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Author: TriSec    Date: 03/27/2012 10:21:07

Good Morning.

Today is our 3,824th day in Afghanistan.

We'll start this morning as we always do; with the latest casualty figures from our ongoing war, courtesy of Antiwar.com:

US Military Deaths - Afghanistan: 1,915
Other Military Deaths - Afghanistan: 1,022

We find this morning's cost of war passing through:

$ 1, 316, 092, 375, 000 .00


We'll get right into the political aspect of the war today. Like last time around, candidates are trying to make war a political issue. But it's far more cloudy than the last time around when there was a pretty clear division between the candidates.

I suppose it's yet another instance of the GOP tin ear on most issues that really matter.


WASHINGTON — As Afghanistan seizes more of the political spotlight, the Republican presidential candidates are quick to criticize President Obama’s handling of the war but struggle to explain how they would change the strategy they would inherit.

GOP front-runner Mitt Romney says Obama has exhibited “failed leadership” and should not have set a timetable for ending the war. But Romney won’t say whether he would scrap the president’s plans to bring the war to a close by the end of 2014. Rivals Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have questioned whether the U.S. should be in Afghanistan at all, but neither has plans for withdrawing tens of thousands of American troops.

The Republican reluctance to outline specific policy positions is evidence of the complex nature of managing the decade-long war as public support dwindles, and concerns that detailed campaign promises could pigeonhole a candidate if he goes on to win the White House.

It’s a role reversal for the parties from 2008, when a Republican president was mired in a long and unpopular war and Democratic candidates, including Obama, tried to convince voters that they should take the reins.

But the political calculus for the current crop of Republicans is more complicated than it was for Obama in 2008. Obama opposed the Iraq war from the start and his election-year promise to bring it to an end put him in lockstep with the rest of his party.

This year’s GOP candidates, however, find their party’s hawkish tendencies butting up against the public’s growing impatience with the Afghan war.

Six in 10 Americans see the war as not worth its costs, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll released this month. Opposition to the war is bipartisan, and for the first time, the Post-ABC poll showed more Republicans “strongly” see the war as not worth fighting than say the opposite.

Yet many in the GOP have agreed with some of Obama’s aggressiveness in Afghanistan, from increasing U.S. troop levels to ordering the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the attacks that drew the U.S. into the war in the first place.

Defense analyst Michael O’Hanlon said those actions have made it harder for Republican to come up with a distinctive and specific alternative war strategy.

“I think it reflects that this is not an issue that is so simple that reflexively turning to a Republican line of attack is going to be the answer,” said O’Hanlon, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, a Washington-based think tank.


But if the Republicans would have us stay in Afghanistan forever (like they wanted us in Iraq), there's more to consider than campaign rhetoric. Like Iraq, our small, all-volunteer force is bearing an undue burden of war. The recent massacre in Afghanistan will only be the tip of the iceberg...as repeated, multiple deployments is something our military has little experience with.


After nearly 11 years of war and hundreds of millions of dollars in research on the mental health of troops, the military is no closer to understanding how many deployments are too many for individual soldiers, researchers say.

Military leaders have said the nation has never fought wars this long with this small of a military, deploying troops over and over. Yet questions remain about how many times a soldier can recycle into combat without psychological harm.

“I think it’s definitely disappointing that we don’t know. I wish we did,” says retired Navy captain William Nash, a psychiatrist studying resiliency in Marine battalions.

The issue of multiple deployments was one of many raised following the March 11 massacre of 16 civilians in Afghanistan. The suspect, Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, 38, was on his fourth deployment when the shootings occurred.

Many of the issues reported about Bales — repeated combat exposure, physical injuries and personal finance and career problems — are common stresses on troops, scientists say. Yet 107,000 servicemembers have deployed three or more times without incident.

“The question we don’t have answered is how do we get precision about picking out the people who are really going to be in trouble,” says Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, director of the Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University.

Scores of studies have looked at the wars’ effects on behavior and mental health. But the work has been done “in piecemeal fashion,” offering a snapshot analysis of a group of servicemembers, says Terri Tanielian, a senior research analyst at RAND Corp.

The Pentagon may have missed a chance to follow large numbers of combat troops through the war in what is called a longitudinal study to better understand how behavioral problems develop, say Tanielian, Wadsworth and Nash.


