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October 31, 2008
John, look what the kids are doing
Just a little MilBlog love story to get everyone comfortable with DADT going away soon ..... not that there is anything wrong with that.
A long time ago a little guy and his big buddy got together and ...... started spreading the word about a mission the Navy could resume to help out the Army and Marines more directly. Lo and behold, a beautiful child was born with the help of many who did the real difficult technical and specialist work.
Questions led to conversations that led to questions from politicians that led to answers by the Potomac Flotilla that led to money that led to programs that led to ... well you know the rest of the story. Check into one of the lesser known - and in all seriousness something MilBlogs had a not-insignificant part in - that resulted in and from a Navy perspective, represented a very welcome return to basics.
October 30, 2008
USS Michael Monsoor
Some of the words in this press release might be foreign to any number of politicians...
SECNAV Names New Zumwalt-Class Destroyer USS Michael Monsoor
Secretary of the Navy, Donald C. Winter announced last night at a Navy SEAL Warrior Fund Benefit Gala at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City, the name of the newest Zumwalt-class Destroyer will be USS Michael Monsoor. Designated as DDG-1001, the name honors Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Monsoor, a Navy SEAL who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in Ramadi, Iraq, on Sept. 29, 2006.
Winter discussed the qualities, values, and dedication to duty that Navy SEAL's exemplify, including the extraordinary acts of Michael Monsoor.
"Tonight I would like to single out one of those heroes from the community of Navy SEAL's," Winter said. "Those who served with Michael Monsoor will remember him always as a consummate professional who faced terrorist enemies with aplomb and stoicism."
"The full extent of Michael's courage, gallantry, and self-less heroism were revealed on the 29th of September, in Ramadi. When his team was surprised by an enemy grenade, Michael could have escaped and saved himself," Winter said. "But he chose a different path, a path of honor that embodies the way of a Navy SEAL. For having chosen that path, Petty Officer Michael Monsoor joined the ranks of those who have earned our nation's highest distinction, the Medal of Honor."
Winter concluded that Michael Monsoor's heroism and self sacrifice for his teammates and his nation epitomize the Navy's core values, and will forever provide prideful admiration for our sailors.
"Michael Monsoor's name will now be linked with one of our nation's most visible examples of military power, a U.S. Navy warship," Winter said. "His legacy will inspire the hearts of future Sailors who serve on the ship that bears his name."
The USS Michael Monsoor will be a multi-mission surface combatant tailored for advanced land attack and littoral dominance. The ship's mission is to provide credible, independent forward presence and deterrence and to operate as an integral part of naval, joint or combined maritime forces.
The USS Michael Monsoor will be the 2nd Zumwalt-class destroyer. She will be 600 feet in length, have a beam of 80.7 feet, and displace approximately 15,000 tons. Michael Monsoor will have a crew size of 148 officers and sailors, he will make speed in excess of 30 knots.
Additional information about Monsoor and Winter is available online at
October 28, 2008
Re: Not Again?
But remember the discrepency that could not be immediately explained? Looks like it's going to be immediately ignored.
Oh, NO! Not Again??
Here's the NYT headline
U.S. Airstrike Kills 20 People in Pakistan
The story lead after the jump...
PESHAWAR, Pakistan — An American drone aircraft hit a militant compound in South Waziristan on Sunday night, killing 20 people, including two important local Taliban commanders known for their attacks against American soldiers in Afghanistan, a senior government official and a local resident said Monday.
One of the dead commanders, Eida Khan, was wanted by the Americans for his cross-border attacks from bases in Waziristan, the government official said. The other commander, Wahweed Ullah, worked with Arabs who were part of Al Qaeda, the local resident said.
Mr. Ullah, in his late 20s, was known as an ideologically committed fighter who specialized in attacks against Americans in Afghanistan, the resident said.
Not a single accusation that "innocent civilians" were killed... no "discrepancy" of "we said" "they said". Read the whole story HERE
It's about time.
Expedition: North America
Some of you may have met Paul at the MilBlog Conference last year. Paul is a disabled veteran, and a fantastic guy. A fantastic guy with a goal.
I am a disabled veteran with spinal cord trauma between C5 and C6 in my neck. Some doctors call me, “a higher functioning quadriplegic,” some call me, “a paraplegic with increased deficits,” and still others call me, “a tetraplegic.” Regardless of which term is used I am still permanently confined to an electric wheelchair.
