U.S. Ground Forces Would Shrink By 100,000

U.S. Ground Forces Would Shrink By 100,000: Pentagon leaders outlined a plan Thursday for absorbing $487 billion in defense cuts over the coming decade by shrinking U.S. ground forces, slowing the purchase of a next-generation stealth fighter and retiring older planes and ships.

In a bid to pre-empt election-year Republican criticism, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the plan shifts the Pentagon’s focus from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to future challenges in Asia, the Mideast and in cyberspace. More special operations forces like the Navy SEALs who killed Osama bin Laden will be available around the world, he said.

“We believe this is a balanced and complete package,” Panetta told a news conference, with Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at his side.

Some lawmakers were quick to dispute him.

“Taking us back to a pre-9/11 military force structure places our country in grave danger,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee that will hold hearings on the Pentagon budget plan. Continue Reading…

Video Of Marines Urinating On Corpses Could Become Anti-U.S. Propaganda

Video Of Marines Urinating On Corpses Could Become Anti-U.S. Propaganda: The U.S. Marines and the Obama administration promised Thursday a full investigation into a video that purports to depict four U.S. Marines urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters, images that could be used as propaganda by America’s enemies, experts said.

“The behavior depicted in the video is wholly inconsistent with the high standards of conduct and warrior ethos that we have demonstrated throughout our history,” said Gen. James Amos, the Marine Corps commandant.

Amos said he asked the Naval Criminal Investigative Service “to thoroughly investigate every aspect of the filmed event.” He also said he assigned a Marine general officer and a senior attorney with combat experience to head a preliminary inquiry.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta phoned Afghan President Hamid Karzai and promised a full investigation. Panetta said such behavior is “entirely inappropriate for members of the U.S. military” and that those responsible will be held fully accountable. Karzai called the actions “completely inhumane.” Continue Reading…