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Author: TriSec    Date: 04/07/2015 10:06:08

Good Morning.

Today is our 292nd day back in Iraq.

There have been no new casualties in either theater.

We find this morning's Cost of War passing through:

$ 1, 616, 828, 500, 000 .00

Despite us not going to war with Iran, the war hawks will always find a way. Thanks to our schizophrenic war/not war policy, it's hard to say what actually counts these days. But I'm pretty sure the good soldiers from Fort Drum know what will happen where they're going.

About 1,250 soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division will deploy to Iraq later this year, officials said Monday.

The soldiers from the division's 1st Brigade Combat Team will deploy in August or September, said Maj. Josh Jacques, a spokesman for the division.

The Fort Drum, New York-based soldiers are expected to deploy for nine months, and they will replace paratroopers from 3rd BCT, 82nd Airborne Division, who have been in Iraq since January, Jacques said.

The announcement about the soldiers' upcoming deployment came as new Defense Secretary Ashton Carter visited Fort Drum on Monday.

Carter thanked the troops for their service during his first domestic trip since being sworn in on March 6.

"Some of you are recently back from Afghanistan. Some of you are off again to Afghanistan," Carter said. "And some of you — and this is important — will be going to Iraq, to train, advise and assist the Iraqi security forces so that they can be the force that sustains the defeat of ISIL after ISIL is defeated, which it will be. But in order to sustain that defeat, we need a force on the ground, and that's what you'll be helping to create."

Carter acknowledged the troops' sacrifices, especially after more than a decade of war.

"I know it's not easy," he said. "We're asking a lot of you. That's why regionally aligned forces are going to be so important to our future. You all will continue to be, on our behalf, globally engaged, and I know that's challenging, but it's also incredibly important."

Col. Mark O'Donnell, commander of 1st BCT, said in a statement that his soldiers were ready for the Iraq mission.

"This brigade has a history of excelling in whatever mission we're given, so I expect our troops to do well by helping to train, advise and assist the Iraqi and peshmerga forces in the defeat of ISIL," O'Donnell said. "We recently completed training at the Joint Readiness Training Center, so our soldiers and families are fully prepared to succeed knowing that we're one of the most-trained and ready forces in our Army."

The brigade's last deployment, which ended in the fall of 2013, was a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan.

There are almost 3,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, most of them soldiers.

But that's not all. Vladimir Putin hasn't quite gone away, and since the old Soviet Union collapsed almost a quarter-century ago now, there are plenty of places that have never hosted US troops that needed to get on the "occupy" list for our war-hawks. Despite them being near obsolescent, our friends in Romania now have their very own wing of A-10 "Thunderbolts" for force-projection.

The U.S. has deployed 12 A-10 Warthog planes to Romania as part of a theater-security effort to counter Russian aggression in Ukraine – all while debate over whether to retire the close-air support platform rages on in Congress and the Pentagon.

"The 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron forward deployed 12 A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft and approximately 200 Airmen and support equipment from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany to Campia Turzii, Romania over the weekend," Pentagon spokesman James Brindle said.

The deployment marks the first ever deployment of A-10s to Romania, he added.

"The unit will conduct training alongside our NATO allies to strengthen interoperability and demonstrate U.S. commitment to the security and stability of Europe," Brindle explained.

The deployment comes as the future of the A-10 platform lingers in a haze of uncertainty. The Air Force hopes to retire the planes and save more than $4 billion. Service officials say the A-10s will be fully divested from the inventory by 2019.

"We proposed their divestiture across the next four years in our 2016 budget submission. That plan would include them to continue to deploy until we’ve completed divesting the fleet," Maj. Erika Yepsen, Air Force spokeswoman, told Military.com.

Air Force officials emphasize that the service remains committed to providing close air support for the joint force.

"While the A-10 provides outstanding close air support, it is not the only aircraft that performs this mission. However, faced with difficult budget choices, divestiture of the A-10 presents the least risk to balancing capability, capacity and readiness," Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Chris Karns, told Military.com.

At the same time, many lawmakers and A-10 proponents have pushed back on this plan, promising to add money back to the A-10 program during the upcoming 2016 budget bill mark-ups.

A-10 advocates swear by the aircraft’s unique ability to withstand ground fire. Several prominent lawmakers, to include Senate Armed Forces Committee chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., argue vigorously for the preservation of the A-10 platform.

Overall, Pentagon officials described the A-10 deployments as part of NATOs Operation Atlantic Resolve strategy aimed at, among other things, projecting and deploying force against Russia

"Operation Atlantic Resolve will remain in place as long as the need exists to reassure our allies and deter Russia from regional hegemony," he said.

At least when our war dead come back, they'll have a little bit more protection in spots. It's hard to say if this was a lesson learned or not, but maybe not sending troops to get killed overseas could also be a solution to this perceived problem?

DES MOINES, Iowa (Tribune News Service) — In response to church protesters who one Eastern Iowa lawmaker labeled “verbal domestic terrorists” after they shouted homophobic slurs and desecrated the United States flag at military funerals, the Iowa House Thursday voted 100-0 to create a protest-free zone at funerals.

House File 558 expands the level of privacy granted under the 4th Amendment to reasonably grieve for loved ones, soldiers or civilians, according to floor manager Rep. Zack Nunn, R-Bondurant. It would establish a 1,000-foot buffer between funerals and protesters for one hour before and after the funeral. The also would respect the 1st Amendment right of free speech “in a way that avoids the hate speech we’ve seen in similar situations.”

The House also voted 100-0 to approve the Safe at Home Act, HF 585, to establish an address confidentiality program to protects victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault, trafficking, and stalking by keeping their home addresses private. It would give participants a new legal address — essentially a post office box with the Iowa Secretary of State Office — to be used for all official purposes including public records, such as voter registration and absentee ballot lists.

Similar programs are active in 33 states.

HF 558 is a response to demonstrations by Westboro Baptist Church whose members have shown up at military funerals to deliver its message that God will turn his back on a nation that sanctions abortion, same-sex marriage and other abominations. The death of soldiers, according to Westboro, is God’s punishment for America abandoning him.

Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, R-Wilton, who has called their behavior “despicable,” repeated his assertion that the Westboro protesters are “domestic terrorists.”

“You do not have a constitutional right to infringe on the constitutional rights of the families who are laying their fallen loved ones to rest,” he said.

HF 558 is based on legislation that has been upheld by supreme courts in Nebraska, Missouri, and Minnesota, Nunn said.

Maybe we should send Westboro Baptist to Tikrit and see how they make out?

50 comments (Latest Comment: 04/08/2015 00:00:59 by Raine)
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