Countdown Clocks

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Posts tagged "Military"

quickhits:

The right’s BENGHAZI!!! narrative collapses once again.

(via thepoliticalfreakshow)

thepoliticalfreakshow:

As the Army continues to investigate whether Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is guilty of deserting his unit, this afternoon they said there is no reason to believe that Bergdahl engaged in any misconduct during his five years in captivity. 

In fact, that’s all that the Army said:

We have no reason to believe that he engaged in any misconduct.”

Bergdahl electrified the national discourse last month after he was freed in a prisoner swap involving five members of the Taliban held at Guantanamo Bay. As charges against his character emerged, the narrative quickly shifted from Bergdahl as POW to Bergdahl as despicable deserter, unworthy bargaining chip, unwitting endangerer of America, and worse.

Here’s what else we’re learning about Bergdahl:

— For now, he’s on full Army pay, including $200,000 during his time in captivity, all of which he may ultimately have to return.

— Military investigators have not read Bergdahl his rights. 

— Bergdahl has not yet spoken to his parents.

He is currently in an outpatient facility in Texas. The Army investigation is expected to conclude in mid-August. If charged with desertion, Bergdahl could face court-martial, prison, and even the death penalty. 

Source: Adam Chandler for The Wire

Fox News provided ample coverage of two separate instances of U.S. Marines imprisoned in Mexico on gun charges, using the stories to criticize the Obama administration for what was deemed an inadequate response to each situation. But Fox paid no attention to a nearly identical case of a jailed U.S. soldier that occurred during the Bush administration.

On March 31, Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi was arrested after he claimed he accidentally crossed into Mexico with personal firearms in his car, and has been held in a Mexican prison on weapons charges since that time.

Fox News heavily covered the story. A Nexis search of the network’s evening programming showed that since March 31, there have been at least 31 segments about Tahmooressi’s detainment, including phone interviews with Tahmooressi, his mother, and his friends. Fox host Greta Van Susteren demanded President Obama take action to free the Marine on the May 20 edition of Fox’s On the Record. Later on the show, Fox contributor Allen West bashed Obama and Secretary of State Kerry as “neutered pajama-boy leaders.”

More recently, Fox ramped up its criticism of the purported lack of action to more absurd levels, conducting polling asking whether the border with Mexico should be closed until Tahmooressi is returned, and one Fox host going so far as to suggest that an exchange of “five jailed illegal immigrants” with Mexico for his return, a reference to the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from Taliban captivity after several years.

And in 2012, after U.S. Marine Jon Hammar was arrested in Mexico for carrying an antique shotgun across the border, Fox devoted at least 35 evening programming segments to Hammar, according to Nexis, often similarly complaining about the Obama administration response.

But when Spc. Richard Torres was arrested after crossing into Mexico in a similar alleged accident in mid-2008, Fox News’ evening shows voiced no such criticism over the failure of the Bush administration to act quickly to secure his release. In fact, a search of Nexis shows that they never covered the story at all, an omission that cannot be explained away by differences in the cases, as the circumstances of are remarkably similar.

From a May 30 CNN report on Tahmooressi’s arrest:

The Marine’s mom said he accidentally crossed into Mexico with three personal firearms — all bought legally in the U.S.

The 25-year-old had intended to drive to meet friends in San Ysidro, California, on March 31.

He was moving from Florida to California in the hope of getting a job and continuing treatment he had just begun for post traumatic stress related to his two combat tours, she said.

With all his possessions in his truck, Tahmooressi accidentally drove across the border, she said.

When he realized his mistake, his mother said, he dialed 911 and asked the operator to help him. No help came, Jill Tahmooressi said. Her son first encountered Mexican customs agents, she said, and he believed they understood that he’d made an innocent error. They seemed to be getting an escort car to help him, she said.

But officers with the Mexican military interfered, she told “New Day,” and her son was arrested.

And from a May 10, 2008, Houston Chronicle report on Torres’ arrest:

When he crossed the U.S.-Mexico border, Spc. Richard Torres was carrying a small arsenal in his car: an AR-15 assault rifle, a .45-caliber handgun, 171 rounds of ammunition, several cartridges and three knives.

At a checkpoint, Torres didn’t try to hide the weapons. But he insisted he hadn’t meant to cross the border with the guns, which in Mexico are restricted for use only by the military. While searching for parking in El Paso, he said, he inadvertently drove onto a bridge leading to Mexico and could not turn around.

Now the Iraq veteran is in a Mexican jail while a judge decides whether to believe his account: that an experienced soldier accidentally ended up in a border town where drug cartels pay top dollar for exactly the kind of high-powered weapons he happened to have.

Torres ultimately spent a little more than a month in jail before he was released.

