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Exclusive: U.S. Army officials said to back new scout helicopter


Exclusive: U.S. Army officials said to back new scout helicopter
By Andrea Shalal-Esa
WASHINGTON | Fri Nov 30, 2012 8:37pm EST

(Reuters) - U.S. Army officials this week backed a plan to buy new armed scout helicopters instead of extending the life of the Army's aging fleet of OH-58 Kiowa Warrior helicopters, sources familiar with the Army's plans told Reuters on Friday.

Army acquisition chief Heidi Shyu and other officials agreed to start the new acquisition program for the smaller military helicopter at a meeting on Thursday, but senior Army and Pentagon officials must still sign off on the new acquisition program, said the sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly.

It will be the Army's third attempt to start replacing the OH-58 helicopters, which were built by Bell Helicopter, a unit of Textron Inc. The basic OH-58 airframe dates back to the Vietnam War era, although it has been upgraded and modernized several times since then to keep it current.


If the new "Armed Aerial Scout" program survives the budget process, it would be the latest in a string of Army efforts to buy a new fleet of armed light helicopters that began in 2004 after cancellation of the Comanche helicopter program.

unhappycamper comment: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAH-66_Comanche

Boeing-Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche

The Boeing-Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche was an advanced five-blade armed reconnaissance and attack helicopter designed for the United States Army. The RAH-66 program was canceled in 2004, before mass production began, after nearly $7 billion was spent on the program.

During the early 1980s, the U.S. Army began formulating a requirement for the replacement of its helicopters then in service, resulting in the Light Helicopter Experimental program. In 1991, the Boeing-Sikorsky team was chosen to produce prototypes. The Comanche would incorporate stealth technologies, featuring a number of designs previously untried. It was to employ advanced sensors in its reconnaissance role, and was intended to designate targets for the AH-64 Apache. The aircraft was also armed with missiles and rockets to destroy armored vehicles. Two RAH-66 prototypes were built and conducted flight testing from 1996 to 2004. Since the cancellation the prototypes have been placed on display.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat Dec 1, 2012, 11:41 AM (0 replies)

Sucking Up to the Military Brass


Sucking Up to the Military Brass
Thursday, 29 November 2012 13:10
By William J Astore, TomDispatch | News Analysis

Few things have characterized the post-9/11 American world more than our worshipful embrace of our generals. They’ve become our heroes, our sports stars, and our celebrities all rolled into one. We can’t stop gushing about them. Even after his recent fall from grace, General David Petraeus was still being celebrated by CNN as the best American general since Dwight D. Eisenhower (and let’s not forget that Ike commanded the largest amphibious invasion in history and held a fractious coalition together in a total war against Nazi Germany). Before his fall from grace, Afghan War Commander General Stanley McChrystal was similarly lauded as one tough customer, a sort of superman-saint.

Petraeus and McChrystal crashed and burned for the same underlying reason: hubris. McChrystal became cocky and his staff contemptuous of civilian authority; Petraeus came to think he really could have it all, the super-secret job and the super-sexy mistress. An ideal of selfless service devolved into self-indulgent preening in a wider American culture all-too-eager to raise its star generals into the pantheon of Caesars and Napoleons, and its troops into the halls of Valhalla.

The English used to say of American troops in World War II that they were “overpaid, over-sexed, and over here.” Now we’re overhyped, oversold, and over there, wherever “there” might happen to be in a constantly shifting, perpetual war on terror.

In our particular drama, generals may well be the actors who strut and fret their hour upon the stage, but their directors are the national security complex and associated politicians, their producers the military-industrial complex’s corporate handlers, and their agents a war-junky media. And we, the audience in the cheap seats, must take some responsibility as well. Even when our military adventures spiral down after a promising opening week, the enthusiastic applause the American public has offered to our celebrity military adventurers and the lack of pressure on the politicians who choose to fund them only serve to keep bullets flying and troops dying.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat Dec 1, 2012, 11:01 AM (0 replies)

Reining in Obama and His Drones


Reining in Obama and His Drones
Published on Friday, November 30, 2012 by Common Dreams
by Ralph Nader

Barack Obama, former president of the Harvard Law Review and a constitutional law lecturer, should go back and review his coursework. He seems to have declined to comport his presidency to the rule of law.

