Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Orders to deploy to Afghanistan - third combat deployment

Son-in-law already has his orders for deployment to Afghanistan. He is home with his family for now - his year 'dwell time' at home. We work to try to forget it is only a year that will pass quickly and another deployment looms ahead. My daughter works (and I do mean Works) at trying to get the most out of their time home, arranging for the family to get everything they can out of each moment; something to be stored up against the times he is away.

A third deployment after two extended, stop-loss 15 month deployments in Iraq. Amounts to 30 months on the ground in Iraq + the months before and after deployments of readying or debriefing and he has been gone about 40 months of his children's lives. Strong as my daughter is in trying to keep her family stabilized, I am seeing the toll these deployments are putting on the families. There is no way that my grandchildren will not carry some imprint of fear into their adult lives. Military brats, kids who grow up with parent(s) in military are resilient and develop unique coping skills that can serve them well in their adult years, ie, taking responsibility, organizational and communication skills, embracing different cultures, but as is well identified in the movie (dvd available) Brats; Our Journey Home, children are impacted by the life during times of peace, and more so during times of war.

Is it too early for me to be thinking about joining the protests of the Afghanistan war? Possibly, but I don't think it's going to be marching in the streets that will get the message out there this time. Not sure yet, what direction registering statements of concern about the direction of Afghanistan war will need to take or wind up taking, but a beginning is discourse and dialogue, talking about the course of this war. Wearied from years of intense activity in being part of actions to elevate the concerns about Iraq war, I'm not anxious to jump into the fray to do likewise with Afghanistan war......and yet, neither do I want my son-in-law and his family to have to go through another combat deployment.

I do empathize with President Obama in having so many fires to put out as soon as he stepped into office, and unlike former President Bush, I don't think we are dealing with a President in Obama who is beyond listening to reason. Afghanistan is another fire that needs to be put out, it won't wait patiently in line whilst all the other issues demanding President Obama's attention get priority attention. I'm going to need to hear Obama's reasoning for why our troops need to remain in Afghanistan; why my son-in-law needs to put his life on the line once more --- for what purpose, for what larger issue, for what greater good?

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Military Families Respond to Survey – Feel Disconnected

Military families feel disconnected from the larger community, according to a poll commissioned by a military family advocacy group.

According to the results of the poll, 94 percent feel that way. Blue Star Families released the results of the 3,000-person survey at a roundtable on Capitol Hill led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The roundtable -- meant as one way to bridge the gap -- included Blue Star Families, the National Military Families Association, Tina Tchen of the White House Council on Women and Girls, as well as several members of Congress.

read more at article here and here

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Veterans expressions of pain are not necessarily a political expression of anti-war, pro-war or neutral…

Thoughts expressed by this Marine Captain on the matter of veterans healing from their war experiences articulates much better than I some of the thoughts I have tried to express…

I have taken exception to the activism among some of the anti-war groups that are too quick to usurp the veterans' expression of pain as an extension and endorsement of the group's own dissent message.

citing excerpt from the article;

The crucial mistake being made, I think, by so many in the pro-war, antiwar and apolitical populations alike, is their assumptions that the outbursts of veterans are necessarily whole-hearted expressions of dissent. More likely, they are expressions of pain.

The Primacy of Healing: Politics and Combat Stress in America
By Tyler E. Boudreau | Truthout

I am a veteran of the war in Iraq. Like many, I came home bearing an unexpected skepticism toward our operations there and a fresh perspective on America's use of military power. And also like many, I found myself emotionally and psychologically harried by my experiences on the battlefield. But unlike many, I landed after discharge in a community where criticism for the war was both socially acceptable and, in fact, quite common, leaving me free to process a distress which was directly connected to US foreign policy. I was, literally and figuratively, right at home. So, I couldn't help noticing how the political dissent of my community was facilitating my mental healing. That has given me reason to consider all the ways in which politics has corresponded with and influenced the understanding and acceptance of combat stress. And while combat stress survivors have, in some ways, benefited from this relationship; they have suffered from it as well.

Combat stress has a stigmatic heritage, well-recognized now, but that was not always so. World War I was an era in which distraught soldiers were often labeled "men of deficient character"; and yet, the unspeakable carnage of its battles seemed to have offered latitude enough in the aftermath for the painful expressions of its veterans. But after the infinitely more popular World War II, veterans became known more for reticence than effusion and for a stoical veneer beneath which (we know now) a growing tumult was quietly raging. With the country so steeped in enthusiasm, it is not surprising that their invisible wounds went largely unnoticed. After all, with whom, in such a climate, might a veteran have shared his horrible stories?

Vietnam marked a new era for politics and for combat stress. The antiwar movement was never so vociferous, the veterans never so outspoken. And the term "Post-Traumatic Stress" was virtually nonexistent; it was not listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) until 1980. Widespread criticism of the conflict changed all that. The antiwar movement did not merely give veterans room to recover; it created space in the American consciousness for the possibility that the experiences from war could, in fact, be psychologically devastating. This consequently opened the door to the study of combat stress. Today, after six years in Iraq (eight in Afghanistan), combat stress is nearly taken for granted as an innate component of war. And yet the stigma survives throughout the country, in the military, and even in the mental health field. Why?

The trouble with combat stress (and the traumatic accounts that go with it) is its tendency to call into question the morality of military action. Regardless of the policies, the objectives, or the administrations that enact them, war's essence is challenged outright by the mere existence of combat stress. Upon witnessing the sundered consciousnesses of so many returning veterans and hearing about all the horrible things they endured and committed, one finds it difficult not to conclude that the battlefield must truly be a horrible place. Of course, the justness of war is not defined by its casualties alone, but when the moral compasses of young soldiers are spun to the point where they find it difficult to bear their own skins (as we've seen expressed in the record suicides of late), it leads to a natural suspicion about the moral direction of the war overall. And that is precisely the problem. Like it or not, combat stress is, in its own way, a political statement. It is a silent judgment of war (and of society), and that is why the understanding and treatment of it remain perpetually stifled.

For instance, there has been recent discussion within the psychiatric community about reducing the criteria for post-traumatic stress in the pending DSM-V or restricting the types of events that might be deemed traumatic. The "disorder," some psychiatrists feel, has become too broadly defined, which has contributed to imprecise data collection. Their claim, in other words, is that too many people have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress. This must be the only epidemic in human history whose remedy is simply to eliminate the symptoms by which one is diagnosed, thereby normalizing the condition itself, which, in this case, is the psychological effects of war.

This is reminiscent, I think, of Freud's famous study of "hysteria," in which he concluded that the young women suffering from the said illness had been traumatized by sexual abuse. But in noticing the massive number of hysteria cases throughout society, he suddenly realized the dark implications of his findings. The epidemic was rape, not hysteria. That was apparently too much to bear for Freud or for society. Shortly after publishing his conclusions, he recanted them all and drummed up a new theory: These women - the patients with whom he'd worked passionately for over a decade - were just plain crazy. The renowned doctor turned his back on his patients and on the truth, the hysteria was normalized, and the abuse carried on. Combat stress appears to be heading in rather the same direction.

The link between politics and combat stress is hardly subtle; it is intuitive. Articulated or not, people sense it. For example, across the country there have cropped up literally hundreds of grass roots organizations and projects formed to reintegrate veterans and help them through the process of coming home. And in nearly every one of them, you will find some disclaimer or note of vigorous neutrality. "This is about veterans, not politics!" they practically chant. The very presence of this message reiterated ad nauseam is enough to let anyone hearing it know that this absolutely is about politics and that politics are inextricably bound to healing. These attempts at nonpartisan reintegration are fashionable - even admirable - but sadly destined to fail on a large scale because communalizing healing is not possible without first communalizing war. And the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are anything but communalized.

