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June 7, 2008 | From Times Wire Reports
Venezuelan fighter jets and ships fired live missiles during exercises intended to demonstrate the firepower of President Hugo Chavez's military. Smoke rose from ships off the military base on La Orchila island as Otomat MK2 missiles arced into the sky and Russian-made Sukhoi fighter jets flew in formation. Defense Minister Gustavo Rangel Briceno commanded the troops during the exercises. It was the first time in 13 years that such drills were held with live missile fire at sea, he said.
April 27, 2008 | David Zucchino, Times Staff Writer
One in a series of articles about three teenagers and their wartime enlistment in the Marines. -- In the nine months after he graduated from high school, Lance Cpl. Daryl Crookston was trained to close and kill. The proper pursuit of the enemy was pounded into him during boot camp and combat drills. Last month, as his unit prepared to ship out to Afghanistan, some Marines in Crookston's platoon didn't think he was capable of killing a man. He's deeply religious. He had chosen to stop cursing and drinking -- and that, in the Marines' testosterone-stoked world, suggested weakness.
April 3, 2008 | Tina Susman, Times Staff Writer
The Iraqi colonel's phone rang shortly before the bloodshed began. Shiite militiamen were planning to overrun forces under his command, the callers warned, and his children would be killed if his soldiers fought back. Within hours on the afternoon of March 25, militiamen with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns crossed footpaths spanning a sewage-choked canal that separates a militia stronghold in northwest Baghdad from a neighboring district where Col. Falih Hussein was in charge.
March 5, 2008 | Peter Spiegel and Julian E. Barnes, Times Staff Writers
Two top U.S. military commanders said Tuesday that Iran continues to train and direct violent Shiite militias in Iraq and is attempting to permanently weaken the Iraqi government. Iran has become the biggest long-term threat to Iraqi stability and is encouraging radical elements among the Shiite population to continue attacks even as some prominent militia leaders push for cease-fires, said Army Lt. Gen. Raymond T.
February 13, 2008 | Peter Spiegel, Times Staff Writer
The U.S. military has lost focus on its nuclear-weapons mission and has suffered a sharp decline in nuclear expertise, factors that may have contributed to a mishap last year in which a B-52 bomber unknowingly carried six nuclear warheads across the country, according to two new independent reviews. Both studies found that levels of nuclear training and alertness at the Air Force slipped after the end of the Cold War.
January 18, 2008 | Chris Kraul, Times Staff Writer
Seven years and $4.35 billion since the advent of a massive U.S. aid program, the Colombian military has been transformed from an outmatched "garrison force" that had yielded huge swaths of terrain to leftist guerrillas, to an aggressive force that has won back territory. The transformation, however, has had a dark side. Soldiers and police officers have committed rising numbers of human rights abuses, even as U.S. training intensifies, rights groups charge.
January 7, 2008 | Tina Susman, Times Staff Writer
The 10 rows of men stood ramrod straight, their right hands saluting in unison, their left arms stiffly at their sides, save for one in a plaster cast and sling. Then, in a burst of collective energy, they raced out the door, crossed a vast field and hurled themselves onto an obstacle course of swinging ropes, muddy ditches, catwalks and towering walls. Welcome to the new Iraqi army, or at least a tiny portion of it that U.S. and Iraqi officials hope will serve as a model for the rest.
December 23, 2007 | Tony Perry, Times Staff Writer
Sgt. Mitchell Janicki, his face grimy with dirt and sweat, is explaining the rigors of the 45-day course meant to determine if an enlisted Marine has the makings of a squad leader. Janicki, 22, of Grand Rapids, Mich., is determined to return to Iraq as the leader of an infantry squad of 12 enlisted Marines. On this day, students are being put through realistic scenarios in the parched hills of the sprawling base. "They run us ragged, but it's good," Janicki said.
December 16, 2007 | From the Associated Press
Republican White House hopeful John McCain says he wants "a crash program" in civilian and military schools that emphasizes language and creates a "new specialty in strategic interrogation" so that the nation never feels the need for torture. Sen. McCain, a former Vietnam prisoner of war who suffered mistreatment, talked about the new proposal at a Columbia campaign stop Saturday.
November 25, 2007 | Robert D. Kaplan, Robert D. Kaplan, a national correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly and a visiting professor at the U.S. Naval Academy, is the author of "Hog Pilots, Blue Water Grunts: The American Military in the Air, at Sea, and on the Ground."
When I visited Arauca province in northeastern Colombia in February 2003, it was considered the most dangerous part of the country. Attacks by narco-terrorists using improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, and cylinder and car bombs occurred every few hours. U.S. Army Special Forces members, who were in the province to train Colombian army troops, left their base only in full battle-rattle -- that is, in body armor with guns at the ready -- just like in Iraq.
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