Posts Tagged ‘military’

In this whole Niger/condolence controversy, people are correct to point out that almost no one, certainly those in Congress who should have been in the loop, knew that the United States even had troops in the western African country.

The intelligence was so insubstantial that four US service members were killed, and that needs to be thoroughly invested. The body of one Green Beret, that of Sgt. La David Johnson, was not recovered until two days later, and that hasn’t been explained either.

I suspect General John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, advised the Donald not to make calls because he knew that wasn’t in his skill set. Kelly tells Trump the touching, inspirational words of his friend who said, “(your son) knew what he signed up for and he was surrounded by the best men in the world, doing what he loved.” The message goes in, comes out sideways.

Responding to media criticism, he calls the sergeant’s widow, Myeisha Johnson, quoting General Kelly’s words without any real feeling or personal experience and bollocks it up. At Mrs. Johnson’s request, her friend, Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, was listening in, and later noted the insensitive response.

NOW he lashes back, and not with just with his Twitter war, when he refers to Rep. Wilson as “wacky” at least thrice, presumably because she always wears hats in honor of her grandmother. He claims to have proof that the member of Congress, and presumably Myeisha Johnson, are lying. Or as Borowitz satirically put it: Trump Says He Is Only President in History with Courage to Stand Up to War Widows.

Compare this response to that of George W. Bush, who accepted a grieving mother’s anger.

While condolences are being rush shipped out, he deploys John Kelly to the briefing room. As the New Yorker notes:

“The press briefing could serve as a preview of what a military coup in this country would look like, for it was in the logic of such a coup that Kelly advanced his four arguments.
1. Those who criticize the President don’t know what they’re talking about because they haven’t served in the military…
2. The President did the right thing because he did exactly what his general told him to do…
3. Communication between the President and a military widow is no one’s business but theirs…
4. Citizens are ranked based on their proximity to dying for their country…

“When Kelly replaced the ineffectual Reince Priebus as the chief of staff, a sigh of relief emerged: at least the general would impose some discipline on the Administration. Now we have a sense of what military discipline in the White House sounds like.”

The Weekly Sift quotes other critics of the general. “Vox’ Dara Lind compares his attitude to Jack Nicholson’s character in A Few Good Men… ‘He actively thinks that they have America wrong, and that they will never understand it in the way those who serve it will.

“Charles Pierce sees Kelly’s lying defense of Trump as ‘a terribly sad moment. Everything and everybody this president’ touches goes bad from the inside out.

“Matt Yglesias had another depressing thought. ‘Kelly’s performance… should be a wakeup call to anyone who still thinks there are ‘adults in the room’ who’ll save us.” We’re down to Mattis, I suppose.

Equally chilling is WH spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders who suggests that one ought not to challenge the word of a four-star general, even when he’s wrong. It’s part of the increasingly authoritarian response to criticism.

And THAT is what I think is another takeaway from this debacle.
***
THE DAILY SHOW WITH TREVOR NOAH, OCTOBER 23, 2017 – John Kelly lies about a congresswoman while defending President Trump; Gold Star father Khizr Khan

This Article Won’t Change Your Mind – “The facts on why facts alone can’t fight false beliefs.”

To End Hate, We Gotta Walk the Talk – Aristotle on Why Professing Liberal Values is Nowhere Near Enough

Door-Busting Drug Raids Leave a Trail of Blood and When a no-knock drug raid ends in death, is it capital murder or self-defense? Two cases in Texas took different paths

This Is How Your Hyperpartisan Political News Gets Made

Meet The Homeless Man Who Stopped Thousands Of People Becoming HIV-Positive

Is America’s Military Big Enough?

Amazing Disgrace: How did a thrice-married, Biblically illiterate sexual predator—hijack the religious right?

