Anti-War.com & Associated Press & UPI – 2011-01-26 23:47:51
Pentagon Demands Congress Pass 2011 Military Funding
Jason Ditz / Anti-War.com
(January 26, 2011) — The lack of a final military funding bill is causing “severe problems” for the Pentagon, according to Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn, who addressed the House Armed Services Committee today to demand the passage of the new funding.
Right now the military is operating at 2010 budget levels indefinitely, which gives them “only” $530 billion of taxpayer money. Though officials were quick to make a big deal of the $7-$8 billion in “cuts” which might be inserted into the 2011 funding, the level is still expected to rise to beyond $700 billion.
Lynn insisted that keeping the Pentagon at the record 2010 levels is damaging national security, and that the lack of support for the even more record 2011 budget will hamper Pentagon activities worldwide.
The comments come at a rare moment in recent US history, where many people are actually questioning the wisdom of running massive deficits while spending more than nearly the entire rest of the planet combined on the military. This makes President Obama’s massive request for funding, despite it having been spun as a “cut,” controversial to say the least.
Number of US Casualties from
Roadside Bombs in Afghanistan
Skyrocketed from 2009 to 2010
Craig Whitlock / Washington Post
(January 25, 2011) — The number of US troops killed by roadside bombs in Afghanistan soared by 60 percent last year, while the number of those wounded almost tripled, new US military statistics show.
All told, 268 US troops were killed by the improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, in 2010, about as many as in the three previous years combined, according to the figures, obtained by The Washington Post. More than 3,360 troops were injured, an increase of 178 percent over the year before.
Military officials said an increase in attacks was expected, given the surge in US and NATO troops, as well as the intensified combat. Even so, the spike comes despite a fresh wave of war-zone countermeasures, including mine-clearing machines, fertilizer-sniffing dogs and blimps with sophisticated spy cameras.
The US military has struggled for years to find an antidote to the homemade explosives. IEDs — concocted primarily of fertilizer and lacking metal or electronic parts that would make them easier to detect — are the largest single cause of casualties for US troops, by a wide margin.
Army Lt. Gen. Michael L. Oates, the director of a Pentagon agency dedicated to combating the bombs, noted that the percentage of IED attacks that have inflicted casualties — on US, NATO and Afghan forces, as well as Afghan civilians — has actually declined in recent months, from 25 percent last summer to 16 percent in December, according to US military statistics.
“My main concern is driving these effective attacks down,” he said. “We’re enjoying success there, and I do believe we’re going to continue to reduce [the enemy’s] effectiveness.”
Oates and other military officials have emphasized figures showing that IEDs killed fewer troops in the NATO-led coalition last year than in 2009 — a slight decline, from 447 to 430.
A further examination of those numbers, however, shows that casualty rates among US troops have skyrocketed as they have taken over responsibility from European allies for fighting in southern Afghanistan, where resistance from insurgents has been most fierce. Meanwhile, casualty rates among allies have dropped.
Afghan insurgents planted 14,661 IEDs last year, a 62 percent increase over 2009 and more than three times as many as the year before.
Army Col. George B. Shuplinkov, chief of counter-IED programs for US and NATO troops in Afghanistan, said he is guardedly optimistic that the number of bombs has crested, after reaching a “high-water mark” last summer.
“I think this [past] year we stopped the momentum,” he said in a telephone interview. “We will know next spring. If it starts spiking back up in May or June, we’ll have to reassess.”
Oates predicted that the overall number of bomb attacks will not increase significantly this year. But he said it is unrealistic to expect the military to eliminate the threat as long as the Afghan insurgency persists
US Troops Killed by IEDs Jumps in 2010
United Press International
KABUL, Afghanistan (January 26, 2011) — The number of US troops killed in Afghanistan by roadside bombs jumped by 60 percent in 2010, while the number of wounded nearly tripled, military data show.
New statistics indicate 268 US troops were killed by improvised explosive devices last year, roughly the same number of the three previous years combined, The Washington Post reported. More than 3,360 troops were injured, an increase of 178 percent from the previous y ear.
US military officials said an increase in attacks was anticipated when considering the surge of US and NATO troops and more intense fighting. Officials note, however, the jump came despite more countermeasures, such as mine-clearing machines, fertilizer-sniffing dogs and blimps equipped with spy cameras.
Army Lt. Gen. Michael Oates, chief of the Pentagon’s IED Defeat Organization, said the percentage of IED attacks that led to casualties actually fell in recent months, from 25 percent last summer to 16 percent in December.
“My main concern is driving these effective attacks down,” he said. “We’re enjoying success there, and I do believe we’re going to continue to reduce (the enemy’s) effectiveness.”
Oates and others have cited figures indicating IEDs killed fewer NATO-led coalition troops last year than in 2009 — 447 versus 430.
Afghan insurgents planted 14,661 IEDs last year, a 62 percent increase from 2009, the military said.
Army Col. George Shuplinkov, head of counter-IED programs for US and NATO troops in Afghanistan, expressed guarded optimism the number of roadside bombs has peaked.
“I think this (past) year we stopped the momentum,” Shuplinkov told the Post. “We will know next spring. If it starts spiking back up in May or June, we’ll have to reassess.”
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