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US Watchdog: Afghan Military Shrinking Sharply

The US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), a Pentagon watchdog, is warning that the Afghan military is in sharp decline over the last 12 months, as rising casualties and desertion rates far outstrip its ability to recruit.

Over 12 months, the Afghan security forces have 10 percent less personnel, down to around 300,000. While reports of growing casualties, struggling recruitment, and desertion have been common, this is the first actually data offered on the size of the problem.
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US Sanctions Hit International Chess Organization FIDE

The bank account of FIDE, a premier chess organization that governs some major international chess competitions, maintains rules adhered to at many other tournaments, calculates players’ ratings, and awards titles such as Grandmaster, was shut down this week. Peter Doggers reports at chess.com that FIDE officials say UBS Bank was terminating FIDE’s account because FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov is included “on the sanctions list of the US Department of the Treasury” though “Ilyumzhinov himself has stated that the sanctions were not mentioned by UBS.” Doggers notes that FIDE, also known as the World Chess Federation, has been unable to establish an account with another bank since UBS, a Switzerland bank, announced in February that the FIDE account would be terminated.
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The Clever Moon Jae-in: Trump Should Win the Nobel Prize

Wow, South Korean President Moon Jae-in really wants peace and harmony on the Korean peninsula. This is one great man.

From the day he was elected, the goal of Moon has been to ratchet down tensions between his country and North Korea--and he has done just that. But there remains an orange strand of hair in the ointment belonging  to the unpredictable United States president Donald Trump.
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David Stockman Enters Hostile Territory to Support Nonintervention and Oppose Increased Military Spending

Investing and current affairs writer David Stockman found himself in hostile territory this week in an interview at the Fox Business show Mornings with Maria. In the often-tense interview, Stockman seems to shock and rile some of the show’s hosts with his assessments that the United States military should not have been given a big monetary infusion in the recent spending deal worked out by President Donald Trump and Congress and that the US should stop its excessive military intervention overseas.
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Lawrence Wilkerson: Cowardly Congress, Apathetic Americans Allow US Military Intervention

Retired United States Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, who was chief of staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell in the George W. Bush administration, explains in a new interview the reason he believes the US president “can do anything he pleases with regard to the armed forces of the United States anytime he pleases.” That reason, says Wilkerson in a The Real News Interview with host Sharmini Peries, “is because the American people are apathetic” and “their representatives in the Congress are … cowards” who, but for “few exceptions like [Sen.] Mike Lee [(R-UT)] and [Sen.] Bernie Sanders [(I-VT)] and some of the others,” will not do anything to restrain such exercise of presidential power.
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US: Russia Hacked The Evidence Of Chemical Attack In Syria

We are now being told (and I assure you I am not making this up) that if the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons doesn’t find evidence that the Syrian government conducted a chemical weapons attack in Douma last week, it’s because Russia hid the evidence.

“It is our understanding the Russians may have visited the attack site,” reports US Ambassador Kenneth Ward. “It is our concern that they may have tampered with it with the intent of thwarting the efforts of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission to conduct an effective investigation.”

I guess the idea is that this international top-level investigative team on which tremendous credibility has been placed by the western world can be thwarted by Russians showing up with a Hoover and spraying some Febreze in the air like a teenage stoner when mom comes home? I’m not sure, but given the immense dearth of evidence we’ve been seeing in support of the establishment Douma narrative and the mounting pile of evidence contradicting it, it sure does sound fishy.
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Trump Ordering Syria Attack Would Be an Unconstitutional, But Not Uncommon, Presidential Action

Louis Fisher, a Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity Academic Board member and United States Constitution scholar, is quoted, in a Thursday Washington Examiner article by Steven Nelson, declaring that a unilateral decision by President Donald Trump to use military force against Syria would be unconstitutional as well as not authorized under the War Powers Resolution. Yet, Trump taking such action, says Fisher, would also be in line with military actions regularly pursued by previous presidents.
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