Showing posts with label Troops. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Troops. Show all posts

Saturday, July 30, 2011

If Debt Ceiling Is Breached, Troops Still Need to Be Paid

28 Jul 2011 17:16 Africa/Lagos

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, July 28, 2011

WASHINGTON, July 28, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Should Congress fail to raise the national debt ceiling by Aug. 2, The American Legion says the paychecks of servicemembers must not be sacrificed.

"We visited this same issue last April when the federal government narrowly averted a shutdown," said Jimmie L. Foster, national commander of The American Legion. "At that time, we urged Congress not to default on payments to our troops, and we are urging the same course of action again."

Foster, a military retiree with 24 years of service in the Army and Marine Corps, said it was inconceivable to him that Congress would subject its men and women in uniform to such stress – twice in only four months.

"As a nation that shows so much support for those who defend us in Iraq and Afghanistan, we really need to consider the message being sent to our military by the political brinksmanship that Congress insists on playing," Foster said.

"Capitol Hill needs to stop maneuvering for next year's elections and start practicing sound government – solve the debt ceiling crisis today and stop holding as hostages the pay of our servicemembers and the benefits of our veterans," he said.

Peter Gaytan, executive director of The American Legion in Washington, was briefed by the White House on July 26 on the possibly calamitous effects of a default on America's debts.

"The White House said – point blank – that it did not know yet what will happen to our military and veterans population if a solution isn't found to this debt crisis, because America has never faced this kind of threat before. We've never been on the verge of harming so seriously our economic standing in the world, because our own government can't agree on an acceptable course of action," Gaytan said.

During the briefing, Gaytan said, the White House restated its message that any short-term solution to the debt crisis is unacceptable. "A long-term solution is needed that not only includes budget cuts but – more importantly – meaningful debt reduction in the coming years."

While Washington generates rhetoric about the wisdom of raising America's debt ceiling, cutting budgets, and increasing taxes, "troops hearing about it in the field are worrying about one thing," said Barry Searle, director of the Legion's national security/foreign relations division.

"They are worried there won't be enough money to pay them. They are out there, dealing with firefights and IED explosions, and wondering if their families will be able to pay next month's rent because Congress can't make up its mind," he said.

The American Legion is absolutely insistent on troops getting paid without interruption, Searle said, because so many servicemembers pay rent, mortgages, car loans and many other bills with automatic deductions from their bank accounts.

"If a single paycheck gets held up by this debt crisis, a military family's credit rating can go right down the tubes," Searle said. "And the effects of that wouldn't go away for a long time to come. Congress needs to think about all the ramifications for our military if it fails to solve this debt crisis in the next few days."

Foster said Congress and the White House should be commended for legislation and initiatives that focus on the well-being of America's military families. "Yet all of that good will won't matter very much if we have to stop paying our armed forces, have to stop paying benefits to veterans who have earned them, all because Congress wanted to play 'chicken' more than it wanted to act in the best interests of our country."

SOURCE The American Legion

CONTACT: Craig Roberts, +1-202-263-2982

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Majority of Americans want U.S. troops to leave Afghanistan now that Osama bin Laden is dead

8 Jun 2011 11:04 Africa/Lagos

52% - 35% Majority Believes U.S. Should Leave Afghanistan Faster Now That Bin Laden Is Dead

Majority also favors making aid to Pakistan conditional on cooperation on pursuing Al Qaeda and the Taliban

PR Newswire

NEW YORK, June 8, 2011

NEW YORK, June 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A new BBC World News America/Harris Poll finds that a majority of Americans (52%) believe that the United States should move to get its troops out of Afghanistan now that Osama bin Laden is dead. However, 35% believe that U.S. troops should stay according to the existing plans. Reasons why most people favor withdrawing U.S. troops may be that a 51% to 14% majority of adults are not confident that U.S. policies in Afghanistan will be successful, and only 19% see the Afghan government as either an ally or a friend to the U.S. and 36% see it as unfriendly and an enemy.

(Logo: )

These are some of the findings of a new BBC World News America/ Harris Poll of 2,027 U.S. adults surveyed online between May 31 and June 2, 2011 by Harris Interactive.

