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Author: TriSec    Date: 10/23/2007 10:25:31

Good Morning.

Another week at war, our 1,679th day in Iraq.

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

American Deaths
Since war began (3/19/03): 3834
Since "Mission Accomplished" (5/1/03): 3695
Since Capture of Saddam (12/13/03): 3373
Since Handover (6/29/04): 2975
Since Election (1/31/05): 2397

Other Coalition Troops: 303
US Military Deaths - Afghanistan: 449


We find this morning's Cost of War standing at
$462,335,150,000.00




Turning to our friends at IAVA, we find an interesting column by a returning Iraq vet. It's something we have spoken of often, the "What, me worry?" attitude of most Americans during a time of war, seemingly without a care for what is going on overseas.



It's appropriately titled Party here, Sacrifice over there...
IN January 2006 I stepped off a C-130 in Tal Afar, Iraq. As I began my 13-month deployment, I imagined an American public following our progress with the same concern as my family and friends. But since returning home, I have seen that America has changed the channel.

Young investment bankers spend their impressive bonuses on clubs in Manhattan and many seem uninterested in the soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a Princeton graduate and a former financial analyst, I was once a part of this world, and I like returning to it, putting the Spartan life of Tal Afar and Anbar Province behind me. But even as I enjoy time with the friends who have welcomed me home, my thoughts wander back to other friends who continue to fight as the city parties on.

Serious problems with the war in Iraq are well chronicled, but I am struck by one that does not seem to trouble the country's leadership, even though it is profoundly corrosive to our common good: the disparity between the lives of the few who are fighting and being killed, and the many who have been asked for nothing more than to continue shopping.

Those who rationalize this disconnect have argued that our soldiers are volunteers, happy doing what they signed up to do. While it is true that most soldiers are devoted to country and comrades, and are focused on their mission, the assertion that soldiers are cheerfully returning for multiple combat tours is grounded in statistics and arguments that are misleading.

Supposedly impressive re-enlistment rates are cited as evidence that soldiers enthusiastically support the war effort. In reality, these retention numbers are more the result of the "stop-loss" policy, where soldiers are required to remain in the Army after their contracts have expired if their units are deployed or ordered to deploy soon. My platoon's infantrymen expected to be "stop-lossed" and some felt they might as well cash in on the re-enlistment bonuses if they were going to be forced to stay in the Army anyway.

Few of today's soldiers expected 15-month deployments separated by home stays of less than 12 months. The stress on Army families is enormous, especially since at least four of those months at "home" are generally spent training in the field. Sacrifices like these were the norm in World War II, and families left behind could draw strength from the knowledge that everyone was in the same situation. Today's military families shoulder this burden pretty much alone.
Continued...


On the political front this morning, we're sinking ever deeper into the sands of Iraq, our veteran's care system is broken down, and the troops still don't have enough armor and supplies...and yet the Pentagon is looking ahead to the next war.
WASHINGTON, Oct. 21 — The new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff plans to press Congress and the public to sustain the current high levels of military spending — even after the Iraq war — arguing for money to repair and replace worn-out weapons and to restore American ground forces he described as “breakable,” though not yet broken.

The new chairman, Adm. Mike Mullen, expressed deep concerns that the long counterinsurgency missions in Iraq and Afghanistan have so consumed the military that the Army and Marine Corps may be unprepared for a high-intensity war against a major adversary.

He rejected the counsel of those who might urge immediate attacks inside Iran to destroy nuclear installations or to stop the flow of explosives that end up as powerful roadside bombs in Iraq or Afghanistan, killing American troops.

With America at war in two Muslim countries, he said, attacking a third Islamic nation in the region “has extraordinary challenges and risks associated with it.” The military option, he said, should be a last resort.

But Admiral Mullen warned any nation, including Iran, not to “mistake restraint for lack of commitment or lack of concern or lack of capability.” He described the Air Force and Navy as America’s “strategic reserve,” ready to carry out a full range of combat operations beyond Iraq and Afghanistan.

In his first interview since becoming chairman, Admiral Mullen sat in his Pentagon office on Friday and described his three immediate priorities:

Develop a military strategy for the Middle East, beyond Iraq and Afghanistan.

Accelerate efforts to “reconstitute, reset, revitalize” the armed forces, which he said meant replacing combat equipment and tending to the needs of those in uniform, in particular soldiers and marines and their families.

