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Author: TriSec    Date: 04/22/2008 10:47:35

Good Morning.

Today is our 1,861st day in Iraq.

We'll start this morning as we always do, with the latest casualty figures from the warron terra, courtesy of Antiwar.com:

American Deaths
Since war began (3/19/03): 4041
Since "Mission Accomplished" (5/1/03): 3902
Since Capture of Saddam (12/13/03): 3580
Since Handover (6/29/04): 3182
Since Election (1/31/05): 2604

Other Coalition Troops: 309
US Military Deaths - Afghanistan: 494



We find today's cost of war passing through $ 513, 326, 850, 000.00



By now, you've probably heard the report that over 300,000 veterans have suffered some type of brain injury. Of course, it falls to the foreign press to tell us about it...
The psychological toll of America's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has touched one in five servicemen and its consequences will be long-lasting, a study suggested yesterday.

The Rand Corporation, a leading research operation, said that 320,000 soldiers suffered brain injuries on the battlefield, while more than 300,000 suffered mental disorders on returning home.

The report said that US veterans are incurring "invisible wounds" of war, most notably traumatic brain injury. A survey of 1,926 soldiers represented a statistically significant sample of the 1.6 million troops sent to Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001, Rand said.
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Roadside bombs were responsible for a vast number of injuries never fully diagnosed or treated in modern warfare, according to the report's authors.

It found that 19.5 per cent of the returning soldiers were reported to have experienced a "probable brain injury" during deployment but only 57 per cent of those had seen a doctor about the incident.

The report added there was a similar picture of mental health problems: "Among those who met diagnostic criteria for post traumatic stress disorder or major depression, only 53 percent had seen a physician or mental health provider to seek help for a mental health problem in the past 12 months."

Rand called for stronger support for veterans from the military's medical hierarchy. "There is a major health crisis facing those men and women who have served our nation in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Terri Tanielian, the lead researcher.

"Unless they receive appropriate and effective care for these mental health conditions, there will be long-term consequences for them and for the nation. Unfortunately, we found there are many barriers preventing them from getting the high-quality treatment they need.

Researchers predicted that 300,000 servicemen, or 18.5 per cent of those sent to fight, would suffer long-term depression or other mental health conditions.



Well...our friends at IAVA have done something about it. A class-action suit started by IAVA went to trial on April 21. The suit alleges that more than half of all wounded troops, including those with PTSD, brain injuries and other "invisible wounds" have suffered neglect, abuse, and have been outright forgotten by the VA.
A national class action lawsuit brought by Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans went to trial on April 21. The suit, known as Veterans for Common Sense vs. Peake was brought by two veterans organizations who argue the Department of Veterans Affairs is systematically denying hundreds of thousands of wounded veterans needed medical treatment, while forcing them to wait months or even years for the disability benefits they've earned.

"We're dealing with people who are almost totally disabled; people who have lost arms, lost legs in these wars, people who have come home with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or physical brain injury," explained Gordan Erspamer, an attorney with the law firm Morrison and Forrester who is handling the case pro bono. "We can't have these people waiting for months and years for the treatment they need."

According to a study released last week by the Rand Corporation, an estimated 300,000 veterans among the nearly 1.7 million who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan are battling depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. Another 320,000 veterans suffer from Traumatic Brain Injury, physical brain damage which is often caused by roadside bombs.

However, the VA reports only about 300,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans have received health care from the VA system - about 120,000 for mental injuries. That means more than half the American service personnel wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan have slipped through the cracks.

"The VA needs aggressive, pro-veteran leaders, for more additional funding for staff, office space and for screening and treatment equipment," said Paul Sullivan of Veterans for Common Sense. "The VA needs more streamlined policies so that veterans don't need to fill out a 20 page form in order to get care."

Sullivan said his organization decided to file suit when it became clear the agency wouldn't take action on its own. Before helping to found Veterans for Common Sense, Sullivan monitored disability claims for the VA. In 2006, he resigned in protest.

"In 2005, while working at VA, I briefed senior VA political leaders that VA was in a crisis of a surge of disability claims of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans," he said. "I recommended in writing that the VA hire more claims processors to make sure the veterans get their benefits faster instead of facing six month delays or even longer."

"The VA didn't do anything to help the veterans. What the VA actually did was several things to lock the doors and block veterans from getting mental health assistance from VA," Sullivan added.



