Updates on Libyan war/Stop NATO news: November 4, 2011

4 November 2011 — Stop NATO

  • After Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq: NATO To Rebuild Libyan Military
  • After Libya, U.S. And NATO To Target Syria, Iran: Indian Left
  • Canadian Military Chief Demands At Least 65 U.S. Joint Strike Fighters
  • Call For U.S. To Deploy Interceptor Missiles On Guam
  • South Ossetia Opposes Western Forces On Border With Russia
  • U.S. Should Be Paying Bills, Not Funding Global Military
  • Largest Military Ally: U.S.-India Partnership Defining Development In 21st Century
  • Pentagon Cultivates India As Regional, Global Proxy
  • After Vietnam: Afghan, Iraqi…Iranian Syndromes?
  • U.S. To Launch New Predator, Reaper Drone Base

After Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq: NATO To Rebuild Libyan Military

http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/opinions_80247.htm

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
November 3, 2011

Monthly press briefing
by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen

Anders Fogh Rasmussen (Secretary General of NATO): Good morning. This week I had the privilege to visit Tripoli, the capital of free Libya. It was the first time ever that a NATO Secretary General set foot in the country and something none of us could have imagined only a year ago.

Chairman Jalil…told me, ‘NATO is in the heart of the Libyan people.’

NATO is also ready to help with the reform of the defence and security sectors, if so requested.

Q: …Brooks Tigner, Jane’s Defence. Secretary General, what kind of security sector reform tasks would NATO be prepared to do? I’m not asking if you have been asked by the NTC to do anything, I’m asking what would NATO be prepared to do?

Anders Fogh Rasmussen: We would be prepared to offer the same kind of assistance as we have offered to other partners within defence and security sector reforms. That is, overall to help put defence and security agencies under civilian and democratic control. We can also help in organizing a modern defence, modern structures. In more specific terms we can help when it comes to institution-building like the building of a defence ministry, how to organize General Staff of the Armed Forces, just to mention some examples.

NATO has a lot of expertise within defence and security sector reform, and actually a number of our Allies have gone through a similar transition from dictatorship into democracy, so they have a very valuable experience to offer. And I talked with Chairman Jalil and made clear that we are ready to assist Libya within such reform efforts if requested…

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After Libya, U.S. And NATO To Target Syria, Iran: Indian Left

http://news.outlookindia.com/items.aspx?artid=740304

Press Trust of India
November 3, 2011

After Libya, US to target Syria, Iran: CPI (M)

NEW DELHI: The toppling of the Muammar Gaddafi regime and his murder has turned Libya into a NATO ‘protectorate’ and the next targets of the United States and NATO will be Syria and Iran, the CPI(M) has said.

‘What is being witnessed is a heightened aggressiveness by imperialism in West Asia [the Middle East] and the manoeuvres of imperialist powers to get into a commanding position for access and control over oil and natural gas resources.

‘For the debilitated economies of the United States and Europe, the capture of the resources of West Asia is a prize much coveted,’ senior CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said.

He said the ‘thin cover’ of a popular uprising for the NATO intervention has been exposed with the massive bombings carried out by special forces of Britain and other NATO countries and Qatari troops fighting alongside the rebels.

‘Libya will now become a NATO protectorate….Even after the fall of the Gaddafi regime, the Libyan National Transitional Council has requested NATO to continue air patrols till the end of December,’ Yechury said in an editorial in the forthcoming issue of party organ ‘People’s Democracy’.

The US ‘can now find a base for its African Military Command (Africom)’ and with a pliant Libya, ‘the Mediterranean can now be converted into a NATO lake’.

Maintaining that ‘Syria is the next target and finally Iran’, he said US President Barack Obama, ‘the peace-maker, has now embarked upon the dangerous course of preparing the ground for a war with Iran. The destabilisation of Syria is part of the pincer movement to isolate Iran.’

Though a war with Iran was ‘a difficult proposition’ for the US, he said, ‘Obama is resorting to such aggressive tactics with a political calculation’ as he faced ‘declining popularity’ in the 2012 presidential polls.

‘Obama is seeking to shore up his support among the pro-Israeli lobby by making hostile manoeuvres against Iran,’ the CPI(M) leader said.

