Veterans speak out: We’re not just laundry

October 6, 2012

From the Truman National Security Project, a video featuring testimony from veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan especially, questioning whether Mitt Romney has what it takes to be Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. armed forces:

This is rather the opposite of  “swift boating,” isn’t it?  An established organization active on national security issues, with a distinguished staff and board of directors, working on a shoe-string, with identified spokesmen.

The Truman Project’s blog lays out the case for President Obama’s election with respect to his initiatives on behalf of veterans.  As much as I would prefer to see those positive achievements emphasized, campaigns don’t really allow much time for careful, thoughtful explanation.

Will there be any effect from this advertisement?  What do you think?

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President Obama: On anniversary of ending of Iraq War, a pledge to heal the wounded

September 1, 2012

President Barack Obama spoke at Fort Bliss, Texas, On August 31, 2012:

Description from the White House:

On the two-year anniversary of the end of our combat mission in Iraq, the President speak to troops at Fort Bliss, and discusses that part of ending wars responsibly demands standing by those who have served. August 31, 2012.

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Lessons of Vietnam: Honor the people who serve

July 5, 2012

Years ago I feared that many of us learned the wrong lessons from Vietnam, or if we learned the right ones, we weren’t applying what we’d learned.  This was a bit more important in the earlier days of our involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq.  So I wrote about one of the lessons we needed to improve on:  Honoring the people who serve, regardless our view on the entire engagement.

Someday, perhaps when I’m wiser, I’ll get back to that series on the lessons of Vietnam.

A lot of water flowed under the bridge since then.  A lot of blood flowed, too.

We did better with our two latest engagements, as a nation, in honoring soldiers.  For just one example, DFW Airport set up a special lounge for soldiers returning stateside, and dozens of organizations set up programs to get people out to welcome the soldiers from Iraq with an indoor parade of sorts — Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, groups of retired veterans and other citizens, school social studies classes, and many more.

That still leaves us with the scab of our treatment of veterans from Vietnam.  It’s been good to see cities and organizations make serious efforts to remember them specifically, as well as veterans of Korea-“The-Forgotten-War,” with soldiers and veterans of the modern conflicts.  There is more we need to do, I’m sure.

I ran into this short video from Moments.org.  I don’t know about the rest of that organization’s ministries, but this video got it right:

So, Wes, McClain, Kevin, Ben, Brenda, Steve, Pat, Al, Ken, Ray, David, Jeff and Jon, and all the rest of you who served, especially in or during Vietnam, consider this as one for you.

Tip of the old scrub brush to cmblake6, who probably won’t ever get another one here.  Happily surprised to find something right over there.

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What about the crazy, militant Christians?

September 9, 2010

Pastor Joe Leavell, recently a frequent bather in Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub, reports on the crazy — it doesn’t involve burning anybody’s scripture, but it’s pretty offensive.

Not sure if you heard about the first army chaplain to have been killed since the 70s, but he was killed on Aug. 30th in Afghanistan. Several pastors I know knew him as a personal dear friend – a true American hero who loved God, loved the troops he served, and gave his life going above and beyond to be with them.

Guess who will be there protesting his funeral? Westboro Baptist Church – protesting the funeral of a Baptist chaplain! The only way it ties in to this discussion is the “should factor”, but I’m sorry – I just had to voice that this sort of stuff is so disgraceful and makes me so upset – especially when our soldiers are dying to give them the freedom to protest at their funerals! :-( For shame!

Here’s the news article:
kktv.com/military/headlines/102406419.html

At KKTV’s site the story is very short; here it is the complete article:

Posted: 9:54 PM Sep 7, 2010
Reporter: KKTV News
Email Address: news@kktv.com

A controversial Baptist Church group from Kansas says they’ll be in Southern Colorado to protest at a funeral for an army chaplain who was killed in Afghanistan.

Captain Dale Goetz died August 30 in Afghanistan. He’s the first army chaplain to die in combat since 1970.

A funeral has been set for Thursday at Fort Carson, and that’s where the Westboro Baptist Church says they’ll be as well to protest.

Members of the church have repeatedly protested the acceptance of homosexuals by picketing at the funerals of fallen soldiers.

It’s very controversial move.

11 News is asking what do you think about the planned demonstration? We’d like to hear from you. Just comment on this story on the 11 news Facebook page or here on kktv.com.

