On Omaha Beach near the American cemetery in Normandy.
Nothing brings home the enormity of the sacrifices made by America's servicemen like a visit to Normandy, France, where tens of thousands lost their lives.
Walking through the American cemetery there, I was overcome by the thought of all those crosses and Jewish stars, each representing a life lost. Those men would be grandfathers, great-grandfathers today, had they not heeded a call for service to their country, to the world.
And looking again at the Jewish stars, I'm reminded of how different things could have been if so many had not been willing to fight for a cause greater than themselves.
For many, there is no one left to remember them. They will forever be a mere name on a cross, on a star, in a sea of graves. War is horrible, and should never be glorified. But today, on Veterans Day, we should take a moment to honor those heroes who never came home.
Watch this video of this soldier coming home after 14 months in Iraq. See how his dogs go nuts?
My dog does that every time I come home. Even if I've only been gone 15 minutes.
Watch it; it's wonderful. The expression in the brown dog's eyes as she gazes up at him is why we do the things we do for our dogs.
Yesterday I got an email from a sailor serving in Kabul, and he's given me permission to post this. I thought you all would like to see what the people on the ground there are thinking, and what kind of people join the military. I think he nails it when he says they want intelligent discussion and results:
Just got to see Sen Obama on his way from the US embassy in Kabul. You should have seen the security coverage, several Blackhawks circling as his Chinook came in and following his motorcade out. Though seeing him (from a distance) out here is a thrill, even more exciting was the crowd of service members from many nations who waited for a momentary glimpse. Of course, out here (almost) any excitement is welcomed in the stretches of boredom that accompany duty in Afghanistan, but as we waited for something to happen for over an hour the discussion of everyone's feeling and thoughts for the election and Afghanistan's future revealed just how much people out here are pinning their hopes on the US to make a good call this November and for the next president to get things done to recover from recent setbacks. These are the guys and gals who have been on multiple combat tours, some here, many in Iraq, and sound bites about "Cutting and Running" or "Bring It On" don't go far. They want intelligent discussion and results. I hope American voters are smart enough to demand the same for the next few months, and the next four years.
As everyone focuses on each little shift in campaign strategy, each media story of the day, I hope they remember that momentary disappointments or elation need to be kept in the context of the folks dying out here. Lost another Coalition soldier yesterday afternoon, and it has been a rough week for civilian casualties in the crossfire with a resurgent Taliban. Very glad Sen Obama knows this is where he should be, if only for a day or two.
As one British Sergeant exclaimed, "I just got a photo of the next President of the United States!" I do hope he is right.
I hope he's right too.
UPDATE: The next day he sent a photo of him with Obama, and said he got to meet him along with some of the other troops. Which puts to lie this viral email that's going around.
The American cemetery near Cambridge.
Today is Remembrance Day, known as Veteran's Day in the US, but celebrated quite differently. I was struck when I moved here by the dignity with which the British remember their fallen soldiers. A couple of years ago I wrote about a repatriation ceremony I watched on BBC that brought me to tears. In the US no coffins of dead soldiers are ever shown on television, for political reasons. Someone in the Reagan administration first came out with that edict, hoping to avoid the loss of public confidence in the war that happened with Vietnam.
But it's not the sight of our fallen, their coffins draped with flags representing the country they died to defend, that turns us from war. It's the idiocy of the war in the first place, the fact that "defense" isn't the proper word for what happened in Vietnam and now, Iraq.
Here it's hard to forget those who died, and not just on Remembrance Sunday. Today churches across England speak of honor, courage, all the qualities we associate with those who fell at Ypres, at Normandy, in Kabul. I'm listening to a service right now on BBC, and later this morning thousands of poppy wreaths will be gently placed in front of war memorials, the focal point of every small English town. During November, many people wear poppies on their lapels or pinned to jumpers, including TV presenters, teachers, and shop clerks. In the stone walls of ancient colleges are embedded memorial plaques to their dead, once bright hopes for the country's future, now sad stories of uncles and cousins who never came home. Even the fictitious Archers visit a cemetery on Remembrance Day.
Something happens, though, when it comes to remembering those who are still alive, those who've chosen to join the modern services. Suddenly honor and courage aren't such hot commodities. The pay of servicemen and women here is lower than their American counterparts, their living conditions much worse, their benefits not as generous, and often, they seem forgotten by their government, as well as their fellow citizens. Recently there was a controversy surrounding plans to build a home for families of wounded servicemen near a convalescent centre in Surrey. The locals were dead set against it, at least until the story made headlines and they were shamed into reconsidering their planning council vote. I've heard stories of shoddy base facilities, inadequate supply lines, and other life threatening conditions endured by service personnel. The front page scandal of Walter Reed is played out endless times, without so much as an embarrassed cough from those in a position to do something about it—namely, the British taxpayer and their anointed accountant, Gordon Brown.
I'm outraged whenever I hear stories of governments who send their bravest citizens off to war, then neglect to see to their needs when they come home. I recently read that one quarter of all homeless people in America are veterans, a shameful fact that shouldn't be tolerated by a country whose automobiles are adorned with yellow magnetic ribbons proclaiming support for the troops.
It's particularly maddening when our soldiers aren't sent to protect their homeland, but to fight for the rights of their governments to sell cheap gas to its citizens, and for multi-national corporations to make billions in profits for their shareholders.
That's what I remember today, how mad I am.
You may remember from several weeks ago the NY Times editorial written by seven men stationed in Iraq entitled The War As We Saw It. They felt like America had outlived its "reluctant welcome", based on their observations.
And then a couple of weeks ago two of the authors of the op-ed died, killed by a vehicle accident before they could leave Iraq.
Now there's a fund being set up in honor of these men, to raise money for Fisher House, which provides housing for families of wounded soldiers. Way back when I lived on an Air Force base, I was involved in raising money for this charity. It's a good cause: there are only a few military treatment centers in the U.S. and Europe, and most families can't afford to visit their loved ones without financial help and a place to stay. (This is a concept similar to Ronald McDonald House.)
Those soldiers, like all members of the military, took an oath to defend the constitution of the United States, and in these days when freedom of speech is sometimes questioned—even by major presidential candidates, we should honor those who exercise their rights while at the same time defending them.
I went to a Democrats Abroad meeting last night. Afterward there were sign-up sheets for those interested in volunteering or receiving information on the various presidential candidates. Guess which one people were hovering around?
And then today I read that, of all the presidential candidates—Republican or Democratic—Barack Obama has gathered more contributions from members and employees of the military.
Could that have anything to do with the fact that he's called for a withdrawal of all troops from Iraq by the end of 2008?
I guess maybe they're sick and tired of coming home in body bags.
Also interesting: Michelle Obama is coming to London. You can go to the event, for a $100 donation to the campaign. Bill Clinton is also coming to London to campaign for his spouse. You can get a ticket for that event too, but you'll have to pay $1000.
Guess which one I'm going to?
It's bad enough being at risk for a genetic illness. It's also no fun to fear losing your job due to an illness.
But to lose your job, and your benefits, just when you need them most, is unconscionable.
Yet that's how the US military treats its members.
For more than 20 years, the armed forces have held a policy that specifically denies disability benefits to servicemen and women with congenital or hereditary conditions. The practice would be illegal in almost any other workplace.
Andrew Bacevich, a history and international relations professor at Boston University, has been speaking out against the war and our international policies since before the Iraq War began. As a young Army officer, he saw first hand the effects of a disastrous war in Viet Nam.
On May 13 his son, also an Army officer, was killed in Salah al-Din province by a suicide bomb explosion. He writes in the Washington Post:
Memorial Day orators will say that a G.I.'s life is priceless. Don't believe it. I know what value the U.S. government assigns to a soldier's life: I've been handed the check. It's roughly what the Yankees will pay Roger Clemens per inning once he starts pitching next month.
At the Washington Monthly blog, Kevin Drum sums up an article in the NY Times on how soldiers in Iraq feel about the war now, after finding the same Iraqi troops they're training by day have been bombing them at night:
The reports of individual soldiers provide a very limited view into how well or how badly the war is going. But eventually their voices add up, and it sounds like Delta Company has figured out the truth: that they're mostly just training Iraqi soldiers to be more efficient at killing both Americans and each other. They're inflaming a foreign civil war, not defending America, and the fact that their commander in chief continues to insist that they risk their lives anyway represents a betrayal of trust rarely equaled in modern history. These guys deserve better. They deserve a president who understands when to fight, how to fight, and how to win. George Bush plainly understands none of these things.
If you need a visual to illustrate this post, the New York Times has a moving photo in their slide show this morning, of a young woman lying on the grave of her fiancé who is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. She looks to be about the age of the Bush twins.
How sad that this Memorial Day there are so many more loved ones to remember.
