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The Unsubstantial Air
Book Review

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This "terrific book," by Sam Hynes who spent WWII as a marine pilot, is written with personal knowledge of what it was to be young and learning to fly, and of the gains and losses that combat flying brings to those who engage in it.

Star-Spangled Baggage

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Amid the barrage of coverage of Specialist Ivan Lopez's shooting spree at Fort Hood, evidence that has been in plain sight for years of how the violence of America’s distant wars comes back to haunt the "homeland" was missing. In that context, Lopez’s killings are one more marker on a bloody trail of death that leads from Iraq and Afghanistan into the American heartland.

What Does 'Combat' Mean?

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“Since President Barack Obama declared an end to combat operations in Iraq, U.S. troops have waged a gun battle with a suicide squad in Baghdad, dropped bombs on armed militants in Baquba and assisted Iraqi soldiers in a raid in Falluja.” Which leads us to ask, just what is a “combat operation,” anyway?

U.S. Gets a Call for Help in Iraq Attack

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American soldiers reportedly were called in to help Iraqi forces repel an attack by insurgents on an army base in Baghdad, just five days after the much-ballyhooed official end of U.S. combat operations in the country.

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Much fanfare was made about the so-called withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq this month, but as this Al-Jazeera report explores, we might want to read the fine print on this one.

Blasts Rock Iraq, Kill 55

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Only a few hours after U.S. soldiers transferred combat duties to Iraqi security forces, a series of explosions in Basra on Saturday and in Ramadi and Fallujah on Sunday lit up Iraq, killing at least 55 and wounding many others.

Sexual Assault in the Military: A DoD Cover-Up?
TD originals

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There was quite a struggle in Congress this week [July 27-Aug. 2]. The Department of Defense refused to allow the senior civilian in charge of its Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office to testify in Thursday's hearing on sexual assault in the military. Above, Marine Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, who reported being raped in 2007 and whose body was found buried in a backyard in 2008.

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Jim Lehrer reports that the Army may be underestimating the severity of disabilities, denying servicemen and -women lifetime benefits. The Veterans Disability Benefits Commission found that disability ratings made by the Veterans Affairs Department were typically higher than those of the Army.

Iraq Panel: Situation 'Grave and Deteriorating'

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The US should pull nearly all combat troops out of Iraq by 2008 and push for a broad diplomatic and political solution -- or face a "slide toward chaos," according to the long-awaited Iraq Study Group's report

  • A line from the report: "U forces seem to be caught in a mission that has no foreseeable end"
  • Read the entire report here
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