Report: Love Letters From U.S. Troops Increasingly Gruesome

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How Trump Continues To Lead The Polls

Recent polls indicate that, despite public outcry against his incendiary comments on women and minorities, Donald Trump is still the leading Republican candidate. Here are some reasons Trump stays so popular with his supporters:

Obama’s Post-Presidency Plans

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Most Used Words In The GOP Debate

On Thursday night, the top 10 Republican presidential hopefuls gathered at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland to engage in the first primary debate. Below are the words and phrases used by the candidates, weighted by the frequency with which they appeared.

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Trump Delivers Anecdote About Small Business Owner Who Isn’t Half The Man He Is

CLEVELAND—Noting that there are millions of entrepreneurs throughout the country who are in the same difficult position, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump responded to a question about the economy at Thursday night’s primary debate by sharing an anecdote about meeting a struggling small business owner who isn’t half the man he is.

What To Expect From Tonight’s GOP Debate

The first Republican primary debate will air Thursday evening on Fox News and will feature the top 10 polling candidates, with Donald Trump in a strong lead, as they field questions from moderators Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly, and Chris Wallace. Here’s what to expect during tonight’s debate:

How Campaigns Spend Their Money

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Details Of Obama’s Climate Change Plan

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Revelations From Trump’s Financial Documents

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Candidate Profile: Bobby Jindal

Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal declared Wednesday his candidacy for the 2016 presidential nomination, although the Rhodes Scholar and one-time Republican rising star faces difficult odds in a jam-packed primary field. Here’s what you need to know about Jindal

Candidate Profile: Donald Trump

Billionaire real estate mogul and television personality Donald Trump announced Tuesday plans to run in the 2016 presidential election, marking the first time he will formally seek the Republican nomination after floating the idea in several previous election cycles. Here are some key facts to know about Trump:

Candidate Profile: Jeb Bush

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush announced his candidacy Monday for the Republican nomination in the 2016 presidential election, putting one of the early frontrunners in the polls officially into the race. Here are some key facts to know about Jeb Bush:

Candidate Profile: Rick Perry

Former Texas governor Rick Perry announced Thursday his candidacy for the 2016 presidential election, hoping to fare better than he did in his unsuccessful bid for the Republican nomination in 2012. Here’s what you need to know about Perry:

Candidate Profile: Lindsey Graham

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Candidate Profile: Martin O’Malley

Former Maryland governor and Baltimore mayor Martin O’Malley announced Saturday that he will enter the 2016 presidential race, becoming the third Democratic hopeful to officially declare his candidacy. Here are some key facts to know about O’Malley:

Candidate Profile: Rick Santorum

Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum announced his candidacy for the 2016 presidential election on Wednesday, bringing the runner-up from the 2012 Republican primaries officially into the race. Here’s what you need to know about Santorum:

Features Of The Obama Presidential Library

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What Is A Super PAC?

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Candidate Profile: Mike Huckabee

Former Arkansas governor and Fox News personality Mike Huckabee announced his 2016 presidential candidacy Tuesday, becoming the sixth Republican hopeful to officially enter the race. Here’s what you need to know about Huckabee

Who Is Ben Carson?

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Who Is Carly Fiorina?

Carly Fiorina, a former Silicon Valley executive, announced Monday her candidacy for the 2016 presidential election, becoming the first female Republican hopeful to officially launch a campaign. Here’s what you should know about Fiorina:

Who Is Bernie Sanders?

Independent Vermont senator and self-proclaimed “democratic socialist” Bernie Sanders officially declared his candidacy in the 2016 election Thursday.

Who Is Marco Rubio?

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Hillary Clinton To Nation: ‘Do Not Fuck This Up For Me’

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Candidate Profile: Hillary Clinton

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Who Is Rand Paul?

Kentucky senator Rand Paul announced Tuesday his plans to run for president in 2016, with the libertarian becoming the second Republican to officially declare his candidacy.

Gerrymandering Mishap Leaves Nation Without Any Borders Whatsoever

U.S. In Chaos After All District, State, National Boundaries Erased Overnight

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Who Is Ted Cruz?

