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Jan 22, 2012

U.S. won’t cut carrier fleet to fix budget, Panetta says

ABOARD THE USS ENTERPRISE (Reuters) – The United States will not cut America’s fleet of 11 aircraft carriers to help trim the budget deficit, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Saturday, citing tensions with Iran as an example of why the massive ships are so critical to national security.

Panetta was addressing about 1,700 sailors headed to the Gulf this spring aboard the USS Enterprise, which after a half-century of service is about to embark on its final tour before being taken offline in November.

Jan 21, 2012

U.S. carrier to test limits of Iranian rhetoric

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Navy has been moving its massive aircraft carriers in and out of the Gulf for decades, but when it sails through the Strait of Hormuz again, there will be extraordinary attention on what the Navy considers a mostly ordinary maritime maneuver.

Iranian officials earlier this month bluntly warned a U.S. carrier not to return to the Gulf and have threatened to block the strait, spooking oil markets and raising the specter of a U.S.-Iranian confrontation.

Jan 14, 2012

Marines inch toward charges over desecration video

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Marine Corps took a first, formal step on Friday toward possible charges against four Marines who, in a widely circulated video, appear to be urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.

It named a lead investigating officer whose job will include deciding what charges, if any, would be brought against the four men, all of whom have been identified, a Marine Corps official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Jan 14, 2012

Iran ships approached U.S. vessels in Gulf

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Small Iranian military motorboats approached U.S. vessels passing through the Strait of Hormuz twice last week but the Pentagon said the interactions were not seen as hostile, even at a moment of heightened tensions between the two countries.

Video released by the Pentagon showed the armed boats with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ navy approaching within several hundred yards (meters) of the USS New Orleans, an amphibious transport ship, on January 6, a U.S. military official said.

Jan 13, 2012

Is Marine desecration video a new Abu Ghraib?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A video appearing to show U.S. Marines urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters promises to become an enduring memory of the Afghan war and is already drawing sharp reaction from across the world as it goes viral on the Internet.

But experts inside and outside the U.S. military are so far unconvinced the incident will cause as much damage as Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal did, even as it stirs anti-American sentiment and revives questions about why some American troops appear prone to committing abuses — and then proudly documenting them.

Jan 13, 2012

Analysis – Is Marine desecration video a new Abu Ghraib?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A video appearing to show U.S. Marines urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters promises to become an enduring memory of the Afghan war and is already drawing sharp reaction from across the world as it goes viral on the Internet.

But experts inside and outside the U.S. military are so far unconvinced the incident will cause as much damage as Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal did, even as it stirs anti-American sentiment and revives questions about why some American troops appear prone to committing abuses — and then proudly documenting them.

Jan 13, 2012

Taliban say Marine tape won’t hurt Afghanistan talks

KABUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A video showing what appears to be American forces urinating on dead Taliban fighters prompted anger in Afghanistan and promises of a U.S. investigation on Thursday but the insurgent group said it would not harm nascent efforts to broker peace talks.

The video, posted on YouTube and other websites, shows four men in camouflage Marine combat uniforms urinating on three corpses. One of them jokes: “Have a nice day, buddy.” Another makes a lewd joke.

Jan 12, 2012

U.S. Marines probe video of men urinating on Taliban corpses

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Marine Corps said on Wednesday it would investigate a video showing what appear to be American forces in Afghanistan urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters.

The video, which was posted on YouTube and other websites, shows four men in camouflage Marine combat uniforms urinating on the bodies of three dead Taliban.

Jan 11, 2012

U.S. military moves carriers, denies Iran link

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military said on Wednesday that a new aircraft carrier strike group had arrived in the Arabian Sea and that another was on its way to the region, but denied any link to recent tensions with Iran and portrayed the movements as routine.

The shift in the powerful U.S. naval assets comes at a moment of heightened tensions with Iran, which has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz – the world’s most important oil shipping lane – if U.S. and EU sanctions over its nuclear program cut off its oil exports.

Jan 10, 2012

No big U.S. naval buildup in Asia, top officer says

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s decision to reorient the U.S. military’s focus to the Asia-Pacific region will not lead to a major naval buildup there, the top U.S. Navy officer said on Tuesday, adding that the United States already has a robust presence in the area.

Obama last week unveiled a new military strategy shifting attention to Asia over the next decade while downsizing the overall force, moves that will accommodate significant cuts in projected U.S. defense spending.

    • About Phil

      "Phil Stewart has worked for Reuters since 1998 and reported from more than 30 countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, China and Egypt. Before becoming a Washington D.C.-based military affairs and intelligence reporter, Phil covered terrorism, foreign affairs and the Vatican from Rome from 2004 until mid-2009. He has also previously been based in Colombia and Brazil as a foreign correspondent. Before joining Reuters, Phil covered U.S. politics out of Washington D.C. for States News Service. He earned his BS in international relations from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. He speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian. ..."
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