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Top News Stories 2008-08-13 07:00:50

Front Page: Phelps Breaks Gold Record, Russian Convoy Violates Truce, Contractors Cost US $85 Billion

  • Phelps Breaks Gold Record:
    US swimmer Michael Phelps has broken the record for most Olympic gold won by scoring his 10th and 11th in a double victory in races today. A win in the 200m butterfly gave him his 4th gold for these Olympics, keeping him on track to take home eight golds for these games. The most golds ever won prior to Phelps was nine.
  • Russian Convoy Violates Truce:
    A Russian military convoy has moved deep into Georgia today in violation of a new truce agreement. Georgia's soldiers have retreated following the truce and the new movement by the Russians surprised the few remaining. The new movement came 12 hours after the cease-fire plan supposed to end the fighting that has uprooted an estimated 100,000 people.

  • Contractors Cost US $85 Billion:
    Between 2003 and 2007 the US government spent $85 billion on contractors to support the Iraq war. The figure is likely to top $100 billion by the end of 2008, according to a review by the Congressional Budget Office. There are currently 190,000 employed on a one-to-one ratio with military personnel. Contractors have been used in Iraq at a much larger scale than in any other major conflict.


Join The Conversation
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
I sympathize with the man but if the U.S. were to (directly) involve it self in anyway with this conflict out side of diplomacy it would simply put flame to fuse. It's also a matter of ability. I think if we were that powerful enough to back slap Russia with moderate consequence we would do it. However, because of our over expenditure in the Middle East we are in no position to make threats other than bark loudly like a dog chained to a post. If Russia goes beyond the break away province and absorbs Georgia as well than NATO will have clear license to absorb Ukraine who desperately wants NATOs protection.
Jillness Jillness 8 years
The Georgian President spoke about McCain yesterday: (CNN) "“Yesterday, I heard Sen. McCain say, ‘We are all Georgians now,’” Saakashvili said on CNN’s American Morning. “Well, very nice, you know, very cheering for us to hear that, but OK, it’s time to pass from this. From words to deeds.” Saakashvili said action is more important than rhetoric in the face of “brutal” and “deliberate” Russian violence. He urged the United States to take the lead in installing an international peacekeeping force.
Jillness Jillness 8 years
"Is the break away province from Georgia breaking away to align itself with Russia or is it indifferent of Russia and simply wants independence?" I think the battle is whether the disputed territories end up being with Russia or Georgia. I have read several things that mention that there are strong pro-Russia feelings in one of the disputed areas in Georgia, but it is kind of hard to trust that info. Both sources where I read this sited the fact that Russia gave these people Russian passports, almost as a justification for saying that there were pro-Russian feelings. I guess I just don't trust Russia to take a genuine poll to see where people honestly stand.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
I still want to examine the circumstances as well. One question I have...Is the break away province from Georgia breaking away to align itself with Russia or is it indifferent of Russia and simply wants independence? If it is the primary than I can see why Russia would cover them while they made their get away and this I find acceptable. However, they didn't just defend the break away they went into Georgia unnecessarily to do a little b!+(# slappin just to rub it in and that was unacceptable. On the other hand they could have just been opportunistic using the chaos to snatch the break away for themselves before Georgia could regain control or the break away could establish independence of its own. It will be very interesting to see how this all plays out. According to diplomacy and rules of engagement the world can only sit by and watch the Georgia/Russia situation. Once Russia's real intents are revealed NATO needs to think fast. If Russia moves to retake the Ukraine we will again be at a loss to do anything unless we break the rules of engagement. Now mind you there is a tricky nuance here. As you said NATO does not want the Ukraine at least not under normal circumstances. However, in this state of affairs the Ukraine goes from being the troubled child saying oh pick me..pick me to a priceless bargaining chip. All NATO has to do is threaten to accept Ukraine and that will get Russia's attention and hopefully give Putin a moment of pause that will put an end to his land grab. This is a chess game and I think this would be our best defensive move without fireing a shot.