Going for distance now....as we all know, it's primary day in the great Keystone state...so it's worth taking a look at the Iraq positions of the candidates one more time.

First, the Senator from New York...
Starting Phased Redeployment within Hillary's First Days in Office: The most important part of Hillary's plan is the first: to end our military engagement in Iraq's civil war and immediately start bringing our troops home. As president, one of Hillary's first official actions would be to convene the Joint Chiefs of Staff, her Secretary of Defense, and her National Security Council. She would direct them to draw up a clear, viable plan to bring our troops home starting with the first 60 days of her Administration. She would also direct the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs to prepare a comprehensive plan to provide the highest quality health care and benefits to every service member -- including every member of the National Guard and Reserves -- and their families.

Securing Stability in Iraq as we Bring our Troops Home. As president, Hillary would focus American aid efforts during our redeployment on stabilizing Iraq, not propping up the Iraqi government. She would direct aid to the entities -- whether governmental or non-governmental -- most likely to get it into the hands of the Iraqi people. She would also support the appointment of a high level U.N. representative -- similar to those appointed in Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Kosovo -- to help broker peace among the parties in Iraq.

A New Intensive Diplomatic Initiative in the Region. In her first days in office, Hillary would convene a regional stabilization group composed of key allies, other global powers, and all of the states bordering Iraq. The- mission of this group would be to develop and implement a strategy to create a stable Iraq.


Next, the Senator from Illinois:
Bringing Our Troops Home

Obama will immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. He will remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months. Obama will make it clear that we will not build any permanent bases in Iraq. He will keep some troops in Iraq to protect our embassy and diplomats; if al Qaeda attempts to build a base within Iraq, he will keep troops in Iraq or elsewhere in the region to carry out targeted strikes on al Qaeda.
Press Iraq’s Leaders to Reconcile

The best way to press Iraq’s leaders to take responsibility for their future is to make it clear that we are leaving. As we remove our troops, Obama will engage representatives from all levels of Iraqi society – in and out of government – to seek a new accord on Iraq’s Constitution and governance. The United Nations will play a central role in this convention, which should not adjourn until a new national accord is reached addressing tough questions like federalism and oil revenue-sharing.
Regional Diplomacy

Obama will launch the most aggressive diplomatic effort in recent American history to reach a new compact on the stability of Iraq and the Middle East. This effort will include all of Iraq’s neighbors — including Iran and Syria. This compact will aim to secure Iraq’s borders; keep neighboring countries from meddling inside Iraq; isolate al Qaeda; support reconciliation among Iraq’s sectarian groups; and provide financial support for Iraq’s reconstruction.
Humanitarian Initiative

Obama believes that America has a moral and security responsibility to confront Iraq’s humanitarian crisis — two million Iraqis are refugees; two million more are displaced inside their own country. Obama will form an international working group to address this crisis. He will provide at least $2 billion to expand services to Iraqi refugees in neighboring countries, and ensure that Iraqis inside their own country can find a safe-haven.


[Note: both policies were 'cherry-picked', so please go to the source and read it all.

Finally for contrast...the Senator from Arizona

A greater military commitment now is necessary if we are to achieve long-term success in Iraq. John McCain agrees with retired Army General Jack Keane that there are simply not enough American forces in Iraq. More troops are necessary to clear and hold insurgent strongholds; to provide security for rebuilding local institutions and economies; to halt sectarian violence in Baghdad and disarm Sunni and Shia militias; to dismantle al Qaeda; to train the Iraqi Army; and to embed American personnel in Iraqi police units. Accomplishing each of these goals will require more troops and is a crucial prerequisite for needed economic and political development in the country. America's ultimate strategy is to give Iraqis the capabilities to govern and secure their own country.

For most of the occupation, military strategy has focused on securing all of Iraq by establishing bases and conducting short operations from them. Ultimately, this secured only small areas of the country. John McCain believes the current force structure and power vacuum persisting in many areas of the country demands a more robust counterinsurgency strategy. Iraqi and American forces must not only use force to clear areas occupied by insurgents but to stay and hold these areas to deny them as a base for insurgent forces and allow economic and political development to occur in a secure environment. By emphasizing safety of the local population, this strategy will create strongholds in which insurgents find it difficult to operate.

