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Author: TriSec    Date: 05/13/2008 10:40:01

Good Morning.

Today is our 1,882nd 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): 4076
Since "Mission Accomplished" (5/1/03): 3937
Since Capture of Saddam (12/13/03): 3615
Since Handover (6/29/04): 3217
Since Election (1/31/05): 2639

Other Coalition Troops: 312
US Military Deaths - Afghanistan: 501


We find this morning's cost of war passing through $ 519,208,725,000.00

Do go and look at the counter for a moment if you have the chance...it's strangely mesmerizing to watch how fast our future is being spent.


Turning to our friends at IAVA, we find that a vote on the new GI bill has been delayed. Not by the Republicans this time, but by a small group of "Blue Dog Democrats". Paul Rieckoff's entry on Facebook has more about the bill and ways you can help.

NEW YORK -Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the nation's first and largest nonpartisan Iraq and Afghanistan veterans' group, demands that the few hold-out Democrats stop delaying the "Post-9/11 GI Bill." The new GI Bill has been included in the war supplemental funding bill, but a House vote on the measure was postponed last week due to an outcry from a small group of Democrats who oppose paying for veterans' educational benefits through supplemental funding. The vote should happen later this week.

"The GI Bill is a cost of war as much as any other expenditure in the supplemental," said Paul Rieckhoff, Executive Director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. "Any member of Congress who votes for a $170 billion dollar war bill and then votes against the GI Bill is nickel-and-diming our troops. Veterans of all generations will be outraged by that decision."

"The Post-9/11 GI Bill," originally introduced in the Senate by a bipartisan coalition of combat veterans including Senators Jim Webb (D-VA), Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and John Warner (R-VA), has the endorsement of every major Veterans Service Organization, as well as the overwhelming bipartisan support of more than 330 Senators and Representatives. Yet last week, Representative John Tanner (D-TN), a member of the Blue Dog Democrats, made an insulting and flippant comment about the legislation. In an interview, Tanner remarked, "some of us oppose creating a new entitlement program in an emergency spending bill, whether it's butchers, bakers or candlestick makers."

"Comparing our troops to candlestick makers is insulting and counterproductive. Furthermore, the notion that the GI Bill is a new entitlement is ludicrous. It has existed for more than 60 years. The bill before Congress simply updates the program so it actually covers the current cost of college," said Rieckhoff. "IAVA and its tens of thousands of members nationwide demand that Representative Tanner and all lawmakers vote to fund a new GI Bill. For all of the members of the House of Representatives who say they support the troops, this is the time to put their money where their mouth is."

This week, IAVA is urging its national membership to call their local representatives and demand that they support a new GI Bill. Much more information is at www.GIBill2008.org



Of course, taking care of our veterans is going to be critical in the coming decades, as thanks to many medical advances, many warriors who would have died previously are now surviving, often with grievous injuries.
WASHINGTON - 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.

Why?

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.

‘A cost of war’
The number of disabled veterans has jumped by 25 percent since 2001 — to 2.9 million — and the cause really is no mystery.

“This is a cost of war,” says Steve Smithson, a deputy director at the American Legion. “We’re still producing veterans. We’ve been in a war in Iraq for five years now, and the war on terror since 9/11.”

VA and Census Bureau figures show the previous six-year period, before hostilities in Afghanistan and Iraq, saw a more modest increase of 4 percent in the number of disabled vets. Veterans can make claims for disability benefits long after their military service has ended.

Today’s veterans — disabled or not — number nearly 24 million. That population is projected by the VA to fall under 15 million by 2033, mostly because of dying World War II and Korean War vets. But costs are expected to rise.

Inflation accounts for a big chunk of the increase. But even when the VA factors out inflation, the compensation for disabled veterans would still grow from $29 billion to $33 billion in today’s dollars — a more than 10 percent increase. And the department acknowledges the estimate could rise by 30 percent.

VA officials were not eager to talk about reasons for the increases. They declined several requests for interviews. In a written response to a handful of questions, the agency noted a few factors at play in the rising costs, such as the aging veterans population, an increase in the number of disabilities claimed and the severity of injuries sustained.