All the while that this effort to segregate the veterans from their wars goes on, the very same veterans will be searching for meaning behind their war experiences, and they will inevitably reach politics because, as Karl Von Clausewitz notoriously points out, "war is the continuation of politics by other means." Whatever conclusions veterans arrive at in the aftermath, one can be sure they will be politically charged. To deny the ruminations of veterans on the grounds of "nonpartisanship" is, for one thing, to ignore the old adage that silence is consent; and for another, it is to prohibit those veterans from processing a major element of their torment. On the other hand, to embrace their political outbursts too fervently or to focus too narrowly on the partisan weight of their every word is to lose sight of the central process underway. That is what is happening now across the country.

The insidious reluctance towards combat stress that one almost expects to find in the military has plagued the home front as well. In communities, which have adamantly supported the war in Iraq, returning veterans have found their ability to express pain often inhibited or even forcefully suppressed because it tends to sound too much like criticism. Those whose distress results from the danger they experienced or the death they narrowly escaped find at least some level of acceptance. But for those whose angst comes specifically from their deeds in war - from the violence they inflicted or from the deaths they caused - those veterans face a much stiffer resistance.

Members of my former unit hailing from various parts of the country have found themselves practically gagged by the pro-war culture of their own hometowns, leaving them no with way to process their pain and no way to heal. So strong is the intolerance for dissent, which their traumatic memories seem to represent, they are forced to process their pain through drinking, drugs, violence and a host of other illegal or self-destructive activities. These veterans come to understand one immutable truth: It is better to break the law than break the faith. If they turn reckless or criminal, they might do some jail time, but if they turn their backs on the war and on the troops, their former comrades, they will certainly face ostracism from their communities. And that is a far harsher penalty for anyone, let alone an unhinged combat veteran. Such patterns of emotional oppression must seem rather obvious to members of the antiwar community, who generally take the phrases "recovering from war" and "opposing war" to mean the same thing. In many ways, the two terms can be, and indeed are, synonymous, although not inherently so. The distinction may be slight, but I have found a great deal of misunderstanding can gather between them. Traumatic healing is not the same thing as political activism. They are driven by different forces, and so must be treated differently. This is a lesson that goes missed all too often.

When I first came home, I got involved with some activism, and I remember a friend said to me, "Be careful." I asked him what he meant and he told me the story of another outspoken veteran who'd been invited to an antiwar rally. "He was talking about his time in war. He was screaming. His eyeballs were red. He was foaming at the mouth. Everybody loved it. They hooted, and hollered, and called out his name. And when he was done telling his story, they just let him go home - by himself - and stew in all those juices." My friend shook his head disapprovingly and said to me, "Remember, the antiwar crowd cares about one thing - antiwar, not veterans." That may not have been an entirely accurate or fair assessment of the entire movement, but since coming home and having participated in a few rallies myself I've seen enough of the overzealous encouragement and standing ovations to confirm my friend's suspicion. On the other hand, having gotten to know so many of the people at those rallies, I suspect now that their oversight was usually not from being callous or manipulative, but from misunderstanding the nature of combat stress and the way it tends to surface itself.

The crucial mistake being made, I think, by so many in the pro-war, antiwar and apolitical populations alike, is their assumptions that the outbursts of veterans are necessarily whole-hearted expressions of dissent. More likely, they are expressions of pain. It just so happens that their context is political and therefore their vocabulary is political as well. And while these expressions may be more affirming to the Left than to the Right, they are, for neither side, exclusively political statements. I don't mean to invalidate the thoughtful contributions of veterans returning from war, including my own, just to point out that there is more going on in the consciousness of a combat veteran than politics.

The search, I would say, is foremost for some level of serenity. Any new ideology picked up along the way is a by-product of the process itself, and one which does not always endure. That's important to remember. Veterans' experiences in war are extreme; their emotions are extreme; so their views will often come out extreme as well, initially at least. But their political destinations remain uncharted because until their pain has receded their maps are incompletely drawn. For my part, I was reading a lot of radical texts when I came home from war and quoting a lot of radical thinkers. That's fine, I think, because radical politics is absolutely one of the products of war. It was an exercise of regurgitation, which had the cathartic benefit of purging a lot of my rage. But I wasn't doing any real thinking of my own. When I finally calmed down enough to contemplate the situation for myself, I found a place that was not exactly where I'd started out and not exactly where those of either political party might have liked to see me, but it was far more satisfying to me because it was a place of my choosing.

The antiwar community has done well in providing receptiveness and acceptance for veterans expressing negative reactions to war and to the politics which drove them there. What they could do better is to not take those expressions too much at their face. (The pro-war and "neutral" communities could probably stand to consider this point, too.) For returning veterans, the healing process is the central activity on-going, not politics. They need time and room to speak their peace; they need the freedom to lash out verbally so they don't feel cornered into finding other, more destructive outlets. At some point most of them will emerge from the inner fray and be able to define more soberly their political disposition and place themselves in communities accordingly. Until then, compassion is required from all - compassion, which includes both tolerance and restraint, both letting politics in and simultaneously keeping it out, and having both the courage to acknowledge the intrinsic presence of politics in combat stress and the wisdom to recognize the primacy of healing.


Tyler Boudreau, a former Marine captain, is the author of "Packing Inferno: The Unmaking of a Marine." His web site is

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Shifting Direction for Dying to Preserve the Lies blog

Our son-in-law is home now from his second 'stop-loss', 15 month deployment in Iraq. That means he has spent 30 months of his life, his wife's (our daughter) life, and their three children's (our grandchildren) lives .... away from them. Add to that the downfield trainings in preparation for deployments and debriefing from deployments and he has been away 40 months of their lives.

Daughter and children have done an outstanding job of making the sacrifice without complaint, but I have seen the hard edges the toll has taken on them. The two younger children were 1 and 3 years old when he left for the first deployment to Iraq, and now they are 7 and 9 years old. For 40 months of their young formative years, he has been away and in danger, a danger which they are aware of and it has created for them an anxiety they can not well articulate except through fear and anxious-driven behaviors. I applaud their mother and her teen age daughter who have worked in harmony in managing the younger children through these anxious years.

My time of putting energy into activism towards ending the Iraq war and getting the troops home winds down with President Obama's declaration of ending Iraq war and drawing down troops - responsibly. Drawing down and withdrawing our military is a process that is done with an eye to reducing risks to remaining troops and takes time and I have no disagreement with that process. Recognizing that President Obama plans to put more troops into Afghanistan and that war front may escalate, I am disappointed with that plan. And after a 'dwell time' period at home with his wife and children, likely our son-in-law can figure he will have a deployment to Afghanistan - he has said as much.

But -- after six years of war in Iraq, eight years of war in Afghanistan, with the unmet needs of the service men and women coming home to their military families, and the unmet needs of military families who have sacrificed much for too long ...I want my energies to be directed in venues that will help put in place some of the much-needed resources for this generation of veterans and their families. I'm thinking that I want to shift the direction of this blog towards being a part of the bridge building that facilitates calling attention to needed resources, but I am also thinking that the name of the blog is perhaps too provocative - as I meant it to be when I created this blog. Perhaps it is time to retire this blog and begin anew with another blog.

I would like to give a shout out for a military family group that has already made contributions in representing some of the concerns expressed by this generation of military families. Many members are currently military spouses, and I think that gives their thoughts weight as among the representative voices of this generation's military families. See Blue Star Families.... their mission statement;

"Blue Star Families is a bridge between military families, the shapers of policy affecting military life, and our nation at large. Through outreach to our government leaders and local civilian communities, we strive to share the unique experiences of our military lifestyle and the pride we feel in our families’ service. By engaging our members and their families, we seek to gather our perspectives and opinions on all aspects of military life. We use this knowledge base as a voice of military families to inform the policy shapers and to support families, like ours, that have the honor of serving our country."

