Picture of the Day: Peshawar, Pakistan. October 15th. Pakistanis gather to hold a vigil for 14-year-old Pakistani activist Malala Yousufzai, who was flown to the UK for treatment today. Their banner reads: ”Malala Yousufzai, daughter of proud parents, she raised the flag of education for the whole nation.”
Credit: Mohammad Sajjad/AP. Via.
We all must stand but some of us will fall.
Just something to give to the sexy ones out there….
A new track for the show. Something to slow it down just a bit in the club.
thepoliticalnotebook: Bit by Bit….. Take a look.
This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism.
- A policy shift for the US over drone strikes launched against Al Qaeda in Yemen now allows the military to fire without knowing the identities of those who could be killed.
- An explosion in the Syrian city of Hama killed 70. BBC’s Jim Muir reports that the explosion could not have been achieved through conventional shelling.
- An inside look at the Free Syrian Army shows committed revolutionary fighters intent on fighting on.
- US and Afghan officials reached an agreement on a pact affirming US withdrawal in 2014 and economic commitment through 2024.
- Over the weekend, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) was denied entry to Afghanistan by Karzai. Here is his account of the matter.
- Pakistan announced that it successfully test-fired a nuclear-capable intermediate range ballistic missile on Wednesday.
- A US envoy is currently in Pakistan to address the issue of re-opening NATO supply routes.
- I wrote a piece for The Risky Shift about ongoing violence in Karachi.
- A new paper out by Chatham House argues that if Egypt fails to fix its economy it could face a second coming of the revolution.
- Sudan continues air strikes on South Sudan.
- Former Liberian president Charles Taylor was convicted of eleven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for the role he played in Sierra Leone’s insurgency in the 1990s. Here’s the judgment summary.
- The UK has announced reforms to the European Court of Human Rights.
- The US has agreed to reduce the size of its forces in Okinawa.
- As a result of reporting done by Spencer Ackerman for Wired, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Martin Dempsey has ordered a full investigation to scour anti-Islamic sentiment from military training.
- A new report by the GAO says that the Pentagon squanders millions of dollars in poorly thought-out weapons buys because of a strategy called concurrency. Concurrency is the practice of putting a weapon on the final production line before full testing.
- An inspector general’s report out on Monday declared that the VA overstates how quickly it provides veterans with mental health care. A hearing before the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs saw a lot of challenges to the VA’s current culture that “give[s] more importance to meeting meaningless performance goals than helping veterans.”
- The Army is, meanwhile, encouraging new ways of diagnosing and treating PTSD in ways that try to accommodate for the ways in which soldiers tend to speak of their symptoms.
- The Army is increasing oversight at now-infamous Joint Base Lewis-McChord by moving division headquarters there.
- The Marines are taking steps to move women into ground combat units at the battalion level and have opened up infantry officer school to female students, although women still are barred from infantry service. The message sent by Marine commandant Gen. James Amos says that information about mixed gender units and female combat service taken from these steps will impact “future recommendations regarding the potential assignment of women to ground combat element units.”
- The Pentagon has asked Congress to make improvements to benefits for federal civilian employees working overseas in combat zones.
- A new Pentagon spy agency has been established: the Defense Clandestine Service.
- An interview with Sebastian Junger about Tim Hetherington (who was killed with Chris Hondros in Misrata a year ago last Friday) and his new organization, Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues (RISC) to offer freelance journos with emergency medical training.
- Karley Marquet and Annie Kendzior have both filed suit against former defense sec’y Gates, the former superintendents of West Point and Annapolis, and the current secretaries of the Army and Navy for ignoring and failing to act on the pervasive sexual harassment in the nation’s top military training schools.
- A student veterans group has revoked the charters of 26 for-profit schools for misrepresenting themselves to boost a military friendly image. You should all watch this PBS Frontline piece about for-profit schools shamelessly taking advantage of returning veterans.
Photo: A soldier in the 82nd Airborne directs his rifle at the doorway after coming under fire. Zharay District, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. Baz Ratner/Reuters.
thepoliticalnotebook: WATCH THIS!!!!
President Obama, in his weekly address (which you can watch here), talked about a new executive order signed on Friday meant to curb the predatory practices of for-profit colleges towards veterans. He said:
The sad truth is that there are people out there who are less interested in helping our men and women in uniform get ahead and more interested in making a buck. They bombard potential students with emails and pressure them into making a quick decision. Some of them steer recruits towards high-interest loans and mislead them about credit transfers and job placement programs. One of the worst examples was a college recruiter who visited a Marine barracks and enrolled Marines with brain injuries so severe that some of them couldn’t recall what courses the recruiter had signed them up for.
The new executive order requires institutions to provide veterans with “Know Before You Owe” factsheets on student loans and provide extra counseling. It also places restrictions on aggressive recruitment by these colleges.
For-profit institutions tend to target veterans because of something known as the “90-10” rule, which states that ten percent of the revenue of colleges and universities like this must come from sources that are not federal aid. Funds from the GI Bill, however, can be counted in that ten percent, which means that these institutions actively and aggressively seek out veterans.
Embedded above is the first, roughly twenty minute, segment of a PBS Frontline documentary investigation from last June, called “Educating Sergeant Pantzke,” which explains how about a third of GI Bill benefits end up “in the pockets of the for-profit sector.” It’s an important documentary… watch the full hour-long program here.
Picture of the Day: Kuwait City, Kuwait. Firefighters work to extinguish the flames in a used tire dump containing more than 5 million tires.
Read: Scheherezade Faramarzi in Jadaliyya on “Kuwait’s Muslim Brotherhood.”
Credit: Yasser Al-Zayyat/AFP/Getty. Via.
Same photo I’m posting here on Facebook to show you what is right in view of my house!