Even though I am paralyzed I find myself on the cusp of a great adventure.
My goal is to travel America alone for a little over a year… actually closer to 18 months… exploring and visiting the people that I have spent virtually my entire life, in one way or another, defending, or in service to.
There will also be a section for real-time GPS coordinates that will allow my readers to see where I’m at, in Google Maps, at any given moment. I’d also like to encourage you to read through my blog and give me any feedback and/or ideas that you may have. Please, do not hesitate to add comments.
While I have many personal reasons for making this trip. The biggest and most important things that I want to impart upon my sponsors and readers is this:
This expedition is not about left or right politics, or pro or anti war views. This trip is primarily about setting the bar for other veterans with disabilities. It’s a ‘proof of concept’ that adventure is not out of reach just because someone has lost their sight, or a limb, or is paralyzed. That there are still opportunities to be had in life, if you’re just willing to reach out and Seize Adventure.
I love Paul's sense of humor, too.
Pay a visit to Paul's blog (and check in regularly). I have no doubt that Paul will reach his goal, have a lot of fun in the process and become an inspiration to scores of people with disabilities, military and non-military alike.
Meet Ray Buckley
Did New Hampshire Democrat Party Chairman Ray Buckley make a false claim of being a Vietnam veteran to a Gold Star mom? Or is it all just a "misunderstanding"?
October 27, 2008
"The discrepancy could not immediately be explained"
That headline is an interesting observation from within this Associated Press report:
The Syrian government statement said eight people were killed, including a man and his four children and a woman. However, local officials said seven men were killed and two other people were wounded, including a woman among the injured.
Families buried loved ones Monday who they said were killed during the attack. During the funerals, angry residents shouted anti-American slogans and carried banners reading: "Down with Bush and the American enemy."
An Associated Press journalist at the funerals in the village's cemetery saw the bodies of seven men -- none of them children. The discrepancy could not immediately be explained.
Gosh, I know I'm sure stumped. Anybody got any ideas?
And if this story stays "hot" will that eyewitness detail be forgotten?
Me in Pajamas:
A landslide victory for McCain.
The last great sea battle.
October 23, 2008
John Donovan at Castle Argghhh! reminds us that today is the 25th Anniversary of the attack on the Marine Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon.
Joe Biden warned those at a Seattle fund raiser last Sunday about an “international crisis” a "generated crisis" that will test Barack Obama’s Presidency should he be elected. “I can give you at least four or five scenarios from where it might originate".
Over the last 72 hours there has been a strange melange of cryptic messages leaked from world political leaders about what could be in store for America over the next few months.
These predictions of impending doom come from England, France, Australia and the United States.
Does Joe know something he's not telling us?
My scenerios here.
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair.
The former parade ground for the Iraqi military still has the famous "Crossed Swords" at both ends. If you are in Baghdad, you simply must have your picture taken there. I am no different, so here it is.
What struck me when I saw the one arm in disrepair was the memory of the words from "Ozymandias" by Shelly. "Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair." Yes, do so. Would that every Kim Il Sung, Bashir Asad and Fidel Castro be made to look at this. And despair.
Nobody marches to salute Saddam. Nobody maintains the "glory" of his works. Dead by the ruling of the judiciary in a representative government that has washed away the power, the privilege and position of his party. His sons wiped away like any other criminal scum who go down shooting. His enemies make a tourist stop of his former place of follower-worship.
Despair, ye "mighty". Despair.
Cross Posted here.
October 21, 2008
A Soldier Needs Some Support & Encouragement (Updated)
Over at Parents Zone, Household6 has posted the story of 20 year old PFC Hunter Levine who was wounded in May while conducting combat operations in East Baghdad. He received a very serious injury to his face, resulting in the loss of his entire bone structure, mouth, nose, and vision.
His 1SG reports that Hunter is currently receiving treatment at a VA hospital but is suffering a bout of severe depression and could use some support... care packages, cards & letters.
Read the story and contact Tammy of you'd like to help!
The outpouring for this wounded soldier has been amazing... and thanks to B5 and Michelle Malkin, it's gone viral... But don't let that dissuade you from going over and seeing how you can help this fine young soldier and offer him some encouragement... and remind him that he is not -- and will not be -- forgotten.