And see their blog Blue Star Voices.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Jon Soltz, Iraq War Veteran, guest on MSNBC discusses military suicides

video - Jon Soltz, Iraq War Veteran and Chairman of appears twice on MSNBC to discuss a new report on the alarming rate of suicides in the U.S. Army

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Suicides, electrical shocks, deficient body armor plague U.S. troops


GI Suicides in 2008 Highest on Record

The Army is expected to release a report later today revealing the highest number of suicides among troops in nearly three decades, according to CNN.

The network reported this morning that the Army will confirm 128 suicides in 2008, along with 15 suspected suicides currently under investigation among active-duty Soldiers and activated National Guard and Army Reserve troops. The Army also will announce a study of Soldier suicides and links to post-combat stress, CNN says.



Army Report Notes 231 Shock Incidents

U.S. troops in Iraq suffered electrical shocks about every three days in a two-year period surrounding the electrocution death of a Green Beret sergeant, according to an internal Defense Contract Management Agency report obtained by the Tribune-Review.

The 45-page document -- a high-level request for corrective action generated last fall -- found that Texas-based military contractor KBR Inc. failed to properly ground and bond its electrical systems, which contributed to Soldiers "receiving shocks in KBR-maintained facilities on average once every three days since data was available in Sept. 2006."

The agency determined that KBR "failed to meet basic requirements to identify life-threatening conditions on tanks, water pumps, electrical outlets and electrical panels."

The report adds that government search results of a KBR-maintained database revealed that 231 electrical-shock incidents occurred in the period from September 2006 through July 31, 2008 -- indicating that the activity continued long after the death of Sgt. Ryan Maseth, 24, who suffered cardiac arrest after stepping into his Baghdad shower on Jan. 2, 2008.

Records show Maseth was electrocuted when he turned on the water that flowed through metal pipes. The Army Criminal Investigation Division recently determined Maseth's death was negligent homicide, rather than an accident as previously reported.



Body Armor Recalled by Army

WASHINGTON - Army Secretary Pete Geren has ordered the recall of more than 16,000 sets of body armor following an audit that concluded the bullet-blocking plates in the vests failed testing and may not provide Soldiers with adequate protection.

The audit by the office of the Defense Department  inspector general, not yet made public but obtained by The Associated Press, faults the Army for flawed testing procedures before awarding a contract for the armor.

In a letter dated Jan. 27 to Acting Inspector General Gordon Heddell, Geren said he did not agree that the plates failed the testing or that Soldiers were issued deficient gear. He said his opinion was backed by the Pentagon’s top testing director.

Despite his insistence that the armor was not deficient, Geren said he was recalling the sets as a precaution.

Geren also said he's asked for a senior Pentagon official to resolve the disagreement between the Army and the inspector general's office.


Friday, December 12, 2008

‘America’s Defense Meltdown’

Check it out.   I am saving to read later when I have more time; you might want to take a look and read it - very up to the minute.

at CDI - Center for Defense Information; newly released to and for President-Elect Barack Obama’s consideration.

         "America's Defense Meltdown"?  (pdf)

What’s in "America's Defense Meltdown" is a new anthology that gives President-elect Obama and Congress direction and will guide the United States back onto the path of an effective defense at a cost a nation in recession can afford.
Author(s): Winslow Wheeler

I haven't watched this video yet either at GRIT TV with Laura Flanders website  - it is where I found the info.

My ‘morning reads’ are disturbing this morning

Michael Ware, CNN Correspondent, six years in Iraq.  At HuffPo the title is 'Michael Ware's Tortured World; I Am Not the Same F---g Person'...which links to the original article at Men's Journal titled ‘CNN's Prisoner of War'.

Michael Ware speaks to what he has witnessed and experienced.  He speaks to dehumanizing aspect of war, the war in Iraq in truth being now the war in Iran and was since beginning when U.S. troops crossed the Kuwait border, he speaks of  how Obama can bring the troops home and it may be at the expense of mortgaging our foreign policy in the Middle East. 

Read it for yourselves;  a few of excerpts;

"It's my firm belief that we need to constantly jar the sensitivities of the people back home," he says. "War is a jarring experience. Your kids are living it out, and you've inflicted it upon 20-odd million Iraqis. And when your brothers and sons and mates from the football team come home, and they ain't quite the same, you have an obligation to sit for three and a half minutes and share something of what it's like to be there."

It's an obligation now owed to Michael Ware, too.

excerpt from Men's Journal titled ' CNN's Prisoner of War'.

This freedom has helped Ware stay a year in front of conventional wisdom. In 2003, while others were covering the conquest of Baghdad, he talked with Iraqi policemen and soldiers, the men who would become the insurgency. Then in 2004, when Donald Rumsfeld was dismissing these insurgents as "dead-enders," Ware was reporting on their strength after seeing their training camps firsthand. Two years later, Ware was branding the conflict in Iraq a civil war while the Bush administration boasted about the results of Iraq's democratic elections. This year his obsession has been the extent of Iran's influence over the Iraqi government.

"From the moment the first American tanks crossed the Kuwait border, America was in a proxy war with Iran," Ware says. "The Iranians knew it, but it took the U.S. four years to figure it out. Now the Iraqi government is comprised almost entirely of factions created in Iran, supported by Iran, or with ties to the Iranian government — as many as 23 members of the Iraqi parliament are former members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard."

excerpt from Men's Journal titled ' CNN's Prisoner of War'.

As uncomfortable as he is with the idea of his leaving Iraq, if Ware were setting policy, American forces would be in Iraq for a very, very long time. He shudders at the idea of massive American troop withdrawals. Horrific genocide, he predicts; worse than Bosnia. "John McCain said, 'The war's going so well, so why stop now?' I say it's going so badly that we have to pay the price to prevent what's to come."

"The successes in bringing down the violence are undeniable, yet America hasn't been looking at the price to deliver these successes. Obama can bring American kids home tomorrow, but are you willing to mortgage your foreign policy future in that region? Are you willing to walk away from a stronger Iran that is gaining leverage to be a nuclear power? Are you willing to accept your diminished influence in the Middle East? As long as the American public is willing to ante up, then you can bring them home."

excerpt from Men's Journal titled ' CNN's Prisoner of War'.

"Then, for the next 20 minutes," Ware remembers, "all of us just stood around and watched this guy's life slowly ebb away in painful, heaving sobs for air, rendering him absolutely no assistance or aid. If that had been an American soldier, he would have been medevacked out and in 20 minutes would've landed on an operating table. Once an enemy combatant comes into your custody, you're obliged by the Geneva Conventions to render that wounded prisoner all aid. Even I — with my rudimentary medical training, I don't think his life could've been saved — but even I could've eased his passing.
"Instead a towel was laid over his face, making his breathing much more labored and painful, the taunts continued, and we just sat around and watched him die.

"And for some bizarre reason, it was just me and this platoon of soldiers, and I was able to see the dispassion of these kids in the way they just watched his life slip away. I was filming and worrying about the best composition of the shot, and I realized that I too was watching just as dispassionately. There's no blame to be laid here. That guy was a legitimate target who was rightfully shot in the head. But it made me realize, just once more, that this kind of dehumanization is what happens when we send our children to war."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

First Lady (to be) Michelle Obama phoned me at my home!!

She really did. She phoned on Veterans Day. I was sitting at my desk in my home in my lounge around the house clothes, working on my laptop. The dawning of the fullness of the recognition that I was on the phone listening to Michelle Obama, who will very soon be the First Lady hit me like a ton of bricks and blew me away. Wow, I'm on a phone call with the First Lady -- how cool is that!

Actually, it was a conference call, listen only, that Michelle Obama made on Veterans Day to Blue Star Families 4 Obama, to thank them for their pro-active help in the campaign, to thank them for their sacrifices as military families. We are a Blue Star family and I had joined the BSF4O group during the campaign at my mybarackobama campaign site.