Jillness Jillness 8 years
Hypno, I am still digging, but this is how I see the situation right now. The Ukraine was denied membership to NATO in April. In order for them to join, it would take countries like Germany and others to agree. In April they argued that the region was too unstable for them to join. Especially since Georgia has a border dispute, if we agree to bring these countries into NATO, then we would have to defend them if they were invaded. With aggressive actions by Georgia, it makes the decision to keep them out of NATO seem wise. We would carry more responsibility for their actions. As the article from the BBC points out, WWI was started becasue alliances that had formed in Europe which forced the hand when Ferdinand was assasinated. I certainly think we need to manuver to the best of our ability, but I don't think that painting ourselves into a corner we do not have the ability to get out of is a good thing. Russia is very wealthy and powerful.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
I am so proud of Michael Phelps but I'm just counting the days until the over saturation backlash begins. As for Russia our dear dear friend Mr. Rove pointed something genius out the other day. If we want leverage we need to threaten them with a NATO membership for Ukraine. He says that is the last thing Russia wants and I agree 100%. Don't we have a coupon for contractors lying around somewhere?
Jillness Jillness 8 years
I haven't read the article yet, but I do think it is funny that they say in bold, "Do not punch a bear on the nose unless it is tied down." I like "Don't F*** with da Bull" a little bit better...different animal, same meaning!
yesteryear yesteryear 8 years
jillness: georgia most certainly did attack first, the reports you read were correct. there is speculation that the US supported this move... perhaps encouraged.
yesteryear yesteryear 8 years
1. georgia attacked russia (stupid)... so why are we going on and on about how they are victims? why weren't we first advising georgia NOT to attack russia? isn't that a little dangerous? 2. US troops are (and have been) in georgia for some time now. georgia is a friend to US, contributing the third largest # of troops in iraq. doesn't that seem weird to anyone else? why would such a tiny country give so many troops to fight in iraq? 3. there is an oil pipeline in georgia. 4. watch what happens - mccain & GOP will milk this. i PRAY the crisis is somehow de-escalated, but if it is not, we will have a republican president in 2009.
Jillness Jillness 8 years
Here is the issue I have. I don't think that McCain is connected to the Geogian attack. However, I have heard some reports that were saying that Georgia actually rolled in tanks to the "disputed territories" first, and Russia's over agression was in response to that. If Georgia provoked first, I do think that should affect our response to this event. Russia was clearly wrong by doing what they did, killing civilians and not holding to their truce, but if Georgia provoked first that needs to be addressed. As one of my friends used to say, "Don't F*** with the Bull". McCain's advisor, who was paid by the Georgian government to get more favorable United States-Georgian relations, might be giving McCain a cloudy version of what went on. As I said before, I am not condemning McCain. I just think that the relationship could use some scrutiny.
stephley stephley 8 years
"This struggle commenced during the Clinton administration when the former Soviet republics of the Caspian Sea basin became independent and began seeking Western customers for their oil and natural gas resources...Because the Caspian itself is landlocked, any energy exiting the region has to travel by pipeline – and, at that time, Russia controlled all of the available pipeline capacity. To avoid exclusive reliance on Russian conduits, President Clinton sponsored the construction of an alternative pipeline from Baku in Azerbaijan to Tbilisi in Georgia and then onward to Ceyhan on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast -- the BTC pipeline, as it is known today. The BTC pipeline...passes some of the most unsettled areas of the world, including Chechnya and Georgia’s two breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia...the Clinton and Bush administrations provided Georgia with hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid, making it the leading recipient of U.S. arms and equipment in the former Soviet space. President Bush has also lobbied U.S. allies in Europe to “fast track” Georgia’s application for membership in NATO. All of this, needless to say, was viewed in Moscow with immense resentment." (
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
How in the world has the stretch been made from a lobbyist to McCain is Connecticut to the Georgian attack? He is just running against your candidate, he isn't the devil responsible for all the worlds ills. Sheesh.