I'll leave you this morning with an alarming story from the Daily Telegraph (UK). The British sector in Southern Iraq has generally avoided the troubles in and around Baghdad, mostly because the Brits have been slowly withdrawing and turning things over to local control. You'd think that Uncle Sam would congatulate the British and try to emulate what they've been doing. But because this is counter to US strategy in Iraq, we've declared the British "delusional" and are preparing to move in our own troops. I kid you not.




A senior US officer has told the Telegraph that Iraqi troops had not been ready to assume responsibility for Basra when British forces withdrew late last year.

He also said that US commanders in Iraq believe the Shia south is ready to copy the developments that transformed the western province of Anbar from being the main hotbed of insurgency into one of Iraq's most peaceful regions. To foster this change, US troops are moving south for the first time since the 2003 war.

"There's going to be a whole new approach when we send troops down there," said the US officer.
Article continues
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"We won't take the self-delusional route of convincing ourselves that the Iraqis are ready to fight but then standing back while they fall apart.

"They're not ready and we have to be more proactive. There's too much at stake."

Britain has been in charge of four provinces in southern Iraq since Saddam Hussein's downfall. While the divisional command will continue to operate under British leadership at Basra airbase, the orders of the US units will be to "get out front" and resume patrols and combat missions.

US hopes of making the whole of Iraq secure before its eventual withdrawal have been raised by what commanders see as a potential southern version of the Sahwa, or tribal awakening, which turned locals against al-Qa'eda.

Troops have been shifted from Anbar province to the Tallil airbase, Nasiriya, to assume responsibility from 550 Australian troops pulling out of the country.

According to the US assessment, the Australians followed the mistakes of the British by pulling back to "overwatch" local forces but then neglecting the security challenges in the area.

The US officer said its allies had adopted a "University of Arizona" attitude - American slang for being rigid and unimaginative. "There's dirty work to be done and we've got to go forward to it," he said.


England is about our only ally left...and we've just called them 'delusional'. Methinks this doesn't bode well.


184 comments (Latest Comment: 05/13/2008 23:04:55 by Raine)
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Comment by right wing hater on 05/13/2008 12:34:12
Good Morning Everyone!



Daily Reading has been posted to News of Day in the Forum.



Highlights/lowlights:

Republican War on Science & Reality Updates:

- Bush crime family hiding DSCOVR satellite system that could once and for all end honest debate over climate crisis & its causes (NASA built it and was ready to launch - Bush canceled it and project until 2009...gee...wonder why)

- Fox Noise & Drudge (sweet boy) smear Gore & patch clips together to 'inform' their viewership...

- Autism cases in court linking mercury laced vaccines to the epidemic

- Infrastructure in US crumbles from Bush 'tax cuts'....

- 'War on terror' scam update, spying of all citizens goes up while court cases go down...hmm...all the spying without the actual prosecution...hmm....

- Johnathan Alter, Obama's ace in the hole, 1.5 million individual donor base...

Superdelegates taking notice....could reach 3 million by November...

Comment by right wing hater on 05/13/2008 12:35:23
Oh and along TriSecs post...



'Cremate the Freight' also in daily reading....

How Bush Crime Family & 'Rummy' decided to cremate the troops in a pet cemetary to save $$...

Comment by Scoopster on 05/13/2008 12:49:50
Morning all! + = :prince:



I thought that England was starting to withdraw its troops from Iraq.. Is that now delayed or is El Gordo Brown turning out to be not so much different from his ol' chum Tony Blair?

Comment by Shane-O on 05/13/2008 12:54:14
Morning all!



Great post, TriSec. I cannot believe the final cited article! Didn't the Bush administration declare the scale-down of British troops in the south evidence of "progess" in Iraq?

Comment by m-hadley on 05/13/2008 13:01:11
Morning Everyone :coffee:

Just passing through this morning - lots of works this week - just wanted to say hey Have a great day! :hugs:

Cheers,

mfaye

Comment by velveeta jones on 05/13/2008 13:05:44
Ugh!