Ever since I can remember (about 20 years) a 3.5 percent pay increase has been the norm for service members.
But now, despite recommendations from the House Armed Services Committee, the White House opposes the increase:
Bush budget officials said the administration “strongly opposes” both the 3.5 percent raise for 2008 and the follow-on increases, calling extra pay increases “unnecessary.”
There were other White House complaints as well, regarding other benefits Congress has seen fit to offer military members:
A death gratuity for federal civilian employees who die in support of military operations, and new benefits for disabled retirees and the survivors of military retirees also drew complaints.
The administration also wants to impose fees for Tricare beneficiaries (me and mine), which Congress refused to do.
Why does George Bush hate the troops?
eRobin posted a clip of Tim Ryan, D-OH, speaking in the House of Representatives about the escalation. He points out that the administration responsible for the lack of body armor, etc. is not likely to do it right this time either.
It was the last line that got me, where he rephrases the words of Donald Rumsfeld:
"You go to war with the president you have, you don't go to war with the president you wish you had."
Today is the anniversary of worldwide protests against the invasion of Iraq. On February 15, 2003 millions of people all over the world (including my daughter in New York) took to the streets in protest of what they knew would result in hell on earth for American and coalition troops as well as innocent Iraqi citizens.
They were right, though no one could have foreseen just how much hell was unleashed by those bombers strafing Baghdad.
Here's the story of one man's personal hell. Sadly, it could have been avoided.
STEWART, Minn. -- It took two years of hell to convince him, but finally Jonathan Schulze was ready.
On the morning of Jan. 11, Jonathan, an Iraq war veteran with two Purple Hearts, neatly packed his US Marine Corps duffel bag with his sharply creased clothes, a framed photo of his new baby girl, and a leather-bound Bible and headed out from the family farm for a 75-mile drive to the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in St. Cloud, Minn.
Family and friends had convinced him at last that the devastating mental wounds he brought home from war, wounds that triggered severe depression, violent outbursts, and eventually an uncontrollable desire to kill himself, could not be drowned in alcohol or treated with the array of antianxiety drugs he'd been prescribed.
And so, with his father and stepmother at his side, he confessed to an intake counselor that he was suicidal. He wanted to be admitted to a psychiatric ward.
But, instead, he was told that the clinician who prescreened cases like his was unavailable. Go home and wait for a phone call tomorrow, the counselor said, as Marianne Schulze, his stepmother, describes it.
When a clinical social worker called the next day, Jonathan, 25, told again of his suicidal thoughts and other symptoms. And then, with his stepmother listening in, he learned that he was 26th on the waiting list for one of the 12 beds in the center's ward for post-traumatic stress disorder sufferers.
Four days later, on Jan. 16, he wrapped a household extension cord around his neck, tied it to a beam in the basement, and hanged himself.
Those who originally supported the war haven't done enough to support those they sent to fight it. It's easy to send soldiers off to war when you haven't been yourself, when your loved ones aren't likely to make up a recruiter's quota, when your "other priorities" include making the world safe for your energy buddies to make lots of money.
It's a lot harder to appropriate money for VA mental health wards in the U.S., especially when your mind's in Iran, on that next war you want to fight. (You and whose troops?)
Maybe it's time for another protest.
Bill Moyers delivered a speech at West Point, the Sol Feinstone Lecture on The Meaning of Freedom. While it was intended for the ears of the future leaders of our armies, it's full of wisdom for everyone, as well as some poignant history lessons.
Never one to shy from plain talk, Moyers challenged those who may be inclined to approve of the current administration's policies abroad to think again:
Let me cut closer to the bone. The chickenhawks in Washington, who at this very moment are busily defending you against supposed “insults” or betrayals by the opponents of the war in Iraq, are likewise those who have cut budgets for medical and psychiatric care; who have been so skimpy and late with pay and with provision of necessities that military families in the United States have had to apply for food stamps; who sent the men and women whom you may soon be commanding into Iraq understrength, underequipped, and unprepared for dealing with a kind of war fought in streets and homes full of civilians against enemies undistinguishable from non-combatants; who have time and again broken promises to the civilian National Guardsmen bearing much of the burden by canceling their redeployment orders and extending their tours.
