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Author: TriSec    Date: 02/19/2008 11:31:20

Good Morning.

Today is our 1,798th day in Iraq.

We'll start today 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): 3963
Since "Mission Accomplished" (5/1/03): 3824
Since Capture of Saddam (12/13/03): 3502
Since Handover (6/29/04): 3105
Since Election (1/31/05): 2525

Other Coalition Troops: 307
US Military Deaths - Afghanistan: 483


We find this morning's Cost of War passing through $495, 687, 000, 000.00. If I read that right, the next milestone is going to be 500 billion dollars...



Turning to our friends at IAVA, we find that the military is still fighting for ordinary troops and tools on the ground. But the top brass likes the expensive toys...


I love airplanes as much as anyone. I have a model of the F-22 on the computer I am writing from. But the Air Forces’ preoccupation with “high tech solutions” that have been proven time and again to be ineffective is mind boggling. I don’t know what happens to these guys as they attain the highest positions in their service and then think that a) they have all the answers even if that answer has always been wrong in the past and b ) that they can smack the boss around. Much like General Kiley had to find out the hard way over Walter Reed - this guy had to be schooled by Secretary Gates.

Defense Tech: AF Gen. Gets Slap-Down from the Big Boss
With defense spending expected to decline as U.S. troops withdraw from Iraq, some in the Pentagon have argued for shifting money to high-end weapons systems, like fighters and Navy ships, that can be used if needed against rivals with larger militaries, like China and Russia.

Gates prefers a focus on equipment and personnel needed to wage low-grade counterinsurgencies, like Iraq, arguing that such fights are more likely to occur in the near future.

“The reality is we are fighting two wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the F-22 has not performed a single mission in either theater,” Gates told a Senate committee last week.

We could field an infantry brigade for a year for the price of each F-22. When we need more boots on the ground in the little wars we’re in, the Air Force always seems to want to start more, advocating air strikes in other countries. But that starts a mess that Soldiers and Marines, and now even Airmen have to go in and clean up. I am glad to see Secretary Gates focused on the task at hand. Some days I wonder if he’s not the only adult in DC.

Maybe some of those generals should consider this story, from the AP on Military.com:

Cost was a driving factor in the decision to turn down the request for the so-called MRAPs, according to the study. Stateside authorities saw the hulking vehicles, which can cost as much as a $1 million each, as a financial threat to programs aimed at developing lighter vehicles that were years from being fielded.

After Defense Secretary Robert Gates declared the MRAP (pronounced M-rap) the Pentagon’s No. 1 acquisition priority in May 2007, the trucks began to be shipped to Iraq in large quantities.




In another soldier's story this morning from Veteran's Against The Iraq War, the story of an active-duty soldier's visit home from Iraq tells us that maybe the home front has been lost for good.
...I know another local family whose son has been in the service ten years
or so--Ft. Drum, U.S. Army Tenth Mountan Division (light infantry), then
stationed at Ft. Hood in the mechanized infantry, Ft. Sam in San Antonio
and now attached to Ft. Bragg in the Army Corps of Engineers.

We think of him as a “young man” because he is so much younger than us
from the Viet Nam era, but he is no kid--he’s been to the Middle East
four times--Egypt and Israel as part of a multi-national peace-keeping
force, Kuwait as part of Operation Desert Spring, to Iraq for Operation
Enduring Freedom where he fought in the Battles of Fallujah and Najaf and
now he is doing his second Iraq tour in Baghdad.

This seasoned soldier is vibrant, well-trained, intelligent, in the prime
of his life. He’s a gentleman and a sensitive human being. And his
chest is getting a little weighted from the metals and commendations
bestowed upon him. If there is a definition of the ideal patriotic
American soldier some where, he fits the description.

He’s been home on leave for a little R and R and time with his
family--but he will be back in Iraq by the time this is published. He’ll
be back in that place where GIs are getting shot at on a daily basis.
Mortars are being hurled at them, RPGs and IEDs are a daily dose of
death. He’ll be back in country, the place where young men are doing
their duty, serving their country, and dying every single day that this
unjust war drags on.

This young man has a kid sister, 15, I think--she attends Smithson Valley
High School in Comal County, Texas, and big brother wanted to have lunch
with her before shipping out. His mother had spoken to the principal a
couple of weeks ago and told him that her son would be home, the same son
who graduated from the very same high school and is well known as one of
the kids who joined the service and went off to war.

Last Wednesday he bought sandwiches for his sister at a local restaurant
and went to the administration office of the high school to check in so
that he could meet her during her lunch period and sit down and enjoy a
little treat with her. She adores him and misses him and is proud of him
and wants him to be safe and to come home alive when this war is finally
over.

