Showing posts with label Operation Enduring Freedom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Operation Enduring Freedom. Show all posts

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Gold Star Families hit by huge tax increases on benefits?

Gold Star widow "shocked" by new tax bill on sons' survivor benefits

CBS News
April 25, 2019
Because a surviving spouse can't receive both Veteran Affairs and Defense Department benefits simultaneously in full, Gold Star parents often sign the taxable DOD benefits over to their children. But the new tax law lumps Gold Star children into a bracket known as the "kiddie tax" at 37 percent, much higher than their previous tax rate.
Coronado, Calif. — Many Americans were shocked by their tax bills this month. The new law was especially costly for our nation's Gold Star families, who saw the taxes owed on their survivor benefits skyrocket.

Theresa Jones has been a single mom to Anthony and Hunter for almost six years. Her husband Landon, a Navy chopper pilot, died in the Red Sea during Operation Enduring Freedom in 2013.

It's been a challenge for Jones, especially financially. They've been able to stay afloat because of the survivor benefits they receive, aid that came with an unexpected surprise at tax time.

"When I saw that tax bill I was shocked at how much these boys owed on benefits that were given to them," Jones said.

The boys each received about $15,000 in survivor benefits last year. Jones was hit with a tax bill of $5,400 for them, up from $1,100 from the previous year.
read more here

Sunday, September 14, 2014

OEF OIF Memorial Honors Fallen

Memorial dedicated to WNY Iraq and Afghanistan Heroes
By Brittni Smallwood, News 4 Reporter
Published: September 13, 2014

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Bill Wilson’s son, Staff Sergeant William Wilson the third, was killed while he was fighting for our freedom in Afghanistan.

On Saturday he and his wife attended a memorial in honor of the fallen servicemen and women that died after September 11, 2001.

“We took a look at his picture. My wife touched his name and it’s been pretty emotional today” said Wilson.

The new Western New York Iraq/Afghanistan Memorial bears the names of more than 70 military members that lost their lives.

“It’s not just names that carved into a piece of stone. There are stories. There are people here who served with them. There are people and those among us who have troops that we did not bring home” said Dan Frontera of the WNY IAM Committee. “We’re hoping this becomes a point where we can start our healing and our forgiveness process”.
read more here

Friday, April 19, 2013

If you are "freaking out" after Boston bombing, help is available

It has already started to hit OEF and OIF veterans hard. My phone has been busy and so has my email. If you are a veteran "freaking out" because of the bomb blasts in Boston, seek help. It is part of PTSD and where you were.

If it is worse for you, don't just try to get over it. Contact your Vets Center and get in to talk to someone.

Here is the link to Vets Centers in every state.

It happened to other veterans right after 9-11. It happened again after the shootings at Fort Hood. It is happening again now because of the bombings. Help is there for you. Call them!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Paralyzed OEF Marine sues over deplorable treatment at airport

Paralyzed Veteran Sues Over Treatment at Airport
Nov 14, 2012
Chicago Tribune
by Jennifer Delgado

CHICAGO -- A former Marine Corps sergeant who was paralyzed while serving in Afghanistan claims he was mistreated at O'Hare International Airport almost two years ago when airline and airport-related employees allegedly injured him and let him sit in his own urine for nearly two hours.

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court, Sgt. Joseph Smith, of North Carolina, says United Airlines and Air Serv Corporation employees refused to help him to his seat during a layover in Chicago on Nov. 19, 2010. Smith, who requires a wheelchair to travel after being paralyzed in Operation Enduring Freedom, was headed to Colorado Springs, Colo., for training as part of a Paralympic shooting team, said his lawyer, Alexander Loftus.

The suit further alleges that Smith dragged his own "limp body" down the aisle, causing his catheter bag to break and spill urine.
read more here

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Almost half of crisis calls to suicide prevention are from OEF OIF veterans

VA Working with Returning Vets to Prevent Suicides
Almost half of all calls to the Veterans Affairs’ suicide-prevention program are younger vets, officials say.
August 31, 2012

A total of 126 San Diego-area veterans attempted suicide and 22 of them succeeded in the fiscal year that ends next month, according to Veteran Affairs officials.

The data comes from the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System Suicide Prevention Program in advance of National Suicide Prevention Week, which runs Sept. 9-15.

San Diego County is home to roughly 30,000 veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and it’s those troops who are showing up in suicide statistics at a greater degree than others, according to the VA.