You may or may not agree on the justice and necessity of the war itself, but I hope that you will agree that flattery and adulation are no substitute for genuine support. Much of the money that could be directed to that support has gone into high-tech weapons systems that were supposed to produce a new, mobile, compact “professional” army that could easily defeat the armies of any other two nations combined, but is useless in a war against nationalist or religious guerrilla uprisings that, like it or not, have some support, coerced or otherwise, among the local population. We learned this lesson in Vietnam, only to see it forgotten or ignored by the time this administration invaded Iraq, creating the conditions for a savage sectarian and civil war with our soldiers trapped in the middle, unable to discern civilian from combatant, where it is impossible to kill your enemy faster than rage makes new ones.
And who has been the real beneficiary of creating this high-tech army called to fight a war conceived and commissioned and cheered on by politicians and pundits not one of whom ever entered a combat zone? One of your boys answered that: Dwight Eisenhower, class of 1915, who told us that the real winners of the anything at any price philosophy would be “the military-industrial complex.”
Read the whole thing here.
These poppies sprout, not on the usual lapel, but in a field of grain.
Yesterday a neighbor came by collecting money to support military families, exchanging red paper poppies for a donation. This is an annual tradition here, beginning a couple of weeks before Remembrance Day, November 11, when red poppies sprout from lapels and new wreaths are laid at war memorials. When she heard my accent she assured me this was a world wide tradition, but I told her that no, Americans didn't generally honor the memories of their fallen in such a way. Instead, they slap yellow ribbons on their cars and SUVs and promptly forget about the whole concept of "support the troops."
When I mentioned that I didn't support the war in Iraq, she told me she was relieved to hear it. "I don't usually say anything, since you never know." She meant she keeps her mouth shut around Americans, of course. I've heard this before, this huge sigh of relief when Brits find out that despite my accent I never drank the Kool-Aid.
I told her I thought people here had stronger reservations about wars since they'd been affected to such a greater degree by the two great wars of the last century. Memories are much sharper here, honed by the danger of living in a city targeted for destruction by German Luftwaffe. I could go on, examining the differences in the two societies in how they honor the war dead, but I've been there before. The dead would probably prefer to be remembered by their country's honoring the living, who need more than yellow ribbons to bring them home safely.
That's why I was struck when I read this at Military.com, a website that normally posts items of interest to servicemembers, such as info for military spouses seeking work, and a sign-up for a monthly commissary shopping spree.
Joe Galloway, a veteran military affairs reporter, says:
The White House Office of Management and Budget rejected Army chief Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker's extraordinary plea by for the additional funds to pay for repairing and replacing thousands of worn out and blown up tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles and Humvees.
Instead of the $25 billion that Schoomaker says the Army needs just to keep doing what it's been doing with spit, adhesive tape and baling wire for the last five years, the Pentagon says the Army can have $7 billion.
I wonder, will the military vote this year go, as in the past, to the Republicans? Will they finally come to their senses and realize that, unless they're major stockholders in Halliburton they haven't been aided by the massive spending in the Pentagon budget? Their needs just aren't on the Northrop-Grumman radar of Dick "Five Deferments" Cheney, Donald "You go to war with the Army you have" Rumsfeld, and George "AWOL" Bush. As for the Republicans in Congress, they too are more concerned about the military contractors their favorite lobbyists (i.e. Jack Abramoff, who contributed solely to Republicans) are employed by.
When the poppy lady was leaving, she apologized for the flimsiness of the poppies. "They used to be made of silk, in China or somewhere," she said, "but they got too expensive."
"No problem," I said. They are, after all, just a symbol. Supporting the troops— and honoring the fallen—involves more than pinning a poppy to your lapel, or a magnetic ribbon to your bumper. Or even accepting expensive gifts from military contractors, through their lobbyists.
I'll let Major John McCrae have the last word:
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
This is one of those "If You Only Read One Thing Today..." posts.
Apparently this letter was making its way around the internet, email by email, from soldier's family to soldier's family, until finally Time magazine tracked down the author and printed it.
If you haven't read it, do. It's full of most-best-worst gems, like these:
Most Profound Man in Iraq - an unidentified farmer in a fairly remote area who, after being asked by Reconnaissance Marines (searching for Syrians) if he had seen any foreign fighters in the area replied "Yes, you."
Bravest Guy in al-Anbar Province - Any Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician (EOD Tech). How'd you like a job that required you to defuse bombs in a hole in the middle of the road that very likely are booby-trapped or connected by wire to a bad guy who's just waiting for you to get close to the bomb before he clicks the detonator? Every day. Sanitation workers in New York City get paid more than these guys. Talk about courage and commitment.
