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Number of disabled veterans rising

May 11th, 2008 . by TexasFred

WASHINGTON (AP) - Increasing numbers of U.S. troops have left the military with damaged bodies and minds, an ever-larger pool of disabled veterans that will cost the nation billions for decades to come - even as the total population of America’s vets shrinks.

Despite the decline in total vets - as soldiers from World War II and Korea die - the government expects to be spending $59 billion a year to compensate injured warriors in 25 years, up from today’s $29 billion, according to internal documents obtained by The Associated Press. And the Veterans Affairs Department concedes the bill could be much higher.


Worse wounds. More disabilities. More vets aware of the benefits and quicker to file for them.

Also, ironically, advanced medical care. Troops come home with devastating injuries that might well have killed them in earlier wars.

Time is also a factor when it comes to disability compensation costs. Payments tend to go up as veterans age, and an increasing number of soldiers from the Vietnam War will be getting bigger payments as they get older and are less able to work around their disabilities.

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Number of disabled veterans rising

I am going to say this again and again and again, and to any that don’t like it, don’t believe it or can’t support it, click the ‘X’ at the top right of your screen and LEAVE!!

Our Veterans, and their care comes 1st!!

These wonderful guys and gals have given this nation everything they have to give physically, many have given their lives, the ultimate sacrifice, and that’s the way it goes for folks in the military and I fully understand that, but the ones that DO survive must be cared for in the most top shelf fashion imaginable…

Our government continues to spend BILLIONS of our tax dollars to rebuild a war torn nation that is still engaged in a civil war, although there is nothing civil about that or any other war…

Why spend our money rebuilding Iraq, our money, when it could be much better spent taking care of the troops that come back home with life changing injuries and disabilities??

America 1st, and American SOLDIERS 1st, if that idea is beyond your realm of comprehension then you are reading the wrong blog, this isn’t about politics, it’s not about right, left, Dem, Repub or any of that, it’s all about doing the best job for our injured Vets no matter what it costs, and if it means we have to cut back on the rehabilitation of an OIL RICH nation like Iraq, then so be it!!

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Army OKs $248M in barracks repairs, but housing still aging

May 8th, 2008 . by TexasFred

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (AP) - Spc. Loren Dauterman, who trained at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin last month with the National Guard, found something good to say about the falling-apart floors and ceilings in her quarters.


“It is better than sleeping out in the woods,” Dauterman said last week, “but not a whole lot better.”

Thousands of soldiers at Fort McCoy, Fort Campbell and elsewhere are assigned to barracks built for the GIs who fought World War II and the Korean War. The buildings are showing their age, and the soldiers are getting fed up.

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Army OKs $248M in barracks repairs, but housing still aging

Am I the only one that sees this as an insult to Americas fighting men and women?? Is this not an affront to their dignity??

We send our fine guys and gals to places like Iraq and Afghanistan and ask them to endure horrid living conditions at worst, and not so good conditions at best while WE spend BILLIONS of U.S. tax dollars on the rebuilding of a nation that is still engaged in a highly destructive civil war…

And when our troops come home to the USA they are expected to live in these conditions??

I have seen ‘enlisted’ housing on Army bases, Ft. Bliss and Ft. Hood, TX., I knew some young NCO’s a few years ago, they lived in base housing and it was, for the most part, less than desirable, and I can’t even begin to speak of the conditions that the single enlisted men lived in, barracks that were built before WWII were not at all uncommon and their condition 25 years ago was pretty bad…

Officers housing was quite a bit better compared to the others but it was nothing to write home about and in many cases officers spent their own money, or their wives did, to improve the housing, do repairs and decorate it in an attractive manner and so forth…

Our troops deserve a lot more than they are getting, both from the military while they are on active duty and from the V.A. once their service is done, it is a travesty for us to provide better for the citizens of other nations than it we do for our own fighting men and women, and their families…