Almost half of crisis calls received by the VA’s suicide-prevention program are people who have served since 9/11, officials said.
read more here

Monday, June 11, 2012

Report: US military admits to mistakes in Iraq, Afghanistan

Report: US military admits to mistakes in Iraq, Afghanistan
The Center for Public Integrity
Published: June 11, 2012

When President Obama announced in Aug. 2010 the end of U.S. combat operations in Iraq, he complimented the soldiers who had served there for completing “every mission they were given.” But some of military’s most senior officers, in a little-noticed report this spring, rendered a harsher account of their work that highlights repeated missteps and failures over the past decade, in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

There was a “failure to recognize, acknowledge and accurately define” the environment in which the conflicts occurred, leading to a “mismatch between forces, capabilities, missions, and goals,” says the assessment from the Pentagon’s Joint Staff. The efforts were marked by a “failure to adequately plan and resource strategic and operational” shifts from one phase of the conflicts to the next.

From the outset, U.S. forces were poorly prepared for peacekeeping and had not adequately planned for the unexepected. In the first half of the decade, “strategic leadership repeatedly failed,” and as a result, U.S. military training, policies, doctrine and equipment were ill-suited to the tasks that troops actually faced in Iraq and Afghanistan.
read more here

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Family honored by U.S. Army for volunteer service

UTSA student and family honored by U.S. Army for volunteer service

(Nov. 18, 2011) -- The Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) Family Programs Directorate recently honored UTSA student Jeremy Barnhart, his wife Katrina Barnhart and their children Logan Ricketts, Kayleigh Barnhart, Colton Barnhart and Brayden Barnhart as the 2011 recipients of the AUSA Volunteer Family of Year Award. The award recognizes exceptional families whose volunteerism has contributed significantly to the well being of the Army community.

As recipients of this year's AUSA award, the Barnhart family received a trip to Washington, D.C., a cash prize and a gift basket courtesy of TriWest, AUSA and other sponsors.

A UTSA senior biology major, Jeremy Barnhart is a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom and is a Purple Heart recipient because of severe wounds suffered in Baghdad, Iraq. Upon his return to Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, Barnhart immersed himself in volunteer activities. He served as the noncommissioned officer in charge and musical director of Fort Carson's Harmony in Motion.
read more here

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

More of the 2.6 million living veterans from OEF and OIF getting mental healthcare

More vets getting mental health care from VA
Laura Phelps - Medill News Service
Posted : Tuesday Oct 25, 2011 15:55:50 EDT
More Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are receiving mental health care from the Veterans Affairs Department, but officials in a recent report still cited barriers that may be preventing some from getting the care they need.

Only a little more than 8 percent of those who served in those wars sought help from VA from 2006 to 2010, according to a recent report from the Government Accountability Office.

The number of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan getting treatment increased from about 34,500 in 2006, or 4 percent of the total, to just more than 139,000 in 2010, the GAO reported. That means 12 percent of the 1.2 million veterans who sought mental health care last year are veterans from the latest wars.

Some veterans may not seek care because they’re concerned about their privacy, they may not know the services exist, or they simply cannot get to a treatment center if they live somewhere rural, the report said. VA officials also believe younger veterans may have a perception that the system caters to older veterans, the report said. Plus, veterans just starting out in their civilian lives are often balancing priorities such as school, family and work, and seeking help doesn’t always make the list.

There are an estimated 2.6 million living veterans from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, and 23 million total veterans dating back to World War II, according to the GAO.
read more here

Friday, October 7, 2011

Cable news forgets ten years of war in Afghanistan

Ten years after troops were sent to Afghanistan, 1,801 fallen according to thousands wounded and many suffering with PTSD topped off with suicides, yet the national media doesn't seem to think the American people care enough to dedicate the top story to the men and women fighting this battle.

