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Folks, I knew it was bad, but not this bad.
The most recent data released by the TSP show that 36.1 percent of active-duty military personnel are saving for their retirement through the 401(k)-type program. An additional 12.2 percent of the military reserves have joined the TSP.That percentage has 180-deg lockoff from what it should be. I know the concept of pre-tax money is hard to explain to some, but we as leaders owe it to our Sailors/Soldiers/Airmen/ Marines etc better. This is a shame on us all - especially when you consider how little Social "Security" is going to be there for this generation.
As of April, 52 percent of Navy active-duty personnel were making contributions, along with 35.7 percent of the Marine Corps, 33.8 percent of the Air Force and 26.4 percent of the Army.
TSP is a good program for what it is. Even though I have been "working the market" on my own since the early 90's, I have maxed out TSP from day one. It's a no brainer extra security tool that too many are missing.
Does Obama really think the world will follow our lead in everything he proposes to do if president.
Barack Hussein Obama in 2007 with a taped video appeal to a group called the Caucus for Priorities:
As president, I will end misguided defense policies and stand with Caucus for Priorities in fighting special interests in Washington. First, I'll stop spending $9 billion a month in Iraq. I'm the only major candidate who opposed this war from the beginning -- and as president, I will end it. Second, I will cut tens of billions of dollars in wasteful spending. I will cut investments in unproven missile defense systems. I will not weaponize space. I will slow our development of future combat systems, and I will institute an independent defense priorities board to ensure that the Quadrennial Defense Review is not used to justify unnecessary spending. Third, I will set a goal of a world without nuclear weapons. To seek that goal, I will not develop new nuclear weapons; I will seek a global ban on the production of fissile material, and I will negotiate with Russia to take our ICBMs off hair-trigger alert and to achieve deep cuts in our nuclear arsenals. You know where I stand.
Update: This is even scarier
Reverend Kim Dong-shik is a Korean-American citizen that led Chicago Evangelical Holiness Church for 36 years before he was kidnapped in China in 2000 by North Korean agents while leading a church mission to aid North Korean refugees in China.
In 2004 Senator Barack Obama signed a letter to the North Korean government demanding the return of Reverend Kim since the reverend is one of his constituents in Illinois. In the letter Obama said he would not support removing North Korea from the State Sponsor of Terrorism List until North Korea returns Reverend Kim. You can see a scanned copy of the document with Senator Obama's signature on it here.
Now four years later and with Senator Obama running for President and touting his willingness to engage with dictators he has conveniently decided to flipflop on his positions with North Korea. Now not only is he willing to meet with Kim Jong-il he is now supporting their removal from the State Sponsor of Terrorism List:
U.S. Democratic presidential frontrunner Senator Barack Obama has recently indicated he no longer opposes the removal of North Korea from a U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism. Obama in January 2005 came out against the removal of the Stalinist nation from the list until it gives an account of the kidnapping and death in the North of the Rev. Kim Dong-shik in 2000. (…)
“We will NOT support the removal of your government from the State Department list of state sponsors of terrorism until such time, among other reasons, as a full accounting is provided to the Kim family regarding the fate of the Rev. Kim Dong-Shik following his abduction into North Korea five years ago.” (…)
Obama appears to have changed his position since. Meanwhile, the presidential hopeful has repeatedly said he wants to meet with leaders of hostile nations, including North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, if he is elected.
Critics of Senator Obama claim he is an appeaser which is a charge he vigorously denies. Is selling out one of your constituents that was kidnapped and probably killed by a hostile government for simple political expediency appeasement? I will let readers decide that but one thing is clear all politicians should support keeping North Korea on the State Sponsor of Terrorism List until they come clean on what happened to Reverend Kim along with a host of other North Korean sponsored kidnappings and terrorist attacks over the years.
Nancy Pelosi went to Iraq:
BAGHDAD (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a top Democratic critic of the U.S.-led war in Iraq, expressed confidence during a visit to Iraq Saturday that expected provincial elections will promote national reconciliation.But oh what a shame, she had to come back
Pelosi, who led a bipartisan congressional delegation to Baghdad, spoke after the group met with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker and Gen. David Petraeus, the top American commander in Iraq.
She welcomed Iraq's progress in passing a budget as well as oil legislation and a bill paving the way for provincial elections in the fall that are expected to more equitably redistribute power among local officials.
She said the visit was to "pay our respects to our troops and at the same time learn more about what the situation is on the ground here."
Pelosi also was hopeful about the upcoming elections after meeting with Iraq's Sunni parliamentary speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani.
In an interview yesterday with the San Francisco Chronicle, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi claimed the U.S. troop surge failed to accomplish its goal. She then partially credited the success of the troop surge to “the goodwill of the Iranians,” claiming that they were responsible for ending violence in the southern city of Basra.Some might think she's been smokin' crack.
Asked if she saw any evidence of the surge’s positive impact on her May 17 trip to Iraq she responded:Well, the purpose of the surge was to provide a secure space, a time for the political change to occur to accomplish the reconciliation. That didn’t happen. Whatever the military success, and progress that may have been made, the surge didn’t accomplish its goal. And some of the success of the surge is that the goodwill of the Iranians-they decided in Basra when the fighting would end, they negotiated that cessation of hostilities-the Iranians.
But I say the treasonous bitch don't know Jack.
Nancy probably stops reading the news after the first paragraphs:
BAGHDAD — Iraqi lawmakers traveled to the Iranian holy city of Qom over the weekend to win the support of the commander of Iran's Qods brigades in persuading Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr to order his followers to stop military operations, members of the Iraqi parliament said.Or perhaps she just missed the third:
Sadr ordered the halt on Sunday, and his Mahdi Army militia heeded the order in Baghdad, where the Iraqi government announced it would lift a 24-hour curfew starting early Monday in most parts of the capital.
But fighting continued in the oil hub of Basra, where a six-day-old government offensive against Shiite militias has had only limited gains.That story was from March 30.
This one was from April 1:
No peace in Basra despite Sadr callBut it was from an Australian source.
HOPES for a ceasefire in Iraq's developing Shia civil war were swiftly undermined yesterday when the Government said it would not stop attacking outlaw militia members, despite an offer from militia leaders to freeze the conflict.
Fierce fighting went on in areas of Basra loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr, despite the rebel cleric's call to his militiamen to put down their weapons.
Sadr's statement was hammered out in elaborate negotiations over the past few days with senior Iraqi officials, some of whom travelled to Iran to meet the Shia cleric, according to several officials involved in the discussions.
Coalition airpower played a part in the "Iranian peace" too.
BASRA, Iraq, April 16 (Xinhua) -- Coalition air strikes hit insurgents' positions in Iraq's southern city of Basra early Wednesday, killing four gunmen and wounding another, a coalition spokesman said.But that's from a Chinese news agency, so Nan might not have known.
"A coalition aircraft conducted an air strike on a group of gunmen who were firing rocket propelled grenades on Iraqi security forces in Basra's western neighborhood of Haiyyania at about 1:30 a.m. (2230 GMT on Tuesday)," Captain Chris Ford, spokesman of the Multi National Forces in Basra, told Xinhua.
The attack killed four insurgents and wounded a fifth, Ford added.
According to the spokesman, another coalition aircraft struck a vehicle in the same neighborhood, but the casualties were unclear.
A source from Sadr office in the Haiyyania neighborhood confirmed the second attack, saying an Apache helicopter fired a missile on a civilian car carrying several gunmen of Mahdi Army militia, loyal to the radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
By April 27 (a mere 4 weeks after the "Iranian brokered cease fire")...
Iraqi forces have taken control of the last militia stronghold of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in the southern city of Basra, the US military said in a statement on Saturday.But once again, that's from Australia.
It said Iraqi troops began the last stage of Operation Saulat al-Farsan (Charge of the Knights) on Friday in Basra's northern neighbourhood of Al-Huteen, a bastion of Sadr's Mahdi Army militia.
"But, when the soldiers.... moved into the city, the local citizens actively welcomed and cooperated with them."
On March 25 Iraqi forces launched an assault in Basra which initially faced fierce resistance from Shiite militiamen, mostly from Sadr's Mahdi Army.
By the end of April:
Young women are daring to wear jeans, soldiers listen to pop music on their mobile phones and bands are performing at wedding parties again.But that was a report from a British correspondent in Basra.
All across Iraq’s second city life is improving, a month after Iraqi troops began a surprise crackdown on the black-clad gangs who were allowed to flourish under the British military.
A shame Pelosi doesn't read news from countries that aren't having Presidential elections this year.
Michael Goldfarb: Just two months ago, Pelosi said, "I hope we don't hear any glorification of what happened in Basra." It seems she was only talking about glorifying the role of the U.S. military and our Iraqi allies, who were in fact victorious. Apparently glorification of the enemy is still allowed.
Ace: Having blurted out, probably accidentally, that the surge was in fact successful, Granny Rictus McBotoxImplants now scrambles to credit the enemy nation murdering our troops with the victory our troops accomplished through blood, sweat, tears, and more blood.