After the Tunisian and Egyptian popular uprisings overthrew the despotic governments there, ‘Israel felt increasingly isolated’, he said, adding that now the US and NATO have ‘in the name of democracy and support to popular uprisings carried out the successful operation in Libya’.

The US and NATO could now train their full attention on Syria, ‘an Arab state which has obstinately refused to come within the zone of influence of the United States’.

After failing to get a UN Security Council resolution calling for sanctions and to open the way for intervention in Syria due to a veto by Russia and China, the US ‘is devising ways to effect a regime change in Syria’.

Yechury said Turkey, a NATO member, which had traditionally good relations with Syria, was ‘now becoming the centre for the anti-Syrian forces’ with a ‘Free Syrian Army’ operating from there.

‘For the US and Israel, destabilisation of the Assad government in Syria is part of the strategic design to eliminate all governments in West Asia which defy the imperialist gameplan. Further, Syria has a close relationship with Iran which is the biggest enemy for the United States,’ Yechury said.

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Canadian Military Chief Demands At Least 65 U.S. Joint Strike Fighters

http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Politics/2011/11/03/18921011.html

Canoe News
November 3, 2011

F-35 is the ‘best’: Top military boss
By Bryn Weese

OTTAWA: Pilots with the Royal Canadian Air Force want to fly in F-35 stealth fighter jets when the current CF-18s are retired, according to the chief of defence staff.

Walt Natynczyk, the military’s top boss, appeared before Parliament’s defence committee Thursday to talk about military preparedness but was peppered instead with questions about the controversial purchase of the multi-role fighter jets.

‘Let me tell you that when I go to Cold Lake and I go to Bagotville and I talk to those young men and women who get in the F-18 and I ask them ‘What aircraft so you want?’ they tell me that they want the F-35 because it is the only fifth-generation, capable fighter for that next phase,’ Natynczyk told reporters after his committee appearance.

He told the committee the F-35 is the best plane to replace Canada’s ageing fleet of CF-18s, and also suggested that 65 – the number ordered by the feds for $9 billion over a year ago – is the minimum number of the aircraft the air force needs.

‘We need to have these aircraft both for our sovereignty of Canada and to meet our international obligations as set by the government of Canada,’ he said.

Later, when pressed by reporters about concerns in the United States and Canada that development of the fifth-generation stealth aircraft is running behind schedule and costs could exceed the current estimates, Natynczyk said the $9 billion price includes a 30% contingency fund.

And the defence department’s people who are working on the F-35 deal are still of the opinion the conventional takeoff and landing variant – the model Canada is buying – is on time and on budget.

‘We have people who are working very closely with our allies who know this aircraft and know the kind of technology that is out there,’ he said. ‘The fact is, those folks are telling me that in their view the best aircraft is the F-35, and I accept that. Right up to the commander of the Royal Canadian Airforce – a fighter pilot – and I take that at face value.’

The government announced in July 2010 it would buy 65 F-35s at a cost of $9 billion – plus an estimated $7 billion in maintenance costs over 20 years – to replace the ageing fleet of CF-18s. The first F-35 is expected to arrive in 2016, when Canada will start paying for the planes.

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Call For U.S. To Deploy Interceptor Missiles On Guam

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/pacbeat/stories/201111/s3355559.htm

Radio Australia
November 3, 2011

Guam Senator wants answers on missile defence

A Guam Senator wants to know when the island is going to get a missile defence systems.

Senator Judith Guthertz, Chair of the Guam Legislature’s committee on the military buildup and homeland security has written to the Assistant Secretary of the US Navy, Jackalyne Pfannenstiel, asking for an update on promises that the US territory will get a means of defending itself against long range missiles.

She says a recent US Defence Department report on the capabilities and intentions of China show Guam is in range of Chinese weapons.

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South Ossetia Opposes Western Forces On Border With Russia

http://www.interfax.com/newsinf.asp?pg=4&id=285018

Interfax
November 3, 2011

S. Ossetia against any Georgian control at Russian-S. Ossetian border

TSKHINVALI: South Ossetia objects to any form of control at the Russian-South Ossetian border by Georgia, South Ossetian Foreign Minister Murat Dzhioyev said.