Time Magazine’s blog carries more details of Pastor Goetz’s life and an interesting tribute to the value of military chaplains in war.

He [Goetz] acknowledged that Muslim concerns over what they perceive as a degenerate Western culture can drive some Muslims toward terror. “As Americans we repudiate the practice of the terrorist,” he said. “Though I disagree with their practice, I do understand their complaints against western society.” Goetz wondered if Americans are devoted to something so much that they would willingly die for it. “Our love for freedom is worth dying for,” he concluded, “and many have gone before us to preserve this freedom.”

Read more: http://swampland.blogs.time.com/2010/09/03/army-chaplain-dale-goetz-rip/#ixzz0z25p1eqN

(South Dakota will fly flags at half-staff today, September 9,  in Goetz’s honor. See also the post at Urban Grounds.)

Early in the U.S. involvement in World War II Americans had to put up with those factions who had argued that the U.S. should intervene on Germany’s side in Europe.  But I don’t recall that the pro-Germany groups kept up their protests much after Germany declared war on the U.S.  In the long arc of the history of our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, America’s longest-ever wars, does a sense of history and honor smack the crazies in Christian pulpits in the head to make them think?

Our Constitution’s strength proves itself over and over, as courts have ruled that Westboro Baptist has the right to make these protests.  Their continued exercise of that right is a testament against the lack of a national education system and against the virtue of religion in the failure of common decency of the tiny band of protesters.  Al Queada draws strength from the protests of the Westboro crew, and al Quaeda draws recruits from the actions of the Florida band who plans to burn scriptures.

Walt Kelly’s Pogo observed, “We has met the enemy, and he is us.”

Update: You couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried:  The Westboro Baptist group is angry that their burning of a Qur’an many months ago didn’t get them more attention.  I am reminded that James Earl Ray and Timothy McVeigh both expressed disappointment that their work didn’t get more attention and sympathetic action, too.


New Year’s Day – fly your flag today

January 1, 2009

Almost forgot to mention that New Year’s Day is one of the designated “fly your U.S. flag” days.

But you knew that, right?  (See 4 USC 1, sec. 6.)

Literally flying the flag -- Lt. Col. Chris Ashby sits in an F-16 Fighting Falcon and displays the U.S. flag before departing on a combat mission over Iraq, Jan. 29 from Balad Air Base, Iraq. Colonel Ashby is the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing chief of Safety deployed from the 20th Fighter Wing, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. (U. S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth)

Literally flying the flag -- Lt. Col. Chris Ashby sits in an F-16 Fighting Falcon and displays the U.S. flag before departing on a combat mission over Iraq, Jan. 29 from Balad Air Base, Iraq. Colonel Ashby is the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing chief of Safety deployed from the 20th Fighter Wing, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. (U. S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth)


Bush didn’t bother to catch Osama bin Laden

October 25, 2008

Can this be accurate?

Gareth Porter argues in Asia Times that the Bush administration never had any plans to get Osama bin Laden they were too busy planning an attack on Iraq to have time to get the man who led the attacks against us.  So Osama bin Laden went free, free to attack the U.S. again and again.

New evidence from former United States officials reveals that Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders were able to skip Afghanistan for Pakistan unimpeded in the first weeks after September 11, 2001, as the George W Bush administration failed to plan to block their retreat.

Top administration officials instead gave priority to planning for war with Iraq, leaving the United States with not nearly enough troops or strategic airlift capacity to close the large number of possible exit routes through the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area where Bin Laden escaped in late 2001.

Because it had not been directed to plan for that contingency, the US military was also forced to turn down an offer from then Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf in late November 2001 to send 60,000 troops to intercept the al-Qaeda leaders.

Nuts.  Who could ever have guessed that incompetence in the White House could so cripple our military, and ultimately, so cripple our nation?

Can we move inauguration day up to December 1?  Please?


Voting matters, in Iraq, in Texas

October 21, 2008

Rick Noriega is a rising star, a good man who has served his nation and state well, in Iraq, in the Texas legislature, and now — he hopes —  in the U.S. Senate.

Early voting opened this morning in Texas. Record turnouts reported from Dallas County.  It’s an important election, and not too late to donate to the candidate of your choice and/or volunteer to canvass.


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