Finally this morning, we'll visit the economy. While recovery may have slowed recently, the fact remains that it is still a recovery, no matter how slow and painful. But it remains slower and more painful for returning vets. I've got one of those stories where it's going to be difficult to extract enough relevance for the blog, but you owe it to yourself
to read the entire thing.


Tyson Akers joined the Marines straight out of high school and spent more than eight years in the infantry, including four tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

When he left the military in February 2011 because he wanted more time at home with his young children, he knew any civilian job would be different than what he’d done in the Marines.

“Your job was to go out and be on the front line and pray to God nothing happened to you,” he said. “It’s hard to translate that over to the civilian world.”

But Akers, 29, didn’t count on a job search that has lasted more than a year, leaving him demoralized and even questioning his decision to leave the Marines.
“You start thinking to yourself if it’s even possible to get a job once you’re out,” he said.

While older veterans generally have a relatively low jobless rate, the unemployment rate for veterans who have served in the post-9/11 era averaged more than 12 percent last year, compared with under 9 percent for the general population, according to government data out last week.

The problem of veteran unemployment is widely recognized. President Barack Obama has referred to it frequently and just last month pledged to get more veterans back to work.

"They've already risked their lives defending America,” he said. “They should have the opportunity to rebuild America."

With the U.S. making plans to withdraw from Afghanistan and possibly shrink the military, thousands more young veterans like Akers are likely to be looking for work in the coming months and years.

Yet there are plenty of roadblocks preventing veterans from getting civilian jobs, including a lack of job-seeking skills and a mismatch between military experience and civilian requirements.

68 comments (Latest Comment: 03/28/2012 02:20:18 by Raine)
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Comment by Will in Chicago on 03/27/2012 11:41:47
TriSec, thanks for a great blog. I think that it is sad that younger veterans have to struggle so much to find work.

As for the issue of multiple deployments, I think that we will likely learn a lot about its effects on individuals. The sad thing is that many of our soldiers will need long term or lifelong assistance, especially psychiatric help.

I will try to swing back later today, as I will be out and about.

Comment by wickedpam on 03/27/2012 12:52:39
Morning

Comment by Raine on 03/27/2012 13:27:17
Good morning!

Comment by Scoopster on 03/27/2012 13:45:43
Mornin' all!

Redneck Mandates? Is he talkin' about gay cousins getting married or health coverage for cancer from chewing tobacco?

Comment by wickedpam on 03/27/2012 13:57:15
Does anyone know of a site where I can get the stats by state of the number of registered republicans?

Google is not being my friend today

Comment by wickedpam on 03/27/2012 14:21:22
Al Gore is very chuckly this morning

Comment by Raine on 03/27/2012 14:25:25
Quote by wickedpam:
Al Gore is very chuckly this morning

He is.

Comment by Raine on 03/27/2012 14:28:30
Quote by wickedpam:
Does anyone know of a site where I can get the stats by state of the number of registered republicans?

Google is not being my friend today

In general? for a specific region?

Comment by wickedpam on 03/27/2012 14:32:16
Quote by Raine:
Quote by wickedpam:
Does anyone know of a site where I can get the stats by state of the number of registered republicans?

Google is not being my friend today

In general? for a specific region?


I've found a site that tracks the number votes in each presidental primary per state, now I want the number of overall repubs voters in each state

Comment by Raine on 03/27/2012 14:36:44
Comment by wickedpam on 03/27/2012 14:41:45
Raine - check ya email

Comment by wickedpam on 03/27/2012 14:44:08
Quote by Raine:
Does this help?


that's more of a break down of the actual vote - I'm looking for the overall no. of repub voters

that's a nice break down though


Comment by Mondobubba on 03/27/2012 14:58:27
Quote by wickedpam:
Quote by Raine:
Does this help?


that's more of a break down of the actual vote - I'm looking for the overall no. of repub voters

that's a nice break down though



Mala, you might need to go to a county level to get those number. Or through a state's dept of state.

Comment by wickedpam on 03/27/2012 15:05:21
Quote by Mondobubba:
Quote by wickedpam:
Quote by Raine:
Does this help?


that's more of a break down of the actual vote - I'm looking for the overall no. of repub voters

that's a nice break down though



Mala, you might need to go to a county level to get those number. Or through a state's dept of state.



That's kinda what I was hoping to avoid, but its looking more and more that its where the numbers are

good thing this is just a little hobby project

Comment by clintster on 03/27/2012 15:08:01
Mornin' all. I I've been looking at the Steph chat on Current. Whew. It's a rough.

