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

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!

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

Sunday, January 29, 2012

U.S. Defense Department can't account for billions for Iraq

Where was all the talk about our deficit when all of this was happening? Will the men running for President have to answer that one?

U.S. Defense Department can't account for billions for Iraq, audit finds
By Josh Levs, CNN
January 29, 2012

NEW: The U.S. is keeping Iraq out of the loop on some projects, report says
NEW: The U.S. Embassy in Iraq disagrees with that complaint
The Defense Department can't account for about $2 billion in past spending, report says
The department acknowledges a "records management issue"

(CNN) -- The U.S. Defense Department cannot account for about $2 billion it was given to cover Iraq-related expenses and is not providing Iraq with a complete list of U.S.-funded reconstruction projects, according to two new government audits.

The reports come from the office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.

The Iraqi government in 2004 gave the Department of Defense access to about $3 billion to pay bills for certain contracts, and the department can only show what happened to about a third of that, the inspector general says in an audit published Friday.

Although the Department of Defense (DoD) had "internal processes and controls" to track payments, the "bulk of the records are missing," the report says, adding that the department is searching for them.

Other documents are missing as well, including monthly reports documenting expenses, the audit says.

"From July 2004 through December 2007, DoD should have provided 42 monthly reports. However, it can locate only the first four reports."
read more here

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Soldiers React to President's Remarks on End of Iraq War
Dec 14, 2011 7:06 PM EST
By Sophia Stamas

Today President Obama spoke at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, marking the end of the War in Iraq by honoring what he called the military's extraordinary achievement there.

Here in central Texas, soldiers and veterans are reacting to what he had to say.

Army veteran Esteban Ramos served in the early days of the war.

Now he's out and is reflecting on the announcement that the nearly decade-long conflict is ending.

"Not only for us, the soldiers that were there and participated in the war, I think it's a sense of accomplishment, and I know to the Iraqi people, to have them sustain their own way of living, their own economy," said Ramos.

He was on the ground in Iraq when Saddam Hussein was captured, and he was there fighting to bring stability to the Iraqi people.

He says it's a mission that's now accomplished.

"I think we did a lot, we helped them upgrade their standard of living, we showed them ways to build on their infrastructure and stuff like that," said Ramos.
read more here

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Remaining U.S. Troops Prepare to Leave Iraq

Remaining U.S. Troops Prepare to Leave Iraq

Published on Dec 2, 2011 by AssociatedPress
The last 13,000 U.S. Military Personnel in Iraq are preparing to leave. There were 170,000 troops in Iraq at the height of the war. The last forces must be out of Iraq by December 31st. (Dec. 2)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Iraq detainee accused of killing 5 U.S. soldiers may go free

Iraq detainee accused of killing U.S. soldiers may go free
By Tim Lister, CNN
updated 9:52 PM EST, Wed November 30, 2011

Case has become a tug-of-war between Iraq and the Obama administration
Ali Mussa Daqduq is accused of involvement in the murder of several U.S. soldiers
Iraq has given no indication it will allow Daqduq, a Lebanese militant, to be taken away
Daqduq accused of setting up kidnapping in Karbala in January 2007 that left five dead

(CNN) -- Ali Mussa Daqduq, a Lebanese militant accused of involvement in the murder of several U.S. soldiers in Iraq, has been in U.S. military detention in Iraq since 2007 -- but likely not for much longer.

As the last U.S. forces depart Iraq, Daqduq may soon go free without facing trial.

The Iraqis have given no indication that they will allow Daqduq to be taken out of the country, and the case has become a tug-of-war between Iraq and the Obama administration.

The prospect that Daqduq -- a veteran operative of the Lebanese Hezbollah militia -- may escape U.S. justice altogether has infuriated members of Congress. And even if the Iraqis agree to let him leave with his captors, just how and where he would face trial is another political minefield for the Justice Department.

Daqduq was accused of organizing a kidnapping in the Iraqi city of Karbala in January 2007 that left five U.S. soldiers dead.