So no, it was not a personal call specifically to me, and I was having a little fun with the first part of this post. Still, I was surprised at my own reaction and recognition -- this really is Michelle Obama, she really will be the First Lady, she is talking to us on a phone conference call, talking about her daughters, getting them into schools, getting ready for the inauguration. It had a surreal feeling to it for me. I am not used to being on a phone call from the First Lady and well, the Vice President -- an earlier conference call I got to participate in (listen only) with Joe Biden.

If I were to be on a phone conference call with President Elect, Barack Obama, based on my reaction to Michelle Obama's phone conference call, I'm sure my reaction will cause my heart to beat faster.

Towards the end of the campaign, I was on a listen only conference call from Joe Biden that he set up via his email listserv. He had just concluded his speech in Tacoma, WA, thanked us and was encouraging the many of us on the conference call to get out there and keep working, and not to take anything for granted.

The audacity of hope..boy, am I feeling it!

One photo embraces Veteran’s Day

Returning wounded Iraq veteran, and now Director of the Illinois Dept of Veteran’s Affairs, Tammy Duckworth who lost both legs in combat in Iraq war with President Elect, Barack Obama on Veteran’s Day 2008;  ceremony of placing the wreath on Bronze Soldiers Memorial.

Obama Tammy Duckworth Veterans Day 2008

link - more photos and article

Monday, November 10, 2008

‘Crawford’ – dvd feature film, when George W. Bush came to town

Released in 2008, the film ‘Crawford’ produced/directed by David Modigliani is a documentary/biography of the small town of Crawford, Texas before George W. Bush arrived at their doorstep, during the time of his Presidency. (And now after as new President-Elect, Barack Obama, is preparing to assume the office of President of the United States).  The film,’Crawford’  is put together in a way that shows  the residents of the town, their lives, and the impact of what happens to the town and their lives when George Bush moves to their town to set up his ranch in his campaign for President. 

The video is embedded below, obtaining it from and assuming that Hulu has necessary permissions to share it online. If the video does not work at my blog, you can view it where I did, online at his link – Hulu.

I jump ahead of the film, to my own personal experience of Crawford, Texas. Of course, part of the Crawford experience is that month of August 2005, when Cindy Sheehan parked herself in Crawford outside the President’s  ranch during his vacation. For perspective as to why Cindy decided to make her stand at that time, remember that President Bush took vacation shortly after one of his press conferences in which he identifies the deaths of troops in Iraq as having given their lives for a noble cause.

Remember that at that time, 23 marines from the Lima Company alone had been killed in Iraq in 2005, 20 were killed over 2 days in August 2005 – six on Aug 1, and fourteen on Aug 3.   Cindy, mother of Casey Sheehan, soldier, who was killed in Iraq April 4, 2004, deliberately went to Crawford almost immediately after the noble cause statement to ask George Bush personally  ‘What Noble Cause?’ .  While the film does not elevate this period of the George Bush ranch in Crawford experience,the film attempts to show the impact on local residents.

I was part of that story, part of that August 2005 experience of Crawford.  Since I was not or did not consider myself to be a ‘peace activist’ prior to the Iraq war but chose to present as a military family trying to speak out to a new young generation of military families, the perspectives I have of my own experiences among the peace/activism communities has it’s own unique flavor.  My experience of Crawford, Texas, Camp Casey, August 2005 is colored by my experiences growing up as what is affectionately callled a ‘military brat’ on military bases in between the Korean Conflict (war)  and the Vietnam war, my experiences as a military wife of a young husband, drafted and deployed to Vietnam, my experiences living in the ‘military culture’, my professional career employment in the social services field during my adult years as a civilian employed in state level public sector, and my inexperience with the culture of peace/activism communities.

The film does justice to one of the many considerations I had when I was at Crawford.  How does this tiny town cope with having such high profile people make their mark at Crawford?  How does the town deal with and cope with the polarized, political battle of opinions here at home  on the Iraq war which I believe came to head at Crawford during Camp Casey in August 2005.  Now that I actually do live in a small town, and it is a new part of my life experiences,  I wondered how the people in the town where I live would react should something similar happen in their town and lives.

Whatever came after the August 2005, Crawford, Texas, Camp Casey experience, I will always credit Cindy with bringing to head the public discourse which at that time had been embroiled in political limitations to the language of what constitutes patriotism, the flag, and support for the troops.  The public political discourse needed to happen and the shift in the political discourse because of that month of August 2005 in Crawford that gave voice to the many-faceted feelings and opinions of the war in Iraq needed to happen. 

It opened doors within the public Iraq war political discourse that had been previously deliberately slammed shut. And I would offer those doors were slammed shut with deliberate forethought and premeditation so as to confine, undermine, and squelch any opportunity of public dialogue or public dissent.  For myself, an ordinary person living an ordinary life, my experience of August 2005 in Crawford, Texas was extraordinary and has marked me indelibly. 

But August 2005 is not the point of this film, it is a part of the film, as it is a part of the Crawford experience.  The film is presented in a way that does not favor opinions about the Iraq war, about George W. Bush, but brings to bear the experience of both along with other experiences that often times typifies small town America.  The ending of the film shook me up – was something I did not know and was very unsettling. 

I hope you’ll watch the film.  It is not a trailer, but the full length film, 1 hour and 15 minutes, so recommend watching it when you have some time to watch it. 




Excerpt of one review of the film ‘Crawford’ by Joe Leydon at Variety

David Modiglinai's "Crawford" offers an evenhanded and occasionally poignant account of the impact on the citizenry of the small Texas town chosen by President George W. Bush to be the site of his so-called "Western White House." Filmed over several years, docu plays like a rise-and-fall drama populated with colorful, contrasting characters who have profoundly mixed feelings about being used as props in Bush's political stagecraft. After a spin on the fest circuit, pic might get limited theatrical play before pubcast and/or niche-cable airdates.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

General Blackledge on Mental Health: Do What I Do ... AND What I Say!

Via Tampa Bay Online

General bucks culture of silence on mental health

WASHINGTON – It takes a brave soldier to do what Army Maj. Gen. David Blackledge did in Iraq.

It takes as much bravery to do what he did when he got home.

Blackledge got psychiatric counseling to deal with wartime trauma, and now he is defying the military's culture of silence on the subject of mental health problems and treatment.

"It's part of our profession ... nobody wants to admit that they've got a weakness in this area," Blackledge said of mental health problems among troops returning from America's two wars.

"I have dealt with it. I'm dealing with it now," said Blackledge, who came home with post-traumatic stress. "We need to be able to talk about it."

As the nation marks Veterans Day on Tuesday, thousands of troops are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with anxiety, depression and other emotional problems.

As many as one-fifth of the more than 1.7 million who have served in the wars are estimated to have symptoms. In a sign of how tough it may be to change attitudes, roughly half of those who need help are not seeking it, studies have found.

Despite efforts to reduce the stigma of getting treatment, officials say they fear generals and other senior leaders remain unwilling to go for help, much less talk about it, partly because they fear it will hurt chances for promotion.

That reluctance is also worrisome because it sends the wrong signal to younger officers and perpetuates the problem leaders are working to reverse.

"Stigma is a challenge," Army Secretary Pete Geren said Friday at a Pentagon news conference on troop health care. "It's a challenge in society in general. It's certainly a challenge in the culture of the Army, where we have a premium on strength, physically, mentally, emotionally."

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, asked leaders this year to set an example for all soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines: "You can't expect a private or a specialist to be willing to seek counseling when his or her captain or colonel or general won't do it."

Brig. Gen. Loree Sutton, an Army psychiatrist heading the defense center for psychological health and traumatic brain injury, is developing a campaign in which people will tell their personal stories. Troops, their families and others also will share concerns and ideas through Web links and other programs. Blackledge volunteered to help, and next week he and his wife, Iwona, an Air Force nurse, will speak on the subject at a medical conference.

