U.S. military


Generation Change book cover

Tengrain at Mock, Paper, Scissors was recently asked to review a book, and because the target audience was people under 30, he asked me if I wanted to take on the project. I agreed, then emailed him and a few other people about how to go about reviewing a book I didn’t like. Taking only some of their advice, this is the result.

Cassie

Generation Change by Jayan Kalathil and Melissa Bolton-Klinger fails in its attempt to encourage the Obama Generation to continue the campaign for change. Published by Skyhorse Publishing and subtitled “150 Ways We Can Change Ourselves, Our Country and Our World” this book is geared toward readers under age 30. The unsigned description on the back cover indicates that the “fun, witty, and optimistic approach [is] sure to attract readers of all ages” but the font size and writing style are more appropriate for middle-class or wealthier sixth graders. If reduced to a size 12 font, with chapter titles at size 14, the book would likely fit into 150 pages rather than the current 210.

Would you pay $12.95 to read a book that tells you to “Stay Young at Heart” and devotes a chapter to flossing? The best suggestion is #5, which encourages us to blog for good. We’re already doing that. “Find the cause that keeps you up at night and get blogging!”

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The United States has been at war in Afghanistan since the fall of my second grade year, and in Iraq for half of the years I have been in school. In all that time, and in all of the years that we watched Channel One News in the mornings, we never saw a casket, never heard about the war dead or the loss of limbs, and only heard about veterans one day a year.

That changed last Tuesday.

Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have all been President of the United States during my schooling, and all three have addressed the nation’s students in the first weeks of school. Clips of these addresses were shown on Channel One, or the existence of the speeches was mentioned in news stories. There was never any controversy.

That changed this September.

This August, we were warned that the President was scheduled to speak to students across the nation, and the news media was full of dire predictions of this unprecedented address. We were originally asked to have our parents sign a form saying that we could listen to the fifteen minute national pep rally for paying attention and focusing on our studies, with the option of spending that time in another room. Then the speech was canceled except in U.S. government classes. Our infantile minds were apparently not prepared to absorb such concepts as hard work and setting goals.

image via Fort Hood Sentinel

image via Fort Hood Sentinel

And yet, we were apparently sufficiently mature to watch last week’s memorial service from Fort Hood. Without warning and without parental permission, this solemn service and the words of the President and several reverends were shown school-wide, in class.
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school_suppliesPlease help by mailing school supplies. And encourage the military to keep doing HELPFUL things!

1) Buy school supplies.  Pens, pencils, markers, paper, erasers.

2) Go to the post office and get some APO/FPO flat rate boxes that are used especially for sending mail to the military overseas.  If you order 10, they’re free, and they’ll ship them for free.

3) Insert the school supplies into the boxes, seal, fill out a customs form, and mail the school supplies to this USAF Airman, and he will make sure that the supplies go to children in the schools that they’re building in Afghanistan.

Isaac Greenberg
710th BSB, 3BCT, 10th MTN
FOB Shank, AF

APO AE 09364

Thank you!

Time magazine had a story this week that asks a great question, but they’ll never find the right answer if they continue to see our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan as “wars” and not “occupations”.

Why Are Army Recruiters Killing Themselves?

I’m glad they’re asking the question about military recruiters, and glad people are reading about it, but here’s the part that shows they’ll never find the answer:

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are now the longest waged by an all-volunteer force in U.S. history. Even as soldiers rotate back into the field for multiple and extended tours, the Army requires a constant supply of new recruits. But the patriotic fervor that led so many to sign up after 9/11 is now eight years past. That leaves recruiters with perhaps the toughest, if not the most dangerous, job in the Army.

The problem is not that we are less patriotic or that no one wants to serve. The problem is that these are occupations and no one wants to continue fighting wars that we won years and years ago.

Last year alone, the number of recruiters who killed themselves was triple the overall Army rate. Like posttraumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, recruiter suicides are a hidden cost of the nation’s wars.

Yes there is a problem here, and yes the recruiters need help, but mostly we need to get out of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Even with this economy, poor kids don’t want to go into the military any more. Would you?

It’s time to end the Iraq War and Occupation!

Protesters march to Pentagon, call to end Iraq war

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Isn’t it bad enough that the republicans wanted to start a war in Iraq when Iraq was not threatening us?  And then they mismanaged the whole war and still can’t get the electricity turned on?  And they tortured prisoners.  And they let the contractors run around killing everybody.  But that’s not all.  NOW there’s a new problem with Iraq: cholera, a painful and deadly disease.

