If you don’t tear up, you’re made of harder stuff than I am….
God Bless our soldiers and God Bless their faithful canine guardians!
More pictures tomorrow! See “Our soldiers’ furry guardian angels (Part 2)“
H/t my ol’ friend Sol.
God Bless our soldiers and God Bless their faithful canine guardians!
More pictures tomorrow! See “Our soldiers’ furry guardian angels (Part 2)“
H/t my ol’ friend Sol.
Every modern U.S. President has a doctrine that articulates his worldview and foreign policy.
As an example, reacting to America’s Vietnam War experience, the Nixon Doctrine was that the United States would no longer be the police for every and all in Asia. Henceforth, the countries of Asia-Pacific would be responsible for their own defense.
George W. Bush’s doctrine was that warfare is fundamentally altered by the Islamic terrorist attacks on the U. S. homeland on Sept. 11, 2001, and by the changed nature of America’s enemies from state actors to include non-government terrorist groups. As a result, America has the right to undertake preemptive attacks when and where we identify a terrorist threat. It is the Bush Doctrine that justifies our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan although neither government nor country had first attacked the United States.
Foreign affairs pundits have noted the peculiar lack of an Obama Doctrine although his first (and last) term is already drawing to a close.
Never fear! Fellowship of the Minds has discovered the secret Obama Doctrine!
One of FOTM’s regular commenters, moxielouise, asks us to pray for her friend Z, a former Marine who was deployed to Iraq.
After he left the service and returned home, he couldn’t find work in America. So he’s now back in Iraq, in a dangerous area, working for a private contractor.
No U.S. troops remain in Iraq since the last 13,000 U.S. troops were withdrawn in December 2011. But our troops are still in that hell-hole called Afghanistan. Our war there is now the longest war in U.S. history.
Please say a prayer for Z and for all our soldiers serving in danger zones across the world — that God sends His angels to watch over and protect them.
Kurt Nimmo reports for Infowars.com, July 28, 2012, that a billboard on Franklin Road in Caldwell, Idaho, compares and equates the actions of the POS’s foreign policies to the acts of mass murderer James Holmes.
Holmes is the suspect who shot 12 people and wounded 58 in a Century theater in Aurora, Colorado. The billboard implies that Obama too is a mass murderer because his foreign policy led to the deaths of thousands — including American soldiers — in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and other nations targeted in the so-called War On Terror, which the White House had declared to have ended, yet paradoxically the wars continue.
Here’s the billboard, below which you can sound off on our poll:
H/t FOTM’s beloved Miss May!
As the war drums beat ever louder against Syria in the name of “human rights,” the startling news this morning is that U.S. special forces have been parachuting into North Korea to “gather intelligence about underground military installations.”
Ask yourself this question:
What if one of our Special Ops is captured by the lunatic North Koreans?
“So we send (South Korean) soldiers and US soldiers to the North to do special reconnaissance. After 50 years, we still don’t know much about the capability and full extent of the underground facilities. We don’t know how many we don’t know about.”
Tolley’s comments were reported on the website of The Diplomat, the National Defense Industrial Association’s magazine.
Gen Tolley said the commandos were sent in with minimal equipment to facilitate their movements and minimize the risk of detection by North Korean forces.
At least four of the tunnels built by Pyongyang go under the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea. Among the facilities identified are 20 air fields that are partially underground, and thousands of artillery positions. In February, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported that Pyongyang had built at least two new tunnels at a nuclear testing site, likely in preparation for a new test.
Here are some statistics to remember:
Still on the fence about the U.S. Perpetual War Machine?
Recent incidents such as the video in January of U.S. Marines urinating on the bodies of dead Talibans, and the terrible killing spree of ArmyStaff Sgt. Robert Bales on March 11 are signs that all is not well with the men and women in our military.
Now, a new U.S. Army health report confirms that our troops are stressed to the breaking point.
Rowan Scarborough reports for The Washington Times, March 20, 2012:
A recent Army health report draws an alarming profile of a fighting force more prone to inexcusable violence amid an “epidemic” of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the mental breakdown attracting speculation as a factor in a massacre of Afghan civilians this month.