After he was captured some months later, according to U.S. intelligence officials, Daqduq pretended to be a deaf-mute. But officials identified him as a 24-year veteran of Hezbollah who had commanded a special operations unit and been sent to Iraq to develop "Special Groups" within Shiite militia.
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, 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, June 6, 2011

News reports 5 soldiers killed in Iraq but hey, Palin said something stupid again

Well at least this story made it to the top of the NBC online site.

NBC: 5 US soldiers die in Iraq rocket attack
Incident is the single largest loss of life for American military in the country in two years
NBC, and news services

NBC News' Jim Miklazewski reported that the troops died in a rocket attack that targeted a base in Baghdad.

However, a military statement gave no additional details about where the incident occurred or how they died.

The incident was under investigation and the names of the deceased were being withheld pending notification of the next of kin, the U.S. military said.

The deaths raised to 4,459 the number of American service members who have died in Iraq, according to an Associated Press count.
read more here
5 US soldiers die in Iraq rocket attack

It also came before Palin on this morning's news report but didn't last very long.

You'd think a story like this would be more important than just a couple of minutes this morning on NBC, but they decided it was not as important as covering Palin and the rest of the political news. You'd think that the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan would matter more than a person the media turned into a celebrity. You may think way but it just goes to show how little the troops matter to broadcast media.

Palin: I didn't mess up Paul Revere history

Steven Senne / AP
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, accompanied by her youngest daughter Piper, right, speaks briefly with reporters while visiting Boston's North End neighborhood on Thursday.
Former Alaska governor says she wants to travel to Britain to meet Margaret Thatcher
WASHINGTON — Sarah Palin insisted Sunday that history was on her side when she claimed that Paul Revere's famous ride was intended to warn both British soldiers and his fellow colonists.

"You realize that you messed up about Paul Revere, don't you?" "Fox News Sunday" anchor Chris Wallace asked the potential 2012 presidential candidate.

"I didn't mess up about Paul Revere," replied Palin, a paid contributor to the network.

"Part of his ride was to warn the British that were already there. That, hey, you're not going to succeed. You're not going to take American arms. You are not going to beat our own well-armed persons, individual, private militia that we have," she added. "He did warn the British."
read more here
I didn't mess up Paul Revere history

In every state, we're reading about the men and women giving their lives up for the sake of this country, but national news wants us to think the troops have been forgotten about. We read about them coming home everyday and what they are up against back home, but they only merit coverage once in a while and then they only give the reports a few minutes.

NBC along with all the other stations should be ashamed of themselves. They may cover stories on their sites online but more people watch the news than read it. They decided what the American people think about and what they can just forget about. So why is Palin saying something stupid more important than another 5 fallen soldiers in Iraq?

They also thought that John Edwards mattered more too.

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, August 22, 2010

For kin, the Iraq mission isn’t over

US forces have been deployed into Pakistan to help flood survivors. They are in Afghanistan trying to stop the Taliban from regaining brutal control over the villages at the same time trying to find remaining members of Al Qaeda crisscrossing the two countries. They are also still in Iraq but no longer in combat roles. They still have work to be done there and as this piece points out, we should not forget about the remaining troops there. Given the fact we have pretty much forgotten about all the troops we have deployed, it is pretty doubtful we will think of any of them. More people in this country know more about Lindsay Lohan's couple of days in jail than they do about how many troops are deployed, where they are deployed, how many killed in action or how many wounded.

For kin, the Iraq mission isn’t over
As troops depart, work remains

By Brian MacQuarrie
Globe Staff

When the last US combat brigade from Iraq crossed into Kuwait this past week, that benchmark in a bloody, seven-year war was greeted with mixed reactions from veterans and military families who have ties to Massachusetts.

To some, the withdrawal is tangible proof of a job well done. To others, the 50,000 US troops left behind to provide training and security underscore the daunting perils that face Iraq’s fragile, fledgling democracy.

All agree, however, that much work remains to be done.

To Maura Kilbride, a Newton native whose husband, Bryan, recently deployed to Iraq for a fourth tour, the war has been measured in sleepless nights, the births of three children, and questions about whether the United States will ever be at peace.