Allah: This is why I said yesterday that McMaster’s remarks to AEI are a must-read. This sort of willful naivete about Iran’s motives — in this case coming from a woman who not only felt compelled to meet with Assad but whom one House Democratic aide admitted would be “furious” upon hearing Murtha’s report of progress in Iraq — is right at the heart of it.
James Taranto: Who needs Barack Obama if the Bush administration is generating so much Iranian goodwill?
Related - Obama might go to Iraq, too, maybe: But there's also this: "Obama also declined McCain's invitation for a joint trip, saying he didn't want 'to be involved in a political stunt.'"
At the bottom of this post:
With special thanks to IraqSlogger's Eason Jordan for making the full article viewable to non-subscribers.ROLFMAO, as the kids say these days.
Posted by Bill Roggio on May 23, 2008 02:16 PM
Love ya, Bill.
At the first Milblog Conference a few years ago, it was suggested (by Andi) that a website for the parents of military members be started... it was also a topic at last year's Milblog Conference and the BlogWorld Expo. Well, it's finally getting off the ground! The site is called PARENTS ZONE. I have agreed to be a contributor... along with a number of other MilParents. So stop on by and say hello... pass the info on to your friends, and check in often!
I have my "inaugural" post up... So Your Child is Being Deployed.
We're also interested in suggestions from other parents: what would you like to know? What would you like researched? What information do you need? What do readers want the page to be?? Send your suggestions -- or if you're interested in writing for Parents Zone -- to Liberal Army Wife at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here's a trivia question. See if you can guess who's telling this thrilling tale today:
Following [a meeting in Chief of Staff Andy Card’s office], … Scooter Libby was walking to the entryway as he prepared to depart when Karl turned to get his attention. ‘You have time to visit?’ Karl asked. ‘Yeah,’ replied Libby."Member of White House janitorial staff" was probably your first guess, followed by "some guy who fell a bit behind the tour group" as a second.
“I have no idea what they discussed."
But the answer is former White House spokesman Scott McClellan - in his explosive new tell-all book. And wow - has he got a lot to tell:
“I have no idea what they discussed, but it seemed suspicious for these two, whom I had never noticed spending any one-on-one time together, to go behind closed doors and visit privately. … At least one of them, Rove, it was publicly known at the time, had at best misled me by not sharing relevant information, and credible rumors were spreading that the other, Libby, had done at least as much. …Juicy, eh? The mind reels with the possibilities of what they might have been talking about - lunch, for instance, or maybe they were swapping Scott McClellan jokes. Or maybe a plan to nuke China and Iran!!!!
“The confidential meeting also occurred at a moment when I was being battered by the press for publicly vouching for the two by claiming they were not involved in leaking Plame’s identity, when recently revealed information was now indicating otherwise. … I don’t know what they discussed, but what would any knowledgeable person reasonably and logically conclude was the topic? Like the whole truth of people’s involvement, we will likely never know with any degree of confidence.”
McClellan, who began his term as Press Secretary inJuly, 2003, and missed the run up to the Iraq war, has this to say about the run up to the Iraq War:
McClellan charges that Bush relied on “propaganda” to sell the war.Whew! Let me pause a moment to recover.
“If anything, the national press corps was probably too deferential to the White House and to the administration in regard to the most important decision facing the nation during my years in Washington, the choice over whether to go to war in Iraq.
He's humble, too:
“I frequently stumbled along the way,” McClellan acknowledges in the book’s preface. “My own story, however, is of small importance in the broad historical picture."Which is true. But golly, if it weren't for this awful economy I'm sure I'd run right out and pony up 27 bucks for this effort.
Better trivia question: Who can explain the title of this post? (You probably have to be older than McClellan - "who turned 40 in February" - to get that one.)All done!
On May 22, 2004, I gave Mr. Rumsfeld a memo to pass along to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and the president's speechwriters. I proposed that the speech "should deal with some basics – in particular, why we went to war in the first place." It would be useful to "make clear the tie-in between Iraq and the broader war on terrorism" in the following terms: The Saddam Hussein regime "had used WMD, supported various terrorist groups, was hostile to the U.S. and had a record of aggression and of defiance of numerous U.N. resolutions."By gosh, I'm not sure (because he doesn't specify by name) what war he's talking about. I suspect it's most likely Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.
Some of the speech's rhetoric about democracy struck me as a problem: "The draft speech now implies that we went to war in Iraq simply to free the Iraqi people from tyranny and create democracy there," I noted. But that implication "is not accurate and it sets us up for accusations of failure if Iraq does not quickly achieve 'democracy.'"
As was typical, the speech went through multiple drafts. Ms. Rice's office sent us a new version, and the next day I wrote Mr. Rumsfeld another set of comments – without great hope of persuading the speechwriting team. The speech's centerpiece, once again, was the set of steps "to help Iraq achieve democracy." One line in particular asserted that we went to Iraq "to make them free." I dissented:
- "This mixes up our current important goal (i.e., getting Iraq on the path to democratic government) with the strategic rationale for the war, which was to end the danger that Saddam might provide biological or [other] weapons of mass destruction to terrorists for use against us."
FIFA announced today that it has suspended Iraq from all international soccer competitions for one year after last week’s decision by the Iraqi government to dissolve its national Olympic committee. Iraq was already facing a suspension from the International Olympic Committee that could prevent its athletes from going to Beijing, but with FIFA’s suspension coming first, it now means that the Iraq men’s soccer team cannot appear in the Games.AFP:
FIFA said that if Iraq reinstates its Olympic committee before 2 p.m. London time on Thursday, it will lift the suspension.
BAGHDAD (AFP) — Iraq's suspension from international football by world governing body FIFA sparked howls of dismay among both sportsmen and politicians on Monday and calls for the government to reverse the decision that triggered it.
Vice President Hashemi Tareq Hashemi demanded that the government overturn the dissolution of all of Iraq's sports governing bodies, citing the "international repercussions" that may also see Iraq banned from the Beijing Olympics.
The president of Iraq's dissolved football association, Hussein Saeed, underlined the importance to the unity of his war-battered country of its number one spectator sport, and appealed to FIFA to rethink its decision.
Hashemi called on President Jalal Talabani to press the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to reconsider its decision in order "to honour Iraq's legal commitments to the Olympic charter."
"The vice president is deeply concerned about the move's international repercussions," a statement from his office said.
The Iraqi government said it sacked its National Olympic Committee and with it all sports federations because the previous committee had lacked a quorum to conduct its meetings and had not held elections for over five years.
The committee's president has been missing since his kidnap in July 2006 and other members have fled the country.
But the head of the dissolved Iraqi Football Association said he would arrive in Sydney on Wednesday for talks with FIFA officials aimed at persuading them to reverse their decision to suspend Iraq.
In a letter to Talabani and Maliki, Saeed appealed for the two leaders to help "preserve" Iraqi sport.
"I call on the president and the prime minister to find formulas that would preserve the status of Iraqi sports and avoid any damage," wrote Saeed, adding that it should not be "too difficult" to find a solution with FIFA.
Interesting but timely information from the CJCS.
The highest-ranking U.S. military officer has written an unusual open letter to all those in uniform, warning them to stay out of politics as the United States approaches a presidential election....Sounds like he got a lot questions/comments on the road. Nothing real new here but a restatement of the obvious.
"I am not suggesting that military professionals abandon all personal opinions about modern social or political issues," Mullen wrote. "What I am suggesting - indeed, what the nation expects - is that military personnel will, in the execution of the mission assigned to them, put aside their partisan leanings. Political opinions have no place in cockpit or camp or conference room."That being said, with the "Revolting Generals" and the broad politicization of the war, no shock he might be seeing and hearing more than he is comfortable with.
I think part of the trend is the active duty push back. This generation does not want to passively sit by and watch what happened to the Vietnam War generation happen to them. That is part of it, and I don't see anything in his JFQ article that will stop the push back, and that is good. Just a reminder to keep the Obama and McCain videos out of the Morning Brief.
These ships were products of a revolutionary leap.
As explained here.
Greyhawk, the link you mention below is broken--it says "Critical Error".
Which might be an editorial comment.
This kind of reminds me of that game people play in the Pentagon where everybody guesses which flag officer is going where and who's going to fill that fantasy baseball roster of officers. Anyway, it figures that after Lex hangs up his old flight suit ol' Phibian misses out on that parking space. I think he at least gets the Navy senior officer present afloat, SOPA MILBLOG status. Except that CDR Salamander stays anonymous, so we don't really know if he is entitled to SOPA. (Another question: Who's COB MILBLOG? The Doc In The Box? He's a bit junior to be browbeating the goat locker, eh?)
Lex'll probably keep parking in that spot anyway. You know those retirees...
It's not much more than a ripple right now, but a new wave of students is surging into American college classrooms: military veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.Another good reason to oppose the New GI Bill!
With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan a little more than five years old, the veterans who were discharged in the meantime are now starting to graduate from colleges and universities. At San Francisco State, 110 of the 8,200 students are military veterans.
That number may be small, but it's growing.
Jo Volkert, associate vice president of enrollment management at San Francisco State, said most veterans don't need help with college, but the university wants to do everything possible to assist them. The university has a veterans club and offers counseling for veterans who might have trouble handling the stress of the college environment.