Coolest Insurgent Act - Stealing almost $7 million from the main bank in Ramadi in broad daylight, then, upon exiting, waving to the Marines in the combat outpost right next to the bank, who had no clue of what was going on. The Marines waved back. Too cool.
Biggest Hassle - High-ranking visitors. More disruptive to work than a rocket attack. VIPs demand briefs and "battlefield" tours (we take them to quiet sections of Fallujah, which is plenty scary for them). Our briefs and commentary seem to have no affect on their preconceived notions of what's going on in Iraq. Their trips allow them to say that they've been to Fallujah, which gives them an unfortunate degree of credibility in perpetuating their fantasies about the insurgency here.
Best Intel Work - Finding Jill Carroll's kidnappers - all of them. I was mighty proud of my guys that day. I figured we'd all get the Christian Science Monitor for free after this, but none have showed up yet. Talk about ingratitude.
Kevin Drum says Time left out a few more gems, such as Biggest Ass-Chewing, as well as the officer's identity. He's a colonel, a Marine, the same one who filed a report a month ago saying the situation in Anbar province was basically SNAFU.
This one was my favorite:
Happiest Moment - Well, it wasn't in Iraq. There are no truly happy moments here. It was back in California when I was able to hold my family again while home on leave during July.
Go read the full version here.
How sad. I just watched the repatriation ceremony at RAF Kinross for the 14 British service members killed in Afghanistan when their plane went down. It was moving, dignified, and once again I wondered why the same respect isn't shown to our men and women who die abroad fighting our wars.
Of course I know the answer. It's for crass political reasons. Since Ronald Reagan was president, the flag-draped coffins of U.S. service members who are killed abroad are not shown to the American public, in order that the public not be reminded of the painful cost of war. It's thought that the sight of so many bodies returning to Dover AFB was the reason the public lost support for the Vietnam War.
But our brave men and women who give their lives for their country deserve better. They deserve, for a few minutes, the respect of their country, the dignified silence that surrounds their repatriation to their homeland.
I wiped my tears as they described the men who died in Afghanistan—one wanted to be a pilot, another loved fast cars—and I thought about the young Americans who've died without such an honor bestowed on them. Without the country they died for even knowing what their hopes and dreams were.
Haditha wasn't an anomaly, nor was Abu Ghraib. No, these weren't examples of "bad apples" as we'd all like to think. It's the whole tree that's infected, with hatred and its accompanying tyranny, and its apples, unfortunately, are red, white and blue and wear body armor.
Nir Rosen writes a horrifying picture of what's going on in Iraq in The Occupation of Iraqi Hearts and Minds:
In reality both Abu Ghraib and Haditha were merely more extreme versions of the day-to-day workings of the American occupation in Iraq, and what makes them unique is not so much how bad they were, or how embarrassing, but the fact that they made their way to the media and were publicized despite attempts to cover them up. Focusing on Abu Ghraib and Haditha distracts us from the daily, little Abu Ghraibs and small-scale Hadithas that have made up the occupation. The occupation has been one vast extended crime against the Iraqi people, and most of it has occurred unnoticed by the American people and the media.
If you only read one article today, read this one. As an American of Iranian descent, Rosen has been able to understand the day-to-day conflicts that arise when our troops, misunderstanding the language as well as the culture, attempt to occupy a region they once intended to "liberate".
It's a shame this won't be the lead story in the New York times or the Washington Post, or in every hometown newspaper in the country. Instead, the rest of America will sit down to hot dogs and burgers on the Fourth of July, surrounded by American flags, and have no idea what is being done in their name in a far off country where no one speaks "American English".
Three days after the operation, a dozen prisoners could be seen marching in a circle outside their detention cells, surrounded by barbed wire. They were shouting “USA, USA!” over and over. “They were talkin’ when we told ’em not to, so we made ’em talk somethin’ we liked to hear,” one of the soldiers guarding them said with a grin. Another gestured up with his hands, letting them know they had to raise their voices. A first sergeant quipped that the ones who were not guilty “will be guilty next time,” after such treatment. Even if the men were guilty, no proof would be provided to the community. There would be no process of transparent justice. The only thing evident to the Iraqi public would be the American guilt.
How much longer can we support troops who act in such a way? After Vietnam, our generals called for an all-volunteer army, and they got one. Unfortunately, when leaders demand their professional troops fight for a cause they cannot understand, the result is what Rosen outlines in this article.
But after a while no one will be able to distinguish the fruit from the rotten tree. For the Iraqis living under the tyranny, all they see are the American flags on the tanks and uniforms of their oppressors.
Stop whatever you're doing and read this. Larry Johnson at No Quarter posts an exchange of emails between Joe Galloway, longtime military reporter, and the spokesperson for Donald Rumsfeld, Larry Di Rita.
It began with one of Galloway's columns for Knight Ridder wherein the following statement was made:
Van Riper told Knight Ridder that in looking at Rumsfeld's
leadership he found three particular areas of inability and incompetence.
First, he said, if any battalion commander under him had created so "poor a climate of leadership" and the "bullying" that goes on in the Pentagon under Rumsfeld he would order an investigation and relieve that commander.
Even more than that I focus on (his) incompetence when it comes to preparing American military forces for the future," Van Riper said. His idea of transformation turns on empty buzz words. There's none of the scholarship and doctrinal examination that has to go on before you begin changing the force."
Third, he said, under Rumsfeld there's been no oversight of military acquisition.
Mr. Rumsfeld has failed 360 degrees in the job. He is incompetent," Van Riper concluded. "Any military man who made the mistakes he has made, tactically and strategically, would be relieved on the spot."
DiRita objected, and called Galloway some names:
You're just becoming a johnny one-note and it's only a couple of steps from that to curmudgeon!!
Galloway responds, eventually with a laundry list of what Rumsfeld's Pentagon has done wrong, including this:
and in the latest QDR, his last, he made none of the hard choices about wasted money on high dollar weapons systems that make no sense in the real world today. the same QDR quite correctly identifies an urgent need for MORE psyops and civil affairs and military police and far more troops who have foreign language training appropriate to where we fight. and we budget a paltry 191 million, i say MILLION, bucks to do all that. not even the cost of the periscopes on those oh-so-necessary submarines, or the instruments on one of those f22s. this is what has my attention; this is what has me in a mood to question over and over and over, waiting for answers that never come, change that never comes, course corrections that never come. you wanted some specifics. there are some
Di Rita's response:
This is tough stuff, and we're all hard at it, trying to do what's best for the country.
Then Galloway brings tears to my eyes with this: (warning: have tissues at the ready)
i can wish that your boss had surrounded himself with close advisers who had, once at least, held a dying boy in their arms and watched the life run out of his eyes while they lied to him and told him, over and over, "You are going to be all right. Hang on! Help is coming. Don't quit now..." Such men in place of those who had never known service or combat or the true cost of war, and who pays that price, and had never sent their children off to do that hard and unending duty. i could wish for so much. i could wish that in january of this year i had not stood in a garbage-strewn pit, in deep mud, and watched soldiers tear apart the wreckage of a kiowa warrior shot down just minutes before and tenderly remove the barely alive body of WO Kyle Jackson and the lifeless body of his fellow pilot. they died flying overhead cover for a little three-vehicle Stryker patrol with which i was riding at the time. i could wish that Jackson's widow Betsy had not found, among the possessions of her late husband, a copy of my book, carefully earmarked at a chapter titled Brave Aviators, which Kyle was reading at the time of his death. That she had not enclosed a photo of her husband, herself and a 3 year old baby girl. those things i received in the mail yesterday and they brought back the tears that i wept standing there in that pit, feeling the same shards in my heart that i felt the first time i looked into the face of a fallen american soldier 41 years ago on a barren hill in Quang Ngai Province in another time, another war. someone once asked me if i had learned anything from going to war so many times. my reply: yes, i learned how to cry. Jg
You can probably guess what the reply was. Go read the complete exchange, including the KR article that started it all, and Gen. Barry McCaffrey's instructions to Joe to print it all online. (It's easier to read if you make the text bigger. And try to control your anger, I found it distracting when I chanted curses at Rumsfeld and Bush as I read.)
The Pentagon neglects to supply soldiers with body armor.
Congress insists they reimburse soldiers who buy their own body armor.
But the Pentagon neglects to do so.
Meanwhile, a report says that 80% of fatal torso injuries in Iraq may have been prevented by more extensive body armor.
Think it can't get any worse? Think again.
Now, soldiers who've bought their own body armor may lose their SGLI life insurance if they continue to wear it.
This is the same body armor nine generals stationed in Afghanistan are wearing, in order to "evaluate" it.
What I want to know is, why does Donald Rumsfeld keep spitting on our troops?