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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.

Full Story Here:
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.

Full Story Here:
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.

Full Story Here:
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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Another Slap in the Face for Americas Soldiers

April 18th, 2008 . by TexasFred

What in the hell has happened to people in America?? What has happened to love of country?? And love of the flag?? Has respect for God and Country gone completely by the wayside??

I personally know an old Marine that was a part of the invasion of Iwo Jima, not just a casual acquaintance either, we are friends, and to my way of thinking this is an appalling travesty, a dishonor to him and to the memory of all the Marines that fought and died on that gritty little speck in the Pacific, and it’s nothing more than another slap to the face of this great nation…

But, I suppose they’ll hide behind their 1st amendment rights as well, that’s what the haters of America DO, they hate the nation yet hide behind the freedoms that our soldiers fought and died to give them…

I don’t read Time Magazine, I don’t buy it, and now, I NEVER will, I sincerely hope that there are many out there that feel the same way…

Time Magazine should be ashamed of themselves for dishonoring the memory of the men that raised that flag, all of them are dead now, and for anyone that doesn’t know the story of these men, and the trials and tribulations they went through after this was all over with, I recommend that you read Flags of Our Fathers by James Bradley

Mr. Bradley is the Son of the last surviving member of the group that raised the flag in this famous picture, the movie by Clint Eastwood is based on his novel, but trust me on this, the novel is 100% better…

A big Hat Tip to Gawfer for letting me know about this page cover…

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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.

Full Story Here:
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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Petraeus Calls for Troop Withdrawal Halt

April 8th, 2008 . by TexasFred

WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. general commanding the Iraq war called Tuesday for an open-ended suspension of U.S. troop withdrawals this summer, reflecting concern about a recent flare-up in violence and leaving open the possibility that few, if any, additional troops will be brought home before President Bush leaves office in January.

Gen. David Petraeus told a Senate hearing that he recommends a 45-day “period of consolidation and evaluation” once the extra combat forces that Bush ordered to Iraq last year have completed their pullout in July. He did not commit to a timetable for resuming troop reductions after the 45-day pause.

“At the end of that period, we will commence a process of assessment to examine the conditions on the ground and, over time, determine when we can make recommendations for further reductions,” Petraeus said.

Full Story Here:
Petraeus Calls for Troop Withdrawal Halt

There is an on-line petition at the site for U.S. Senator John Cornyn asking for signers to show their support of Gen. David Petraeus, and Sen. Cornyn plans on giving this list of supporters to the General personally:

Please sign this petition telling General Petraeus that we support the job that he and his troops are doing in Iraq.

The next time I see General Petraeus I’ll be sure to pass along a big Texas “thank you” to him and to all of our men and women in uniform for all that they do.

Your signature will assure General Petraeus that he and his troops have the support and admiration of all Texans and Americans, no matter what Democrats and their third party attack machine would have you believe.

~ Senator John Cornyn

The petition can be found here:
Sign the General David Petraeus Petition

I went to the site and signed this petition, and just below is an exact, word for word copy of the message that I sent to Sen. Cornyn for him pass along to Gen. Petraeus on my behalf.

I DO support the troops, I have NEVER agreed with the reasons stated by the Bush administration for us going to Iraq though, I was NEVER convinced that Iraq was ‘Priority 1′ but I DO support our troops, even if I don’t agree with our POTUS and his stated reasons for them being there.

My Son has already done one tour in Iraq and his Guard unit has been told they will be going back in early 2010.

I have a suggestion for General Petraeus, IF we’re going to be in Iraq, why don’t we go ahead and kick the living crap out of the entire insurgency, AND the supporters OF that insurgency, and get this thing over with, not some ‘SURGE’, but a real, hardcore, massive offensive that will bring this thing to an acceptable solution…

We were directly involved in WWII for 3 years and 9 months, we’ve been in Iraq for over 5 years and the insurgency is still active, and still killing OUR troops, and to me, and my way of thinking, this is a totally unacceptable situation…

We are, supposedly, the strongest nation on earth, with a military that is 2nd to none, tell Bush to let the guys DO THE JOB, stop the PC bullshit and get this thing over with, our troops have the will to DO that job, does General Petraeus have the will to tell his CiC to allow them to do it??

Does General Petraeus have the balls to lead them IN that mission?

I certainly hope so..

Several of the Bush Bot bloggers seem think I am anti-war for some strange reason and have called me lots of names over the last couple of years, traitor being the most common so far, and nothing could be further from the truth, I am NOT anti-war, I am anti-bullshitting around, if we’re going to fight, by God, let’s do some fighting and get this thing over with.

If you can’t see the logic in that then you’re not a Conservative, but I’d bet you’re a Bush supporter that’s going to become a McCainiac very soon.

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Report: Security in Iraq Is Improving

April 4th, 2008 . by TexasFred

WASHINGTON (AP) - A new classified intelligence assessment on Iraq says there has been significant progress in security since the last assessment was delivered in August, a senior military official said.

In most ways the new National Intelligence Estimate hews closely to the one delivered nine months ago. That document spoke of security gains since the increase in troop levels began in January 2007, the continued high rate of violence and uneven progress on the part of Iraqi security forces.

“It does not differ significantly from August’s NIE,” a congressional official said in describing the document.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the report is classified. They noted that many of the conclusions of the report are already reflected in public statements and press reports.

Full Story Here:
Report: Security in Iraq Is Improving

This part of the story concerns me, and I have written about these stories in the past, stories that use anonymous sources as the basis for their article, “The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the report is classified.”, IF the report is classified, why is this anonymous official speaking to the press about it? Doesn’t that sort of make the report being classified a bit of a redundancy?

I’m not doubting the accuracy of the report or it’s legitimacy, my question is this, WHY aren’t these leaks plugged? Permanently? A 9mm behind the left ear has a tendency to stop news leaks, but it does seem to cause a bit of brain leakage, that is if the so-called source is actually a real person and has any brains to begin with.

And according to the New York Times, More Than 1,000 in Iraq’s Forces Quit Basra Fight, and they did cite the report on improving Iraqi security, but they also took more than their fair share of digs as well.

If the NYT story is true and correct, would you consider that to be a fair cross section of the views and dedication of the Iraqi forces? Would that desertion be indicative of their desire to actually stand up and fight for a real democracy?

The general consensus among many Conservatives and the majority of Republicans seems to be that we are too far invested in Iraq to stop now, or, so they say, I still think we could cut OUR losses and should issue a hard edict to al-Maliki and Company, ‘you have until such and such a date and time to stand up an effective fighting force that is fully capable of defending the nation of Iraq and providing security for it’s citizens because at this specific point in time, we are out of here, and you people can sink or swim, it’s YOUR choice.’, and then we stick to that time table, right down to the letter, and if Iraq isn’t willing to make that stand on their own behalf, it’s time to place our troops in a more effective theater of operations, doing the job that the Global War on Terror was supposed to do, like maybe place those forces in the hunt for al-Qaida leaders Ayman al-Zawahiri and Osama Bin Laden, I mean, it’s a thought.

Remember, if you cut off the head, the snake dies.

Somehow, I believe that part of the war has escaped Bush and his Bots.

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