Refocus the military’s attention beyond the current wars to prepare for other challenges, especially along the Pacific Rim and in Africa.

Those efforts will require a considerable commitment of money, and Pentagon officials are quietly acknowledging that Congress and the public may have little appetite after Iraq for sustaining the high levels of military spending carried out since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

But Admiral Mullen said that an important part of his job would be making the case for maintaining those large military budgets.

“I think as a country we’re just going to have to devote more resources to national security in the world that we’re living in right now,” he said. “And I don’t do that lightly.”

“I recognize that the budget is higher now than it’s ever been,” he added, referring to the combined total of the basic annual Defense Department budget and the special supplemental budgets to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Military spending is hovering around 4 percent of gross domestic product, “and I would see that in the future as an absolute floor,” Admiral Mullen said.



And so it goes.




184 comments (Latest Comment: 10/24/2007 04:17:21 by Raine)
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Comment by livingonli on 10/23/2007 13:26:47
Fristy pants.

Comment by wickedpam on 10/23/2007 13:51:37
Morning! :hug:



Second!

Comment by Raine on 10/23/2007 13:54:29
Morning! 3rd.

Comment by wickedpam on 10/23/2007 13:54:45
I have control over my emotions? :scratch:

Comment by Raine on 10/23/2007 13:55:32
Sleep deprivation... not a real good thing.

Comment by Raine on 10/23/2007 13:56:26
Quote by wickedpam: I have control over my emotions? :scratch:
Tell me how you do that!

Comment by wickedpam on 10/23/2007 13:57:46
Seriously!

Comment by livingonli on 10/23/2007 14:00:43
Sleep is very important.



Morning Raine.

Comment by Raine on 10/23/2007 14:01:41
I wish, regarding these fires, that California had the national guard... :(

Comment by livingonli on 10/23/2007 14:02:39
Quote by Raine:

I wish, regarding these fires, that California had the national guard... :(


Except Bush has probably sent them all to Iraq.

Comment by Raine on 10/23/2007 14:05:43
Hey liv... are you listening to the news on Pheonix? Did you catch that story about Chertoff using the REal ID act to circumvent environmental laws to build the border fence? Did I hear that correctly?

Comment by livingonli on 10/23/2007 14:07:14
Quote by Raine:

Hey liv... are you listening to the news on Pheonix? Did you catch that story about Chertoff using the REal ID act to circumvent environmental laws to build the border fence? Did I hear that correctly?


I'm listening to the Stephstream so I get the Wild Thing which sounded like it was really stuck in the beginning.

Comment by Raine on 10/23/2007 14:07:17
So I have come to a conclusion. I do not like the new graphics stylings on the Keith Olberman show.. I especially do not like the worse, worser worst graphics.

Comment by Raine on 10/23/2007 14:12:16
:rofl: Oh that larry craig drop! :rofl:

Comment by Raine on 10/23/2007 14:12:59
They got the chiggers!The beaver area has the chiggers!

Comment by wickedpam on 10/23/2007 14:16:22
Did Steph just say Newlin Zeland?

Comment by livingonli on 10/23/2007 14:17:07
Quote by wickedpam:

Did Steph just say Newlin Zeland?


I wouldn't rule it out.

Comment by Raine on 10/23/2007 14:21:09
Comment by livingonli on 10/23/2007 14:26:22
:rofl: That's the quality of the candidates.

Comment by Raine on 10/23/2007 14:29:05
Bernard KErik, AND too much eyeliner....Those are Rudy's issues...;)

Comment by livingonli on 10/23/2007 14:33:18
Quote by Raine:

Bernard KErik, AND too much eyeliner....Those are Rudy's issues...;)


And don't forget some of the other people Ghouilani has picked for his campaign. Mr. Tough on Crime has been associating with a lot of sleazy characters.

Comment by BobR on 10/23/2007 14:34:21
Morning, folks... :coffee:

Comment by Raine on 10/23/2007 14:34:43
http://blogs.nypost.com/movies/rudy.jpg
http://z.about.com/d/politicalhumor/1/0/M/e/1/giuliani_trump_drag.jpg
http://www.allreaders.com/pictures/rudy_giuliani_dress.jpg
See? too much eyeliner... :D

Comment by livingonli on 10/23/2007 14:35:02
Morning Bob. :waves southward:

Comment by wickedpam on 10/23/2007 14:35:56
Wonder if Steph will drag out the "Get those puppies!" ?