October 20, 2008
Winston Churchill once had an idea about some costumes.
With a nautical theme.
The Times of London sez "Chuck Hagel, the Republican senator who has been tipped as defence secretary", and notes that
In last week’s debate against John McCain, his Republican opponent, Obama indicated that he would adopt a bipartisan approach to government, citing the Republican senator Richard Lugar, who worked with him on a bill to prevent nuclear weapons proliferation, and General Jim Jones, the former Nato commander, as figures he admired.
“Those are the people, Democrat and Republican, who have shaped my ideas and who will be surrounding me in the White House,” Obama said.
Apparently, however, some bald guy has attacked Obama
Republicans hope the wall-to-wall coverage of the attack by the baldheaded Sam “Joe the plumber” Wurzelbacher on Obama’s plans to increase taxes for those earning more than $250,000 a year has halted the Democrat’s momentum.
But any votes he might have lost could be offset:
Althea Patterson, 40, an African-American insurance worker from Roanoke, said: “I’ve got friends who went out and got their criminal records expunged so they could vote for Obama.” Former felons are barred from voting without a judge’s dispensation
And for the Pizza Resistance
While Colin L. Powell hasn’t decided whom to endorse — he says he’s friends with all the candidates — he had words of praise for Barack Obama and his recent speech on race.
Mr. Powell, the nation’s first black secretary of state, told “Good Morning America” host Diane Sawyer Thursday that he “admired” the way Mr. Obama addressed the contentious sermons of his pastor, Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright, and agreed with much of what Mr. Obama said.
“I thought that Senator Obama handled the issue well,” Mr. Powell said. “He didn’t abandon the minister that brought him closer to his faith, but at the same time he deplored the kinds of statements that the Reverend Wright had made.”
Whoops - my bad, that's from last April, before Obama dumped Wright.
Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell endorsed Senator Barack Obama for president on Sunday morning as a candidate who was reaching out in a “more diverse and inclusive way across our society” and offering a “calm, patient, intellectual, steady approach” to the nation’s problems.
He based his decision on three key Democratic Party talking points. One:
Mr. Powell told reporters after the taping of “Meet the Press” that he had been disturbed in recent weeks by the negative tone of Mr. McCain’s campaign, particularly its focus on Mr. Obama’s passing relationship with William Ayers, a 1960s radical and founder of the Weather Underground.Two
Mr. Powell, who was secretary of state in the first term of President Bush, also said that he was concerned about Mr. McCain’s selection of Ms. Palin as his running mate and had come to the conclusion that she was the wrong choice.
“She’s a very distinguished woman, and she’s to be admired, but at the same time, now that we have had a chance to watch her for some seven weeks, I don’t believe she’s ready to be president of the United States, which is the job of the vice president,” Mr. Powell said during the taping.
The problem, he said, was that the Republican Party had moved further to the right “than I would like to see it,” and that over the last several weeks the approach of the party and Mr. McCain “has become narrower and narrower.”
That will come as quite a surprise to those conservatives who've publicly abandoned McCain for exactly the opposite reason over the past several weeks.
But would he serve?
Although he told Mr. Brokaw that he would not campaign for Mr. Obama in the final two weeks of the race, he did not rule out accepting an appointment in an Obama administration, whether it were a formal position or a more advisory role.
When Mr. Brokaw asked if Mr. Powell would be interested in perhaps serving as an ambassador at large in Africa or taking on the task of resolving the conflict between Israelis and Palestinianas, Mr. Powell replied: “I served 40 years in government and I’m not looking forward to a position or an assignment. Of course, I have always said if a president asks you to do something, you have to consider it.”
I'm not sure why Brokaw thought Africa was a good place for Powell, but if Obama is elected and places any Republicans in key positions it won't be the first time a President has reached across the aisle
He [Norm Mineta] was appointed United States Secretary of Transportation by President George W. Bush in 2001, a post he was originally offered eight years previously by Bill Clinton. He is the only Democrat to have served in Bush's cabinet and also the first Secretary of Transportation to have previously served in a cabinet position. He became the first Asian American to hold the position, and only the fourth person to be a member of Cabinet under two Presidents from different political parties (after Edwin M. Stanton [Democrat appointed Secretary of War by President Lincoln], Henry L. Stimson [Republican Secretary of War under Roosevelt] , and James R. Schlesinger [Republican, first Secretary of Energy under Jimmy Carter]).