 

IRAQ: Fear among refugees as cholera crosses border

BAGHDAD, 7 October 2007 (IRIN) – Despite the efforts of the Iraqi government and the World Health Organisation (WHO) to contain a recent cholera outbreak, the disease has already spread to half of the country and has also crossed the border into Iran, according to WHO and Iranian authorities.

Photo: Many children living in displacement camps are suffering from acute diarrhoea. This child, who lives in a camp near the Syrian border, is suspected to have cholera

Photo: Afif Sarhan/IRIN

Refugee camps on Iraq’s borders and inside Iran, Syria and Jordan have been warned of the outbreak by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

 

The Bushies talk a good game about valuing every life, but we can see from their actions that they are talking about UNBORN children and not sick, Iraqi children that already exist.  They don’t care, but we can.  Red Crescent and Red Cross are collecting money to fight cholera in Iraq and the countries that it borders.

Who’s the phony one here? Rush or the soldiers from Vote Vets?

General Peter Pace

 

photo from ABC News

General Peter Pace is the chairman of the joint chiefs, making him the most elevated military office in the United States. He is not our priest-in-chief or our parent-in-chief, but he seems to think he is, and that his “upbringing” and his beliefs make him qualified to tell the rest of us, the entire military, and the United States Senate what is immoral. Why is that his job? It isn’t, but he doesn’t seem to know that!

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The first amendment to the United States Constitutions says that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” This may be why Pace refers to his upbringing and not his religion, but it is commandments from his RELIGION that is causing him to repeatedly condemn homosexuality and adultery.

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In a March newspaper interview the general said that:

My upbringing is such that I believe that there are certain things, certain types of conduct that are immoral. I believe that military members who sleep with other military members’ wives are immoral in their conduct, and that we should not tolerate that. I believe that homosexual acts between individuals are immoral, and that we should not condone immoral acts. So the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell allows an individual to serve the country, not — [inaudible] that allows individuals to serve their country. If we know about immoral acts, regardless of committed by who or — then we have a responsibility. And I do not believe that the Armed Forces of the United States are well served by saying through our policies that it’s okay to be immoral in any way, in any way, not just with regards to homosexuality. This is from that standpoint saying that gays should serve openly in the military to me says that we, by policy, would be condoning what I believe is immoral activity. And therefore, as an individual, I would not want that to be my policy, just like I would not want it to be our policy that, if were to find out that so-and-so was sleeping with someone’s wife, that we would just look the other way, which we do not. We prosecute that kind of immoral behavior between members of the Armed Forces.

You can listen to that here.

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Two days later, the Washington Post reported this,

The Pentagon’s top general said Tuesday he should not have voiced his personal view that homosexuality is immoral and should have just stated his support for the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in an interview that has drawn criticism from lawmakers and gay-rights groups.

The written statement by Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, did not apologize for his stance on homosexuality. In a newspaper interview Monday, Pace likened homosexual acts to adultery and said the military should not condone it by allowing gays to serve openly in the armed forces.

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But ….. the general repeated all his opinions again this week in a Senate hearing, and this time the Code Pink protesters replied by quoting (very loudly and repeatedly) their favorite bible verse, “THOU SHALT NOT KILL! THOU SHALT NOT KILL!” They are absolutely correct — if we need any religion at all mixed in with the military, THAT is the kind of morality we should be following.


Like most of my political posts,

 

this is cross-posted at Political Teen Tidbits

 

and at YouThinkLeft.

These suggestions are from Code Pink. (Thanks Franya.) What else might work? Please leave a comment.

1. Tell Senator Lieberman: No War in Iran!

Joe Lieberman is waving his sword again. On Sunday, he told CBS “I think we’ve got to be prepared to take aggressive military action against the Iranians to stop them from killing Americans in Iraq.”

Upon hearing these words, our own Leslie Angeline, a CODEPINK member from Santa Rosa, CA, decided to go on a hunger strike until Senator Lieberman agreed to meet with her. Leslie, who recently returned from a peace delegation to Iran, has made it her mission to prevent America from attacking the country.