Building a capable Iraqi army is a central requirement for ensuring Iraq's ability to govern and protect itself long after American forces have withdrawn. The U.S. must accelerate the training and equipping of Iraqi armed forces and police to enable them to play a key role in securing Iraq. Only in a secure environment will the development of Iraq's political and economic institutions have a chance to succeed. Ultimately, Iraq's future lies in the hands of its people, government, and armed forces, and strengthening them is an essential requirement for bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq. Until Iraqi forces are ready, however, a precipitous U.S. withdrawal would condemn Iraq to civil war and intervention by its neighbors and energize al Qaeda and other jihadists across the globe. This would gravely jeopardize American security.




So....who's your candidate?

205 comments (Latest Comment: 04/23/2008 03:38:21 by jd_in_ny)
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Comment by right wing hater on 04/22/2008 12:36:50
Good morning everyone, HAPPY EARTH DAY!!



Posted Daily to News of Day in Forum...



Along with this topic, here are two stories from daily reading -



GOP 'supporting the troops' update: VA Confirms 18 Vets Commit Suicide Everyday - Jason Leopold - http://www.opednews.com/articles/genera_jason_le_080421_va_confirms_18_vets_.htm

In a stunning admission, top officials at the Veterans Health Administration confirmed that the agency’s own statistics show that an average of 126 veterans per week —6,552 veterans per year—commit suicide, according to an internal email distributed to several VA officials.



Hope 'their heart is in it' not their - 'release': Army, Marines give waivers to more felons. That's one way to reduce recidivism! - http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/04/21/military.waivers/



Have a good day everyone!



Hey Bob, hey Raine! Thanks for posting daily yesterday!

Comment by velveeta jones on 04/22/2008 12:46:10
Morning all. My candidate Tri, is Obama, and I voted yesterday in early voting. It was PACKED!! (Well, for a small town). At one point ALL the voting machines were FULL and the poll workers couldn't believe it!! (Okay, only 4 booths, but still..........) .



Anywho. Seems our pResident can't find anything better to do. So he went on........... a game show! Un-believable!





Comment by velveeta jones on 04/22/2008 12:55:17
In more scary news:

(I'm sure most of ya'll saw this last night)



Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton confirmed Monday that as president she would be willing to use nuclear weapons against Iran if it were to launch a nuclear attack on Israel.



Clinton’s remarks, made in an interview on MSNBC’s “Countdown With Keith Olbermann,” clarified a statement she made last week in a Democratic presidential debate in Philadelphia. In that debate, Clinton, D-N.Y., said an Iranian attack on Israel would bring “massive retaliation,” without defining what the phrase meant.






http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/scared003.gif






Comment by TriSec on 04/22/2008 13:04:13
Yeah, I saw that. So we're left with these choices?



100 years of war



Nuclear Annihilation



or maybe a little bit of common sense?





Comment by livingonli on 04/22/2008 13:08:01
Good morning all.



Ahhh, the scary first lady on the Today show.



I caught the 2 AM Countdown repeat last night so I heard not only her suggesting of nuking but also creepy was how she chuckled when her now found friendship with Richard Mellon Sciafe was brought up. I am starting to worry that she would be as bad as McCain if she were to become president.



Can't wait for Scott Ritter. I still loved when I saw him debate Christopher Hitchens.

Comment by livingonli on 04/22/2008 13:08:55
Once Raine is up I will give my review of Lizz Winstead's Shoot the Messenger show last night.



The humor is definitely on a different level than Steph.

Comment by m-hadley on 04/22/2008 13:14:25
Quote by velveeta jones:

Morning all. My candidate Tri, is Obama, and I voted yesterday in early voting. It was PACKED!! (Well, for a small town). At one point ALL the voting machines were FULL and the poll workers couldn't believe it!! (Okay, only 4 booths, but still..........) .



Anywho. Seems our pResident can't find anything better to do. So he went on........... a game show! Un-believable!



Velveeta,

How're you feeling? Up for DC? I've gotta check with my doctor today, but am still planning on being on that flight on Friday. Can't wait to see you all in Washington :D

Cheers,

mfaye



Comment by Raine on 04/22/2008 13:15:07
Good morning!

Comment by m-hadley on 04/22/2008 13:15:53
Mornin' Everybody,

The boss is back from Florida today, so not much blogging from me this morning Just wanted to check in and say hey :D

Cheers,

mfaye

Comment by livingonli on 04/22/2008 13:20:00
Good morning Raine.



Shoot the Messenger last night was awesome!

Comment by Raine on 04/22/2008 13:25:05
Heya FAye and Everyone!

Comment by jd_in_ny on 04/22/2008 13:25:33
Good morning!



Comment by TriSec on 04/22/2008 13:29:17
Lizz Winstead?



Did you spray paint "UNFILTERED LIVES!" somewhere in the theater?





Comment by Raine on 04/22/2008 13:31:56
WEll Liv I am awake, so where is the review?





I would have spraypainted that too tri!

Comment by Raine on 04/22/2008 13:32:44
Quote by jd_in_ny:

Good morning!

Good morning!



Comment by livingonli on 04/22/2008 13:37:51
OK, now time for my review of STM.



It was hilarious. The whole parody of the Fox-like morning show was dead on. And the humor did remind me of Unfiltered. And then for the second portion of the show, Lizz interviewed Ted Rall who was talking about events in Central Asia where he traveled. And there are two other things that the media didn't report. One, Kazikstan's Democratic Government was overthrown by the CIA in a 2005 coup. (Betcha didn't hear that in the news). And there is also this lake that is on top of a mountain which due to global warming is overflowing rapidly and threatens to destroy a nearby town possibly killing 5 million people. I am glad I finally got a chance to see this show.



And not only was HBK there but I also met n69n who was also at the show.

HBK might be getting you guys a wedding present for the DC trip.

Comment by livingonli on 04/22/2008 13:39:05
Quote by TriSec:

Lizz Winstead?



Did you spray paint "UNFILTERED LIVES!" somewhere in the theater?





Yes, in its own way at Shoot the Messenger.

Comment by Raine on 04/22/2008 13:39:48
You met n69n!!!! Wow!





Comment by velveeta jones on 04/22/2008 13:40:29
Faye, I am feeling much better! At least during the day. By evening I still have a really bad nagging cough - and a hard time breathing. But I will not be making DC. Already canceled the hotel and now planning on laying a stone sidewalk for the front of my house.



:(

Comment by jd_in_ny on 04/22/2008 13:43:33
I'd say drink every time Hannity says "the narrative has changed", but my liver would kill me.

Comment by livingonli on 04/22/2008 13:44:06
Quote by velveeta jones:

Faye, I am feeling much better! At least during the day. By evening I still have a really bad nagging cough - and a hard time breathing. But I will not be making DC. Already canceled the hotel and now planning on laying a stone sidewalk for the front of my house.



:(


Are you going to keep Tri company on the blog so he doesn't feel lonely?

Comment by livingonli on 04/22/2008 13:46:11
Quote by Raine:

You met n69n!!!! Wow!





I even got to briefly say Hi to Lizz before HBK had to run to get up at insane o'clock and I had to go catch my train.



When I was waiting in Penn Station, I was in one of the newstands and they had Fox Business on the TV and the nightime talk show they had sounded like Lizz's show except they were doing it straight. I think my IQ was higher than all the people in that room combined.

Comment by Raine on 04/22/2008 13:49:36
I dunno about the blowing out of the water... but it is true that people with cell phones don't get the phone calls... I think that is why McCain keeps polling above either of the dems.

Comment by velveeta jones on 04/22/2008 13:50:00
Quote by livingonli:

Quote by velveeta jones:

Faye, I am feeling much better! At least during the day. By evening I still have a really bad nagging cough - and a hard time breathing. But I will not be making DC. Already canceled the hotel and now planning on laying a stone sidewalk for the front of my house.



:(


Are you going to keep Tri company on the blog so he doesn't feel lonely?


Yes, Tri and I will keep the blog warm............... maybe Aunt Azalea (my partner) will wander in. *sigh*



We promise not to post porn links................







Comment by Raine on 04/22/2008 13:51:45
IT was not the 1800's was it?



I thought polygamy ended much later than that.

Comment by Raine on 04/22/2008 13:52:19
:rofl: and that another thing!!!

Comment by Raine on 04/22/2008 13:52:31
Wow! SCreachy caller!

Comment by TriSec on 04/22/2008 13:53:59
Quote by velveeta jones:





We promise not to post porn links................











