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I should probably share emails more often. I received this one last week:
I am a totally blind bugler from North Dakota. This was my experience on Febuary 10th, 2008. Yesterday was another day where I was honored to serve this great nation with Taps. I got to the funeral site a bit early, and as a guard, we listened to the service. It was a very nice tribute to the veteran whom I knew from volunteering at the veterans' hospital. Then we presented military honors. I got to play Taps inside though while the rest of the color guard was outside which was okay because it was pretty cold. Following the end of the service, the family thanked me and someone even blessed me for what I'm doing for my country. I felt so uplifted and inspired. It's a great way to serve without going into the military, which if I could, I would enlist right now. As I go through this coming week, whatever happens, country will always come first, no matter what. If it comes to it, I will even give up every day of my life to perform Taps for our fallen if it means the families and veterans won't have to hear the awful, fake sound of the digital bugle. It is the least I can do for those who bravely gave their lives in proud service to their nation.She didn't tell me this in the email, but she has a web site here.
(That vote is needed, by the way - he's just a few votes shy of winning a very close contest.)
Update: Another endorsement.
This guy said: "No government which fails to provide for its own preservation against the assaults of every probable foe is entitled to the support of its people."
Then he backed it up.
With things like this:
Who was that guy?
(Originally had the full post here, but decided it was too political. Now here.)
Seems there is a contest and someone "borrowed" Greyhawk's mantra... a "coin" with the sentiment is in the running HERE
The design winner (Dave S.) gets 100 of the free wooden nickels... the only other support-the-troops-themed nickel is in the top spot at the moment, but the "dragon" nickel is a close second...
And this company will send you four free Support the Troops nickels... details HERE
The festival has added a panel on milblogging to this year's agenda.
The nation’s military blogging community (Milblogs) prides itself on providing military news and context that you won’t often find in the mainstream media. Join some of the nation’s most popular milbloggers in a spirited discussion on how GIs and military families are portrayed in the media and on film. For more information about Milblogging, see www.milblogging.com, the world’s largest index of military blogs.
Runtime: 01 hr : 30 min
Saw Michael Yon on Fox News this morning promoting his book. If you missed it. keep in tune they may do a repeat of the segment.
Congrats Mike, book is doing great.
Born in August 1887 in Awsworth Notts, to Henry and Sarah Lamin. Elder Sisters Catherine (Kate) and Agnes (Annie) and Elder brother John (Jack). Educated at Awsworth Board School, just outside Ilkeston, Derbyshire, England.A great - and hopefully trend setting - idea.
This blog is made up of transcripts of Harry Lamin's letters from the first World War. The letters will be posted exactly 90 years after they were written. To find out Harry's fate, follow the blog!
In a memorable passage from Moment of Truth in Iraq Mike Yon describes traveling with British soldiers in Basra:
The British soldiers had been out longer than thirteen hours and the heat was stifling. Ambient temperature was now 115 F, outside the vehicles, and temperatures approached 70 C (around 150 F) inside. Soldiers poured water down their body armor. The driver was naked other than his body armor and helmet, while soldiers in the back literally pulled down their pants. This was more than an attempt at comfort; they were trying not to die. Thick clouds of thick dust baked the putrid Basra odors until they could gag a goat, although by then the soldiers inside the Bulldogs and Warriors [British military vehicles] could have offered serious competition in a stink contest.With their heavy body armor and helmets, and laden with ammunition, rashes erupted on their skin. Their goggles and ballistic glasses were filthy. The place was like a toilet used as an oven. The people on the septic streets were flushed with hostility.
The RPGs that would have wiped out a Humvee were not killing his men, but the heat was. Moger's gunner collapsed into the vehicle; the men inside were vomiting. It's not a far step from that to death, so he worked a quick plan to expedite getting those who needed medical assistance back to the palace, while he and his remaining men kept fighting.
Earlier this month, a British court ruled Defective military equipment 'is a breach of human rights':
The Government suffered a landmark legal defeat yesterday when a High Court judge ruled that sending soldiers to war with defective equipment could be a breach of their human rights. Mr Justice Collins dismissed the Ministry of Defence argument that it was "impossible" to extend the tenets of the Human Rights Act to troops on active duty. His decision is likely to have significant implications on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and pave the way for legal action by bereaved families of soldiers.
The Government said it would appeal against the ruling on human rights.
The High Court case followed representations made by MoD lawyers after the inquest into Private Jason Smith, a Territorial Army soldier who died of heatstroke in Iraq.
Pte Smith, who joined the TA in October 1992, was sent to Basra in June 2003 and two months later fell ill in temperatures of 60C (140F) while based at the Al Amara stadium, southern Iraq. Andrew Walker, the assistant deputy coroner for Oxfordshire, recorded in a November 2006 verdict that 32-year-old Pte Smith's death was "caused by a serious failure to recognise and take appropriate steps to address the difficulty that he had in adjusting to the climate".
Shami Chakrabarti, the director of Liberty, said: "Too often human rights are grossly misrepresented as belonging only to convicted criminals when the truth is that human rights protect us all.
"This decision makes clear that it is not just the military covenant that protects our forces all over the world. Their fundamental right to dignity and fair treatment must be safeguarded as well."
The Liberal Democrat defence spokesman, Nick Harvey, said: "This shattering ruling for Des Browne will hopefully at last wake the Government up to equipment shortages which threaten the lives of our troops. That a judge feels he must even raise the issue of soldiers' human rights is a damning indictment of all the avoidable deaths that have occurred in Iraq and Afghanistan due to faulty or unavailable kit."
The shadow Defence Secretary, Liam Fox, said: "It should not take a court ruling for the Government to realise it has a responsibility and a moral obligation to ensure that when it sends troops into harm's way, they are the best trained and best equipped in the world. It is shameful the Defence Secretary tried to gag coroners who have been critical of his government's abysmal stewardship of our armed forces."
Mr Browne said different rulings on the applicability of Articles 1 and 2 of the Convention on Human Rights were "inconsistent" and the Ministry of Defence was appealing against the ruling to obtain "clarity" on what they mean. The Defence Secretary continued: "We have come a long way recently in response to the changing environments both in Iraq and Afghanistan in terms of development of equipment and deployment of equipment.
"People should be reassured that our troops are very well equipped.
"So this criticism is a dated criticism from a different time and is not applicable to the troops that are currently deployed."
For those interested the CIA video disclosed to Congress that briefs in detail the nuclear cooperation between Syria and North Korea to build their Al Kibar nuclear reactor has been posted on the Internet along with photographs of the facility. It is very compelling viewing which has led to a lot of people speculating why now is the Bush administration releasing this information?
The Bush administration first reached a nuclear deal with North Korea in February 2007 and since then North Korea has missed every deadline they were supposed to meet while the US State Department gave in to nearly every additional demand of the North Koreans to include laundering counterfeited US dollars for them.
Recently US nuclear negotiator Christopher Hill announced a revised deal where the North Koreans would only provide a partial nuclear declaration in return for removal from the State Sponsored Terrorism List which would bring the removal of sanctions against the country. The North Koreans have no intention of ever giving up their nuclear program for a variety of reasons. The State Department realizes this and thus is just trying to work out whatever deal they can even if it means that the North Koreans will not give up their nuclear program.
The Bush administration is eager to work out a deal as well in order to put what to them is a sideshow to rest in order to focus on Iraq. That is why when the Israelis bombed the Syrian nuclear reactor, the State Department and the Bush administration tried to keep the North Korean involvement in building the reactor muted. However, with this latest deal Christopher Hill struck with the North Koreans, Senate Republicans rebelled against President Bush about funding any deal with the North Koreans or removing them from the terrorism list if details of the September 2007 Israeli strike on the Al Kibar reactor were not released.
The administration's hand was forced to release the information that now the entire world has seen. The information is so damning that even Congressional Democrats are siding with Republicans critics on this which will probably spell the end of any partial nuclear declaration deal with the North Koreans. This disclosure has led to speculation that Christopher Hill may resign from his position which would further complicate any further nuclear deal with the North Koreans. The coming weeks should be interesting to see what the reaction will be in North Korea with them desperate to cut a deal because of the worsening food situation in their country that have led to reports of the possibility of another famine occurring and already unrest hitting certain areas of the country.
For those wondering what else the Bush administration can do to in regards to the North Korean nuclear issue, there are much better options available.
Dallas police arrested yesterday a man accused of mugging a teenage ROTC cadet who had collapsed in a seizure outside the downtown Greyhound bus station.
...The security video shows the victim standing outside minding his own business when a homeless man strikes up a conversation and the cadet digs deep in his pockets for some spare change to help the man out.
But when the cadet collapsed a few minutes later the man who rushed to the cadet's side was only interested in helping himself.
The video shows the 18-year-old ROTC cadet, who was on his way home to Mississippi, flailing on the ground from a seizure as a man digs into his pocket to steal his wallet.
"He sees an individual that can't fight back. Can't call for help. Can't flee," said Dallas Sr. Cpl. Kevin Janse. "This guy's down on the ground having a seizure and he knows he's got an easy target."
It’s good to know that those 16 backers have taken care of all the other problems the military faces and are now taking care of this issue.And yes, I had fun choosing the categories for that post.
Nothing builds up my morale like some know-nothing busybody congressman checking up on conditions at military bases and being able to see the lack of adequate and affordable housing, reduction in base services like affordable childcare, or the various pawn shops, strip bars, and “E-Z credit know money down payday loan” places lining both sides of the entry to a military post, and can see it’s nudie mags in the PX that is the big threat facing “our boys and girls” in uniform. Oh for the day when 18 is considered adulthood, and not some waypoint on the prolonged childhood the nannystaters want it to be.
Just to give everyone a break from all the pr0n and Nazis .... note the designator.
Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Gary Roughead announced today the reestablishment of U.S. 4th Fleet and assigned Rear Adm. Joseph D. Kernan, currently serving as Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command, as its first commander.Nothing to see here - move along - move along.
U.S. 4th Fleet will be responsible for U.S. Navy ships, aircraft and submarines operating in the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) area of focus, which encompasses the Caribbean, and Central and South America and the surrounding waters.
I love PSYOPS .... even unintentional (ahem) PSYOPS - just want to get naked and roll around in it - as long as Congress would allow that at the NEX, of course.
Mr Broun might be in grave danger - or not. (Excerpt from second link below the fold, since it won't last long at the link itself.)
Masturbation may prevent prostate cancerAll done!
Frequent masturbation may help men cut their risk of contracting prostate cancer, Australian researchers have found. It is believed that carcinogens may build up in the prostate if men do not ejaculate regularly, BBC News reported on Wednesday. The researchers surveyed more than 1,000 men who had developed prostate cancer, and 1,250 men who had not. They found that men who had ejaculated the most between the ages of 20 and 50 were the least likely to get cancer. Men who ejaculated more than five times each week were a third less likely to develop prostate cancer.
Sexual intercourse may not have the same effect because of the higher risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease, which could in turn raise the risk of cancer. "Had we been able to remove ejaculations associated with sexual intercourse, there should have been an even stronger protective effect of ejaculations," Graham Giles of the Cancer Council Victoria, who led the researchers, said in the article.
Hi, I'm an idiot, vote for me:
Tony Zirkle, who is seeking the Republican nomination in Indiana's 2nd District, stood in front of a painting of Hitler, next to people wearing swastika armbands and with a swastika flag in the background for the speech to the American National Socialist Workers Party in Chicago on Sunday.And this weekend he'll be at the Naval Acadamy. (He claims a stellar record there prior to his medical discharge, and proudly features a photo of himself in his cadet uniform on his home page.)
"I'll speak before any group that invites me," Zirkle said Monday. "I've spoken on an African-American radio station in Atlanta."
We'll let him defend his speech to the Nazi's all by himself:
Zirkle said he did not know much about the neo-Nazi group and that his intention was to talk on his concern about "the targeting of young white women and for pornography and prostitution."As further evidence that he's no Nazi, Zirkle shreds a first edition of Playboy instead of burning it.
“Our troops should not see their honor sullied so that the moguls behind magazines like Playboy and Penthouse can profit,” said Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., unveiling his House bill April 16.Though I wouldn't be surprised if some day you'll see a picture of this guy with a combat boot up his ass.
I'm going to pull your key paragraphs - because they really need emphasis here:
Exchange officials noted that tax dollars are not used to procure magazines in the system’s largely self-funded operations.
But Broun’s spokesman John Kennedy contended that taxpayer dollars are involved — “used to pay military salaries, so taxpayer money is, in effect, being used to buy these materials,” he said.