Based on an exhaustive study of nearly 500,000 soldiers, reservists and veterans, the report finds that troops are more likely to commit suicide and violent sex offenses, and notes that as many as 236,000 suffered from PTSD since the beginning of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
For military analysts, the reason is the nightmarish experience of sustained combat: Soldiers have been fighting the longest war in U.S. history, with frequent stressful deployments and compressed rest time back home.
“The real issue here, which I’ve been tracking for a long time, is 10 years of combat,” said military analyst Robert Maginnis, a retired Army officer. “I see these kids who have been in combat year after year after year. It is taking a real toll, not only medical, but being able to sort out their lives. What this kid caved to I think could be an epidemic. It is really long term what we are doing to a generation of volunteers.”
His experience and those of thousands of his colleagues are common in what has become not only the longest war but also the unkindest for troops, in terms of rest time in theater.
Fighting insurgents and terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq has been a nearly nonstop exercise in patrols, raids and firefights with no real battle lines. Even at a forward operating base, soldiers can be hit by a rocket, a suicide bomber or an Afghan who turns and starts shooting Americans.
The Army report, “Generating Health and Discipline In the Force,” notes that the average infantryman in World War II in the South Pacific experienced a total 40 days of combat during the entire war. “In contrast, the [operational tempo] in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade has remained persistently high, providing very few opportunities for individuals to rest, either physically or mentally,” the report says.
Despite all this, the Obama administration would have our military be stretched even thinner.
Meanwhile, as tensions with Iran escalate, the U.S. Navy has deployed to the Persian Gulf an aircraft carrier, the USS Abraham Lincoln, with supporting vessels, as well as, reportedly, four more minesweepers and minesweeping helicopters. Another aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise, is on its way to the Gulf or already there.
For that matter, on January 13 of this year, James Rickards, a Senior Managing Director of Tangent Capital in New York whose advisory clients include government directorates around the world, told King World News that war with Iran has already begun.
Even before he did anything as President, Barry Soetoro was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize.
Since that award, Obama supposedly ended the U.S. war in Iraq, but our forces are still there. Obama launched air strikes against Libya (“no feet on the ground!”), and dispatched a naval flotilla (including an aircraft carrier) to the Persian Gulf against Iran, and our soldiers are stuck in a losing war in Afghanistan, which has become the longest U.S. war.
Now, in the name of human rights, three GOP senators, with a combined age of 202, are urging Nobel Peace Prize winner to start yet another war — attack Syria.
Senators John McCain, Joe Lieberman, and Lindsey Graham issued a joint statement today urging the Obama administration to act on Syria:
“[I]f requested by the Syrian National Council and the Free Syrian Army, the United States should help organize an international effort to protect civilian population centers in Syria through airstrikes on Assad’s forces. To be clear: This will first require the United States and our partners to suppress the Syrian regime’s air defenses in at least part of the country.
The ultimate goal of airstrikes should be to protect civilian population centers from Assad’s killing machine and establish safe havens in which opposition forces can organize, rest, refit, and plan their political and military activities against Assad. These safe havens could serve as platforms for the delivery of humanitarian and military assistance – including weapons and ammunition, body armor and other personal protective equipment, tactical intelligence, secure communications equipment, food and water, and medical supplies. These safe havens could also help the Free Syrian Army and other armed groups in Syria to train and organize themselves into more cohesive and effective military forces, likely with the assistance of foreign partners, and provide political space for the Syrian National Council to organize on Syrian soil.”
John McCain is 75 years old.
Joe Lieberman is 70 years old.
Lindsey Graham will be 57 this July.
Old men start wars. But it’s young men (and women) who die.
Our military is stretched thin, its budget and health benefits being hacked by the Obama administration. Our soldiers are weary from repeated deployments, and suffering record high rates of PTSD, alcohol abuse, and suicides.
I say we send McCain, Lieberman, and Graham to fight in Syria.
H/t beloved Tina
Here’s something really strange.
As the drumbeats for a U.S. war against Iran – ostensibly to prevent Iran from going nuclear — grow ever louder, yesterday came this piece of curious news:
Ken Dilanian reports for the Los Angeles Times, Feb. 23, 2012:
A highly classified U.S. intelligence assessment circulated to policymakers early last year largely affirms that view, originally made in 2007. Both reports, known as national intelligence estimates, conclude that Tehran halted efforts to develop and build a nuclear warhead in 2003.