"They do see people who seem overly cautious as they go across campus," she said. "As veterans, they were trained to be aware of their environment and so sometimes they can be hyper-alert, and that can be a problem."
These sorts of threats shouldn't be taken lightly:
He said being a veteran hasn't caused him any problems with other students, despite the university's well-known propensity for protest and anti-war sentiment. He said he has a different perspective on the war than other students, because he met a lot of Iraqis who were glad to see the end of Saddam Hussein.
Augustis said an influx of veterans in college, and in business and society armed with college diplomas, will be good for the United States. Veterans bring with them a sense of duty and honor, he said, as well as life experiences that few others can relate to.
"I will try to take all my experiences and have a positive impact on the future," he said.
Another secret in from the cold.
A mission to discover the wreck of the Titanic was actually a cover a story for examining the remains of two Cold War nuclear submarines, the man who located the liner has revealed.
Dr Bob Ballard, an oceanographer, has admitted that he had to locate and inspect the remains of the vessels, which sank during the 1960s, in a top secret mission for the US navy before he was allowed to look for the Titanic.
He said: "I couldn't tell anybody. There was a lot of pressure on me. It was a secret mission. I felt it was a fair exchange for getting a chance to look for the Titanic."
He added: "We handed the data to the experts. They never told us what they concluded – our job was to collect the data. I can only talk about it now because it has been declassified."
Forced to leave the combat zone after his two brothers died in the Iraq war, Army Spc. Jason Hubbard faced another battle once he returned home: The military cut off his family’s health care, stopped his G.I. educational subsidies and wanted him to repay his sign-up bonus. It wasn’t until Hubbard petitioned his local Congressman that he was able to restore some of his benefits. Now that Congressman, Rep. Devin Nunes, plans to join three other lawmakers in introducing a bill that would ensure basic benefits to all soldiers who are discharged under the sole survivor policy.I suspect we'll be hearing more about this.
Order four bags for delivery downrange, and they'll add four more bags for free:
"We are grateful to U.S. military service members, at home and abroad, who protect the freedoms and privileges enjoyed by all Americans. The Military Match program is our way of demonstrating support for those serving overseas, and who are away from home, family and friends during this time."I had my mom send me Louisiana's own Community Coffee when I was in Iraq and Germany - I like it that much. (They didn't have this deal going, though.) I'm lucky to be able to find it in Georgia - now I wish I had an APO address here!
President, Commmunity Coffee
Coffee is one of the few things you can send downrange these days that you can be assured will be very much appreciated. I mean, not that we were working 48 hour days or anything like that...
That's the title of the forthcoming sequel to Hal Moore and Joe Galloway's classic work on the battle at Ia Drang. Jules Crittenden has the details.
Looks like there's a contender to replace Lex as highest ranking Active Duty milblogger.
That would be Lt Gen Wiliam Caldwell's blog. He's leading from the front after telling his troops to start blogs.
Command and General Staff College faculty and students will begin blogging as part of their curriculum and writing requirements both within the .mil and public environments. In addition CAC subordinate organizations will begin to engage in the blogosphere in an effort to communicate the myriad of activities that CAC is accomplishing and help assist telling the Army’s story to a wide and diverse audience.Elsewhere, the Pentagon's New Media Outreach office has joined the blogosphere, too.
About which (to bring this full circle) the Highest Ranking Active Duty Milblogger who was actually blogging before the DoD even knew if it was a politically incorrect term (HRADMABloggyB4twaskewl) has already begun a discussion (in which I remark that it's a shame said blog is banned on many military networks, and others of the local riff raff weigh in).
Toby Nunn is home from Iraq.
I am back in the states following some legal issues created by a member of leadership that come along after the film had been made and was unaware of who and what we were. It has been a painful experience that possible will end my career as a soldier because ego's are bigger than facts sometimes.Most of you should recognize the name - he's from Bad Voodoo platoon, and the film he's referencing is from a PBS Frontline documentary on his team's deloyment to Iraq. I've seen it - it's a fine chronicle of life on the road in Iraq. You can watch the whole thing online here.
As for details of whatever happened (or is happening as the case may be) Toby is currently quiet - which is appropriate if the issue isn't resolved.
But before anyone starts in on "the Army", here's an earlier comment on the topic from Toby:
There has been some issues that have arisen from the film through the chain of command. These views are not that of the “ARMY” but those of individuals.Obviously he knows the score. The US military is a large organization of thousands of individuals. It is as good or as bad as those individuals. Some of those individuals are better than others in certain circumstances.
That said, this sounds like the sort of thing that drives the good ones out.
(Via the Dawn Patrol)
The real "father of Naval Aviation" just had a birthday.
Steeljaw Scribe remembers.
I wonder if "Dad" wore brown shoes...
Remember back in the day - back when you still had hair, or hair that was not white - just put yourself there.
If, one day while waiting for a MAC flight out of Frankfurt someone told you that one day a presumptive nominee for one of the two dominate political parties in the USA would have his largest campaign stop opened up by a musical group that liked to start its concerts with a somber, sober rendition of the anthem of the Soviet Union - who'd'a'thunk it?
The full story is always interesting, and in a way pathetic. Maybe we have come a far way. Maybe we just have a lot of historical ignorance. Maybe people don't care. Maybe it just is. Even if it just is - it shouldn't be. Commie=Nazi in my book - well at least that is what started me in this line of work. Maybe I'm the problem.
I'm not - but the ACLU is outraged at the number of "youth of color" joining the military:
In fiscal year 2007, 43 percent of all new under-18 enlistees in the Navy were black or Latino, along with 32 percent in the Air Force, 30 percent in the Marine Corps, and 22 percent in the Army. In its submission to the UN yesterday the ACLU charged that the military targets youth of color for military recruitment.Obviously in the eyes of the ACLU the Navy is the worst offender, but it's not clear from the press release whether the ACLU wants to prohibit the Navy from hiring "youth of color" altogether or simply set a UN-determined limit on how many can join.
Then again they might be advocating forcing a certain number of "youths of no color" to serve for each of the "youths of color" who join.
More details here.
Military.com has the Daily Election Blog that is comprised of military vets and military wives speaking on issues around the election. If you haven't been there yet, there's some very interesting stuff, although it does seem to be filled with a few fainting Obama fans. Author "Air Force Wife" is trying to fit in as a new contributor there, I say we support her with some comments.
Her latest post spawned some down right hateful comments.
I also found these post by other contributors interesting:
Speaking of military family blogging, a new site is being developed for parents of service members. It's called Parent's Zone. I see that Some Soldiers Mom will be a contributing author over there. I believe they're in the initial stages of set-up, but I'm sure they'll be off and running very soon.
Good to see a place where parents can hang out and share experiences.
I'm a Little behind in posting this:
Welcome to the military spouse blogosphere, where “milspouse bloggers,” as they are known, share experiences and opinions, rally support, seek resources, and find friendship in the virtual world. In many ways military spouse blogs are a fusion of the unit newsletter, holiday greeting card, snail-mail letter, and journal entry.
Blogs differ from Web sites because they are interactive. They first appeared on the Internet in the early-to-mid-1990s and became mainstream in 2002. Blogging became popular with the military at the start of the Iraq war as a way for troops to document their experiences and provide a combat perspective outside the media’s. Soon after, military spouses started their own blogs. Today, these blogs provide a venue for spouses to connect to the military community-at-large beyond unit coffee groups, spouse clubs, and family readiness groups.
“Many of us find that we’re constantly juggling extra responsibilities when our spouses are away for training, TDY, or deployments, and that can get stressful,” says the pseudonymous Mrs. Greyhawk, a milspouse blogger who, with her husband, runs the popular Mudville Gazette. She was among a select group of milbloggers who met with President George W. Bush at the White House in 2007. “Blogging is a way for us to stay in touch with our servicemember and to share experiences, vent, and offer support to others spouses in similar situations,” she says.
“Our readers feel like they have a community they can turn to for support 24-7,” says milspouse blogger and Army wife Andi Hurley, who partnered with Military.com in 2006 to create SpouseBUZZ, written by and for military spouses. “The goal of SpouseBUZZ is to celebrate the things that unite us. We exist to provide a supportive environment for all military spouses, regardless of rank, branch, gender, or political affiliation.”
Being a seasoned military spouse, I'm always humbled, humored, and enlightened by the mil-spouse blogs I read.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Soldier's Mom (both a milspouse and milmom)
Hooah Wife and Friends
Trying to Grok
Army Wife Toddler Mom (AWTM)
Knee Deep in the Hooah!
Learning to Live (Gold Star Wife)
Proud Infantry Wife
My Life As A Military Spouse
Oh! That's gonna leave a mark
She Who Waits
There are so many more but I only have so much time in the day. ;)
Speaker of the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader, Rep. Steny Hoyer and Reps. Adam Putnam, Howard Berman, Jan Harman, Gary Ackerman, Alcee Hastings and John Larson visited Sather Air Base [Baghdad, Iraq] to visit with deployed members, May 17.
Airmen and Soldiers from around the country, from California to Connecticut, gathered to meet the visiting representatives.
"It was great to see the representatives take time out of their busy schedules to show support for the Airmen and Soldiers of Sather Air Base," said Col. Fred Cheney, 447th Air Expeditionary Group commander. "We took the opportunity to showcase our integrated team and gave a great "Tuskegee Airmen" reception to our distinguished visitors."
