Hell, the reality

While GWB lives in his big sunny mansion, surrounded by sycophants and handlers, flitting from happy-thought to happy-thought with the butterfly’s in his brain … the soldiers he depends on for self-justification are dying, or wishing they had. This isn’t a post about those in battle … but about the battle that comes after, the PTSD and the inability to cope. As my friend Cole says, PTSD is an “emotional tattoo.”

Hell comes in many flavors — the one we’ll look at today is composed of equal parts of trauma, joblessness, homelessness and tragedy. Every read below is an ingredient in this sick mix.

I went to the Google [sic] to find an appropriate Dubby quote to go with this post. After ten minutes, I gave up — seems the Dub has promised, again and again and again, to give our brave warriors everything they need to fight his sadistic, opportunistic war … and rarely speaks about what else they might require. The Compassionate One, our very own contradiction in terms, couldn’t even get that first proposal right … the second is low on his list. Meanwhile, over 60,000 military marriages have ended, and a quarter million soldiers — yep, that’s the number — suffer PTSD.

One piece I misplaced spoke to how the Pentagon is urging those with brain injury to get back into the fight as soon as possible — below, snips from a Newsweek piece by ABC’s Bob Woodruff, injured himself, exposes the problems there. Meanwhile, Dubby has proposed millions to be snatched from the care of these vulnerable, and statistics prove that the billions we’ll need for their long-term treatment has been overlooked in the budget.

Hell … a space of hopelessness and pain … and day by day more answer its roll call.

Jude

Broken by this War
Stacy Bannerman, The Progressive
Thursday, March 1, 2007

I was folding fliers for a high school workshop on nonviolence when my husband, a mortar platoon sergeant with the Army National Guard 81st Brigade, walked into my office and said, “I got the call.”

We hadn’t talked about the possibility of him being deployed for months, not since President Bush had declared, “Mission accomplished.” But I knew exactly what he meant; I didn’t know then what it would mean for us.

We weren’t prepared, and neither was the Guard. The Guard sent him into harm’s way without providing some of the basic equipment and materials, such as global positioning systems, night vision gear, and insect repellant, that he would rely on during his year-long tour of duty at LSA Anaconda, the most-attacked base in Iraq, as determined by the sheer number of incoming rockets and mortars, which averaged at least five per day.

Unlike active duty military, the National Guard had no functional family support system or services in place. While the Guard was scrambling to get it together, my husband was already gone, and I was alone, just months after we had moved to Seattle.

It is the soldiers, their families, and the people of Iraq that pay the human costs. The tab so far: more than 3,000 dead U.S. troops, tens of thousands of wounded, over half a million Iraqi casualties, roughly 250,000 American servicemen and women struggling with PTSD, and almost 60,000 military marriages that have been broken by this war.

Twenty-four hours after Lorin boarded the plane for Iraq, I hung a blue star service flag—denoting an immediate family member in combat—in the front window. Then I closed the blinds, hoping to keep the harbingers of death at bay. They still got in, through the phone, the Internet, the newspaper, and the TV.

Each week, I heard of a friend’s husband or son: wounded, maimed, shot, hit, hurt, burned, amputated, decapitated, detonated, dead. A glossary of pain. I checked icasualties.org all the time, cursing and crying as the numbers rose relentlessly, praying that Lorin wouldn’t be next.

I got involved with Military Families Speak Out, which is exactly what the name suggests: an organization of people with loved ones in uniform who are adamantly opposed to the war in Iraq. We were breaking the military’s traditional code of silence by publicly protesting this war, and the pushback was intense, particularly for military wives. I was ostracized by the women married to men in my husband’s company, and my husband was reprimanded by his superior officers. I was an “unruly spouse,” and Lorin could “expect adverse career consequences.”

I thought being forced to serve in a war based on lies was itself an “adverse consequence.” I said as much during an interview on Hardball with Chris Matthews, which just happened to be broadcast on the big-screen TV during lunchtime in the mess tent at Anaconda. Lorin didn’t see it, but approximately 5,000 of the troops he was serving with did. He heard about it for weeks, but never asked me to stop. He had his own questions and concerns about Operation Iraqi Freedom.

During the run-up to the war, when 76 percent of Americans supported the invasion of Iraq, we protested in the streets of Spokane. But he was contractually bound and committed to his men. He clung to what he’d been briefed on regarding the Guard’s mission in Iraq, which included building schools for kids.