A two-star Army Reserve general, 54-year-old Blackledge commanded a civil affairs unit on two tours to Iraq, and now works in the Pentagon as Army assistant deputy chief of staff for mobilization and reserve issues.

His convoy was ambushed in February 2004, during his first deployment. In the event that he since has relived in flashbacks and recurring nightmares, Blackledge's interpreter was shot through the head, his vehicle rolled over several times and Blackledge crawled out of it with a crushed vertebrae and broken ribs. He found himself in the middle of a firefight, and he and other survivors took cover in a ditch.

He said he was visited by a psychiatrist within days after arriving at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. He had several sessions with the doctor over his 11 months of recovery and physical therapy for his injuries.

"He really helped me," Blackledge said. And that's his message to troops.

"I tell them that I've learned to deal with it," he said. "It's become part of who I am."

He still has bad dreams about once a week but no longer wakes from them in a sweat, and they are no longer as unsettling.

On his second tour to Iraq, Blackledge traveled to neighboring Jordan to work with local officials on Iraq border issues, and he was in an Amman hotel in November 2005 whensuicide bombers attacked, killing some 60 and wounding hundreds.

Blackledge got a whiplash injury that took months to heal. The experience, including a harrowing escape from the chaotic scene, rekindled his post-traumatic stress symptoms, though they weren't as strong as those he'd suffered after the 2004 ambush.

Officials across the service branches have taken steps over the last year to make getting help easier and more discreet, such as embedding mental health teams into units.

They see signs that stigma has been slowly easing. But it's likely a change that will take generations.

'Body of War' on Veterans Day, Nov 11, 2008 to premier on Sundance channel

Injured Iraq war veteran, Tomas Young, is the featured centerpiece of this documentary produced by well known talk show host, Phil Donahue, and Ellen Spiro. Songs by Eddy Vedder. The documentary has won National Board of Review award for Best Documentary. The documentary follows 3 years of the life of Tomas Young upon his return from Iraq after being injured. Tomas' spine was severed by a sniper's bullet within a week of arriving in Iraq, leaving him paralyzed for life from the chest down at the tender young age of 25.

Phil Donahue has been passionate in making and promoting this documentary, giving considerable credit to Ellen Spiro for her untiring work on the film.

Quoting Phil Donahue; "Tomas Young is one of thousands of returning veterans forced to adjust to serious changes in their lives in the wake of this war, and it's critical that their stories get out there."

On a more personal level, I have seen the film, and while I did not personally meet Tomas, I am aware of him, spent some time in some of the same locations shown in the documentary. I recognize several of my military family colleagues shown in the film, was there with them at the time of this documentary filming. I feel as if I know Tomas, after all, he and other's like him are why I have committed these past almost six years as a military family speaking out against sending this young generation into an unwarranted war in Iraq.

I can't think of a more appropriate film showing on this Veteran's Day than one that acknowledges all of our returning and not returning Iraq veterans. While Veteran's Day is about all veterans of all engagements, I know the older veterans are honored and humbled to have this young generation of Iraq veterans acknowledged.

'Body of War' to air on Nov 11, 2008, 7 PM on Sundance channel.

See 'Body of War' website for more information, to purchase the dvd, and note that 25% of every purchase goes to Tomas Young.


Bill Moyers Journal

Longer version of Bill Moyers Journal featuring Tomas Young speaking engagement at Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn, New York

Friday, November 07, 2008

Obama Victory Ushers in More Confident Tone for Iraq - U.S. Settlement

Obama Victory Alters the Tenor of Iraqi Politics, title of article at NY Times;

BAGHDAD — Barack Obama may have been elected only three days ago, but his victory is already beginning to shift the political ground in Iraq and the region.

Iraqi Shiite politicians are indicating that they will move faster toward a new security agreement about American troops, and a Bush administration official said he believed that Iraqis could ratify the agreement as early as the middle of this month.

“Before, the Iraqis were thinking that if they sign the pact, there will be no respect for the schedule of troop withdrawal by Dec. 31, 2011,” said Hadi al-Ameri, a powerful member of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, a major Shiite party. “If Republicans were still there, there would be no respect for this timetable. This is a positive step to have the same theory about the timetable as Mr. Obama.”

Mr. Obama has said that he favors a 16-month schedule for withdrawing combat brigades, a timetable about twice as fast as that provided for in the draft American and Iraqi accord.

and this;

Over all, however, there was a new tone of optimism. “The atmosphere is positive with the American attempt to preserve the sovereignty of the Iraqi nation,” the government’s spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh, told the news channel Al Arabiya. He praised the inclusion of a new provision stating that Americans would not launch attacks on Iraq’s neighbors from Iraqi soil.

The Americans also added language to make explicit what kinds of troops would remain after the withdrawal in 2011, said a Bush administration official knowledgeable about the security pact. Those still in Iraq would be primarily trainers and air traffic controllers, the official said.

“There’s going to be a significant presence, but they are not going to be ‘combat’ forces,” said the administration official. The official said that the most recent talks with Iraqis had given American negotiators confidence that a final agreement was close.

Mr. Ameri, who is chairman of the security committee of Iraq’s Parliament, said that Iraqi politicians did appreciate the Bush administration’s commitment to Iraq. Signing the agreement while President Bush was still in office would be “a minimum sign of appreciation,” Mr. Ameri said.

Obama: 'New Mission in Iraq: Ending the War'

Following through on his campaign promises, President Elect, Barack Obama and Vice President Elect, Joe Biden already have a strong sense of how they plan to end the war in Iraq. 

Read the entire article by Jason Leopold  at The Public Record.

also read it firsthand at and follow along at Barack Obama’s newly launched online ‘transition’ website – office of the President-Elect.

The president-elect said one of his first policy directives after he is sworn into office will be giving military commanders and the Secretary of Defense "a new mission in Iraq: ending the war."

On the SOFA; which needs to be worked out between the U.S. and Iraq by Dec 31, 2008 since that is when the United Nations mandate that allows foreign soldiers to operate in country expires 

"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," his proposal says. "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."

The Obama team also said that a Status of Forces Agreement Bush is currently negotiating with the Iraqi government must be approved by Congress or must include input from Obama and his foreign policy advisers before being signed.

“The Bush administration must submit the agreement to Congress or allow the next administration to negotiate an agreement that has bipartisan support here at home and makes absolutely clear that the U.S. will not maintain permanent bases in Iraq," according to Obama’s transition website.

"Obama and Biden believe any Status of Forces Agreement, or any strategic framework agreement, should be negotiated in the context of a broader commitment by the U.S. to begin withdrawing its troops and forswearing permanent bases," states the proposal. "Obama and Biden also believe that any security accord must be subject to Congressional approval. It is unacceptable that the Iraqi government will present the agreement to the Iraqi parliament for approval—yet the Bush administration will not do the same with the U.S. Congress.”

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

‘SOFA’ US-Iraq Troop Deal Unsteady – troops to leave Iraq or subject to Iraqi punishment for crimes

As I understand the SOFA (status of forces agreement), the urgency now underway is to come to a mutual agreeable agreement before Dec 31, 2008 as that is when the ?? ‘legality’ ?? of U.S. troops in accordance with UN mandate ends.   The Iraqi government has not reached agreement with President Bush, and speculation is that Iraqis know there will be a new Administration after U.S. November elections and would rather wait and deal with the new Administration which will take office Jan 2009. 


What this means for the deployed troops in Iraq after Dec. 31, 2008 is that they need to remove or remain on their bases.  Troops not on their bases and found to be committing a crime (this would be according to Iraqi definitions of a crime) would be subject to Iraqi criminal justice system.  I don’t have much of an idea of what an Iraqi criminal justice system looks like, but I can take an awkward guess and it doesn’t seem very reassuring that our U.S. troops deployed by this President/Commander-in-Chief have much protection from Iraqi criminal justice after December 31, 2008. 