Now I’m only guessing but I would take bets that there are certain Bush Bot Army wives out there that would tell you the army provides more than adequate housing for our troops and the V.A. provides more than adequate care for our Veterans but that drum has been beat to the point that there are few folks that still put any faith in her words…

And personally, I don’t care what anyone says, our troops deserve nothing but the best this nation can provide to them, you don’t ask men and women to lay down their live and expect their dependents to live in squalor

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Top US commando says strain of war limits forces elsewhere

May 5th, 2008 . by TexasFred

WASHINGTON (AP) - The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are making such heavy use of the nation’s Green Berets and other elite warriors that they cannot fulfill their roles in other parts of the world, the military’s top commando told The Associated Press on Monday.

“We’re going to fewer countries, staying for shorter periods of time, with smaller numbers of people than historically we have done,” Adm. Eric T. Olson said in his first interview since becoming commander of U.S. Special Operations Command last July.

Olson, himself a combat veteran, saw little chance that the demand for his special operations forces in Iraq will decline anytime soon. Even as the overall American force there shrinks - from about 158,000 now to about 140,000 by the end of July - the number of special operations forces in the war zone is likely to increase, he said.

More of these specially trained, often secretive forces may be required in Iraq in order to fill a niche role in the development of Iraqi security forces as the number of conventional Army troops goes down, he said.

“Nothing I’ve been told leads me to believe that there will be a reduction” in special operations forces in Iraq, “and the door is always open for an increase in demand, so we’re just trying to prepare for that the best we can,” Olson said.

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Top US commando says strain of war limits forces elsewhere

I sincerely hope the ‘powers that be’ are listening, Spec/Ops guys are stretched, that’s one of the reasons there are so many top shelf ‘private’ contractors out in the field now, our entire military is stretched, and that is a dangerous position to be in…

Special Forces, SEALS, Recon, Rangers and the like are ALL troopers, they can and will fight just like the grunts, when they have to, but that’s not their intent and purpose, it’s called Spec/Ops for a reason, these guys are set up to do things that the average troop will only dream of and civilians think only happens in the movies, garrison life dulls a Spec/Ops warrior, long and drawn out deployments to places like the streets of Baghdad only dull them even more, they have risen above the rather mundane, day to day duties of the regular troops, that’s why they are Spec/Ops…

Our military needs to be expanded but the ‘all volunteer’ system doesn’t generate the numbers needed, it does, or should I say, did generate a more well educated and highly motivate troop but there’s just not enough of them to go around, the guys and gals we DO have are awesome but they need some relief too, not just the Spec/Ops folks, the grunts, the sand and mud Marines, all of them, you can run a good horse to death, and that is something we can’t afford to have happen…

The Army has lowered it’s standards of acceptance as I understand it, they are overlooking minor arrests and drug charges, they are accepting what was once considered to be a less than desirable candidate, and granted, many of these guys turn out to be great troops, some just need a chance at making a new start, but for the most part you’re not finding guys with college degrees hitting it every morning for PT at Benning, enlisted Infantry can’t draw that caliber of soldier…

I have close personal friends and relatives that are soldiers, some full time, some reservists and some are National Guard troops, Guard that’s doing 50% of the work in Iraq and Afghanistan, National Guard troops, and right now our U.S. Army would be up the creek without a paddle if it weren’t for the Guard and their magnificent troops and officers…

But even our Guard troops are stretched now, some are on their 2nd and 3rd deployments, just like the regular troops, the big difference is, these ‘citizen soldiers’ make even more of a sacrifice when they deploy to Iraq or other parts of the world, they leave behind their civilian jobs for months at a time, in most cases jobs that pay them and their families a much higher wage and afford them a much more lavish lifestyle, but they and their families make whatever sacrifices they must make for this nation…

But here’s my big question, what do we do when the regular troops are too exhausted to go?? And then our Guard and Reserves are pushed way past any expected limits of human endurance?? What do we do when our depleted forces are so run down that they just don’t have a lot left to give this nation??

