Today is our 1,791th 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:
Since war began (3/19/03): 3960
Since "Mission Accomplished" (5/1/03): 3821
Since Capture of Saddam (12/13/03): 3499
Since Handover (6/29/04): 3102
Since Election (1/31/05): 2522
Other Coalition Troops: 307
US Military Deaths - Afghanistan: 482
We find this morning's Cost of War
$ 493, 723, 975, 000. 00
You'll notice that the total is rapidly approaching $500,000,000,000.
Turning to our friends at IAVA
, we see that they have released their legislative agenda
for 2008. As we head towards the next election, veteran's issues and the war are no less important than they have been...but in the mounting domestic crisis, it's becoming easier to push this aside. We can't forget.
Drawn from our 28 recommendations, the six IAVA 2008 Legislative Priorities are actions Congress must take this session to ensure that troops and veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan receive the care and support they have earned.
Priority Build a New GI Bill. IAVA supports a modernized WWII-style GI bill that fully covers the cost of an education at any public school or equivalently-priced private school. Benefits for Reserve/National Guard servicemembers should be based on the cumulative length of their deployments and not on their single longest deployment. Tuition costs should be paid up front and directly to the college, allowing veterans access to education without forcing them to rely on loans. See recommendation 2.1
Priority Ensure Thorough, Professional, and Confidential Mental Health Screening. IAVA supports mandatory and confidential mental health and TBI screening by a mental health professional for all troops before and after a combat tour. See recommendation 1.1
Priority Overhaul the Military and Veterans’ Disability System. The DOD and VA disability systems must be streamlined to provide adequate compensation for the injuries suffered by today’s military personnel. See recommendation 3.2
Priority Make VA Health Care Funding Sufficient and Mandatory. Every year, veterans are forced to fight for funding for veterans’ health care, and the VA budget is regularly late. This irregular funding system means that it is difficult for veterans’ hospitals to plan ahead for hiring or hospital repairs. IAVA believes the only way to ensure timely funding of the VA is to make VA health care funding mandatory. In addition, IAVA endorses the annual Independent Budget, produced by leading Veterans Service Organizations as the blueprint for VA funding levels. See recommendation 3.1
Priority Combat the Shortage of Mental Health Professionals. According to the Pentagon’s Task Force on Mental Health, the military’s “current complement of mental health professionals is woefully inadequate.” Immediate and innovative steps must be taken to recruit and retain military mental health professionals. See recommendation 1.2
Priority Protect Servicemembers from Unfair Contracts. Students who are deployed overseas should be reimbursed for tuition paid towards interrupted coursework. Returning students must be reinstated with the same academic status they earned before they were deployed. The 6% interest cap in the Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act (SCRA) should apply to student loans. See recommendation 2.2
And do check the source material...there's much more, including a link where you can forward the entire agenda to your congressman.
Moving on to Iraq Veterans against the War, there's a rather stunning confession from one of the members there. He's admitted to being a traitor
...but I doubt anyone will really notice.
To the Men and Women who wear America's freest colors,
To The Red, White and Blue,
To The Gathering of Eagles,
To LT Emerson,
To Every Anonymous commenter,
Here is the apology you have been waiting for:
It has come time for me to admit my faults. I have tried answering comment after comment on message boards across the length of the internet (internets if you're George Bush), but I have trouble responding to everything.
Some people have nothing but nice things to say about me.
Some people wish me death.
And though I sincerely do not fear for my death, I find it quite strange that people would wish death upon someone asking for peace in the world and an end to bloodshed and yet at the same time elevate a tyrant, such as George Bush, to near sainthood.
So this has made me think about my decision over this last year.
The insults I have had directed at me is something that I will never get used to.
I have been called a Traitor to my country and a Traitor to my family, by my Step Father. A wonderful man but still somehow thinks the world is in such a crisis by this new wave of Islamo-Fascist Extremism, or whatever McCain calls it (by the way, McCain, you're a joke). As if somehow this hatred for the West has just appeared and we have done nothing to provoke it. But maybe that is the case. Maybe America isn't to blame for the world's problems. So, I have battled with my conscience and I am ready to come before you as a changed man.
Okay, here I go. I submit. You are right. America is the greatest country on the planet. And I, James Circello, am a traitor. I deserted Legion Company, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry while serving on the front lines of this War on Terrorism in 2007. If I wouldn't have listened to those Vietnam Veterans that opposed their genocidal occupation of Southeastern Asia during the 1960's and 70's, I probably wouldn't have done what I have done. I let garbage and filth corrupt my mind.
If only I had access to Youtube.com and was able to play loops of George W. Bush speeches, I would have known who the real enemy was. "The Terra-ists"
I regret that I have to admit it to myself and to the Iraq Veterans Against the War that what I have said is nothing more than half truths and lies, the liberal media brainwashing machine has affected my thinking and manipulated me in such a way that I found myself on television talking about the horrible things that members of my unit had done during the 2003 Invasion of Iraq.
Forgive me, the 2003 LIBERATION of Iraq. I need to get my head back on straight. It wasn't an Invasion, we brought them Democracy. Okay. I have it now.
Okay, I too now have realized that the mistreatment of Iraqi detainees that I spoke of wasn't mistreatment of Iraqi detainees at all. I understand that under the Bush administration, they weren't Prionsers of War and don't deserve the right of the Geneva Conventions. These people that were mistreated were obviously Al-Qaeda and were on their way to get a bus ticket to the U.S.A. to probably spread their crazy religion and blow something up.
Thankfully I was in a unit with certain individuals that recognized this and roughed them up a little bit just so those Al-Qaeda would know who's the boss.
I realize now that when a certain Squad Leader in my platoon shot a man in the back it was only because he feared for his life that this particular man, that he knew to be unarmed, probably had a suicide bomb strapped to his chest and he was running all the way to Boston. Thankfully he was such a great shot.
Unfortunately for me, I didn't deploy to the mountains of Afghanistan with the 173rd Airborne Brigadein 2005. Again the Brigade brought Freedom and Democracy to the People of Afghanistan. What I thought to be a War Crime, turns out was just good old fashioned Texas Justice.
You might not remember this, because most of us in America have short term memories and the liberal media uses that fact to their advantage, but those Communists in the media played video of some guys from Legion Company burning the dead bodies of some Taliban fighters. I know that I am not the first person to tell you that "All is fair in Love and War", so what was the problem with burning this Al-Qaeda Islamo-Fascists?
At the time I thought it was monstrous to say the things that they did to the nearby village. I'll put the article here for you to read. You'll forget about it in 5 minutes anyway...
It's another Tuesday, so that means another primary as we wind our way through this season...if you're there, don't forget to vote!