Look, I get it that all sides have been subject to violence resulting in maiming and death on a massive scale and being concerned about this element in the duration of the now 6 year war in Iraq is but one of a continuum of ongoing concerns.   But this is an Administration who has clearly demonstrated a total disregard for the status of deployed U.S. troops and the preciousness of life on all sides.  I have no reason to have trust or confidence that this President will preside with enough prescience to adequately deal with this development, any more than he has demonstrated prescience to deal with the ongoing developments of the last eight years of his administration.  He is more than likely willing to play out the time he has left in office and leave it to the next administration to resolve. 

I do take some reassurance that the Pentagon, Generals, and chain of command understand the stakes and will advocate on behalf of the troops, and this development cannot wait until January; it needs attention and resolution now!   With my son-in-law deployed in Iraq now in his second ‘stop-loss’, extended 15 month deployment, it is discomforting enough, but to think he may be at risk now as well to Iraqi sense of justice is frightening.  With the complete injustice of this war and the Iraqi people having reason beyond reasonable reaction to hate America and American troops, I shudder to think……


Video below explains much better than my grasping at words.  Please watch the video.   Read more at the news source, The Real News Network  here

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Must our sons and daughters defends us by mindless killing?

Excerpt from Article in Common Dreams:

Soldiers of Conscience: Opposing the Iraq War

by Jessica Mosby

The new film Soldiers of Conscience documents soldiers who, during the middle of their deployments in Iraq, became conscientious objectors. The documentary, which premiers on PBS as part of thePoint of View series this week, is not 86 minutes of liberal-biased, anti-war propaganda; it is a very thoughtful exploration of the moral debate about killing during times of war. Filmmakers Gary Weimberg and Catherine Ryan made Soldiers of Conscience with cooperation from the United States Army.

The ethical dilemma that anchors the film is blatantly stated in the first few minutes - "At some point, every soldier has to face the question: Will I be able to kill another human being in combat?" Until recent wars most soldiers were not willing to kill; during WWII the military found that 75 percent of combat soldiers did not fire at the enemy when given the opportunity. "Reflexive fire training" - a technique now taught during basic training wherein firing a weapon becomes second nature - has increased firing rates to almost 90 percent.


Photo of mother at gravesite referenced by Colin Powell endorsement of Barack Obama


The photo Colin Powell referenced in his endorsement of Barack Obama.  The photo of mother at her son's gravesite, a young man, 20 years old, killed in Iraq, awarded Bronze Star and Purple Heart.  Emblem on his gravesite is not the Christian cross, the Jewish Star of David, but the Muslim Crescent and Star.  Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, Cpl., U.S. Army, Operation Iraqi Freedom, was an American who was 14 at the time of 911.  He waited until he was of age to enlist in military to serve his country (United States of America) and he gave his life for his country...the United States of America.  

excerpt from the transcript of Colin Powell endorsement speech on Meet The Press today

I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine.  It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.  And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son's grave.  And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone.  And it gave his awards--Purple Heart, Bronze Star--showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death.  He was 20 years old. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn't have a Christian cross, it didn't have the Star of David, it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith.  And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey.  He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life.  Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourself in this way.  And John McCain is as nondiscriminatory as anyone I know.  But I'm troubled about the fact that, within the party, we have these kinds of expressions.

Video of Colin Powell's endorsement speech of Barack Obama at Meet the Press today.

There is much to be mined from Colin Powell's speech that might resonate more strongly with others.  Colin Powell, with this reference, eloquenty elevated a truth and reality of the constancy of our country's relationship to the Iraq war.  I wanted to take a moment to share in elegance that truth, that reality, amidst all the background noise of the Presidential campaign.

It is not useful for me to editorialize or restate using my lesser words that which Colin Powell has brought into perspective with his own words.  I hope, readers, you will take time to listen to Colin Powell and hear the words for yourselves.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Nixed - best plan to kill Bin Laden recalls Delta Force Commander; 60 Minutes Oct 2008

Tora Bora - you've heard of it, right? No! Well I have heard it, remember it when the media was reporting on the war in Aghanistan to get the leader of Al Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden, believed to be the orchestrater of the attacks on the the twin towers of The World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001. I remember how it was more a 'blurb' in the media reporting and then media went onto report other things. I wanted to shout, wait, stop, back that up, what is that about our military being so near to capturing Bin Laden and being told not to proceed?

I would read articles, op-eds about Tora Bora in the years that followed (google Tora Bora). But it didn't quite ever come up again in the media as something in need of deeper investigation. Ah, but wasn't that true of so many things during that time period. A shaking, quaking media, either terrified or fooling themselves into believing the Bush Administration talking points they were fed was part of national security and oh - that whole 'patriotic'/not patriotic thing that went on in those early years.

'60 Minutes' segment, October 2008, titled 'Elite Officer Recalls Bin Laden Hunt, Delta Force Commander Says The Best Plan To Kill The Al Qaeda Leader Was Nixed'.

Shortly after 9/11, the Pentagon ordered a top secret team of American commandos into Afghanistan with a single, simple order: kill Osama bin Laden. It was America's best chance to eliminate the leader of al Qaeda. The inside story of exactly what happened in that mission, and how close it came to its objective has never been told until now.

The man you are about to meet was the officer in command, leading a team from the U.S. Army's mysterious Delta Force - a unit so secret, it's often said Delta doesn't exist. But you are about to see Delta's operators in action.

Why would the mission commander break his silence after seven years? He told 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley that most everything he has read in the media about his mission is wrong and now he wants to set the record straight.

(hat tip for getting my attention to this story goes to jimstaro post at VetVoice)

Monday, October 06, 2008

Casulties may never be known, as is the case in every conflict, especially an Invasion by another Country.

Read the entire article by jimstaro at Docudharma

HONORING THE FALLEN: US Military KIA, Iraq/Afghanistan - September 2008
There have been 4,491 coalition deaths -- 4,177 Americans, 2 Australians, 1 Azerbaijani, 176 Britons, 13 Bulgarians, 1 Czech, 7 Danes, 2 Dutch, 2 Estonians, 1 Fijian, 5 Georgians, 1 Hungarian, 33 Italians, 1 Kazakh, 1 Korean, 3 Latvian, 22 Poles, 3 Romanians, 5 Salvadoran, 4 Slovaks, 11 Spaniards, 2 Thai and 18 Ukrainians -- in the war in Iraq as of October 3, 2008, according to a CNN count. { Graphical breakdown of casualties }. The list below is the names of the soldiers, Marines, airmen, sailors and Coast Guardsmen whose deaths have been reported by their country's governments. The list also includes seven employees of the U.S. Defense Department. At least 30,680 U.S. troops have been wounded in action, according to the Pentagon. View casualties in the war in Afghanistan.