Occasionally, Kilbride said, people are surprised to hear that her husband has returned to Iraq. They will ask, “Aren’t we done over there?’’ she said.

“Yes, the combat troops are gone, but my husband is over there,’’ Kilbride said. “I don’t want people to take their eye off the war. The war is not over. There are still troops over there who are still in harm’s way, and families here whose brothers, husbands, and sons are there.’’

Since Sept. 11, 2001, a total of 8,300 Army and Air National Guard members from Massachusetts have been deployed overseas, with the bulk of them dispatched to Iraq. Currently, 594 Massachusetts National Guard members are serving there.

read more here

For kin the Iraq mission isnt over

Friday, August 20, 2010

Coverage of Iraq exit shows networks' differences

Coverage of Iraq exit shows networks' differences

NEW YORK — Nowhere was the difference between the cable news networks on starker display than in prime-time coverage on the night the last American combat brigade left Iraq following a war that started seven years and five months ago.

MSNBC devoted its entire prime-time footprint to the story, with Richard Engel riding with the troops in a specially equipped vehicle and host Rachel Maddow based in Baghdad. Keith Olbermann anchored the coverage from a New York studio.

Fox News Channel devoted just under 10 minutes to the story, much of it during Shepard Smith's 7 p.m. newscast. The network spent 45 minutes discussing the potential construction of an Islamic cultural center near ground zero, while that story wasn't mentioned on MSNBC at all. CNN, meanwhile, spent an hour on each story.

The news decisions led critics of Fox and MSNBC to suggest politics was at play in the coverage decisions.

Engel had been embedded with the 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, the last combat brigade in Iraq. Since President Barack Obama had said combat units would leave by Aug. 31, Engel was closely tracking the exit time with an eye toward providing live coverage, said Phil Griffin, NBC News executive in charge of MSNBC.
read more here
Coverage of Iraq exit shows networks differences

Also on this from CBS

Petraeus Talks about Challenges in Iraq
In Interview with Katie Couric, Gen. Petraeus Says, 'We Are Not Leaving'
By Katie Couric
(CBS) Today, 150 soldiers from the Fourth Stryker Brigade were welcomed home to Washington State. Last night, other members of the Fourth crossed into Kuwait - the last full combat brigade to leave.

For now, there are still 6,000 American combat troops in Iraq. But they'll leave by the end of the month. The U.S. will maintain a presence of 50,000 non-combat troops - to train Iraqi forces.

General David Petraeus was once the top U.S. Commander in Iraq; now he's the top commander in Afghanistan. CBS Evening News Anchor Katie Couric asked him about the changing mission there.

"Having been in Iraq with you, I have to ask you now that the combat troops are leaving Iraq, is this the right time?" Couric asked.

"I mean you have an uptick in violence - 61 recruits were killed - lots wounded. There's no clearly formed government. The head of Iraqi military says it won't be until 2020 until they can really provide security for the country. Is this a success?"

"Well, first of all we are not leaving," Gen. Petraeus replied. "There are 50,000 U.S. troops that are remaining in Iraq albeit in a support role rather than a leading combat role. But that's an enormous capability."
read more of this here
Petraeus Talks about Challenges in Iraq

Colbert to honor troops returning from Iraq

Colbert to honor troops returning from Iraq

The Associated Press
Posted : Friday Aug 20, 2010 8:11:22 EDT

NEW YORK — Stephen Colbert is dusting off his camouflage suit.

The comedian will broadcast two special episodes of Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” to celebrate the end of combat operations in Iraq and to honor returning troops.

On Sept. 8 and 9, the show will fill its audience with Iraq War veterans and active-duty service members. Others will be beamed in via satellite from Iraq, Afghanistan and Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

“The Colbert Report,” which likes to parody over-the-top cable news graphics, is calling the episodes “Been There, Won That: The Returnification of the American-Do Troopscape.”

Guests will include Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Jim Webb and the U.S. military commander in Iraq, Gen. Ray Odierno.
read more here
Colbert to honor troops returning from Iraq