When He Is Ignorant of His Own Ignorance

Elmo From ‘Sesame Street’ Learns He’s Fired Because Of Budget Cuts

“PrOtEsT” – Poet Activists Throughout the Years

How the Choctaws Saved the Irish

Waiter fired after asking Latinas for ‘proof of residency’ at upscale Huntington Beach eatery

War On The Moon

In the Congressional Fight Over Slavery, Decorum Went Out the Door

Scott Pelley is pulling no punches on the nightly news

For 15 Years, New Orleans Was Divided Into Three Separate Cities

This is what happens to your body when you stop having sex

7 Tips to Get Someone with Alzheimer’s to Take a Bath

First-year residents shadow nurses in effort to better understand, foster future communication

List of inventors killed by their own inventions

Lack of Oxford Comma Could Cost Maine Company Millions in Overtime Dispute

Sweden is tackling its throwaway culture

Six Bad Ass Librarians from Pop Culture

The True Story of the Backward Index

Ask A Cartoonist: Women Who Inspire

Rest in peace, Chuck Barris

Rules for the Black Birdwatcher – With Drew Lanham and Extreme Birdwatching

The 21 most spectacular theaters in the U.S.

Vitiligo As Body Art

Troy native making movie about his hitchhiking adventure – Don Rittner

How Jaquandor made Gluten-Free Fried Chicken

Amtrak snow-motion

A STREET CAR NA_ED DESIRE

Now I Know: The Haircut that Went to War (Maybe) and What They Did Not See and Why People Originally Didn’t “Like” Cigarettes and The Invisible Wall Around Most of Manhattan and The Masterpiece Hidden in Plain Sight

Music

Before and After Chuck Berry and 15 great covers of Chuck Berry classics

Makeba – Jain

Bohemian Rhapsody Played by 100+-year-old fairground organ

10 Female Jazz Musicians You Need To Know

K-Chuck Radio: Feeling kinda “horny”

A New Thelonious Monk Album Emerges From the Soundtrack to a Classic French Film

Godsmack Play A Cover Of ‘Come Together’

Paul McCartney’s “Ram” Reconsidered

Lightning Strikes – Klaus Nomi (1981)

Understanding Deal Breakers: The Psychology of Music and Romance

dance_as_tho

How America’s Sporting Events Have Turned into Mass Religious Events to Bless Wars and Militarism. Amen.

The Weekly Sift analyzes what the Atlantic article “What ISIS Really Wants” gets right and gets wrong. Also, ISIS Bans Teaching Evolution In Schools in Mosul, as well as art, music, history, literature and, of course, Christianity.

American ISIS: The Domestic Terrorist Fallout of the Iraq War.

Melanie: A Modern Day Scarlet Pimpernel and Human Trafficking.

Something most Americans no little or nothing about: The Trans-Pacific Partnership is the latest trade deal being cooked up in secret by big corporations and their lobbyists.
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Here’s a weird thing. A friend of a friend of mine had a husband in the military. She (FoF) started making comments on her Facebook page that people should send pictures of her husband so that her children would have mementos by which they would be able to remember him. Oddly, she never actually wrote that he had died.

So I began searching. I discovered that the most comprehensive listing of those who were killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan I could find is provided by MilitaryTimes.com, “honoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.”

But, as it turned out, he didn’t die in battle. He was stateside and had committed suicide. Apparently, after a third tour of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan, it was just too much.

From this ABC NEWS story:

The increase in suicide deaths is one of the most distressing issues facing military leaders who want to reduce the rates among active-duty service members. More than 2,000 of them have killed themselves in the past decade [PDF], including 295 last year compared with 153 in 2001.

Despite their best suicide-prevention efforts, reducing the number of military suicides has been a frustrating challenge, military leaders acknowledged [in September 2011] at a congressional hearing in Washington, D.C. Recent efforts have included increasing at-risk service members’ access to mental health professionals, while reducing the stigma attached to mental health care. Internet outreach, including “video chats,” has also shown some promise.

The difficulty, however, is in identifying which initiatives work best and deciphering the multiple triggers that can lead to suicide within the armed services, which accounts for a small fraction of the total number of people who serve.

Despite my lack of understanding of the reasons for going to war, I feel real grief over the sheer despair these men and women must have been going through to take their own lives. Here’s hoping that the Telehealth programs now being used by the military can stem the tide of these horrible losses.

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