Though not a cabinet position, Presidet Bush also kept Democrat George J. "slam dunk" Tenet on as CIA director
when he took office in 2001.
October 19, 2008
On the SOFA
Iraq has secured the right to prosecute US soldiers and civilians for crimes committed outside their bases and when off duty, in the latest draft of a security pact that will set the terms of their deployment beyond this year.
The draft stipulates that the United States will have the primary right to exercise jurisdiction over its soldiers and civilians if they commit a crime inside their facilities or when on missions, according to a copy obtained by AFP.
Please bear in mind that this is a crucial point:
The decision is seen as a hard-won concession for Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki who has taken a tough stand on protecting his country's sovereignty in the pact.
So a victory for Maliki, whose stock as a strong leader for Iraq will rise considerably in the eyes of his countrymen. This is a good thing
And for those fine Americans who are outraged, outraged I tell you, at the thought of potential injustice perpetrated on American troops, please let me assure you that in Iraq U.S. troops are always either
1. On their base/"facilities"
2. On a mission
There will come a day when that is not so - when the troops can wander freely through the market when off duty. When that day does come - as it has in Germany, Japan, and Korea - then they must obey the laws of the host nation. That's one of many issues that a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) defines, and we have them with all countries that host American troops - except for those with whom we are at war or wherein we are acting in some other mandated role (UN peacekeeping operations, or Iraq right now for example).
So it's also nice to see confirmation by SOFA that we aren't at war in Iraq - though I suppose those who've promised to "end" "the war" might be disappointed in that if word gets out. They could have fun with the U.S. Army Counterinsurgency Handbook description of a SOFA, however: "an agreement which defines the legal position of a visiting military force deployed in the territory of a friendly state". Pledging to "end the Army's visit to the friendly nation of Iraq" might not have the appeal of pledging to "end the war" but if not completely accurate it is at least more so (and soon more legal) than the current construct. (Sneer if you wish, but we won the war in Iraq a year ago, and the chance of another breaking out has diminished since then - but that's another discussion...)
Those same folks might be unhappy with this detail too:
If the agreement is signed by the two sides and approved by the Iraqi parliament, it will become effective from January 1 and last for three years, during which a phased withdrawal of US forces is outlined.
US combat forces will withdraw from Iraqi towns and villages by June 2009 and pull out of Iraq completely by December 2011, the document says.
"By this time the Iraqi forces will take over all the security responsibility in the country. After June 2009, US forces will stay in the bases outside the villages and cities," the document says.
That "complete" draw down is much more aggressive than the one proposed by Senator Barack Obama, who has pledged
to "end" "the war" but leave the "non-combat"(???) troops in-country:
Military experts believe we can safely redeploy combat brigades from Iraq at a pace of 1 to 2 brigades a month that would remove them in 16 months. That would be the summer of 2010 – more than 7 years after the war began.
Under the Obama-Biden plan, a residual force will remain in Iraq and in the region to conduct targeted counter-terrorism missions against al Qaeda in Iraq and to protect American diplomatic and civilian personnel. They will not build permanent bases in Iraq, but will continue efforts to train and support the Iraqi security forces as long as Iraqi leaders move toward political reconciliation and away from sectarianism.
A few other comments on the document described in the AFP story: virtually everything mentioned is cause for concern. However, assuming the final document is as described (and that's not necessarily a valid assumption) it still must be approved by the Iraqi Parliament, so it's far from a done deal.
Most of my concern is due to the abbreviated descriptions provided in the story. In addition to "complete" (???) draw down, for instance, what exactly does this mean: "Iraq will also be in control of its air space once the agreement comes into effect." I can offer five different definitions of "in control of its air space" off the top of my head. At least one of those (no US Forces performing actual air traffic control) scares the living Shiite out of me (though maybe they've advanced and expanded more than I know). Other possible interpretations (UAV flight approval) raise other concerns. Again, that's one example of many, the AFP report does not provide anywhere near the fidelity required for cogent analysis or additional comment, might be inaccurate, and is assuredly incomplete. Other than that, no problem.
