Archive for February 2011
Feb. 11, 2011 AZcentral
WTSP-TV, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -
A letter from the Department of the Army telling units to destroy their records after the end of Operation Desert Storm has made it more difficult for injured veterans to get the medical benefits they need.
The letter, never made public before now, says units were told to destroy their records because officials had no room to ship the paperwork back to the United States. The letter goes on to say it was in direct contradiction to existing Army regulations.
“This could have been one, five, six, a couple of hundred or this could be thousands (of soldiers),” says Andrew Marshall, a Florida regional officer with the nonprofit Disabled American Veterans group. “You don’t know.”
One solider trying to get help from the Veterans Administration for combat-related injuries says he has been turned down because his records are missing. He did not want to be identified.
He says he has all the medical records for the time he was in the states, but the records for everything that happened outside of the country are gone.
Marshall says the Army should have backups to the records destroyed in the Persian Gulf.
But the Army’s letter says several years after soldiers began putting in medical claims, it was discovered all records below the brigade level no longer existed.
Operation Desert Storm pushed Iraqi troops out of Kuwait but kept Saddam Hussein in power and lasted from Aug. 2, 1990, to the cease-fire April 11, 1991. In the conflict, 383 service members died; as of last year, 467 were reported injured. About 2.225 million troops served in the war, according to the Congressional Research Service.
Not just the after-action reports have been destroyed or are missing. According to some files, when some veterans come to the Veterans Administration to get help for service-related disabilities, records show they served, but medical records are missing.
That means when the vets make claims, they are turned down.
This is what freedom looks like:
The narcissism of both the US and Israel has never been more complete or more anti-democratic. Everything has got to be all-about-us, all the time.
When the Dust Settles, US Policies Will Remain the Same
By JAMES ZOGBY Counterpunch Feb 11, 2011
When US politicians are forced to discuss critical Middle East matters, more often than not their remarks either display an ignorance of facts, are shaped more by political needs than reality, or are just plain dumb. Commentary about the popular revolt in Egypt provides a case in point.
There was no doubt that the events in Cairo were momentous and, therefore, deserving of response. In the case of most US political leaders, however, struggling to come up with the right TV sound bite didn’t require actually knowing anything about Egypt. All that was needed was to frame the issue through either the prism of partisanship or that of unbending loyalty to Israel. The result was a string of comments, some bizarre, others dangerous.
The new chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, for example, cornered the market on incoherence and contradiction when she observed that “Mr Mubarak should… immediately schedule legitimate, democratic, internationally recognised elections,” adding however that “the US should learn from past mistakes and support a process which includes candidates who meet basic standards for leaders of responsible nations — candidates who have publicly renounced terrorism, uphold the rule of law, [and] recognise Egypt’s… peace agreement with the Jewish state of Israel.”
In other words, Ros-Lehtinen supports a democracy where we (not they) set up the criteria. Not quite “respect for the will of the people,” but still better than former Republican speaker of the House Newt Gingrich’s partisan tirade.
Gingrich, who is reported to be considering a presidential run, is shallow and remarkably uninformed about most Middle East issues. He gets by largely because he sounds so authoritative and always has a clever quip or two. In Gingrich’s assessment of the current situation, “there’s a real possibility in a few weeks… that Egypt will join Iran, and join Lebanon, and join Gaza, and join the things that are happening that are extraordinarily dangerous to us.”
Having thus displayed almost no understanding of the Middle East, Gingrich goes on to ridicule US President Barack Obama’s “naiveté”, charging that Obama “went to Cairo and gave his famous speech in which he explained that we should all be friends together because we’re all the same… and there are no differences between us. Well, I think there are a lot of differences between the Muslim Brotherhood and the rest of us.”
Gingrich’s parting shot was to state that the US administration “doesn’t have a clue”. Then, in order to demonstrate that he does, Gingrich offered this “advice” to Obama: “study Reagan and Carter and do what Reagan did and avoid what Carter did.”
If the need to take a partisan shot is central to some, more important for others, both Democrats and Republicans, is the need to make this all about Israel. Presidential aspirant and former governor Mike Huckabee, for example, used the occasion of the Egyptian uprising to make his 15th trip to Israel where he lamented that “the Israelis feel alone… and they cannot depend upon the United States, because they just don’t have confidence that the US will stand with them.”