Marine Corps Stretched Thin By Wars In Iraq, AfghanistanAugust 23, 2006 17:09 The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are stretching the U.S. Marine Corps, forcing the service to take extraordinary measures to bolster both manpower and equipment.
On Tuesday, the Marines announced plans to recall as many as 2,500 inactive reservists to involuntary active-duty service to meet manpower needs, the first such call-up since nearly 2,700 Marines were recalled to active-duty before U.S. forces invaded Iraq in 2003.
The announcement coincided with a report to be issued Wednesday by two military experts who say that the Marines are having to borrow equipment from non-deployed units and pre-positioned stockpiles to replace tanks, trucks, armored vehicles and other hardware worn out by more than three years of combat duty in Iraq.
The two events are the latest signs that the U.S. military is having difficulty maintaining its combat readiness with the Iraq war well into its fourth year.
Poll: Bush Gets Terror Boost, But..., President's Approval Rating In Cbs Survey Unchanged At 36% Despite Unraveling Of London Terror PlotAugust 23, 2006 08:51 The dismantling of the London terror plot hasn't helped President Bush with U.S. voters, according to a new CBS News/New York Times poll.
The survey shows that while the president received a modest boost for his handling of terrorism (55 percent approve) in the wake of the plot, concerns about Iraq, the economy and the Mideast neutralized that advantage. As a result, Mr. Bush's approval rating remained at 36 percent.
That number was unchanged from last week and from a poll conducted in July, before the latest terrorist-related arrests in Great Britain. For most of this year, Mr. Bush's approval rating has hovered in the mid 30s.
The survey also suggests that the partisan divide has grown a bit wider in recent months. The president's approval rating among Republicans has risen slightly, from 68 percent in April to 74 percent now. But only about three in 10 independents approve of the job Mr. Bush is doing, as do less than one in 10 Democrats.
Number Of U.S. Troops In Iraq ClimbsAugust 23, 2006 08:48 The number of U.S. troops in Iraq has climbed back to 138,000, driven up in part by the need to control the escalating violence in Baghdad and the decision to delay the departure of an Alaska-based Army brigade.
The increase comes as the U.S. Marine Corps is preparing to order thousands of its troops to active duty in the first involuntary recall since the early days of the war.
No more than 2,500 Marines will be recalled at any one time, but there is no cap on the total number who may be forced back into service in the coming years as the military helps fight the war on terror. The call-ups will begin in the next few months, and most of the Marines are expected to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Troop levels in Iraq had been declining, from about 138,000 for much of last year to a low of about 127,000 earlier this summer, amid growing calls from Congress and the public for a phased withdrawal. Part of the latest increase is due to the overlap of units that are currently moving in and out of Iraq. But much of it comes from the decision late last month to delay the departure of the 172nd Stryker Brigade for four months. The brigade had served its one-year deployment and was beginning to head home to Alaska, but was instead ordered into Baghdad.
This is the first time the Marines have had to use the involuntary recall since the beginning of the Iraq combat. The Army, meanwhile, has issued orders recalling about 10,000 soldiers so far, but many of those may be granted exemptions.
Silly Secrecy... U.S. Makes 1971 Missile Data ReClassifiedAugust 21, 2006 09:49 Once-public documents on U.S. missile defenses in the 1970s have been ordered sealed from view by the Bush administration, The Washington Post reports.
The newspaper said an open House Armed Services Committee heard in March 1971 the United States had 30 strategic bomber squadrons, 54 Titan intercontinental ballistic missiles and 1,000 Minuteman missiles, But those numbers are redacted in a copy of the chart obtained by the National Security Archive's researchers in January, archives officials said.
"It's yet another example of silly secrecy," said Thomas Blanton, the archive's director.
Federal Judge Rules Warrantless Wiretapping UnconstitutionalAugust 17, 2006 12:57 A federal judge in Detroit ruled today that the Bush Administration's warrantless wiretapping program is unconstitutional and ordered an immediate halt to it.
U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor became the first judge to strike down the National Security Agency's program, which she says violates the rights to free speech and privacy.
The case was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union against the National Security Agency. The ACLU had argued that the domestic surveillance program violates the rights to free speech and privacy.
Cell Phone Case May Not Be TerrorismAugust 16, 2006 21:34 The five Arabs, who were arrested on charges of terrorism just for buying batches of mobile phones, are innocent, according to the FBI.
Local authorities had arrested the Arab-Americans after they had found nearly 1000 mobile phones; most of them prepaid TracFones, along with $11,000 in cash. They also found a map marking Wal-Mart stores from Ohio to South Carolina. Additionally prosecutors said airport security information and airline passenger lists were also recovered from their van.
FBI then stepped in saying that there were no connections between the arrested persons and any terror groups. However prosecutors are not fully convinced and say that they are still investigating. Many see this as a case of sour grapes. Imad Hamad, who works in the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee in Michigan, said, "I think (prosecutors) are stuck in a corner and looking for a safe place. If I was them, I would say a mistake was done, and the police overreacted".
Tom Hayden: See You At ArmageddonAugust 11, 2006 14:43 We already know this:
The public and the press were in the dark, but Vice President Cheney already knew British agents were arresting Muslim suspects in the trans-Atlantic bombing case when he attacked Ned Lamont and the Democratic Party for encouraging "al-Qaeda types."
The US war in Iraq is a failure in the eyes of most Americans.
The US-backed Israeli bombing of Lebanon has revived the discredited neo-conservative argument to carry the war to Middle Eastern terrorists.
This is about the November 2006 election, Armageddon for Republicans who fear losing their monopolistic grip on the Congress, and about the 2008 election which will be a referendum on what the neo-conservatives have wrought.
This is about the fate of the planet for this generation.
Airline Bombing PlotAugust 10, 2006 11:19 British police have arrested 21 people in connection with a plot to blow up planes flying between Britain and the United States, a senior officer said Thursday.
British authorities said they had thwarted a terrorist plot to simultaneously blow up several aircraft in flight to the United States using explosives smuggled in hand luggage, averting what police described as ``mass murder on an unimaginable scale.''
Officials raised security to its highest level _ suggesting a terrorist attack might be imminent _ and banned hand-carried luggage on all trans-Atlantic flights. Huge crowds formed at security barriers as officials searching for explosives barred nearly every
form of liquid outside of baby formula.
``This was to be a simultaneous attack on multiple targets, targeting U.S.-bound aircraft,'' a police official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case.
Researcher Warns Of Security Problem In Electronic PassportsAugust 06, 2006 09:40 A researcher warned that electronic passports being introduced in the U.S. and other countries have a major vulnerability that could allow criminals to clone embedded secret code and enter countries illegally.
The demonstration, given late Friday night by German computer security expert Lukas Grunwald, showed how personal information stored on the documents could be copied and transferred to another device.
It appeared to contradict assurances by officials in government and private industry that the electronic information stored in passports could not be duplicated.
"If there is an automatic inspection system, I can use this card to enter any country," Grunwald said, holding up a computer chip that contained electronic information he had copied from his German passport.
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