But if I wasn't clear before, here's a two-sentence summary: a SOFA is a legal framework about which - if it is agreed to and passed - lawyers can argue endlessly when the time comes to enforce any specific provision. The brief description in the AFP story is hardly worth commenting on, but I like the part where we have a Status of Forces Agreement since we don't bother with such niceties in countries where we are at war.
And the next President will choose whom....?
To fill a whole bunch of positions.
October 17, 2008
We have successfully completed two liveblogs (here and here), and I am thinking about liveblogging election night. I've three questions for ya'll:
1. Would you be interested?
2. Bloggers (Mil and otherwise): who among you would like to participate as a panelist?
3. Is this a good topic, or is there something else we should/could cover?
Post your answers here.
...for calling western Pennsylvania 'racist'.
That was fast. Beyond a brief mention that he "could kill a puppy on live TV and still get reelected" during the debate liveblogging, I didn't even have a chance to note the comments before the apology.
If it was an apology. This is CNN's quote:
While we cannot deny that race is a factor in this election, I believe we've been able to look beyond race these past few months, and that voters today are concerned with the policy differences of our two candidates and their vision for the future of our great country.
To me that sounds more like he's apologizing for Pennsylvanians being racist
, but I don't know if he actually said something like "I'm sorry I called my fellow Pennsylvanians racist - they aren't" because as of this writing I can't find the actual statement on his web page
The latest press release there is dated October 8th and headlined "Murtha Receives ‘A’ Legislative Score from Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America". (I wrote about that scorecard here.)
Perhaps some time soon he'll apologize to the Marines he accused of cold blooded murder. Or not.
October 15, 2008
What is Russian for "More Cowbell?"
I wouldn't mind having a little bit of this Russian medicine here in the USA for the Army of Northern Virginia and the Potomac Flotilla.
Serdyukov said the number of generals will be cut to 900 from the current 1,100 by phasing them into retirement.
He said the armed forces will abolish the balky Soviet-era structure, disbanding divisions and regiments and forming brigades instead. The number of army units will be reduced from 1,890 to 172, Serdyukov said.
The number of Air Force units will be cut from 340 to 180 and the number in the navy will be cut from 240 to 123, he said.
The Defense Ministry will cut its Moscow headquarters' work force by 60 percent, to 8,500; the number of military academies will drop from 65 to just 10, he said.
At the same time, the military will boost the number of junior officers, such as lieutenants, by 10,000 to 60,000. Officials and military analysts long have pointed that the military is facing a shortage of junior officers because of low pay and meager conditions.
With about as many Admirals as ships - I know our Navy is too top heavy - and we are running out of reserved parking spaces.
I also know that at smarter, leaner, and more professional Russia makes for a more "interesting" future.
They better hurry up though - I think we are running out of Russians anyway.
Join Forces with milbloggers for the Debate
Milbloggers live blog the debate again tonight at Chuck's. We had a good time last time - in spite of the fact that the debate itself was far from "fun".
The best thing about the live blog there - you can join in and chat right along with us. And together we can gauge the success of this mission:
Bob Schieffer, host of 3rd presidential debate, will seek specifics
“By now we’ve all heard their talking points,” he said. “We’ve heard the general outlines of what they are talking about. The time has come to be a little more specific.
...and whether Bob Schieffer cares about specifics of the same things average Americans do.
It's a free for all - so anything could happen. Chuck says the "pregame will start at 2000 eastern". See you there.
Stoned Afghan Troops Take on the Taliban
Interesting embedded video on VBS.TV of the ANA getting high on hash before fighting the Taliban. It's not as if drug abuse during combat is anything new, but I've never seen it with a British commentator and people sweating their arses off in body armor.
October 14, 2008
Feeling the Draft
Line up and sign up, ladies:
But the two presidential candidates disagree on a key foundation of any future draft: Mr. Obama supports a requirement for both men and women to register with the Selective Service, while Mr. McCain doesn't think women should have to register.
More from Senator Obama:
"There was a time when African-Americans weren't allowed to serve in combat," Mr. Obama said. "And yet, when they did, not only did they perform brilliantly, but what also happened is they helped to change America, and they helped to underscore that we're equal.
"And I think that if women are registered for service -- not necessarily in combat roles, and I don't agree with the draft -- I think it will help to send a message to my two daughters that they've got obligations to this great country as well as boys do."