You can join us in solidarity by calling and emailing Lieberman’s office to demand that he retract his irresponsible call for military action in Iran. Call (202)224-4041 and ask to speak to Vance Serchuck, Lieberman’s Legislative Aide on foreign relations and Iran, or click here to send an email along with the picture on the above right of our action outside his office. We are holding photos taken from Leslie’s recent trip to Iran. Ask Lieberman if he really wants to attack these beautiful people, this beautiful place. See more action photos here.

As Leslie says, “70% of the Iranian population is under the age of 30-the age of my son. Iran is a country of warm, kind, and generous children and their families. We cannot start bombing these kids.”

Download and distribute our latest DON”T IRAQ IRAN flyer!

 

2. Learn What Presidential Candidates Are Saying About Iran

It is critical during this election season, to listen to what the presidential candidates – both Republican and Democrat – are saying about Iran. When a candidate says “No options are off the table,” they are sanctioning not only a possible military attack, but also a nuclear attack on Iran. This is totally unacceptable. We must insist that they put a nuclear attack off the table, and that they call for negotiations, not war.

Click here to download our list of presidential candidates and their positions on Iran.

3. Sign Our Petition to the UN Security Council!

Click here to add your name today!

4. Tell Congress! Don’t Iraq Iran!

Help us prevent another war in the Middle East. This time Congress must stop a pre-emptive attack! Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) has introduced legislation (S.759) that would prohibit any funds from the recent supplemental bill to be used in attacking Iran. Urge your Senator to support S.759 TODAY!

5. Ask Your Press to be Critical and Vigilant!

The mainstream media is already jumping on the bandwagon about the Iranian threat. We hoped they would have learned their lesson after spreading falsehoods about WMDs in Iraq. But once again journalists such as New York Times’ Michael R. Gordon, Judith Miller’s sidekick in the WMD and phony aluminum tubes reporting, are quoting anonymous sources as proof that Iran is providing Iraqi militias with powerful explosives to attack US troops. For more analysis of the press and Iran, click here.

In fact, the evidence against Iran is insubstantial and full of exaggeration. Even General Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he hasn’t seen any intelligence that supports the claim. We need to tell the press that now is the time to ask serious questions instead of blindly supporting the administration’s headlong rush into another tragic and unnecessary war. Please contact media outlets and tell them we demand a critical, vigilant press. Click here to send your letter now!

 

6. Learn More!

PowerPoint Show of influential and famous Iranians in our midst:

In recent years, the media has damaged Iran?s image so badly that when people hear the name of Iran, they only picture black chadors, terrorism, and ayatollahs. These stereotypes are being constructed to make it easier for governments to attack Iran with public approval. This is why NoWar SA has produced a prsentation to help break down these negative stereotypes.

If we (the United States) turned everything over to the Iraqi government and we’re so proud of how democratic things are becoming there, then why are we (Condi Rice) trying to overturn their rules? We have nearly run out of soldiers and marines to send to Iraq, but the private
mercenaries are not as reliable since they are not subject to any laws or rules. The article in the Guardian points out that:

The dilemma for the US government is that it needs private security firms but a reversal of the Iraqi government decision
would undermine the credibility of assertions by the Bush
administration that the Iraqi government is autonomous.

No wonder the Iraqi Government wants the mercenaries security contractors out.

The private security firms are controversial, often hated by Iraqis who regard them as trigger-happy. US soldiers can face court martial if accused of unprovoked assaults or over-reaction, though the ratio of those convicted is low. But the law in relation to private security firms is vague.

Here is more of the article:

Iraq orders expulsion of US security firm

· Decision taken after killing of Iraqi civilians
· Rice tries to overturn ban on Blackwater guards

Ewen MacAskill in Washington
Tuesday September 18, 2007
The Guardian

The Bush administration faced an embarrassing stand-off yesterday when the Iraqi government ordered the immediate expulsion of all employees of the security firm Blackwater USA.

The Iraqi ministry of interior took the decision after eight Iraqi
civilians were killed and 13 wounded in Baghdad when shots were fired from a US state department convoy on Sunday.

Iraqis, quoted by news agencies, reported seeing helicopters, protecting the convoy, opening fire.

The secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, was forced to intervene to try to have the ban reversed. She was planning to call the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki. “She is going to express regret for the loss of life … (and) make it clear that we are investigating this incident,” the state department spokesman, Sean McCormack, said. The state department has refused to confirm whether Blackwater was involved. The state department and reconstruction workers rely heavily on protection by Blackwater.

Like most of my political posts, this is cross-posted at
Political Teen Tidbits and at YouThinkLeft.

 

How stupid does Bush think that we are?

Note: spew alert for the second cartoon.  Don’t have anything in your mouth that you don’t mind having all over the screen and the keyboard.  —Freckles

The surge

The surge is working

    My brother was 6 when he decided to join the military and 18 when he did. He was not drafted. It was his choice. I do not want to get drafted when I turn 18 in 2 yrs (and a few months). Do you? If Bush doesn’t ever let this war end, and if Congress never pushes for it to end, then we all might end up fighting. Even with enlistment bonuses and 5th tours of duty, the military is going to run out of soldiers and marines.

This is an ad that is being run in Maine where Susan Collins is up for re-election, but it could run anywhere. Watch it. Share it with people. Keep me and my friends and our classmates and our generation from having to get drafted to fight Bush’s war.

Are you ready to fight? Are you ready to go on 3 or 4 or 5 deployments? Are you ready for PTSD? Are you ready to die?

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bush's legacyIt seems that George W is concerned about his legacy, and he is talking to a biographer named Robert Draper:

In book, Bush peeks ahead to his legacy

In an interview with a book author in the Oval Office one day last December, President George W. Bush daydreamed about the next phase of his life, when his time will be his own.

The articles talks about these kinds of issues

First, Bush said, “I’ll give some speeches, just to replenish the ol’ coffers.” With joint assets that have been estimated at as high as nearly $21 million, Bush added, “I don’t know what my dad gets – it’s more than 50-75” thousand dollars a speech, and “Clinton’s making a lot of money.”

Then he said, “We’ll have a nice place in Dallas,” where he will be running what he called “a fantastic Freedom Institute” promoting democracy around the world. But he added, “I can just envision getting in the car, getting bored, going down to the ranch.”

and

The transcripts and the book show Bush as being keenly interested in what history will say about his term despite his frequent comments to the contrary; as being in a reflective mode as his time at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue dwindles; and, ultimately, as being at once sorrowful and optimistic – but virtually alone as commander in chief, and aware of it.

Here is the worst line in the whole article:

And in apparent reference to the invasion of Iraq, he continued, “This group-think of ‘we all sat around and decided’ – there’s only one person that can decide, and that’s the president.”

HE just wants to make money, but I think that his real legacy will include these:

  1. a million people dead because of wars that we started
  2. 3000 dead at Ground Zero, flight 93 and the Pentagon, with bin Ladin still on the loose and not even a suspect by the CIA
  3. an unsolved anthrax terrorism case that killed five people
  4. increased opium exports all around the world
  5. privatization of everything from highways to schools to prisons hospitals to the maintenance of Walter Reed hospital and rehab
  6. many millions of uninsured and underinsured Americans with no access to decent health care when they need it
  7. the drowning of a city and a whole section of another state
  8. hard times for poor people, and a whole lot more poor people
  9. most of his administration resigning on him, and some of them being investigated and tried and convicted for crimes
  10. having the whole world hate us
  11. almost (I hope) starting a war with Iran
  12. stealing elections
  13. having hookers in the white house pretending to be reporters
  14. the giant corporations having a super time while the planet heats up and regular people suffer
  15. high gas prices and high prices to heat houses
  16. spying on Americans without a warrant or even telling the FISA court
  17. locking up Americans for years without a trial
  18. locking up thousands of other people in torture camps with no lawyers and no rights
  19. making students only learn stuff that is tested in April and not the important things in each subject

I bet George won’t talk about those things when he has speaking tours. (He’ll get more for one talk than my whole family has in a year!) What do you think his legacy will be? Can someone please call the Hague?

Like most of my political posts, this is cross-posted at
Political Teen Tidbits and at YouThinkLeft.

So …. If half the republican people want us to withdraw troops from Iraq, we can assume that even more of the democratic people want to withdraw troops. So when will the politicians in Washington know what the people know? When will they listen? When will they start a withdrawal?

This is from ThinkProgress:

51 percent:

Number of Republicans in Iowa who “favor a withdrawal of all United States military from Iraq within the next six months.” Just 39 percent are against a withdrawal. (via Atrios)

Why does Fox News want us to have a war with Iran? Why do Americans let Fox News decide what is happening in our foreign policy? Why don’t they have to report real facts?

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