Comment by wickedpam on 10/23/2007 14:38:15
Gawd! Those pix just scared the hell out of me!

Comment by Raine on 10/23/2007 14:38:56
Quote by wickedpam: Wonder if Steph will drag out the "Get those puppies!" ?
OOH I hope so!!! :pray:

Comment by BobR on 10/23/2007 14:39:13
Comment by Raine on 10/23/2007 14:40:19
I saw that Chuck Norris endorsed Mike Huckabee this this weekend...

Comment by Raine on 10/23/2007 14:58:05
YAY! the perverted researchers stack! Sexomnia! Uh oh...

Comment by Raine on 10/23/2007 14:59:06
Funny I always got dates when I visited... :P

Comment by Raine on 10/23/2007 15:01:47
Glenn beck: "A handful of people who hate America ... are losing their homes in a forest fire" I shit yu not.
We all love America. We all love America. We just disagree on how we should function, what we should do, big government, small government. It doesn't mean you hate America. I think there is a handful of people who hate America. Unfortunately for them, a lot of them are losing their homes in a forest fire today. There are a few people that hate America. But I don't think the Democrats are those. I think there are those posing as Democrats that are like that.


Comment by Raine on 10/23/2007 15:02:52
Quote by wickedpam: Gawd! Those pix just scared the hell out of me!
Mala Ran away... I am sorry Mala!

Comment by Raine on 10/23/2007 15:08:28
MAybe Momma is a Chrystal Methodist?

Comment by wickedpam on 10/23/2007 15:08:37
Still here, just multi-tasking between blogging, listening and typing out sales incentives.

Comment by BobR on 10/23/2007 15:10:08
Quote by Raine:

Funny I always got dates when I visited... :P



How much money did you make? :poke:

Comment by livingonli on 10/23/2007 15:10:46
Quote by Raine:

YAY! the perverted researchers stack!



Sexomnia! Uh oh...


I prefer to stay awake through it. You can't really enjoy it if you're sleeping through it.

Comment by Raine on 10/23/2007 15:12:59
Did anyone see the story Tri posted about Blackwater and the 1099's?

Comment by Raine on 10/23/2007 15:14:24
Cheesing a car has different meaning in different areas... and that is all I am gonna say about that.

Comment by Raine on 10/23/2007 15:16:19
Quote by livingonli:
Quote by Raine: YAY! the perverted researchers stack! Sexomnia! Uh oh...
I prefer to stay awake through it. You can't really enjoy it if you're sleeping through it.
IThey say, the famous *they*... that you wake up feeling great!

Comment by livingonli on 10/23/2007 15:17:09
Quote by Raine:

Quote by livingonli:

Quote by Raine:

YAY! the perverted researchers stack!



Sexomnia! Uh oh...


I prefer to stay awake through it. You can't really enjoy it if you're sleeping through it.
IThey say, the famous *they*... that you wake up feeling great!



Although getting there is half the fun.

Comment by BobR on 10/23/2007 15:17:09
Quote by livingonli:

Quote by Raine:

YAY! the perverted researchers stack!



Sexomnia! Uh oh...


I prefer to stay awake through it. You can't really enjoy it if you're sleeping through it.


My subconcious disagrees... :P



Comment by Raine on 10/23/2007 15:17:40
Sorry, but I have a real issue with HEather mills going after Paul this way. It's the cute beatle for goodness sake!!!

Comment by Raine on 10/23/2007 15:18:45
Every time Jim does this accent, I think of *HEAD*!!! HEAD!!!* from the classic film... So I Married An Ax Murderer

Comment by Raine on 10/23/2007 15:20:01
Do you think the Osmands will endorse Mitt? Just asking...

Comment by livingonli on 10/23/2007 15:21:26
Quote by Raine:

Do you think the Osmands will endorse Mitt?



Just asking...


That's the celebrity vote to go after. I wonder if Mitt has ever dropped an f-bomb.

Comment by livingonli on 10/23/2007 15:29:41
Anyone going to call in and ask about east coast dates for the tour?

Comment by wickedpam on 10/23/2007 15:30:29
I'll just do my usuall whining online

Comment by Raine on 10/23/2007 15:30:53
Comment by livingonli on 10/23/2007 15:33:22
Awww! :wub: