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Member since: Wed Mar 16, 2005, 11:12 AM
Number of posts: 60,364

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For those who served, ALS looms as new enemy


Todd Russ of Altoona is shown with his wife, Judy. Todd is a Navy veteran who is battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as “Lou Gehrig’s disease.”

For those who served, ALS looms as new enemy
Randy Griffith [email protected]
November 11, 2012

JOHNSTOWN — Todd Russ was a healthy, active Navy veteran in his late 50s when he started noticing some numbness and found himself tripping.

Doctors first thought it was a problem with his back, but two surgical procedures did not help. In fact, his symptoms continued to develop and spread to other limbs, his wife, Judy, said from their Altoona home

A friend read a report about veterans being more likely to contract amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s disease.”


Since the symptoms first developed in 2000, Todd Russ’s condition has deteriorated. Now 70 years old, he must use a walker and has limited use of one arm. His speech is slurred and slow, and he has trouble chewing and swallowing.
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Nov 13, 2012, 10:57 AM (0 replies)

Afghan killings case testing military system


Afghan killings case testing military system
November 13, 2012
By GENE JOHNSON and JULIE WATSON, Associated Press

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. (AP) — The U.S. military has been criticized for its spotty record on convicting troops of killing civilians, but a hearing against Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales involving a massacre in Afghanistan has shown that it isn't like most cases.

Government prosecutors have built a strong eyewitness case against the veteran soldier, with troops recounting how they saw Bales return to the base covered in blood. And in unusual testimony in a military court, Afghan civilians questioned via a video link described the horror of seeing 16 people killed, mostly children, in their villages.

Law experts say the case could test whether the military, aided by technology, is able to embark on a new era of accountability.

Bales faces 16 counts of premeditated murder and six counts of attempted murder. The preliminary hearing, which began Nov. 5 and is scheduled to end with closing arguments Tuesday, will determine whether he faces a court-martial. He could face the death penalty if convicted.
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Nov 13, 2012, 10:49 AM (0 replies)

'Addicted to killing people,' letter says


'Addicted to killing people,' letter says
12:55 AM, Nov 13, 2012
Written by Sean O’Sullivan

A soldier charged with kidnapping, raping and murdering a Wilmington woman last year is now claiming in a letter that he killed innocent men, women and children overseas and that his combat service got him “addicted to killing people.”


The letter is the first and most detailed public account from Smith since his arrest and could be a preview of his legal defense.

In the letter, Smith writes, “I am going to be honest with you dad. I have killed a lot of men and women and children. Some that didn’t even do anything for me to kill them. Also some that begged for mercy. I have a problem. I think I got addicted to killing people.

“I could kill someone, go to sleep and forget that it ever happened,” Smith writes.
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Nov 13, 2012, 10:42 AM (4 replies)



In this Nov. 8 photo provided by Green Room PR, Shannon Cruz, 40, of Fayetteville, N.C., poses for a photo in the office of plastic surgeon Dr. Charles Finn in Chapel Hill, N.C., before a surgical procedure. Cruz was injured in 2006 in an ambush in Afghanistan. Finn operated on Cruz free through a program called Faces of Honor that began in 2009. Cruz is a chief warrant officer in the Army, based at Fort Bragg, and was in the Air Force when he was injured.

Soldier gets free surgery to fix injured nose
By Martha Waggoner - The Associated Press
Posted : Monday Nov 12, 2012 11:24:23 EST

Cruz was in the Air Force when the Taliban attacked his team in Uruzgan province. The enemy attacked with a Soviet heavy machine gun, disabling their vehicle and blowing out its tires. He slammed into an M240 machine gun, which weighs about 35 pounds. The impact not only broke the bone in his nose but moved the cartilage so that his left nostril was blocked, leaving him unable to breathe through that side.

unhappycamper comment: So a military doctor preformed an operation in 2006 and Cruz couldn't breath properly six months later. Cruz and his family had to tolerate this condition for six fucking years before he got free civilian surgery, hence the title for this thread.
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Nov 13, 2012, 10:31 AM (1 replies)

Sanders: Going Over 'Fiscal Cliff' Better than Bad Tax Deal


Senator says new Congress could recover 'in the first month or two'

Sanders: Going Over 'Fiscal Cliff' Better than Bad Tax Deal
- Common Dreams staff
Published on Monday, November 12, 2012 by Common Dreams

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said Monday that if the lame-duck Congress can't agree on a tax deal by the end of the year, briefly going over the "fiscal cliff" is preferable to accepting a bad deal.

“Is it better to deal with this issue in the next session rather than accept a bad agreement in this session?” Sanders said during a press conference at his Burlington office. "Yes, it is.”

The "fiscal cliff" refers to a package of severe tax increases and cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid set to automatically go into effect on Jan. 1.

Sanders said Republicans who support the plan are "way, way outside the mainstream," The Burlington Free Press reports.
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Nov 13, 2012, 09:23 AM (14 replies)

Afghanistan Commander Gen. John Allen Investigated; Meanwhile, Afghanistan sinking


Afghanistan Commander Gen. John Allen Investigated; Meanwhile, Afghanistan sinking
Posted on 11/13/2012 by Juan

The emails to Jill Kelly of Gen. John Allen, US commander in Afghanistan and a friend of ex-CIA chief David Petraeus, are being investigated as possibly inappropriate.

Meanwhile, actual Afghans face a difficult and perhaps bleak future because the way over-ambitious American project in their country is failing. And US veterans of the war struggle with PTSD and, often, addiction.

The European Union is suspending aid to the corrupt government Hamid Karzai. And, Taliban are raiding into the Bamyan area of the Shiite Hazaras with impunity because the Afghan government has not sent any of its 200,000 troops there to protect them.

The Reporter explains:

Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Nov 13, 2012, 08:48 AM (0 replies)

Lost to History: Missing War Records Complicate Benefit Claims by Iraq, Afghanistan Veterans


Field records from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, needed to document combat injuries, disability claims and the simple history of both wars, were never kept, were destroyed or simply cannot be found, a ProPublica-Seattle Times investigation has found.

Lost to History: Missing War Records Complicate Benefit Claims by Iraq, Afghanistan Veterans
By Peter Sleet, Special to ProPublica, and Hal Bernton, Seattle Times
Published: November 9, 2012

A strange thing happened when Christopher DeLara filed for disability benefits after his tour in Iraq: The U.S. Army said it had no records showing he had ever been overseas.


DeLara's case is part of a much larger problem that has plagued the U.S. military since the 1990 Gulf War: a failure to create and maintain the types of field records that have documented American conflicts since the Revolutionary War.

A joint investigation by ProPublica and The Seattle Times has found that the recordkeeping breakdown was especially acute in the early years of the Iraq war, when insurgents deployed improvised bombs with devastating effects on U.S. soldiers. The military has also lost or destroyed records from Afghanistan, according to officials and previously undisclosed documents.

The loss of field records — after-action write-ups, intelligence reports and other day-to-day accounts from the war zones — has far-reaching implications. It has complicated efforts by soldiers like DeLara to claim benefits. And it makes it harder for military strategists to learn the lessons from Iraq and Afghanistan, two of the nation's most protracted wars.
Posted by unhappycamper | Mon Nov 12, 2012, 10:30 AM (1 replies)

First World War: Same Protests of Futility, Folly Heard Today


A ration party of the Royal Irish Rifles in a communication trench during the Battle of the Somme. The date is believed to be July 1, 1916, the first day on the Somme

First World War: Same Protests of Futility, Folly Heard Today
Sunday, 11 November 2012 07:11
By H Patricia Hynes, Truthout | News Analysis

Watching Londoners reveling in the streets on Armistice Day, November 11, 1918, the war critic and pacifist Bertrand Russell commented that people had cheered for war, then cheered for peace – "The crowd was frivolous still, and had learned nothing during the period of horror." (1)

World War 1 was the first industrial war, with poison gases, flamethrowers, aerial bombing, submarines, and machine guns intensifying the scale of war wreckage and setting the norm for 20th century war. It quickly became a total war, moving inexorably toward total defeat, with no political space or will for early truce. By policy, British war dead was not sent home lest the public turn against the war. Instead, they were buried in vast graveyards near battle sites in France and Belgium. Even today, Belgian and French farmers plowing fields in places of intense, interminable fighting and mass death on the western front unearth an estimated one-half million pounds of war detritus and soldiers’ bones each year.