The most recent report, which represents the consensus of 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, indicates that Iran is pursuing research that could put it in a position to build a weapon, but that it has not sought to do so.
Although Iran continues to enrich uranium at low levels, U.S. officials say they have not seen evidence that has caused them to significantly revise that judgment. Senior U.S. officials say Israel does not dispute the basic intelligence or analysis.
But Israel appears to have a lower threshold for action than Washington. It regards Iran as a threat to its existence and says it will not allow Iran to become capable of building and delivering a nuclear weapon. Some Israeli officials have raised the prospect of a military strike to stop Iran before it’s too late.
It’s unclear how much access U.S. intelligence has in Iran, a problem that bedeviled efforts to determine whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.
The assessment that Saddam Hussein had secretly amassed stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons and was seeking to build a nuclear weapon, cited by the George W. Bush administration to justify the invasion, turned out to be wrong.
Iran barred inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog group, from visiting Parchin, a military site, this week to determine whether explosives tests were aimed at developing nuclear technology.
An IAEA report in November cited “serious concerns” about “possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program,” but did not reach hard conclusions.
Lest we forget, the C.I.A. also did not anticipate the collapse of communism across the Soviet bloc.
What it comes down to is that we are faced with two options:
Be it 1 or 2, neither is good news.
How did this news have snuck by us for TWO whole months?
The United States military has long borne a sacred obligation: to treat its fallen members and their families with utmost levels of dignity and honor.
But, thanks to three whistle blowers, it was uncovered that workers at the Dover Air Force Base mortuary routinely cremated and dumped in a landfill body parts of American soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Dover is the main port of entry for America’s war dead.
This went on reportedly for FIVE years, between 2003 and 2008. The landfill dumping was concealed from families who had authorized the military to dispose of the remains in a dignified and respectful manner. The company running the King George County landfill in Virginia was not even informed what was being thrown away.
First reported by the Associated Press early last December, subsequent reports provided more and worse details.
Dashiell Bennett reports for The Atlantic Wire, Dec. 8, 2011, that officials at Dover Air Force Base finally put a number when they admitted that they dumped the partial, cremated remains of at least 274 American soldiers into a Virginia landfill. Those officials previously had refused to estimate how many soldiers’ remains had been disposed of in that disrespectful manner, saying that “it would require a massive effort and time to recall records and research individually.” After pressure brought by The Washington Post, Congressman Rush D. Holt (D-N.J.) and some other members of Congress, the military mortuary finally released the count from its own electronic records.
But the truth may be even worse because the first official record of the disgraceful practice came in 2004 and the mortuary’s electronic database only goes back to 2003. The widow of an Army sergeant killed in Iraq says that she was told by a mortuary official that remains had been taken to landfills since at least 1996.
Officially, between 2004 and 2008, 976 fragments and body parts belonging to the 274 soldiers were “cremated, incinerated and taken to the landfill” in addition to 1,752 other fragments that were too damaged to be identified. No attempt was made to notify the families of the identified soldiers, because relatives had previously indicated they did not want to know if more parts were discovered. Even after the news of the scandal broke and records re-examined, Air Force officials say there are no plans to alert the soldiers’ families.
Among the most egregious instances was when the family of one marine asked to see his dead body one more time – so staff at Dover hacked his arm bone off. The heat from a bomb attack in Afghanistan had caused the soldier’s arm to fuse at 90 degrees to his body so he was unable to fit into his uniform or his casket. But instead of speaking to his family to see what was for the best, staff went ahead and trimmed it anyway.
The practice was ended in 2008, and unclaimed and unidentified remains of soldiers that are too small for normal burial are now cremated and buried at sea.
The scandal at Dover Air Force base began after complaints by three whistleblowers – civilians who worked as embalmers or technicians – who sparked an 18-month investigation by the Air Force Inspector General. A separate probe was carried out by the Office of Special Counsel, an independent federal investigative agency which looks into claims by whistleblowers.
