1. Trump Renews Afghan Commitment, Sees no Speedy Exit
Channel 5: "America will work with the Afghan government as long as we see determination and progress," Trump said. "However, our commitment is not unlimited, and our support is not a blank check."
Although Trump insisted he would "not talk about numbers of troops" or telegraph military moves in advance, he hinted that he'd embraced the Pentagon's proposal to boost troop numbers by nearly 4,000, augmenting the roughly 8,400 Americans there now.
"We will ask our NATO allies and global partners to support our new strategy, with additional troop and funding increases in line with our own. We are confident they will," Trump said. His comments were echoed by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who said in a statement that several of those allies had joined the U.S. in committing to boost troop levels.
While Trump stressed his strategy was about more than just the military, he was vague on other aspects. He offered no specifics on ensuring Afghanistan's economic development or on securing a new diplomatic partnership in the region.
Yet on one point — the definition of victory — Trump was unequivocal. He said American troops would "fight to win" by attacking enemies, "crushing" al-Qaida, preventing terror attacks against Americans and "obliterating" the Islamic State group, whose affiliate has gained a foothold in Afghanistan as the U.S. squeezes the extremists in Syria and Iraq.
2. Did China Hack the Seventh Fleet?
Real Clear Defense: Today the USS McCain collided a merchant vessel, marking the 4th incident in the past year at the Navy. The timeline is as follows: 8/19/2016 USS Louisiana, 5/09/2017 USS Lake Champlain, 6/17/2017 USS Fitzgerald, 8/21/2017 USS McCain
These ships share similarities, they are all based in Yokosuka Naval Base, and the USS McCain & USS Fitzgerald are both part of Destroyer Squadron 15 and the Seventh Fleet.
While accidents and mistakes do happen, the number of collisions in the past year is extremely rare, and it is now within the realm of possibility that these accidents were not accidents. Both China and Russia have tested their cyber-warfare capabilities at sea with success.
3. 4 More Get Fines, Probation In Interstate 94 Protests
WCCO: The second of four scheduled trials began Monday morning for Minnesotans arrested while protesting on a metro interstate.
These protests happened in the days after Philando Castile was shot and killed by former police officer Jeronimo Yanez. Police arrested 102 people after a long and sometimes violent protest on Interstate 94 last July.
The charges include public nuisance and unlawful assembly, which are both misdemeanors. After plea deals and dismissals, 21 people will ultimately face trial for their part in those demonstrations.
4. NTSB releases initial report on Minnehaha school blast
Star Tribune: The National Transportation Safety Board yesterday released its preliminary findings about the cause of a powerful natural gas explosion that ripped through Minnehaha Academy in south Minneapolis earlier this month, killing two people and injuring nine.
“At the time of the explosion, two workers were installing new piping to support the relocation of gas meters from the basement of the building to the outside,” said a two-page report released by the agency Monday afternoon. Two new meters mounted on a wall were ready for the new piping to be connected.”
The report continued: “While workers were removing the existing piping, a full-flow natural gas line at pressure was opened.”
Unable to contain the gas leak, the two workers evacuated the building, investigators said.
A school maintenance worker who heard and smelled the gas leak went down to the basement to investigate, according to the report. When he realized what happened, he got on his handheld radio and ordered the school’s evacuation as a precaution, investigators said. Less than a minute later, the building exploded, they said.
5. Manassas Civil War Weekend cancelled over safety concerns
CBS VA: The city of Manassas has cancelled this year’s Civil War Weekend, which features tours, lectures and reenactments.
The event was going to take place from August 25 through 27. The city cited in a press release that “recent events have ignited passions in this country surrounding the Civil War and the symbols representing it.”
Manassas said they didn’t want to further exacerbate the nationwide tensions and they cancelled the event for the safety of their residents, visitors and reenactors.
“The City of Manassas is saddened by these events and abhors the violence happening around the country,” the release said.