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U.S. Worried About Living Up To Netanyahu Campaign Promises

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A Timeline Of U.S.-Israel Relations

A congressional visit from Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu that has reportedly rankled President Obama is the latest issue in what have often been strained diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Keystone Veto Buys Environment At Least 3 Or 4 More Hours

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Report: Love Letters From U.S. Troops Increasingly Gruesome

WASHINGTON—According to a Pentagon report leaked to the press Monday, love letters written by U.S. troops have nearly tripled in their use of disturbing language, graphic imagery, and horrific themes since the start of the war.

The report, which studied 600 romantic notes sent over a period of two years, found a significant increase in terrifying descriptions of violence and gore, while references to beautiful flowers, singing bluebirds, and the infinite, undulating sea were seen to decrease by 93 percent.

An April 28 letter from Sgt. David Howard to his wife, Monica.

"Not only are U.S. soldiers stationed in Iraq less likely to compare their lover's cheeks to a blushing red rose," the report read in part, "but most are now three times more likely to equate that same burning desire to the 'smoldering flesh of a dead Iraqi insurgent,' and almost 10 times more likely to compare sudden bursts of passion to a 'crowded marketplace explosion.'"

According to detailed analysis of the letters, the longer a U.S. soldier had been stationed in Iraq the more macabre the overall tone of his correspondence became. Troops who had been fighting for less than a year lapsed into frightening allegory only 15 percent of the time, while those who had been serving between two and three years described their affection for loved ones back home as more vibrant and alive than any of the children in the village of Basra.

Troops stationed in Iraq for four years or longer composed their letters entirely in blood.

"The more often U.S. soldiers are confronted with images of carnage, the more these elements become present in their subconscious and, ultimately, in their writing," said Dr. Kendra Allen, a behavioral psychologist who reviewed the Pentagon's findings. "This is precisely why we see so many passages like, 'Darling, I miss the way your bright green eyes always stayed inside your skull' and 'Honey, how I dream of your soft, supple arms—both of them, still attached as ever, to the rest of your body.'"

Allen went on to say that many of the harrowing details found in the love letters were linked to specific events in Iraq. A bloody clash with Islamic extremists in late March resulted in more than 40 handwritten notes from a single battalion, all of which contained some version of the message "My love for you spills out of me like my lower intestine, my gallbladder, and my spleen."

The most noticeable change came after a violent border skirmish in May that left four U.S. soldiers dead and dozens more severely injured. Since the incident, a number of letters, which had previously signed off with "Yours forever," instead ended with "Please God, deliver me from this nightmarish hellhole! The screaming—it never stops! Christ, I beg you, make it all go away! Make the parade of blood and pain and tears go away!"

A number of wives and fiancées of servicemen in Iraq, many of whom are now unsure how to reply to their partners abroad, provided personal accounts of how the tone of their correspondence has changed.

"Getting love letters from my husband used to be my favorite part of the week. But these days, they're almost impossible to get through," said Sheila Miller, whose husband, Michael, has been in Iraq since 2004. "Yes, it's still flattering to be told that you're as beautiful as a syringe full of morphine, or that you're as much a part of his being as the shrapnel near his spine. But I'm really starting to worry about him."

"My husband has never really been the romantic type, but even this is strange for him," said Margaret Baker, the wife of Sgt. Daniel Baker. "How am I supposed to react to hearing that my name is the sweetest sound in a world otherwise filled with desperate cries of anguish? I made the mistake of showing [daughter] Gracie the birthday card her father sent her from Tikrit and she hasn't spoken for a month."

In response to the damaging report, Defense Secretary Robert Gates spoke on behalf of the thousands of soldiers on active duty in the Middle East, saying the study's findings were "misrepresented" and any rise in horrific metaphors and similes was in no way related to the situation in Iraq.

"I've been to our bases overseas and let me be the first to tell you that conditions in Iraq are the best they've ever been," Gates announced at a press conference Friday. "In fact, I would go so far as to say that we're making as much progress here as, say, an army private who accidentally falls on a land mine, and instead of choosing to die in the middle of the road like some dog, drags his bleeding trunk—inch by throbbing inch—to the side of a nearby ditch."

Added Gates, "It's that good."