Friday, July 31, 2009

Three Good Reasons To Liquidate Our Empire and 10 Ways to Do It | World | AlterNet

Three Good Reasons To Liquidate Our Empire and 10 Ways to Do It | World | AlterNet:

"However ambitious President Barack Obama's domestic plans, one unacknowledged issue has the potential to destroy any reform efforts he might launch. Think of it as the 800-pound gorilla in the American living room: our longstanding reliance on imperialism and militarism in our relations with other countries and the vast, potentially ruinous global empire of bases that goes with it. The failure to begin to deal with our bloated military establishment and the profligate use of it in missions for which it is hopelessly inappropriate will, sooner rather than later, condemn the United States to a devastating trio of consequences: imperial overstretch, perpetual war, and insolvency, leading to a likely collapse similar to that of the former Soviet Union."

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Website helps navigate New GI Bill Benefits

GI Bill
From IAVA: "Combat can be complicated. Paying for college when you get home shouldn't be.

Last year, you helped us pass an historic new GI Bill, which will give two million veterans the chance to go to school."

"Now that bill is going into effect, but there are lots of questions" which their ne website is designed to answer.

Recruitment still has it problems

Daily Kos: Marine Recruiter Drove Autistic Man from Group Home to Enlist

Joshua Fry was first diagnosed with autism at the age of 3 and had taken prescribed psychotropic drugs for years. When he turned 18, the courts determined him unable to care for himself or enter into contracts on his own behalf, and his grandmother was granted limited conservatorship.

On Jan. 4, 2008, a Marine recruiter drove to a group home for the mentally disabled where Joshua Fry was living, and brought him to the recruiting station to enlist. Fry became one of the few, the proud, then spent a year locked up in the brig at Camp Pendleton.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Can we end Terrorism with War? Look at the Numbers!

RAND | Monographs | How Terrorist Groups End: Lessons for Countering al Qa'ida

Percentage of 648 terrorist groups that ended between 1968 and 2006 because they entered the political process: 43

Percentage of terrorist groups that ended through police work and intelligence gathering: 40

Percentage of terrorist groups that ended due to military force: 7 [9]

Monday, July 27, 2009

We Weren't Supposed to Have to Fight It Over Here

Colorado Springs Gazette, CO:

"Before the murders started, Anthony Marquez’s mom dialed his sergeant at Fort Carson to warn that her son was poised to kill.

It was February 2006, and the 21-year-old soldier had not been the same since being wounded and coming home from Iraq eight months before. He had violent outbursts and thrashing nightmares. He was devouring pain pills and drinking too much. He always packed a gun.

(A word of caution about the language and content of this story: Please see Editor's Note)

“It was a dangerous combination. I told them he was a walking time bomb,” said his mother, Teresa Hernandez.

His sergeant told her there was nothing he could do. Then, she said, he started taunting her son, saying things like, “Your mommy called. She says you are going crazy.”

Eight months later, the time bomb exploded when her son used a stun gun to repeatedly shock a small-time drug dealer in Widefield over an ounce of marijuana, then shot him through the heart."

Sunday, July 26, 2009

52 percent of U.S. soldiers wounded in Iraq, Afghanistan diagnosed with TBI - The Mainichi Daily News

52 percent of U.S. soldiers wounded in Iraq, Afghanistan diagnosed with TBI - The Mainichi Daily News

WASHINGTON -- Some 52 percent of soldiers severely injured in Iraq and Afghanistan who have come to the U.S. Army's largest hospital for treatment have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries (TBI), an internal study has found.

The results of the study, carried out by Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, also showed a steep increase -- from 33 percent -- in TBI cases since the end of 2008.

Diagnoses of TBI are rising steadily as arrangements for TBI checks improve, while at the same time improvised explosive device (IED) attacks -- the primary cause of TBI -- in Afghanistan are intensifying, with 46 U.S. soldiers killed by the homemade bombs so far this year. Casualties from these attacks flow into Walter Reed, which provides treatment to badly wounded soldiers unavailable anywhere else.

According to DVBIC at Walter Reed, since January 2003 -- just before the beginning of the Iraq War -- 52 percent of soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan by bombs and treated at the hospital have been diagnosed with TBI. According to figures uncovered by the Mainichi, this would mean the number of diagnosed TBI cases has risen to well over 10,000 since the end of 2008, when the figure stood around 9,100. Furthermore, in more than 90 percent of those diagnosed with TBI, the patient had no visible head injuries.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Illegal and immoral wars under Bush and under Obama

The Rag Blog: David Zeiger : This is Where We Take Our Stand

For Those Who Would Judge Me from Displaced Films on Vimeo.

I am more than pleased to announce to Rag Blog readers that the web series produced by Bestor Cram and me about last year's Winter Soldier Iraq and Afghanistan Investigation is finally starting. Throughout the summer we will be posting six episodes of This is Where We Take Our Stand, one every two weeks, at Episode one is available now, along with the trailer for the series, and I want to urge all of you to not only watch but post, promote, and help spread the series throughout the internet.

Why this series, and why now? you may ask. Good question. Last year we spent three months following and filming the complicated, intense and emotional process of bringing two hundred and fifty veterans and active duty soldiers to Washington, DC, to expose the realities of America's occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan from their own experience. With strong support from the antiwar and progressive funding community, we hoped and expected to have a film available in six months. But surprise! Along came Barack Obama and suddenly that support was dust in the wind. I won't go into details -- I think you know the reasons.

In my view, there is no better time than now to present this series. In the name of "not looking backward," the very policies and strategic goals put in place by the Bush administration in the Gulf region stand fundamentally unchallenged and unchanged by the Obama administration. Am I overstating the case here? Yes, the rhetoric is different, and Obama has even called the invasion of Iraq a mistake. A mistake?! If it's a "mistake," that means the goals are valid and righteous, they're just being pursued with the wrong tactics-as Obama has repeatedly said in the name of "supporting the troops."

Well, I beg to differ. At the risk of stating the obvious, if these wars were illegal and immoral under Bush, by what logic are they not illegal and immoral under Obama?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Echoes of "Bomb. Bomb Iran" Again

The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

They never give up do they?

Those Magical Neocon Bombs

John Bolton on Fred Hiatt's op-ed page today writes:

Significantly, the uprising in Iran also makes it more likely that an effective public diplomacy campaign could be waged in the country to explain to Iranians that [an Israeli strike] is directed against the regime, not against the Iranian people. This was always true, but it has become even more important to make this case emphatically, when the gulf between the Islamic revolution of 1979 and the citizens of Iran has never been clearer or wider. Military action against Iran’s nuclear program and the ultimate goal of regime change can be worked together consistently.

Ackerman pounces:

Yes, the Israeli bombs will only kill the bad Iranians. When patriotic Iranians of the opposition see Israeli F-16s raining death from above on Iranian targets, Bolton actually expects them to think, “Boom shack-a-lacka! Here come our Israeli liberators! Let them bomb whatever they like, since even though Mir Hussein Moussavi supports a nuclear program as part of a consensus opinion, I believe Israeli propaganda that says it has our best interests at heart! That’ll show Mahmoud Ahmadinejad! Did you hear that, Aunt Marjam? Aunt Marjam…?”

If there’s one thing that a Bush official should understand, it’s that people under attack from a foreign enemy don’t rush to embrace their more moderate leaders.