The continuing saga......... continues. Yesterday my fridge died. I come home last night to find my wife sitting in a dark house. Power throughout the neighborhood is out. *sigh* So here I sit in a coffee house.



Still............. I count my blessings. These are small inconveniences compared to what's going on in Burma and China and............

Comment by Raine on 05/13/2008 13:09:08
:rofl: Shano-O !!! OMG!!! :spit:

Comment by Raine on 05/13/2008 13:10:56
Good morning everyone!

Comment by Raine on 05/13/2008 13:12:52
Quote by velveeta jones:

Ugh!



The continuing saga......... continues. Yesterday my fridge died. I come home last night to find my wife sitting in a dark house. Power throughout the neighborhood is out. *sigh* So here I sit in a coffee house.



Still............. I count my blessings. These are small inconveniences compared to what's going on in Burma and China and............
:hug:





I hope the weather will be loverly today so you can soak up sun of the sun!



Comment by Shane-O on 05/13/2008 13:14:00
Quote by Raine:

:rofl: Shano-O !!! OMG!!! :spit:
I think Chris had the idea first - he did that song as the 6:46 SM Bump yesterday...



Comment by velveeta jones on 05/13/2008 13:19:23
Quote by Raine:

Quote by velveeta jones:

Ugh!



The continuing saga......... continues. Yesterday my fridge died. I come home last night to find my wife sitting in a dark house. Power throughout the neighborhood is out. *sigh* So here I sit in a coffee house.



Still............. I count my blessings. These are small inconveniences compared to what's going on in Burma and China and............
:hug:





I hope the weather will be loverly today so you can soak up sun of the sun!



Its cold.







But then again, that's good for keeping my food, in an ice chest, cold. *Le Sigh*



Comment by Scoopster on 05/13/2008 13:22:38
So I heard about this anti-marijuana study today that states heavy marijuana use leads to severe heart disease.



Heavy marijuana use is defined as smoking 78 joints a week for 30 years or more.



No testing was done in regards to the effect of ingestion (either raw or cooked) or vaporizing an equivalent amount of marijuana. Also the study didn't cite the effect smoking that much weed (or smoking that much ANYTHING) would have on your lungs, nor the fact that there comes a point when smoking weed when you're not gonna be able to LIFT UP THE JOINT TO YOUR MOUTH ANYMORE.

Comment by TriSec on 05/13/2008 13:28:01
Gee Scoop, in cigarette terms that's less than a pack a day. (3.9/week, to be exact.) Wonder if anyone has done a similar study about the effects of tobacco?





Comment by jd_in_ny on 05/13/2008 13:29:54
naps for all!

Good morning, folks

Comment by livingonli on 05/13/2008 13:30:01
Good morning folks.



Now I'm waiting for a video clip of Sean Hannity's temper tantrum. There has to be one out there even if it's not as priceless as Bill-O's.

Comment by Raine on 05/13/2008 13:30:18
This one's for you Scoop...









Comment by jd_in_ny on 05/13/2008 13:36:57
you need to find out about what's going on at your kid's school from O'REILLY? REALLY? that's sad.

Comment by livingonli on 05/13/2008 13:37:16
I think this caller is smoking some of the primo stuff.



The STD's are being spread from the misinformation of "abstinence" education.

Comment by Raine on 05/13/2008 13:37:28
:thud: Donnie in Chicago... Oh dear...

Comment by Raine on 05/13/2008 13:39:07
Donnie... Donnie... Donnie...





Give ME some of that

Comment by livingonli on 05/13/2008 13:40:08
Dude? Is that caller retarded?

Comment by livingonli on 05/13/2008 13:43:48
Let's not forget Rush wants to see riots in Denver this summer.

Comment by velveeta jones on 05/13/2008 13:43:50
Oh dear! Thanks for posting the Bill-O melt down. I missed this yesterday, what, with all my "trama" drama. Very funny!!

Comment by wickedpam on 05/13/2008 13:45:26
Morning :hug:





Ark boarding has been suspended, we have acheived SUN!