‘The Georgian authorities are stubbornly refusing to admit the reality that South Ossetia and Abkhazia are not parts of Georgia, but independent states and that Russia is building equal relations with them on an international legal basis. A checkpoint between Russia and the republic of South Ossetia exists, and Georgia’s claims of any control over it are absolutely groundless. I hope this will be kept in mind in the course of further negotiations on Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization,’ Dzhioyev told Interfax on Thursday.

Georgian authorities are trying to use any opportunity to apply pressure on the neighboring states of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and ‘therefore they have so long and so stubbornly been politicizing their consent as a WTO member to Russia’s accession to this international organization,’ he said.

South Ossetian expert Inal Pliyev believes Tskhinvali’s negative attitude toward such control should not surprise anyone, as any external control at South Ossetia’s borders with Russia, be it international monitoring or something else, would compromise its sovereignty.

‘The demand that the Russian-South Ossetian border be put under control is similar to Georgia’s and its allies’ attempts to make South Ossetia, Abkhazia, and Russia agree to the deployment of EU observers on the territories of the young republics. The U.S. recently once again demanded that the Russian bases be pulled out and that some international contingent be brought to South Ossetia. It is easy to guess what would follow. Georgia’s conditions for Russia’s accession to the WTO are of the same sort,’ Pliyev said.

It was reported on Wednesday that the Russian and Georgian delegations reached a consensus on a draft bilateral agreement on administering trade in goods.

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U.S. Should Be Paying Bills, Not Funding Global Military

http://www.globaltimes.cn/NEWS/tabid/99/ID/682397/US-should-be-paying-bills-not-funding-soldiers.aspx

Global Times
November 3, 2011

US should be paying bills, not funding soldiers
By Aaron Adams

US President Barack Obama’s recent announcement of a withdrawal from Iraq, coupled with talk of serious cuts in the US defense budget, tempts observers to hope that the US may finally break its addiction to runaway defense spending and tackle its massive debt. Such hopes were dispelled by US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s recently concluded trip to East Asia.

Although he declared at the beginning of his weeklong trip that the US is ‘at a turning point after a decade of war,’ he reaffirmed his commitment to policies that have overstretched the US military and saddled the country with a mountain of debt.

In his first trip to Asia as defense secretary, Panetta assured US allies that the US will continue a foreign policy based on maintaining dominance in every corner of the globe without regard to whether such a stance is fiscally sustainable.

The world needs reassurance of the US’ commitment to pay its bills, not more promises of American willingness to serve as a proxy military for wealthy allies.

America’s military presence in Japan is a classic example of how the US’ misplaced priorities undermine its own interests, with the US straining its own finances to subsidize the defense needs of one of its richest creditors.

Japan owns $900 billion in US treasury bills, making it second only to China in its holdings of US debt. One reason for such massive US borrowing is that America allocates 4 percent of its GDP to defense spending, dwarfing the 0.8 percent of GDP Japan spends on its military. Yet, instead of asking nations such as Japan and South Korea to take responsibility for their own defense, Panetta assured them that the US will not withdraw a single soldier from East Asia.

While Panetta’s stance is disappointing, it is not surprising. The compromise between Obama and the Republican-led Congress that ended the debt ceiling fight stipulated that $600 billion would be cut from the US defense budget if Congress could not find an alternative way to reduce the deficit. To stave off these cuts, Panetta and the US Department of Defense have attempted to weave elaborate tales of woe to stoke the US addiction to military spending. Panetta repeatedly warned that such cuts would result in a ‘hollowed out’ military, while warning that China’s defense spending continues to increase. Panetta neglects to mention that, even if the cuts come to fruition, the US defense budget will still be many times larger than China’s.

If the US makes difficult cuts now and informs its wealthiest allies that they are responsible for their own national security, it can avoid the imperial overstretch that has doomed so many empires in the past. Such a move will also save the US from the awkwardness of borrowing more money from China for the purpose of engaging it in an arms race.

Panetta is fighting the wrong enemy. The US military budget exceeds that of all other great powers combined. The US could cut its defense budget in half and still have the world’s best-equipped military.

If the US ultimately falls from its perch as the world’s most powerful nation, it will not be because it failed to spend enough on its military, it will be, as was the case with the Soviet Union and the British Empire, because it could no longer pay its bills.

The author is a graduate of the University of Washington and a writer and lecturer on topics ranging from Chinese military affairs to business and financial issues.

