Archive for the ‘Government News’ Category

Friendly Fire Takes 5 American Soldiers

Friday, June 13th, 2014

Friendly Fire Deaths

It appears that friendly fire is to blame for the deaths of 5 American soldiers Monday. The five soldiers, ranging in age in their 20’s, were killed when a coalition jet bombed them by mistake in southern Afghanistan. A security operation was being conducted by the troops at the time of the attack because of the Saturday presidential election in Afghanistan. The coalition jet had been called into the area to help prevent a Taliban attack. A statement released by NATO suggests that the troops had come in contact with Taliban troops by way of rocket fire. The troops then called for backup in the form of air support, when they were mistakenly bombed and killed. Details of the mission are not being released and the Department of Defense is currently investigating the attack says Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the U.S. National Security Council.

The 5 deaths will bring the total death count of Americans to 2.328 since the beginning of the Afghan war in October of 2001. Another publicized death caused by friendly fire was that of former NFL player Pat Tillman. Tillman joined the Rangers force with the Army and was killed in 2004 when he was accidently shot by a comrade. Other countries such as Canada and Britain have lost soldiers to friendly fire since the war began.

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Only POW Released

Monday, June 9th, 2014

Prisoner released into US custodyAfter 5 years of being a prisoner of war, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has been released and returned to American custody. Bergdahl, who is originally from Hailey, Idaho, was the only prisoner of war from both Afghanistan and Iraq from the war on terror. On June 30, 2009, Bergdahl had been held captive by the Taliban. Officials of the United States began negotiations with the Taliban recently to secure the release of the POW. In January, new video of the POW surfaced which gave hope to the family of Bergdahl that he would soon be released by the Taliban. President Obama released a statement regarding the release of Bergdahl saying “Sergeant Bergdahl’s recovery is a reminder of America’s unwavering commitment to leave no man or woman in uniform behind on the battlefield.”

The 28 year old prisoner was released after the U.S. agreed to release five Taliban detainees. The five men had been previously held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, a United States military-detention facility. There were growing concerns over the health of Bergdahl which prompted officials to take action in his release. Once on the helicopter, Bergdahl asked his rescuers if they were from the Special Forces. Once they replied, Bergdahl began to cry. Bergdahl was to be sent for medical treatment in Landstuhl, Germany and will then return to the United States where he will reunite with his parents.

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VA Secretary Resigns

Friday, May 30th, 2014

u.s. armed forcesPresident Obama announced the resignation of Eric Shinseki this Friday. The former Army general had been feeling pressure to resign over the past months due to controversy over waits for care in VA hospitals. Obama met with Shinseki before he faced reporters to say that Shinseki felt that “the VA needs new leadership” in regards to the growing number of problems it faces. Shinseki also went on to say that he didn’t want to become “a distraction”, to which the President agreed. Shinseki had gone to the White House to share his internal audit findings from his visits with the VA hospitals. In the report, there were findings of “questionable scheduling practices”.

Last month, reports from CNN claimed that at the VA in Phoenix, at least 40 veterans had passed away while awaiting care. An inspector for the VA had reported that at the Phoenix location, a minimum of 1,700 veterans had been awaiting treatment, but instead were placed on lists or never received a scheduled appointment. Shinseki claims to “have been misled by others” and he admits to accepting reports that were not accurate when it came to patient wait times. While addressing reporters Friday, President Obama called for “a change in culture” and the overall better care of our veterans. The President also praised Shinseki for his works while in the service and commended his leadership in increasing budgets and services within the VA. However, the reports that have been delivered to the President are still “totally unacceptable” and there needs to be an immediate change.

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