:whistling:

Comment by Raine on 04/22/2008 13:54:26
Quote by velveeta jones:

Quote by livingonli:

Quote by velveeta jones:

Faye, I am feeling much better! At least during the day. By evening I still have a really bad nagging cough - and a hard time breathing. But I will not be making DC. Already canceled the hotel and now planning on laying a stone sidewalk for the front of my house.



:(


Are you going to keep Tri company on the blog so he doesn't feel lonely?


Yes, Tri and I will keep the blog warm............... maybe Aunt Azalea (my partner) will wander in. *sigh*



We promise not to post porn links................









Awww. Darn....



Comment by livingonli on 04/22/2008 13:54:50
Quote by Raine:

Wow! SCreachy caller!


Indeed! He was extra crispy.

Comment by livingonli on 04/22/2008 13:56:01
Quote by TriSec:

Quote by velveeta jones:





We promise not to post porn links................











:whistling:


Not that porn.

Comment by livingonli on 04/22/2008 13:58:20
Headline News had a clip of the "Obama" vs. "Hillary" wrestling match last night.

Comment by Raine on 04/22/2008 13:59:12
Quote by livingonli:

Headline News had a clip of the "Obama" vs. "Hillary" wrestling match last night.
Guh... I can't bring myself to watch that.



MCain was on it too...







Comment by Raine on 04/22/2008 14:02:33




it's just fun!



(A bow wow parody)

Comment by wickedpam on 04/22/2008 14:04:00
Morning :hug:

Comment by m-hadley on 04/22/2008 14:07:23
Quote by velveeta jones:

Faye, I am feeling much better! At least during the day. By evening I still have a really bad nagging cough - and a hard time breathing. But I will not be making DC. Already canceled the hotel and now planning on laying a stone sidewalk for the front of my house.



:(


Damn, Velveeta,

I am really sorry to hear that you won't be in DC, but am happy to hear that it seems you are on the mend. Come on out to Tulsa with your wife sometime this summer and I'll show you all a good time :D

Cheers,

mfaye

BTB, that invitation is good for all 4Fers - just let me know, so I can be sure to be around... :)



Comment by livingonli on 04/22/2008 14:07:26
Good morning Mala. Don't forget to read my review of Lizz's show below.

Comment by Raine on 04/22/2008 14:08:16
:prince: I love the Rolling Stones!!! :banana:

Comment by Raine on 04/22/2008 14:08:40


Comment by wickedpam on 04/22/2008 14:08:45
I did read it Liv - sounded like a good show :)

Comment by livingonli on 04/22/2008 14:11:34
Quote by wickedpam:

I did read it Liv - sounded like a good show :)


And HBK is psyched for our meet-up.

Comment by Raine on 04/22/2008 14:11:49
BTW...



HAPPY EARTH DAY!!!


Comment by wickedpam on 04/22/2008 14:12:56
Quote by livingonli:

Quote by wickedpam:

I did read it Liv - sounded like a good show :)


And HBK is psyched for our meet-up.




I'm excited for the meet up too! Which reminds me I posted the weekend weather report on the DC Blog so everyone knows how to pack.



Comment by Raine on 04/22/2008 14:14:35
I can't wait for the meetup! Gonna see so many old friends and meet so many new ones! :banana:

Comment by wickedpam on 04/22/2008 14:17:57
Quote by Raine:

BTW...



HAPPY EARTH DAY!!!




Hug your World Today!




http://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g37/Wicked_Pam/misc/big_gaia.gif


Comment by Raine on 04/22/2008 14:19:08
The robospanker 2000

Comment by BobR on 04/22/2008 14:23:14
Quote by livingonli:

Once Raine is up I will give my review of Lizz Winstead's Shoot the Messenger show last night.



The humor is definitely on a different level than Steph.


gee thanks... :kickcan:

Comment by Raine on 04/22/2008 14:23:46
So any exit pols in PA?

Comment by Raine on 04/22/2008 14:27:48




The bumper sticker was made of Plywood, attached with wire and screwed into the back of a packard...

Comment by livingonli on 04/22/2008 14:29:27
Quote by BobR:

Quote by livingonli:

Once Raine is up I will give my review of Lizz Winstead's Shoot the Messenger show last night.



The humor is definitely on a different level than Steph.


gee thanks... :kickcan:


I figured she usually pops in before you do. I wouldn't leave you out, ya big lug.



<--- awkward man hug.