I applaud his use of the words "if", "not necessarily", and "I don't agree". That will earn him a mandate like no other in history.
October 12, 2008
Light the candles
You'll need a bunch of candles because somebody's having a birthday!
Did you know the first ship was named Alfred?
Remember the Attack On The USS Cole (DDG-67)
Eight years ago today, the attack On The USS Cole (DDG-67) cost 17 American sailors their lives.
October 09, 2008
Military Moms on the Radio
TechMama, Liberal Army Wife (and Milmom) and me... It may be too much for some -- all of us on at once!! Lordy, Lordy!
But tune in to listen to us chat about current issues... We promise it won't be dull!
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/spousebuzz/2008/10/10/Parents-Zone 2100 hours Eastern (9PM if you're bad at math or the 24 hr clock)
You can call in (646) 478-5665.
IAVA ranks the Senate on "troop support"
The non partisan veterans group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) has ranked members of the House and Senate based on their votes on troop support issues. Like several other milbloggers, I was notified of this via email from Phil Carter, a founding member of the non partisan group who is now serving as the Obama campaign's Veterans Director.
They did that back in 2006, too. Tabulated scores for the Senate can be found below (click continue reading...)
IAVA doesn't actually reveal the political Party affiliation of the various Senators on their web page (because the group is non-partisan), so you have to search for Senators by name or State to discover whether yours is a good troop supporter like Harry Reid or a big phony like John McCain. Fortunately for us, in 2006 Bob Geiger took the time to compile the data above. He says:
...careful scrutiny by the Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) shows that by a ludicrous margin, it is Senate Democrats, not Republicans, who truly support active troops, Veterans and military families.
Good for Bob! Without his detective work we might never have known the truth!
Although he refrained from partisanly pointing out that all Senate Democrats were better than all Senate Republicans, Paul Rieckhoff, Executive Director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America first announced the 2006 results on the non partisan Huffington Post Blog:
This should be a wake-up call for every American who thinks Congress is doing all it can for our troops. I urge you to check your legislators' scores, and then demand accountability from anyone receiving less than an "A" grade.
Now, before you all start pestering Senator Obama and Biden about why they can't support the troops like Senator Reid does, I should add that Phil Carter has already explained in his email:
Senators Obama and Biden would have likely received higher scores from the IAVA report card, but for the fact they were absent for several of the votes during their campaign.
This year, ultra-right wing Republican McCain stooge Blackfive is having a tizzy:
I received an email from the head of Veterans for Obama (inside the Obama Campaign).
Now, if you go and look at IAVA's Founding Members page, you find Phil Carter (Veterans Director of Obama for America).
So what the @#$% is this?
How do I know he's an ultra right wing McCain stooge? Because he's attacking the messenger
, that's how. That's what Republicans do this year: attack, attack, attack. Matt even links to another ultra right wing Republican who thinks there's some sort of bullshit going on with the way IAVA scored this, and who attempts to use so-called "facts" to make his point
Good luck, fellas. The score card says all you need to know.
Update/disclaimer: I should point out that Phil, Matt, and I (along with C.J. Grisham) all sat on a panel at blogworld expo this year. As you can plainly see, both Phil and Matt are to my right, though obviously Phil and I are in the center.
Phil and I (and John 'the Armorer' Donovan) also did a brief interview with Stephen (Vodkapundit) Green for Pajamas TV, but if that's ever been made available online I'm not aware of it.
Update: I don't have time to do the whole Senate, but even though I'm non-partisan too I've checked out this year's IAVA "A-List" and "D-List" Senators. This year, all non-partisans will be glad to know 10 Republicans have joined the 45 Senate Democrats who scored an "A" from IVAW:
And here's the list of shame - those Senators who got a "D" (but that doesn't mean "Democrat") from IAVA this year:
Oddly enough, about the same time I heard from Phil on this, a comment was left on an unrelated post at Mudville:
This is completely off topic, but I received this by way of e-mail and it disturbs me greatly. I know that the left will destroy this country, but I have a hard time refuting what appears to be the fact that Republicans refuse full mandatory VA funding.
Any help on answering this challenge is appreciated.
http://www.veteranreportcard.org/reportcard.pdf With this added note: (If you're a veteran and don't like the message, I'm listening. If you didn't serve, well, you know...)
