Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Washington Post exposes mistreatment of injured troops !

UPDATE: 'Post' Gets Results from Walter Reed Hospital Probe By E&P Staff Published: February 20, 2007 updated Monday and Tuesday

NEW YORK In a front page story in The Washington Post on Sunday, reporters Dana Priest and Anne Hull exposed dreadful conditions at the supposed "crown jewel of military medicine"-- Walter Reed Army Medical Center.On Monday, the paper carried Part II by the same reporters, titled: "Inside Mologne House, the Survivors of War Wrestle With Military Bureaucracy and Personal Demons."Now, in another front-pager on Tuesday, the two report: "Walter Reed Army Medical Center began repairs yesterday on Building 18, a former hotel that is used to house outpatients recuperating from injuries suffered in Iraq and Afghanistan and that has been plagued with mold, leaky plumbing and a broken elevator."The facility's commander, Maj. Gen. George W. Weightman, said Army staff members inspected each of the 54 rooms at the building and discovered that outstanding repair orders for half the rooms had not been completed. He said that mold removal had begun on several rooms and that holes in ceilings, stained carpets and leaking faucets were being fixed...."Walter Reed and Army officials have been 'meeting continuously for three days' since the articles began appearing, Weightman said. A large roundtable meeting with Army and Defense Department officials will take place at the Pentagon early this morning to continue talks about improvements in the outpatient system, he added."Weightman said the medical center has received an outpouring of concern about conditions and procedures since the articles appeared and has taken steps to improve what soldiers and their families describe as a messy battlefield of bureaucratic problems and mistreatment. 'We're starting to attack how we'll fix and mitigate' some of the problems, he said.The first part of the article opened as follows. The entire lengthy pieces are posted at www.washingtonpost.com*Behind the door of Army Spec. Jeremy Duncan's room, part of the wall is torn and hangs in the air, weighted down with black mold. When the wounded combat engineer stands in his shower and looks up, he can see the bathtub on the floor above through a rotted hole. The entire building, constructed between the world wars, often smells like greasy carry-out. Signs of neglect are everywhere: mouse droppings, belly-up cockroaches, stained carpets, cheap mattresses.This is the world of Building 18, not the kind of place where Duncan expected to recover when he was evacuated to Walter Reed Army Medical Center from Iraq last February with a broken neck and a shredded left ear, nearly dead from blood loss. But the old lodge, just outside the gates of the hospital and five miles up the road from the White House, has housed hundreds of maimed soldiers recuperating from injuries suffered in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.The common perception of Walter Reed is of a surgical hospital that shines as the crown jewel of military medicine. But 5 1/2 years of sustained combat have transformed the venerable 113-acre institution into something else entirely -- a holding ground for physically and psychologically damaged outpatients. Almost 700 of them -- the majority soldiers, with some Marines -- have been released from hospital beds but still need treatment or are awaiting bureaucratic decisions before being discharged or returned to active duty.They suffer from brain injuries, severed arms and legs, organ and back damage, and various degrees of post-traumatic stress. Their legions have grown so exponentially -- they outnumber hospital patients at Walter Reed 17 to 1 -- that they take up every available bed on post and spill into dozens of nearby hotels and apartments leased by the Army. The average stay is 10 months, but some have been stuck there for as long as two years.Not all of the quarters are as bleak as Duncan's, but the despair of Building 18 symbolizes a larger problem in Walter Reed's treatment of the wounded, according to dozens of soldiers, family members, veterans aid groups, and current and former Walter Reed staff members interviewed by two Washington Post reporters, who spent more than four months visiting the outpatient world without the knowledge or permission of Walter Reed officials. Many agreed to be quoted by name; others said they feared Army retribution if they complained publicly.While the hospital is a place of scrubbed-down order and daily miracles, with medical advances saving more soldiers than ever, the outpatients in the Other Walter Reed encounter a messy bureaucratic battlefield nearly as chaotic as the real battlefields they faced overseas.On the worst days, soldiers say they feel like they are living a chapter of "Catch-22." The wounded manage other wounded. Soldiers dealing with psychological disorders of their own have been put in charge of others at risk of suicide.Disengaged clerks, unqualified platoon sergeants and overworked case managers fumble with simple needs: feeding soldiers' families who are close to poverty, replacing a uniform ripped off by medics in the desert sand or helping a brain-damaged soldier remember his next appointment."We've done our duty. We fought the war. We came home wounded. Fine. But whoever the people are back here who are supposed to give us the easy transition should be doing it," said Marine Sgt. Ryan Groves, 26, an amputee who lived at Walter Reed for 16 months. "We don't know what to do. The people who are supposed to know don't have the answers. It's a nonstop process of stalling."Soldiers, family members, volunteers and caregivers who have tried to fix the system say each mishap seems trivial by itself, but the cumulative effect wears down the spirits of the wounded and can stall their recovery.
E&P Staff (letters@editorandpublisher.com)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Pat Tillman's brother speaks out on Iraq War !

