Sunday Roast: Veterans Day

Veterans Day, which is noted in other countries as Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, marks the end of World War I.  More particularly, the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918.  On this day, we remember those who died while serving their various countries.

As I have done in past years, I’m posting the final episode of the Blackadder Goes Forth series, entitled Goodbyeee.

The final episode of this series, “Goodbyeee“, although true to the series’ usual comedy style through most of the preceding scenes, is known for featuring a purely dramatic and extraordinarily poignant final scene, where the main characters (except [the General] himself) are finally sent over the top. To the sound of a slow, minimal and downbeat piano version of the title theme, the four are seen in slow-motion, charging into the fog and smoke of no man’s land, with gunfire and explosions all around, before the scene fades into footage of a sunny poppy field and the sound of birdsong. The fate of the four is left ambiguous. Blackadder’s final line before the charge is also underpinned with an unusually reflective and poignant tone, offered after Baldrick claims to have one last cunning plan to save them from the impending doom:

Well, I’m afraid it’ll have to wait. Whatever it was, I’m sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman around here? …Good luck, everyone.

As fantastic as this final Blackadder series is, I usually cry my way through Goodbyeee. Our amazing advances in technology, rather than being put toward the advancement of mankind, was instead used for unbelievable destruction and obscenely wasted lives of tens of millions of people, both military and civilian, but succeeded only in serving as an incubator for World War II.

I think humans could learn to live together peacefully, but there is money to be made from mayhem and war, and as long as that’s true, there will always be war; and there will always trenches of one kind or another, filled with honorable men and women, who are viewed as a means to an end — stacks and stacks of money — and used as cannon fodder, and if they survive, dismissed as a burden on society.

This is our daily open thread — Discuss.

Sunday Roast: Veterans Day

Veterans Day is a United States holiday which honors ALL military veterans, living and dead.  Remembrance Day is commemorated on the same day in Britain, Canada, and several other countries, to remember those who died serving their countries, and marking the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice by the Germans at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918, which ended World War I.

Please join TheZoo in honoring all who serve their countries in the military, and remembering those who never came home.

This is our daily open thread.

The Watering Hole, Thursday, September 20th, 2012: Veterans for Romney?

So far, the one and only yard sign for Mitt Romney that I’ve seen read “Veterans for Romney.” Since I cannot imagine any reason why any veterans would support Romney, I started looking for further information.

The website vetsforromney.com only leads to more confusion: it consists of a photo of Romney with some people dressed in military garb, and a section entitled “Our Platform”; here’s a few bits of said “platform”:

A Responsive Department of Veteran Affairs (VA): As with most government agencies, the VA is growing to become a behemoth…

[sigh - Mitt, keep ignoring those eight years increase in the size of the government under George W. Bush, and keep ignoring the provable fact that President Barack Obama cut several hundred thousand government jobs.]

National Defense: The strength of this nation is built on the bedrock of a strong national defense. They call it low hanging fruit. It’s easy to target defense spending as the first area of cuts. unchecked spending threatens the sovereignty of our nation. Excessive levels of debt disrupt all financial units – whether it be a family, a business or a local, state or federal government. But, the knee jerk reaction can not be to axe away at defense spending while the current administration is unwilling to even mention, let alone seriously consider, reductions in entitlement programs. The strength of this nation is built on the bedrock of a strong national defense.

[Okay, yeah, yeah, strength, bedrock, defense, enough! Mitt, quick question: how do you reconcile this sentence with the one that immediately follows? "It’s easy to target defense spending as the first area of cuts. unchecked spending threatens the sovereignty of our nation."

However, that site led me to some interesting places. Clicking on “ISSUES” at the top brought me directly to…a page on Mitt Romney’s website. There is not one single word on this page regarding veterans, nor in the available links to a variety of “issues” (including “Human Capital”, a disgusting and degrading term.) So, Mitt, what about those veterans and military families?

Next…at the bottom of the “Issues” page is a box that says “Paid for by Romney for President, Inc.” I tried looking into “Romney for President, Inc” and found two sites: one which, oddly, lists Romney’s campaign staff along with brief bios of each; the second appears to be a business search site, simply listing the corporation, its address and a little contact info. Nothing there about veterans and their families, either.