The Washington Post reports that the landfill disposals were never formally authorized under military policies or regulations. They also were not disclosed to senior Pentagon officials who conducted a high-level review of cremation policies at the Dover mortuary in 2008, records show.
Senior Air Force leaders said there was no intent to deceive. “Absolutely not,” said Lt. Gen. Darrell D. Jones, the Air Force’s deputy chief of staff for personnel.
Three officials have been disciplined at Dover – but none have lost their jobs.
H/t our beloved Joseph.
According to the New York Times, Jan. 31, 2012, an investigation by the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) found that officials at Dover Air Force Base retaliated against 4 employees who were whistle blowers, over a 17-month period in 2009 and 2010. Three officials were singled out for criticism: Col. Robert H. Edmondson, the former commander of the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations Center; Trevor Dean, Colonel Edmondson’s former deputy; and Quinton R. Keel, the former mortuary director. After the body-parts scandal came to light, the Air Force had moved Dean and Keel, both civilians, to lesser jobs on the base. Col. Edmondson received a letter of reprimand, which effectively ended any further promotions. But the OSC believes — and is recommending — the three officials should be fired.
Many conservatives do not support GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul because of his pacifist and isolationist foreign policy. Paul has said the following:
“Far from defeating the enemy, our current polices provide incentive for more people to take up arms against us.”
“We have an empire. We can’t afford it.”
“Acting as the world’s policeman and nation-building weakens our country, puts our troops in harm’s way, and sends precious resources to other nations in the midst of an historic economic crisis.”
So the news that Paul has considerable support among members of America’s active-duty military is something of a cognitive dissonance.
Reservist Cpl. Jesse Thorsen, 28, is now in trouble with the U.S. Army for speaking at a Paul rally in Iowa, Jan. 3, 2012
Timothy Egan writes in the New York Times, Dec. 22, 2011:
Many of the service members returning from Iraq — where nearly 4,500 American lives were lost, 100,000 Iraqi civilians were killed and about 600,000 Christians were forced to flee the country with other refugees — are paying close attention to the campaign to decide who will be commander in chief. [...]
The men and women in uniform probably wouldn’t support [Ron Paul] this proponent of limited engagement. So goes the conventional wisdom, which holds that those in the military support a leader itching for a fight.
But in fact, Representative Ron Paul, the congressman who favors the most minimalist American combat role of any major presidential candidate and who said all of the above quotes, has more financial support from active duty members of the service than any other politician.
As of the last reporting date, at the end of September, Paul leads all candidates by far in donations from service members. This trend has been in place since 2008, when Paul ran for president with a similar stance: calling nonsense at hawk squawk from both parties.
This year, Paul has 10 times the individual donations — totaling $113,739 — from the military as does Mitt Romney. And he has a hundred times more than Newt Gingrich, who sat out the Vietnam War with college deferments and now promises he would strike foes at the slightest provocation.
What seems, at first blush, counterintuitive makes more sense upon further review. There’s a long tradition of military people being attracted to politicians with Paul’s strict interpretation of the Constitution.
Not even a full 1 percent of Americans are active-duty military. The troops have become props for politicians who shower them with fulsome praise, while dreaming up schemes to send them into harm’s way.
Yet, these soldiers, sailors, air men and women, and assorted boots on the ground know the cost — in trauma, in lives ruined, in friends lost, in good intentions gone bad — of going to war far more than the 99 percent not currently serving. Where they put their money in a campaign, paltry though it may be in comparison to the corporate lords who control a majority of our politicians, says a great deal.
And if the overwhelming service support for Ron Paul is any indication, the grunts of American foreign policy are gun-shy about further engagement in “useless wars,” to use Dr. Paul’s term.
“It’s not a good sign when the people doing the fighting are saying, ‘Why are we here?’” said Glen Massie, a Marine Corps veteran who lives in Des Moines, Iowa, and is supporting Paul for president. “They realize they’re being utilized for other purposes — nation building and being world’s policeman — and it’s not what they signed up for.”
Now that Obama has begun yet another war — this time against Iran — stretching our already over-stretched military even thinner, it is no wonder that our active-duty servicemen and women support Ron Paul.
Conservatives say we love and respect our soldiers. Maybe we should then listen to them and take another look at Ron Paul’s candidacy.