Posted on Oct 19, 2006
Courtesy of the Tillman Family
Pat Tillman (left) and his brother Kevin stand in front of a Chinook helicopter in Saudi Arabia before their tour of duty as Army Rangers in Iraq in 2003.

By Kevin Tillman
Editor’s note: Kevin Tillman joined the Army with his brother Pat in 2002, and they served together in Iraq and Afghanistan. Pat was killed in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004. Kevin, who was discharged in 2005, has written a powerful, must-read document.
It is Pat’s birthday on November 6, and elections are the day after. It gets me thinking about a conversation I had with Pat before we joined the military. He spoke about the risks with signing the papers. How once we committed, we were at the mercy of the American leadership and the American people. How we could be thrown in a direction not of our volition. How fighting as a soldier would leave us without a voice… until we got out.
Much has happened since we handed over our voice:

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Version en espanol de este ensayo en La Journada (de Mexico)
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‘They tried to attach themselves to his virtue; then they wiped their feet with him.’
Playing the Atheism Card Against Pat Tillman’s Family
A veteran of the U.S. Army Special forces writes about a series of shockingly callous statements that Pat Tillman’s commanding officer made about the Tillman family’s search for the truth.
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Sam Harris: An Atheist Manifesto
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Ron Kovic: The Forgotten Wounded of Iraq
Ron Kovic: Breaking the Silence of the Night
Steve Wasserman—Chicago Agonistes: The Plight of the L.A. Times

Somehow we were sent to invade a nation because it was a direct threat to the American people, or to the world, or harbored terrorists, or was involved in the September 11 attacks, or received weapons-grade uranium from Niger, or had mobile weapons labs, or WMD, or had a need to be liberated, or we needed to establish a democracy, or stop an insurgency, or stop a civil war we created that can’t be called a civil war even though it is. Something like that.
Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.
Somehow our elected leaders were subverting international law and humanity by setting up secret prisons around the world, secretly kidnapping people, secretly holding them indefinitely, secretly not charging them with anything, secretly torturing them. Somehow that overt policy of torture became the fault of a few “bad apples” in the military.
Somehow back at home, support for the soldiers meant having a five-year-old kindergartener scribble a picture with crayons and send it overseas, or slapping stickers on cars, or lobbying Congress for an extra pad in a helmet. It’s interesting that a soldier on his third or fourth tour should care about a drawing from a five-year-old; or a faded sticker on a car as his friends die around him; or an extra pad in a helmet, as if it will protect him when an IED throws his vehicle 50 feet into the air as his body comes apart and his skin melts to the seat.
Somehow the more soldiers that die, the more legitimate the illegal invasion becomes.
Somehow American leadership, whose only credit is lying to its people and illegally invading a nation, has been allowed to steal the courage, virtue and honor of its soldiers on the ground.
Somehow those afraid to fight an illegal invasion decades ago are allowed to send soldiers to die for an illegal invasion they started.
Somehow faking character, virtue and strength is tolerated.
Somehow profiting from tragedy and horror is tolerated.
Somehow the death of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people is tolerated.
Somehow subversion of the Bill of Rights and The Constitution is tolerated.
Somehow suspension of Habeas Corpus is supposed to keep this country safe.
Somehow torture is tolerated.
Somehow lying is tolerated.
Somehow reason is being discarded for faith, dogma, and nonsense.
Somehow American leadership managed to create a more dangerous world.
Somehow a narrative is more important than reality.
Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.
Somehow the most reasonable, trusted and respected country in the world has become one of the most irrational, belligerent, feared, and distrusted countries in the world.
Somehow being politically informed, diligent, and skeptical has been replaced by apathy through active ignorance.
Somehow the same incompetent, narcissistic, virtueless, vacuous, malicious criminals are still in charge of this country.
Somehow this is tolerated.
Somehow nobody is accountable for this.
In a democracy, the policy of the leaders is the policy of the people. So don’t be shocked when our grandkids bury much of this generation as traitors to the nation, to the world and to humanity. Most likely, they will come to know that “somehow” was nurtured by fear, insecurity and indifference, leaving the country vulnerable to unchecked, unchallenged parasites.
Luckily this country is still a democracy. People still have a voice. People still can take action. It can start after Pat’s birthday.
Brother and Friend of Pat Tillman,

Kevin Tillman

Saturday, February 03, 2007

U.S. soldiers run TV ads against escalation in Iraq !

January 29, 2007, 6:28 pm
VoteVets Aims at G.O.P. Senators
By Sarah Wheaton
VoteVets.org, the group who sponsored controversial ads aimed at vulnerable G.O.P. incumbents last year, is back at it. This time, it is attacking Republican senators from purplish states who have expressed opposition to President Bush’s troop increase but have declined to support the original, harsher Senate resolution condemning the plan.
The ad features several veterans each saying a line:When it comes to Iraq, America is divided.
On the one hand, you’ve got two-thirds of the American people,
A bipartisan majority in Congress.
The Iraq Study Group.
And veterans like us, all opposed to the escalation.
The next shot is wider and shows a veteran whose arm has been partially amputated: He says:
On the other hand, there’s George Bush, who supports escalation. If you support escalation, you don’t support the troops.
(This campaign is remarkably similar to one used during the midterms, when a veteran sitting at a table said, “Republican Congressman [name here] voted to increase his pay while voting to cut health care benefits for veterans like me. That may make sense from where he sits in Congress… But not from where I’m sitting.” The shot panned out to show the man in a wheelchair.)
General Wesley Clark, a potential candidate for the Democrats’ presidential nomination in 2008, is on the VoteVets.org board of advisors, and the new ad is posted on YouTube under his username and his WESPAC also is soliciting money for the ad. Mr. Clark is expected to address, as are the other possible 2008′ers, the Democratic National Committee’s winter meeting in Washington, D.C. later this week.
Today and Tuesday, a group of veterans, including Jon Soltz, the national chairman of VoteVets.org, are holding press conferences in the home states of each senator as the ad is debuted —- a new technique for the group. Local Iraq veterans are meeting the touring group at each location.
Here’s a list of the tour stops and targets:
St. Paul - Senator Norm Coleman
Indianapolis - Senator Richard Lugar
Columbus - Senator George Voinovich
Portland, Me. - Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins
Manchester, N.H. - Senators Judd Gregg and John Sununu
Philadelphia - Senator Arlen Specter
Norfolk and Richmond – Senator John Warner

Survey declares inadequate equipment for U.S. troops in Iraq !

VoteVets Action Fund Poll
First Ever Poll of Veterans Who Served in Iraq and Afghanistan Finds Troops Suffered From Inadequate Equipment in Theater and Serious Health Problems at Home

Click Here For The Entire Poll
VoteVets.org Action Fund Launches Advocacy Effort to Give Voice to the 21st Century Patriot and Veteran
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A new poll released today of American service men and women who served in Iraq and Afghanistan shows that at the start of heavy combat (2003 and 2004), nearly half of our troops reported they did not have "up-armored" vehicles that would be considered mission capable. According to the poll, conducted by VoteVets.org Action Fund, the clear majority of veterans - both active duty personnel as well as National Guard and Reservists - believe the Army and Marines are over-extended in Iraq and Afghanistan, having endured extensions of duty and stop-loss orders as the U.S. military increased operations abroad. When the veterans polled returned home, many encountered emotional and physical health problems as well as economic hardship, indicating that the impact of their service extends beyond their tour of duty.
"The results of this poll should be a wake up call to every American. We are shortchanging our troops - in combat and at home," said Jon Soltz, Iraq War Veteran, Co-Founder and Chairman of VoteVets.org Action Fund. "I am proud of my service in Iraq, but my job was made more difficult by the real life-or-death challenges I faced when it came to equipment and supplies that were inadequate or not fully operational. Our leaders should pay careful attention to the experiences of my peers - the first batch of 21st century veterans to have served in an all volunteer army - because they are telling us that problems exist. Today's military can only be successful if we have the support and resources necessary to fulfill our duties."
Key Findings
Veterans faced real challenges with equipment and supplies while in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Nearly half of all veterans (42 percent) reported that their equipment did not meet the military standard that requires a unit to be at least 90 percent operational.
Later deployments reported improvements in operational equipment: only 52 and 49 percent of veterans serving in 2003 and 2004 respectively reported their equipment was operational compared to 61 percent of those who served in 2005 and later.
Thirty-five percent of veterans said their trucks were not up-armored at all and 10 percent said the trucks were up-armored with scrap metal
One-fifth of veterans have been impacted by stop-loss regulations or extensions and the majority believes the Army and Marine Corps are overextended.
Twenty percent of respondents said their unit was extended past its original time frame.
Thirteen percent of all veterans say they were affected by stop-loss regulations, including 14 percent of National Guard and Reservists.
Overall, 63 percent of all Iraq or Afghanistan veterans believe the Army and Marine Corps are overextended at this time, including 67 percent of Army and Marine veterans and 66 percent of veterans who experienced ground combat.
When these soldiers returned home, many encountered emotional and physical health problems as well as economic hardship resulting from their service.
One in four veterans has experienced nightmares since returning, including 33 percent of Army and Marines veterans and 36 percent of combat veterans.
A fifth of all veterans (21 percent) and a quarter of Army and Marines (26 percent) and ground combat veterans (27 percent) say they have felt more stress now then before they left for war.
Among National Guard or Reserve veterans, 32 percent said their families experienced economic hardship; 25 percent feel more stress now than before the war; 32 percent experienced more extreme highs and lows; and 30 percent experienced nightmares.
Twenty six percent of all veterans have sought some service from the VA or a VA Hospital, including 33 percent of Reservists and National Guard respondents.
Despite similar military experiences, Reservists do not have access to the same health care as active duty personnel. Given how many veterans have sought some sort of care or assistance, it is no surprise that veterans across the board believe National Guard and Reservists deserve access to TriCare, the medical coverage provided to active duty personnel.Seventy nine percent of all veterans agree that National Guard and Reserve veterans ought to have the same access to Tri-Care as active duty men and women, including 80 percent of Army or Marines respondents, 81 percent of combat veterans, and 83 percent of Reservists and National Guard veterans.
VoteVets.org Action Fund (501c-4) was established to give voice to the 21st century veteran and patriot and to raise concerns about the state of today's military preparedness as well as the resources and support available to service men and women. VoteVets.org Action Fund supports the 21st century veteran through our advocacy and education. VoteVets.org Action Fund seeks to inform the public policy debate in order to improve the resources for and commitment to the men and women of the U.S. military - both those serving today, and those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The poll, which included 453 respondents, was conducted by Lake Research Partners between September 6 and 19, 2006. Respondents varied by political affiliation: 47 percent of veterans in the poll identified themselves as Republicans, 17 percent Democrats, and 22 percent as Independents, while 14 percent declined to answer. For more information on VoteVets.org Action Fund and the poll, please visit www.VoteVets.org.

