• The Daily Beast

    Scam

    The $600 Million GI Bill Racket

    For-profit colleges are treating veterans like cash cows, collecting millions in GI bill dollars for worthless diplomas while lobbying Washington to keep the money flowing.

    By Aaron Glantz at The Center for Investigative Reporting

    The GI Bill, designed to help veterans live the American dream, is being gobbled up by for-profit colleges that spend lavishly on marketing but can leave veterans with worthless degrees.

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  • via Youtube

    Frozen

    Why These Marines Are Hot for ‘Frozen’

    When a video of Marines singing along to a Disney song went viral, most viewers thought it was cute. It was really a lesson in how the military treats sex and violence.

    At first glance, it seems sweet: Young Marines in a barracks watching Disney’s blockbuster film, Frozen. Snuggled together on a couch, rippled shoulders touching, they bounce along, loudly singing the film’s hit song “Let It Go.” But then, as the song reaches its climax, the Marines explode. Arms go up in triumph, the bouncing turns to bucking, and the song’s final notes are overpowered by the aggressive sounds of the Marine Corps’ trademark war cry: “Ooh-rah!”

    Once the video was posted online, it immediately went viral. Viewers cheered on the “Adorable!” Marines in their moment of “true emotional liberation.” But they had missed the point entirely. Emotional liberation is not what’s going on in the video. It’s the sexy cartoon princess that has the Marines so worked up.

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  • Getty

    Desert Winds

    Watching Iraq Burn From Afghanistan

    The recent Afghan elections should have been the big news, but even troops deployed to Afghanistan are distracted by the spiraling chaos in Iraq.

    Last week, as the world’s gaze shifted toward Iraq, we stayed focused on supporting the presidential runoff election here in Afghanistan.

    On Election Day we were prepared for trouble, but as the hours wore on things remained strangely quiet, at least in my small part of the war. The “120 Days of Wind” are now blowing here in Afghanistan. As the hot, dusty, and dry season invades, the Afghan runoff vote was an apparent success, though not without bloodshed.

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  • Redux

    Buttercup

    The Women Who Died in the Wars

    A former Army journalist remembers a memorial service for “Butter-Cup,” a soldier killed in Iraq, and the untold sacrifices of female service members who died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    “Here, First Sergeant,” said a soldier of the 418th Transportation Company.
    “Here, First Sergeant,” said another soldier of the 418th Transportation Company.
    “Specialist Katrina Bell-Johnson,” said the First Sergeant.
    A suffocating silence filled the Sustainer Theater on LSA Anaconda in Iraq.
    “Specialist Katrina Bell-Johnson,” said the First Sergeant.
    The sound of weeping soldiers punctured the silence in the theater. 
    “Specialist Katrina Bell-Johnson,” said the First Sergeant.

    There was no response.

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  • Sandy Huffaker/Getty

    Afghanistan

    Telling My Kids I'm Going to War

    Before he leaves on another deployment to Afghanistan, a military officer has to break the news to his family.

    Editor’s Note: Nick Willard is the pen name of a service member heading to Afghanistan on one of the final deployments in the closing days of America’s longest war. He will write what he sees in an ongoing feature for The Daily Beast that will appear as regularly as his schedule allows. Biographical details have been changed to protect his identity. 

    I’d known about the deployment to Afghanistan for three months, but made a deal with my wife to not tell the kids until after the holidays. No reason to burden our daughter, the oldest, and boys any sooner than necessary. So we shielded our kids from the impending separation.

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  • Ishtiaq Mahsud/AP

    Shady

    The Taliban’s Shadow Invasion

    On March 1, the Islamabad government cut a deal with the Taliban. And since then, all hell has been breaking loose in neighboring Afghanistan.

    In the last month, the Taliban has killed dozens of people in a string of attacks timed to destabilize Afghanistan ahead of the presidential elections on Saturday.

    Most recently, a suicide bomber breached the heavy security at the Interior Ministry building and blew himself up, killing six police officers. And that may be just a preview, if local Taliban commanders are to be believed.

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  • First lady Michelle Obama (2nd R) waves as she stands with Acting Fort Hood Police Chief Mark Alan Todd (L), Federal Police Officer Kimberly Munley (2nd L). (Jason Reed/Reuters)

    Duty

    The Army vs. The Hero of Ft. Hood

    Kimberly Munley was shot three times taking down Nidal Hasan in 2009. Then she got laid off. Yet she’s never stopped fighting for the victims the military ‘betrayed.’