hausfrau hausfrau 8 years
Jill just to be clear, I wasn't calling your arrogant, but it seems like sometimes people seem to attach things to this election that don't make a whole lot of sense to attach. We, as a country, need to remember that the entire world of politics doesn't revolve around us and our election. And thanks for the compliment on my cupcake Jill... I just spent the last 2 weeks in Cali and I got some cupcakes at Sprinkles, I was so excited about it and they weren't as good as I had wanted. Kind of a let down. Good cupcakes, but not fantastic... I will say though, they stayed fresh for a few days and they have no preservatives! I want to know how they did that!!! :) Thanks for the welcome back Dave and Amy!
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
:wave: Woohoo! Cabaker's here!!
stephley stephley 8 years
Harts, I don't think it's so far-fetched as we might wish. From the Reagan administration through today, there have been questions raised about arms sales, China, Israel and lobbyists who moved into Administration jobs. At the end of administrations, there have been concerns raised about job-hunting White House advisors offering advice that would make them look better to future employers. If I want a job with the Carlyle Group or Kissinger & Associates, I've got to look like I know what I'm doing, have some influential friends and can work the system.
Jillness Jillness 8 years
No worries, Cabaker. You are looking more delicious than ever, by the way. ;) Georgia is a small country, but they have a big oil pipeline that goes through their country. I just think it is wise to take our steps carefully.
amybdk amybdk 8 years
First of all, it's nice to see you cabaker! Second, I want to eat your avatar.
Jillness Jillness 8 years
Thank you, hartsfull! I didn't say that every conflict in the world has to do with us, and I am a little confused about the arrogance referrence. I do think the connection warrants a little more scrutiny. If people are going to be making bold statements on behalf of the US, it isn't crazy to suggest we pay attention to who they are being advised by. I haven't condemned McCain, I just think it is logical to examine the influence. I still stand by that. And I am not talking about the cause of the conflict, more about the reaction and response and what we will do next.
hausfrau hausfrau 8 years
Oh and sorry Jill re: #15 - I meant YY, not Jill, my bad! :)
hausfrau hausfrau 8 years
" It would scare me to think that someone who is paid to push one countries best interest(who isn't the US) is having a direct influence on a Presidential candidate." I might see that concern if it was Iran or China or even Russia, but Georgia? I mean, no offense to those lovely folks but I highly, HIGHLY doubt that a man who has been in politics for over 20 years is going to be swayed significantly by one person from such a small country.
hausfrau hausfrau 8 years
Sorry Jill but thats a real reach. Not every conflict in the world has to do with us, maybe this is why people think Americans are so arrogant. The bottom line is Russia is beating up on the little guy because they can. Thats all. End of story. They have oil. They supply most of Europe with oil. Europe won't stand up to Russia. So they beat up on the little guy. We can go on and on about why and the details of it all, but at the end of the day it pretty much just boils down to those 4 sentences.
hartsfull hartsfull 8 years
What? That's pretty crazy conspiracy thinking. Jill, I totally respect your opinions and brain :). I know how informed you are, but that's just insane.
stephley stephley 8 years
I'm uncomfortable with it too, but a lot of people have an interesting view of conflict of interest. It seems to have to do with the size of your paycheck, who signs it and if anyone's paying attention to what you're doing.
Jillness Jillness 8 years
I just think it greatly increases the possibility for bias, and this is such a sensitive matter. It would scare me to think that someone who is paid to push one countries best interest(who isn't the US) is having a direct influence on a Presidential candidate.
stephley stephley 8 years
I think Jill, because it's too much business as usual. McCain's seen as the more traditional candidate so why wouldn't he have people working with him who also work for Georgia? If it was Venezuela or Iran, it might raise some eyebrows.
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