VA Debated PR Plan on Vets’ Suicides/By Jason Leopold

April 22, 2008
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Senior officials at the Veterans Administration debated internally how to downplay evidence of a stunning number of suicides and suicide attempts among veterans who were treated or had sought help at VA hospitals around the country, according to newly disclosed internal VA e-mails.

On Feb. 13, 2008, Ira Katz, the VA’s mental health director, and Ev Chasen, the agency’s chief communications director, exchanged e-mails discussing P.R. strategy for handling this troubling news, according to evidence made public Monday in a federal court case in Northern California.

The exchange came in the context of how to handle inquiries from CBS News, which was reporting on the surge of suicides among U.S. veterans – reaching an average of 18 per day – with part of that rise attributed to soldiers returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. (more…)

McCain Shows Us How to Kill an Army/By Sara Robinson

April 17, 2008
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McCain Shows Us How to Kill an Army

By Sara Robinson, TomPaine.com
Posted on April 17, 2008, Printed on April 17, 2008

John McCain, who from the early 1980s worked hard to establish himself as one of the Senate’s shining champions of Vietnam veterans’ issues, completed his betrayal of the Iraq-era troops today. Brandon Friedman of vetvoice.com has the details:

Yesterday VoteVets.org delivered a petition with 30,000 signatures to the office of Sen. John McCain. Through that petition, we asked him to support Sen. Jim Webb’s new GI Bill. And less than 24 hours later, we have an answer:

“Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, seemed to give a thumbs down to bipartisan legislation that would greatly expand educational benefits for members of the military returning from Iraq and Afghanistan under the GI Bill …”

The reason for McCain’s refusal to support the bill is about the most disturbing rationale one could imagine. … Officials in charge of Pentagon personnel worry that a more generous and expansive GI Bill would create an incentive for troops to get out of the military and go to college.

Friedman observes that McCain’s no-college-for-grunts position essentially says to the troops: “Thanks for your service and your three combat tours in five years. Now get back to work.” (more…)


April 10, 2008
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Phil Donahue’s new documentary, “Body of War”, will be

at the NEON MOVIES downtown Dayton beginning on May

30 for an Open Run.  Check www.NeonMovies.com for

dates and times.

The interview linked below is with the

wheelchair-bound protagonist in the film, Tomas Young,

member of Iraq Vets Against the War.

VIDEO | Interview With Tomas Young of Film “Body of War”


Truthout’s Geoffrey Millard interviews Tomas Young, Iraq veteran and subject of the new film “Body of War.” Young discusses the extreme difficulties of his injury and having incurred them in a war he feels was not worth fighting. Accompanying the interview is a review of the film by Camilla Herrera of Greenwich Time.

Soldiers Testify at Second Winter Soldier:Veterans from Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan Describe Systematic Brutality

March 20, 2008
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By Spencer Ackerman

March 17, 2008The Washington Independent http://www.washingtonindependent.com/view/soldiers-testify-at

Out of context, the picture seemed ordinary, open to interpretation. It showed the butt end of five or six rifles, sloppily stacked in a pile inside an armored vehicle. In context, it documented a cover-up of accidental-or even intentional-shootings of Iraq in on combatants by U.S. Marines in Iraq’s Anbar Province in 2005 and 2006.

At least three Marines who served in Anbar during that period said that their platoons carried “drop weapons”or tools that Iraqis were not permitted to possess to plant on the bodies of Iraqi noncombatant corpses incase of a wrongful killing.

They did so with the approval of their chain of command. “It was encouraged, almost with a wink and anudge, to carry drop weapons and shovels with us,” said Jason Washborn, a Marine corporal who served three tours in Iraq between 2003 and 2006. “In case we accidentally did shoot a civilian, so we could toss weapon on the body to make [him] look like an insurgent. I was told that if [the Iraqis] carried a shovel, or if they dig anywhere, especially near roads], then we could shoot them [on suspicion of planting roadside bombs]. So we actually carried tools in our vehicles.” (more…)

Iraqi Veterans Against the War Winter Soldier video

February 22, 2008
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From March 14th to 16th KPFA [http://kpfa.org/] will suspend regular programming to broadcast the historic Winter Soldier hearings in Washington, DC. The three day live broadcast will be co-hosted by Aaron Glantz and former Army medic and KPFA Morning Show host Aimee Allison. A live web-stream of the broadcast will be available through this site.