HONORING THE FALLEN: US Military KIA, Iraq/Afghanistan - September 2008

Pfc. Christopher A. Bartkiewicz, 25, of Dunfermline, Ill., died Sept. 30 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his dismounted patrol using small arms fire. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment

Pfc. Christopher T. Fox 21 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division Memphis, Tennessee Died of wounds suffered when he encountered small-arms fire while on patrol in Adhamiya, Iraq, on September 29, 2008

Pfc. Jamel A. Bryant 22 40th Engineer Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division Belleville, Illinois Died in Baghdad, Iraq, of injuries sustained in a vehicle accident while on patrol in Wahida, Iraq, on September 27, 2008

Staff Sgt. Ronald Phillips Jr. 33 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division Conway, South Carolina Died of wounds suffered when his vehicle encountered a roadside bomb in Bahbahani, Iraq, on September 25, 2008

Capt. Michael J. Medders 25 Ohio 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment Died of wounds suffered when a suicide bomber detonated a vest during operations in Jisr Naft, Iraq, on September 24, 2008

1st Lt. Thomas J. Brown 26 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division  Burke, Virginia  Died of wounds suffered when his patrol came under small-arms fire during dismounted operations in Salman Park, Iraq, on September 23, 2008

Staff Sgt. Matthew J. Taylor 25 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) Charleston, South Carolina Died of wounds suffered when he received small-arms fire during dismounted operations in Baghdad, Iraq, on September 21, 2008

Chief Warrant Officer Corry A. Edwards 38 2nd Battalion, 149th Aviation Regiment, 36th Combat Aviation Brigade, Texas Army National Guard Kennedale, Texas One of seven soldiers killed when the CH-47 Chinook helicopter they were in crashed near Tallil, Iraq, on September 18, 2008

Sgt. Daniel M. Eshbaugh 43 2nd Battalion, 149th Aviation Regiment, 36th Combat Aviation Brigade, Oklahoma National Guard Norman, Oklahoma One of seven soldiers killed when the CH-47 Chinook helicopter they were in crashed near Tallil, Iraq, on September 18, 2008

Sgt. Anthony L. Mason 37 2nd Battalion, 149th Aviation Regiment, 36th Combat Aviation Brigade, Texas Army National Guard Springtown, Texas One of seven soldiers killed when the CH-47 Chinook helicopter they were in crashed near Tallil, Iraq, on September 18, 2008

1st Sgt. Julio C. Ordonez 54 2nd Battalion, 149th Aviation Regiment, 36th Combat Aviation Brigade, Texas Army National Guard San Antonio, Texas One of seven soldiers killed when the CH-47 Chinook helicopter they were in crashed near Tallil, Iraq, on September 18, 2008

Chief Warrant Officer Brady J. Rudolf 37 2nd Battalion, 149th Aviation Regiment, 36th Combat Aviation Brigade, Oklahoma National Guard Oklahoma City, Oklahoma One of seven soldiers killed when the CH-47 Chinook helicopter they were in crashed near Tallil, Iraq, on September 18, 2008

Cpl. Michael E. Thompson 23  2nd Battalion, 149th Aviation Regiment, 36th Combat Aviation Brigade, Oklahoma National Guard Harrah, Oklahoma One of seven soldiers killed when the CH-47 Chinook helicopter they were in crashed near Tallil, Iraq, on September 18, 2008

1st Lt. Robert Vallejo II 28 2nd Battalion, 149th Aviation Regiment, 36th Combat Aviation Brigade, Texas Army National Guard Richland Hills, Texas One of seven soldiers killed when the CH-47 Chinook helicopter they were in crashed near Tallil, Iraq, on September 18, 2008

Pfc. Leonard J. Gulczynski I 19  610th Engineer Support Company, 14th Engineer Battalion, 555th Engineer Brigade Carol Stream, Illinois Died of injuries sustained when his vehicle was involved in an accident in Baghdad, Iraq, on September 17, 2008

Capt. Darrick D. Wright 37 926th Engineer Brigade Nashville, Tennessee Died of a non-combat related illness in Baghdad, Iraq, on September 17, 2008

Lt. Col. Ralph J. Marino 46 U.S. Army Central Command Houston, Pennsylvania Died of a non-combat related illness at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, on September 14, 2008

Staff Sgt. Darris J. Dawson 24 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division   Pensacola, Florida One of two soliders killed during a non-hostile incident in Tunnis, Iraq, on September 14, 2008

Sgt. Wesley R. Durbin 26 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division Hurst, Texas One of two soliders killed during a non-hostile incident in Tunnis, Iraq, on September 14, 2008

Chaplain (Col.) Sidney J. Marceaux Jr. 69 Warrior Transition Brigade, Walter Reed Army Medical Center Beaumont, Texas Died of a non-combat related illness at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington D.C., on September 14, 2008

Sgt. 1st Class Daniel R. Sexton 53 164th Military Police Company Wentzville, Missouri Died of injuries sustained in a non-combat related incident at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, on September 10, 2008

Pvt. Jordan P. P. Thibeault 22 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division South Jordan, Utah Died of injuries sustained in a non-combat related incident at Forward Operating Base Hammer, Iraq, on September 5, 2008

Sgt. Kenneth W. Mayne 29 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division Fort Benning, Georgia One of two soldiers killed when their vehicle encountered a roadside bomb in Baghdad, Iraq, on September 4, 2008

Pfc. Bryan R. Thomas 22 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division Battle Creek, Michigan One of two soldiers killed when their vehicle encountered a roadside bomb in Baghdad, Iraq, on September 4, 2008

Pfc. Patrick W. May 22 Division Special Troops Battalion, 10th Mountain Division   Jamestown, New York Died of injuries suffered from a non-combat related incident in Baghdad, Iraq, on September 2, 2008
Afghanistan - The Still Forgotten War - and The Third Front Pakistan

There have been 977 coalition deaths -- 605 Americans, 6 Australians, 120 Britons, 97 Canadians, 3 Czech, 16 Danes, 17 Dutch, 3 Estonians, 1 Finn, 22 French, 23 Germans, 2 Hungarian, 12 Italians, 1 Latvian, 1 Lithuanian, 1 NATO/ISAF, 3 Norwegians, 8 Poles, 2 Portuguese, 8 Romanians, 1 South Korean, 23 Spaniards, 2 Swedes -- in the war on terror as of October 3, 2008, according to a CNN count. Below are the names of the soldiers, Marines, airmen and sailors whose deaths have been reported by their country's governments. The troops died in support of the U.S.-led Operation Enduring Freedom or were part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. At least 2,490 U.S. personnel have been wounded in action, according to the Pentagon. 

September 2008

Capt. Richard G. Cliff, Jr.29 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group Mount Pleasant, South Carolina One of three soldiers killed when the vehicle they were in encountered a roadside bomb during mounted operations in Yakchal, Afghanistan on September 29, 2008

Sgt. 1st Class Jamie S. Nicholas 32 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group Maysel, West Virginia One of three soldiers killed when the vehicle they were in encountered a roadside bomb during mounted operations in Yakchal, Afghanistan on September 29, 2008

Sgt. 1st Class Gary J. Vasquez 33 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group Round Lake, Illinois One of three soldiers killed when the vehicle they were in encountered a roadside bomb during mounted operations in Yakchal, Afghanistan on September 29, 2008

Sgt. William E. Hasenflu 38 1st Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division Bradenton, Florida Died from wounds suffered when his unit was ambushed by enemy forces using small arms fire in the Jaji District of Paktia province, Afghanistan, on September 28, 2008

Cpl. Maj. Alessandro Caroppo 23 8th Reggimento Bersaglieri (8th Bersaglieri Regiment) San Pietro Vernotico, Italy   Died of natural causes in Herat, Afghanistan, on September 21, 2008

Staff Sgt. Nathan M. Cox 32 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division Walcott, Iowa One of two soldiers killed when their vehicle encountered a roadside bomb in the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan, on September 20, 2008

Capt. Bruno Giancarlo de Solenni 32 Joint Forces Headquarters, Element Training Team, Oregon Army National Guard Crescent City, California Died of wounds sustained when a roadside bomb exploded near his vehicle in Kandahar, Afghanistan, on September 20, 2008

Pvt. Joseph F. Gonzales 18 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division Tucson, Arizona One of two soldiers killed when their vehicle encountered a roadside bomb in the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan, on September 20, 2008

Cryptologic Technician Third Class Petty Officer Matthew J. O'Bryant 22 Navy Information Operations Command Maryland Duluth, Georgia Died in the bombing of the Mariott Hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan, on September 20, 2008

Maj. Rodolfo I. Rodriguez 34 86th Construction & Training Squadron El Paso, Texas Died of wounds suffered from a homemade bomb in Islamabad, Pakistan, on September 20, 2008

Sgt. Jerome C. Bell Jr. 29 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force Auburn, New York Died while supporting combat operations in Farah province, Afghanistan, on September 19, 2008