Good music vid from Mike the Marine over at From the Halls to the Shores
h/t AWTM and Tammi
DoD Announces Force Adjustments
The Department of Defense announced today additional major units scheduled to deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The announcement involves one division headquarters and seven brigade combat teams consisting of approximately 25,000 personnel.
The deployment window for these units will begin in the fall and continue until the end of the year.
This announcement reflects the continued commitment of the United States to the security of the Iraqi people, and provides replacement forces required to maintain the current level of effort in Iraq. Subsequent deployment orders will be issued based on force level decisions made in the future.
These deployments will provide commanders in Iraq the flexibility to maintain the appropriate force structure based on their assessment of the security situation on the ground.
Specific units receiving deployment orders include:
25th Infantry Division Headquarters, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii
1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Wainwright, Alaska.
2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.
3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii
2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.
3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.
172nd Infantry Brigade, Schweinfurt, Germany
3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas
The Department recognizes the continued sacrifices of these units and their family members.
The Department of Defense announced today the alert of additional major units scheduled to deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The announcement involves four brigades from the Army National Guard.
All four brigades will have a security force mission and be assigned tasks to assure freedom of movement and continuity of operations in the country. Those tasks will include base defense and route security in Iraq and Kuwait.
These deployments will involve approximately 14,000 personnel who will begin deploying in the spring of 2009. They are receiving alert orders now in order to provide them the maximum time to complete their preparations. It also provides a greater measure of predictability for family members and flexibility for employers to plan for military service of their employees.
Specific decisions made by the secretary of defense include:
72nd Brigade Combat Team, Texas National Guard
2nd Brigade Combat Team, 28th Infantry Division, Pennsylvania National Guard
256th Brigade Combat Team, Louisiana National Guard
278th Brigade Combat Team, Tennessee National Guard
Unit deployments reflect the continued commitment of the United States to the security of the Iraqi people. The Department recognizes the continued sacrifices of these units and their family members.
and these are in addition to these units announced in December '07 scheduled for summer '09.
This is how Sec. Gates laid it out last month...
God bless our troops... and God bless America.
Sad news today. Another fellow milblogger has joined the "Ghost battalion" (milblogs that quit blogging when their deployment end). Badger 6 came home the first week of May, 08 and has decided to hang up his camo keyboard.
B-6 has been instrumental in getting the ground truth out about what has been going on in Ramadi - Falluja. He shared the stories of the soldiers of Company A, 321st Engineer, the progress they made and the loses they incurred
All is not lost however, for those avid readers, he will continue to post occasionally here at MilBlogs
I'm going out of town so have no time to tell you all how much of a loss this is to the milblogging community, Greyhawk may add to this later.
Thank You B6 for making history. Hope to see you around MilBlogs.
Matthis served in Japan on the island of Okinawa, after Japan he served two years in Heidelberg Germany while there he served as a strategic communicator for the U.S Army Europe Headquarters, a major command Headquarters, and while there he traveled extensively throughout Europe, he also served in Afghanistan, for about a week. Matthis went there to cover a story about a unit of American soldiers who were part of a training unit designed to help soldier perpare for combat at training bases specifically Hoensfeld Germany and they were deployed under the direct command of Romanian battalion.(Bold emphasis added above.)
Matthis also served on the island of Palawan in the Philippines, in support of a bilateral military exercise conducted between the United States Military and the Filipino Military.
From the blog's description:
This blog was created by the students of John Jay College of Criminal Justice who participated in the course Voices of War: Veterans and their Testimonies in the Spring 2008. The instructors were Prof. Edward Paulino and Prof. Jose Vasquez.Audio interviews with Chiroux were posted here.
The malcontents and miscreants of Iraqi Veterans Against the War (IVAW) are at it again, invited to testify before a Congressional “Progressives Caucus” this week.
In perfect accord with their previous efforts, their “Winter Soldier” circus this time was a mix of pretenders with phony or hyped up resumes, exaggerated stories fuzzy of facts but overstuffed with fabulisms, or outright falsehoods.
As reported in foreign and alternative progressive media, it seems as if IVAW needed to retire several of their former speakers and bring in some new blood. (I’m sure it didn’t have anything to do with how badly the last batch were discredited.) (Link to the Breitbart article courtesy of Drudge).
Matthis Chiroux is the kind of young American US military recruiters love. "I was from a poor, white family from the south, and I did badly in school," the now 24-year-old told AFP.The Case of Chiroux
"I was 'filet mignon' for recruiters. They started phoning me when I was in 10th grade," or around 16 years old, he added.
Interesting that this “filet mignon” who did so poorly in school managed to have the wits and wherewithal to earn selection as a Public Affairs Specialist, military occupational specialty (MOS) 46Q, and spent between five and six years in various Public Affairs Offices (PAO) in Japan and Germany. As a staff writer and photographer, and a pretty good one at that.
Here’s another possibly discrediting feature of his story:
He served in Afghanistan, Germany, Japan, and the Philippines and was due to be deployed next month in Iraq.Now according to the many stories he’s allowed to be written about him, SGT Chiroux claims to have joined right out of high school, shortly after June 2002. Maybe he went in right that summer, maybe into the fall, but accounting for basic training and advanced individual training, that brings him into sometime in 2003, no doubt as a Private or PV2.
A Private (PVT) Matthis Chiroux was already in Japan, working for a PAO there, likely sometime in 2003, given the background information contained in this news report with which his name was associated.
There’s one aspect of a military journalist’s career that makes his career a little easier to piece together – if he’s the kind of Winter Soldier, like John Kerry, who doesn’t want to make primary documents like a DD 214 available for public inspection.
Do a google on Matthis Chiroux, and you’ll get dozens of PAO and other Army publication articles and photos with his byline. These became a helpful means of tracking his career. He can be traced as first a PVT, then PFC and then SPC while posted in Japan, and then USAREUR in Germany.
Now it’s entirely possible that PVT Chiroux started his PAO career in Japan in 2003, then spent some of late 2003, early 2004 in Afghanistan. But it does seem odd, since PFC Chiroux was next in evidence writing for the same PAO in Japan in November 2004. If PVT then PFC Chiroux and done a combat tour in Afghanistan, you’d think the associated medals and awards would have gotten him the Specialist in that time frame. That, and I am thinking that lower ranking PAO soldiers would be less likely to be returned to the same duty station for subsequent assignments, at least that soon.
A remarkable photograph Chiroux, of a helicopter carrier landing seen through an aviator’s goggles, showed up in early 2005. There are evidences of him in Japan in February and April 2005, but by July 2005, he shows up at USAREUR in Germany.
He contributed numerous articles and photographs during the rest of 2005, 2006 and 2007, with pieces appearing in September and November 2005, throughout the Spring and Summer of 2006. He appears on a promotion list to Sergeant in January 2007.
Funny thing is, if he was reassigned or deployed to either Afghanistan or the Philippines, he oddly has no bylines or photographs credited from those locations.
Throughout his time in Europe, he contributed numerous articles and photographs for various stories in Europe, about training events, NATO military exchanges, and increasingly, stories about units and soldiers training for or returning from Afghanistan or Iraq, and even a story about preparations for a unit to go to the Philippines. These stories may have come in handy for burnishing an otherwise combat free military record.
It may be a telling detail that in news stories for which Chiroux has been interviewed, he is always identified as a soldier who “served” in Afghanistan and the Philippines, and while one might logically assume he was stationed or did a combat tour for OEF, I haven’t seen a single article or statement making that claim. But I’d bet 95% of readers of articles on the now conscientious objector would assume that’s his background.
Funny thing about a lot of these IVAW members and associates: many of them have never served in Iraq, or have never had any real exposure to combat, or have greatly distorted and manipulated what little experience they have. In many cases, they are careful not to make any direct, specific claims as to names, places and dates, but rather fuzzy, indistinct assertions. This allows them, for example, to create an impression of knowledge, experience, or exposure they don’t in fact have, but do not leave themselves open to falsification.
(More detailed assessment of other IVAW falsehoods over at Dadmanly)All done!
Chuck's point is well taken.
That said, I've enjoyed American Idol this season. And I've had long conversations with other folks in uniform who have, too. Standing around on a break, one guy mentions the show, another acknowledges watching it. Pretty soon six or seven are weighing in. Others walking by join the conversation, etc. etc...
One reason - and most folks I've ever discussed the show with agree - is contestant David Cook. He's one of the final two, but will probably lose this week to a teeny bopper favorite. You can hate the show for that and other reasons - but that doesn't change the fact that Cook is a remarkably talented individual. (If he does win, on the other hand, my faith in American musical taste will be greatly enhanced.)
I didn't know until recently that he had recorded and released an album back in 2006. It was available on Amazon as an mp3 download. But no longer - it mysteriously disappeared after sales began to soar when it was "discovered". (In fact it was #1, outselling a new Mariah Carrey recording, along with everything else available.) Sadly, you can't download and listen to those songs now.
Or the songs he recorded with his bands Axium and The Midwest Kings.
A shame that.
...in this disturbing story is "sabotage":
Half the wires in the three-inch-thick cluster had been severed. Someone, it seemed, had hacked away at a $30 million aircraft that has been a workhorse for the military since the Vietnam War and a lifeline to the local labor force that produces it for the world's armed forces.
"I almost vomited," the assembly-line electrician later told Boeing union executive Joe Phillips, who recounted the conversation. "When I saw that, it made me sick to my stomach," the inspecting electrician told Phillips.
The attack on this and one other Chinook, which authorities are investigating as a federal crime, has not only shined a light of suspicion on Boeing's employees and security practices. It also has impugned the patriotic pride and integrity and threatened the economic security of members of a workforce acutely aware that they are the last of a dying breed.
"For somebody to do this, it was like they took a personal stab at all of us," said Ed Panco, a Ridley Township commissioner who works as a quality inspector at Boeing.
"You're attacking our livelihoods," said Panco, who was not among the group that discovered the problem on the Chinook line that shut down production for several days. "We all depend on Boeing to survive."
A team of 10 Defense Department criminal investigators is working with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Philadelphia to find the person or people who severed the wires in the one helicopter and placed a critical rotor-blade component where it did not belong in another nearly completed Chinook.
Perhaps it's a just a disgruntled employee with a grudge...
...folks who've lied about their combat records in the news: Hillary Clinton and Tom Harkin.
There are people in the US military (in fact, they are the majority) who aren't like the cowardly pieces of shit that join groups like IVAW.
Everybody thinks there was a conspiracy at Abu Ghraib.That's from Joseph Darby, the man who actually exposed the dirt bags responsible for the abu Ghraib scandal. And he did suffer for his actions - but not at the hands of the US Army.
Everybody thinks there was an order from high up, or that somebody in command must have known. Everybody is wrong. Nobody in command knew about the abuse, because nobody in command cared enough to ﬁnd out. That was the real problem. The entire command structure was oblivious, living in their own little worlds. So it wasn’t a conspiracy—it was negligence, plain and simple. They were all fucking clueless.
There is one group he hasn't forgiven: " I still have a lot of bad feelings toward the press."
But he'll never make headlines - to acknowledge his version of the story the mainstream media would be forced to admit two things they never will:
1. They didn't actually expose the story - they just aided the defense of the criminals involved.
2. Donald Rumsfeld and George Bush weren't the criminals involved. The media's most cherished fabrication in the history of the Iraq war is a lie, and one of the most effective ever perpetrated on the world.
It's ironic that the lie they built around this story is one that is used to add credence to atrocity and fear of repercussion accusations by the cowards in IVAW.
Wow. What a featherweight piece of chickenshit
Good afternoon. My name is Sgt. Matthis Chiroux, and I served in the Army as a Photojournalist until being honorably discharged last summer after over four years of service in Afghanistan, Japan, Europe and the Phillipines. As an Army journalist whose job it was to collect and filter servicemember's stories, I heard many stomach-churning testimonies of the horrors and crimes taking place in Iraq. For fear of retaliation from the military, I failed to report these crimes, but never again will I allow fear to silence me. Never again will I fail to stand."I've always known what an atrocity the Iraq war was. I mean, I haven't been there or anything, but people have told me stories about it. Now that I might have to go myself, I'm going to take a stand!"
In February, I received a letter from the Army ordering my return to active duty, for the purpose of mobilization for Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Thanks in great part to the truths of war being fearlessly spoken by my fellow IVAW members, I stand before you today with the strength, clarity and resolve to declare to the military and the world that this Soldier will not be deploying to Iraq.
This occupation is unconstitutional and illegal and I hereby lawfully refuse to participate as I will surely be a party to war crimes. Furthermore, deployment in support of illegal war violates all of my core values as a human being, but in keeping with those values, I choose to remain in the United States to defend myself from charges brought by the Army if they so wish to pursue them. I refuse to participate in the occupation of Iraq.
But my favorite line from the gutless IVAW shitbags is the one they all share. "For fear of retaliation from the military, I failed to report these crimes." AKA: "I am a gutless piece of chickenshit."
Thank God that only a small minority of people who don the uniform are such worthless cowards.
Fellow Iraq vets:
After reading a post I did about some proposed legislation dealing with Veterans' Mental Health, a kindly Congressional staffer recently forwarded this Press Release to me... So I wrote the staffer with my thoughts....
Thank you for thinking of me. I admire and am deeply appreciative of the [legislator]'s work on behalf of Veterans. However, I have concerns about straight statistics and the twisting (the magic of bad statistics) that occurs when released (and used inappropriately as in the past.) By that I mean that data is used to promote political bashing rather than reflecting a true and sincere attempt to analyze why and how [fill in the blank] is occurring -- including how to "fix" the problem -- if, in fact, there is a problem and if it is fixable at all.
For example, I'd note that previously released data on the number of suicides within the active military (including Reserve and Guard) looked shocking; however, when compared historically and compared to the rate of suicide within the general populace (soldiers coming from the general population), the rates in every age, gender and ethnicity were the same as or lower than the general population (see, here for just one discussion and quasi-analysis). I suspect that the same might be evidenced in the veterans' suicide numbers.
You didn't think I'd stop there, did you? The rest at Some Soldier's Mom
Jonathan Aponte comes home:
The door to the doughnut shop swung open. For a moment, the tall young man, every bit a soldier in his bearing, stood with the windy rain of Friday afternoon at his back. A wave of coffee and doughnut humidity slapped him in the face.But this "tall young man, every bit a soldier in his bearing" wasn't returning from Iraq - he was home from an eight-month stay in Rikers Island prison.
His eyes swept across the shop. Then he spotted the older man seated at a table over a cup of decaf. Their eyes locked. The prodigal son had come home. The father rose. They hugged, with lots of thumping on the back instead of words.
He had been to Iraq. But while home on leave last year he decided he didn't want to go back...
Matthis Chiroux is the kind of young American US military recruiters love.
"I was from a poor, white family from the south, and I did badly in school," the now 24-year-old told AFP.
Yeah, I salivate at the prospect of stupid troops too.
Alternate: Matthis Chiroux is the kind of young American than US media reporters love...
Do you have a question about "military and veteran issues" that you'd like to pose to the Presidential candidates? Here's your chance:
Take part in this historic, online debate over military and veteran issues. You could be one of the 12 people chosen by our editors to have your question directly answered by Obama, Clinton and McCain. This is your chance to ask the candidates about the most important issues in the military community.
Mom listens to son complaining, gets a little bent out of shape...
Chuck has a post up about American Idol as an indicator of societal values.
He begins with
"So, I've had to sit through another episode of the odious Idol program that Carren likes. (I watch, I comment, she rolls her eyes, claims I love it, but fun ends for me after try outs.)
They did a retrospective where the 16-year-old David Archuletta returns home to Utidaho (either Utah or Idaho, I don't remember). He goes to his high school, his local mall, and a couple other local places where people come out of the woodwork to squeal his name and get frenzied up in the best post-modern-beatle-esque prepubescent panty twisting since the British invasion."
And gets worse from there. He does, however, sum it up nicely.
I think he makes it clear.
Iran has been directing assassination operations in Iraq using trained snipers, in some cases killing Iraqi officials opposed to Iran, according to an officer who has recently served as a senior adviser to Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq.
Army Col. H.R. McMaster, who has served multiple tours in Iraq, yesterday described Iran's activities as part of an unofficial talk on the evolution of the Iraq war he delivered at the American Enterprise Institute here. Although he emphasized that "Iraq's communities have largely stopped shooting at each other" and that the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq "is on its way to defeat," he said Iraq remains a "weak state," and that Iranian involvement was intended to keep it so.
Iran's activities are "obvious to anyone who bothers to look into it," and should no longer be "alleged," he said in response to a question.
Wanna see a couple of minutes of my last helo flight? I had PLENTY of time to take a film clip... see what I mean here. Heh heh.
The Pentagon says it isn't formally considering a change in policy at this point, but Mr. Gates's comments sparked a heated debate on military blogs, message boards and email lists.That caught me by surprise - I rarely discover something "military blogs" are engaged in "heated debate" on via the Wall Street Journal - usually I hear of the debate on actual military blogs first (and I never see those debates migrate to the mainsteam media).
So I checked the invaluable blog search engine technorati, in hopes of discovering these military blogs I hadn't discovered yet. To my surprise, I found the only citations of this particular topic were from blogs referencing this Wall Street Journal article - I could find none that preceded it, and couldn't find any milblogs among those that followed.
But I suppose that "military blogs" offering "heated debate" on a topic somehow validate it as significant, so the line appears in the article.
By the way, here's the topic:
Centuries before Iraq and Afghanistan, George Washington created the Purple Heart to honor troops wounded in combat.For my part I say PTSD is real, and this idea is real bad. And as for Gates' "cautious support ", I interpret a response of "that's an interesting suggestion - we'll look into it" as being senior milspeak for "no".
But with an increasing number of troops being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, the modern military is debating an idea Gen. Washington never considered -- awarding one of the nation's top military citations to veterans with psychological wounds, not just physical ones.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates offered cautious support for such a change on a trip to a military base in Texas this month.
