Showing posts with label General David Petraeus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label General David Petraeus. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Gens. David Petraeus and Stanley McCrystal Join Forces on Gun Control

We elect folks to not just get a paycheck in Washington but to earn their pay. When they toss their hands up in the air and refuse to actually find answers, we're paying them for doing nothing. 

Folks have a right to own guns but others have a right to live without them. So when will Congress actually think about that and do something?
Gun control group enlists Petraeus and other vets to help curb violence
Stars and Stripes
Alex Horton
June 15, 2016

“Veterans are folks that understand firearms and weapons. These are people who swore an oath to defend the Constitution, which includes the Second Amendment,” Kelly said. "At the same time, we have a problem with more than 30,000 people dying from gun violence and have to act.”

Retired Gen. David Petraeus at a Senate hearing in September, 2015.


SAN ANTONIO — A group of former senior military officials and veterans, including Gens. David Petraeus and Stanley McCrystal, have launched a veteran-focused gun law initiative. 

The initiative, Veterans Coalition for Common Sense, is spearheaded by Capt. Mark Kelly, a former Navy combat pilot and astronaut whose wife, Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Ariz., was the target of an assassination attempt in 2011.

The couple jointly formed Americans for Responsible Solutions, a gun control advocacy group in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut shootings in 2013 that left 27 dead, most of them children.

The new initiative splinters from that group and mobilizes veterans to urge lawmakers and stringent gun enthusiasts to rethink gun control access for domestic abusers and the mentally ill, in addition to people under FBI investigation, the group’s spokesman and advisers said Wednesday.
read more here

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Ret. General Petraeus Will Keep 4th Star

Pentagon won't demote Petraeus for sharing information
Tom Vanden Brook
January 30, 2016

WASHINGTON — Retired General David Petraeus will not be docked one star for his conviction on charges of leaking classified information to his biographer and former lover, according to a letter sent by the Pentagon to the Senate and obtained by USA TODAY.

Stephen Hedger, a top official for legislative affairs, wrote Friday to Sen. John McCainsaying that Defense Secretary Ash Carter considers the Petraeus matter closed, according to the letter, which was obtained by USA TODAY from the Senate.

A Defense department official told USA TODAY on Saturday that Carter accepted the Army's recommendation that Petraeus not be sanctioned with demotion. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the issue.

Carter agreed with the findings of an Army review that recommended Petraeus be allowed to maintain his four-star rank in retirement, the official said. Holding that rank, while prestigious, also allows him to collect a pension of around $220,000. Loss of a star could have cost him tens of thousands of dollars a year.
read more here

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Gen. David Petraeus Gets Probation Plus Fine

Petraeus sentenced: 2 years probation; $100K fine 
By Theodore Schleifer
 April 23, 2015
That rebranding is made easier thanks to a plea deal that allowed Petraeus to escape jail time by paying $40,000 and serving two years on probation. But a federal judge on Thursday in Charlotte, North Carolina instead ordered him to pay $100,000.
Washington (CNN)
Gen. David Petraeus, once a widely celebrated military leader who oversaw operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and was touted as a potential presidential candidate, was sentenced to serve two years on probation and to pay an $100,000 fine on Thursday for sharing classified information with his biographer and lover, Paula Broadwell.

Petraeus, who resigned as director of the Central Intelligence Agency in November 2012 after the relationship became public, avoided jail time as part of a plea deal. Some of his supporters believe that he can recover his reputation -- and argue in some ways, he already has. "I don't want to wallow in 2012, and luckily neither has he," said Michael O'Hanlon, a close friend of Petraeus and a scholar at the Brookings Institution. read more here

Thursday, November 7, 2013

General Petraeus advised downgrading Swenson’s Medal of Honor

Petraeus advised downgrading Swenson’s Medal of Honor bid, probe finds
McClatchy DC
Jonathan S. Landay
Published: November 7, 2013 Updated 54 minutes ago

WASHINGTON — Retired Army Gen. David Petraeus recommended that the Medal of Honor nomination of former Army Capt. William Swenson be downgraded to a lower award, according to a Pentagon investigation that failed to resolve how Swenson’s papers then disappeared instead of being sent up the chain of command.

The review by the Defense Department’s Office of the Inspector General was completed just weeks after President Barack Obama on Oct. 15 conferred on Swenson the nation’s highest military award for courage – based on a duplicate file – nearly four years after he was recommended for the award for his actions in a 2009 battle in Afghanistan.

Swenson, 34, of Seattle, expressed disappointment that the investigation didn’t hold any individual accountable for the mishandling of his original nomination.

“An institution can’t heal itself unless it can identify what its weaknesses are, and its weaknesses in this case is an individual,” Swenson said in a telephone interview. “The investigation failed to meet the standard of a military investigation in which individuals are identified.

“Behind every single institutional failure, there’s a name.”
read more here

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Retired General David Petraeus joins TEAM RUBICON

Retired General David Petraeus joins TEAM RUBICON
TR Nation

Almost one month ago, an EF-5 tornado hit the city of Moore, OK, leaving catastrophic damage in its wake. As Moore picked itself up from the rubble, a tremendous outpouring of support came in from across the country.

Team Rubicon was on the ground the very next day, and as we built out the framework for the long-term recovery efforts, we saw what kind of impact TR Nation would have on Operation: Starting Gun.

Four weeks later, we've collected 2,374 damage assessments, completed over 250 work orders on damaged structures, and deployed over 300 veteran volunteers from all ten regions. Because of your support, we estimate TR has saved the community roughly $1.1 million in demolition and debris removal costs.

And today, we're pleased to announce that Team Rubicon is adding General David Petraeus USA (Ret.) to our Board of Advisors. Between his time in uniform and as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, General Petraeus served our Nation for over 38 years. By joining our Board of Advisors, General Petraeus is making good on his promise to help our veterans continue their service and ease the transition from military to civilian life. His ability to develop and implement radical strategies will serve Team Rubicon greatly as we attempt to revolutionize disaster response and veteran reintegration.

There is still a lot of work to be done in Moore. Your continued support will put more volunteers on the ground and provide us the equipment needed to help Moore rebuild. Can you help?

We couldn't do this without you.

The Team

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Lt. Col. Mark Weber lost cancer battle

Soldier known for fight against cancer dies
ROSEMOUNT, Minn. — Lt. Col. Mark Weber, the Rosemount soldier who became an inspiration to many as he battled terminal cancer for nearly three years, died shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday, according to a post on his Caringbridge site.
By: Forum News Service
The Jamestown Sun
June 15, 2013

ROSEMOUNT, Minn. — Lt. Col. Mark Weber, the Rosemount soldier who became an inspiration to many as he battled terminal cancer for nearly three years, died shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday, according to a post on his Caringbridge site.

According to the post, he died at home surrounded by family and friends, hours after hospice doctors informed him the end was near.

Weber had gained international attention since his 2010 diagnosis of neuroendocrine cancer, which came shortly after he was selected to serve on the staff of Gen. David Petraeus in Afghanistan.
read more here

Monday, November 19, 2012

Did General Petraeus put US lives at risk with PC war doctrine?

US intelligence specialist: Petraeus put US lives at risk with PC war doctrine
Published: 19 November, 2012

Lieutenant Colonel John L. Cook was once a top counter-insurgency specialist trusted with the most sensitive missions, but his latest book, Afghanistan: The Perfect Failure, has turned him into the bĂȘte noir of the US military establishment.

Cook began his intelligence career in Vietnam, and his last assignment was four years in Afghanistan, where he oversaw the creation of the new local police force, until retiring in August this year.

While there he says he witnessed a new “politically correct” way of fighting that was meant to put a premium on the lives of local civilians, but instead paralyzed US soldiers and goaded the Taliban into ever more brazen operations. He also says that the Afghans’ lack of trust in their government means that US can never hope to win their hearts by supporting handpicked leaders in Kabul.

He lays much of the blame for US failures at the feet of General David Petraeus, who headed the US forces, first from Washington, and then directly on the ground, and established the rules of engagement.
read more here

Winning over their hearts and minds? Or just mindless danger? (AFP Photo / Tony Karumba)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Congress Wants Answers on Petraeus Affair

Congress Wants Answers on Petraeus Affair
Nov 12, 2012
Associated Press
by Anne Flaherty, Kimberly Dozier and Adam Goldman

WASHINGTON -- Members of Congress said Sunday they want to know more details about the FBI investigation that revealed an extramarital affair between ex-CIA Director David Petraeus and his biographer, questioning when the retired general popped up in the FBI inquiry, whether national security was compromised and why they weren't told sooner.

"We received no advance notice. It was like a lightning bolt," said Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who heads the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The FBI was investigating harassing emails sent by Petraeus biographer and girlfriend Paula Broadwell to a second woman. That probe of Broadwell's emails revealed the affair between Broadwell and Petraeus. The FBI contacted Petraeus and other intelligence officials, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper asked Petraeus to resign.

A senior U.S. military official identified the second woman as Jill Kelley, 37, who lives in Tampa, Florida, and serves as an unpaid social liaison to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, where the military's Central Command and Special Operations Command are located.
read more here

Thursday, August 16, 2012

General Petraeus's remarks require much reflection by our society

UPDATE August 24, 2012
A comment left on this post had a link (that's it, just a link) and I followed it instead of just deleting it. I am glad I did. had the link to the original article.
I Wrote This
AUGUST 5, 2012

Hello America, my name is Nick Palmisciano and I wrote the essay below, not General David Petraeus, “A Marine in Iraq”, General Schwarzkopf, any of the wounded warriors it’s been attributed to, or anyone else.

The order of events went something like this:

1) I was talking over with Tom Amenta, my COO, about how the world has changed over the years relative to military service. We had the Occupy Movement as the backdrop.

2) At the end of our conversation, I sat down and wrote this essay and posted it to Ranger Up.

3) The US Army reposted it on their Facebook page, which was a huge honor for me. It received tens of thousands of likes in a day. They attributed the post to me at the bottom. This was a huge honor for me as I felt I had addressed the feelings of many service members. I write a lot, but I had never touched a chord with our community the way I had with this one.

4)In the next few weeks and months I started receiving spam letters or seeing incorrect blog posts attributing this essay to various people. The Ranger Up fans did such a great job of correcting people that I didn’t get involved.
click the link for the rest of this.
If Nick Palmisciano wrote this powerful piece attributed to someone else, it should be corrected. So please share the update to anyone you shared the original article with.

Here are some more numbers before you read this. As of April 27, 2012, these are the numbers of disabled veterans.

VA Benefits and Health Care Utilization
8.574 million enrolled in the VA system
3.42 million receive Veterans Disability Compensation
1,448,000 OEF OIF Amputees as of 4/1/2012
513,589 Compensated for PTSD
General Petraeus's remarks require much reflection by our society.

Thanks to my fellow veterans:

I remember the day I found out I got into West Point. My mom actually showed up in the hallway of my high school and waited for me to get out of class. She was bawling her eyes out and apologizing that she had opened up my admission letter. She wasn't crying because it had been her dream for me to go there. She was crying because she knew how hard I'd worked to get in, how much I wanted to attend, and how much I wanted to be an infantry officer. I was going to get that opportunity. That same day two of my teachers took me aside and essentially told me The following:

“David, you're a smart guy. You don't have to join the military. You should go to college, instead.”

I could easily write a theme defending WestPoint and the military as I did that day, explaining that USMA is an elite institution, that separate from that it is actually statistically much harder to enlist in the military than it is to get admitted to college, that serving the nation is a challenge that all able-bodied men should at least consider for a host of reasons, but I won't.

What I will say is that when a 16 year-old kid is being told that attending West Point is going to be bad for his future then there is a dangerous disconnect in America, and entirely too many Americans have no idea what kind of burdens our military is bearing.

In World War II, 11.2% of the nation served in four (4) years.
During the Vietnam era, 4.3% served in twelve (12) years.
Since 2001, only 0.45% of our population has served in the Global War on Terror.
These are unbelievable statistics. Overtime, fewer and fewer people have shouldered more and more of the burden and it is only getting worse. Our troops were sent to war in Iraq by a Congress consisting of 10% veterans with only one person having a child in the military. Taxes did not increase to pay for the war. War bonds were not sold. Gas was not regulated. In fact, the average citizen was asked to sacrifice nothing, and has sacrificed nothing unless they have chosen to out of the goodness of their hearts. The only people who have sacrificed are the veterans and their families. The volunteers. The people who swore an oath to defend this nation.

You stand there, deployment after deployment and fight on. You've lost relationships, spent years of your lives in extreme conditions, years apart from kids you'll never get back, and beaten your body in a way that even professional athletes don't understand. Then you come home to a nation that doesn't understand. They don't understand suffering.

They don't understand sacrifice. They don't understand why we fight for them. They don't understand that bad people exist. They look at you like you're a machine - like something is wrong with you. You are the misguided one - not them.

When you get out, you sit in the college classrooms with political science teachers that discount your opinions on Iraq and Afghanistan because YOU WERE THERE and can't understand the macro issues they gathered from books, because of your bias. You watch TV shows where every vet has PTSD and the violent strain at that. Your Congress is debating your benefits, your retirement, and your pay, while they ask you to do more. But the amazing thing about you is that you all know this. You know your country will never pay back what you've given up.

You know that the populace at large will never truly understand or appreciate what you have done for them. Hell, you know that in some circles, you will be thought as less than normal for having worn the uniform.

Just that decision alone makes you part of an elite group. “Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few.” -Winston Churchill- Thank you to the 11.2% and 4.3% who have served and thanks to the 0.45% who continue to serve our Nation.

General David Petraeus
West Point Class 1974

Thursday, March 17, 2011

General Petraeus reveals that son served in Afghanistan

Petraeus reveals that son served in Afghanistan
– Wed Mar 16, 7:09 pm ET
WASHINGTON – Challenged by a congressman to "be honest" about how long American troops might have to fight in Afghanistan, Army Gen. David Petraeus revealed that he has a personal stake in ensuring that the U.S. war objectives are met — his son, Stephen, whose recent combat tour was kept "very quiet."

In an emotional exchange with Rep. Walter B. Jones, R-N.C., Petraeus said "if I ever felt that we couldn't achieve our objectives," he would be "very forthright" not only with his superiors in the military chain of command but also with President Barack Obama and members of the Congress.

Noting that Obama has said the U.S. will have combat troops out by the end of 2014, with the Afghan government in position to provide its own security, a skeptical Jones said he could imagine a senior military leader coming before Congress in 2015 and pleading for more time and more sacrifice.

"You know, 15, 16, 17 years, for God sakes, how much more can we take, how much more can we give treasure and blood?" Jones asked.

Petraeus replied: "I may not be at this table, probably won't be, in 2015, but I'll tell you that my son is in uniform, and Lieutenant Petraeus just completed a tour in Afghanistan, which thankfully we were able to keep very quiet, and left in November after serving as an infantry platoon leader. We're very proud of what he did. He thinks he was doing something very important."

His son, 2nd Lt. Stephen Petraeus, served in Afghanistan as a member of Alpha Company, 3rd Platoon, 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team.

At first I thought this was just one more of our elected suddenly saying that Afghanistan is not worth it. I was wrong. It seems that Congressman Jones has been saying something as serious as war needs serious debate for a long time.

Washington, D.C., Jun 16, 2006 - In a House vote today, Third District Representative Walter B. Jones (R-NC) registered a “present” vote on H. Res. 861, a resolution dealing with the ongoing conflict in Iraq and the Global War on Terror. The House vote followed yesterday’s full day of debate on the resolution.

“Without question, I fully support our nation’s efforts to win the Global War on Terror,” Congressman Jones said today. “And I, like all of my colleagues in Congress, will always support the brave men and women of our military.”

“What I have encouraged in the months leading up to this week’s debate was a day set aside for a wide-ranging discussion of our campaign in Iraq, including serious consideration of issues such as the status of Iraqi infrastructure, the Iraqi economy and the training of Iraqi troops.”

“I could not vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on H. Res. 861 today because a resolution to merely “declare that the United States will prevail” in a “noble struggle” misses the point. A ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote would have legitimized an effort to effectively avoid the subject,” Jones said.

“I have done everything in my ability, as one member of Congress, to encourage a serious debate – including an appearance with colleagues before the House Rules Committee to appeal for a less restrictive format for debate,” Jones said. “The House debate should have offered an opportunity to vote on a variety of proposals on what should be the way forward in Iraq. Unfortunately, we have yet to have that discussion or debate.”

“We owe it to the 130,000 men and women of our military who are serving in Iraq to have a serious discussion on a full range of issues – not just a political match with two parties retreating to their respective corners with prepared talking points and rhetoric. When the House of Representatives conducts a “debate” in which one side does nothing but launch an offensive attack and one side does nothing but defend, it is not what our men and women in uniform need.”

“It is disappointing that neither party has distinguished itself in its handling of this issue,” Jones said. “To some extent, both parties participating in this debate have unfortunately put their political interests above the interests of the troops.”

For additional information or to schedule an interview with Congressman Walter B. Jones please contact Kathleen Joyce at (202) 225-3415.

There was very little debate before troops were sent into Afghanistan in 2001 and even less debate about sending them into Iraq. The lives of the men and women sent should have been taken far more seriously just as taking care of them when they came home should have been planned out. It seems Jones cared. Did your congressman care or was it all about politics back then? Look them up and what their votes were and find their speeches to learn about what they really care about.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Petraeus issues guidance for Afghan contracting

Petraeus issues guidance for Afghan contracting
Without proper oversight, money could end up in hands of insurgents, general says


KABUL, Afghanistan — The NATO command has issued new guidelines for awarding billions of dollars worth of international contracts in Afghanistan, saying that without proper oversight the money could end up in the hands of insurgents and criminals, deepen corruption and undermine efforts to win the loyalty of the Afghan people at a critical juncture in the war.

The guidance, issued last week by Gen. David Petraeus and obtained Sunday by The Associated Press, was issued in response to concern that the military's own contracting procedures could be, in some cases, running counter to efforts on the battlefield.

The changes are aimed, in large part, at addressing complaints that ordinary Afghans have seen little change in their daily lives despite billions poured into their country since 2001.
read more here
Petraeus attempts to rein in Afghan war contract abuses

Monday, September 6, 2010

General Petraeus says troops will be at greater risk if Florida church burns Qurans

Petraeus Condemns U.S. Church's Plan to Burn Qurans

KABUL—The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan said the planned burning of Qurans on Sept. 11 by a Florida church could put the lives of American troops in danger and damage the war effort.

Gen. David Petraeus said the Taliban would exploit the demonstration for propaganda purposes, drumming up anger toward the U.S. and making it harder for allied troops to carry out their mission of protecting Afghan civilians.

"It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort," Gen. Petraeus said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. "It is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems. Not just here, but everywhere in the world we are engaged with the Islamic community."
go here for more
Petraeus Condemns U.S. Church Plan to Burn Qurans

Monday, November 3, 2008

Palin: Do Democrats think 'terrorists have become good guys'?

Dear Gov. Palin,
You have said some pretty terrible things during your campaign, because you fail to notice that you are not the top of the ticket, McCain is, but this is really the lowest a person can sink.

Maybe you don't care that while our troops are in Iraq and Afghanistan, billions of dollars has gone unaccounted for. Any idea what that kind of money could do for the wounded veterans standing in line to have their wounds treated or for the families who have to travel to be with them while giving up their jobs to do it? Ever once think of what that kind of money could have done to protect the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan with the proper equipment?

Billions more have gone to Halliburton, KBR and other defense contractors with no accountability. If you had bothered to read the reports out of the GAO, you'd know that. So much for watching out for tax payers money or the troops.

I happen to be a Democrat and unlike you, I have taken all of this very seriously. Most Americans have and we're really tired of people like you calling us terrorist supporters when we are trying to get answers out of politicians like you. We're tired of being called anti-military when we care about the lives sent, the reason they are sent, the plans they have to live with and what happens while they're gone just as much as we care about what happens to them when they come home. See, Sarah, we don't just care about the people in our own family, we care about all of them. That's the difference between Democratic elected and what the Republicans have become. They used to care as well. There was a time when the Republicans cared about the troops as much as they cared about the defense contractors, but those days are long gone. They all had the information and the time and the power to take care of all these wounded troops, but they didn't. They had a chance to take care of the tax payers who have to pay for all of this, but they didn't. The only people they wanted to take care of were the rich and corporations.

What are you going to say when the old news about General Petraeus and Secretary of Defense Gates want to talk with the Taliban? Are you going to call them terrorists too? Anti-military? Anti-American?

The cut in military spending is not cutting the military or their equipment or anything they need. It's cutting the wasted billions and holding contractors accountable. It's to stop spending money in Iraq when Iraqis have billions in surplus but have not problem bleeding our economy dry. It's about taking that money and investing it right here for our own people for a change. Too bad you and your supporters don't seem to care about any of this.

Palin: Do Democrats think 'terrorists have become good guys'?
Nick Juliano
Published: Monday November 3, 2008

With time running out, Sarah Palin has delivered what might be the most incendiary line of the entire presidential campaign.

Not content to just disagree with her opponents on policy, the Republican vice presidential nominee has accused Democrats of outright sympathizing with terrorists.

"What do they think? Do they think the terrorists have all the sudden become the good guys and changed their minds?" she asked a crowd in Jefferson City, Mo. "No, the terrorists still seek to destroy America and her allies and all that it is that we stand for: freedom, tolerance, and equality. The terrorists have not changed their minds."
go here for more and for video

Friday, August 22, 2008

Endorsing or enforcing faith within the military?

Is this endorsing or enforcing faith within the military? Big difference and both are wrong. I keep addressing the fact that there is much to be debated even within branches of the Christian faith, yet one is being pushed over all others. This is not just about pushing Christianity on the troops, which also insults the other faiths in the military, it insults the core of the individual.

There are many atheists, agnostics, you name it and they are still good people. There is a long list of reasons why a person does not believe in God or a Higher power or any other choice of faith and it is not up to us to tell them they have to belong to any of them in order to be a "good soldier" or even a good citizen.

I am a chaplain, not a member of the military and I have never served. I just married into it and was raised with it. I have also invested a lot of time in my faith. The point is, it's "my" faith. There are people who are truly blessed and comforted by their faith and that's a wonderful thing.

When the mind, body and spirit are all addressed when trying to heal PTSD, miracles happen. It does not matter what faith it is as long as there is a reconnection to it. Even those who have no particular faith at all are finding that their spiritual connection to something they always held helps. But this book is not about healing the individual according to their own faith. It's saying point blank that if someone is not a "believer" they are damaging the troops. For the General in charge to endorse this book, it slaps the troops in the face. Not only was it a mistake for him to endorse this book, it was wrong to top that off with pushing it. Faith is up to the person and their connection to God under the faith they believe in or not believing at all. It's up to them.

General Petraeus' Endorsement of Religious Book Draws Fire

Bryant Jourdan

Aug 21, 2008
August 20, 2008 - Gen. David Petraeus is used to controversy surrounding the war in Iraq, but his publicized thoughts on an Army chaplain's book for Soldiers put him squarely in the middle of the ongoing conflict over religious proselytizing in the U.S. military.

The book is "Under Orders: A Spiritual Handbook for Military Personnel," by Army Chaplain (Lt. Col.) William McCoy, and according to Petraeus' published endorsement of the work, "it should be in every rucksack for those times when soldiers need spiritual energy."

But the endorsement - which has spurred a demand by a watchdog group for Petraeus' dismissal and court martial on the grounds of establishing a religious requirement on troops - was a personal view never intended for publication, the book's author now says.

"In the process of securing … comments for recommending the book I believe there was a basic misunderstanding on my part that the comments were publishable," McCoy said in an Aug. 19 email to "This was my mistake."

In addition to Petraeus, Maj. Gen. Mark Hertling also is quoted plugging the book in press releases and advertisements and on the jacket.

"General Petraeus has, by his own hand, become a quintessential poster child of this fundamentalist Christian religious predation, via his unadulterated and shocking public endorsement of a book touting both Christian supremacy and exceptionalism," Weinstein told Aug. 16.

And by endorsing a book that argues only those who believe in God can fully contribute to the military mission or unit, Weinstein contends that Petraeus insults ""the integrity, character and veracity of approximately 21 percent of our armed forces members who choose not to follow any particular religious faith."
go here for more

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

After Deaths, U.S. Inspects Electric Work Done in Iraq

After Deaths, U.S. Inspects Electric Work Done in Iraq
Gen. David H. Petraeus told Congress of the new inspections while also disclosing that at least 13 American personnel had been electrocuted in Iraq since the war began.

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has ordered electrical inspections of all buildings in Iraq maintained by KBR, a major military contractor, after the electrocutions of several United States service members.

Gen. David H. Petraeus, the American commander in Iraq, told Congress of the new inspections while also disclosing that at least 13 Americans had been electrocuted in Iraq since the war began. Previously, the Pentagon said that 12 had been electrocuted. In addition to those killed, many more service members have received painful shocks, Army officials say.

General Petraeus’s written statement was made public on Monday afternoon by Senator Bob Casey, Democrat of Pennsylvania. The statement said that of the 13 Americans electrocuted, 10 were in the Army, 1 in the Marines, and 2 were contractors.

Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth, a Green Beret from Pennsylvania, died Jan. 2 when he stepped into a shower and was electrocuted at his base in Baghdad. His death prompted investigations this spring by Congress and the Pentagon’s inspector general into evidence that poor electrical work at facilities used by American personnel had led to other electrocutions.
click above for more

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Congressman Wexler on Gen. Petraeus answers

I hope you had emailed Congressman Wexler the questions you wanted asked during the hearing. I did. The troops are worth answers and no more spin.

Dear Kathie,

I want to thank you for the overwhelming response we received to my request for questions for General Petraeus. Thousands of emails poured in from all over the nation. My staff and I examined every suggested question and we were truly impressed with the passion, sophistication, and knowledge of the submissions. Choosing a few questions out of so many excellent entries was an extraordinarily difficult task.

One of the most commonly suggested questions centered on how General Petraeus defines victory in Iraq. This question struck a chord with me - as it no doubt did with so many of you - because it demands that the Administration actually define its goals (which, as you'll see below, are totally unrealistic).

Underscoring the tragedy of the Administration's failed policy, one of my constituents died in an attack on the Green Zone on Monday. I spoke with his parents yesterday, and they asked me to ask General Petraeus a simple question: For what? For what had they lost their son?

I asked him this question, and then asked him to define "victory."

I did not expect General Petraeus to answer either directly, but he did.

He stated that we were fighting for national interest, including region's "importance to the global economy." (In my mind, a stunning admission of the true motives behind this war.)

He stated that they were trying to achieve a country that is "at peace with itself and its neighbors," "could defend itself" that was "reasonably representative of and broadly responsive to its citizens."

These are not reasonable objectives. Half the countries around the world are not able to defend themselves. Many have internal and external conflict - and few - including our own, are broadly responsive to its citizens.

(I find that last objective sadly ironic, as the Bush Administration, by continuing this misguided war, is broadly unresponsive to American citizens.)

I was out of time before I could ask a follow up… but if you read between the lines, his answer is vast in its scope. Clearly, their goals for Iraq and interpretation of "national interest" are wholly at odds with a swift redeployment of forces.

It has been a year and a half since the 2006 elections - more than enough time for us to have required, through provisions attached to funding, a phased withdrawal. At the least, we could have forced a genuine showdown with President Bush that would have forced him to defend his policies.

There is no excuse for even one more American casualty in Iraq. Our troops must be redeployed. The Bush/Petraeus policy that denies reality must not carry the day.

I urge you to remain active and steadfast in your opposition to this open-ended, vaguely guided war.

Please read my exchange with General Petraeus below.

Congressman Robert Wexler


Congressman Wexler:

Thank you. General Petraeus, last week in anticipation of this hearing I sent an urgent e-mail asking my constituents and other Americans: if they were serving on this committee, what is the one question they would pose to you.

There was an extraordinary response, with more than five thousand questions submitted, these e-mails and phone calls expressed deeply held frustrations about the war in Iraq, and reflect the concerns of millions across the nation who feel their opinions and concerns were cast aside by the Bush Administration.

I want to thank everyone who responded and submitted a question for today's hearings. While many of the respondents rightfully-highlighted the bravery of our troops, a majority of the e-mails expressed a strong desire to see withdrawal of American soldiers from Iraq, and an end to this five year war, that has cost our nation so dearly.

Most of the questions boiled down to this: General we often hear President Bush and Senator McCain say we must win in Iraq. What is the definition of winning? What would a military victory look like, that was sufficient enough, to allow us to begin leaving?

Then, in a horrific turn of events, two of my constituents: Hester and Linn Wolfer of Boca Raton Florida, learned that this past Sunday their son had been killed for this war. Major Stuart Wolfer was a thirty six year reservist on his second tour. He was married with three young children ages five, three, and twenty months. His family was relieved that he was in the green zone, for they hoped he would be safe there. He was not.

I spoke to Mr. Wolfer yesterday last night, who asked me to ask you, simply: For What, for what had he lost his son? So allow me to combine if you will, the questions from the people that responded to me and Mr. Wolfer: What has all this been for? And please, respectfully, don't tell us as you told Senator Warner yesterday: to remove a brutal dictator. That's not good enough.

There are many dictators in the world. For what did Stuart Wolfer and the other four thousand and twenty four sons and daughters die for? And how will we define victory, so we can bring this never ending war to a close?

And if I will, when Mr. Burton asks for a definition of what is failure, we get a litany of items. But when Mr. Ackerman asks what is the definition of victory, we get little. Please tell us General, What is winning?

General Petraeus: First of all, Congress, let me tell you that what we are fighting for is national interest.

It is interest that as I stated have to do with Al Qaeda, a sworn enemy of the United States and the free world, has to do with the possible spread of sectarian conflict in Iraq, conflict that had engulfed that country and had it on the brink of Civil War.

It has to do with regional stability, a region that is of critical importance to the global economy, and it has to do with certainly the influence of Iran, another obviously very important element, in that region.

In terms of what it is that we are trying to achieve, I think simply it is a country that is at peace with itself and its neighbors, it is a country that can defend itself, that has a government that is reasonably representative and broadly responsive to its citizens, and a country that is involved in and engaged in, again the global economy.

Ambassador Crocker and I, for what it's worth, have typically seen ourselves as minimalists, we're not after the Holy Grail in Iraq and we're not after Jeffersonian Democracy.

We're after conditions that would allow our soldiers to disengage, and that is in fact what we are doing. As we achieve progress, as we have with the Surge, and that is what is indeed allowing us to withdraw the Surge forces, again well over one quarter of our ground combat power five of 20 brigade combat teams plus two marine battalions and the marine expeditionary unit by the end of July.

Congressman Wexler: Thank you.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Gen. Petraeus and a High-Level Suicide in Iraq

Gen. Petraeus and a High-Level Suicide in Iraq

Posted April 1, 2008 12:34 PM (EST)

The scourge of suicides among American troops in Iraq is a serious and seriously underreported problem. One of the few high-profile cases involves a much-admired Army colonel named Ted Westhusing -- who, in his 2005 suicide note, pointed a finger at a then little-known U.S. general named David Petraeus. Westhusing's widow, asked by a friend what killed this West Point scholar, had replied simply: "Iraq."

Now there is a disturbing update on this case.

Before putting a bullet through his head, Westhusing had been deeply disturbed by abuses carried out by American contractors in Iraq, including allegations that they had witnessed or even participated in the murder of Iraqis. His suicide note included claims that his two commanders tolerated a mission based on "corruption, human right abuses and liars." One of those commanders: the future leader of the "surge" campaign in Iraq, Gen. Petraeus.

Westhusing, 44, had been found dead in a trailer at a military base near the Baghdad airport in June 2005, a single gunshot wound to the head. At the time, he was the highest-ranking officer to die in Iraq. The Army concluded that he committed suicide with his service pistol. Westhusing was an unusual case: "one of the Army's leading scholars of military ethics, a full professor at West Point who volunteered to serve in Iraq to be able to better teach his students. He had a doctorate in philosophy; his dissertation was an extended meditation on the meaning of honor," as Christian Miller explained in a major Los Angeles Times piece.

"In e-mails to his family," Miller wrote, "Westhusing seemed especially upset by one conclusion he had reached: that traditional military values such as duty, honor and country had been replaced by profit motives in Iraq, where the U.S. had come to rely heavily on contractors for jobs once done by the military." His death followed quickly. "He was sick of money-grubbing contractors," one official recounted. Westhusing said that "he had not come over to Iraq for this." After a three-month inquiry, investigators declared Westhusing's death a suicide.