In Britain, a vast, unbreachable gap arose between war-ruined soldiers and war-fevered citizens suffused and infected with martial music, uniformed parades, and war propaganda – a chasm widened by pervasive government censoring of soldiers’ mail. A pliant media shamelessly published false accounts that turned mass battle losses and defeats into victories. War-loyal British editors were rewarded with knighthoods and peerage; and it was wryly noted that the war couldn’t have lasted more than a month without the newspapers. (2)

From the unyielding ugliness and butchery of World War I emerged soldier poets, notable among them Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, whose unsparing style and content severed them from the traditions of epic war poems and British romantic poetry. Living and dying in a trench war fraught with dead bodies and rats that fattened on them, with rear guard commanders who sent battalions of teenage boys into the slaughter of machine gun fire, the soldier poets castigated their homeland’s war-mongering politicians and industrial profiteers. Their sense of betrayal encompassed not only politicians giving war orders securely from home and complicit generals holed up in remote chateaus, but also war-clamoring citizens. Among these were patriotic mothers, recruited to publicly shame unenlisted young men into joining and to heckle war resisters and pacifists. The war poets’ realism countered – but never superseded – the homeland novelists, artists, playwrights and poets, among them the empire-loving Rudyard Kipling, procured by the government to ennoble the war through facile appeals to patriotism and uniform, glory for country and honor of serving.
Posted by unhappycamper | Mon Nov 12, 2012, 08:42 AM (8 replies)

Drone Propaganda Site Pops Up Just In Time For Obama's Second Term


Drone Propaganda Site Pops Up Just In Time For Obama's Second Term
Geoffrey Ingersoll | Nov. 8, 2012, 7:33 PM

Drones (and their corresponding strikes) don't have the best public face, especially since the wars are winding down and they've starting coming home to roost.

It's not just Obama who's expanding (and will continue to expand) their deployment. Law enforcement agencies, the CIA, the Department of Homeland Security and even journalists are all seeking to use, and potentially abuse, unmanned robotic vehicles.

So with timing that couldn't be any more perfect, Talking Points Memo reports that a new website dedicated to telling positive drone stories popped up in the days leading up to Obama's re-election. Not that the two are somehow directly related, but it's worth noting that the man who simultaneously quadrupled flying robot use abroad also authorized and encouraged their use domestically.


The ShadowHawk can be equipped with a 40 mm grenade launcher and a 12-gauge shotgun, according to its maker, Vanguard Defense Industries of Conroe, Texas. The company doesn’t sell the armed version in the United States, although “we have had interest from law-enforcement entities for deployment of nonlethal munitions from the aircraft,” Vanguard CEO Michael Buscher said.
Posted by unhappycamper | Mon Nov 12, 2012, 07:53 AM (1 replies)

Why Did CIA Director Petraeus Suddenly Resign...And Why Was the U.S. Ambassador to Libya Murdered?


Why Did CIA Director Petraeus Suddenly Resign...And Why Was the U.S. Ambassador to Libya Murdered?
By Washington's Blog
OpEdNews Op Eds 11/11/2012 at 16:01:09


CIA boss David Petraeus suddenly resigned, admitting to an affair. This could be the real explanation, given that affairs of high-level intelligence chiefs could compromise national security.

But the timing of Petraeus' resignation becomes more interesting once one learns that that he was scheduled to testify under oath next week before power House and Senate committees regarding the Benghazi consulate.

Many speculate that it wasn't an affair -- but the desire to avoid testifying on Benghazi -- which was the real reason for Petraeus' sudden resignation.

Whatever the scope of the CIA's operation in Benghazi -- and whatever the real reason for the resignation of the CIA chief -- the key is our historical and ongoing foreign policy.
Posted by unhappycamper | Mon Nov 12, 2012, 07:40 AM (7 replies)
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