Well, I'm not a veteran, but you are, or will be.
Posted by Clairice at October 7, 2008 10:22 PM
Good to know that even non-veterans had immediately figured out that it was Republicans who don't support the troops. And obviously there's a big push to get that word out via blog comments and email.
Lastly: the landmark veterans legislation passed this year was the New GI Bill - which, like nearly all such legislation, was tucked into a larger bill with tons of additional spending - because that's how congress likes to f#$& America (and afterwards, political parties can play bullshit games like IAVA is as described above). But veterans won, and it was a bill we in Mudville pushed hard for. (This post probably got some attention...) Further details here.
And oh, by the way...
October 08, 2008
Who lost Iceland?
While everyone has been yelling at Wall Street - looks like no one on our side has been looking at the SLOCs.
Prime Minister Geir Haarde rushed emergency measures through the Nordic nation's parliament to nationalise Landsbanki and give the country's largest bank, Kaupthing, a £400m loan to bolster its balance sheet.
Landsbanki has been put into the control of the Icelandic financial regulator to prevent the meltdown of the country's financial system, triggering the collapse of its popular internet savings arm Icesave.
Mr Haarde confirmed that he was sending a delegation to Iceland's "new friend" Russia to negotiate a £3bn capital injection into the country's finances, after the country's traditional Western allies refused to help the collapsing banking system.
The loan from Russia will be used to shore up the Icelandic krona, which tumbled by 30pc on Monday, rather than the country's two nationalised banks, Landsbanki and Glitnir.
Like a Polish friend told me; Russia is as Russia has always been.
Russia is not doing this out of the goodness of her heart.
Someone will Probably get hurt...
...duriung live discussion of tonight's debate from from yours truly and fellow milbloggers over at Chuck's.
(By hurt, I mean their feelings.)
October 07, 2008
A Virtual Veteran's Day Parade - Blogger's Unite
Via email from CJ @ soldiersperspective.us:
Greetings Fellow milbloggers and assorted opiners of liberty!! For those that don't know me, you haven't had your head in the sewage much and I applaud you for it. For those that do, I apologize again. I'm contacting a limited group of distinguished ladies and gentlemen...hang on....whew.....okay, done laughing... I'm contacting a limited group of distinguished ladies and gentlemen to arrange a virtual Veteran's Day Parade that will be hosted on the YouServed blog and I would like to enlist your help (yes, even if you are/were commissioned, you're being enlisted for THIS cause!).
Here's what I need from you. First, of course, is participation. This hasn't been done before and if we pull this off I may have a shot at being the next Blackfive blogger during the upcoming television series "So You Think You Can Blog For Blackfive"!!
We'd like to get at least 30 participants for the "parade", but the more the merrier. For every participant I can get, the VA Mortgage Center will donate $20 to VALOUR-IT. That's right, for EACH participant. Second, I need you to contact other milbloggers and ask for their participation. If they aren't included here, it's not because I don't love them, it's because I used up all my brainpower RAM and couldn't think of others. For blogs like ASP, Mudville Gazette, and Blackfive where there are multiple authors, each participant will count as a separate person for this purpose. Finally, I need each milblogger to provide the following information:
Name or screenname
character "float" you'd be and why you picked it
personal thoughts about Veteran's Day.
You can either send me the picture you'd like to use for your float or we can find one to use.
This is for Valour-IT guys so I expect everyone to participate.
DoD Compensation & Benefits Handbook (It's About Damn Time)
DoD Develops Compensation & Benefits Handbook
DoD announced today it has developed a comprehensive handbook describing compensation and other benefits service members and their families would be entitled to upon separation or retirement as a result of serious injury or illness.
"The Compensation and Benefits Handbook is the one source of information that covers everything a seriously ill and injured service member will need during his or her recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration," said Ronald A. Winter, principal deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for manpower and reserve affairs.
The handbook was compiled in cooperation with the Departments of Veterans Affairs, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and the Social Security Administration. Additionally; there are references to assistance provided by other governmental and non-governmental agencies and organizations.
"The handbook describes the disability eligibility process, various program qualifications, application procedures, and numerous resources with associated contact information," said Sharon Gunselman, policy and resource analyst for the Department of Defense.