And think about this, the Spec/Ops guys are a small force, and they can do some pretty amazing things, but they can’t take up all the slack that we are leaving out there…

It can happen, our guys and galls will give it a 110% effort, but they can run out of gas, and unless our government has some grand scheme to enlist more volunteers, fresh meat so to speak, we’re either going to have to scale back somewhere or risk the loss of even more troops due to sheer mental burnout and physical exhaustion…

And when the troops are too tired, too sick, too old or they are suffering from severe PTSD and can’t serve anymore, what then?? Do we expect that the V.A. is going to provide for them and take care of them??

You can read all the ‘rah-rah’ so-called military support sites you want to, some serve a great purpose, but some are blowing smoke up your lacy bloomers, that’s not going to happen here, I ask the questions some folks are afraid to ask, I call it when others ’spin’ and tout the Bush administration as the greatest warfighting group America ever had, well folks, most of us know that’s not the truth, we need to listen to these warriors that return from Iraq, Afghanistan and other places, these guys that have dedicated their lives to fighting for this nation, we need to listen when they tell us of the strain, we have to get our forces ‘fresh’ and at full strength, and it just isn’t going to happen in today’s economy…

There ya go, I said it, it’s ALL about the money, and if you doubt it, you aren’t paying attention, folks don’t soldier for the money, they soldier out of dedication, money keeps the ranks running, and sadly, the all American taxpayer is stretched pretty thin right now too…  

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1,300 Iraqi Troops, Police Dismissed

April 13th, 2008 . by TexasFred

BAGHDAD (AP) - The Iraqi government has dismissed about 1,300 soldiers and policemen who deserted or refused to fight during last month’s offensive against Shiite militias and criminal gangs in Basra, officials said Sunday.

Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Abdul-Karim Khalaf said 921 police and soldiers were fired in Basra. They included 37 senior police officers ranging in rank from lieutenant colonel to brigadier general.

The others were dismissed in Kut, one of the Shiite cities where the fight had spread.

Last month, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered the security forces to confront armed groups in Basra, Iraq’s second largest city.

But they met fierce resistance and the attack quickly ground to a halt as fighting flared across the Shiite south and Baghdad.

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1,300 Iraqi Troops, Police Dismissed

1,300 Iraqi troops and police are dismissed?? For desertion?? DISMISSED??

They deserted in time of WAR, they should be lined up and SHOT!!

That’s numbers coming close to being half of a combat brigade folks, a brigade is 3,500 troops, and we have many brigades in Iraq, and they are waiting on the Iraqi army to STAND UP so that they can come home, but the Iraqis have desertions in these kinds of numbers, and ALL that gets done is a dismissal, a mere slap on the wrist??

These are the people that OUR troops are fighting and dying for, our sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, moms, dads, husbands and wives, and many friends as well, and this is what we can expect from the Iraqi army and police??

It’s time to re-think this Debacle in Iraq, I have NEVER voted for a Democrat in my life, but if that’s what it takes to get our troops OUT of Iraq, then by God I WILL vote Democrat this go round, and make NO mistake, I know that over all, a vote for the Dems is a bad thing, but voting for a Democrat is exactly what you’ll be doing if you vote for John McCain, a Democrat without the name, a candidate that is nothing more than a RINO, and the one thing that John McCain guarantees is this, we’re going to stay in Iraq, fighting and dying for a people that will NOT stand and fight for themselves…

We were attacked by the Taliban and their cohorts on 9-11-01, and I never balked so much as once when we went to Afghanistan to take on that bunch of thugs, but Iraq was NOT about the Taliban or al-Qaida, not in it’s inception, Iraq was simply George W. Bush having a temper tantrum because Saddam defied his wishes and threatened ‘Daddy’, and after several changes of mission statement and definition, we’re still there, in Iraq, an entire nation that is NOT worth the life of so much as ONE of our fine men and women in uniform…

I know there will be many that disagree with this post, but quite frankly, I DON’T CARE, if you can’t open your eyes and see what us being in Iraq has done to this nation, and what George W. Bush has brought upon this nation by taking us TO Iraq, then you are truly one of the blind Bush Bots, and if that offends you, feel free to click out of this blog and stay clicked out!!