    Just as in the last mass shooting at Fort Hood, the massacre on Wednesday ended when the gunman was confronted by a very brave policewoman.

    “It was clearly heroic what she did at that moment in time,” Lt. Gen. Mark Milley said of the officer in the more recent horror.

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  • Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters

    Afghanistan

    How I’ll End Our Longest War

    An American military officer leaving on one of the last deployments to Afghanistan before the war ends, writes about his experiences in a new feature for The Daily Beast.

    Editor’s Note:

    Here is an American military officer’s first hand account of war, how it’s fought and how it ends.

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  • Saab

    Now You See It…

    The Best Stealth Fighter

    The U.S. military likes to think it makes the world’s most sophisticated combat aircraft. Think again.

    In 2005, Lockheed Martin labeled the F-35, the stealthy new jet they were building for the Pentagon, as a “fifth-generation” fighter. Ironically, it was a term that they had borrowed from Russia to describe a different stealthy fighter, the F-22. But the term caught on. Some of Lockheed’s rivals tumbled into this rhetorical trap and tried to argue that “fourth-generation” was just as capable—whether it is true or not, making such a case is an uphill struggle.

    But if “fifth-generation” means more than “the ultimate driving machine,” a sixth generation will emerge. Saab—yes, that Saab—can argue that it has built the first such aircraft. The Swedish plane has got a mouthful of a name: the JAS 39E Gripen. But it could well be the future of air combat.

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  • US Marines carry a wounded comrade who has been hit by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) to a Medevac helicopter. (AFP/Getty)

    Invisible Wounds

    An Amazing New Way to Fix Trauma

    Thanks to a new invention, we’re finally learning how to diagnose and treat the lingering affects of explosive events that have led to a mass of traumatic brain injuries in veterans.

    In 2011, Scott Featherman was in Kandahar, Afghanistan as a scout platoon leader with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 101st Airborne Division. He patrolled on foot, and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) filled the donkey paths that crisscrossed the wadis and hills.

    “I was hit several times when I was over,” he says, “and you have no clue if you’re hurt. You get back up, say “Am I good? Looks good.” And then you go back out.”

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  • U.S. Army PFC Lawrence S. Gordon was killed in Normandy on Aug. 13, 1944 in Normandy. He was mistakenly buried as a German unknown soldier in a cemetery in France. His family produced exhaustive research that pointed to Gordon’s whereabouts, but the U.S. military didn’t act on the case. Instead the French and German governments moved forward to exhume Gordon and identify him with DNA. (Courtesy of Gordon family)

    Finally Home

    The WWII Hero America Abandoned

    For more than 50 years, Army PFC Lawrence S. Gordon was mistakenly interred as a German soldier in a cemetery in France. The U.S. never corrected the mistake.

    U.S. Army Private First Class Lawrence S. Gordon—killed in Normandy in 1944, then mistakenly buried as a German soldier—will soon be going home to his family.

    But don’t thank the American military for this belated return. The Pentagon declined to act on his case, despite exhaustive research by civilian investigators that pointed to the location of his remains.

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  • Two F-22 Raptors fly over the Pacific Ocean. (Getty)

    Pentagon Not Ready for Cold War 2

    The U.S. military spent decades pivoting away from its Cold War stance. Now the Pentagon is less prepared than it has been in generations for a confrontation with Russia.

    There’s an old saying in the military that we’re always training for the last war, so fixated on the lessons of our most recent conflict that we’re blind to the emerging threat.

    For years, that last war was the Cold War, and the emerging threat was the insurgents of Iraq and Afghanistan. Slowly, painfully, eventually, the military reoriented itself. The result? After more than two decades of post Cold War re-alignment, the military is less prepared than it has been in generations for a confrontation with Russia.

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  • Chris Hondros/Getty

    DEPRESSING

    Food Stamps Rise in Military Homes

    Increasing since the 2008 recession.

    The families of American service members are increasingly forced to rely on food stamps to get by. Since 2007, the amount of money military families redeem in food stamps has jumped from $24.8 million to $103.6 million in 2013. Thirty percent of spouses of active-duty military members ages 18 to 24 are unemployed. The base salary for a new solider with a spouse and child is about $20,000 a year, just above the poverty line. The growth in food-stamp redemption has slowed, though: 2013 saw a 5 percent increase, compared to 2012, which saw a 13 percent uptick.

    Read it at CNN