicopters returned to off-load wounded crewmembers and to assess
aircraft damage. Sergeant Benavidez voluntarily boarded a returning
aircraft to assist in another extraction attempt. Realizing that all
the team members were either dead or wounded and unable to move to the
pickup zone, he directed the aircraft to a nearby clearing where he
jumped from the hovering helicopter, and ran approximately 75 meters
under withering small arms fire to the crippled team. Prior to reaching
the team's position he was wounded in his right leg, face, and head.
Despite these painful injuries, he took charge, repositioning the team
members and directing their fire to facilitate the landing of an
extraction aircraft, and the loading of wounded and dead team members.
He then threw smoke canisters to direct the aircraft to the team's
position. Despite his severe wounds and under intense enemy fire, he
carried and dragged half of the wounded team members to the awaiting
aircraft. He then provided protective fire by running alongside the
aircraft as it moved to pick up the remaining team members. As the
enemy's fire intensified, he hurried to recover the body and classified
documents on the dead team leader. When he reached the leader's body,
Sergeant Benavidez was severely wounded by small arms fire in the
abdomen and grenade fragments in his back. At nearly the same moment,
the aircraft pilot was mortally wounded, and his helicopter crashed.
Although in extremely critical condition due to his multiple wounds,
Sergeant Benavidez secured the classified documents and made his way
back to the wreckage, where he aided the wounded out of the overturned
aircraft, and gathered the stunned survivors into a defensive
perimeter. Under increasing enemy automatic weapons and grenade fire,
he moved around the perimeter distributing water and ammunition to his
weary men, reinstilling in them a will to live and fight. Facing a
buildup of enemy opposition with a beleaguered team, Sergeant Benavidez
mustered his strength, began calling in tactical air strikes and
directed the fire from supporting gunships to suppress the enemy's fire
and so permit another extraction attempt. He was wounded again in his
thigh by small arms fire while administering first aid to a wounded
team member just before another extraction helicopter was able to land.
His indomitable spirit kept him going as he began to ferry his comrades
to the craft. On his second trip with the wounded, he was clubbed from
additional wounds to his head and arms before killing his adversary. He
then continued under devastating fire to carry the wounded to the
helicopter. Upon reaching the aircraft, he spotted and killed two enemy
soldiers who were rushing the craft from an angle that prevented the
aircraft door gunner from firing upon them. With little strength
remaining, he made one last trip to the perimeter to ensure that all
classified material had been collected or destroyed, and to bring in
the remaining wounded. Only then, in extremely serious condition from
numerous wounds and loss of blood, did he allow himself to be pulled
into the extraction aircraft. Sergeant Benavidez' gallant choice to
join voluntarily his comrades who were in critical straits, to expose
himself constantly to withering enemy fire, and his refusal to be
stopped despite numerous severe wounds, saved the lives of at least
eight men. His fearless personal leadership, tenacious devotion to
duty, and extremely valorous actions in the face of overwhelming odds
were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service,
and reflect the utmost credit on him and the United States Army.
From the Archives
American Fairness to a Fault — a Deadly One
Tuesday, 10 Nov 2009 02:28 PM
American’s tragic flaw is our unbridled fairness, which has been
corrupted ever more by the cancer of political correctness to the point
we put ourselves at risk rather than create even the perception of
Sometime after the VOLAR (all volunteer) Army, the military veered from
the “yes sir, yes sir, three bags full” blind adherence to all orders to
the concept of refusing “unlawful orders” and that was ostensibly a
However, the uniformed services do not set or get to pick and choose
foreign policy. The civilian leadership sets foreign policy, and the
U.S. military enforces it — with a big, honking combined arms stick.
Retired Lt. Col. Ralph Peters has been one of the rare pundits with the
courage to target the “culture of political correctness” in leadership
of the military. In at least two interviews on Fox, Peters (correctly)
blamed the culture of political correctness for the Army’s diffidence in
taking action against Nidal Malik Hasan in the wake of knowledge of the
Many mechanisms exist for dealing with matters of deep conscience — all
without killing those one might think disagree with in principle.
However, it is not prejudice to discriminate based on threat facts in
evidence. Refusal to act judiciously for fear of a tainted perception is
just plain dumb.
Notwithstanding the articulated fears of the Army chief of staff and the
secretary of Homeland Security, officials made an epic mistake in
handling suspicions about Hasan. A mistake founded on political
correctness and sustained by diffidence that cost the lives of
Reportedly, U.S. intelligence agencies were aware (months ago) that
Hasan was attempting to make contact with people associated with
al-Qaida. He spoke openly to too many people about his angst and
misdirected sympathies. He was apparently a poster child for suspicion,
and the Army failed bigtime to intervene.
“It is not known whether the intelligence agencies informed the Army
that one of its officers was seeking to connect with suspected al-Qaida
figures," the officials said.
But you damnbetcha they SHOULD have done so.
Investigators want to know whether Hasan maintained contact with a
radical mosque leader from Virginia, Anwar al Awlaki, who now lives in
Yemen and runs a Web site that promotes jihad around the world against
the United States.
In a recent blog posting titled "Nidal Hassan Did the Right Thing,"
Awlaki calls Hasan a "hero" and a "man of conscience who could not bear
living the contradiction of being a Muslim and serving in an army that
is fighting against his own people."
Increasingly we are told people who knew or worked with Hasan say he
seemed to become gradually more radical in his condemnation of the war
in Iraq and Afghanistan. Subordinates and superiors had a responsibility
to flag the inappropriate rhetoric, and they apparently did not.
The fear to speak out is a symptom of the PC disease fueled by
recriminations and implied threats of discrimination — a fear that
indirectly resulted in mayhem.
Sen. Joseph Lieberman said, "If Hasan was showing signs, saying to
people that he had become an Islamist extremist, the U.S. Army has to
have a zero tolerance," and despite the echo of shutting the barn door
after the horse got out, he is right.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey Jr. is concerned that speculation
about the religious beliefs of Hasan could “cause a backlash against
some of our Muslim soldiers.” He’s right, but such a backlash would be a
direct result of the failure of command — not prejudice.
When confronted about whether he thought the Army “dropped the ball” in
not responding to warning signs, Casey replied that the Army needs to be
careful not to jump to conclusions based on early tidbits of
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R.-S.C., and Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., both of whom
are veterans, took pains to say that Muslims have served honorably in
the military and at risk to their lives.
“At the end of the day, this is not about his religion — the fact that
this man was a Muslim,” Graham said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
But, hey, it is (kinda/sorta) about religion (when the FBI says 10
percent of American Mosques preach jihad) — at least from a risk