Comment by Mondobubba on 03/27/2012 15:08:54
Quote by wickedpam:
Quote by Mondobubba:
Quote by wickedpam:
Quote by Raine:
Does this help?


that's more of a break down of the actual vote - I'm looking for the overall no. of repub voters

that's a nice break down though



Mala, you might need to go to a county level to get those number. Or through a state's dept of state.



That's kinda what I was hoping to avoid, but its looking more and more that its where the numbers are

good thing this is just a little hobby project



You might want to check the RNC and DNC. They might have the data you are looking for.

Comment by Raine on 03/27/2012 15:11:52
Quote by clintster:
Mornin' all. I I've been looking at the Steph chat on Current. Whew. It's a rough.
It's strange to watch, right?

I have it on the mosheen today too.


Comment by Raine on 03/27/2012 15:12:10
Quote by wickedpam:
Raine - check ya email

on my way!

Comment by wickedpam on 03/27/2012 15:14:32
Quote by Mondobubba:
Quote by wickedpam:
Quote by Mondobubba:
Quote by wickedpam:
Quote by Raine:
Does this help?


that's more of a break down of the actual vote - I'm looking for the overall no. of repub voters

that's a nice break down though



Mala, you might need to go to a county level to get those number. Or through a state's dept of state.



That's kinda what I was hoping to avoid, but its looking more and more that its where the numbers are

good thing this is just a little hobby project



You might want to check the RNC and DNC. They might have the data you are looking for.



RNC website :shivers: yeah...there's that

Comment by Raine on 03/27/2012 16:01:08
tap tap tap...

this thing on?

I have been sorta busy this morning....

Comment by Raine on 03/27/2012 16:10:59
Mala, you should stream here. No Ed.

Comment by Raine on 03/27/2012 16:12:01
The schedule says Ed, but I hear David Schuster.

Comment by Raine on 03/27/2012 16:15:14
BTW -- Follow SCOTUSBLOG on twitter.

Looks like the mandate is in trouble according to them. As far as ActUp radio . Schuster is lcovering the SCOTUS hearings live. VERY cool, imo.

Comment by clintster on 03/27/2012 16:15:25
Here's a gallery of photos of the "I am Trayvon Martin" rally at the state capitol yesterday.

http://downtown.11alive.com/photo-gallery/news/108519-photos-i-am-trayvon-martin-rally-state-capitol?page=7

Comment by Raine on 03/27/2012 16:20:58
Quote by clintster:
Here's a gallery of photos of the "I am Trayvon Martin" rally at the state capitol yesterday.

http://downtown.11alive.com/photo-gallery/news/108519-photos-i-am-trayvon-martin-rally-state-capitol?page=7
Thanks for that, Clint. This story breaks my heart. It angers me and frustrates me and makes me so sad.

Did anyone watch Lawrence last night? HE totally pwned that reporter from the Orlando Sentinal that is just saying shite with no proof.


Comment by wickedpam on 03/27/2012 16:22:22
Quote by Raine:
The schedule says Ed, but I hear David Schuster.



I was just going to ask that

Comment by wickedpam on 03/27/2012 16:23:57
Quote by Raine:
BTW -- Follow SCOTUSBLOG on twitter.

Looks like the mandate is in trouble according to them. As far as ActUp radio . Schuster is lcovering the SCOTUS hearings live. VERY cool, imo.



is that blog SCOTUS offically affiliated?

Comment by Raine on 03/27/2012 16:26:59
Quote by wickedpam:
Quote by Raine:
BTW -- Follow SCOTUSBLOG on twitter.

Looks like the mandate is in trouble according to them. As far as ActUp radio . Schuster is lcovering the SCOTUS hearings live. VERY cool, imo.



is that blog SCOTUS offically affiliated?

Well, it is this: http://www.scotusblog.com/ -- it's my go source for the happening at the court.

Comment by wickedpam on 03/27/2012 16:27:28
I mean twitter account

lawd I need to get back to check in on twitter.

Comment by Raine on 03/27/2012 16:28:06
Quote by wickedpam:
Quote by Raine:
The schedule says Ed, but I hear David Schuster.



I was just going to ask that
Mike Levin is the other fellow. They are airing a recorded interview now. It's pretty good stuff,


Comment by livingonli on 03/27/2012 16:30:48
Good day everyone. I was dealing with another bout of depression last night so I am just trying to go with the flow.