Staff Sgt. Brandon W. Farley 30 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division Grand Prairie, Texas  Died of wounds sustained when his mounted patrol was attacked by enemy forces using small arms and rocket-propelled grenades in Able Monti, Afghanistan, on September 18, 2008

Sgt. Joshua W. Harris 21 2nd Battalion 122nd Field Artillery, Illinois Army National Guard   Romeoville, Illinois One of four soldiers killed when their vehicle encountered a roadside bomb in Gerdia Seria, Afghanistan, on September 17, 2008

Capt. Bruce E. Hays 42 Wyoming Joint Forces Headquarters, Wyoming Army National Guard Cheyenne, Wyoming One of four soldiers killed when their vehicle encountered a roadside bomb in Gerdia Seria, Afghanistan, on September 17, 2008

1st Lt. Mohsin A. Naqvi 26 1st Battalion, 11th Infantry Newburgh, New York One of four soldiers killed when their vehicle encountered a roadside bomb in Gerdia Seria, Afghanistan, on September 17, 2008

Staff Sgt. Jason A. Vazquez 24 2nd Battalion 122nd Field Artillery, Illinois Army National Guard Chicago, Illinois One of four soldiers killed when their vehicle encountered a roadside bomb in Gerdia Seria, Afghanistan, on September 17, 2008

Lance Cpl. Nicky Mason 26 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment Aveley, Essex, England Died as a result of an explosion during a routine patrol near Kajaki in Helmand province, Afghanistan, on September 13, 2008

Pvt. Jason Lee Rawstron 23 Company C, 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment   Lancashire, England Killed when his patrol were engaged in an exchange of fire near Forward Operating Base Gibraltar in Helmand province, Afghanistan, on September 12, 2008

Chief Petty Officer Jason Richard Freiwald 30 Naval Special Warfare Development Group Armada, Michigan Died on September 12, 2008, from injuries sustained during combat operations in Afghanistan on September 11, 2008

Senior Chief Petty Officer John Wayne Marcum 34 Naval Special Warfare Development Group Flushing, Michigan Died September 12, 2008, from injuries sustained during combat operations in Afghanistan on September 11, 2008

Pvt. Michael W. Murdock 22 1st Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division Chocowinity, North Carolina Died of wounds suffered when he was struck by enemy fire at Combat Outpost Lybert at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, on September 11, 2008

Chief Warrant Officer Michael Slebodnik 39 2nd Battalion, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division Gibsonia, Pennsylvania Died of wounds suffered when the aircraft he was piloting received enemy fire near Forward Operating Base Nagil, Afghanistan, on September 11, 2008

Warrant Officer Class 2 Gary O'Donnell 40 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps Edinburgh, Scotland Killed when a roadside bomb detonated in Musa Qaleh in Helmand province, Afghanistan, on September 10, 2008

1st Lt. Nicholas A. Madrazo 25  Headquarters Battery, 12th Marines, 3rd Marine Division, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force  Bothell, Washington Died while supporting combat operations in Parwan province, Afghanistan, on September 9, 2008

Capt. Jesse Melton III 29 Headquarters Battery, 12th Marines, 3rd Marine Division, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force  Randallstown, Maryland   Died while supporting combat operations in Parwan province, Afghanistan, on September 9, 2008

Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Eichmann A. Strickland 23 Combat Service Support Det. 36, Arlington, Washington Killed when the vehicle he was driving hit a roadside bomb in Afghnya Valley, Afghanistan, on September 9, 2008

Pfc. Jos ten Brinke 21 41 Pantsergeniebataljon (41st Armored Engineering Battalion) Rekken, Netherlands  Killed when a roadside bomb detonated 12 miles (19 km) north of Tarin Kowt in Uruzgan province, Afghanistan, on September 7, 2008

Sgt. Prescott Shipway 35 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Saskatoon, Canada Killed when his armored vehicle struck a roadside bomb during a security patrol in the Panjwayii district of Kandahar province, Afghanistan, on September 7, 2008

Pvt. Michael R. Dinterman 18 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division Littlestown, Pennsylvania Died of wounds suffered when he received enemy fire while on dismounted patrol at Oustpost Restrepo, Kunar Province, Afghanistan, on September 6, 2008

Spc. Marques I. Knight 24 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division San Juan Capistrano, California Died of wounds suffered when received small-arms fire while on dismounted patrol in Aliabad, Afghanistan, on September 6, 2008

Ranger Justin James Cupples 29 Company C, 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment County Cavan, Ireland Killed when a roadside bomb detonated during a foot patrol in Sangin in northern Helmand province, Afghanistan, on September 4, 2008

Pvt. Vincent C. Winston Jr. 22 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division St. Louis, Missouri Died of wounds suffered when his vehicle encountered a roadside bomb in Afghanistan on September 4, 2008

Cpl. Andrew Paul Grenon 23 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Windsor, Canada One of three Canadian soldiers killed after an insurgent attack on their armored vehicle during a security patrol in the Zharey district of Kandahar province, Afghanistan, on September 3, 2008

Pvt. Chadwick James Horn 21 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Calgary, Canada One of three Canadian soldiers killed after an insurgent attack on their armored vehicle during a security patrol in the Zharey district of Kandahar province, Afghanistan, on September 3, 2008

Cpl. Michael James Alexander Seggie 21 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Calgary, Canada One of three Canadian soldiers killed after an insurgent attack on their armored vehicle during a security patrol in the Zharey district of Kandahar province, Afghanistan, on September 3, 2008

Sgt. 1st Class Gregory A. Rodriguez 35 K-9 unit of the 527th Military Police Company, 709th Military Police Battalion, 18th MP Brigade Weidman, Michigan  Died of wounds suffered when his mounted patrol came under small-arms fire in Ana Kalay, Afghanistan, on September 2, 2008

Civilian Casulties - Iraq

Over a million {*1,273,378} Iraqis are estimated to have been killed as a result of the U.S.-led invasion and occupation. Learn More and Take Action» 
*Estimate, click for explaination

John Hopkins School of Public Health { October 11, 2006 report } puts the count at 650,000, with a range from 400,000 to 900,000.

Exact Count of Civilian Casulties may never be known, as is the case in every conflict, especially an Invasion by another Country. For it is the Innocent Civilians and those Defending their Countries {of which All would be counted if this land were ever invaded} who suffer the most, during and long after!

Iraq Refugees UNHCR: UNHCR Global Appeal 2008-2009 - Iraq Situation 
Filetype: PDF (116k)

All the Deaths, Maimings and Destruction are the Blood on All Our Hands, No One can escape the Guilt!

As Of October 5,  2008, There Are 89 Pages w/5 'Silent Honor Rolls' Each, Number Of Casulties Varies With Each 'Silent Honor Roll'; Many now have numbers in the teens and twenties, click on graphic.

A Nations Security Does Not Mean A Nation Sets An Example Of Creating More Hatreds And Enemies By
'Wars Of Choice' 

, Nor By Installing And Supporting Dictators, It Leads By The Example Of Peace And Prevention, Especially As A Democracy, Gaining Friends And Supporters, And Defends With Force Only When All Other Options Are Exhausted

97 percent of U.S. deaths in Iraq have occurred after George W. Bush declared an end to "major combat." 
"Mission Accomplished!"

" What does it matter to the dead, the orphan, and the homeless whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?" 
- Mohandas K. Gandhi

The Failed Policies will Haunt Us and the World for Decades!!

Bill would open military funerals to media

Rep. Walter B. Jones, R-N.C., said Friday that legislation he co-sponsored this week would highlight the sacrifices made by members of the military.
And To Think We, the United States,  Need A Congressional Bill For The Above???

President George W. Bush's statement in March 2006 after 3 yrs of war "a future President will have to resolve war in Iraq"


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