Let’s focus here on his major expansion of drone warfare in defiance of international law, statutory law and the Constitution. Obama’s drones roam over multiple nations of Asia and Africa and target suspects, both known and unknown, whom the president, in his unbridled discretion, wants to evaporate for the cause of national security.

More than 2,500 people have been killed by Obama’s drones, many of them civilians and bystanders, including American citizens, irrespective of the absence of any “imminent threat” to the United States.

As Justin Elliott of ProPublica wrote: “Under Obama…only 13 percent (of those killed) could be considered militant leaders – either of the Pakistani Taliban, the Afghan Taliban, or Al Qaeda.” The remaining fatalities, apart from many innocent civilians, including children, were people oppressed by their own harsh regimes or dominated by U.S. occupation of their country. Aside from human rights and the laws of war, this distinction between civilian and combatant matters because it shows that Obama’s drones are becoming what Elliott calls “a counterinsurgency air force” for our collaborative regimes.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat Dec 1, 2012, 07:52 AM (3 replies)

'Tipping Point': Obama Lawyer Talks About Ending 'Endless' US War


US defense department general counsel, Jeh Johnson, says responsibility for tackling al-Qaida should pass to the police and other law enforcement agencies when the 'tipping point' in pursuit of group is reached.

'Tipping Point': Obama Lawyer Talks About Ending 'Endless' US War
Published on Friday, November 30, 2012 by Common Dreams
- Common Dreams staff

If a global war declared by the world's sole military and economic superpower against a shadowy, fragmented, franchisable, and loosely-grouped band of erstwhile 'dangerous' but also 'ravaged' and 'largely dismantled' terror group was over, how would you know it?

You wouldn't, of course, which is the reason that few ask and almost none, especially members of the US government or military, talk about anything that resembles the "official" end of what has long become known as the "global war on terrorism," or GWOT.

Today, however, at a speech given at Oxford University, Jeh Johnson, a Pentagon lawyer and one of President Obama's top legal advisors, spoke openly about what it might mean for the US government to declare an end to its seemingly endless war against—what critics have sharply pointed out is a "tactic"—"terrorism".


I do believe that on the present course, there will come a tipping point – a tipping point at which so many of the leaders and operatives of al Qaeda and its affiliates have been killed or captured, and the group is no longer able to attempt or launch a strategic attack against the United States, such that al Qaeda as we know it, the organization that our Congress authorized the military to pursue in 2001, has been effectively destroyed.

Posted by unhappycamper | Sat Dec 1, 2012, 07:48 AM (2 replies)

The Sex Lives of US Generals Are More Important Than the Deaths of Thousands of Soldiers


The Sex Lives of US Generals Are More Important Than the Deaths of Thousands of Soldiers
Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland
By Mariusz Zawadzki
Translated By Maciej Lepka
19 November 2012
Edited by Mary Young

How did it happen that the Americans have come to treat their leaders with more lenience than they did 70 years ago? “We had no inhibitions. In a moment, our uniforms lay on the ground, all buttons undone. It was like a fever; we were overcome by lust. We really were! But it ended differently that I had expected. Gradually, we got hold of ourselves. He hid his face in my arm and said: ‘Oh God! I’m sorry but I’m not able to pleasure you tonight.’ It was a bit embarrassing, us putting our clothes back on. When he showed me to the door, I gave him a ‘Good night, General’ and left. You never know who can be hiding in the darkness, waiting for anything that might give you away.”*


Confidentiality on the American Internet is merely an illusion, and the Petraeus affair should clearly illustrate that to all Gmail users.

Unrestrained browsing through the personal inboxes of the two most important American generals can be reasonably explained. For instance, the FBI has established that Allen and Kelley’s two-year correspondence takes up 20-30,000 pages of typescript. Currently, this case is being investigated by a commission that is trying to establish whether the Kelley-Allen relationship was of a slightly frivolous or inexcusably lewd nature. The verdict will be crucial for Allen’s nomination as NATO’s supreme allied commander.