Comment by wickedpam on 03/27/2012 16:32:03
Quote by Raine:
Quote by wickedpam:
Quote by Raine:
BTW -- Follow SCOTUSBLOG on twitter.

Looks like the mandate is in trouble according to them. As far as ActUp radio . Schuster is lcovering the SCOTUS hearings live. VERY cool, imo.



is that blog SCOTUS offically affiliated?

Well, it is this: http://www.scotusblog.com/ -- it's my go source for the happening at the court.



thanks

it worries me if we lose the mandate -

the pool of people then becomes shallower to spread the costs around too and costs go up for those of us being responsble. If they keep going up, I don't know how much longer I can afford insurance then

Comment by livingonli on 03/27/2012 16:37:00
Dead air on We Act Radio

Comment by Scoopster on 03/27/2012 16:37:24
I can't get SCOTUSblog to load it's got too much traffic!

Comment by wickedpam on 03/27/2012 16:38:51
Quote by livingonli:
Dead air on We Act Radio



oh good I thought it was just me

Comment by Raine on 03/27/2012 16:41:08
Quote by wickedpam:
Quote by livingonli:
Dead air on We Act Radio



oh good I thought it was just me
WTH, me too!

They REALLY need to work on production there.


Comment by Raine on 03/27/2012 16:41:46
Quote by Scoopster:
I can't get SCOTUSblog to load it's got too much traffic!
me too. All kinds of bad juju is happening.


Comment by wickedpam on 03/27/2012 17:06:32
Quote by Raine:
Quote by wickedpam:
Quote by livingonli:
Dead air on We Act Radio



oh good I thought it was just me
WTH, me too!

They REALLY need to work on production there.



this is some serious dead air time - I'm getting flashes of WKRP style goings on

Comment by clintster on 03/27/2012 17:28:38
BTW, just wanted to pass this along. Apparently there are some people who have a hard time believing that a 17-year old black man can be an innocent victim. If you have some particularly odious RW Facebookers linked to you, they may try to come at you with this:

http://www.11alive.com/images/640/360/2/assetpool/images/120327122457_120326121543_trayvon-race-baiting%5B1%5D.jpg


Let them know that it is a fake, apparently drummed up by a *surprise surprise* white supremacist website.

Comment by Mondobubba on 03/27/2012 17:42:12
Quote by Raine:
Quote by clintster:
Here's a gallery of photos of the "I am Trayvon Martin" rally at the state capitol yesterday.

http://downtown.11alive.com/photo-gallery/news/108519-photos-i-am-trayvon-martin-rally-state-capitol?page=7
Thanks for that, Clint. This story breaks my heart. It angers me and frustrates me and makes me so sad.

Did anyone watch Lawrence last night? HE totally pwned that reporter from the Orlando Sentinal that is just saying shite with no proof.



So where is the documentation of Zimmerman's injuries? Just in the police report? Mmmhmmm we wants some pictures please. Not just the cop take that the "Number 1 male*" had to be the agressor.


*Number 1 male is police radio speak for black male. Number 2 male is a white guy.

Comment by Mondobubba on 03/27/2012 17:42:55
Quote by clintster:
BTW, just wanted to pass this along. Apparently there are some people who have a hard time believing that a 17-year old black man can be an innocent victim. If you have some particularly odious RW Facebookers linked to you, they may try to come at you with this:

http://www.11alive.com/images/640/360/2/assetpool/images/120327122457_120326121543_trayvon-race-baiting%5B1%5D.jpg


Let them know that it is a fake, apparently drummed up by a *surprise surprise* white supremacist website.



Yuuup way ahead of ya on that one, Clint. Stormfront, it is an awful place.

Comment by clintster on 03/27/2012 17:48:23
Quote by Raine:
Quote by clintster:
Here's a gallery of photos of the "I am Trayvon Martin" rally at the state capitol yesterday.

http://downtown.11alive.com/photo-gallery/news/108519-photos-i-am-trayvon-martin-rally-state-capitol?page=7
Thanks for that, Clint. This story breaks my heart. It angers me and frustrates me and makes me so sad.

Did anyone watch Lawrence last night? HE totally pwned that reporter from the Orlando Sentinal that is just saying shite with no proof.


As a teacher, I have so many students like Trayvon come through my classroom. I am completely horrified that in this day and age, someone could get away with shooting an African-American based simply on his calling it "self-defense".

I need to write a blog about this. May I take a day this week?

