Posted tagged ‘Soldier’

Bush Considers Troop Cuts in Iraq

September 6, 2008

Yes, you heard that right. (Just before the election?) The top U.S. general in Iraq is recommending nearly 8,000 troop cuts in Iraq because of the improving situation there.

Joseph Barrak / AFP/Getty Images

Credit: Joseph Barrak / AFP/Getty Images

From CNN:

President Bush is considering Gen. David Petraeus’ recommendation, which the official said is for a reduction of “well over 7,500 personnel,” with the number including combat and support troops.

Some units would leave Iraq over the next five months as they complete their missions. But the first possible significant reduction — an army brigade combat team — would leave without replacement early next year, said the official, and that would free a brigade to be rotated to Afghanistan instead of Iraq.

Petraeus gave his recommendation to Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, who have passed it and other recommendations along to the president.

A reduction in U.S. troops in Iraq would free up personnel for deployment to Afghanistan, a move urged by many commanders. The Taliban has stepped up its fight in that country, posing a challenge for the 33,000 U.S. troops deployed there.

The White House will not comment on the details of the Iraq recommendations. Spokeswoman Dana Perino said only that Bush “has received the assessment and recommendation from the Pentagon and he is considering his options.”

From the Los Angeles Times:

Under the recommendation, the current level of about 140,000 troops would remain in Iraq through the end of Bush’s presidency in January. Then, a combat brigade of about 3,500 troops would be removed by February, a senior Pentagon official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the recommendation has not been made public.

The move would represent a compromise between Petraeus and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, comprising the uniformed heads of the Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force. The Joint Chiefs had hoped for a sharper cut — of up to 10,000 troops — by the end of the year. Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Iraq, had pushed to keep 140,000 troops, or 15 combat brigades and support personnel, until next June.

US Troops in Iraq Until 2015?

August 28, 2008

According to reports, the United States asked Iraq for permission to maintain a troop presence there to 2015, but US and Iraqi negotiators agreed to limit their authorization only through 2011.

From Reuters:

“It was a U.S. proposal for the date which is 2015, and an Iraqi one which is 2010, then we agreed to make it 2011. Iraq has the right, if necessary, to extend the presence of these troops,” Talabani said in an interview with al-Hurra television, a transcript of which was posted on his party’s website on Wednesday.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said that, while overall negotiations continued, the two sides had accepted the end of 2011 as an end date for the presence of the approximately 145,000 U.S. troops stationed in Iraq.

U.S. officials stress that no final agreement has been made. A final deal will need to be approved by the Iraqi parliament.

U.S. officials in Baghdad were not immediately available for comment.

Wednesday’s Weather Forecast: Tropic Thunder

August 10, 2008

Ben Stiller is up to his old tricks again with his new film, Tropic Thunder, which comes out this Wednesday, August 13, is about to hit theaters across the country. The comedy, also starring Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr., is about a group of actors who set out to make the biggest war film ever get involved in an actual war that’s being fought near their filming location.

Tropic Thunder is an homage to Hollywood war epics from “Platoon” and “Apocalypse Now” to “Saving Private Ryan” and “Rambo.” What will most certainly be the most talked about part of the film will be Downey Jr’s portrayal of Kirk Lazarus, in blackface.

Check out what The Oregonian has to say:

The comedy has garnered a lot of buzz in the last year because Robert Downey Jr. appears in it as an Australian actor so committed to his craft that he undergoes a procedure to have his skin turned brown to play an African American soldier.

Now, that is a lot to ask an audience to swallow in 2008, with an African American presidential candidate and older media stars getting fired and suspended for various racially insensitive faux pas. Blackface is a complicated bit of ancient Americana, and most folks are happy it’s gone the way of other dastardly forms of “entertainment.” So, it would seem to be a third rail of film comedy.

The thought behind this is that the award-winning Lazarus has actually undergone surgery to “be black” in an effort to pull off a more convincing portrayal of what is supposedly a character who existed in real life. To be sure that the film would not be considered too offensive, Stiller showed it to the NAACP for feedback, and several African American film journalists have reacted positively to Downey’s hilarious portrayal.

I’m sure that as always, Stiller will turn in a masterpiece and Tropic Thunder will be a box office success. Thoughts?