That anyone at all is willing to read that correspondence, which is more abundant than Kelley’s breasts and fiercer than the war with the Taliban, is probably the most surprising aspect. There is one clear conclusion to be drawn from this story: If the supreme commander of the United States forces in Afghanistan and a housewife from Florida did indeed exchange tens of emails a day, the ensuing scandal will be much more serious than the CIA director’s affair, at least as far as the security of the United States and its soldiers are concerned.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat Dec 1, 2012, 07:35 AM (2 replies)

Rep. Gohmert: GOP can ‘leverage’ debt ceiling to force concessions


Rep. Gohmert: GOP can ‘leverage’ debt ceiling to force concessions
By Samantha Kimmey
Friday, November 30, 2012 20:05 EST

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said on Friday that Republicans could use the debt ceiling as “leverage” in negotiations with the president on Sean Hannity’s radio show, reported the Huffington Post.

“We do have leverage because early next year the debt ceiling gets reached,” Gohmert explained.

“And this president has got to have more ceiling. He’s got to have it moved. Sean, we have leverage. And this is a good time to say that we’re the ones promoting fairness. We’re the ones that want everyone to pay their share. You talk a good game but put it up here where your mouth is.”

The Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner, wants House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to turn over more control of establishing the U.S. debt ceiling to the president, in order to avoid a repeat of the 2011 partisan showdown. That year, it could have forced the country to default on payments. Now, Republicans have indicated that they can use the looming debt ceiling debate to their advantage.

unhappycamper comment: When I'm sad and need a pick-me-up, I look for something Louie did or said during the week. He never disappoints.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat Dec 1, 2012, 07:18 AM (5 replies)

Maher on drones: we ‘visit death upon our enemies’ without ‘actual fight’


Maher on drones: we ‘visit death upon our enemies’ without ‘actual fight’
By Samantha Kimmey
Saturday, December 1, 2012 0:01 EST

On Bill Maher’s blog on Nov. 30, he takes aim at the U.S. drone program, writing, ” We can now visit death upon our enemies without having to show up in person, look them in the eye and have an actual fight. It just feels wrong — like breaking up with a girl via text message.”

Maher goes on to discuss the U.S drones that recently flew near Iranian air space, although it was technically in international air space according to the U.S. Iranians shot at it, although they didn’t shoot it down. “It’s like catching the neighbor you hate throwing a beer bottle at your parked car and missing. We had no idea what level of outrage to feign,” Maher wrote.

Iranian jets fired twice at the drone before it headed further from Iran and landed in an undisclosed location, reported Fox News. Pentagon spokesperson George Little would not at the time say exactly how or if the U.S. would respond, only that, “We have a wide range of options from diplomatic to military.”


“We utilize the best means at our disposal to go into foreign lands and blow up the people we consider the bad guys even if that means collateral damage in the form of civilian casualties. When someone does that exact same thing to us, don’t we call it ‘terrorism’?” he concludes.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat Dec 1, 2012, 07:12 AM (1 replies)

Senate strips ‘indefinite detention’ for Americans from 2012 NDAA


Senate strips ‘indefinite detention’ for Americans from 2012 NDAA
By Stephen C. Webster
Friday, November 30, 2012 13:14 EST

The U.S. Senate approved an amendment on Thursday that strips a controversial provision from the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act that allows the “indefinite detention” of American citizens within the U.S. by the military.

The amendment passed by a vote of 67 to 29. All but four of the Senators who voted against civilian trials for Americans were Republicans. Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Mark Pryor (D-AR) crossed over to oppose the amendment, and they were joined by Joe Lieberman (I-CT).

The amendment reads: “An authorization to use military force, a declaration of war, or any similar authority shall not authorize the detention without charge or trial of a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States apprehended in the United States, unless an Act of Congress expressly authorizes such detention.”