Web sites and toll-free numbers are provided, and the electronic version includes hyperlinks. The electronic version of the handbook will be updated frequently and the hard copy of the compensation and benefits handbook will be updated annually.
The electronic version of the handbook can be found on the five Web sites listed below:
x-posted at Some Soldier's Mom
October 05, 2008
The first mutiny on U.S. flagged ship in 150 years or a CIA plot to aid an insurgency?
The basics of the story from 38 years ago here.
October 04, 2008
Facts is Facts
...but these are opinions, passed off as "fact checks" in mainstream media reviews of the VP debate.
The Washington Post:
Sarah Palin on AfghanistanCNN
Showing off her foreign policy credentials, Sarah Palin jumped into an argument with Biden about a recent statement by the commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, suggesting that an Iraqi-style surge would not work in that country. Palin referred to the Afghan commander three times as "General McClellan," when, in fact, his name is General David McKiernan. (There was a Civil War general named General George McClellan, who was fired by President Lincoln for not taking the fight to the enemy.) McKiernan called for an increase in U.S. troops in Afghanistan, but argued that the key to victory lay in a long-term counter-insurgency effort "that could last many years" followed by a political solution. Biden summed up the general's statement more accurately than Palin.
Sen. Joe Biden said at the Oct. 2 vice presidential debate that "our commanding general in Afghanistan said the surge principle in Iraq will not work in Afghanistan."
Gov. Sarah Palin, who lauded the successes of the "surge strategy" in Iraq, asserted in the debate that "the surge principles, not the exact strategy, but the surge principles that have worked in Iraq need to be implemented in Afghanistan."
But Sen. Joe Biden disagreed, saying "our commanding general in Afghanistan said the surge principle in Iraq will not work in Afghanistan. … He said we need more troops. We need government-building. We need to spend more money on the infrastructure in Afghanistan."
Gen. David McKiernan, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, was quoted on Oct. 2 in The Washington Post as saying that "no Iraq-style 'surge' of forces will end the conflict" in Afghanistan, even though more U.S. troops are needed to take on a growing insurgency.
"Afghanistan is not Iraq," McKiernan said in Washington on Oct. 1. He also said "the word I don't use for Afghanistan is 'surge.' " He called for a "sustained commitment" leading to a political and not just a military solution.
He said Afghanistan is a "far more complex environment than I ever found in Iraq." The newspaper paraphrased him as citing the country's "unique challenges" — "the mountainous terrain, rural population, poverty, illiteracy, 400 major tribal networks and history of civil war."
The Verdict: True.
So, McKiernan says he wants three additional brigades, associated aviation (including UAV's) and suport assets in Afghanistan ASAP - but doesn't want to call it a "surge". Biden claims the General said the surge principle wouldn't work in Afghanistan, and CNN and the Washington Post declare those two statements mean the same thing.
Not only is that wrong, but in his D.C. press conference that day McKiernan very carefully spelled out how the principles of the surge would be applied in Afghanistan, too - though the specific applications would vary to meet the unique requirements of that country. Not only that, but he also carefully explained (three times) why one of the Democrats' favorite talking points on the "real" reason for success in Iraq would not work there. Admittedly you've got to be sharp enough to spot a "principle of the surge" when you see (or hear) one, but In short - pretty much exactly what Governor Palin described.
October 02, 2008
JROTC Protests in San Francisco
...But the protesters aren't the usual suspects. As the San Fran school board tries to ban JROTC, a group of students (including "some gay and lesbian groups who say some of their members have found a home in the program") fights back. For the first time in decades, someone's speaking truth to power in San Francisco.
Meanwhile, as the fiscal year ends the Army meets recruiting goals for the third year in a row.
October 01, 2008
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Give a lift to Soldier's Angels
A great friend of all in uniform & a buddy of my home blog from almost the start, via , My Pet Jawa, Bookie has a great idea to help Soldier's Angels - so good in fact that I am going to quote her in full. It's for charity, so I am sure she won't mind my rudeness.
Squidoo has $80,000 to give away. It wants people to vote on which charity (from a long list) should get some of that money. For every vote cast for a specific charity, that charity receives $2.00, up until all of those $80,000 are gone. My vote is for Soldier’s Angels. You should check it out and, if you don’t know which charity to select (and there are many good one), I recommend Soldier’s Angels as your default vote.
Cross posted at CDR Salamander.