Friday, February 02, 2007

POWERFUL PEACE VIDEO from Greg Jones' maxi-single CD God Bless the World-Not JUST America !


(Simply Click Below)

Greg Jones' Peace Song Video
making powerful global impact !


"WOW'...BEAUTIFUL'...' possibly the most important musical message of today'! These are a few of the responses regarding the hot new Maxi-Single CD recording entitled GOD BLESS THE WORLD-WHILE YOU BLESS AMERICA (aka... Not Just America) written, produced and performed by Cleveland, Ohio native GREG JONES. With a We are the World 'feel', this special release is a unique blend of adult contemporary, easy listening, soul and inspiration combined with a powerful message of peace and harmony. In fact, the special CD was recorded on the same mixing board which was owned by Kenny Rogers and used by Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson and others for the 'We are the World' project.
Jones recently signed an internet distribution deal with FineTunes (Germany) which is currently promoting the special release for legal downloads on sites such as ITunes, MusicLoad, Sony Connect, NuFonix, EMusic, Beatport, OD2, MusicMatch, Napster and more. The anthem is now available on over 145 music sites worldwide! The Maxi-Single, released by ORVILLE RECORDS is garnering exciting response through top digital music websites in the U.S, Britain, Finland, Germany and recently entered the Australian Easy Listening Top 100 Music Charts at #8 with a bullet! Also, the anthem entered the UK Soft Rock Top 100 Music Charts at #7 and then climbed to #2!! Orville Records also recently inked a deal with two of the world's largest web distributors, MusicNet and AMG for additional web distribution through top music sites such as AOL MusicNet, Yahoo Launch, Virgin Digital, FYE Download, MSN Music, ClearChannel, Amazon, Target Music, and others.

Jones' special musical message for world peace launched a revolutionary method of spreading the message of peace by creating a worldwide campaign called " Operation PeaceTone". Through this campaign cell phone users can have the chorus of the peace song as a ringtone...absolutely free.

Powerful Video Launched !

Jones recently launched his powerful slide music video for God Bless the World. Through strategically selected images combined with synchronized production....this special peace video takes all viewers on a journey to the realization of the need for world peace. The very touching video leaves viewers desiring to see a world of peace, although some images are extremely graphic and not recommended for youth viewing. For all others, this is one musical meassage that should be seen...and heard !

FREE PeaceTone
and for Special Buy CD Offer
visit http://www.godblesstheworldonline.com/.
You can also hear the radio and instrumental versions for FREE !
Spread the musical message of Peace! To see more please do Yahoo search...
type-in 'greg jones god bless the world' (images also available through Google images)

GREG JONES MUSIC*BMI*Orville Records*P.O. Box 43678*Cleveland, Ohio*44143*

216-254-9339 Contact: Ken J. http://us.f588.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=orvillerecords@aol.com
"The more seeds of Peace are planted...the greater the tree of life will grow"