Yesterday was Veterans Day in the United States, though today is the federal holiday honoring it. Of the more than 17,000 American military personnel catastrophically wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq, nearly 1,600 are amputees—many of them multiple amputees. Read the remarkable story of one young amputee in current issue of WORLD.
In addition to honoring living veterans, remember the families of more than 4,400 U.S. service members killed in Iraq and more than 2,100 killed in Afghanistan.
On Veterans Day two Afghans have killed a British officer and a Spanish serviceman in another “green on blue,” or insider attack.
U.S. service members and the American public aren’t the only ones reeling over Friday’s sudden resignation of David Petraeus, the four-star general who became director of the CIA in Sept. 2011. What we know at this point suggests that the FBI launched an investigation of the head of U.S. intelligence—without notifying Congress as it generally would—after a friend of Petraeus (Jill Kelley of Tampa, Fla.) filed a complaint against Paula Broadwell, a biographer of Petraeus and allegedly his illicit lover.
“We received no advanced notice. It was like a lightning bolt,” said Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, who heads the Senate Intelligence Committee. The Wall Street Journal has a good chronology of how the scandal that led to the resignation unfolded.
The quick confrontation with Petraeus and his resignation came days ahead of Petraeus’ schedule hearing before Congress this week to answer questions about the CIA’s role in Benghazi and the events leading to the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others there. Washington is not a city that normally rushes to judgment over marital infidelity, you’ll recall. It’s no surprise here that marital and moral lapses could lead to national security lapses—and that Petraeus had to step aside. But the timing is worth watching—given that many in the Obama administration and the national security community (including Vice President Joe Biden, a notable Petraeus critic) are much more interested in discrediting his counterinsurgency doctrine that has guided the more successful aspects of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, than they are in his personal life. That’s the only way to explain why he was made head of the CIA and not the Department of Defense.
Military blogs are abuzz with what Petraeus’ moral failure means for the military doctrine he espoused. And there will be calls in Congress for him to testify on Benghazi, rather than his newly appointed surrogate.
Israel has fired on Syria in the first direct confrontation between the two neighbors since the Syrian uprising began. An Israeli tank struck a Syrian army vehicle Monday after a mortar shell landed on Israeli-held territory on Sunday. It has seemed inevitable that the Syrian civil war should become a region-wide conflict, and now the stage is set. Over the weekend, six Gulf states recognized the Syrian opposition as the “legitimate representative” of the Syrian people.
On the Cairo subway, two women in full Islamic head coverings assaulted and cut the hair of a young Christian woman on Sunday.
Today begins the three-day Global Security Seminar 2012 in Istanbul, focusing on media coverage of terrorism. Already from the live blog I’ve learned that 100 percent of terror attacks by Islamist groups in Europe were conducted by militants trained in Pakistan, and how social media geotags can pose security risks for journalists.