I personally feel that those who support the Debacle in Iraq are doing a dis-service to our military members, if we are going to go to war, anywhere in this world, we owe it to our men and women in uniform to prosecute that war in the most expeditious manner possible, and to get them home safely, as soon as possible, and that has NOT been the case in Iraq, we are still conducting a tit for tat, a travesty which we have no apparent desire to end…

And once again the war fighting skills of the Iraqi army make it quite apparent as to exactly WHY we rolled over Saddam and his Republican Guard in such short order, the Iraqis WILL NOT FIGHT, they will conduct insurgent and guerrilla operations, they WILL persecute defenseless people, they will dominate and murder those that won’t fight back but IF there is a challenge made against the Iraqi army, they, as a whole, show their true colors and run like dogs…

Any nation or people that refuses to fight for it’s own freedom is NOT worth fighting FOR, not by us or any other nation, a people that will not stand in their own defense are not worth defending!!

Support Iraqi Freedom?? Screw Iraq AND it’s freedom, bring our troops home NOW, or deploy them to a place where they can actually do some good in the War on Terror, and not leave them act as stand-ins and IED fodder for some insurgency and their civil war!

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Troop levels reach record high in Afghanistan

April 10th, 2008 . by TexasFred

BAGRAM, Afghanistan (AP) — The 101st Airborne Division took command of American forces in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday, helping to boost U.S. troop levels in the country to their highest number since the 2001 invasion.

Marching in step, paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne retired the unit’s flag during a ceremony under a light rain beside the main runway at Bagram Air Field. Then 101st paratroopers unfurled their flag, officially marking the start of their 15-month tour.

The 101st has 7,200 troops in Afghanistan, several hundred more than the 82nd. Its arrival, coupled with the deployment of some 3,500 Marines to the country’s south, has pushed the total number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan to over 32,000, part of a steady rise in force levels as violence has increased over the last two years.

The top American commander in Afghanistan has requested three more brigades — about 7,500 more troops — and the Pentagon has promised that more troops will be sent next year.

Following the 2001 ouster of the Taliban, the U.S. had fewer than 10,000 troops in the country, and no real presence in the volatile south.

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Troop levels reach record high in Afghanistan

Pay special attention to that last line, “Following the 2001 ouster of the Taliban, the U.S. had fewer than 10,000 troops in the country, and no real presence in the volatile south.” because the next line is the payoff, “What has become clear as the insurgency has picked up steam over the last year or two is that an increasing number of forces are needed to clear and hold territory,” said Seth Jones, an analyst who follows Afghanistan for the RAND Corp. “In fact, I think a significant number more are needed. I would like to see those U.S. numbers come up.”

In my opinion George W. Bush, and his desire to traipse off to Iraq and take on Saddam is the very reason that Afghanistan has escalated once again, we didn’t complete the job we needed to in Afghanistan, we hit the Taliban and we hurt them, but we didn’t destroy them and their capability to wage guerrilla warfare, and all the while the Bush Bots continued to chirp that al-Qaida IS in Iraq, well, YES, they are, NOW, because WE went there and they came to fight US, they were NOT in Iraq before Saddam was deposed…

The Bush Bots cry that al-Qaida IS the reason we went TO Iraq, forgetting that the Senate, Congress and the Defense Department have ALL published reports on their studies that have determined that Saddam had nothing to do with the attacks of 9-11 nor any serious association with al-Qaida or the Taliban…

So, here we go again, we have to go back and do a job all over again, and this time it’s not because the Iraqi army couldn’t hold a position, it’s all because our illustrious leader has the attention span of a 3 year old, and he is NOT smarter than a 5th grader…

Don’t take this the wrong way, I am glad to see our troop buildup in Afghanistan, I was terribly disappointed when troops were withdrawn from Afghanistan to be re-tasked to The Debacle in Iraq, maybe this time our guys will be allowed to do the job they were sent to do, maybe they will be ordered to wipe out the Taliban and al-Qaida once and for all…

Yeah, I know, but a guy can dream can’t he??