"It's an interesting idea," Mr. Gates said in response to a question. "I think it is clearly something that needs to be looked at."
The Pentagon says it isn't formally considering a change in policy at this point, but Mr. Gates's comments sparked a heated debate on military blogs, message boards and email lists. The dispute reflects a broader question roiling the military: Can psychological traumas, no matter how debilitating, be considered equivalent to dismembering physical wounds?
Supporters of awarding the Purple Heart to veterans with PTSD believe the move would reduce the stigma that surrounds the disorder and spur more soldiers and Marines to seek help without fear of limiting their careers.
As for "stigma" - like the heated military blog debate and Gates' "cautious support", I believe its more a figment of an over eager (but possibly well-intentioned) reporter's imagination. (Actually, there's more to it than that, but this should get things started. We'll check for "heat" in the comments later...)
Unfortunately—and here Feith is critical of his ultimate boss, George W. Bush—the administration allowed its critics to frame the issue around the fact that stockpiles of weapons weren't found. Here we see at work the liberal fallacy, apparent in debates on gun control, that weapons are the problem, rather than the people with the capability and will to use them to kill others. The fact that millions of law-abiding Americans have guns is not a problem; the problem is that criminals can get them and have the will to kill others. Similarly, the fact that France has WMDs is not a problem; the fact that Saddam Hussein had the capability to produce WMDs and the will to use them against us was.I will say it explains my own position before the fall of Baghdad (and unchanged since):
Saddam Hussein is a weapon of mass destruction. Okay? But only as the head of a government. Get a grip, get a clue. We are doing what's right....but Barone certainly says it better than I did.
Iraq could manufacture WMD. We know this. Suppose they stopped for a while and destroyed all their stores. What stops them from rebuilding their supply?
"America's Favorite Moms" from several categories will be crowned tonight. NBC, 7PM eastern/6 central. We'll be watching at haus Greyhawk, and ready to cheer for Patti.
Update: Golf ran late, so NBC bumped the show in our area (if they ran it at all) but...
SOLDIERS' ANGELS FOUNDER WINS!
Patti Patton-Bader Named "America's Favorite Mom"
May 11, 2008, PASADENA, CA -Soldiers' Angels founder Patti Patton-Bader was named "America's Favorite Mom" in a primetime television show Sunday night on NBC. Sponsored by Teleflora and hosted by Donnie and Marie Osmond, the show highlighted fifteen outstanding mothers who had distinguished themselves in categories ranging from Working Moms to Military Moms and "Non-Mom" Moms.
Humbled by the honor, Patton-Bader is thrilled to be able to use it to continue the Soldiers' Angels mission of "May No Soldier Go Unloved." As the grand prize winner, she will receive $250,000, a set of household appliances, and other valuable items. Patton-Bader hopes to apply the winnings to her plans for a small ranch that will allow newly returned soldiers to relax with their families after deployments.
"I really am lucky to know so many heroes in my life," said Patton-Bader, who herself has two sons in the Army, one currently deployed to Iraq. "Whether they are the troops who serve our country or the amazing mothers here on this America's Favorite Mom program, I am honored to be in the presence of such inspirational people and also am humbled to know that America thinks the same of me."
Patton-Bader is also excited about the opportunities this platform gives her to help people learn more about America's military heroes and options for supporting them and their families. The attention she has received through the America's Favorite Mom events has already drawn a number of new volunteers who want to use their talents and connections to help support the troops.
In a nationwide online poll last March, Patton-Bader was voted "America's Most Inspirational Mom" after having been nominated by her eldest son for founding and leading Soldiers' Angels. On May 5, 2008 she appeared on the Today show as one of three selected finalists in the "Favorite Military Mom" category. A nationwide online poll was again conducted, and the results were announced on May 11, 2008 with Patton-Bader being named winner in both the "Favorite Military Mom" and "America's Favorite Mom" categories. More information is available at www.americasfavoritemom.com.
Soldiers' Angels is a grassroots 501(c)(3) non-profit comprised of around 200,000 volunteers in over twenty different teams and programs with unique and effective ways to support members of the U.S. military. Soldiers' Angels operates internationally to provide letters, care packages, and comfort items to the deployed, and support for their families at home. They also provide assistance to the wounded, continuing support for veterans, remembrances and comfort for families of the fallen, and immediate response to unique difficulties. For more information, see www.soldiersangels.org or call (615) 676-0239.
America's Favorite Mom was presented by NBC Television and Teleflora, America's leading source of hand-arranged floral bouquets, plants, and gift baskets. For more information, see www.americasfavoritemom.com.
"May no soldier go unloved, may no soldier walk alone, may no soldier be forgotten, until they all come home." ~ Patti Patton-Bader.
In addition to the many reasons they give for Webb's bill being the more desirable for the troops (and veterans) I'd add one they neglected - the last minute Republican alternative doesn't stand a snowball's chance in Baghdad.
I've been following this story...
What do these women have to do with Navy ships?
Happy Mothers Day to all military moms!
Over 750 billion soldiers per day are suffering brain injuries in Iraq. Twice that number try to kill themselves after returning to the states - EVERY HOUR!! You can't walk down a major city street in America today without having one of them hit you up for spare change at a red light (offering to clean your windshield with drool), while another lands on your car hood after jumping from the top of the nearest skyscraper.
However, they do have one remaining hope - Barack Obama can heal them (yes, even the dead ones) simply by the laying on of hands.
More here (including a test to see if you are brain damaged.)
...this disgusting story in two words:
The U.S. military has, since 2001, cremated some of the remains of American service members killed in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere at a Delaware facility that also cremates pets, a practice that ended yesterday when the Pentagon banned the arrangement."Lowest bidder".
The facility, located in an industrial park near Dover Air Force Base, has cremated about 200 service members, manager David A. Bose estimated last night. It uses separate crematories a few feet apart to cremate humans and animals, he added, insisting that there had "not been any people gone through the pet crematory."
Pentagon officials said they do not think that human remains and animal remains were ever commingled at the facility. "We have absolutely no evidence whatsoever at this point that any human remains were at all ever mistreated," Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said at a news conference hastily convened last night.
Regardless, the Pentagon will no longer permit crematories not located with funeral homes to handle the remains of U.S. troops, defense officials said.
Officials said they do not know the number of service members cremated at the Kent County facility, which is identified on a billboard as Friends Forever Pet Cremation Service.
Does anyone know if an American journalist has reported from Sadr City before?
If not, blogger Bill Ardolino is first.
Before I was a Soldier's Mom
I never tripped over a rucksack or knew the words to the Army song.
I didn't worry whether or not my child could shoot or had "zeroed up".
I never imagined saying, "Good job!" when my child told me he had jumped out of a perfectly good airplane... or when he qualified with a grenade launcher.
I could not have told you the difference between division, brigade, regiment, battalion, company, platoon or squad.
I cheered for Navy.
Before I was a Soldier's Mom
I never looked into a soldier's eyes and cried.
I didn't understand "HOOAH".
I never imagined I could be so gloriously happy over a simple "Hey, Ma."
Before I was a Soldier's Mom
I had complete control of my mind and my thoughts.
I slept all night.
I never sat up late staring at a computer screen or woke in the middle of the night just to check if the computer and cell phone were working.
Before I was a Soldier's Mom
I never knew that so few words could affect my life so deeply: Deployment. Bradley. Wounded. and I never knew the alphabet could rob me of breath: OIF. IED. RPG. WIA. KIA.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn't stop my child's hurt.
I didn't weep at the sound of "Taps", the National Anthem or "American Soldier".
I never held back a scream or had my knees go weak at an unexpected knock at the door.
Before I was a Soldier's Mom
I never had so many sisters! (and brothers) nor so many sons and daughters!
I never felt fear so completely.... and
I never felt such pride.
x-posted at Some Soldier's Mom
Meanwhile, another deployment begins. (bonus: a trip to the White House.)
Read this, too:
Yesterday someone called to say goodbye to my husband before he left, not knowing that he'd been bumped forward. And in the conversation, this person asked if my husband thinks that being in Iraq is worth it, if his job means anything, and if he thinks we should've gone there in the first place. How do you answer that question 1) politely and 2) succinctly? And then what do you do when that person says, "Well, I don't think it was the right idea in the first place"?Sarah was one of the first spouse milbloggers - she's been there and done that before.
There are two sets of paperwork sitting on my desk just now. One is a packet of documents formalizing an offer of post-naval employment. The other is a packet of documents that will end my active service. I can’t seem to make a start on either of them.I know the feeling.
The job of "highest ranking active duty milblogger" - with all the associated perks, will pass on. (Except for the reserved parking space near the front at all official functions.)
...from this story of Sadr's surrender:
"It is not the government who pressured the Sadrists into entering this agreement," said Ali al Adeeb, a leading member of the Dawa party. "It is the pressure from the people inside Sadr City and from their own people that will make them act more responsibly."The competition was tough, that was hard to nail down, so read the whole thing.
Previous 'money quote' post here.