And I agree completely that this is an odd argument coming from someone who is paid in taxpayer dollars, for sponsoring this sort of batshit crazy nonesense.
I believe the Bill's definition of "nudity" might also be precedent setting. From the text of the bill:
The term `nudity' means human genitals, pubic area, anus, anal cleft, or any part of the female breast below a horizontal line across the top of the areola with less than an opaque covering but does not include the exposure of the cleavage of the female breast exhibited by a dress, blouse, bathing suit, or other apparel.'.We're not talking Hustler here, or even Playboy and Penthouse - this definition will ban Maxim, FHM, and several other magazines already judged "tame" enough for sale even in the CENTCOM AO. (And wait 'til Broun discovers they also sell R-rated movies on base!)
The Bill's 16 cosponsors are listed here. Before I go to sleep tonight I will pray that these guys never learn about the internet.
The Senator, suspecting nothing, resumed his tale: "These people never want to talk about what you want to talk about. It's always about something else. When he found out who I was, he didn't want to talk about Eliot. He wanted to talk about the Rosewater Law." The Rosewater Law was what the Senator thought of as his legislative masterpiece. It made the publication or possession of obscene materials a federal offense, carrying penalties up to fifty thousand dollars and ten years in prison, without hope of parole. It was a masterpiece because it actually defined obscenity.Update: No surprise - Broun's district includes NONE OF GEORGIA'S MANY MAJOR MILITARY INSTALLATIONS.
Obscenity, it said, is any picture or phonograph record or any written matter calling attention to reproductive organs, bodily discharges, or bodily hair.
"This psychoanalyst," the Senator complained, "wanted to know about my childhood. He wanted to go into my feelings about bodily hair." The Senator shuddered. "I asked him to kindly get off the subject, that my revulsions were shared, so far as I knew, by all decent men." He pointed to McAllister, simply wanting to point at someone, anyone. "There's your key to pornography. Other people say, 'Oh, how can you recognize it, how can you tell it from art and all that?' I've written the key into law! The difference between pornography and art is bodily hair!"
He flushed, apologized abjectly to Sylvia. "I beg your pardon, my dear."
Since at least the pin-up era of World War II, service members have somewhat half-jest referenced those pretty girls as what we were fighting for. Now maybe we were not really fighting for Betty Grable, Raquel Welch, or Jessica Simpson specifically, but surely we were fighting for the right to express ourselves by adorning our barracks, lockers, and personal space with pictures of pretty women. And in this day and age, sometimes those women have no clothes on.
That is why this story is so outrageous.
Since 1997 AAFES has not sold most "adult magazine" because of a Congressional requirement that bars the sale of sexually explicit material. The Department of Defense has stated that it does not rate nudity in and of itself to be sexually explicit.
Now Congressmen Broun wants to close this "loophole."
“Our troops should not see their honor sullied so that the moguls behind magazines like Playboy and Penthouse can profit,” said Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., unveiling his House bill April 16.
There are two types of Service members (at least male) when it comes to these publications. Those who read them and those who are lying about it. And while I no longer read those sorts of things on a regular basis I might flip through one I found in the barracks or a reading area (except of course in the CENTCOM AOR), but it certainly does not "sully" my honor or the honor of any service member. Anyone who thinks it does has no real concept of honor and frankly needs to get a life. But it gets better.
roun said he wants to bring the Defense Department into compliance with the intent of the 1997 law “so that taxpayers will not be footing the costs of distributing pornography.”
Exchange officials noted that tax dollars are not used to procure magazines in the system’s largely self-funded operations.
But Broun’s spokesman John Kennedy contended that taxpayer dollars are involved — “used to pay military salaries, so taxpayer money is, in effect, being used to buy these materials,” he said.
Think about the implications of that last statement by Congressman Broun's assistant John Kennedy. His argument is that anyone who draws pay from the Federal Government has to make some sort of accounting of how he or she spends that money to the persons paying their salary. What's next? Alcohol? Tobacco? Firearms? Fatty food? Moreover, if he really thinks the government is funding this by taking into account our paychecks, then he really should bar us from buying them altogether.
Mr. Kennedy's argument is ludicrous on its face. It is anti-democratic and has no support in any sort of law. Since he and the Congressman have government salaries maybe they too should give a complete accounting of what they spend their salaries on. I am sure there is some ox to gore there.
We may not be fighting for Miss May 2008, but we sure are fighting for the right of Miss May to pose nude. And when the enemy is an ideology such as Isalmofascism that wants to hide women it becomes even more relevant. Write your Congressman and keep them out of our personal business. And I may have to buy an adult magazine with my wages when I return just to spite these guys.All done!
Dana Milbank is upset that he couldn't shove a camera into the face of a 6 year old girl:
The family of 38-year-old Hall, who leaves behind two young daughters and two stepsons, gave their permission for the media to cover his Arlington burial -- a decision many grieving families make so that the nation will learn about their loved ones' sacrifice. But the military had other ideas, and they arranged the Marine's burial yesterday so that no sound, and few images, would make it into the public domain.Not sure why the family didn't order the ropes torn down. But even if they had, Milbank says the one reporter who snuck through the barriers (I wonder if his initials were D.M.?) still couldn't get much of a story:
That's a shame, because Hall's story is a moving reminder that the war in Iraq, forgotten by much of the nation, remains real and present for some. Among those unlikely to forget the war: 6-year-old Gladys and 3-year-old Tatianna. The rest of the nation, if it remembers Hall at all, will remember him as the 4,011th American service member to die in Iraq, give or take, and the 419th to be buried at Arlington. Gladys and Tatianna will remember him as Dad.
The two girls were there in Section 60 yesterday beside grave 8,672 -- or at least it appeared that they were from a distance. Journalists were held 50 yards from the service, separated from the mourning party by six or seven rows of graves, and staring into the sun and penned in by a yellow rope. Photographers and reporters pleaded with Arlington officials.
"There will be a yellow rope in the face of the next of kin," protested one photographer with a large telephoto lens.
The distance made it impossible to hear the words of Chaplain Ron Nordan, who, an official news release said, was leading the service. Even a reporter who stood surreptitiously just behind the mourners could make out only the familiar strains of the Lord's Prayer.The Post's actual coverage of the funeral is here (including one of the pictures).
Rep. Jack Murtha (D-Pa.) will have an opponent this year after all. A judge had kicked retired Lt. Col. William Russell (R), a veteran of both Iraq Wars, off the ballot earlier this year for lack of valid petition signatures. A legal challenge had winnowed him down to just 993, whereas he needed 1,000 signatures. This gave Murtha a shot at an unopposed victory in the fall, as there were no other Republican challengers.Russell's web site is here.
Russell did not give up, though. To qualify for the November ballot, he had to get at least 1,000 write-in votes in the district yesterday to qualify for the ballot. His consultants saw this as doable, but still a challenge in a primary where there was really nothing happening on the Republican side — not even a decent local race to attract voters to the polls. Considering that Republican turnout was already going to be low, and only a small percentage of voters ever think to write in a name, you might think they'd be lucky to get just enough to qualify.
Well, think again. I'm told that the count now stands at 4,700 write-in votes for Russell, and the largest county in the 12th District hasn't even reported yet — nor have any absentees been counted.
And to maintain fairness and impartiality, the lying fat gasbag ex-Marine's web site is here.
......and step back.
Nit picking the media coverage: Ordierno wasn't Petraeus' "#2" (nor "deputy" as I've seen him called on the TeeVee) other than in a kinda sorta way.
That distinction belongs to Lt. Gen. John Cooper, DSO MBE.
Ordierno commanded Multi-National Corps-Iraq (MNC-I) - essentially the Army component of MNF-I, of which Petraeus was overall commander.
“Of course, people keep telling me I’m a hero. I just don’t see it,”
Read it all. (And if I received the invitation he offers, I'd accept...)
(As usual, via the Dawn Patrol.)
Good plan from the cheap seats.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Wednesday picked Gen. David Petraeus, widely praised as the top commander in Iraq, to lead all Middle East operations, including the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Gates also chose Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, who recently served as Petraeus' No. 2, to take over as the top commander in Iraq.
This is a good idea. You're just a few clicks away from sending my NY Post review of Mike Yon's book to your friends, neighbors, and congressional representatives. (They might even buy the book for themselves!)
The other day, the Blog Princess was accused of lending a sense of taste and refinement to what would otherwise be an ugly and undignified brawl. We think it Extremely Important to correct that misapprehension with the utmost alacrity.
This post ought to do the trick.
"I think Chelsea looks better in person and she's got the body and a** of life,"
The Editorial Staff does not care who you are or what your political orientation: this is just plain funny.
But more importantly, we are outraged.
Why, oh why have we never been told we have "the ass of life"? It's almost enough to make us change parties, if only so we can sport really groovy campaign swag like this:
Interesting use of pop culture as persuasive authority. Not sure what the target demographic is. Ron Paul voters, perhaps?
This, on the otter heiny, is just plain disturbing.
Cross posted at VC, where there is an A** of Life Poetry Slam just starting up for the artistically inclined.
Although he praised the U.S. Air Force's contributions to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the defense chief made it clear that more needs to be done. A case in point, he said, is the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, as the pilotless drones are known. When he was director of the CIA in 1992, Gates recalled, "the Air Force would not co-fund with CIA a vehicle without a pilot," even though it was a "far less risky and far more versatile means of gathering data."I look forward to the day when the various branches join hands and resolve this whole UAV thing - really, I do.
Saying that drones cost much less and can spend more time in the air than piloted planes, Gates called UAVs "ideal for many of today's tasks" and noted that the United States now has more than 5,000 of them, a 25-fold increase since 2001.
"But in my view, we can do and we should do more to meet the needs of men and women fighting in the current conflicts while their outcome may still be in doubt," Gates said. "My concern is that our services are still not moving aggressively in wartime to provide resources needed now on the battlefield. I've been wrestling for months to get more intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets into the theater. Because people were stuck in old ways of doing business, it's been like pulling teeth."
The Pentagon chief, himself a former Air Force officer in the late 1960s, added: "While we've doubled this capability in recent months, it is still not good enough. And so last week I established a Department of Defense-wide task force . . . to work this problem in the weeks to come, to find more innovative and bold ways to help those whose lives are on the line."
Though some in the Air Force might just be hoping for a more "pilot-friendly" SECDEF next time around, perhaps just a few months down the road.
Speaking of which:
Gates also expressed concern about a proliferation of retired senior military officers who have signed up as advisers to presidential candidates or as media experts. In response to a question, he said he worries that distinctions between active-duty and retired officers "tend to get blurred" and that the public often does not know "whether they're speaking for the institution or for themselves."
"And so if I had one request to all of them, it would be in whatever role they're playing that they make clear that they're not speaking for the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, or the Marines Corps, or the Department of Defense, but only speaking for themselves," Gates said. He did not identify any advisers or commentators by name.
Update: 4/22 - Reid met his goal! Thanks to all of you who helped him.
Update: Now Reid's only $220 away from his goal - Please help if you can.
Many of you remember the story of Reid Stanley, a milblogger who lost his beloved wife Ellicia to cancer. Reid wants to honor his wife by participating in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. Reid needs a total of $1800 in pledges to qualify as a walker. He's only $330 away from that goal. Let's put him over.
Ellicia's donation page can be found here.
Thanks to Guard Wife who has been all over this.
The Associated Press ran a story today reporting on a class action lawsuit that’s been filed against The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). According to the AP, the lawsuit was filed by two “non profit groups representing military veterans.”
Here’s the AP background on the lawsuit, and the positions of litigants:
The lawsuit, filed in July by two nonprofit groups representing military veterans, accuses the agency of inadequately addressing a "rising tide" of mental health problems, especially post-traumatic stress disorder.MILBLOGGERS have long recognized this line of criticism against our military, the VA, and the Bush Administration. Much of what’s been written and press-released for the public has been filled was misinformation and distortions, if not outright fabrications. There’s been no “epidemic of suicides” in the military, and the suicide rate for the military is actually lower than the rates for non-military when like data sets are compared.
But government lawyers say the VA has been devoting more resources to mental health and making suicide prevention a top priority. They also argue that the courts don't have the authority to tell the department how it should operate.
The trial is set to begin Monday in a San Francisco federal court.
An average of 18 military veterans kill themselves each day, and five of them are under VA care when they commit suicide, according to a December e-mail between top VA officials that was filed as part of the federal lawsuit.
"That failure to provide care is manifesting itself in an epidemic of suicides," the veterans groups wrote in court papers filed Thursday.
Some of the reported distortions about a non-existent epidemic of suicides have been due to faulty data analysis, that fails to account for higher proportion of young women and particularly young men in military populations. So if these numbers are matched against equal distributions of non-military cohorts the results will skew and make the military suicide rates seems higher. Many reputable media outlets just make honest (but ignorant and amateurish) mistakes, but partisans have been seeking to manipulate and misrepresent reporting in this area.
Now, these same have started some non-profit 501c organizations and launched a class action suit to hype their claims:
"We find that the VA has simply not devoted enough resources," said Gordon Erspamer, the lawyer representing the veterans groups. "They don't have enough psychiatrists."I would never in a million years claim that the VA is perfect, or deny that the VA is currently burdened pretty heavily with an influx of new Veterans seeking assistance.
The lawsuit also alleges that the VA takes too long to pay disability claims and that its internal appellate process unconstitutionally denies veterans their right to take their complaints to court.
The groups are asking U.S. District Court Judge Samuel Conti, a World War II U.S. Army veteran, to order the VA to drastically overhaul its system. Conti is hearing the trial without a jury.
"What I would like to see from the VA is that they actually treat patients with respect," said Bob Handy, head of the Veterans United for Truth, one of the groups suing the agency.
Handy, 76, who retired from the Navy in 1970, said he founded the veterans group in 2004 after hearing myriad complaints from veterans about their treatment at the VA when he was a member of the Veterans Caucus of the state Democratic Party. The department acknowledges in court papers that it takes on average about 180 days to decide whether to approve a disability claim.
"I would just like to see the VA do the honorable thing," said Handy, who is expected to testify during the weeklong trial.
But I’m a disabled Veteran, who served in Iraq in 2005, and the VA of my generation has dramatically improved and demonstrates greater responsiveness than at any time in its history. If VUFT Founder Handy ever experienced the VA first hand back then, he can’t possibly think it’s not light years better today. If he thinks so, he’s lying, and what’s more, he’d know it. The VA during the years since Vietnam until the Gulf War was a failing institution, overwhelmed, under-supported, and trying to counteract the shameful embarrassment of how the US – our Government and our citizenry – treated Vietnam Veterans.
We had several Vietnam Vets deploy with us to Iraq, and the services, care, and attention they received from the Army and the VA quite literally brought them to tears on more than one occasion. At all levels of command, we encouraged soldiers to take advantage of resources, Mental Health and other medical services, that were available pre-, during, and post-deployment.
As a First Sergeant, I can adamantly declare that no soldier was left alone, to his or her own devices, leaders at all levels monitored their soldiers, and the VA made no less than half a dozen visits to our unit for post-deployment health reassessments. Our NY State Veterans Representatives, at the State, County and local levels, made every effort to assist soldiers and point them (and even push them) towards any needed services.
Some resisted, especially those who served in the National Guard as Active Guard Reserve (AGR) or State Technicians, fearful that a VA filing or claim or any treatment could jeopardize their employment. (I don’t think their fears were founded, everybody seems like they are looking out for our Vets, but I don’t blame them for being suspicious.)
Others soldiers just took the “tough it out” approach or minimized any problems they had. People who serve in the military tend to be stoic by nature, and place great value on self-sufficiency, sacrifice, and dedication to their mission. Sometimes that means they ignore symptoms, but if any did, it was in spite of a massive effort to identify soldiers for treatment.
I attended a couple of counseling sessions at the VA Vet Center, and I know guys that are being treated for PTSD. Things aren’t always great, they get frustrated, I personally think there’s a too frequent tendency to medicate rather than commit to counseling therapies, but I know that many need what the medications provide, at least in the beginning. Locally, many of the guys with real difficulties had big time difficulties before they came in to service, or have real personal difficulties. Several came to the VA now, with problems that originated in the Gulf War. I think we have some Vietnam Vets that likewise have aftereffects from Vietnam that are being stirred up with new combat experiences.
My initial VA claim took 8 months to process, and a second, additional claim took about 6 months. From what I’ve heard over the years, that seems like a pretty fast response, given the data gathering, medical evaluations, boards, and so forth.
Can the VA improve, or hire more psychiatrists, or better, psychologists and counselors? Certainly. But the idea that the VA has been somehow negligent, or that a class action lawsuit will help anything, is insane.
(Check out Dadmanly for more VA background, and a little background too on one of the "Vet Groups" who filed the lawsuit.)All done!
BAGHDAD — Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice mocked anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr as a coward on Sunday, hours after the radical leader threatened to declare war unless U.S. and Iraqi forces end a military crackdown on his followers.But what do you suppose he's "studying"? Based on my experience with college age kids I'll bet he's actually playing Guitar Hero or World of Warcraft when he ought to be studying, but comments are open for your best guess.
Rice, in the Iraqi capital to tout security gains and what she calls an emerging political consensus, said al-Sadr is content to issue threats and edicts from the safety of Iran, where he is studying.
...what the heck did you guys do to get P.J. O'Rourke on board?
There is only one window in the freight/passenger compartment, and you're nowhere near it. Your seat faces aft. Cabin lighting and noise insulation are absent. The heater is from the parts bin at the Plymouth factory in 1950. You sit reversed in cold, dark cacophony while the airplane maneuvers for what euphemistically is called a "landing." The nearest land is 150 miles away. And the plane doesn't land; its tailhook snags a cable on the carrier deck. The effect is of being strapped to an armchair and dropped backwards off a balcony onto a patio. There is a fleeting moment of unconsciousness. This is a good thing, as is being far from the window, because what happens next is that the COD reels the hooked cable out the entire length of the carrier deck until a big, fat nothing is between you and a plunge in the ocean, should the hook, cable, or pilot's judgment snap. Then, miraculously, you're still alive.Having read the whole thing, I want to join the Navy.
Landing on an aircraft carrier was the most fun I'd ever had with my trousers on. And the 24 hours that I spent aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt--the "Big Stick"--were an equally unalloyed pleasure. I love big, moving machinery. And machinery doesn't get any bigger, or more moving, than a U.S.-flagged nuclear-powered aircraft carrier that's longer than the Empire State Building is tall and possesses four acres of flight deck. This four acres, if it were a nation, would have the fifth or sixth largest airforce in the world.
This sort of stuff could lead to negative comments on your performance report:
The head of the RAF has 'erupted' with rage over revelations Prince William landed a £10million RAF helicopter in girlfriend Kate Middleton's backyard during a military exercise.I mean really, calling a royal "stupid" can't be the fast way to the top...
Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy is said to have been furious at the 'sheer stupidity' of the situation and demanded a 'line-by-line' explanation from subordinates.
Details of the angry reaction emerged as the young royal came under fire for using a RAF Chinook for a second time to fit in a personal visit.
If anybody can get me the dead tree version of today's NY Post, that would be great.
Time to remember the Iraqi Army soldiers who gave their lives - with tea, cigarettes and a sura or two.
I wish anyone who thinks the IA isn't serious, or gives a damn about this fight could have seen the look on the incoming 14th DIV CDR's face. I will not EVER forget it.
Spent some of my spare time this past week reading and rereading Mike Yon's book, and writing and rewriting a review thereof. Hopefully you'll see that in finished form somewhere soon. In the meantime, here's a brief bit that was excised somewhere along the way. The "graveyards" I mention are near Baqubah, the city in which Mike's book begins. I'm struck by the difference between Mike's Baqubah of a few months ago and the one described in the previous post.
"If you're not there now, you're not current" was a statement I heard regarding Iraq at the conference. In a room full of people who had been there, no argument was offered.
I'd guess Mike was still writing his book up until the day before it went to press a few weeks ago. It's current. I spoke with him earlier this week. "Congratulations on the book. I saw you made the top 50 at Amazon." I told him. My news was old news. "We were in the top ten before they sold out." Mike replied. That's certainly good news and bad news - but if you're a reader here and hadn't already ordered your copy then you have no one to blame but yourself. There are more on the way.
And there may be an upside to that shortfall - the Amazon price is quite low now, perhaps reflecting the brief delay you'll experience in getting a copy. A good time to order one for a friend or Congressman, says I.
Via the Dawn Patrol:
I'm not the only one feeling the boredom, on one of our patrols we paid 4 donkey cart drivers to race, the stipulation, one soldier on the back of each donkey cart. My donkey lost, it tried to kick it's driver.More here - as always, read the whole thing.
So is this what we've been waiting for in Iraq? Or is this silence just the prelude to more attacks and violence? In Baqouba I can say that I think this peace will last, at least while my unit is here.
I don't own a snow shovel...or one of those car window scraper thingies. I never needed either, if there ever was some snow it melted by noon...I just called in to the job late...no one around here has snow tires (or has a clue how to drive in snow)...so best to stay home until it melts.
It's April 18th ..it is snowing. I want to thank Al "Global Warming" Gore for preparing me for the coming Ice Age.
BTW AL.....People "In The Know" discovered the internet in the early '80s. Just because your personal assistant didn't explain it to you until well into the '90's doesn't mean you discovered it. There are hookers in Tennesee Al...its the worlds oldest profession...while you may not have personnaly discovered them yet...you didn't invent them.
Our line of work can run in families - and everything that comes with it.
The son of the new Dutch armed forces commander has been killed by a roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan.Note the time line. Perspective.
The blast, early on Friday in Uruzgan province, also killed another Dutch soldier and wounded two more.
Lt Dennis van Uhm, 23, was the son of Gen Peter van Uhm, who took up overall command of Dutch forces on Thursday.
A total of 16 Dutch troops have now died in Afghanistan. Friday's attack is not thought to have specifically targeted the new military commander.
I'm wandering about, doing my duty somewhere in the Norfolk area, and what little off-duty computer time I've had has been dedicated to another writing project which you'll all (hopefully) see soon. I think you'll find it an unsurprising surprise. Or not, if it never sees the light of day. Life is unpredictable. It is, in fact, what hapens while you're making other plans.
Thank you Grim and Cassandra for two thought provoking entries. Reading them from the perspective of a mere three week (less the one afternoon we had together between my trip and hers) separation has added to my appreciation.
By the way, Grim, while you were traveling one of your old posts on Grim's Hall got some heavy attention. Another "life's funny like that" moment. But oddly enough it had some very deep meaning to me in a current events sort of way. More on that later this weekend.
Be home soon, Mrs G.
(Ah! I do still have the link to post here! Here is a post I think could benefit young soldiers, particularly: but also ladies, trying to understand the men in their lives. The "recent discussion" mentioned is in two posts, here and here.)
Two citations today, to inform our recent discussion. The first one is from the invaluable book The Archaelogy of Weapons: Arms and Armor from Prehistory to the Age of Chivalry by Ewart Oakeshott. The quote is from pp 186-7.
The inevitable development of what we might call the official knightly attitude towards women began to take hold in the middle of the twelfth century. It was given impetus by the poets of southern France, particularly after Eleanor of Aquitaine (one of the most glamorous women of the Middle Ages, who later married Henry II of England and became the mother of Richard Lion-Heart and John) came from Provence to Paris to become for a while the Queen of Louis VII of France. The mingling of the tongues of "oc" and "oui" in overseas expeditions strengthened it.
["Oc" and "oui" here refers to two major dialects of Middle French, in which the word for "yes" was pronounced one of two different ways. This was not the only difference, of course, just the one chosen as an easy symbol. In Ivanhoe, Richard the Lionheart offers to sing "a 'sirvente' in the language of 'oc,' or a 'lai' in the language of 'oui,'" but ends up singing a ballad in the English at the request of the Holy Clerk of Copmanhurst, that is, Friar Tuck. -Grim]
Henceforth the influence of women dominates chivalry, and religion and feudal loyalty take second place. Only war, a glorious and exciting pastime and a stimulating way of winning wealth, kept its high place as a gentleman's most cherished occupation; but the influence of love as the mainspring of warlike aspiration gave a much lighter rhythm to it, and to literature and life itself. Poets sing now only of their ladies' perfections, crave their pity and strive to merit their grace. The knight fights as hard as he ever did (he was not to be deprived of his business or his fun) but it is to win his lady's favors, and the word amoureux comes to mean more than it does today, for it covers the entire range of knightly virtue. The idea has prevailed that:
Hee never were a good werryoure
That cowde not love aryghte
"He who loves not is but half a man" and "pour l'amour des dames devient li vilains courtois."
The "influence of women" which "dominates" chivalry is not an oppressive influence. It liberated women and gave them a powerful voice in society, without either demeaning men or making them resentful of feminine power. Just the opposite: It is one embraced cheerfully by men of the sort who can tame horses and ride them to war.
Unlike the culture war sparked by the feminists of today, the situation provoked by Eleanor's court was a genuine improvement of the relationship between men and women -- one that, from the distance of the twelfth century, still inspires us, and seems almost to glow across the ages. It may mark the high point of the relations between the sexes in all human history.
That said, Eric is not wrong to say that the 19th century made a great deal out of this period, and a lot of our understanding has to do with what we inherited from them. Here is something you probably have not seen before: Sir Baden Powell's likening of life to the task, familiar to Scouts, of paddling a canoe in rough waters. Women represent a rock in the river: not a bad thing, as it adds to the beauty of the river and the glory of navigating it, but a hazard that has to be considered with a clear mind:
You will, I hope, have gathered from what I have said about this Rock "Women," that it has dangers for the woman as well as for the man. But it has also its very bright side if you only manoeuvre your canoe aright.
The paddle to use for this job is CHIVALRY.
Most of the points which I have suggested as being part of the right path are comprised under chivalry.
The knights of old were bound by their oath to be chivalrous, that is to be protective and helpful to women and children. This means on the part of the man a deep respect and tender sympathy for them, coupled with a manly strength of mind and strength of body with which to stand up for them against scandal, cruelty or ridicule, and even, on occasion, to help them against their own failings.
A man without chivalry is no man.
I would strongly suggest that "sexism" is a false star. Navigating by it leads us into errors and anger with one another that are needless and pointless. What is wanted is equality of opportunity, but not that men and women should be treated as if they were exactly the same: no one wants that, not the most sincere feminist, who at least believes that women have something special to offer. As indeed they have!
Women should always be treated with chivalry, with "deep respect and tender sympathy." Equality of opportunity aside, women and men are not the same -- it is good that a man should understand how they are different, and take pains to make women feel welcome and valued. He should showcase his valor in the way of the knights and poets of old: so that, in him, the entire range of knightly virtue is expressed through love.
"Duty is the sublimest word in our language. Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more; you should never wish to do less."
-Robert E. Lee
I woke this morning knowing I could no longer put this off. For well over a year a feeling has been building inside of me, but until now I could see no useful purpose in naming the thing I see everywhere I look these days.
There is an ancient superstition which whispers that to name a thing gives it power. I think part of the rationalization for this idea lies in the notion that so long as certain things remain partially hidden, never quite seen in their entirety, decent people are still ashamed to acknowledge them in the harsh light of day.
My father was a Navy man. So, too, was my father in law. Both served full careers and retired as Captains. Destroyer men, they were. Both served in Vietnam. My Uncle Mel was a Marine in WWII, my Grandfather served in the Army. I have ancestors who served all the way back to the Civil (both sides) and Revolutionary wars. So although marrying a military man formed no part of my plans as a young girl, when my husband informed me he had signed up for Marine Officer ROTC, what could I do? I had already said, "I do". I loved my husband, and I love my country. Both deserve my support, and not just when that support is easy and convenient.
A promise is a promise. I was in for the duration, either way.
The ironic thing was that during my formative years I'd watched my mother (with much love and admiration) struggle with yearly moves, sea duty, and the loneliness and worry that come with being a Navy wife. Consequently, I swore I would never marry a Navy man. No worries. It seemed Fate had a far crueler destiny in mind for me. I would go through life handcuffed to a chicken on a beach ball.
My mind drifts back to this often now when I read the media's heart rending accounts of young Army officers "forced" to leave the service so their brides can attend college [sniff!]. This is -alas! - the only way they and their families can have a "normal" life. I wonder, as I read, what is normal like? Was my life ever normal? Would I trade one precious second of the profoundly un-normal last three decades for that more tranquil existence, for more money, for the dreamy McMansions we keep looking at, the ones with brick all the way around the house instead of just on the front facade? The ones with all the trimmings I can think up - and I can think up a lot, trust me on that one.
I can imagine a lot of tranquility, too. But are these things: college, jobs, material possessions, what make up the good life? Or is it the friends - the connections - we gather along the way that truly matter, even if they tend to make our lives a bit hectic and messy?
Recently I had the chance to be involved with a small-talk, side conversation with some senior spouses (O & E) and something started percolating around in my head (not too unlike the old Maxwell House coffee commercial showing the fresh perked coffee splashing inside that tiny little glass handle). A smidge of the conversation involved how busy everyone was and all of the things that went into making everyone's day soooo busy. Kids--to and from school plus after-school activities; family things--shopping, washing clothes, dry cleaners, trying to make nutritious meals without making daily trips to the commissary; church groups and the various clubs and committees there-in; and, support to their DH, not necessarily of DH in his job, simply the support of their DH, because he was dad, father, husband, bread-winner.
I asked what I consider of importance and have commented on in this venue a few times. It basically went like this, "Since everyone is so busy, how do you reach out to the younger spouses, not just new in your unit, but new to our world, and see to their needs?" The spontaneous answer was quite interesting ...
"They don't." And when I followed-up with, "Just how do the younger spouses know what to do and the protocols and the expectations, so that their pockets will have the tools they'll need to use to grow up to become, ... you?" And the answer by committee was, "Somebody else will have to figure that one out because we don't have enough time." I was floored, because I knew that wasn't the way they were brought up in our Service. Fortunately for the most part, the gals I was talking to and the community of spouses they represent is only a segment of our spouse population. But it's there.
If I had the chance to call for an Extreme Makeover of my life, this time in NY Times Civilian Mode, would I ask for the Designer Life, complete with earlier college education (and advanced degree) and the big fancy house we could so easily have afforded with my husband's very competitive college record and board scores and my own aptitudes? Would I have opted for putting my children in day care instead of sullying my hands by raising them myself? Certainly, I wouldn't have had my own stories like this to tell:
LCPL Dark Prince has only been gone for about two weeks and both his father and I are keeping busy and staying strong. The upside to the communication fiasco is that I do not have to talk to all my relatives and friends about how they remember Dark Prince as a little boy:
1. The time he peed in the little tykes kitchen coffeepot.
2. The time he turned a toy pickup truck into a dump truck. (Just use your imagination)
3. The time he gave Ross a swirlie in middle school.
4. The time he filled Susan M.'s purse with parmesan cheese at a dinner party.
Boys. I laughed so hard when I read that, and for a moment I saw my own firstborn, strawberry blonde hair and freckled skin glowing from exertion (that child was born running) off in the distance, the family beagle and younger brother trailing along in hot pursuit of something I Profoundly Did Not Want To Know More About. What doesn't kill us as parents makes us stronger.
No, on balance, I don't think I would trade a moment of my life. Not for the world. And that is what saddens and disheartens me so about the thing I mentioned at the beginning of this post; the thing I see everywhere I look these days. There is a name for it. It used to be partially hidden, this thing. It is not hidden anymore.
What disappoints me about this piece though, is despite all of Cavett’s smart-ass banter about language, the piece is nothing more than an unbridled display of contempt. “I guess a guy bearing up under such a chestload of hardware - and pretty ribbons in a variety of decorator colors - can’t be expected to speak like ordinary mortals, for example you and me.” I suppose not, Dick. Perhaps because Petraeus is not just some ordinary guy, or someone who makes his living talking on TV about cocktail parties. His “pretty ribbons” aren’t some trendy lapel adornment, and when he must give orders something more vital happens than a servant appearing with another round of Campari and soda.
You can disagree with the Bush administration and their representatives about the waging of the Iraq war, it’s well within your rights to do so, and many join in your concerns. But comparing the ”tinpot Ghen Khan of Crawford” to General Custer? That, Dick, is just plain lame.
And it's not just Dick Cavett. It didn't just begin with him, and as I noted the other day, this contempt for military service and everything it stands for has been coming out of the woodwork for some time now. I Googled the phrase "Veterans memorials vandalized" the other day and got quite a few entries. I stopped after just the first few. It was discouraging.
Shortly after the beginning of my husband's year-long tour in Baghdad, I told him to be careful. I wasn't worried much about the insurgency. What worried me, really, was the rising anti-military feeling I sensed back here at home. I told him over the phone that a tide had turned in American public opinion and it was an ugly feeling. A great many people, no matter what they may say publicly, did not support the troops. If you doubt that, you need look no farther than progressive sites like Crooks and Liars or ThinkProgress. The anti-military hate spewed there is enough to turn the stomach. They have criminalized mere political disagreement. Now it is no longer acceptable to live in a pluralistic society where honest disagreement on major policy questions is possible between men and women of good will. To disagree with them is to be a liar, a cheat, a murderer.
I read Dick Cavett's deplorable opinion piece and saw not General Petraeus, but my husband being pilloried. He is but one rank below the good General. My mind drifted back to a brilliantly sunny September morning in 2001 when I sat numbly at my desk in McLean, Virginia wondering whether I would ever see the love of my life again as black smoke rose from the roof of the building of his office, miles away.
I remembered a day, weeks later, at sunset. He was still at work. He was always at work. As 'essential personnel' at the Pentagon, he was going in at all hours, day and night. His clothes and hair were permeated with the smell of bitter, acrid smoke. I sat alone at his mother's house waiting for the moment when the sun would set and the neighbors would emerge from their houses, each with a single candle in their hand.
In remembrance. In silent solidarity. In grief for our lost loved ones, for the death of our innocence: for the belief that we could ever again feel that golden sense of invulnerability that used to be America.
I remember the moment when that little 'plink' announced that another email had dropped into my Inbox at work. This time from my husband. I still remember the words:
"Babe. I know we were planning on retiring. But I cannot, in good conscience with everything that is going on in the world, get out now. I think important things are going to happen and the Marine Corps will need all the leaders it can get. I still think I have something to contribute, and believe it is important to stay in and do my part. I trust you will understand."
And I did. And I do. And I always will.
Just as people like Dick Cavett will never understand. I think he imagines people in the military gleefully rushing off to fight the Hun. No one - least of all the military - likes war. Mr. Cavett has never led men into battle. He has never had to watch a friend's face crumple when she learns her husband is dead. He has never taken a bullet in the chest, or had his pelvis shattered and kept reporting for duty as soon as he possibly could, because that is what you do when your job is important.
Men like Cavett like to pretend doing ones' duty is optional. Who knows? Perhaps in their world, it is? Their somewhat bizarre world view allows them to mock what they will never comprehend. But the complex reality they refuse to acknowledge or respect is that, if everyone thought as they do, America would be defenseless against fanatacists who have sworn never to stop until we are wiped off the face of the earth. Men like Cavett can contend until the end of time that extremists are not a threat. The truth of the matter is, the only thing standing between him and violent extremists are the kind of men he likes to belittle. If he doesn't show up for work, a column doesn't get written. If they don't show up for work, someone may die. Thousands may die. Nations, sometimes.
They are police, like my 25 year old son, the little redhead I mentioned a few paragraphs ago. You know: the ones who perpetrate "copspeak" (except my son doesn't talk like that, nor do any of his friends). They are the ones Dick Cavett loves to mock in the New York Times, though I doubt Cavett really knows any cops. They don't quite fit into his social milieu. That's one of the first things cops give up when they choose a life of public service. Cachet isn't one of the perks that come with low status occupations like police or military work.
During Petraeus' September testimony, Hillary Clinton loftily informed him it would require a "willing suspension of disbelief" before Congress would credit his testimony on Iraq. To these ears, the Senator from NY had called the good General a presumptive liar. Well, this Marine wife is an ordinary American; college educated, hard working, with an above average IQ. She pays her bills and her taxes on time.
When politicians and public figures like Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Dick Cavett sneer at and treat military officers with contempt, she sees her husband in their place. And she remembers. She remembers everything she has given up for nearly thirty years to support his military career, and as she watches her husband's service being spit on by the very people he has served so loyally and so well, she can't help but wonder what any of these men could possibly have done to invite such treatment, or when doing ones' duty became grounds for contempt and derision?
Instead of a suspension of disbelief, how about a suspension of contempt for a change from the snooty elitists in Washington and the leftist punditocracy? You don't have to take anyone's word for anything. Challenge the good General on his testimony. Challenge him on the facts if you wish. But check the ad hominems at the door. Just because he wears the uniform of the day doesn't give you carte blanche to take cheap potshots at medals that commemorate battles where better men than you will ever be have fought and died for ideals they believed were worth fighting for, even if you do not.
How about a little respect? I don't see the good General treating his questioners with contempt. From where I sit, Mr. Cavett, you are beating up on the military precisely because you know they cannot - by law - fight back. How about a little decency, which used to be called ordinary politeness in the civilian world. That would be truly refreshing. But I won't hold my breath waiting for it.
Update: The Torch burns brightly in Canada: we are not alone in this fight.
And that's something we here in the States need to remember more often.All done!
The US has reduced the number of rocket attacks on the Green Zone since a sudden uptick on March 27 by pushing into the southern third of Sadr City and setting up US and Iraqi operating bases there, senior American military officials say.
The aim now is to launch an ambitious plan of 30-day, 60-day, and 90-day public works and services-improvement projects designed to convince the local population that the Iraqi government – and not Sadr's Mahdi Army militia – is best able to improve the quality of life in an impoverished expanse of pot-holed streets, open sewers, and joblessness.
But residents are unlikely to reject the Mahdi Army fighters who control their streets as long as some benefits – jobs, business contacts, and some services such as healthcare – are derived from them, some analysts say.
If my choices in life are starving to death or chanting "Yes Yes to Genghis Khan" then I'm probably going to chant "Yes Yes to Genghis Khan". Whoever controls the delivery and distrubution of humanitarian aid to Sadr City will control Sadr City....thats why "Splinter Groups" of JAM shoot at anyone who tries to deliver humanitarian aid to JAM controlled areas.
There were Army ones and Marine ones and maybe even a Royal one.
Some crossed the Rhine and others waded in the Pacific.
Some even went mine sweeping.
Some tote tourists and some served in Korea and some helped with Katrina.
As set out here.
I take General Order #1 first...
I don't want...whoever if covering my childs six...to be dehydrated(coomonly referred to as hung over as a result of consuming too much holy water)...in 120 degree heat...with full battle rattle...before he/she ever leaves the front gate. The pilots rules of no "Holy Water" within 12 hours of takeoff seems to be appropriate to me. Unfortunately...for folks that spend most of their time outside the wire..within 12 hours would probably be never.
The most pre-eminent expert on Muslims matters...Ayatollah Sistani has been clear...Alcohol can't be ilegal in Iraq because not all the religions within Iraq prohibit alcohol.
IMHO General Order #1 has confused Average Omar(A close cousin to the prophet Joe Sixpack). Saddam let average Omar worship at the alter of beer. The US Military is supposed to be "liberating" Iraq...but they also allowed Ayatollah ImAllwaysOffended convince them that the religion of beer should be banned.
If the US Military...the most powerful military in the history of the world is afraid of Ayatollah ImAlwaysOffended...then what should average Omar be afraid of? I think average Omar figures he has to kiss Ayatollah ImAlwaysOffended's backside. Then we end up with endless news reports of "The Feared/All Powerfull Ayatollah ImAlwaysOffended" might do this or that...and we should all shake in our boots.
Ahhh, the good ol' days
November 30, 2003—WASHINGTON: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton ventured into Iraq’s dangerous northern region yesterday, as she took another shot at President Bush for trying to move too fast to get troops out of that country.But you can bring that beer to the sermon here.
As she has on each leg of her three-day trip, Clinton questioned the White House battle plan for restoring order and stability to Iraq and Afghanistan.
“It’s going to take more time than has been allotted for the process to take hold,” said Clinton, referring to the July deadline by which Bush aims to transfer power back to the struggling Iraqis.
“I don’t think we should be setting artificial timelines as this is a very challenging undertaking and we need to work with our Iraqi counterparts and make sure that the steps that are being taken are going to work,” added Clinton, who is due back in Washington today.
Clinton completed her tour of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq with a tense trip into Kirkuk, an oil-rich part of the country dominated by the Kurdish people who were oppressed under the regime of Saddam Hussein.
via Voices of Iraq
In Basra the signs of the feared militia are slowly receding. For the first time in years alcohol vendors are selling beer close to army checkpoints
Beer has been around for something like 5,000 years. Chirstianity has been aroung for 2 thousand years...Islam...1,400 years. The religion of beer is a survivor.
I'm not quite sure why dumbasses will challenge the religion of beer...it's got a a 5,000+ year track record of beating all other religions//dynasties. Communism..Capitalism...Socialistism... Christianity..Budhism..Islam...Hinduism..The Mrs...beer has beat them all.
So I'm reading this...
The teenagers crowding Six Flags Over Georgia during this week's spring break have an alternative to the endless lines for the Georgia Scorcher: a virtual combat zone set up by the U.S. Army to thrill these kids, entertain them and maybe even recruit them....and it occurred to me that we ought to set one of these up in Berkeley.
The Virtual Army Experience —- a noisy world of genocidal killers, Humvees and improvised explosive devices —- looms under a tent at the edge of the park. The show, which launched at the Daytona 500 in early 2007, travels the country and already has had 60,000 visitors.
"Listen up, soldiers!" shouts Josh Hernandez, a Green Beret with a shaven head, square jaw and T-shirt that defines every muscle rippling beneath it. "Your mission is to deliver supplies to a humanitarian aid force inside hostile territory. But a genocidal indigenous force will try to stop you!
Hernandez leads the youths onto a gaming floor with six full-size Humvees and two overwatch stations, each positioned in front of a panoramic bank of floor-to-ceiling video screens. The participants were issued replicas of M-4 carbine assault rifles with pneumatic recoil so they feel like real guns when fired.
The Humvees, though stationary, seem to approach in convoys through a cartoonlike projection of dusty streets and cruddy storefronts. One store has a fading billboard of a man holding up a bottle of soda pop. "Taste!" it reads.
The bad guys emerge from the building. Bam! The teenage sharpshooters kill them with lasers.
The scream of a female voice rises above the cacophony. This is not a game effect but a young girl manning the turret gunner in one of the Humvees. The lights of the IED simulation startles her. Hers is the only scream.
Eventually the animation leads across a bridge to a place that looks like a bombed-out hospital where healers attend the sick.
"Mission Accomplished" read all the monitors. Game over.
Hernandez then brings the teens together to watch a video about Sgt. Jason Mike, a Silver Star recipient who provided medical services and cover fire for his unit after it was ambushed on patrol south of Baghdad.
As a special surprise, Mike, himself —- one of eight "Real Heroes" traveling with the show —- runs out from behind a door to address the group. He tells them the ambush was like the game, but it took 45 minutes and it was, well, real.
(Insert your own "reality" joke here.)
And for each of the players, "...the Army has a parting gift: a CD with a version of the game to play on his computer."
With Bill Roggio, Mike Totten, Austin Bay, Jules Crittenden, and Glenn Reynolds.
From the Washington Post:
A Virginia Family Man's SacrificeMore at the link.
Roanoke-Based Soldier Killed After Taking His Wife's Place on Deployment
By Kristen Mack, Washington Post Staff Writer
Sgt. Jesse A. Ault rejoined the National Guard to take the place of his wife, Betsy, on a deployment to Baghdad.
He called home to Dublin, Va., every day he was in Iraq, including his last. Ault died Wednesday in Baghdad of wounds suffered in Tunnis, Iraq, when his vehicle encountered a makeshift bomb, the military said. Ault, 28, was assigned to the Roanoke-based 429th Brigade Support Battalion.
Last month I noted how all that protesting and blocking of the entrance to the US Marine Corps Recruiting Station in Berkeley was "working" to slow down the recruitment of those poor innocent misguided youth who sought to serve their country and be a part of something so much bigger than themselves. Well, note to the Code Pinkos: Keep up the good work! And to those signing on the dotted line, a great big THANK YOU!!
DoD Announces Recruiting/Retention Numbers - March 2008
The Department of Defense announced today its recruiting and retention statistics for the active and reserve components for the month of March.
Active Duty Recruiting.
Active Duty Retention. Army and the Marine Corps retention continued with a strong showing this month; both are exceeding year-to-date goals.Reserve Forces Recruiting. All six reserve components met or exceeded their accession goals through March 2008.
Army National Guard
Marine Corps Reserve
Air National Guard
Air Force Reserve
When I first heard the Hillary Clinton/Bosnia/Sniper story I immediately thought: "Who cares?"
Then I heard from a guy who was there, who cared very much. The mission was virtually shut down that day, and the efforts to ensure security were exhaustive. He pointed out to me that a lot of people made a lot of sacrifices to make sure there was no way anyone was going to get the chance to disrupt the serenity of the First Lady's day - much less take a shot at her. He was a bit perturbed (I think italics make a great flag that you're substituting for other non-family-friendly words, don't you?) at her implication that the folks who'd gone to great lengths (and some risk) to make that particular photo opportunity possible had failed in their duties.
I doubt it occured to Hillary that she was actually insulting the capabilities of US troops when she fabricated her story of her arrival under fire. But then again, as far as I know that aspect of her story hasn't occured to anyone else either.
Except to the guys who were there.
Honestly, I still refrained from commenting on the affair (news flash: Clinton insults military - details at 11!!!!) , but since it has reared its ugly little head yet again I just wanted to get that bit off my chest.
Update: More ugly head here.
Does former President Bill Clinton regret his error-strewn defense of his wife's Bosnia sniper-fire story?The only thing she served 'em in this sad series of events is a big ol' shit sandwich. (What? You were expecting italics or something?)
"I regret that people like you care more about that when whether she served the troops," he told reporters today in Terra Haute, per ABC News' Sarah Amos.
...and here I am, listening to the live feed from da Hood while reading Mike's book.
The life of a milblogger ain't all glitz and glamour.
Michael Yon has an OpEd in the Wall Street Journal today... Michael -- by his own admission -- is probably the most embedded journalist in Iraq AND (my opinion) the most unbiased, independent journalist who has told us everything we ever wanted -- or didn't want -- to know about the war being waged. It is an absolute MUST READ if you REALLY want to know.
I found the piece enlightening, encouraging and vindicating for those of us who have tried to keep the focus on what was happening there, the good being done, and keeping the eye on the prize of Democracy in Iraq. This one passage actually brought tears to my eyes:
Iraqis came to respect American soldiers as warriors who would protect them from terror gangs. But Iraqis also discovered that these great warriors are even happier helping rebuild a clinic, school or a neighborhood. They learned that the American soldier is not only the most dangerous enemy in the world, but one of the best friends a neighborhood can have.
If you opt to not read Michael Yon's message, consider yourself a victim of war derangement syndrome because you are clearly not interested in the truth. Thank you, Michael and Welcome Home!!
I'm pretty sure there will be no groundswell for Yon's recommendation that we commit more -- not less -- troops in Iraq... but he makes a solid argument about why he thinks it necessary...
x-posted at Some Soldier's Mom
Ft. Hood MWR is hosting a huge all day/all evening concert for our troops today featuring wide ranging genres of music and some wonderful artists. They are expecting 80,000 people to attend. The event is closed to the general public, but the show is being broadcast worldwide.
The emcee just announced that they are receiving email from troops in Iraq who are watching. He plans to read their email throughout the concert. Click the play button below to watch:
Note: there may be times when the show is paused in between sets, just be patient.
I got this up late so you missed General Odierno's opening ceremony. Sorry...
if you don't visit our friend Blackfive daily after you stop at Mudville Gazette and then here, and you have not seen Uncle Jimbo's beat down of the idiot at the LA Times who had a problem with Gen. Petraeus's testimony before Congress, you must.
What was the problem?? Was it that the war was too long? Was it because the war has cost too much? Was it that there hasn't been enough political progress? Iran's arming and training insurgents? Readiness of the Iraqi Defense Forces? Declaring defeat before the election? No, no, no, no and no... It was Petraeus's "sartorial PR". Come again??
The General had on too many "brooches" , too much "bling", too many "patches" and a cheap plastic name tag...
Are you kidding me??? Sometimes you just can not make this stuff up!
Read it HERE.
in addition to the complete and total show of ignorance and disdain in the piece by the whine critic (and as I commented at Blackfive) I think it is definitely a case of both "bling" and "dangle" envy...
BAGHDAD - A roadside bomb targeted a police patrol, killing one civilian and wounding four, including two policemen, in central Baghdad, police said.(emphasis mine)
BAGHDAD - U.S. soldiers manning a checkpoint in Sadr City, eastern Baghdad, with Iraqi police killed one person on Wednesday when they were attacked by small-arms fire, the U.S. military said
It would appear that the latest Newspeak Dictum is that persons deliberately targeted by US/Iraqi Soldiers/Police should no longer be referred to as Gunman/Militants/Terrorists/Insurgents,they should be referred to as 'People'. People who aren't Gunman/Militants/Terrorists/Insurgents should now be referred to as Civilians. Failure to comply with the latest Dictum will unecessarily inform the public of reality. Those wishing to inform themselves of reality should contact the Department of Reality, Hollywood California.
(Hat tip to commenter Rita in the original post)
I don't think Dadman was aware of the brewing shitestorm. Many (if not all) of those media reports only offered the quote, without that crucial bit of further explanation.
Ever alert to a racist dog whistle, Keith Olbermann springs into action:
OLBERMANN, from the April 8 "Countdown" opening credits: Nothing obscure about this: Racism as a Republican campaign plank. Sen. McCain introduced at a rally on Capitol Hill."But if you're wondering if Olbermann and his guest were aware of the context of the remarks, wonder no more:
BELLAVIA, introducing then hugging McCain: You can have your Tiger Woods. We've got Sen. McCain.
OLBERMANN: Did he actually just say that? And why did McCain then embrace him?
Those comments by Sergeant Ballavia - how would you describe them?
Well I think they're pretty ridiculous. I guess one multiracial black man is interchangeable with another. I think that it indicates that Republicans in broad stroke and Mr McCain in particular have a huge problem with black people. This kind of at least racial insensitivity suggests that there's something disturbing going on here and they can't even make a distinction about who the right opponent is of Mr McCain. So I think that it speaks for a broad concern and a kind of legitimate concern for what his candidacy means, especially for black people in this country.
OLBERMANN: When you hear something said like that, is intent impossible to calculate? And does it even matter? Is the idea behind the remarks the same regardless of the intent?
DYSON: Well, my pastor used to say, look, a mosquito's intent is only to get blood from you, but the consequence, it could give you malaria. So at that level, the intent will never exhaust the consequence. The consequence here is huge. Now, we can't discern the person's intent, it may have been fine, but that's even more problematic. If there was no specific and particular and conscious intent to do harm, that means that this grows out of a pattern of habit. That it's just a natural reflex, and that one, you know, interchangeable African-American multi-racial person is as good as the other, or they're indistinguishable...
Viceo at the link.
Damn those pesky milbloggers!
WASHINGTON - Senior defense officials say President Bush will announce on Thursday that Army units heading to war after August 1 will serve 12-month tours rather than the 15 months that soldiers are currently deployed.
I guess last Friday's announcement that tours would be cut was just a bit of a cruel hoax for anyone that is currently or about to be deployed.
Vets for Freedom hosted our Vets on the Hill event Tuesday morning, featuring Presidential Candidate and Senator (Sen.) John McCain. Sens. Joe Lieberman and Lindsay Graham also attended, along with other leading pro-war Congressmen and Women.
The VFF event was extremely well-organized, pulled together by an excellent staff led by Pete Hegseth, VFF Executive Director. VFF covered the travel expenses for over 400 Iraqi and Afghanistan vets, most of whom arrived in DC Monday night and reported for VFF duty at 0530 Tuesday morning. We were addressed by Hegseth, his key staff, and Georgetown Men’s Basketball Head Coach John Thompson III and Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers.
Hegseth and Thompson both made humorous references to Hegseth’s Basketball career under Thompson at Princeton, during which Hegseth never played in a game. Thompson said his goal was always to help his young men achieve their goals, and since Hegseth’s was to serve in the Army, Thompson made sure that happened by keeping him on the bench.
General Myers gave an excellent talk about courage and sacrifice, and was the first of many speakers Tuesday who said that, as we served our country in war overseas, so the country needed us to continue to serve, in the war for public opinion and policy here at home.
At 0700, we were bused to Senate Park for the outdoor event, to feature McCain, Lieberman, and other congress people and participants in the VFF Heroes Tour, which stopped in DC yesterday and concludes in NYC today.
Numerous mainstream media outlets covered the outdoor event, as did Amie Parnes for Politico:
Several hundred veterans stood in the cold drizzle Tuesday morning for a man they called their hero.
“You can have your Tiger Woods,” David Bellavia, a former Army staff sergeant, told the crowd of pro-Iraq veterans. “We’ve got Senator McCain.”
Milbloggers and their readers should be very familiar with Bellavia, a Silver Star decorated combat Vet who’s just published a gritty account of his combat experiences in House to House. His reference played off an earlier description of what it means to be a hero, and how often our society views sports figures as heroes and ignores those who risk all in service to their country. I found it astonishing, and gratifying, that John McCain waited patiently as both Pete Hegseth, VFF Executive Director, and Bellavia, gave short speeches before Hegseth introduced McCain. Bellavia is running for Congress, as are several other VFF members, and many people (including Hegseth) are suggesting Bellavia should receive a Medal of Honor.
Just as a quick aside, as Hegseth was amplifying on the Vets for Freedom mission and members, he momentarily could not come up with what was missing from his description of VFF members as Soldiers, Airmen, and Marines. By the time he recovered and added, “Sailors,” McCain had grimaced and made a gesture towards himself, much to the amusement of the Vets assembled.
Parnes summarized McCain’s brief remarks:
John McCain, (R-Ariz.) the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, did not disappoint. At a pit stop at the Vets for Freedom rally outside the Capitol before appearing on the Senate Armed Services Committee, McCain, called Army Gen. David Petraeus "one of [America's] greatest generals."
He also thanked the veterans.
“I just wanna say what you know so well,” McCain said. “No one detests war more than a veteran. But the veteran also knows the consequences of defeat means greater sacrifice and greater numbers who are wounded and killed. You know better than any the consequences of defeat.”
(More commentary, and links to other coverage, over at Dadmanly.)All done!
My new best friends are Scottish...
and they like the M-4 because it is lighter than their rifles. Sadly, I had to mention that it probably jams more frequently than theirs.
The Basrah area has been interesting lately, but OPSEC forbids me from telling too many stories. Suffice it to say, that if we have another go 'round, the IA will be ready.
Over the past couple of months the media have been attempting to create a narrative on troop drawdowns - as far as I can tell they've been fairly successful at it.One can argue whether there should be a drawdown or not - but there is no drawdown to pause.
Here's an example from CNN, February 2008:A pause in the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq after the current reduction is completed in July "makes sense," Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters in Baghdad Monday.The construction of the narrative is a bit subtle, but seems obvious to me.
The official said there is "no determined length" of the pause, but Petraeus wants to "let the dust settle" from the first round of reductions so he can assess the security situation.
Simple facts: The surge added troops to Iraq, and plans are to end it this summer.
Media narrative: There is an ongoing drawdown of troops in Iraq that will be paused this summer.
There are additional phases to this construction, by the way. One is already apparent in the CNN story above: getting quotes from "officials" defending the decision to "pause" the drawdown - which will in turn reinforce both the claim that there is a drawdown and the implications of pausing it. Next, "pundits" will courageously wade in, making the case for or against this "pause". All will "forget" that there was never any action that could be paused.Ladies and gentlemen, a few of the worldwide headlines following General Petraeus' testimony:
AFP (France): Top US general calls for pause in Iraq troop withdrawal
Reuters Video: Petraeus wants pause on troop cuts
Reuters India : US commander to halt Iraq troop withdrawals in July
International Herald Tribune, France: General urges 45-day halt in withdrawal of troops in Iraq
Winnipeg Free Press, Canada - 13 hours ago Top soldier urges pause in withdrawal of US troops from Iraq
Agenzia Giornalistica Italia: IRAQ - PETRAEUS: BREAK IN TROOP-WITHDRAWAL AFTER JULY
Stock Journal, Australia: US commander to halt Iraq withdrawals
Air Force Times: Petraeus: Pause troop withdrawals after summer
Just because you've spent hours with John Edwards' hairdresser before the big show doesn't mean you're going to impress the General...
Bayh: ...all of this is subject to differing interpretations. And I would just ask you the question - isn't it true that a fair amount of humility is in order in rendering judgments about the way forward in Iraq - that no one can speak with great confidence about what is likely to occur, is that a fair observation?
Petraeus: It is very fair, Senator, and that's why I have repeatedly noted that we haven't turned any corners, we haven't seen any lights at the end of the tunnel, the champagne bottle's been pushed to the back of the refrigerator, and the progress, while real, is fragile and is reversible.
Bayh: In fact reasonable people can differ about the most effective way forward, is that not also a fair observation?
Petraeus: I dont know if whether I would go that far, sir. Obviously I think that there is a way forward, I've made a recommendation on that, and so I just think in that sense...
Bayh: (interrupting) General, you would not mean to say that anyone who would have a different opinion is by definition an unreasonable person?
Petraeus: Senator lots of things in life are arguable, and certainly there are lots of different opinions out there, but again I believe that the recommendations that I have made are correct...
Bayh: (interrupting) Here's the reason for my question, gentlemen. Just as I acknowledge your honor and patriotism which I think is absolutely appropriate I hope you would acknowledge the honor and patriotism of those who have a look at this very complex set of facts and simply have a different point of view - and as you are both are aware some would argue that to not embrace the assessment you're giving us is in fact to embrace defeat - or to embrace failure in Iraq, and I simply would disagree with those characterizations and that was the reason for my question to you.
Petraeus: Senator, we fight for the right of people to have other opinions.
But then, he wasn't trying to impress the General, was he?
The media have already picked one of those Petraeus quotes as THE KEY quote of the day. But they picked exactly the wrong one.All done!
IRANIAN forces were involved in the recent battle for Basra, General David Petraeus, the US commander in Iraq, is expected to tell Congress this week.Did I miss something - because I didn't hear the General say that.
Military and intelligence sources believe Iranians were operating at a tactical command level with the Shi’ite militias fighting Iraqi security forces; some were directing operations on the ground, they think.
Petraeus intends to use the evidence of Iranian involvement to argue against any reductions in US forces.
Dr Daniel Goure, a defence analyst at the Lexington Institute in Virginia, said: “There is no question that Petraeus will be tough on Iran. It is one thing to withdraw troops when there is purely sectarian fighting but it is another thing if it leaves the Iranians to move in.”
via American Digest
The "team" responsible for tossing litter onto my lawn every so often grew smaller today. Seattle Times to Cut Approximately 200 Employees "
I'd just add...I didn't have a problem with all the trees they killed to inform the public of the latest in Leftardness thought.
Unfortunately..since there isn't a local newspaper I would actually read...I converted my "Paper Only" recycling bucket into an additional "Bottles and Cans" bucket. Every time they tossed their rag onto my lawn..I had to chose between being arrested by the recycling police for "Mixing Paper and Cans" or "Placing Recyclables in the Garbage".
Considering that the only person in the neighborhood to read their rag has moved away(Hallalujah...the tie-dye curtains are finally gone)...they should probably get the message that no one wants their ilk littering in the neighborhood.All done!
Rocky needs the publicity. In a recent survey of gap toothed, slack jawed West Virginia meth whores only 47% could identify his photo.
If this sounds familiar to you, it should; it’s basically what the North Vietnamese said about McCain while they tortured him in the POW camps.
I am not sure which I find more disturbing - the lack of knowledge of Naval Aviation and the A-4 in particular - or the general sloppy lameness of the attack. How about both?
"McCain was a fighter pilot, who dropped laser-guided missiles from 35,000 feet. He was long gone when they hit. What happened when they [the missiles] get to the ground? He doesn't know. You have to care about the lives of people. McCain never gets into those issues."I guess the West Virginia voters must be very happy.
Now, go get him a good military historian to brief him up.
Bill Roggio has Gen Patraeus's and Ambassador Crockers written testimony here
Harry Needs the publicity. In a recent poll only 24% of Americans knew who he was.
My granny used to tell me that when someone asked you a question and you knew the answer was going to be used against you no matter what ("When did you stop kicking your dog?"), it was perfectly acceptable to answer a question with a question: "Why do you want to know?"
"There are a number of questions that they must be asked by members of the Senate," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, speaking on the Senate floor. "First one: 'Will our troops come home soon?' Or 'When will our troops come home?' And I think they should be asked, 'Has Iraq made America safer?'"
I can assure you right up front that they may be asking all those questions, but they have no interest in the answers. I remember that the General was asked that last question in the last marathon Inquisition and I believe he (rightfully) said that wasn't for him to say... he could only relate FACTS having to do with military operations in IRAQ. It's pitiable (and despicable) that Harry Reid doesn't know who does what in the American government and the person who could actually answer those questions for him,
Without giving any hints of what Bush will do with regard to troop levels,and
The administration reportedly wants to hold troop levels at just below 140,000...
nor does he understand the role of the military, nor know the difference between FACTS and OPINIONS. I know we're all interested in hearing the answers to those questions, but some of us know that the General does not make those decisions or pronouncements. (OK, maybe Reid understands all those things, but those don't play well in the media, i.e., won't generate screaming "General doesn't know when troops will come home!" headlines.)
And know that whatever answers the General gives to those loaded questions will be spun into more dirt devils than Texas sees in a summer. It will only be more infuriating to have to listen to all the posturing and pontificating that will proceed the "questions" (if any) and to hear all the (mostly) insincere "with all do respect General" or "thank you for your many years of service to our country..." before the tirades begin.
I'm taking guesses on how long into the hearings before Medea and the circus show up...
Good luck, General. And THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE TO OUR COUNTRY (sincerely).
MINNEAPOLIS -- As a young gymnast, Melissa Stockwell always dreamed of going to the Olympics.The paralympics web page is here.
She never knew that one day she would wind up as a member of Team USA, or that it would be as a trailblazing one-legged swimmer in the Paralympic Games.
"I was very competitive and really into it," Stockwell said of her days as a gymnast at Eden Prairie High School in suburban Minneapolis. "I remember going out to the Olympic Training Center and hoping to one day be here. Now I have a second chance."
Stockwell, who lost her left leg to a roadside bomb in Baghdad, was one of 18 women named to the U.S. Paralympic Swim Team on Sunday, becoming the first Iraq war veteran to be selected for the Paralympics.
Now that I've seen this investigative report I must say, there 's no excuse. Murtha may claim he overreacted because of the pressure on him, but obviously he's been robbing American taxpayers blind for years. He's a cold blooded criminal.
I don't see any need for a trial on this one. Lock him up and throw away the key.
Mary Katherine Ham's video search for truth here.
Lots of big numbers here.
On February 11, 2008, Roll Call noted, “Every private entity that received a special project from the Pennsylvania Democrat in last year’s defense spending bill had given him political money at some point since 2005.” At his February 27, 2008 fundraiser for lobbyists, Murtha received a standing ovation.And here's a report from that 5k-a-plate event.
The evidence continues to mount: Glenn Reynolds has linked this post, and he's a lawyer!!!! (Of course, you must now go immediately to our front page and figure out which post he really wants you to read...)
Added thought: Hmmm... anybody heard any news on this story?
Contains footage of Air Force guys holding hands.
From cargo boats to stealthy landing ships to twin hull sinking aircraft carriers.
The range explained here.
Just remembered this story from January:
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Snow fell on Baghdad on Friday for the first time in memory, and delighted residents declared it an omen of peace.Omen of peace? Nope - it's
"It is the first time we've seen snow in Baghdad," said 60-year-old Hassan Zahar. "We've seen sleet before, but never snow. I looked at the faces of all the people, they were astonished," he said.
On September 18, 2007, [US Air Force] veteran Peter Lynch noticed a Mexican flag hanging from a flagpole outside Scholes Hall Mondayat the UNM campust. Lieutenant Pat Davis of the UNM Police Department testified that when Lynch saw the Mexican flag flying without an American flag, which is improper flag etiguette, he first reported it to the office of UNM’s Dean of Students, then to the Officer of Veteran Affairs. They would not act on the illegal display of the Mexican flag, so Lynch took it down and tore it and took it to the Air Force ROTC office.An act for which he's now been tried, found guilty, and sentenced:
Peter Lynch received a deferred six-month sentence on supervised probation. He also must perform 48 hours of community service, attend anger management, replace the flag and pay court and probation fees.
If you're an aviator - or if you're in any position in the military hierarchy where large scale planning is part of your job description - you know the military employs weather forecasters to assist in the decision making process. (What? There's planning? With inputs from others?)
Those forecasters are sometimes 'almost right' - like most inputs to planning, the weather forecast is subject to limitations (of science, technology, communications, and the human condition) - and if you've ever been caught outside without an umbrella you know this as well as any General anywhere.
But years ago there was a quick (and joking) response employed by forecasters when asked why they were wrong: "el nino". Later "la nina" was added to the repertoire. And later still "global warming" became the response of choice when laughs were desired. "I thought you said it wouldn't rain. It's raining, and we're in the middle of an important base golf tournament! What happened?"
(Since the question was often asked by a base commander with his hands tightening on the throat of the forecaster, effective delivery of the punchline was sometimes crucial to survival...)
So it's funny to see completion of the full circle - the absence of global warming blamed on la nina - at least, I got a good laugh out of reading the intro paragraphs to this story...
Global temperatures for 2008 will be slightly cooler than last year as a result of the cold La Nina current in the Pacific, UN meteorologists have said.
But this year's temperatures would still be way above the average - and we would soon exceed the record year of 1998 because of global warming induced by greenhouse gases.
(Before I'm assailed for my ignorant heresy I should add that el nino, la nina, and global warming are immediate threats to our very existence, not funny at all, and deserving of massive research funding from governments everywhere or else we will all die.)All done!
In further the discussion on the "Media Industry"...
A fairly hefty chunk of the "Local Media" was purchased by Media Conglomerates in the 1980's. Last I checked...the Nations Oldest Continuos Newspaper...the Hartford Courant...in existance since the 1700's was owned by the LA Times Newspapers.(The conglomerates are endlessly selling their properties to each other so I'm not sure of current ownership.
In any case...creating 'content' to go with the advertising circulars costs money....and the business of business is profits. So the media conglomerates bought up a huge chunk of local newspapers and reorganized them along the lines that Bill Gates has organized Microsofts International Subsidaries.
Microsoft (Redmond) provides the core products worldwide. Then Microft Europe does the localization for Europe I.E. Transalations, whether the thousands seperator is a comma or a decimal point etc.
So if we take the case of the Hartford Courant. All of its national and international content is generated in LA...then the Hartford localization team tosses in some "local angles" and some "local news" and pushes it out the door.
My dear mum...took early retirement not long after the local papers she had worked 30+ years for were purchased by one of the conglomerates...she had difficulty adjusting to various decisions being dicated from New York . (Most of the readers did as well..but that is another story)
Some of the conglomerates offer Red State/Blue State versions of articles...a comparison of articles in the Charlotte Observer and the Washington Post provides a good example. In both you will find articles written by the same Washington Post reporter...but the slant is different.
Of course no 'name' reporter is ever going to write about this. Newsroom budgets are tight and there are always looming cutbacks. Severance packages are frequently tied to non-disclosure agreements.
In some way...blogging is returning the "media" to its natural state..most news outlets were once owned and operated by citizens who were passionate about what they did..and profits were a secondary concern.
Of course the newspaper guild is none to happy as evidenced by this article in the NY Times.
SAN FRANCISCO — They work long hours, often to exhaustion. Many are paid by the piece — not garments, but blog posts. This is the digital-era sweatshop.
Just a little update...if one thinks the "Media" doesn't threaten its employees with carreer ending "Big Chicken Dinners"...(something the Media accuse the military of) there is this little exchange between the lawyer for the New Republic and the wayward Private Beauchamp
Scoblic: What are you going to do after this job? Are you staying in the Army? Beauchamp: Um, I don't know what I want to do. Um I haven't made up my mind yet what I want to do. 11 Scoblic: Ah...you're not going to be able to write any more after this...you know that, right?All done!
Soldier's Dad: The news idiots should wait for the official announement before getting peoples hopes up..and Senior Defense Officials in the Five Sided Rubber Room should keep their mouths shut until which units would be affected is clear.
And hopefully they'll move very fast - this time. In announcing the extension they had to play catch up:
Q ...can you also tell us why you're making this announcement publicly now at the same time that the troops and their families are hearing it, because normally that's done -- they get notified first.General Petraeus wrote a letter to military members and their families on that topic, too:
SEC. GATES: ...I'll be very blunt. Some very thoughtless person in this building made the unilateral decision yesterday to deny the Army the opportunity to notify unit commanders who could then talk to their troops 48 hours before we made a public announcement. And I can't tell you how angry it makes many of us that one individual would create potentially so much hardship not only for our service men and women, but their families, by giving -- by letting them read about something like this in the newspapers.
This was tough news, I know, for those on the home front - and also tough, of course, for those on the ground here in Iraq. This was particularly difficult news as the leak of this action meant that the Army was unable to notify you before the extension was reported by the press.Meanwhile, the New York Times and their ilk were publishing stories about how pissed off the troops were about having to hear of their extension from the New York Times and their ilk instead of from command:
Anger and dark humor as U.S. troops learn of longer toursOf course, the focus of the next round of stories in the national media (not to be confused with local news) isn't going to be on the troops who get to come home "early" (outside of mention of how many people in their units died - if the number is high enough) - it will be about the 'destroyed lives' of the troops who will replace them.
The news landed almost by accident - First Sergeant Jody Heikkinen spotted a story about it on the Internet - and the company officers were caught off guard. "We're trying to figure out what it means," said Captain Chris Calihan, 31, commander of Bravo Company.
Good luck to the folks at the Pentagon in "getting in front" of the story this time.All done!
"Basically," said Maj. Henry Schott of the command’s plans and requirements section, "if it’s a place like The New York Times, an established, reputable media outlet, then it’s fairly cut and dry that that’s a good source, an authorized source."...so maybe he was referring to the advertisements - if you see a sale advertised in the Times, its so.
And speaking of Times advertisements, who could ever forget this one?
Somewhat off topic but on topic -
From USPS regulations -
“Advertising is defined in 4.13. General publications primarily designed for advertising purposes do not qualify for Periodicals mailing privileges, including publications that:
Contain more than 75% advertising in more than half of the issues published during any 12-month period.”
So to qualify for the "most preferential" mailing rate..a "Periodicals" can't have more than 75% advertising.
In the United States, the delivery monopoly is over letter mail. The courts have accepted the Postal Service's broad test for a letter as, "the presence or absence of an address." According to the Postal Service's definition, an addressed grocery store advertisement is a letter.
So if one is a grocery store..and wants to get their weekly sale brochure delivered to people who buy groceries...they have to wrap it in something that has less than 75% advertising or they can't take advantage of newspapers exemption from the postal services monopoly on 'letter mail'...or they end up paying a postage rate more than "Periodicals" (newspapers)..
The business of the NY Times, WaPo and every other NewsPaper in the United States is not "delivering the news"...the business is wrapping advertising circulars in content that the US Postal Service will designate as "Other Than Advertising" in suffiecent quantity to be designated a "Periodical" and gain exemption from the "Letter Monopoly" and if the periodical is mailed...get the most preferential postage rate.
The cheapest way to provide non-advertising content is just reprint the views of "true believers". Every editor in every newspaper in the world is burdened with an endless parade of people with somwhat bizarre views. As long as the post office signs off...just reprint them...don't have to pay them a salary..they'll write the article for free.
The only business case for maintaining any level of quality in journalism is that people may eventually stop reading your publication altogther...in which case the local supermarket will stop paying you for delivery of their "Sales Circular".
In the "Golden Days" of "TV Journalism" the FCC required television stations to perform a "Public Service". With the advent of Cable...those rules were relaxed.
Once again..there is no business case for "Quality Journalism"..the business case is merely to deliver ratings to your advertisers.
My dear mother was a "Paid Journalist"...she came from the backwoods of Maine...Corporate PR Firms regularly offered to triple her salary. She had a love of what she did...but the talented "Journalists" that worked for her over the years ended up playing the corporate PR game.
At least 90% of "Content" being created in the "Media" is being created by people who could either triple their salaries tomorrow morning at nine by going to corporate PR or people who can't triple their salaries by going to Corporate PR.
Anyone who doesn't question why a "Main Stream Journalist" isn't helping themselves to 3 times their salary or why they can't help themselves to 3 times their salary is going to end up believing things written by either people with an agenda or an incompetent fool.(A few journalists believe in 'Informing the People)
The "Big Money" people in journalism aren't journalists..they are "Presenters"...just reading off a teleprompter what someone else has written for them. Katie Curic couldn't find Muqdadiya(or any other secondaty city in Iraq) on a map.
There aren't any educational or knowledge criteria to join the profession called "Journalist". A taxi driver has to take a test, a plumber has to apprentice and take a test. A truck driver has to take a written test, driving test and be subjected to a different standard of DUI. A "Journalist" merely needs to be employed by someone who is trying to offset the size of the grocery store circular with 25% "Editorial Content" so they can either get a postage discount or be exempted from the Postal Service "letter monopoly".
...as I believe Walter Cronkite once said.
Ahhhh, the good ol' days...
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The U.S. war plan has "failed," veteran war correspondent Peter Arnett told Iraqi TV in an interview that aired Sunday.
"The first war plan has failed because of Iraqi resistance. Now they are trying to write another war plan," Arnett said. "Clearly, the American war planners misjudged the determination of the Iraqi forces." -- CNN- 31 March, 2003
SADDAM HUSSEIN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT - So where are the Americans? I prowled the empty departure lounges, mooched through the abandoned customs department, chatted to the seven armed militia guards, met the airport director and stood beside the runways where two dust-covered Iraqi Airways passenger jets -- an old 727 and an even more elderly Antonov -- stood forlornly on the runway not far from an equally decrepit military helicopter.
...the Americans had been caught lying again... --Robert Fisk, 4 April, 2003 - as US Troops secured the perimeter of the Baghdad Airport
Pfc. Jessica Lynch, rescued Tuesday from an Iraqi hospital, fought fiercely and shot several enemy soldiers after Iraqi forces ambushed the Army's 507th Ordnance Maintenance Company, firing her weapon until she ran out of ammunition... Lynch, a 19-year-old supply clerk, continued firing at the Iraqis even after she sustained multiple gunshot wounds and watched several other soldiers in her unit die around her in fighting March 23, one official said. --The Washington Post, 4 Apr, 2003
Ladies and gentlemen, the war in Iraq during the first week in April, 2003, as reported by the mainstream media.
Over the past couple of months the media have been attempting to create a narrative on troop drawdowns - as far as I can tell they've been fairly successful at it.
Here's an example from CNN, February 2008:
A pause in the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq after the current reduction is completed in July "makes sense," Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters in Baghdad Monday.The construction of the narrative is a bit subtle, but seems obvious to me.
The official said there is "no determined length" of the pause, but Petraeus wants to "let the dust settle" from the first round of reductions so he can assess the security situation.
Simple facts: The surge added troops to Iraq, and plans are to end it this summer.
Media narrative: There is an ongoing drawdown of troops in Iraq that will be paused this summer. (Inferred/implied: things aren't going as planned, situation isn't good, surge didn't accomplish its goals...)
But I might be wrong - so if someone can provide me with the announcement of this drawdown and its timeline (the action that must exist before it can be "paused") I will post it here and we can track its progress. Otherwise I'm left to speculate that the implications I note above are the sole reason (beyond simply incompetent reporting) for the construction of this odd little narrative.
There are additional phases to this construction, by the way. One is already apparent in the CNN story above: getting quotes from "officials" defending the decision to "pause" the drawdown - which will in turn reinforce both the claim that there is a drawdown and the implications of pausing it. Next, "pundits" will courageously wade in, making the case for or against this "pause". All will "forget" that there was never any action that could be paused.
A few facts on tour lengths: Army units in Iraq now are scheduled for 15-month rotations. Some will complete that term; I expect those who went in as the initial surge" brigades will not get out early (the earliest surge Brigades have already passed the 12-month point anyway). But others will be reduced to 12.
Some of those will not be replaced. Others will. Those Brigades who will replace them will therefore have to go to Iraq 3 months earlier than if the units there had done 15. A round of stories will follow regarding how under-trained, under-equipped, under-qualified and over-deployed these units are. Tearful quotes from soldiers and their family members explaining the impact this has on their lives will be included.
Hope this clears any confusion...
Update: This time last year Democrats in congress were demanding that the President establish a troop withdrawal timeline - they threatened to cut off funding for the Iraq war if he didn't. (We discussed it in several entries here in April 07). This effort failed, but those who report an upcoming "pause" in the withdrawal timeline might not fully grasp that - or perhaps they remember it differently.
There was some hope for a new "timeline" demand when General Petraeus briefed congress last Fall, but that hope faded quickly - even as Hillary Clinton called the man a liar.
WASHINGTON - The Bush administration plans to announce next week that U.S. soldiers' combat tours will be reduced from 15 months to 12 months in Iraq and Afghanistan beginning later this summer, The Associated Press has learned. ...Exactly which units would be affected is not yet clear.
President George W. Bush will signal next week that he will pull no more troops out of Iraq while he is president, once his troop surge ends in the summer.
If one puts together a spreadsheet with all the Army Brigade Combat Teams(not that difficicult,there are only 43 Army BCT's). Take into account at least 18 months reset for the 20 Brigade peak deployment, then those two news reports don't compute.
The key phrase is "Exactly which units will be affected is unclear". The news idiots should wait for the official announement before getting peoples hopes up..and Senior Defense Officials in the Five Sided Rubber Room should keep their mouths shut until which units would be affected is clear.
Members of Congress have as much as $196 million collectively invested in companies doing business with the Defense Department, earning millions since the onset of the Iraq war, according to a study by a nonpartisan research group.This probably is more a reflection of the fact that elected Democrats are generally far more wealthy than their merely rich Republican counterparts, and less an indication of their desire to profit from war.
The study found that more Republicans than Democrats hold stock in defense companies, but that the Democrats who are invested had significantly more money at stake.
In 2006, for example, Democrats held at least $3.7 million in military-related investments, compared with Republican investments of $577,500.
After all, if they wanted to make money from war they'd try to prolong it as much as they could, right*?
And here's how the three currently viable Presidential Candidates stack up:
According to the report, presidential hopefuls Barack Obama and John McCain did not report any defense-related holdings on their filings; Hillary Rodham Clinton noted holdings in companies such as Honeywell, Boeing and Raytheon, but she sold the stock in May. All three are senators.*Of course, in years past the real golden eggs have come from the USAF (ahem) and Navy budgets. Those geese have been a bit hungry in the past few years, and some investors might be a bit disappointed...
"Basically," said Maj. Henry Schott of the command’s plans and requirements section, "if it’s a place like The New York Times, an established, reputable media outlet, then it’s fairly cut and dry that that’s a good source, an authorized source."
Maj. Henry Scott..obviously lacking an education in history...doesn't realise the NY Times has been on the "Other Side" since the 30's. The NY Times holds the world record for most Pulizer Prizes for selling 'Black Propaganda" originiated by the KGB to the US public.
I can read Pravda on the Internet...no reason to read the NY Times. I can even read the original articles in Russian.(Just hit the Goodle translate button)
But hey..I'm a right wing nutcase...unlike an acquantance of mine that worked for Tom Daschle(Center for American Progress) that depends on Pravda for "The Truth".
The shelves in Russian shops have always been overflowing with superior goods...just ask an East European or the NY Times.
"ASY Live" is an extension of the Department of Defense America Supports You program, highlighting the support supplied by citizens and corporations nationwide to our men and women in uniform and communicating that support to our troops.Gosh - too bad blogspot is banned in Iraq and many stateside installations (all USAF, for instance) so the troops will never see it.
"Basically," said Maj. Henry Schott of the command’s plans and requirements section, "if it’s a place like The New York Times, an established, reputable media outlet, then it’s fairly cut and dry that that’s a good source, an authorized source."Update: They've got a MySpace Page that deployed soldier's won't be able to visit either.
Soldiers of Company C, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), distribute school materials donated by the Mike Stokely Foundation at a school in Mullah Fayad March 27. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Tony M. Lindback, 3rd BCT, 101st Abn. Div. (AASLT))
Calls renewed to fix Berkeley's citizen boards
Berkeley is finding that having its own foreign policy isn't cheap. The city's recent dustup with the U.S. Marine Corps has so far cost the city more than $200,000, while businesses say they've been slammed by related protests.
...protests on each side have cost the city about $208,000 in police overtime, city officials say.
Additional costs include city staff time to handle permits, the media, security and the thousands of e-mails that have intermittently crashed the city's computer server. In addition, businesses around the recruiting station have been hurt by the protests, and at least four hotels and a handful of restaurants have reported cancellations as a result of the boycott.
"The city is raising business fees and parking meter rates at the same time they're spending all this money on international issues and handling protests. It doesn't make sense, in these difficult economic times," said Ted Garrett, director of the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce. "We're very concerned about the effect this is having on business."
An Oregon Ducks football fan club and a Lafayette golf club are among the groups that have canceled junkets to Berkeley this fall, Wozniak said. A San Diego resort developer said he canceled three contracts with Berkeley suppliers and has persuaded other businesses to follow suit.
The boycotts have had no measurable effect on Berkeley's economy, which is generally healthy, said the city's economic development director, Michael Caplan.
"I remember when we were young, right out of law school, she went down and tried to join the Army and they said 'Your eyes are so bad, nobody will take you,'" he said, after heralding her record on issues of concern to the military, such as body armor and access to health care.Didn't know they had a vision restriction on lawyers. Maybe if she tried again today (with the lowered standards and all) she'd make the grade.
I assume this is a version of the "Hillary Clinton tried to join the Marines" anecdote that then-First Lady Clinton told in 1994 that we wondered about since it's a story she never seems to have told again.
The original story was that in Fayetteville, Arkansas, in 1975, Hillary walked into a local Marines recruiting office. The Marine recruiter looked at her, she recalled, and asked how old she was. Twenty-seven, she said.
"He looked at me, and in those days that was before I learned how to wear contact lenses," Sen. Clinton told a crowd of women veterans in 1994. "I had these really thick glasses on. He said, ‘How bad's your eyesight?' I said, ‘It's pretty bad.' …Finally said to me, he said, 'You're too old. You can't see. And you're a woman.…But maybe the dogs would take you.'"
("Dogs" being a reference to the Army.)
I should ask Buzz Patterson if Hillary ever told him this story back in their White House days...
Having a sense of humor is certainly important. I'm sure you would agree.
"In CodePink we tend to have a sense of humor," said CodePink co-founder Medea Benjamin. "We tend to joke about a lot of things. It keeps us going where other anti-war groups have gone by the wayside."
What's all this about?
BERKELEY -- CodePink should be turning red.
That seems to be the consensus of many who were on the receiving end of a bogus announcement Tuesday by the radical anti-war group that the embattled U.S. Marine Corps recruiting center in Berkeley was caving to the pressure of weekly protests and leaving town.
"If you want to be taken seriously as an organization of serious protest, then you don't play jokes -- even on April Fools' Day," said Robin Lakoff, a professor of linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, who has written about the politics of language.
CodePink and other anti-war groups have been protesting the Marine recruiting center in downtown Berkeley for months, hoping to force the recruiters to leave town.
Medea Benjamin says "We've got a topsy turvey world."
"We do believe in putting out some positive ideas of what we want to see, and what better way to do it than April Fools' Day," she said.
Benjamin said she hopes the hoax will move people to action.
"We've got a topsy turvy world and if more people got out and joined us this wouldn't be an April Fools' joke. (It) would be reality," she said. "The Marines would be gone from Berkeley, the war would be over, there would be impeachment of Bush and Cheney and we'd be upholding our Constitution."
I couldn't agree more.
Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates said the publicity stunt had people calling his office and others in the city. Although Bates initially supported giving CodePink a permit fee waiver and a free parking space at the Marine center for their weekly protests, he criticized their prank.
"I think they have hurt their credibility with this farce," he said.
Of all the stunts Code Pink has pulled, the mayor thinks this is the one which hurt their credibility?
Ever seen a "pink Marine?" Check it out.
An interesting story involving a milblogger/Bad Voodoo member... ("Interesting" if you're into the whole milblogs vs traditional media re: soldiers are babykillers thing - with said milblogger among the accused.)
If you haven't been reading Lt Nixon Rants you're missing out on some keen insight from a
soldier sailor in Iraq.
Update: and more.
You know, just sayin'...
(Video blocked? Synopsis here)
UPDATE: The lights are on at CJ's ! (If that's really CJ now...)
Still more: Is this related? You know it is.
But what about this?
For founding Soldiers' Angels and other exemplary work that she does to make the world a better place Patti Patton Bader has just been notified that she is the recipient of the VFW 2008 James E. Van Zandt Citizenship Award that will be presented to her at the VFW 109th National Convention in Orlando, Florida on August 20, 2008.
"The VFW Citizenship Award - Awarded for outstanding service contributing to American citizenship. To recognize significant contribution to the spirit of service and dedication to the nation that inspires us to display better citizenship."
"James E. "Jimmy" Van Zandt was Commander-in-Chief of the VFW three times, and a veteran of three wars (World War I, World War II, and the Korean War). He served as an enlisted man in World War I and retired as an admiral following the Korean War. Descended from a pioneer family in Blair County, Pennsylvania, Jimmy worked his way from newsboy to United States Congressman. Recipients of the award named in Van Zandt's honor exemplify his dedication to public service, citizenship, and other admirable qualities."