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Largest Military Ally: U.S.-India Partnership Defining Development In 21st Century

http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=65932

U.S. Department of Defense
November 3, 2011

U.S. Military Seeks Stronger Ties with India
By Jim Garamone

-Since 2004, ‘what was once a nascent relationship between unfamiliar nations has evolved into a real partnership between two of the pre-eminent powers in Asia,’ he added. ‘Today, U.S.-India defense ties are strong and growing. Our military-to-military engagement has increased steadily over the past 10 years, and now includes a robust slate of dialogues, military exercises, defense trade, personnel exchanges and armaments cooperation.’

WASHINGTON: The bottom-line message of a report the Defense Department submitted to Congress this week is that the U.S.-India security relationship is strong and getting stronger, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for South and Southeast Asia said here yesterday.

Robert Scher briefed reporters on the U.S.-India Security Cooperation Report, submitted to Congress on Nov. 1.

President Barack Obama called the relationship between the United States and India one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century. ‘The U.S.-India relationship is a priority for the U.S. government and for the Department of Defense, because we believe that a strong bilateral partnership is in the United States’ interests and benefits both of our countries,’ Scher said.

It is only in the past decade that the relationship has grown. During the Cold War, India led the nonaligned movement, but tilted toward Moscow. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Indian leaders rethought their strategy and moved toward the United States, Scher said.

Since 2004, ‘what was once a nascent relationship between unfamiliar nations has evolved into a real partnership between two of the pre-eminent powers in Asia,’ he added. ‘Today, U.S.-India defense ties are strong and growing. Our military-to-military engagement has increased steadily over the past 10 years, and now includes a robust slate of dialogues, military exercises, defense trade, personnel exchanges and armaments cooperation.’

The deputy assistant secretary quickly pointed out that the security ties are just one facet of the overall relationship between the world’s oldest democracy and the world’s largest democracy. ‘We believe that our engagements today will help as India takes on a greater leadership role in South Asia, the Indian Ocean region and globally, on a range of issues,’ he said.

The nine-page report highlights the positive trajectory of U.S.-India security cooperation, Scher said, emphasizing that the report focuses strictly on security cooperation.

‘This by no means captures the entirety of the U.S.-India relationship,’ he told reporters. ‘For instance, although we don’t mention it in the report, the U.S. Department of Defense does and will continue to support cooperation led by our interagency partners on issues such as countering weapons of mass destruction, to include nuclear security and nonproliferation, as well as cooperation on peacekeeping, space and counterterrorism.’

The report details the breadth and depth of the U.S.-India exercise program and the extent of military-to-military contacts between the two nations…‘These are two of the areas where we see the most potential to advance our cooperation with India,’ Scher said.

The report highlights some military sales, including the recent sales of C-130J and C-17 aircraft to India.

‘The report also discusses the importance of personnel exchanges, which is really one of our highest-priority issues,’ Scher said. ‘Our goal is to look for opportunities to enable further training and exchanges between our two defense establishments in order to increase exposure and familiarization of our service personnel to each other’s countries. History has shown time and again the importance of these personal relationships.’

The report touches on the way forward for the relationship, detailing a five-year plan to enhance bilateral security. The United States would like to improve and expand the relationship in four areas, Scher said: combined military exercises, defense trade and support for India’s military modernization, cooperation in areas such as humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief and cooperation with other Asian partners.

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Pentagon Cultivates India As Regional, Global Proxy

http://english.manoramaonline.com/cgi-bin/mmonline.dll/portal/ep/contentView.do?channelId=&contentId=10362556&programId=1073750974&tabId=1&contentType=EDITORIAL

Manorama
November 3, 2011

Pentagon for India taking up larger role on world stage

-’We will continue to focus on relationship building and establishing the foundation for this long-term partnership. We view India and the development of our strategic and security relationship as instrumental to our long-term vision for the region.’

Washington: The United States sees India, an emerging global and regional power, taking a larger role upon the world stage, a top Pentagon official said. ‘In terms of the role of India in the world, we’re very pleased. We really see India taking a larger role upon the world stage and understanding that they have a role as an emerging power and as a realised power and that they have a responsibility to be a part of the global community,’ the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for South and Southeast Asia, Robert Scher, told reporters at a Pentagon news conference.

