FROM Jeremy Scahill
Pentagon Increasingly Outsources War Effort The Army that cleaned latrines and did kitchen patrol is a thing of the past, with that kind of grunt work now performed by private contractors. But those aren't the only kind of tasks that have been outsourced by the Pentagon. The second largest force in Iraq is 100,000 private contractors, many performing jobs that soldiers used to do including that of providing security for construction projects, diplomats and visiting dignitaries. One of the largest is Blackwater USA , which has been called, "the world's most powerful mercenary army." Supporters of privatization say it will be critical to the US military for a long time to come. Critics call it "outsourcing war" behind the backs of the American people. Is it a good deal for taxpayers? Does it help soldiers do their real jobs? Is it a formula for conducting war without accountability?
GOP 'Nukes' the Senate filibuster on SCOTUS nominees Senate Democrats today blocked Judge Neil Gorsuch's appointment to the US Supreme Court… but just for the moment. The Republican majority has changed the rules to force a likely confirmation as soon as tomorrow.
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.