Comment by Raine on 05/13/2008 13:49:34
:prince: Let's Groove tonite!!! :prince:

Comment by livingonli on 05/13/2008 13:52:50
Good morning Mala. The sun's out here today too, but it is windy.

Comment by Raine on 05/13/2008 13:57:29
Does anyone know what this woman looks like?

Comment by jd_in_ny on 05/13/2008 14:00:17
Comment by Scoopster on 05/13/2008 14:00:49
Quote by Raine:

Donnie... Donnie... Donnie...





Give ME some of that


What's that? The test subject from the study I cited has escaped and started calling politalk shows?!

Comment by Raine on 05/13/2008 14:03:56
I must admit, regarding China I am negligent of knowing the geography. I know that the earthquake was in the Schezuan region, but I am wondering where the the olympics are being held.







Comment by Raine on 05/13/2008 14:06:56
Quote by jd_in_ny:

kerry washington


She is gorgueos.



I wouldn't have recognized her.

Comment by livingonli on 05/13/2008 14:07:32
I believe the Olympics are in Beijing.

Comment by Raine on 05/13/2008 14:09:16
:rofl: OMG, This is awesome too!









Comment by BobR on 05/13/2008 14:12:18
morning folks... :coffee:

Comment by livingonli on 05/13/2008 14:12:53
Terry McAuliffe comes across to me like a used-car salesman.

Comment by livingonli on 05/13/2008 14:13:13
Good morning BobR.

Comment by BobR on 05/13/2008 14:13:15
Quote by livingonli:

I believe the Olympics are in Beijing.


yes, but what region is Beijing in?

Comment by jd_in_ny on 05/13/2008 14:15:00
"full metal Tracy Flick" -- awesome.

It's sad that any democrat would HOPE that something damaging and terrible should come out about another democrat.

Comment by BobR on 05/13/2008 14:16:27
A bar in Marietta, GA (a suburb of Atlanta) is catching flak for selling this T-shirt:

http://img.coxnewsweb.com/B/05/21/48/image_7048215.jpg




YA THINK????



Assholes!



EDIT: story here

Comment by Raine on 05/13/2008 14:16:51
KYLE!!!!



He sounds like Rudy!

Comment by wickedpam on 05/13/2008 14:17:43
Kyle swallow a bug there at the end?

Comment by Raine on 05/13/2008 14:18:32
Quote by BobR:

A bar in Marietta, GA (a suburb of Atlanta) is catching flak for selling this T-shirt:

http://img.coxnewsweb.com/B/05/21/48/image_7048215.jpg




YA THINK????



Assholes!
HOLY CRAP!









Georgia. Where dumb retires.



Comment by Raine on 05/13/2008 14:20:02
I am belly laughing here. LIEberman... the brokeback of John and Joe. :rofl:

Comment by Raine on 05/13/2008 14:21:28
Der leader is asking people to pull themselves up by the bootstraps.



Sounds republican to me. ;)

Comment by wickedpam on 05/13/2008 14:22:04
Quote by BobR:

A bar in Marietta, GA (a suburb of Atlanta) is catching flak for selling this T-shirt:

http://img.coxnewsweb.com/B/05/21/48/image_7048215.jpg




YA THINK????



Assholes!



EDIT: story here






Gee can't imagine why...

Comment by livingonli on 05/13/2008 14:22:14
All that bar owner needs is to put his confederate flag up to seal the deal.

Comment by BobR on 05/13/2008 14:22:25
Quote by livingonli:

Good morning Mala. The sun's out here today too, but it is windy.


It was severely windy here on Sunday. About 9:00PM, it blew down a HUGE oak tree on a house just down the street, crushing half of the second floor and taking down the power lines.

Comment by BobR on 05/13/2008 14:23:22
Quote by Raine:

I am belly laughing here. LIEberman... the brokeback of John and Joe. :rofl:


Why can't I quit you?...

Comment by livingonli on 05/13/2008 14:31:01
Atlanta wind and ignorant barkeep killed the blog.