Top stories on CNN at 8:20 am est

Three women share Nobel Peace Prize
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman will share the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize for their work to promote women's rights, the Nobel committee announced today. FULL STORY
3 share prize | Selection process
Key facts about Nobel Peace Prize
Past winners | 10 controversial picks
Wall St. protests spread | Going global
DOE loan chief quits amid Solyndra furor
Panel: No prostate tests for healthy men
'Beheaded' Syria woman shows up alive
Police: Burglars report man's child porn
New twist in search for missing baby
Doctor faces charges in bin Laden raid
Quarry shooting suspect believed killed
Home ownership: Big drop historically
Prince Harry to train on copters in U.S.
Tutu, the 'People's Priest,' turns 80
Ticker: Senate foes trade nudity zings
White House family feud over agents
Plane crashes on golf course
Tigers defeat Yankees to win ALDS SI
Purse thief sends pic to Facebook
'X Factor' host 'storms off' CNN
Osbourne: Implants removed People
$50K for injured young football players
This Just In: CNN's news blog
What's a Palin endorsement worth?
After Sarah Palin's recent announcement that she was not running for president in 2012, the focus has now shifted to which GOP candidate will get her endorsement. FULL STORY | RACE WITHOUT PALIN

Designer of a generation
Steve Jobs' insistence on objects whose look paralleled their use set a standard, writes the director of New York's Museum of Modern Art. Full story
• Tale behind Apple logo | Cult figure
• Memorable moments l Tributes

Notice that after ten years in Afghanistan, not one of these stories was about it.

Top stories
Young Afghans reflect on 10 years since invasion

Afghanistan as war began: Looking back over a decade
US military eyes next threats, missions

Nightly News
Steve Jobs said
he authorized biography so his kids can know him

They did have a great photo section including this.

Shannon Spann, wife of CIA officer Johnny Michael "Mike" Spann, follows her husband's casket to the graveside as she holds her 6-month old son, Jake, at Arlington National Cemetery, Dec. 10, 2001 in Arlington, Va. Spann was the first American known to be killed in combat in Afghanistan. Johnny "Mike'' Spann, 32, who entered the Marine Corps and then joined the CIA in June 1999, was killed in action during a prison riot at Mazar-e-Sharif.

Fox News
Obama: I Share Protests' 'Frustration'
Three weeks into a growing protest movement targeting Wall Street, President Obama expresses empathy for the demonstrators and even elevates them as a force in the 2012 election cycle.
Obama Backs Millionaire Surtax in Jobs Bill
Dozens Arrested as Cops Block Wall Street Protests
OPINION: Protesters Have Demands, What Are Yours?
Senate Dems Change Rules, Postponing Vote on China Currency

Feds take a new role in the nation's health care, designing a basic package for the privately insured
Head of Program Behind Solyndra Loan Steps Down
Justice Dept. Lashes Back Over Holder Claim
Iraq Vet Fights for Kids Taken by Wife to Japan

Marine has been pleading for U.S., Japan to help ever since his estranged wife abducted their kids 3 years ago
OPINION: Child Abduction Is Child Abuse
Fox & Friends Looks
Back at 15 Years of Fun

VIDEO: As Fox News celebrates its 15th anniversary, the Fox & Friends team looks back at 15 wild years
FULL COVERAGE: 15th Anniversary
Watch Friday 10 p.m. ET: 15 Years: Fair and Balanced
Latest News
Featured Videos
Most Read
Is FBI Stonewalling Congress' Awlaki Probe?
Illinois Town Evacuated After Fiery Train Derailment
YouTube Creates New Site for Political Viral Video
10-Year-Old Steals Mom's Car Then Drives Into House
'Friend' Says Facebook Violating Wiretap Laws
Liberian, Yemeni Women Share Nobel Peace Prize
10 Years Later, Military Resets Afghan Priorities
- 10-Year Afghan War Mark to Pass Quietly in D.C.
Kids' ER Concussion Visits Up 60 Percent
- VIDEO: Signs of a Concussion
Mom of Missing Missouri Baby Says Police Accused Her of Being Involved in Disappearance
Official: Mexican Police Let Gangs Hold Victims in Jail
- 32 Bodies Found in Eastern Mexican State
Doc Faces Charges for Helping Catch Bin Laden
Feds Plan Crackdown on California Pot Shops
Illegal Immigrant Allowed to Job Hunt From Jail
'No Justification' for Jailing Drivers for Tags
U.S. Panel to Recommend Against Prostate Test
Police: 'Psychic' Scared Girl Into Stealing Jewelry

Pentagon - POLITICS
In Washington, 10-Year Afghanistan War Mark to Pass Quietly
Published October 07, 2011
Associated Press

A U.S. Marine of 3rd Platoon, Kilo Company, 3/4 Marines, covers other Marines carrying boxes of U.S. Mail into their small outpost, Patrol Base 302, in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, Friday, Aug. 26, 2011.
WASHINGTON -- A decade of war will pass quietly at the White House this week.
President Obama plans no public events Friday to mark a moment the nation never really expected: 10 years of war in Afghanistan. Out of sight and off the minds of millions of Americans, the war is the most prolonged conflict this country has been engaged in since Vietnam. Obama has gone so far as to declare it "the longest war in American history."
The lack of attention to the 10-year milestone is driven in part by White House thinking that Obama has already helped lead a national reflection on a decade of costly sacrifice and battle.

read more here

Can anyone really wonder anymore why the troops and military families feel the public is totally detached from them?

10 years in Afghanistan: Long war, deep scars

10 years in Afghanistan: Long war, deep scars
Sun-Times Media October 6, 2011
The War on Terror in the Middle East began 10 years ago Friday in Afghanistan.

While it still rages on thousands of miles away, the most painful reminders for many on this grim anniversary are in their own neighborhoods.

In New Lenox, there’s a park and U.S. post office named after Jacob Lowell. In Evergreen Park, a street dedication later this month will honor Jared Stanker. In Midlothian, the historical society has uniforms that once belonged to Christopher Abeyta.

All were among the regional service members killed in tours of duty in Afghanistan.

There are others, like Andrew Meari of Plainfield, remembered also by the anguish in the hearts of loved ones.

“I would ask that as people reflect on the 10th anniversary, that they take a moment to think about those who are serving and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Deb Pyznarski, a Chicago Ridge military mom and co-founder of Southside Parents of Military Personnel.

Her son Bryan, 22, is in the Marines, currently serving stateside. She was traveling Thursday to visit him for his birthday, which coincides with the anniversary.
read more here

Friday, September 16, 2011

Retroactive TBI Benefits No Longer Just For OEF/OIF Injuries

September 16, 2011

Retroactive Traumatic Injury Benefits No Longer Just For OEF/OIF Injuries
TSGLI Payments Will Be Made for Qualifying Injuries

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is extending retroactive traumatic injury benefits to Servicemembers who suffered qualifying injuries during the period Oct. 7, 2001 to Nov. 30, 2005, regardless of the geographic location where the injuries occurred.

“Now all of our nation’s Servicemembers who suffered severe traumatic injuries while serving their country can receive the same traumatic injury benefits, regardless of where their injury occurred,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “We at VA appreciate the efforts of Congress and the President to improve benefits for our troops.”

Effective Oct. 1, the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) Traumatic Injury Protection benefit, known as TSGLI, will be payable for all qualifying injuries incurred during this period. This retroactive benefit is payable whether or not the Servicemember had SGLI coverage at the time of the injury.

The Veterans’ Benefits Improvement Act of 2010, passed by Congress and signed by President Obama in October of 2010, removes the requirement that injuries during this period be incurred in Operations Enduring or Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF). This is welcome news for the many Servicemembers who suffered serious traumatic injuries while serving stateside or in other areas outside of OEF/OIF during this time period, but until now have not been eligible for TSGLI.

TSGLI provides a payment ranging from $25,000 to $100,000 to Servicemembers sustaining certain severe traumatic injuries resulting in a range of losses, including amputations; limb salvage; paralysis; burns; loss of sight, hearing or speech; facial reconstruction; 15-day continuous hospitalization; coma; and loss of activities of daily living due to traumatic brain injury or other traumatic injuries.

National Guard and Reserve members who were injured during the retroactive period and suffered a qualifying loss are also eligible for a TSGLI payment, even if the cause was not related to military service, such as a civilian automobile accident or severe injury which occurred while working around their home.

National Guard and Reserve members make up more than 40 percent of the total force which has been deployed since 9-11. Those who are no longer in the National Guard or Reserves can also apply as long as their injury occurred while they were in service.

“I am extremely pleased that these total force warriors who defend our freedoms are getting the recognition and benefits they have rightfully earned in service to our nation,” added Under Secretary for Benefits Allison A. Hickey.

VA is working with the Department of Defense to publicize this change in the TSGLI law. Additionally, all of the branches of service are identifying any claims previously denied because the injury was not incurred in OEF/OIF and reaching out to those individuals.

Although applications are currently being accepted by branch of service TSGLI offices, benefits will not be paid until Oct. 1, 2011, the effective date of the law.

For more information or to apply for a TSGLI payment, Servicemembers and Veterans should go to Insurance VA Gov or contact their branch of service TSGLI Office (contact information available at above link).

Monday, May 30, 2011

Women Fighting and Dying in War, Despite Combat Exclusion Policy

Women Fighting and Dying in War, Despite Combat Exclusion Policy
May 30, 2011
By this Memorial Day, nearly 150 U.S. female troops have made the ultimate sacrifice in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, with over 700 wounded. Although Department of Defense policy precludes women from being assigned to ground combat-infantry units, women have for years served in combat situations where they're just as vulnerable.

Marine Lance Corp. Angelica Jimenez, 26, was one of them.

On June 25, 2005, Jimenez was riding in the back of a truck carrying 14 female Marines near the Iraqi hotbed of Fallujah. The all-female unit was tasked with searching and questioning Iraqi women at security checkpoints, ensuring they were not armed with explosives. Since females were not allowed to sleep at the checkpoints as their male counterparts were, every day the women would be driven to and from an American base, making them a visible target each time they hit the road. It was only a matter of time before their luck would run out, and that night, it did.
read more here
Women Fighting and Dying in War

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

OEF and OIF veterans come home but not everyone cares

We've read hundreds of stories about troops coming home and being thanked for their service. Some people wait for hours at an airport to welcome them back from Iraq and Afghanistan. Other people show up to make sure wounded have a home adapted for disabilities. Really wonderful, heartwarming stories that make it seem as if this nation really cares about them but then we read about stories that happened in Gloucester when the VFW wanted to hold and event to honor them and no one came.

Low turnout to thank our veterans
Published: Wednesday, May 11, 2011, 3:00 AM
By Letters to the Editor/Gloucester County Times

I am an Army veteran and captain of the Mantua Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7679 Color Guard.

On May 1, our color guard was invited to Williamstown VFW Post 1616 for a loyalty day to thank our veterans for their efforts in protecting us. The ladies auxiliary had prepared food for everyone. Present were the Williamstown Color Guard and their officers, our color guard and Air Force ROTC representatives. Also present were the Monroe Township mayor, and county and state officials.

They had the hall set up with 16 tables of eight each. The event was open to the public, and a sign posted out front welcomed everyone to attend.

There was only one problem. Nobody from the general community showed up.
read more here
Low turnout to thank our veterans
But this is not just one case of one community not showing up to even say thank you. It happens more than it should. It isn't just the government letting these men and women down, it is town after town and city after city, which is really terrible considering they are deployed from all over the country. It should never depend on where they live when they come back if they feel appreciated or not.

Iraq Veteran Comes Home to Warm Welcome Then Apathy!
May 10, 2011 posted
by Robert L. Hanafin

Iraq and Afghanistan Vets Come Home to War
We’ve done a series of stories here at Veterans Today (VT) dealing with the shocking scandals that tend to plague the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) system. My last update on the Dayton VA Medical Center scandal was on 25 April, also back in late April VT was contacted by a young Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) Wounded Warrior asking us to tell his story.

Although this is the story of only ONE Iraq and Afghanistan War Veteran, we at VT know enough about the flaws of the VA system, most recently a VA admitted failure of leadership that we believe is system wide and fixable.

However, one only need go to young Veteran blogs regardless of their own personal political views on the war(s) to find one thing they all have in common – far too many young Veterans (well old Vets too) are still falling through the cracks of a broken VA system.

OIF Veteran David Kendrick contacted our senior editor Gordon Duff noting that he came across our website looking for military friendly news sites. David told VT that he made a short documentary on You Tube that he was trying to bring some media attention to. David was shot in both legs in 2007 and now he feels as if he has nowhere to turn. He asked us to view the video and consider posting it on Veterans Today.

We have decided to do just that, because we believe David is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to young Veterans falling through the VA cracks, not getting the word about VA benefits (despite in all fairness VA outreach efforts now appearing to include excellent TV ads outreaching to younger Veterans at least here in SW Ohio).
read more here
Iraq Veteran Comes Home to Warm Welcome Then Apathy
OIF Vet Cry for Help!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Is Iraq the New Forgotten War?

A few years ago, we were asking the same question about Afghanistan. It is still very hard for me to understand how the general public disregards the men and women serving in combat operations. According to this report, news coverage is less than one percent of the daily news. Is it the lack of coverage or is it the lack of interest from the public? Which came first? Do we really know?

Is Iraq the New Forgotten War?

April 04, 2011
Stars and Stripes|by Megan McCloskey

Before the sympathy, Britney Hocking sometimes gets skepticism when she shares that her older brother was killed last month in Iraq.

