Do vets come home murderers?

A study conducted by The New York Times has found 121 murder cases in the United States, which involve veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars following their return from the front.

The newspaper said that in many cases, combat trauma and stress from overseas deployment appear to have set the stage for the killings, along with alcohol abuse and family problems.

Joint Chiefs boss: Time to close Gitmo

The chief of the U.S. military said he favors closing the prison here as soon as possible because he believes negative publicity worldwide about treatment of terrorist suspects has been "pretty damaging" to the image of the United States.

"I'd like to see it shut down," Adm. Mike Mullen said Sunday in an interview with three reporters who toured the detention center with him on his first visit since becoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff last October.

No free minutes for the feds

This had to be terribly embarrassing to the image-conscious FBI.

An audit by the Justice Department's inspector general found that telephone companies have cut off FBI wiretaps in sensitive criminal and intelligence investigations because the bureau neglected to pay its phone bills.

"We also found that late payments have resulted in telecommunications carriers actually disconnecting phone lines established to deliver surveillance results to the FBI, resulting in lost evidence," said the audit report.

Spilling our blood to protect their oil

With oil hovering at the $100-a-barrel mark, we're inundated by calls for a "Manhattan Project" on alternative energy, more regulation of major oil companies and an end to our military presence in the Gulf.

The assumptions are that America's energy demand drives prices, the "majors" determine supply and instability in the Middle East explains recent spikes. So, if this is all our doing, then it can all be our undoing as well.

Would that Washington was so eminently in control of global energy markets.

‘Your papers please!’

Americans born after Dec. 1, 1964, will have to get more secure driver’s licenses in the next six years under ambitious post-9/11 security rules to be unveiled Friday by federal officials.

The Homeland Security Department has spent years crafting the final regulations for the REAL ID Act, a law designed to make it harder for terrorists, illegal immigrants and con artists to get government-issued identification. The effort once envisioned to take effect in 2008 has been pushed back in the hopes of winning over skeptical state officials.

What took so long?

Recession, like menopause, is a retrospective diagnosis. You don’t know you’re in one until you’ve been in it for at least two quarters (referring to a recession) or a year (for menopause). The question for me is not: Are we hitting a recession in 2008? It is: What has made the economy so buoyant that we didn’t submerge into a recession several years ago?

We can be replaced

It has long been said that the car part most prone to failure was the nut behind the wheel, and now General Motors seems on the way to solving that weakest link by eliminating it.

GM says it will begin testing driverless-car technology by 2015 and begin selling driverless cars around 2018. Most of the technology — radar, GPS mapping, automated controls, stability sensors — are already available for a car to drive somewhere by itself and parallel park when it gets there. (How much technology, you may well ask, does it take to sit motionless in traffic on, say, I-95?)

Eliminating war virgins

This time last year, the Marine Corps scrubbed its personnel rosters and found more than 66,000 leathernecks who had not yet done a tour in Iraq or Afghanistan. The top brass put them at the front of the line.

Now, the Army has followed suit. A servicewide check has determined that about 40 percent of the 515,000 active-duty soldiers have not yet set foot in a combat zone even as the wars stretch into their fifth and sixth years, and some troops have had to serve four or even five tours.

Supremes need to wake up to reality

If the Supreme Court is as hermetically sealed from outside influence as many believe, then the recent carnage in Nebraska and Colorado will have no influence on its decision whether the Second Amendment gives individual Americans the right to bear whatever arms they choose or limits it to a collective right controlled by the state for the national defense.

We’re no longer a ‘can do’ nation

The official ineptitude that has dogged our war effort in Iraq has spread to affect the fate of tens of thousands of Iraqi refugees, many in fear for their lives having worked for us, desperate for sanctuary in the United States.

We are obligated to help them. You can argue that the violence is Iraqi-on-Iraqi, but there wouldn’t be internecine violence if we hadn’t arrived and there would be less violence if we had arrived in the numbers our military planners recommended.