One of the other tabs on the Romney site was labeled “COMMUNITIES”, which was where I found “Veterans and Military Families for Romney.” Aha! I thought: now I’ll find something about why veterans would support Mitt Romney. However, the page does not seem to have any actual Veterans and/or Military Families writing or speaking in support of Mitt Romney. Aside the usual requests for donations, and offers to purchase “Veterans for Romney” merchandise, the only mention of the military is a story about “National Military Voter Readiness Day”, which apparently occurred this past Saturday, September 15th.

The “NEWS/BLOG”, linked from the ‘Veterans for Romney’ website, appears to be a work that’s not in progress. Underneath its amateurish appearance, it at least gives a sort of time-capsule, there are some gems of information about Romney’s reign in Massachusetts, such as a 2007 report by the Gun Owners’ Action League (GOAL). Here’s an excerpt:

General Comments:
In the first months of the Romney administration the Governor isolated himself to all but a handful of close advisors most of whom came from the business community. This caused the Governor to make some rather serious political missteps that could have been avoided through better communications. However, relations dramatically improved and in the end, GOAL had more access to this administration than any other since the days of Governor Ed King in 1979.

Okay, STILL no mention of veterans and their families, jobs, the V.A., etc.

Either Mitt Romney doesn’t have a plan for America’s veterans and military families, or it is extremely well hidden.

I want someone to ask Mitt Romney to tell America’s veterans whether he approves of the Senate Republicans’ filibuster of the bipartisan Veterans Jobs Corps Bill killing it until next year. I want someone to ask Mitt Romney why he refuses to cut a dime from the bloated Defense budget, yet will be happy to cut “entitlements” and the “behemoth” V.A., which benefit veterans and active military personnel.

Again I ask, why “Veterans for Romney”?

This is our Open Thread. Speak Up on any topic that you choose.

The Watering Hole, Monday, May 7th, 2012: Monday Mix

Today’s mix is comprised of some recent articles which caught my eye on Foreign Policy Magazine and on Yahoo!News.

When I first clicked on Foreign Policy’s link entitled “A brilliant long rant about Iraq” by Thomas E. Ricks, I thought it was going to be Tom Ricks ranting about Iraq. However, it turned out to be Ricks’ brief introduction to an upcoming book called “The Long Walk” by Brian Castner. Ricks’ article includes a dozen or so evocative quotes from the book which, although worlds away from my own personal “Year from Hell”, touched a nerve of recognition in my brain. “The Long Walk” sounds like it will be well worth the read; I also found the comments after the article fascinating, and I strongly suggest reading those as well.

For all of the dog lovers amongst us, one of FP’s “Photo Essays” is “War Dogs of the World.” Not exactly cute puppy pics, but fascinating shots of soldiers and their canine teammates.

Two connecting articles at Yahoo!News drew my attention: in chronological order, a generic-drug manufacturer in India will be copying, and undercutting the price of, a cancer drug for which Bayer hold a patent, obviously pissing off Bayer. I’m rooting for the Indian drug company, Cipla, since their motivation is humanitarian: they’ll be selling the drug for about 1/30th of the cost of Bayer’s version.

Lastly, three Putin stories: Today Vladimir Putin will be sworn in as President of Russia, and apparently not all Russians are happy about this. And on a lighter(?) note, another “Photo Essay” from FP, titled “Putin Forever.”

Enjoy!

This is our daily open thread — discuss one of the above topics, or whatever’s on your mind!

The Watering Hole: Operation Iraqi Freedom ends — August 19

On this day, one year ago, combat brigades completed their departure from Iraq, 12 days earlier than anticipated.  It was claimed that the war in Iraq was over — contradicting George W. Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” bullshit from several years earlier — but it was necessary to leave behind 50,000 personnel, because the Iraqi government needed our support.

The United States has paid a huge price to put the future of Iraq in the hands of its people. We have sent our young men and women to make enormous sacrifices in Iraq, and spent vast resources abroad at a time of tight budgets at home. We have persevered because of a belief we share with the Iraqi people—a belief that out of the ashes of war, a new beginning could be born in this cradle of civilization. Through this remarkable chapter in the history of the United States and Iraq, we have met our responsibility. Now, it is time to turn the page.
—President Obama’s Address on Iraq, August 31, 2010

Thank goodness that’s over…oh wait.

Number of Iraq coalition fatalities since August 31, 2010:  56 (4792, since 2003)

True cost of Iraq War:  $3 trillion and more

Our country is collapsing into a severe depression — financial and moral. Most of this country’s money is sitting in offshore accounts, and since our Congress won’t actually do anything like raise taxes so we have money, in case the President might get credit, we are effectively broke. Hence, we can’t afford to be at war. Wow, go figure, right?

This is George W. Bush’s unwinnable, endless, deadly folly, which has created more terrorists than we ever killed. Can we stop pretending there can be a positive ending to this, stop pouring our money into this black hole, and bring the troops home?

*crickets*

This is our daily open thread — Discuss among yourselves.

The Watering Hole, January 18: Falling through the cracks…

This man is eating dinner. Not bothering to pick through the dumpster and carry home (which he likely does not have) what he finds, he eats out every evening behind a trendy Italian restaurant. Once I saw him lurching along, holding his stomach and groaning. Vary wary, he never spoke, and cast darting glances around as he made his way across town from bin to bin. At some point he realized that I might be the one who was leaving the plate of food tied up in a plastic shopping bag on top of the pile inside, giving me a long look and a grimace.  His only contact with others appeared to be the alcoholics who would wait for him near the grocery store and give him a few dollars to buy a jumbo for them. I don’t know if he is a military veteran or not, but it is highly likely, as there is a VA hospital in town. After an early cold spell around Thanksgiving he disappeared.

People who have fallen through the cracks in our society, brought home with shocking violence as of late, become a burden with potential for greater catastrophe the longer we pretend to ignore them.

This is our Daily Open Thread. Your comments on this topic or any others are welcome.

President Obama’s Weekly Address: Veterans

Among other things like support and education for veterans, the President and VA are implementing a new policy that will make it easier for veterans with PTSD to get the help they need — by not requiring that they document a specific incident that caused the condition.

I fully support this new policy.  I’ve always felt that anyone who served in the military should have life-long access to free health care — and not just at VA hospitals, but at ALL hospitals and clinics.

Also, ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would do wonders for limiting the number of service members with PTSD.  Just sayin’…

Support the Troops: Back door draft

CommonDreams

“I felt like I was being robbed of everything,” Matthew Dobbs said over the phone from his home in Houston, Texas. “I had visions of military police banging down my door and dragging me back to war.”

Dobbs, a 26 year-old former soldier who served a tour in Afghanistan from 2003-2004, was recounting a story that has become familiar in the ongoing Global War on Terror. It is the story of a soldier who, after serving a tour overseas and being discharged from Active Duty, received involuntary orders to re-deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan years later.

Dobbs was not a victim of stop-loss, the policy of involuntarily extending a GI’s term of service, sometimes after multiple tours in combat zones. This practice has recently garnered widespread negative attention and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates claims that it will be phased out.

Rather, Dobbs was a victim of reactivation orders from the Individual Ready Reserves (IRR), a lesser-publicized form of involuntary service that has been fueling troop supply for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. While there has been a strong reaction to stop-loss, IRR recall has slipped under the radar, creating the illusion that the problem of involuntary military service has been solved.

Keep reading…

No, stop-loss is not gone.  They just call it something else now.

Support the Troops:  Put a yellow ribbon magnet on your gas guzzler.

Is that it now…?

Civilian Contractors, Water, U.S. Soldiers, KBR, and Wastewater Pouring Out of Showers…

Stories of short supplies have haunted the U.S. military throughout the war in Iraq—things like inadequate body armor or unshielded Hummers. But while many soldiers say they had good access to water and even Gatorade, the 11 News Defenders discovered that others, stationed all over the country and during all phases of this desert war, say something else was often missing.

“We were rationed two bottles of water a day,” said Army Staff Sgt. Dustin Robey, referring to 1 to 1.5 liter bottles.

In this report, Robey talks about running out of water and forced to drink water out of faucets in Iraq homes, because that was the only water around.  The problem with that is, most Iraqi water is untreated and can cause illness. As a result, dysentery spread rapidly through his unit, affecting between 50 to 60 men.

They had to resort to stealing water from civilian contractors by taking unsafe routes, with road bombs, to the airport to find pallets of water that had not been distributed.

Another problem facing the soldiers was – unclean water in the sinks and showers in Iraq.

Turns out, at many similar bases, the water was supposed to be processed by Houston-based company KBR. In an internal KBR report, the company sites “massive programmatic issues” with water for personal hygiene dating back to 2005. It outlines how there was no formalized training for anyone involved with water operations, and one camp, Ar Ramadi, had no disinfection for shower water whatsoever.

“That water was two to three times as contaminated as the water out of the Euphrates River,” said former KBR employee Ben Carter.

Carter, a water purification specialist, was the one to blow the whistle on it all. He said he first noticed a problem when he found a live maggot in a base toilet at Camp Ar Ramadi. He subsequently discovered that instead of using chlorinated water, the soldiers’ sinks and showers were pouring out untreated wastewater.

I did some digging and found that this problem goes back to 2004, it was first reported by ABC News in 2006.

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Dennis Kucinich: Victory Against Privatization

Common Dreams

DFAS takes away Contract from Lockheed Martin, Government to Perform Services

Following a relentless effort by Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) to challenge the Bush administration’s efforts to privatize Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS) jobs since 2001, DFAS today announced that that it will cancel agreements with Lockheed Martin and employ government workers to perform all areas of retroactive pay and benefits for veterans.

“This is a great day for veterans and a victory for government oversight. This decision will finally end the six-year nightmare of privatization of retired and annuitant pay services that resulted in the degradation of services to veterans and an increased cost to taxpayers. I thank Director McKay and Comptroller Robert Hale for their choice to serve veterans first, rather than perpetuate a lucrative contract with the nation’s largest military contractor,” stated Kucinich

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CNN: Psychologist Pressured to Not Diagnose PTSD

A secret recording reveals the Army may be pushing its medical staff not to diagnose post-traumatic stress disorder. The Army and Senate have ignored the implications.

The answer probably has to do with money. David Rudd, the chairman of Texas Tech’s department of psychology and a former Army psychologist, explained that every dollar the Army spends on a soldier’s benefits is a dollar lost for bullets, bombs or the soldier’s incoming replacement. “Each diagnosis is an acknowledgment that psychiatric casualties are a huge price tag of this war,” said Rudd. “It is easiest to dismiss these casualties because you can’t see the wounds. If they change the diagnosis they can dismiss you at a substantially decreased rate.”

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“You picked the wrong fight”

ThinkProgress

Department of Veterans Affairs: Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) asked the Senate Veterans Affairs committee to delay voting on the “nomination of Tammy Duckworth, an injured Iraq war helicopter pilot, to be an assistant secretary at the Department of Veterans Affairs.” Contacted by ThinkProgress, Burr’s Press Secretary, David Ward said that Burr is waiting for the answers to several questions he’s put to the White House and Duckworth, but would not disclose what those questions were.

Several other nominees are being held up by Republicans, including Dawn Johnsen,whose nomination is being held up because Sen John Cornyn (R-TX) has ideological differences with her (i.e. she has strongly criticized the Bush administration national security policies, and she was the legal director of NARAL Pro-Choice America for a few years).

Sen Burr, you look ridiculous holding up Tammy Duckworth’s nomination as an assistant secretary at the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.

What questions do you have about Ms Duckworth, sir?  Too embarrassed to say?

Maybe you just have something against Ms Duckworth getting on with the job of directing the VA’s public affairs operations, as well as programs for homeless veterans.

Sen Burr, you have picked the wrong fight.  Move on…

Why Doesn’t the Army Support the Troops?

As soldiers stream home from Iraq and Afghanistan, the biggest charity inside the U.S. military has been stockpiling tens of millions of dollars meant to help put returning fighters back on their feet, an Associated Press investigation shows.

The Army’s own charity fund has a nest egg of over $300 million dollars.

“AER executives defend their operation, insisting they need to keep sizable reserves to be ready for future catastrophes.”

Right. We’re fighting two wars, with extended and repeated tours of duty, and you’re setting aside charitable donations, donations exacted from the very soldiers you’re supposed to help, for some future catastrophy.

Hopefully someone in Obama’s Administration is going to look into this very quickly and put those donations where they are intended. Not in some bank vault, but in the hands of the soldiers who risk their all for us.

Your thoughts are welcome.

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Shinseki for Secretary of Veterans Administration

The man who got it right about what would be needed to invade Iraq is Obama’s pick for VA Secretary.

For speaking the truth to Congress, Shinseki was marginalized by the Bush Administration. He later quietly retired. But now his services to the nation are called for once again. In speaking the truths that Bush and Rumsfeld did not want to hear, Shinseki proved himself a man of honor.

Now it is much more likely that our Veterans will get the care and treatment they deserve. Another great Cabinet choice by Obama.

He Proudly Served His Nation

Today is Veteran’s Day.  It’s a day of honoring those that served our nation, during peace and during war.

How well does our government treat its veterans?   During the Vietnam War, many veterans were exposed to Agent Orange… a known cancer causing agent.

The LA Times has a story of a veteran that survived the “Russian Roulette” of Vietnam, return home intact both physically and mentally only to die years later from a cancer that was caused by his exposure to Agent Orange.

He was also a member of the class of veterans that sued Dow Chemical Co., the manufacturer of Agent Orange. That lawsuit was settled when Dow agreed to pay millions of dollars into a fund to compensate those veterans who developed cancer from their exposure to Agent Orange. Although the settlement appeared reasonable at the time, the amount proved to be inadequate; the fund was exhausted by the time my friend became ill. A second and third lawsuit was dismissed by the judge who had presided over the first action. However, the findings made by the judge in his decision reveal a lot. Continue reading

With Solemn Pride

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, armistice began. World War I, The “Great War,” the war between the Entente Powers (the Allies) and the Central Powers (led by Germany) had finally come to an end. The next year, President Woodrow Wilson declared November 11, 1919, to be Armistice Day. His proclamation began, “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations….”
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Heartbreak

Elsheba Khan at the grave of her son, Specialist Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan

Elsheba Khan at the grave of her son, Specialist Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan

(Photo from The New Yorker)

When I saw this picture, my heart broke.

This could be my son — anyone’s son.  No, we are not Muslim, but that’s hardly the point, is it?  Mrs Khan’s son died for this country at age 20.  She and her family will never be the same.

And yet we have people in this country like Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) and John McCain (R-AZ), and many others, who speak as if Muslim is a dirty word.  General Colin Powell said it very well this morning:

Stressing that Obama was a lifelong Christian, Powell denounced Republican tactics that he said were insulting not only to to Obama but also to Muslims.

“The really right answer is what if he is?” Powell said, praising the contributions of millions of Muslim citizens to American society.

From the VetVoice post:

The answer to who is evil is NEVER as neat, clean, and easy as a label.  Thank you, Colin Powell, for reminding America that those who serve in our military represent the awesome diversity of faithful and patriotic Americans.

Being Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Catholic or Zoroastrian does not make you a good or bad person — extremism in any form is dangerous. Americans having difficulty with this idea might want to take some time to think about what it means to be American. It’s not about what makes you different from your fellow citizens, it’s more about what makes us all better together.

Here’s a hint:  People who do not look like you, believe like you, or think like you are just as American as you.

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Vets won’t be fooled

This is from The Army Times. Not some “liberal” media outlet. The Army Times.

The nation’s most prestigious group for Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans released a congressional scorecard on Tuesday that ranks Republican presidential candidate John McCain as having one of the worst voting records when it comes to supporting troops and veterans.

The grade is due to his absence on several key votes on military and veterans’ issues over the last two years.

McCain, ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee and a decorated Navy fighter pilot who spent 5½ years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, received a D on the report card from Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. He is one of nine lawmakers — four senators and five members of the House of Representatives — who received a D or F from the nonprofit, nonpartisan group.

For senators, scores were based on 10 votes involving increased funding for veterans’ programs, expansions of benefits, a vote to purchase Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles and four separate votes at various stages of consideration of the Post-9/11 GI Bill of Rights and co-sponsorship of the bill.

Obama? Obama got a “B” for missing four of the critical votes; Joe Biden also got a “B” for missing three.

McCain’s behavior on the GI Bill of Rights has come back to bite him on the ass.

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IRAQ VETERANS AGAINST THE WAR

This site deserves as much exposure as it can get:

Why we’re against the war

Q: Why are veterans, active duty, and National Guard men and women opposed to the war in Iraq?

A: Here are 10 reasons we oppose this war:

I. The Iraq war is based on lies and deception.

The Bush Administration planned for an attack against Iraq before September 11th, 2001. They used the false pretense of an imminent nuclear, chemical and biological weapons threat to deceive Congress into rationalizing this unnecessary conflict. They hide our casualties of war by banning the filming of our fallen’s caskets when they arrive home, and when they refuse to allow the media into Walter Reed Hospital and other Veterans Administration facilities which are overflowing with maimed and traumatized veterans.
For further reading: http://www.motherjones.com/bush_war_timeline/index.html

II. The Iraq war violates international law.

The United States assaulted and occupied Iraq without the consent of the UN Security Council. In doing so they violated the same body of laws they accused Iraq of breaching.
For further reading:

http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/imt/proc/imtconst.htm

http://www.westpointgradsagainstthewar.org/

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How Did the RNC Insult Troops and Veterans? Let me count the ways…

by Jon Soltz (VoteVets.org, VetVoice)

Last week’s Republican convention sure made every superficial effort to come off as pro-Troop and pro-Veteran.   And, of course, the media ate it up, not challenging a single thing.  But to those of us who did serve, it was offense after offense after offense.  Let’s count the ways:

McCain Didn’t Mention Veterans’ Care:  Maybe it’s because he has a terrible record, but not once in John McCain’s speech did he talk about taking care of those who served their nation in the military.  With exploding rates of PTSD, suicide, homelessness among veterans.  With ridiculous wait times for veterans seeking care, and a VA that every major vets group says is woefully underfunded.  With administrators dumping vets out of the veterans care system by diagnosing them with a lesser mental injury than they have.  Not.  A.  Single.  Word.  And, with the shame of…

Walter Reed:  What a slap in the face.  The first photo that John McCain stood in front of was Walter Reed.  Walter Reed Middle School in North Hollywood, California.  Chalk it up to someone in the campaign not knowing the difference between the two, but what I find even more offensive is this:  At some point John McCain asked his campaign what was going to be on the screen behind him.  And someone told him the first picture would be Walter Reed Army Medical Center.  John McCain didn’t object – even though he voted against closing tax loopholes to help fund military hospitals like Walter Reed.  But that wasn’t the only bit of fake imagery….

“Phony Soldiers”:  For the amount that Rush Limbaugh likes to rant on “phony soldiers,” there was a big silence and others from the mainstream media on the fact that the McCain campaign used stock footage of actors pretending to be soldiers in a video, intended to show how pro-military McCain is.  It’s actually kind of fitting – phony soldiers to promote a phony record on military and veterans’ issues.

Speaking of phony:  Remember that faux-outrage from the McCain campaign when General Wesley Clark dared to point out that being a POW isn’t a qualification for being Commander in Chief?  Boy, the McCain campaign wouldn’t let up on that.  Where were they when Fred Thompson said the same exact thing?

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Why Obama Didn’t Visit Injured Troops

The latest talking point of the the right is that Barack Obama couldn’t be bothered visiting injured troops because ____________. Insert your own lie just as they’re doing. Andrea Mitchell mentioned briefly that the Obama campaign feels that McCain’s Pentagon contacts had something to do with preventing the visit and now she has incurred the wrath of the right. I thought she was one of them.

ANDREA MITCHELL: The background on the military flap is that they [Obama campaign] had clearly planned a trip to Ramstein [AFB]. They were planning to visit the injured troops. And then the Pentagon explained that they couldn’t go as part of a political trip. The Obama campaign thought that they could go, leave the press corps on the tarmac, and then take off with military escort and make this one last visit. As he did in Iraq, by the way. He visited a casualty unit in the Green Zone, without photographers, as part of the congressional delegation. But the military said that the rules are that he could only go as part of a previously-arranged congressional delegation, to Ramstein.

Clearly, people in the campaign are really angry. They had wanted this to be the final stop on the trip here in Germany, and to do it without the press corps, just to do it on his own. But the objections of the military are that he is now being staffed by campaign aides, not by his Senate staff, who are the people of course with him when he went with Hagel and Jack Reed in Iraq. So, you know, the anger here in the campaign is pretty intense at the Pentagon. They feel that the military are drawing some lines–they’re not saying this publicly of course–but drawing lines that they might have drawn for other people. He was planning to just go by himself, not with cameras, not with any entourage, as he had done in Walter Reed in the past in Washington, as he did in Iraq. Joe.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: It’s curious, if that’s the case, why the campaign didn’t make that announcement yesterday, and allowed stories to go like this. I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of he said/she said in the days to come about this.

MITCHELL: But they thought that they couldn’t win. Yeah. They thought that they were, you know, you know, no-win situation, that the Pentagon, perhaps the military with cooperation from some Republican operatives and, that’s the sort of scuttlebutt, that there have been some foreign policy advisers of John McCain with connections in the Pentagon who had something to do with this. But that is, perhaps, just the normal political paranoia of the season.