“I’ve actually had people ask me: ‘Do you mean Afghanistan?’ ” she said.

Some also have wondered aloud whether Sgt. Brandon Hocking’s death was a freak accident.

That a Soldier could still be killed in Iraq by an improvised explosive device surprises people. Our presence there and the potential for violence has largely faded from the American conscience.

Hocking’s death, one of the latest since the official end of combat operations in August, serves as a grim reminder of what is fast becoming a forgotten war. The United States has spent eight years of war in Iraq, with 4,443 servicemembers killed there. About 46,000 troops remain on the ground in “advise and assist” roles, and 23 servicemembers -- 11 this year -- have been killed since the mission change.

Iraq was once the dominant story on any given front page and nightly newscast. Today, attention has dropped to less than 1 percent of the daily news, according to the Pew Research Center.
read more here
Is Iraq the New Forgotten War

With such little interest in Iraq and Afghanistan, do they have any chance of being paid attention to back home? I doubt it.

Last night the "feel good" making a difference story on NBC was about a man restoring children's books. Good story? Sure but how about reporting on veterans coming home, suffering, healing and then helping other veterans? How about reporting on all the work being done to help all of them? When Lifetime can do a show like Coming Home following Army Wivesbut the national news cannot be bothered to cover the men and women risking their lives in Iraq or Afghanistan, cannot be bothered to report on what it is like on any of the families, or what it is like coming back home, then there is a huge problem in this country. We're great at committing them to fight our battles but then our interest dies off. We have a state of A.D.D taking over the country. When our kids have it, parents do everything possible to get them to focus on what they need to be doing. When the media refuses to get the public to pay attention, this is what we get. A nation filled with people that stopped paying attention after a couple of months.

We forgot about Afghanistan as soon as the debate began about Iraq and then Iraq was the center of everything. Then we forgot about Iraq and Afghanistan for a while until a few reports came out about Afghanistan. Now it's all Libya. We should be ashamed to lack interest but more ashamed of our media for not reminding us about what is going on.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

War is hell even if you survive

We were not asked to sacrifice anything. Not our money. Not our time to pay attention and not even asked to sacrifice our prayers. The general public was told to go shopping and the rich, well, they were told to keep more of their money and do whatever they wanted with it. War was important enough to start but not enough to fund. What kind of a message do you think this sent to the troops?
The deficit is estimated at $1.27 trillion in 2011 -- down from a record $1.56 trillion in the current year.
How much is the war in Iraq costing us? wrote By John W. Schoen Senior Producer for MSNBC answer desk in October 2006.
Pretending Iraq and Afghanistan wars had nothing to do with this, is about as irrational as the politicians can get but then saying the budget for the VA needs to be cut instead of increased is just insane.

Then there are future costs that don’t show up in current appropriations, like the money needed to replace equipment that's wearing out faster that it would if wasn’t being used in combat. And, since the government is running deficits — and borrowing to make up the difference — at least some of the interest on the national debt has to be added to the Iraq war bill.
If you add these costs, and others, to the total tab, the cost of the war has jumped from $4.4 billion to $7.1 billion a month since the 2003 fiscal year, according to a paper co-authored in January by Columbia University professor and Nobel-prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, an outspoken critic of the war. The paper estimates the total cost could top $1 trillion.

Now they can use the debt to excuse everything they want to do except admit they have no conscience at all. We've heard all their excuses for wanting to cut the debt rich people should be paying at the same time they want to cut everything every other American needs to survive but when they go after the wounded they created, they go too far.

None of them cared about the men and women sent to risk their lives. While Iraq and Afghanistan were important enough to send men and women to risk their lives, up until last year, they were not important enough to put them in the budget. Now politicians want to pretend they give a crap about the debt they contributed to. The President decides to send troops into combat but with the approval of congress and it is up to congress to find the money to pay for wars and wounded.

"Thank goodness at least Congress supports our troops, you say. Remember all those yellow ribbons? Well, some members do and some don’t, depending on their political affiliation. The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America’s report card shows that 91 of the 94 lawmakers getting an “A” for helping vets were Democrats. Of the 154 receiving a “D” or “F,” 142 were Republicans. Public praise on camera doesn’t necessarily correlate with votes for financial support on the House or Senate floors." Bill Collins
Eight years after troops were sent into Iraq for "six days, six weeks, I doubt six months" according to Donald Rumsfeld, they are still there. According to there have been 4,440 US deaths in Iraq with 10 killed this year. Fast approaching ten years in Afghanistan, there have been 1,505 US troops killed with 59 this year.
03/18/11 WaPo:8 years after invasion , Iraq, US eyeing whether American forces will stay past year’s end
The American invasion of Iraq was supposed to take only a few months: a quick blitz to depose dictator Saddam Hussein, find and dismantle weapons of mass destruction and go home.

No one wanted to pay for Afghanistan or Iraq. We were told that the invasion and occupation of Iraq would pay for itself and that was fine with the American people but it didn't. No one planned on taking care of any of the wounded these two wars would create. Now they act as if they are surprised people were wounded in war. Some politicians have gone so far as to say the VA budget needs to be cut because, after all, we have a deficit and "we shouldn't pass on the debt to our kids" but they are so accomplished at spinning things around to get what they want, they forget we also have a debt to the kids we send to fight our battles in combat. They forget that for all their whining now about the debt, none of them wanted either war in the budget ahead of time. None of them wanted a true accounting on the price tag in terms of dollars, lives or wounded any more than they wanted a true accounting from the defense contractors spending the money in the first place. Anyone in the media asking any of these people about any of this?
read more here
War is hell even if you survive

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.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

At Arlington graves, a pain beyond words

At Arlington graves, a pain beyond words

By Christian Davenport Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Along the meticulously spaced rows of graves at Arlington National Cemetery, the names of the nation's wars are clearly etched into the headstones: World War I, World War II, Vietnam, Korea, the Persian Gulf.

Soon, a new inscription for troops killed in Iraq could appear: "Operation New Dawn."

Unlike in past conflicts, the overwhelming majority of headstones for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan at the nation's most hallowed military burial ground use the military's official names for those conflicts: Operation Enduring Freedom for Afghanistan, Operation Iraqi Freedom for Iraq. As of Sept. 1, Operation Iraqi Freedom has been rebranded Operation New Dawn.

Some families and veterans groups say those slogans are little more than propaganda tactics, ways for politicians and the Pentagon to sanitize the wars and drum up public support. The phrases are also confusing, the veterans groups say, because many people have no idea that Operation Enduring Freedom refers to Afghanistan. Using the words "new dawn" to mark a person's final resting place is inappropriate, even insulting, some family members say.

"It's not a new dawn; we lost a son," said Oscar Aviles, whose son Andrew Aviles, a Marine Corps lance corporal, was killed in Iraq in 2003. "It's just a lot of pain and anguish."
read more here
At Arlington graves, a pain beyond words

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Michael Steele failed history, current events and the troops

This came out of the mouth of the Republican National Committee chairman? The party that is always saying how important national security is to them along with the troops? This is the man who stands at the top of their party? No wonder so many are calling for him to resign.

9-11 was used to justify whatever President Bush wanted but this war was not wanted. (Iraq is what he was accused of wanting to do.) It happened September 11, 2001 and by the following month troops were deployed into Afghanistan in retaliation. What no one seems to be asking is why no one claiming to be all about national security was not asking how this happened, right after it happened. So Steele failed this lesson on two parts. First, it was President Bush sending the troops into Afghanistan and secondly, it was not a "war of his choosing" either.

Steele cannot be that stupid to not remember so this has to be part of some kind of political game he's playing. That makes what he said even more terrible. It proved once and for all when it comes to truth and what the troops have been dying for, being wounded over and risking their lives for, none of it matters if he can't use it. He'll just change facts to meet what he wants to say.

Michael Steele under fire over Afghanistan remarks
The Republican National Committee chairman is caught on video saying the conflict is a 'war of Obama's choosing' and implying that the U.S. effort is doomed. Conservatives call for his resignation.

By Michael Memoli, Tribune Washington Bureau

July 2, 2010 3:45 p.m.
Reporting from Washington — Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is facing a new test of his leadership over comments he made that appear to question America's military effort in Afghanistan.

Video footage that emerged Friday shows Steele referring to the conflict as "a war of Obama's choosing" and implying that the effort is doomed to fail.

"If he's such a student of history," Steele said, referring to President Obama, "has he not understood that, you know, that's the one thing you don't do, is engage in a land war in Afghanistan? Everyone who has tried, over 1,000 years of history, has failed."
go here for more
Michael Steele under fire over Afghanistan remarks

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Michael Fay reporting with art from war

Drawing Fire
In 2005, then Chief Warrant Officer Michael D. Fay traveled to Iraq in his capacity as official Marine Corps artist. There he fought with Marines engaged in Operation Steel Curtain against insurgents along the Euphrates River, and documented the events in sketches, photographs and audio recordings.

Michael D. Fay held the the position of combat artist for the United States Marine Corps from 2000 through January 2010. He was deployed several times to Iraq and Afghanistan. He is currently in the Kandahar region of Afghanistan working as a war correspondent embedded with Marine units. His blog is Fire and Ice.

Mr. Fay describes that experience here in “Drawing Fire,” to be published in five consecutive parts this week in Home Fires. It is based on material from his memoir, “The War Artist,” (earlier drafts appeared on his blog in January), and includes artwork and photographs from his time with Marine units in Operation Steel Curtain.

In 2006, Mr. Fay was a contributor to The Times’s Frontlines series, in which he described the orders he followed as Marine Corps artist: “Go to War, Do Art.” He is now retired from the Marine Corps, but is currently in Afghanistan working as a correspondent embedded with Marine units in Afghanistan.
go here for more
Drawing Fire
Drawing Fire: Last Day
Drawing Fire: Stay With Us
Drawing Fire: Reckoning

Monday, May 24, 2010

CNN Pays Tribute to Coalition Casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq

There are times when I am absolutely heartbroken by the lack of news coverage of Iraq and Afghanistan. There always seems to be some other story for all the major media stations to jump onto with too little time to remind the American people there are troops risking their lives everyday in Iraq and Afghanistan. What is more heartbreaking is that even when they return home, out of danger from bombs, they are still in danger from bullets but instead of the weapon held in the hands of enemies, the gun is held in their own hand. 18 suicides a day, most committed with guns. The American people are not reminded of the fallen except when a hometown boy or girl comes home for the last time. They are not reminded of the wounded. Most of the time the American people are left on their own to search for news or just get on with their own lives, their own problems, their own families. Few know of the hardships of the families of the military and harder times for the families of National Guards and Reservists.

CNN has done a good job tracking it all. They could have done a better job on the news station itself, but the online work they've done has been outstanding. I search it often because I know it is accurate and very up to date. It looks like CNN has done it again with this site. Take a look at it and remember, just because we are not reminded everyday of the price they pay, they still pay it.

CNN Pays Tribute to Coalition Casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq Wars with Launch of “Home and Away”
Ten-Year Project Culminates in Immersive Online Interactive Memorial and Month-long On-Air Programming Honoring Troops
Continuing to develop innovative ways to present its audience with news and information, CNN is combining the unparalleled strengths of its on-air and online platforms to honor every Coalition Forces casualty in Afghanistan and Iraq. has launched “Home and Away,” an immersive interactive which allows users to learn about and pay tribute to more than 6,000 fallen troops from more than 20 countries. Simultaneously, CNN chief national correspondent John King begins a month-long tribute on his week-nightly 7 p.m. ET program, JohnKing, USA, airing one of the fallen’s personal stories each night. On Memorial Day, a special edition of JohnKing, USA, entitled “Home and Away,” will be dedicated entirely to this subject. Throughout these tributes, King will utilize the Magic Wall to go behind the statistics and provide human faces to the sacrifice.
“Each of these casualties has an inspiring and moving story, and we wanted to find an exceptional way to honor the sacrifice every single one of them made,” said Susan Grant, executive vice president of CNN News Services. “We hope ‘Home and Away’ serves as an enduring memorial for those that made the ultimate sacrifice while also helping the CNN audience more personally connect with this deeply complex topic.”
“We were so moved by the powerful stories of these service members and those who loved them along the way,” said Michelle Jaconi, Executive Producer, John King, USA. “Our colleagues have created a powerful tool that allows us to more deeply engage with our viewers, connecting them to personal tributes from the fallen's family and friends."
Available at this extensive data visualization project began nearly 10 years ago at the start of the war in Afghanistan. A cross-divisional effort between the CNN Library and, a team of researchers, producers, designers, user-experience specialists and developers have gathered information about the casualties of the wars. Evolving from two separate lists of casualties in Afghanistanand Iraq, “Home and Away” tells the story of where and how the lives of these troops began and ended, and is continually enhanced with personal memories from family and friends.
go here for more
CNN Pays Tribute to Coalition Casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq