– House Republicans moved legislation forward yesterday that would cut nearly $300 billion from social programs, many of which effect the nation’s poorest, in order to stave off more than $50 billion in military spending cuts.
– The Republican-controlled House Armed Services Committee put forward a base defense budget of $554 billion — $29 billion more than what the Pentagon requested — leading the ranking Democrat Rep. Adam Smith (WA) to comment that “simply spending more money on defense does not make us safer.”
– A new plan for faster deployment of U.S. special forces would insert U.S. operatives across the globe either as deployed strike groups or trainers for local security forces, allowing them to quickly mobilize within their regions.
– In a surprise move last night, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Shaul Mofaz signed an agreement outlining a national unity government with an overwhelming majority of the Israeli parliament, or Knesset, and obviating a call just two days ago by Netanyahu’s party for an early election this September.
– Israel’s Supreme Court yesterday rejected appeals for the release of two Palestinian prisoners who have been on a hunger strike for 69 days to protest their incarceration without formal charges
– The U.S.-led NATO forces in Afghanistan took responsibility for an errant airstrike in the Helmand province that killed six members of a family there, opening an investigation, expressing regret, and laying down plans to apologize directly to surviving family members.
– Gen. John Allen, top allied commander in Afghanistan, rejected statements from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) that the Taliban has grown stronger since the surge of U.S. troops. “We have, I think, pretty clear evidence that the momentum has been reversed, that the surge has accomplished a great deal,” he said.