Methodology: On June 4, Media Matters searched Fox News Network transcriptsseparately for “Andrew Tahmooressi,” “Jon Hammar,” and “Richard Torres” for all available dates. Thirty-one results were found for “Andrew Tahmooressi,” 35 results were found for “Jon Hammar,” and zero results were found for “Richard Torres.”

h/t: Zachary Pleat at RWW

h/t: Tom Kludt at TPM

2012 GOP threat: Sgt. Bergdahl swap will be Obama, Democrats’ ‘Willie Horton moment’ (via Raw Story )

Republicans are outraged that President Barack Obama authorized a prisoner exchange with the Taliban for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl — who has been held captive since 2009 — and that they plan to use the exchange against Democrats in the upcoming…



 

breakingnews:

The Washington Post: The only American soldier held prisoner in Afghanistan has been freed and is in U.S. custody, officials said on Saturday.

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s release was part of a negotiation that includes the release of five Afghan detainees held at Guantanamo Bay.

Follow more on Breaking News

h/t: DrillSgtk at Daily Kos

thepoliticalfreakshow:

Updated — 2:57 p.m. ET

AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, File

President Barack Obama speaking during a troop rally on May 25 after arriving at Bagram Air Field for an unannounced visit, north of Kabul, Afghanistan.

President Obama announced Tuesday that he wants to keep 9,800 troops in Afghanistan after the U.S. combat mission ends this year, according to a senior administration official.


The White House issued the following statement Tuesday ahead of the president’s announcement:

This afternoon the President will make an announcement about the next steps in winding down the war in Afghanistan. He will announce that our combat mission will be over by the end of 2014. He will make clear that we are open to continued efforts in Afghanistan on two narrow missions after 2014: training Afghan Forces and supporting CT operations against the remnants of al Qaeda. We will only sustain a military presence after 2014 if the Afghan government signs the Bilateral Security Agreement. Both Afghan presidential candidates recently reiterated their intentions to sign the agreement quickly if elected. Assuming a BSA is signed, at the beginning of 2015, we will have 9,800 U.S. service members in different parts of the country, together with our NATO allies and other partners. By the end of 2015, we would reduce that presence by roughly half, consolidating U.S. troops in Kabul and on Bagram Airfield. And one year later, by the end of 2016, we will draw down to a normal Embassy presence with a security assistance office in Kabul, as we have done in Iraq.

The announcement comes just two days after Obama made an unannounced visit to the troops at Bagram Air Field, north of Kabul, Afghanistan.

The announcement comes just two days after Obama made an unannounced visit to the troops at Bagram Air Field, north of Kabul, Afghanistan.
AP

On a conference call Tuesday, senior administrative officials said the White House hopes to cut the 9,800 troops in Afghanistan “by roughly half” at the end of 2015 and further reduce to a “normal embassy presence” by 2016.

Officials reiterated that the combat mission will conclude at the end of 2014, and U.S. military efforts will focus on training and counterterrorism thereafter.

The White House praised the Afghan national security forces for “stepping up” at this time and “growing in not only size but capability.”

On the issue of what message the U.S. is sending to Al Qaeda and Taliban with this draw down, officials said “there will be violence, there will be challenges in Afghanistan” and they acknowledged that there continue to be Al Qaeda threats in the region. However, the White House believes now is the time for the Afghans to be responsible for securing their own country and they believe Afghan forces are “prepared to step forward.”

“This is a moment of some momentum in Afghanistan,” a senior administration official said on the conference call.

President Obama is expected to elaborate on U.S. counterterrorism in Afghanistan when he speaks from West Point on Wednesday.

Source; Mike Hayes for Buzzfeed

Embedded image permalink

thepoliticalfreakshow:

The U.S. will leave 9,800 troops in Afghanistan following the troop withdrawal slated for December, if Afghanistan’s new president will agree to a bilateral security agreement. 

A senior White House official broke the news today, adding that President Barack Obama will formally make the announcement later this afternoon. The plan is for the remaining troops to be stationed in the country through next year, focusing on training and advising the Afghan military as well as, according to the official,fighting the “remnants of al Qaeda.” In 2016, the number of troops in Afghanistan will be reduced by half, and by the end of the year only a defense group will remain in the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. 

Afghan President Hamid Karzai spent much of last year waffling on whether or not to sign the agreement and ultimately decided not to do so, making it difficult for Washington to figure out a withdrawal plan. But now Karzai is on his way out, and the two candidates who will face each other in runoff elections slated for June have both said they will sign the agreement — allowing the Obama administration to finally decide on steps for the future. 

Source: Danielle Wiener-Bronner for The Wire

thepoliticalfreakshow:

Republican Habitual Whiner Dana Loesch Completely Misses The Point of The #YesAllWomen Hashtag & In Doing So, Contributes To Misogyny Herself

Not surprising to hear this from Dana Loesch. She continually misses the point of the hashtag. 

I’m speechless. Please, some of you help me figure these crap tweets out.

She’s cray-cray beyond belief.

Both Allen West and Tammy Duckworth served in the military; however, West disgraced our nation’s military by behaving in a dishonest manner as he almost got court martialed. 
Duckworth, OTOH, is a REAL hero who served to protect our freedoms. 

This is eerily reminiscent of how soon-to-be retiring Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss degradingly smeared the then incumbent Max Cleland in an ad back in the 2002 elections.