“It is inconsistent with the Constitution, which makes clear that basic due process rights apply to everyone in the United States,” ACLU’s Chris Anders wrote. “No group of immigrants should be denied the most basic due process right of all — the right to be charged and tried before being imprisoned.”
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat Dec 1, 2012, 07:09 AM (1 replies)

US Ending the War in Afghanistan? It Depends on the Meaning of the Word ‘War’


US Ending the War in Afghanistan? It Depends on the Meaning of the Word ‘War’
by Dave Lindorff | November 30, 2012 - 9:53am

It is amazing to watch politicians trying to weasel their way around their promises. President Obama is providing us with a good illustration of the art.

During the latest presidential campaign and in the final televised debates, both Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were adamant in asserting that the US would be leaving Afghanistan and ending the war in that country at the end of 2014--a goal most Americans profoundly want. Biden, in a heated debate with his Republican opponent Paul Ryan, said the US would “absolutely” be “out” of Afghanistan at the end of 2014. Obama, a week later, said, “By 2014, this process of transition will be complete and the Afghan people will be responsible for their own security."

I’m reminded of President Clinton, a lawyer who, when pressed under oath by a special prosecutor hounding him over the details of whether he had had sex with a young White House intern, said that the answer hinged on “what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”

This past weekend, it was reported that Obama and the generals at the Pentagon are planning on keeping at least 10,000 US troops stationed in Afghanistan indefinitely after that 2014 deadline for ending the war and withdrawing from that war-torn land.


1 [wawr] noun, verb, warred, war·ring, adjective.
1. a conflict carried on by force of arms, as between nations or between parties within a nation; warfare, as by land, sea, or air.
2. a state or period of armed hostility or active military operations: The two nations were at war with each other.
3. a contest carried on by force of arms, as in a series of battles or campaigns: the War of 1812.
4. active hostility or contention; conflict; contest: a war of words.
5. aggressive business conflict, as through severe price cutting in the same industry or any other means of undermining competitors: a fare war among airlines; a trade war between nations.

verb (used without object)
10. to make or carry on war; fight: to war with a neighboring nation.
11. to carry on active hostility or contention: Throughout her life she warred with sin and corruption.
12. to be in conflict or in a state of strong opposition: The temptation warred with his conscience.
Posted by unhappycamper | Fri Nov 30, 2012, 12:23 PM (1 replies)

Okinawa Move, Key To Pacific Pivot, Will Cost More Than $10.6B: GAO


Okinawa Move, Key To Pacific Pivot, Will Cost More Than $10.6B: GAO
By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.
Published: November 29, 2012

WASHINGTON: Sloppy number-crunching at the Department of Defense means that the official price tag to move 9,000 Marines off Okinawa to Guam, Hawaii, and Australia – already estimated at a whopping $10.6 billion – is probably short of the real cost, according to a draft Government Accountability Office (GAO) report obtained by AOL Defense.

The U.S. plans to move 4,700 of 8,000 Marines to Guam and send the others elsewhere: 1,800 would go to Hawaii – far from the action in the Western Pacific – and the rest to Australia – where the US is building up a "rotational" presence of 2,500 Marines (not all of them relocated from Okinawa) rather than permanent bases. The Pentagon's cost estimate is $10.6 billion.

The draft GAO report suggests that figure is still too low. The Defense Department is not counting everything it needs to, according to GAO, whose name was "General Accounting Office" until 2004 and which is famous for its scrupulous, exhaustive cost studies of federal programs. For example, the DoD estimate simply assumed the cost of relocating one Marine to Hawaii or Australia would be the same as relocating one to Guam. But Hawaii is one of the most expensive states in the union, with existing bases already hemmed in by the civilian population, and there are no US military facilities in Australia, whereas 30 percent of the military housing already built on Guam is sitting empty. GAO also cited a host of other unknowns, from unfinished environmental impact studies to the Army Corps of Engineers' ability to supervise so many simultaneous projects to Japanese cost-sharing pledges on which Tokyo has now reneged.

Just coming up with the relocation plan has been a six-year ordeal. Military facilities on Okinawa are now starting to decay because of deferred maintenance, even as DoD pays to keep up facilities on Guam that stand empty awaiting the Marines and their familes, said the GAO report.
Posted by unhappycamper | Fri Nov 30, 2012, 11:08 AM (1 replies)
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