‘In the past decade, there has been a rapid transformation in the US -India defence relationship. What was once a nascent relationship between unfamiliar nations has evolved into a real partnership between two of the pre-eminent powers in Asia,’ he said. ‘Today, US-India defence ties are strong and growing. Our military-to-military engagement has increased steadily over the past 10 years, and now includes a robust slate of dialogues, military exercises, defence trade, personnel exchanges and armaments cooperation,’ he said.

The us believes that its engagement with India will help as India takes on a greater leadership role in South Asia, the Indian Ocean region and globally, on a range of issues. ‘But I’ll say that efforts to put this relationship within a specific category inevitably fall short. This is a unique relationship. We seek a partnership of equals, where India is enmeshed in the world as a key actor, and in regional security architectures, where we can and we do work together on shared interests,’ he said. ‘We will continue to focus on relationship building and establishing the foundation for this long-term partnership. We view India and the development of our strategic and security relationship as instrumental to our long-term vision for the region,’ he said. Pentagon held the news conference, a day after it submitted a report to the Congress on its relationship with India and the way forward for the next five years.

‘This report gives us a chance to showcase a relationship that we believe is very important to US interests and a relationship that we’re very proud of. We took this report as an opportunity to reflect on the positive trajectory of defence relations, which has led us to the strong state of US-India security cooperation today. It is meant to be a straightforward, factual report about what we are currently doing and where we continue to cooperate together,’ he said.

‘Over the past year, we’ve been working closely with our partners in the legislative branch to raise awareness about the importance of the US-India defence relations. The legislative branch has played an important role, and it continues to have an important role to play in advancing US -India relations,’ he said, adding that US-India relationship enjoys a bipartisan support. He said the long-term partnership with India was an issue that clearly transcended party lines and administrations.

‘As we think about future US security interests and posture in Asia, there is broad consensus that this is a key relationship,’ he said. ‘The US-India defence relationship is strong, and it continues to grow in meaningful ways that support the security interests of both countries. The United States is committed to this defence relationship with India,’ Scher added.

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After Vietnam: Afghan, Iraqi…Iranian Syndromes?

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/11/03/59844822.html

Voice of Russia
November 3, 2011

Is the ‘Vietnam syndrome’ back?
Boris Volkhonsky

-There is a saying that history sometimes repeats itself. Now, unfortunately, it would probably be correct to speak of an ‘Afghan’ or an ‘Iraqi syndrome’. As for the Vietnam war, one must note that every cloud has a silver lining – ‘the Vietnam syndrome’ stopped then US authorities from involving America in similar wars for quite a long time. However, it looks like today’s American authorities have forgotten about that. They haven’t even learned any lessons from dubious ‘success’ in the Afghan and Iraq operations, and, now, they seem to be falling into the same trap in Libya.
-The recent anti-Iranian rhetoric of some Israeli officials seems to indicate that this time, the US won’t itself start the war, in order to avoid looking like an aggressor, but will wait for Israel to start the war instead. However, if the war does start, the US will most probably interfere, whether sooner or later. Aren’t the US authorities worried about an ‘Iranian syndrome’, in addition to the Afghan, Iraq and Libya ones?
-On November 11, the US will celebrate Veterans Day. It would be interesting to listen to what President Obama will have to say to those who have spilled their blood for the ideals of much-vaunted American democracy and who now seem to be neglected by the American state.

An article published on the ‘Huffington Post’ news website says that every 80 minutes one US serviceperson or war veteran commits suicide.

This data was taken from a report by the Center for a New American Security. The report says that since the beginning of the military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the number of suicides or suicide attempts in the army or among war veterans has grown considerably. In 2009 alone, as many as 1,868 veterans of the Iraq and Afghan operations attempted to kill themselves. In 2010, the number of US servicemen who committed suicides in Iraq and Afghanistan exceeded the number of those killed in combat in these countries.

The reasons for these suicides are varied, but most of them were committed either due to a mental illness developed during the war or the inability to adapt to a peaceful life after the war.

The authors of the report, Margaret C. Harrel and Nancy Berglass, have come to the conclusion that ‘America is losing its battle against suicide by veterans and service members. And as more troops return from deployment, the risk will only grow.’