Update: You really have to read that whole link - it's amazing good news, especially coming from McClatchy, the most virulent "anti-war" news group in America. But because it is McClatchy, there's at least a feeble attempt to downplay the significance of this story, which means that in addition to a "money quote" its got some "funny quotes":
It also would be a startling turnaround in fortunes for Maliki, who'd been widely criticized for picking a fight with Sadr's forces, first in the southern port city of Basra and then in Sadr City.An odd description, since the Iraqi Army actually won a hard fought battle in Basra. But according to McClatchy, they didn't - the Sadrists simply "ceded their areas":
But after initially resisting Maliki's offensive, the Sadrists ceded their areas, and the change in atmosphere has been palpable.Much in the same way the Japanese "ceded" Iwo Jima.
Inexplicably, this factual paragraph comes from the same story:
The Mahdi Army, and the Sadr movement in general, has been losing support in the past two months in the face of a government offensive intended to force the militia from its controlling positions in Basra and Sadr City.So maybe the "startling turnaround in fortunes for Maliki" bit is a fabrication inserted for journalistic "balance."
One of our co authors, Badger 6, is finally home from Iraq after a very long deployment.
What are ya'll still doing here?, Get over there and buy that man a drink.
WELCOME HOME SIR, AND THANK YOU FOR A JOB WELL DONE.
Since the Army was kind enough to send me an invitation to go back to Operation Iraqi Freedom, I decided to R.S.V.P. to it by writing a little Op-Ed piece about it for the San Francisco Chronicle.I guess meeting recruiting and retention goals isn't enough.
Another attempt on my part to get the early facts straight - before the spin machine hits overdrive. I find it amazing that Democrats could destroy any chance for a new GI Bill, then get 80-90 percent of the military/veteran vote (Note veterans - that's a BIG number) this fall for doing so - but it's a likely outcome.
The nation's Colleges, Universities, and trade schools stand to gain from this too. Can you imagine an influx of veterans into so many institutes of higher learning?
...From the Pentagon and a veteran who should be familiar to folks here. It's a video, sew know reeding rekwired.
'Cause I loves providing links to full videos available free online, here's Carrier. Thrill to the true life adventures of real kids who never learned to read good and now are forced to operate a Nuculer Aircraft Carrier as it travels the world. (It's a Tee Vee show - minimal reading required.)
Sometimes when you call, your partner just doesn't have the hand they were signaling.
The idea of giving the U.S. military more authority in areas of Afghanistan now under NATO command is "worth taking a look at," Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Friday.
"I think that this is a matter that is going to get looked at over probably some period of time," he said. "It will require consultation with our allies, particularly our partners in regional command south," referring to an area of southern Afghanistan that is currently under the command of a Canadian general and is due to switch to a Dutch commander before the end of this year.
Changing the command structure to give a U.S. general more control in the south would, in effect, mark a partial "re-Americanization" of the combat mission. That could be politically controversial, given U.S. interests in maintaining close ties with NATO in fighting terrorism.
Profiling a MilBlogger returns this week as our staff sat down with a fantastic female milblogger - Carla from Some Soldier’s Mom. Let’s see what she had to say shall we:
You Served: What led you to be a Military Blogger?
Some Soldier’s Mom: When my son was getting ready to deploy to Iraq in late 2004, I was surfing the web to find information on what he might experience and what parents’ go through and any useful information that I could use.
I found a number of military blogs (milblogs) by soldiers but nothing from a parent, so I started Some Soldier’s Mom (www.somesoldiersmom.blogspot.com) as a way to share what I thought was a unique and important experience — to let people know what it was like to have a child at war.
YS: Do you feel that being a female Military Bloggers adds a unique perspective to your blog? If yes, how so?
SSM: Definitely yes. While I can be strident in my views about the war on terror and the necessity of our Country’s mission in Iraq, I am a mother first. It is a unique role — we experience emotions and have a perspective different from the soldiers (who can’t understand why we worry or cry so much) and wives (who willingly took on the role of military wife and has a daily relationship with their soldier).
I have written that a parent sending their son or daughter to war is one of the most counter-intuitive experiences a person can ever have: you spend 18 (or 19, 20… ) years protecting them and making sure that they are never too hot or too cold, that they are protected from biting bugs and making sure they are not anywhere that people might be shooting at them. Then you are called upon to be brave and [somewhat] cheerful as you send your child off to a place where it is always too hot or too cold, there are bugs the size of small dogs and people are shooting at them and trying to blow them up.
I also feel that female milbloggers bring a view not driven by the battlefield experience but by the support role expected of families back home. I have never been to war, but I have sent a child to war.
I don't want to sound like an ad, a public service ad on TV, but the fact is if you can read, you can walk into a job later on. If you don't, then you've got, the Army, Iraq, I don't know, something like that. It's, it's not as bright. So, that's my little commercial for that.Does reading Stephen King count as "reading"?
More writing here:
...on Monday, NewsBusters reported King's disgraceful comments -- made in front of a group of high school students at the Library of Congress in April -- about people who can't read having few options other than to enlist in the Army.A couple observations from the video:
This surprisingly prompted King to post a blurb at his website encouraging readers to send a message to me stating, "Hi, Noel—Stephen King says to shut up and I agree."
Now, the AP has expressed its view of this squabble...
1. Stephen King looks a lot like Janet Reno.
2. The kids who were "listening" to him looked bored as hell.
Footnote for younger readers: Stephen King used to be a famous writer and had many top selling books in the pre-internet era. Janet Reno was Attorney General under Bill Clinton.
Update - and apologies to Stephen King fans, I should have also explained this originally: "In the Federal Government of the United States, the Attorney General is a member of the Cabinet and as head of the Department of Justice is the top law enforcement officer and lawyer for the government." It is not a military rank.
Please stop sending me "wut iz terny genrul, u fashist pig?" emails.
The 28 Percenters
A March survey from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press discovered that just 28 percent of Americans knew the approximate number of U.S. deaths in the war....as it probably will again and again. I'm not even sure "reappears" is the proper term. Did it ever go away? It's one of the many urban legends of the Iraq war, most of which fit on bumper stickers and few of which ever tend to go away. This one has an added element that might enhance its longevity - it indicates Americans are ignorant, and few reporters can pass on an opportunity to present a story that indicates Americans are ignorant.
But they aren't - or at least aren't as ignorant as some reporters would like you to believe. The Pew research was poorly presented - if not poorly done. The most accurate statement that can be made regarding the results of the poll is that at the time, no more than 63% of Americans knew the approximate number of U.S. deaths in the war:
The number 4,000 is the correct answer. There's no arguing that point. Nor would I contend that Americans are really paying attention to the Iraq war - most who could tell you the exact body count probably couldn't tell you anything else, even the name of one of the fallen. (Office watercooler experiment: next time you hear someone cite the death toll in Iraq, ask them to name one of the 4,000 and the circumstances of their death. Be polite. If they fail, provide a couple [here's one for a start - here's another] - see how long they're willing to listen.)And, in fact (and in exact opposite of what Pew claimed) twice as many Americans over-estimated the number than under-estimated.
It's likely that most who got the wrong answers - and even some who got the right one - did so as a result of a wild guess. But it's also likely that many who answered the question were aware that the number was "three thousand and something" and answered accordingly ("3,000"). While not sure of the exact number they know a bit more about the situation than Pew (and others) would like to give them credit for - given that "3,000" was the most common response I find this a very likely hypothesis.
But many of those who answered "3,000" might have been even more aware of Iraq casualties than the Pew researchers themselves. While 4,000 US troops have died in Iraq, the actual number who have been killed in combat is 3,261. But if they answered based on this figure they didn't read the question in the same way the pollsters wrote it - so shame on them. (I'm not arguing that this is a potentially large percentage - obviously if only 28% can identify the number of American troops who've died in Iraq, few could tell how many died from combat in Iraq.)
Combine the percentage of Americans who chose "3,000" (some of whom were "right") and the percentage who chose "4,000" (some of whom guessed) in Pew's survey and you have 63% - a number that probably at best serves as an "upper bound" to the percentage of Americans who know anything at all about the Iraq war.
Which leaves us with the numbers of folks who were completely out to lunch: "11% said there have been 2,000 deaths. Just under a quarter (23%) said the number of fatalities is closer to 5,000. "But none of that will fit on a bumper sticker, and few reporters will ever bother to fact check (or even offer brief critical examination of) the 28% claim. I find that particularly ironic in that they are usually blamed for the pitiably low numbers - in spite of the fact that death tolls are the only thing many news organizations ever report from Iraq.
I would expect to see 10% on either fringe of the bell curve, so I find that final figure the most curious of all. What could possibly explain why twice as many Americans significantly over estimate the numbers than under estimate?
But again, that's not going to stop them from claiming that Americans are ignorant. I suppose if you believe them then they might be right.
You have a son in Afghanistan. You come home from work. The light is blinking on the answering machine. You press the button and THIS is what you hear.
The story HERE
I would need some serious medication after that one!
Via SSGT Brandon H. Varn email:
Hi Everyone,NZ Bear says
My mom Patti Patton Bader founder of Soldiers Angels is up for consideration for NBC's America's Favorite Military Mom on Monday (May 5th). You can help her, Soldiers Angels, and me, by voting for her at http://www.nbc.com/Americas_Favorite_Mom/ - You can only vote Monday May 5th from 9 AM to 9 PM Eastern ST but you can vote up to 10 times (on the 5th) for each valid email address you have. If she wins Soldiers Angels will get more exposure on a National T.V. show on May 11. This exposure helps us show our troops in a real way that they are strongly supported by us at home, and also helps to provide awareness and needed donations so that we can continue to meet the needs of our heroes.
