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Majority of US Veterans Say Wars in Iraq, Afghanistan “Not Worth Fighting”: Study

64% of 1,284 polled veterans said the Iraq war “was not worth the fighting” and 58% also concluded the same regarding the Afghanistan war.

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Veterans Say Iraq, Afghanistan Wars Weren't Worth It
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(TMU) — A majority of veterans taking part in a recent research study say that the cost and burden of the U.S.-led invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan outweigh any success or progress made in either conflict, Military.com reports.

The Pew Research Center report, published last Wednesday, states that 64 percent of 1,284 polled veterans said the Iraq war “was not worth the fighting” and 58 percent also concluded the same regarding the Afghanistan war.

“Veterans who served in either Iraq or Afghanistan are no more supportive of those wars than those who did not serve in these wars,” Pew researchers Ruth Igielnik and Kim Parker stated. “And views do not differ based on rank or combat experience.”

The polls appear to mirror a civilian poll which found that 60 percent of Americans felt the same about the Iraq war with another 59 percent of the public agreeing on Afghanistan.

“Our veterans have borne the brunt of these policy mistakes and it is not surprising they would be wary of more endless war abroad while also not looking kindly on our current wars,” says Nate Anderson, executive director of the conservative Concerned Veterans for America organization, in a statement, according to Mother Jones.

The survey also shows a distaste for the war in Syria with 55 percent of veterans disapproving of the Syria campaign. Likewise, only 36 percent of the general public believed US efforts in Syria to have been worthwhile.

The study found that Republican and Republican-leaning veterans “are much more likely than veterans who identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party to say the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were worth fighting: 45% of Republican veterans vs. 15% of Democratic veterans say the war in Iraq was worth fighting, while 46% of Republican veterans and 26% of Democratic veterans say the same about Afghanistan.”

The U.S. government is undoubtedly aware of the public and military veteran dissatisfaction with U.S. wars in the Middle East. It could explain why Donald Trump openly displays a desire to bring troops home from various ventures in the Middle East, and may also explain the current administration’s calls for U.S. troops in Syria to be supplanted by German troops.

Surprisingly, a majority of vets (57 percent) approve of the way the president is handling his responsibilities as commander-in-chief of the world’s most advanced military. Trump’s stated aim of bringing the troops home may have contributed to this sentiment.

The timing of the recent survey is also fortunate, given there are many signs that the U.S. could once again launch another reckless war with a Middle Eastern country—Iran.

According to a poll conducted by Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) in April of this year, only 6 percent of veterans and 13 percent of military households support the U.S. being engaged in conflicts around the world. This was further confirmed by a CVA and VoteVets poll from a month ago that seemed to suggest that those polled strongly disapproved of a military confrontation with Iran.

A Military Times poll published in October last year found that nearly half of all current military troops believe the U.S. will be drawn into a major war soon. A similar poll conducted a year earlier revealed only 5 percent had felt the same way approximately twelve months prior.

When the Iraq war began in March 2003, more than seven-in-ten Americans said using force was the right decision. This number has drastically reduced over the years with 46 percent of the public saying it was the wrong decision around 2011.

The problem facing us seems to be that there are plenty of military veterans who are given a voice in the U.S. foreign policy decision-making and in the media, but they are never the veterans who matter most. Unfortunately, veterans have been speaking out against needless war for years—they just haven’t been listened to. Harry Patch, who was at one time the world’s last surviving World War I combat vet, once famously told former British Prime Minister Tony Blair that “war is organized murder—and nothing else.”

By Darius Shahtahmasebi | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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Animals

Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida

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A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.

In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.

“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.

Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.

Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.

Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.

Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.

However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.

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Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son

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A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.

The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.

The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.

“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.

“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.

The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.

The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.

“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.

The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.

The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.

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Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter

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The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.

However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.

In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.

It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.

The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.

Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.

The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.

Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.

The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.

The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.

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