Comment by wickedpam on 03/27/2012 17:49:16
Quote by Mondobubba:
Quote by Raine:
Quote by clintster:
Here's a gallery of photos of the "I am Trayvon Martin" rally at the state capitol yesterday.

http://downtown.11alive.com/photo-gallery/news/108519-photos-i-am-trayvon-martin-rally-state-capitol?page=7
Thanks for that, Clint. This story breaks my heart. It angers me and frustrates me and makes me so sad.

Did anyone watch Lawrence last night? HE totally pwned that reporter from the Orlando Sentinal that is just saying shite with no proof.



So where is the documentation of Zimmerman's injuries? Just in the police report? Mmmhmmm we wants some pictures please. Not just the cop take that the "Number 1 male*" had to be the agressor.


*Number 1 male is police radio speak for black male. Number 2 male is a white guy.



You'd think there would be photos in the police report of any injuries sustained. Although if they turned up now I'd suspect they were staged

Comment by Raine on 03/27/2012 17:55:03
Quote by clintster:
Quote by Raine:
Quote by clintster:
Here's a gallery of photos of the "I am Trayvon Martin" rally at the state capitol yesterday.

http://downtown.11alive.com/photo-gallery/news/108519-photos-i-am-trayvon-martin-rally-state-capitol?page=7
Thanks for that, Clint. This story breaks my heart. It angers me and frustrates me and makes me so sad.

Did anyone watch Lawrence last night? HE totally pwned that reporter from the Orlando Sentinal that is just saying shite with no proof.


As a teacher, I have so many students like Trayvon come through my classroom. I am completely horrified that in this day and age, someone could get away with shooting an African-American based simply on his calling it "self-defense".

I need to write a blog about this. May I take a day this week?

Sure! Pick a day!


Comment by livingonli on 03/27/2012 18:07:03
Quote by wickedpam:
Quote by Mondobubba:
Quote by Raine:
Quote by clintster:
Here's a gallery of photos of the "I am Trayvon Martin" rally at the state capitol yesterday.

http://downtown.11alive.com/photo-gallery/news/108519-photos-i-am-trayvon-martin-rally-state-capitol?page=7
Thanks for that, Clint. This story breaks my heart. It angers me and frustrates me and makes me so sad.

Did anyone watch Lawrence last night? HE totally pwned that reporter from the Orlando Sentinal that is just saying shite with no proof.



So where is the documentation of Zimmerman's injuries? Just in the police report? Mmmhmmm we wants some pictures please. Not just the cop take that the "Number 1 male*" had to be the agressor.


*Number 1 male is police radio speak for black male. Number 2 male is a white guy.



You'd think there would be photos in the police report of any injuries sustained. Although if they turned up now I'd suspect they were staged

And is anyone (although some are) focusing on the fact that he is a serial beater of women. There seems to be enough evidence that Zimmerman is a man prone to committing violence and obviously an unstable profile which kept him from becoming a cop who becomes an obsessive neighborhood watcher calling anyone he doesn't like to 911.

Comment by Raine on 03/27/2012 18:20:49
We Act is back up.

Comment by clintster on 03/27/2012 18:23:34
Quote by Raine:
Quote by clintster:
Quote by Raine:
Quote by clintster:
Here's a gallery of photos of the "I am Trayvon Martin" rally at the state capitol yesterday.

http://downtown.11alive.com/photo-gallery/news/108519-photos-i-am-trayvon-martin-rally-state-capitol?page=7
Thanks for that, Clint. This story breaks my heart. It angers me and frustrates me and makes me so sad.

Did anyone watch Lawrence last night? HE totally pwned that reporter from the Orlando Sentinal that is just saying shite with no proof.


As a teacher, I have so many students like Trayvon come through my classroom. I am completely horrified that in this day and age, someone could get away with shooting an African-American based simply on his calling it "self-defense".

I need to write a blog about this. May I take a day this week?

Sure! Pick a day!


How about Thursday?

Comment by wickedpam on 03/27/2012 18:26:36
Quote by Raine:
We Act is back up.



do they have Randi at 3?

Comment by livingonli on 03/27/2012 18:29:46
Quote by wickedpam:
Quote by Raine:
We Act is back up.



do they have Randi at 3?

I think they run Thom at 3. Thom spent most of yesterday discussing Scotus.

Comment by Mondobubba on 03/27/2012 18:30:05
Just chill out about the chattering class live tweeting SCOTUS today

It’s worth keeping in mind that all of this alarmism may well amount to nothing.