Other interesting findings in the poll include:

* A large 66% to 20% majority of adults believes that it was better to have killed Osama bin Laden than to have captured him;
* An even larger 66% to 18% majority believe that "if the United States has very reliable information that a nationally wanted terrorist or criminal like Osama bin Laden is located in a foreign country.... that we have the right to perform a military operation within that country without notifying the government";
* The public is split on the impact of the killing of bin Laden on world opinion, with 41% thinking that it has made the United States more respected and 41% thinking has made no difference. Only 7% believe that it has made the U.S. less respected;
* Israel continues to enjoy very strong support among Americans, with 41% of adults seeing it as a close ally and a further 30% as a friend;
* The fall of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt have done nothing to improve U.S. attitudes to its government. In fact those who see the government of Egypt as a close ally or friend (43%) are somewhat lower now than when this question was asked in 2009 (52%) and 2010 (49%);
* More people see Pakistan as unfriendly and an enemy (29%) than as a friend or ally (20%); and,
* Many more people see the governments of Iraq and Afghanistan as unfriendly and enemies (38% and 36% respectively) than as friends or allies (22% and 19%). Attitudes to these two countries are only marginally less negative than they are to the government of Syria (16% friend or ally and 38% unfriendly and an enemy).

So What?

The killing of Osama bin Laden has done little to change the generally negative attitudes of Americans to the role of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Only 14% of adults are confident that U.S. policies there will be successful, virtually unchanged since two Harris polls in June and October last year.

Perhaps the most surprising findings in this poll are that many more people regard the governments of Afghanistan and Iraq as unfriendly and an enemy than as friends or allies, even though they were brought to power as a result of the U.S. invasions and have been kept in power by the presence of US troops.

Click here for more details.

Top Headlines

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Clinton Tells House Committee the Call for Additional Troops in Afghanistan is Necessary

3 Dec 2009 01:05 Africa/Lagos

Secretary of State Clinton Tells House Committee the Call for Additional Troops in Afghanistan is Necessary and Will Also Result in an Increase in Civilian Forces in the Region

DATELINE CITY: 02 December, 2009 / Washington, D.C.

FORMAT: Soundbites

STORY SUMMARY: Remarks by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on "U.S. Strategy in Afghanistan."

RESOURCES: Video, hard copy requests, contact information and more available at se-committee-the-call-for-additional-troops-in-afghanistan-is-necessary-and-wi ll-also-result-in-an-increase-in-civilian-forces-in-the-region


Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
Soundbite (1)

Summary: Secretary Clinton said President Obama's call for additional troops is a difficult but necessary decision.

IN: "Simply put, among a range of difficult choices, we believe this is the best way to protect our nation now and in the future. The extremists we are fighting in Afghanistan and Pakistan have attacked us and our allies before. If we allow them access to the very same safe havens they used before 2001, they will have a greater capacity to regroup and attack again. They could drag an entire region into chaos. Our civilian and military leaders in Afghanistan have reported that the situation is serious and worsening, and we agree." OUT (:37)

Soundbite (2)

Summary: Secretary Clinton says US is committed to work with Afghanistan and Pakistan to stabilize the region.

IN: "We will work with the Afghan and Pakistani governments to eliminate safe havens for those plotting attacks against us, our allies, and our interests. We will help to stabilize a region that is fundamental to our national security. And we will develop long-term, sustainable relationships with both Afghanistan and Pakistan, so that we do not repeat the mistakes of the past. The duration of our military presence may be limited, but our civilian commitment must continue even as our troops will begin to come home. Now, accomplishing this mission and ensuring the safety of the American people will not be easy. It will mean sending more civilians, more troops, and more assistance to Afghanistan, and significantly expanding our civilian efforts in Pakistan." OUT (:49)

Soundbite (3)

Summary: Secretary Clinton remarks that civilian commitment will increase to support and work with additional troops and continue after the troops have gone.

IN: "A timeframe for transition will provide a sense of urgency in working with the Afghan Government, but it should be clear to everyone that the United States, our allies, and our partners will have an enduring commitment, a civilian commitment to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Our resolve in this fight is reflected in the substantial new increase in troops, but also in the significant civilian surge that will also accompany it.

The civilian effort is bearing fruit. Civilian experts and advisors are helping to craft policy inside government ministries, providing development assistance in the field, and when our marines went into Nawa province this last July, we had civilians on the ground with them to coordinate assistance the very next day. As our operations progress, our civ-mil coordination will grow even stronger. We are on track to triple the number of civilian positions to 974 by early in January. On average, each of these civilians leverages 10 partners ranging from locally employed staff to experts with U.S.-funded NGOs." OUT (01:08)

Soundbite (4)

Summary: Secretary Clinton says the U.S. will work to develop long-term relationships with both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

IN: "We will be delivering high-impact economic assistance and bolstering the agricultural sector. We will be helping to support an Afghan-led effort to open the door to those Taliban who renounce al-Qaida, abandon violence, and want to reintegrate into society." OUT (:16)

TRT: 3:56

VIDEO PROVIDED BY: U.S. Department of State


CONTACT: Ken Richards, +1-202-647-6251,

/PRNewswire -- Dec. 2/

Source: U.S. Department of State

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