But at the school office, this United States Army Staff Sergeant, wearing
an unassuming t-shirt that said Camp Fallujah, where he and his men
served in the roughest fighting of the war; I.D. in hand so the high
school administrators would be able to verify his identity; this American
hero just wanting to see his sister--was denied entrance in to the
school. He was turned away. He was told he could not have lunch with
his sister. He was denied access to the public school he is supposedly
fighting to keep free. That’s what they say anyway, when school
officials let military recruiters troll the halls for new prospects.
They can come on campus anytime. They can sign kids up. But let a real
soldier visit his sister before he goes back to the war--no--the public
school wouldn’t let that happen.

So, without being able to talk to his sister, the Staff Sergeant left.
His sister was crushed. He was stunned. His mother was brought to
tears. His father was outraged.

I write this because I now know that the war here in America is lost.
While men and women are fighting and dying for freedom in Iraq, nobody’s
here minding the store.




Lastly this morning, we've been sometimes trolling through the candidates and seeing where they stand on the war. I won't quote too much of Senator McCain, but if you can stomach it, his platform is here... Curious though, that I would find his position on the 'home front' after posting the veteran's story above.
If efforts in Iraq do not retain the support of the American people, the war will be lost as soundly as if our forces were defeated in battle. A renewed effort at home starts with explaining precisely what is at stake in this war to ensure that Americans fully understand the high cost of a military defeat. The war in Iraq is at a crossroads and the future of the entire region is at stake - a region that produced the terrorists who attacked America on 9/11 and where much of the world's energy supplies are located. Success is essential to creating peace in the region, and failure would expose the United States to national security threats for generations. Defeat in the war would lead to much more violence in Iraq, greatly embolden Iran, undermine U.S. allies such as Israel, likely lead to wider conflict, result in a terrorist safe haven in the heart of the Middle East, and gravely damage U.S. credibility throughout the world.

The American people also deserve to know that the path ahead will be long and difficult. They have heard many times that the violence in Iraq will subside soon - when a transitional government is in place, when Saddam is captured, when elections are held, when a constitution is in place. John McCain believes it is far better to describe the situation just as it is - difficult right now, but not without hope. The stakes for America could not be higher.


It's another busy week....let's get to it!

223 comments (Latest Comment: 02/20/2008 05:00:10 by livingonli)
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Comment by m-hadley on 02/19/2008 12:16:00
Thanks BobR for keeping the facts of the ongoing occupation of Iraq and the toll it is taking on everyone that is touched by this war front and center in our hearts and minds. Yesterday in the NYTimes, I read a very, very sad column by Paul Krugman, that has been weighing heavily on my mind. The title of the piece is Poverty is Poison and it made me cry and then it got me thinking about children living on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. I was working on a post about life in this third world poor community and I came across a photographer Aaron Huey's web site that has some photos that capture the despair and the wonder of life in this harsh environment. I just wanted to share Mr. Huey's amazing web site. My blog entry was lost before I could post it, and I'm not sure I'll try to write it again, but I just wanted to share with you all what has been on my mind over the last 24 hours

(and most of my life). Thanks for listening - you all are the best

Cheers,

mfaye

Comment by BobR on 02/19/2008 13:17:14
Quote by m-hadley: Thanks BobR for keeping the facts of the ongoing occupation of Iraq and the toll it is taking on everyone that is touched by this war front and center in our hearts and minds. Yesterday in the NYTimes, I read a very, very sad column by Paul Krugman, that has been weighing heavily on my mind. The title of the piece is Poverty is Poison and it made me cry and then it got me thinking about children living on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. I was working on a post about life in this third world poor community and I came across a photographer Aaron Huey's web site that has some photos that capture the despair and the wonder of life in this harsh environment. I just wanted to share Mr. Huey's amazing web site. My blog entry was lost before I could post it, and I'm not sure I'll try to write it again, but I just wanted to share with you all what has been on my mind over the last 24 hours

(and most of my life). Thanks for listening - you all are the best

Cheers,

mfaye


That was TriSec, not me... :peace:



... but I'm sure he appreciates your sentiments.

Comment by m-hadley on 02/19/2008 13:36:31
Quote by BobR:
Quote by m-hadley: Thanks BobR for keeping the facts of the ongoing occupation of Iraq and the toll it is taking on everyone that is touched by this war front and center in our hearts and minds. Yesterday in the NYTimes, I read a very, very sad column by Paul Krugman, that has been weighing heavily on my mind. The title of the piece is Poverty is Poison and it made me cry and then it got me thinking about children living on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. I was working on a post about life in this third world poor community and I came across a photographer Aaron Huey's web site that has some photos that capture the despair and the wonder of life in this harsh environment. I just wanted to share Mr. Huey's amazing web site. My blog entry was lost before I could post it, and I'm not sure I'll try to write it again, but I just wanted to share with you all what has been on my mind over the last 24 hours

(and most of my life). Thanks for listening - you all are the best

Cheers,

mfaye


That was TriSec, not me... :peace:



... but I'm sure he appreciates your sentiments.




Excuse me, TriSec, I'd like to extend my thanks to you for your post this morning. I did go back and rewrite the entry I was working on last night (before my computer went down ). Here's the link to my post on

Pine Ridge and poverty.



Thanks to everyboy in this group - you all enhance my life in ways that you don't realize



Comment by shelaghc on 02/19/2008 14:09:29
The posting about the soldier trying to visit his little sister is heartbreaking. How on earth can a school official have the right to make a judgement like that?



Does he not realize this could be the last time those siblings ever see each other? How can they sleep at night with their coldhearted decision?



I'm beyond angry about this kind of treatment of our military.



Comment by BobR on 02/19/2008 14:21:22
In case y'all missed the big news today:



The opposition party won in Pakistan



Fidel Castro Resigns



Even better? Bush is out of the country, so we don't have to listen to him crow about it in a press conference...



Comment by velveeta jones on 02/19/2008 14:23:28
Wow. That story just shows how silly many of our "rules" are.





Comment by velveeta jones on 02/19/2008 14:25:26
BTW: speaking of silly stories. Did ya catch this one?



http://www.alternet.org/story/77320/



As the U.S. Department of Homeland Security marches down the Texas border serving condemnation lawsuits to frightened landowners, Brownsville resident Eloisa Tamez, 72, has one simple question. She would like to know why her land is being targeted for destruction by a border wall, while a nearby golf course and resort remain untouched.



While the border wall will go through her backyard and effectively destroy her home, it will stop at the edge of the River Bend Resort and golf course, a popular Winter Texan retreat two miles down the road. The wall starts up again on the other side of the resort.






Comment by Raine on 02/19/2008 14:26:14
Good morning!

Comment by velveeta jones on 02/19/2008 14:26:29
I KNOW!! CASTRO steps down!! WooHoo!!



Calling my friends in Little Havana today!!!

Comment by velveeta jones on 02/19/2008 14:28:20
Hey! I have siezures sometimes, think I could get paid to be an Obama plant?

Comment by livingonli on 02/19/2008 14:31:12
Good morning all.



How come the SMS newscast doesn't send e-mails alerting us to TV appearances? I would have DVR'd it.



I'm surprised the right-wingers who write hate e-mail have even emerged from caves with their command of language?

Comment by ProducerChris on 02/19/2008 14:34:12
Hey Everyone!



I sent out an email to everyone who's a member of StephanieMiller.com. Did you guys not get it?



ProducerChris :clown:

Comment by velveeta jones on 02/19/2008 14:35:53
Quote by producerchris1: Hey Everyone!



I sent out an email to everyone who's a member of StephanieMiller.com. Did you guys not get it?



ProducerChris :clown:


Velveeta lives a sad and lonely life, and she forgets to check her emails.

:sniff:



Comment by livingonli on 02/19/2008 14:37:01
I didn't. I haven't gotten an alert on a Steph appearance in a while. The last e-mail I got was my Stephcast renewal.

Comment by Raine on 02/19/2008 14:39:26
I agree with Chris.McCain must be kept away from the Nuke button.

Comment by shelaghc on 02/19/2008 14:40:12
Quote by producerchris1: Hey Everyone!



I sent out an email to everyone who's a member of StephanieMiller.com. Did you guys not get it?



ProducerChris :clown:




I didn't get anything. I feel left out.

:-<





Comment by Raine on 02/19/2008 14:41:20
Heya !! I did not get the email... I almost watched Larry last night... If I had known, I would not have watched Toe Sucker Dick tell us all how Bill Clinton beat him up.

Comment by starling310 on 02/19/2008 14:43:10
Morning. . .



I did not get an email either. :shrug:

Comment by velveeta jones on 02/19/2008 14:43:27
Ya'll HAVE to sign up at stephaniemillerdotcom!! I do get the mail, I just have to actually, ya know, look at it!



Raine, dahling, I have an opinion piece for ya. In today NYT. Lemme look for it.

Comment by livingonli on 02/19/2008 14:43:32
Quote by Raine: Heya !! I did not get the email... I almost watched Larry last night... If I had known, I would not have watched Toe Sucker Dick tell us all how Bill Clinton beat him up.


How many Raintinis did you need after watching that?

Comment by wickedpam on 02/19/2008 14:47:18
Morning :hug:

Comment by Raine on 02/19/2008 14:47:33
Quote by livingonli:
Quote by Raine: Heya !! I did not get the email... I almost watched Larry last night... If I had known, I would not have watched Toe Sucker Dick tell us all how Bill Clinton beat him up.


How many Raintinis did you need after watching that?




I am signed up at Stephaniemillerdot com.



Oh well, I guess that is what the youtubes are for.



Comment by livingonli on 02/19/2008 14:48:54
Good morning Mala.

Comment by velveeta jones on 02/19/2008 14:49:56
Raine (or anyone else), great opinion piece about one of Velveeta's pet peeves:

Bob Herbert



I recommend the read. Mr. Herbert really explains why I so despise the word "pimp".

Comment by Raine on 02/19/2008 14:51:32
This is what I really resent, I feel like the clinton Campaign is ACTIVELY seeking to divide the democratic Party.

Comment by Raine on 02/19/2008 14:52:02
:rofl:







Comment by Raine on 02/19/2008 14:52:20
My bad... it was the Gov's mansion, not the White house...

Comment by velveeta jones on 02/19/2008 14:53:05
That story is a LIE!!



Bill does not like Dick Morris at all. :lol:

Comment by Raine on 02/19/2008 14:53:08
Hands Across Dick Morris!!!

Comment by starling310 on 02/19/2008 14:53:31
You stopped for the puddin' pops!!!! :rofl:

Comment by livingonli on 02/19/2008 14:53:34
So, who here thinks that Dick Morris has a secret sexual fantasy about Hillary?

Comment by wickedpam on 02/19/2008 14:53:35
Hey Liv and all

Comment by Raine on 02/19/2008 14:54:42
Oh yeah, I saw that one too... Sean was getting a hard on becuase Larry kissed a girl on the big screen.

Comment by livingonli on 02/19/2008 14:55:09
Larry the Cable Guy does as many movies as Earnest did and they are just as bad (if not worse).

Comment by Raine on 02/19/2008 14:58:02
Quote by velveeta jones: Raine (or anyone else), great opinion piece about one of Velveeta's pet peeves:

Bob Herbert



I recommend the read. Mr. Herbert really explains why I so despise the word "pimp".
OMG... I am only a few paragraphs in... :(



Comment by velveeta jones on 02/19/2008 14:58:13
Damn, I was hoping to try to call in to the big shoe today, but I gotta go do some Red Cross stuff today. Must go to one of our fire dept and get updates on our large brush fires and families, etc.







At least its a beautiful drive up in the hills.



I'll see ya'll later.

Comment by Raine on 02/19/2008 14:58:22
HEy. isn't Mike Huckabee's Wife a skeet Shooter as well??

Comment by Raine on 02/19/2008 15:01:41
CUL8R VJ!

Comment by livingonli on 02/19/2008 15:01:50
Come on, can't you trust this guy with your kids?



http://news.bbc.co.uk/media/images/38180000/jpg/_38180484_ned300.jpg


Comment by wickedpam on 02/19/2008 15:06:50
Is that a real mustache?

Comment by Raine on 02/19/2008 15:07:33
That link takes me to a business advice page, liv.

Comment by Raine on 02/19/2008 15:08:12
OMG! That mustache CANNOT be for real!!!

Comment by wickedpam on 02/19/2008 15:08:18
Liv is AAP down?

Comment by Raine on 02/19/2008 15:09:15
Bush Sr. is really old... he sounded very very tired.

Comment by livingonli on 02/19/2008 15:10:14
Quote by wickedpam: Liv is AAP down?


It seems that way. They've been having server issues since last night.

Comment by shelaghc on 02/19/2008 15:11:02
Here's a d'oh question:



Where did Jim's bit about Guiliani's baby eating wife come from?



Comment by Raine on 02/19/2008 15:11:29
Anderson Cooper?!?!?!



That oughtta work out well for momma. She wouldn't have to use her gayray... Just saying...

Comment by wickedpam on 02/19/2008 15:12:24
Quote by livingonli:
Quote by wickedpam: Liv is AAP down?


It seems that way. They've been having server issues since last night.




Okay - I was beginning to think it was just me.



Comment by Raine on 02/19/2008 15:13:07
Cookie Bunny and Foxie... now that sounds like an awesome garden club!

Comment by Raine on 02/19/2008 15:14:24
When is the pResident going to get Out of Africa?