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Boosting GI Bill benefits could hit military roadblock

March 29th, 2008 . by TexasFred

WASHINGTON — For Sen. Jim Webb, it’s a question of fairness: Why don’t veterans of today’s armed services get the same benefits the GI Bill provided “the greatest generation” after World War II?

Actually Senator, the answer is pretty simple, Vets have always been handed the slick end of the stick, and you know that, perhaps PCness keeps you from saying it, I would hope NOT but that statement is nothing but the cold hard fact of the matter, if the government feels it needs a budget cut, Vets are the 1st to feel it.

But the Virginia Democrat’s effort to remedy the perceived slight, which has gained support in Congress, runs afoul of how officials at the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs want to manage the all-volunteer military. Besides being too expensive and more administratively complex than the current GI Bill, they say it would make it more difficult to retain experienced troops beyond their first hitch.

Too expensive?? Too expensive to take care of our Vets and offer them better benefits after they have put their lives on the line in service to this nation?? The DoD and V.A. need to rethink that position and define the word ‘expensive’.

In my opinion expensive is Iraq, and what we are doing there, we are spending BILLIONS of U.S. tax dollars on a gamble that we’re not even certain is going to pay off, but we won’t spend the money to give top shelf benefits to the troops that are working their tails off in an attempt to make this gamble in Iraq and elsewhere work?

And another thing, if the DoD wants to retain experienced troops beyond that 1st hitch, they need to take into consideration exactly what those troops are going through, what their families are sacrificing, the ‘big picture’ if you will, and the DoD needs to address the issue of WHY troops are now on their 3rd, 4th and in some cases, their 5th combat rotation to Iraq, personally I think that ANY troops that has given that much of themselves, to and for this nation, deserve nothing but the very finest educational opportunities available.

“I see the educational benefits in this bill as crucial to a service member’s readjustment to civilian life and as a cost of war that should receive the same priority that funding the war has received the last five years,” Webb said.

The benefit would cover tuition and fees for the most expensive public university in any state where the veteran resides and pay an allowance for books and housing.

I have often said, I don’t support the ‘political party’, I look at the individual and make my decisions based on what I see from that individual and their actions, and in this case I have to say, I support the efforts and statements of Sen. Webb, and of those in office that are supporting him and his effort to obtain more and better benefits for our Veterans.

I read a lot of so-called Conservative and Republican Blogs that are always tooting their own horns about how much they support the troops, several sites come to mind, but they will go unmentioned because I won’t give linkage to hypocrites, and those same sites will call BS on this story simply because Sen. Webb is a Democrat, and that is why I believe certain individuals are the hypocrites I accuse them of being when it comes to REAL troops support.

If you truly support the troops, PROVE IT, support this effort to help increase educational benefits for our Vets, don’t just sit there and say “Oh yeah, I support the troops“, help get this thing moving, call or write your congressman or senator, tell them to support Sen. Webb in this effort, if you can support the war then you can surely support the futures of guys and gals that are doing the work. They deserve it!

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Boosting GI Bill benefits could hit military roadblock

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al-Maliki and al-Sadr both rattle their sabres

March 27th, 2008 . by TexasFred

BAGHDAD - Shiite militiamen are everywhere. Police and Iraqi army checkpoints are nowhere in sight. U.S. soldiers are keeping their distance.

Sadr City — the Baghdad nerve center for the powerful Mahdi Army — is suddenly back on edge as the militia leader, Muqtada al-Sadr, and Iraq’s government lock in a dangerous confrontation over clout and control among the nation’s majority Shiites.

The epicenter of the showdown has been the southern oil hub of Basra, where clashes have claimed dozens of lives this week and al-Sadr’s forces face a Friday deadline to surrender.

Full Story Here:
Mahdi militia controls Baghdad suburb

BAGHDAD (AP) - Iraq’s prime minister vowed Thursday to fight “until the end” against Shiite militias in Basra despite protests by tens of thousands of followers of a radical cleric in Baghdad and deadly clashes across the capital and the oil-rich south.

Mounting anger focused on Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who is personally overseeing operations against the militias dominated by Muqtada al-Sadr’s supporters amid a violent power struggle in Basra, Iraq’s southern oil hub.

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Iraqi Prime Minister Says No Retreat

Will al-Sadr and his cohorts blink 1st? Will al-Maliki have to return the balls he appears to have found once this is over? Is there going to be a massive push into Sadr City and Basra to oust these radical vermin?

If there is a massive offensive, will it push the insurgents back into Baghdad proper and will they begin to terrorize there once again or will this truly be a battle until the end?

Would that push be led, in force, by the Iraqis, of is this another U.S. mission that will bear a striking resemblance to missions in Vietnam, missions where U.S. troops fought and died to take positions and then turned them over to ARVN troops only to see them give it back to the NVA/VC and then U.S. troops have to go back, fight and die once again, all to re-take that very same useless position, and do it over and over, all within a very short period of time?

I am seriously of the belief that we are about to see a religious war fought between Shiite sects that hold different beliefs, a civil war if you will, but unlike the last few battles where the fight was between Sunnis vs Kurds vs Shiites, this time it appears to be an issue between the Shiites and differences in their own ideology.

We learned some very valuable lessons in Vietnam, we learned that no one fights as hard as an individual that is fighting for his beliefs and his home, and that’s what people like al-Sadr and his followers are doing, fighting for their beliefs and their homes.

Do I think al-Sadr and his ilk are right? No, I don’t, I believe that their vision for Iraq is one from centuries ago, I didn’t think the NVA and VC were right either, but it was their land, their homes and their war, and WE stuck our noses in it, and in doing so we lost over 54,000 U.S. troops dead, spent untold BILLIONS of our tax dollars and then we walked away with our tails tucked between our legs, and we gained exactly nothing for our efforts, until years later, when you fast forward to today and Vietnam has become a valuable trading partner, and that was accomplished without us staying in Vietnam for the last 50 years as we continued to lose more troops and massive amounts of money.

You would think those lessons would have been learned by the Bush administration, because as the saying goes ‘those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it’, and I feel we are going to continue to repeat many of the same mistakes from the past as we persevere in Iraq.

We WON the initial battle in Iraq when we went in 5 years ago, no surprise there, look at what we were up against, a bunch of thugs with guns and a maniacal dictator for a leader, a leader that had even less warfighting ability than The Bush himself, and what happened next? Bush and Company make one hell of a mess out of what should have been the peace, and at this time there appears to be no end in sight, unless our president allows the military to do the job that must be done, eliminate the insurgency by any means necessary and then push the Iraqi government into standing on it’s own as they defend and protect their nation.

For crying out loud, we’ve been trying to pacify Iraq for over 5 years now, Iraq, a nation that is approximately the same size in land area as the state of Texas.

We were in and OUT of WWII in 3 years and 9 months, ask yourself WHY folks, WHY it has taken this long in Iraq, and ask yourself WHY it’s not over, then look to Washington, D.C., there’s your answer, this Debacle in Iraq is still going on because of the leadership, or, should I say, lack OF leadership that is the Bush administration, and it’s NOT from lack of trying on the part of our troops, the troops have given everything they have to give, a 110% effort, and what do THEY get for that effort?? Orders to go back and do it all over again, several times in some cases, some units are currently serving their 3rd and 4th combat deployments to Iraq.

And as some other bloggers have said so eloquently, Bush and Cheney are making BILLIONS in war contracts, maybe they are, maybe they’re not, I won’t make an accusation I can’t prove, so, this isn’t an accusation on my part, but many have speculated that this is the real reason Iraq has been such a drawn out confrontation.

Follow the money they say! Makes sense to me.

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