FIRST ON CNN: Top Marine’s alleged comments in Taliban desecration case draw scrutiny
An image captured on You Tube shows what appear to be U.S. Marines urinating on bodies of dead Taliban.
July 25th, 2013
02:43 PM ET

FIRST ON CNN: Top Marine’s alleged comments in Taliban desecration case draw scrutiny

By Barbara Starr

A senior Marine general said in an extraordinary sworn statement obtained by CNN that the head of the corps wanted several Marines kicked out of the service for their alleged roles in urinating on Taliban corpses - even before any charges were brought.

Lt. General Thomas Waldhauser told military authorities in the sworn statement on Tuesday that he had a private meeting in February 2012 with Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos, who had just named him to lead the investigation and possible prosecution.

"I do not remember the exact words or sequence of what was said, but the CMC did make a comment to the effect that the Marines involved needed to be 'crushed,'" Waldhauser said, adding that the "CMC went on to say he wanted these Marines to be discharged from the Marine Corps when this was all over."

Waldhauser's statement was made as part of the record for upcoming court martial proceedings against two Marines involved in the case.

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Arms to Syria opposition still a debate in progress
July 25th, 2013
07:28 AM ET

Arms to Syria opposition still a debate in progress

By Jamie Crawford

While the United States draws closer to providing some form of lethal assistance to the Syrian opposition, the debate over how extensive the package should be and the possible outcome are likely to follow any decision.

In a letter to the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee this week, Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey laid out the scenarios that could unfold, ranging from the establishment of a no-fly zone over Syria, to training and assisting the opposition through intelligence and logistics assistance.

None of the options, he said, would be easy, and all would come with a pretty extensive price tag.

"We must anticipate and be prepared for the unintended consequences of our action," Dempsey wrote in the letter to Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI).

"Should the regime's institutions collapse in the absence of a viable opposition, we could inadvertently empower extremists or unleash the very chemical weapons we seek to control."

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North Korea's Kim Jong Un honors country's war veterans
July 25th, 2013
05:57 AM ET

North Korea's Kim Jong Un honors country's war veterans

Pyongyang, North Korea (CNN) - The new leader of this isolated country has inaugurated a new veterans' cemetery, on the first of what are expected to be several days of elaborate ceremonies celebrating the 60th anniversary of the conclusion of the Korean War.

Several thousand North Koreans, some of them elderly veterans of the Korean conflict, cheered and applauded when Kim Jong Un arrived at the sprawling new cemetery accompanied by uniformed military commanders and civilian officials.

Kim did not speak to the audience. Instead, he cut a ribbon at the entrance to the cemetery compound, which is flanked by enormous monuments and statues depicting fierce North Korean soldiers.

He departed after making a brief tour of some of the gravestones. Then the crowd, which included men in baggy, dark suits and ties and women dressed in bright puffy gowns, walked with reverence past graves decorated with medals of heroism.

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Watchdog critical of State Department contracting in Afghanistan
July 25th, 2013
12:30 AM ET

Watchdog critical of State Department contracting in Afghanistan

By Jamie Crawford

A U.S. government watchdog found "serious deficiencies" in how the State Department awarded a contract job in Afghanistan, according to a letter from the organization to Secretary of State John Kerry released Thursday.

In the letter dated Monday, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, John Sopko, raised a number of concerns on the oversight practices of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) at the State Department and how they awarded a contract for the training of Afghan justice workers.

Sopko said the International Development Law Organization (IDLO), the nongovernmental organization awarded the contract, is "ill-prepared to manage and account for how U.S.-taxpayer funds will be spent," while also criticizing the State Department's role in awarding the contract.
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Filed under: Afghanistan • Contractors • State Department