This, of course, causes concern to the Pentagon. Nevertheless, US authorities seem to be pretending that this ‘epidemic’ of suicides is no more terrible than, say, a flue epidemic, and that it can even be cured with very similar methods. A high-ranking US military official has said that suicides can be prevented…with the help of blood tests. Apparently, the chemical composition of the blood of a potential suicide is different from that of a normal person, and this can be determined by a lab test.

Well, thank God if it is really that simple. However, what disturbingly comes to mind here are the events which already seem a distant memory – the Vietnam war of the 1960s and 1970s. In some respects, that war cannot be compared with the current operations in Iraq and Afghanistan – the former lasted a lot longer and took the lives of a lot more people. However, the Vietnam war brought to life what is known as ‘the Vietnam syndrome’ – an ‘epidemic’ of cases when the veterans of that war committed suicide after becoming disillusioned with the much-vaunted American democracy or after failing to adapt to a peaceful life after the war. It is, to a big extent, thanks to the ‘Vietnam syndrome’ that the ‘beat generation’ set off revolutions all over the world in 1968.

There is a saying that history sometimes repeats itself. Now, unfortunately, it would probably be correct to speak of an ‘Afghan’ or an ‘Iraqi syndrome’. As for the Vietnam war, one must note that every cloud has a silver lining – ‘the Vietnam syndrome’ stopped then US authorities from involving America in similar wars for quite a long time. However, it looks like today’s American authorities have forgotten about that. They haven’t even learned any lessons from dubious ‘success’ in the Afghan and Iraq operations, and, now, they seem to be falling into the same trap in Libya.

Currently, the US government is mulling over the possibility of launching a military operation against Iran. The recent anti-Iranian rhetoric of some Israeli officials seems to indicate that this time, the US won’t itself start the war, in order to avoid looking like an aggressor, but will wait for Israel to start the war instead. However, if the war does start, the US will most probably interfere, whether sooner or later. Aren’t the US authorities worried about an ‘Iranian syndrome’, in addition to the Afghan, Iraq and Libya ones?

While the authorities are trying to play down the problem, claiming that suicides can be easily prevented by testing the blood, the veterans are coming to realize that no one will stand for their interests but themselves. Mass anti-government protests, known as ‘Occupy Wall Street!’, which recently engulfed the USA, are now gripping almost the whole world. In some respects, this resembles the ‘youth revolutions’ of 1968. And, in the US, many of those taking part in these riots are veterans of the Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya conflicts. It is worth noting that they are taking to the streets in their military uniforms, in an apparent attempt to draw a parallel between the conflicts they have been involved in and the current protests.

One of the slogans the protesters in New York are chanting is ‘We are the 99%!’ Recently, a new slogan has been added to that: ‘We are veterans of the United States of America!’.

‘Soldiers are bleeding while corporations are multiplying their riches,’ – this is how the veterans are explaining why they are taking to the streets.

Andrew Johnson, the head of the New York branch of Iraq Veterans against the War says: ‘Veterans have a unique opportunity to continue serving here at home through our participation in this civic movement for change.’

On November 11, the US will celebrate Veterans Day. It would be interesting to listen to what President Obama will have to say to those who have spilled their blood for the ideals of much-vaunted American democracy and who now seem to be neglected by the American state.

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U.S. To Launch New Predator, Reaper Drone Base

http://azstarnet.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/air-force-eyes-d-m-for-drone-squadron/article_e2436a08-386e-52e2-a16e-4d849df26695.html

Arizona Daily Star
November 3, 2011

Air Force eyes D-M for drone squadron
Becky Pallack Arizona

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base is one of three finalists to become the home of a new active-duty squadron.

If selected, 280 jobs would come to Tucson.

The other finalists are Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii and Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina. A choice could be made as early as next month.

Once it finds a home base, the unit will handle unmanned aerial vehicles, but no remotely piloted aircraft would come to Tucson.

The group here would be a ground control station for MQ-1B Predators and MQ-9 Reapers used on air-support and intelligence missions.

The Air Force will send a team of majors and lieutenant colonels here to evaluate D-M on various criteria to see how well it suits the mission, said Ann Stefanek, an Air Force spokeswoman.

The criteria include mission requirements, training requirements, facilities and infrastructure, support capacity, environmental impacts and cost.

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