Also, if you get a chance, my mom will be on NBC's The Today Show during the 9 A.M. hour today. As you all know Soldiers Angels is a wonderful organization of volunteers that does a lot of great support for all the men and women of the military, aids our troops wherever we raise the Stars and Stripes, helps wounded heroes here and abroad, and assists military families in times of need. Please help us by voting for my mom Monday and maybe passing on this email to a few of your friends. It's for a good cause and only takes a moment. Here's the link again. http://www.nbc.com/Americas_Favorite_Mom/
Thank you and God Bless everyone who helps our troops,
SSGT Brandon H. Varn
Patti Patton-Bader, founder of Soldiers’ Angels , is one of the fifteen semi-finalists in NBC’s “America’s Favorite Mom” contest. There are five categories, and she is nominated with two other mom's in the "military mom's" category. The winner receives a $250,000 cash prize, and Patti has said she’d like to use the money to build a ranch for soldiers and their families to vacation at with assistance from Angel families.
Patti will be featured the morning of Monday May 5th on NBC’s Today Show, and all day Monday (but ONLY Monday) folks will have the opportunity to vote at http://www.nbc.com/Americas_Favorite_Mom/ in her category. All the mom's are deserving, so whether you choose to vote for Patti or not, check it out!
Forts, fire rafts, cannon left and right. And a great prize at the end.
Fortes Fortuna adiuvat. Fortune favors the brave.
Proved 146 years ago, as set out here.
I've been trying to ignore this topic...
Words matter, and in the global war on terror we are losing the battle of words, in a self-inflicted defeat. The consequences could not be more profound....as it seemed mostly pointless to me.
Recent government policy memoranda, circulating through the national counter-terrorism and diplomatic community, establishes a new "speech code" for the lexicon in the war on terror, as reported by the Associated Press and now available in the public domain .
Then while working another project I stumbled across this poignant reminder of why I was wrong.
In a world (yes - read in that movie voiceover guy voice) where every other movie released is an American military bashing propaganda piece (Stop Loss, Valley of Elah, Lions for Lambs, Rendition, ad nauseum...) it's a pleasure to find one like Iron Man that offers exactly what folks who've avoided those other films in droves have been waiting for. And it's a shame to see a review that implies it's not. In short, the reviewer couldn't be more wrong - and I hope he'll actually go see the film and write another one based on that.
I went to the theater (on Friday night) expecting to see a bit of anti-American moralizing - per a few reviews I’d read previously. I was hoping it would be minimal. I was surprised (as the author of the linked review might be if he ever actually sees it) to find it was non-existent.
Enthusiastic thumbs up from me, the wife, two daughters (17 and 20) one boyfriend (20) and one son (22). Go see Iron Man.
...from Bill Ardolino's report from Baghdad:
“We have now taken over an area, and because the first of the Surge units left, it’s twice the size it was before, and I have less than half the people, and it’s still working, so far,” said Collier. “And that is in good measure because of the quality of Iraqi Security Forces. I was here two years ago and I’ve seen a noticeable improvement, and it’s really the hope that this country has, that they’re able to do things on their own. And they are -- they’re doing quite a bit on their own.”Since September that's been the valid question re: the surge - can it's effects outlive it? This one example doesn't offer the definitive answer, but it is a positive sign. (One of many, for that matter.)
The new GI Bill currently floating around congress could be the most significant bit of legislation for veterans in decades. It really is that good. (How good? Sec Gates is worried it will hurt retention - that's all the endorsement I need.)
Or it could be a political ploy that will never see the light of day.
It's also one of those stories that will probably get complicated. (But this is one of those brief moments before it does.)
From the DoD today:
Questionnaire for Security Clearances Revised
The Department of Defense, Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) have approved revisions to question 21 on the Questionnaire for National Security Positions, Standard Form (SF) 86, regarding mental and emotional health counseling."Our people deserve the best mental health care we can provide without the fear of hurting their career in the long run," said Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen. "It's time we made everyone in uniform aware that the act of reaching out for help is one of the most courageous acts -- and one of the first steps -- to reclaiming your career and future. All leaders must set an example by seeking help themselves and encouraging others to do so. Getting this question changed is a terrific first step."Per direction of the secretary of defense, DoD components will immediately distribute the revised question 21 language for awareness and use by all DoD personnel completing the security clearance form.Until a new SF86 is published by the OPM later this summer, the OMB has agreed to allow DoD members to use the revised version of question 21 with the current SF86.
Soldiers' Angels Founder to Appear On NBC Today Show
Soldiers' Angels founder Patti Patton Bader will appear on NBC's Today show on May 5, during the nine o'clock hour. She has been selected as a semi-finalist in NBC/Teleflora's America's Favorite Mom contest. Votes based on her appearance on the show with two other military moms will determine whether she moves on to the final round.
On Mother's Day (May 11), NBC will broadcast a prime-time special featuring the crowning of "America's Favorite Mom," the results of which will be determined by how many votes are received from May 5 to May 9. Each mother can only receive votes during the exact day she appears on the Today show, and the mothers with the five highest vote totals will move on to the prime-time special.
Patton Bader was selected as a semi-finalist after being voted "America's Most Inspirational Mom" in March. Her son, Staff Sergeant Brandon Varn, nominated her for starting a non-profit organization to support soldiers and their families. "My mom is one of the most amazing women in the world," he wrote. "She started an organization called Soldiers' Angels when I was deployed to Iraq. The organization is there to ensure, 'May no soldier go unloved.' It is the largest non-profit independent military support organization that has started since the onset of the 'War on Terrorism.' She puts her whole self into helping Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, and Marines every day," says Varn. Patton Bader's other son, Specialist Bretton Varn, is currently deployed to Iraq and will appear with her via satellite on Today.
Prizes for the five winning mothers include $25,000 to $250,000 in cash, and a number of free services and products. But in keeping with her efforts to support the troops, Patton Bader wants America's soldiers to be the big winners. "I plan on using everything to help heroes. Everything," she says, referring to the wide variety of prizes she could receive if she is lucky enough to win . "It is a true honor to stand with these fourteen outstanding moms," she adds.
Soldiers' Angels encourages all Americans to visit www.nbc.com/Americas_Favorite_Mom to vote for their favorite mom, and to watch the Today show the week of May 5-9 and the America's Favorite Mom show on Mother's Day, May 11, to celebrate these remarkable mothers
Soldiers' Angels has 570 service members waiting to be adopted. One service member waiting for adoption is too many. Let's give Patti the best Mothers Day gift and get these soldiers adopted!
Pasadena, CA., May 1, 2008- As more American service members deploy, or redeploy with the Global War on Terror, Soldiers' Angels mission becomes even more critical. Soldiers' Angels has sent over 200,000 packages and countless letters to our troops since it began in 2003. Patti Patton-Bader was inspired to found Soldier's Angels when her son wrote home from Iraq, expressing his concern that some soldiers did not receive any mail or support from home. Within a few short months Soldiers' Angels had grown from a mother writing a few extra letters, to an Internet Community with two hundred thousand angels worldwide.
"It is only through the collective effort of people who believe and stand for freedom that we can continue to help these young heroes who valiantly stand for us", says Bader.
Soldiers' Angels has grown and expanded to include several programs that support American service members and their families The programs include: letters, care packages, and support to troops overseas; first responder packs; laptop computers to wounded troops hospitalized or receiving treatment at military hospitals; armored blankets for military ambulances; items shipped to overseas soldiers to give to children in war zones; memorial trees for the families of heroes who have been killed while serving; and emergency airfare for service members and their families who would otherwise not qualify or cannot afford the cost of a flight.
Soldiers' Angels has never let our troops down, but now, more than ever, we need help from Americans like you. To support our troops, we need your help. Will you adopt a soldier? Will you write letters? Soldiers' Angels has many teams in many areas to fulfill our mission statement. If you don't have the time to adopt or join a specialized team, how about making a much needed donation? Every cent raised goes straight into filling the service members needs. We need you. American heroes need you. Please help, visit www.soldiersangels.org to sign up or make a donation.
Soldiers' Angels is an all volunteer non-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to support the brave men and women deployed away from family and friends in support of the War on Terror in Iraq, Afghanistan and wherever they raise the flag of the United States of America.
Thanks for the updates Shelle
Via Gina's email:
Dear PinUps For Vets supporters,
Just wanted to give you a quick update! A few weeks ago I participated in the 3rd annual Salute to Veterans parade in Riverside, CA. I had a great time riding on a WWII military vehicle and doing some fundraising for the project. I thought it would be fun for you to see how I do the fundraising, so I created a short video. This is grass-roots fundraising at its finest!!!!
Check it out:
I posted some more shots from the parade on "In the Field" link of the website.
Last week I shot an interview about the project for local Fox news, which is slated to air closer to Memorial Day. I will send out an email to let everyone know when to tune in and will try to post the clip on youtube!
Hope everyone is doing well! I will keep you posted! ;)