[livevideo id=F7791AA15724466EA04EEFF0D82F1144/530489/winter-soldier-iraq-afghani.aspx]

Link to The Iraq War Comes Home… Iraq Veterans Against the War(IVAW)


Wake Up, Bill O’Reilly:A New Generation of Homeless Vets Emerges

January 21, 2008
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When the Faux News Wingnut Bill O’Reilly infamously opined last week, in a challenge to a comment from former Senator John Edwards that there are  over 200,000 homeless veterans” in the US today, that were no “homeless vets”,  he really really pissed me off.

O’Reilly was discussing Edwards with radio host Ed Schultz when he said, “[W]e’re still looking for all the veterans sleeping under the bridges, Ed. So if you find anybody, let us know. Because that’s all the guy said for the last … ” When Schultz told O’Reilly, “Well, they’re out there, Bill, don’t kid yourself,” O’Reilly replied, “They may be out there, but there are not many of them out there, OK? So if you know where one is, Ed … if you know where there’s a veteran sleeping under a bridge, you call me immediately, and we will make sure that man does not do it, is not there.” Schultz then gave O’Reilly “his word” that he would “do that.”

As part of Bush & Co’s Disinformation Team, O’Reilly was trying to cover up one of the real tragedies of the current conflict in the Middle East, that ex-Gi’s are coming back to a Veteran’s Administration that is both underfunded and ill-equipped to deal with them. As the AP article below documents, this is a crisis of national proportions, and rest assured, one that exists right here in the Miami Valley.


LEEDS, Mass. — Peter Mohan traces the path from the Iraqi battlefield to this lifeless conference room, where he sits in a kilt and a Camp Kill Yourself T-shirt and calmly describes how he became a sad cliche: a homeless veteran.

There was a happy homecoming, but then an accident — car crash, broken collarbone. And then a move east, close to his wife’s new job but away from his best friends.

And then self-destruction: He would gun his motorcycle to 100 mph and try to stand on the seat. He would wait for his wife to leave in the morning, draw the blinds and open up whatever bottle of booze was closest.

He would pull out his gun, a .45-caliber, semiautomatic pistol. He would lovingly clean it, or just look at it and put it away. Sometimes place it in his mouth.”I don’t know what to do anymore,” his wife, Anna, told him one day. “You can’t be here anymore.”Peter Mohan never did find a steady job after he left Iraq. He lost his wife — a judge granted their divorce this fall — and he lost his friends and he lost his home, and now he is here, in a shelter. (more…)

Press Release Regarding the Murder of Maria Lauterbach

January 18, 2008
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Press release from:


San Miguel de Allende, Gto, Mexico, Seattle, Washington, and Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A.

It is with heavy hearts that the women and men of vetwow.com are compelled, once again, to recognize and publicize the inexplicable and tragic loss of another rape victim who came forward to testify against her perpetrator. We refuse to put the term, “alleged” in that phrase because it does not do justice to Maria Lauterbach’s strength and fortitude to carry on in the face of such adversity.

We are alarmed by the appearance of impropriety on behalf of the Marine Corps. We are concerned that this will be yet one more dangerous precedent set for Military Sexual Trauma victims service wide. Maria’s status as UA [unauthorized absence] SHOULD have been alarming because of her late term pregnancy, and her status as a victim-witness in a sexual assault. These circumstances alone should have inspired her command superiors to protect her from unwanted attention and violent assault. (more…)


December 13, 2007
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It’s another cold day in December

Will Iraq’s Great Awakening Lead to a Nightmare?

Washington Dispatch: U.S. casualties are down in Iraq. But a retired Army Colonel argues that the surge and American payoffs to Sunni tribal leaders may eventually backfire—producing more instability and possibly a regional war.



Accepting the Nobel Peace Prize By Al Gore December 10, 2007





Huffington Post: Lawrence O’Donnell was Right About Mormonism


CBS News Reports a Suicide Epidemic Among Veterans

November 18, 2007
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The casualties do not always take place on the battlefield, and for many, survival may be too painful to bear…CBS News has produced a shocking investigation into the suicide rate among veterans over the last 12 years, a report which could dramatically change our view of the human cost of war.


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