Two months into his deployment, I got a call from him, and he said, choking up, that there was an “accident.” Two Iraqi children were dead because he gave the order to fire a couple of mortar rounds. Several weeks later, he phoned again, his voice flat and emotionless, to tell me that the men he had dinner with the previous night had been killed by the same Iraqi soldiers that they were training six hours earlier.

Days went by without any communication—anxious hours, restless nights. I swerved between anger and fear.

His e-mails were sometimes delayed, or returned to him as undeliverable, with portions blacked out by military censors. The ones that got through asked for more homemade treats, baby wipes, batteries, movies, and magazines. One missive informed me about rockets landing next to the trailer where he slept . . . while he was in bed. Another ended abruptly because he was under attack.

Lorin spent hours loading coffins onto cargo jets; I spent days on red alert.

Finally, the phone rang with the news that my husband was coming home, after nearly a year in Iraq. They didn’t tell me he’d bring the war with him.

He’d been back for almost two months, but he was still checking to see where his weapon was every time he got in a vehicle. He drove aggressively, talked aggressively, and sometimes I could swear that he was breathing aggressively. This was not the man I married, this hard-eyed, hyper-vigilant stranger who spent his nights watching the dozens of DVDs that he got from soldiers he served with in Iraq. He couldn’t sleep, and missed the adrenaline surge of constant, imminent danger. The amateur videos of combat eased the ache of withdrawal from war, but did nothing to heal my soldier’s heart.

At a conference on post-deployment care and services for soldiers and their families, a Marine Corps chaplain asked, “How do you know if you’re an SOB? Your wife will tell you!”

Har-de-har-har-har. The remark got the predictable round of applause from the capacity crowd, which, with one exception, wasn’t living with anyone who had recently returned from Iraq. I was that exception, and it infuriated me that this was a joke. The Pentagon’s solution for the constant stress endured by those of us who felt bewildered and betrayed was: “Learn how to laugh.” With help from the Pentagon’s chief laughter instructor, families of National Guard members were learning to walk like a penguin, laugh like a lion, and blurt “ha, ha, hee, hee, and ho, ho.”

Emotional isolation is one of the hallmarks of post-combat mental health problems. The National Guard didn’t conduct follow-up mental health screening or evaluations of the men in my husband’s company until they had been home for almost eight months. Nearly a year later, in August of 2006, my husband was informed of his results: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It was obvious that he was suffering, but when I brought it up, he parroted what the military told him: “Give it time.”

Time wasn’t a panacea for Jeffrey Lucey, Doug Barber, or the dozens of other Guard members and Reservists who have committed suicide after serving in Iraq. Time hasn’t helped the hundreds of homeless Iraq War veterans wandering lost in the streets of what military families are assured is a deeply grateful nation. Time is most definitely not on our side.

My husband has served his time with the Guard. He’s got more than twenty-three years of actual service, and almost twenty years of “good time” that qualifies him for retirement benefits.

But then he learned about a few loopholes. Now, if he serves as a member in good standing for 364 days in a year, instead of 365, that year isn’t credited as time served toward his retirement. If he’s deemed irreplaceable—he’s one of a handful of mortar platoon sergeants who’ve seen combat—the Guard can retain him for several more years after his contract expires.

He is surprised by this, but I’m not. I no longer expect that the Department of Defense will keep its promises to the soldiers or their families. I don’t pretend that the Pentagon will adhere to its policies. And I know from experience that “support the troops” is a slogan, and not a practice.

On January 11, 2007, the Pentagon discarded the time limit that prevented Guard members and Reservists from serving more than twenty-four total months on active duty for either the Iraq or Afghan wars. The Pentagon’s announcement came in the wake of President Bush’s decision to deploy an additional 21,500 troops to Iraq.

The escalation contradicts the advice of top U.S. military officials. Although the majority of Americans are opposed to the “surge,” most members of Congress are reluctant to block the supplemental appropriations request that will fund it, claiming that they don’t want to abandon the troops. Congress has abandoned the troops for nearly four years.

It is the soldiers, their families, and the people of Iraq that pay the human costs. The tab so far: more than 3,000 dead U.S. troops, tens of thousands of wounded, over half a million Iraqi casualties, roughly 250,000 American servicemen and women struggling with PTSD, and almost 60,000 military marriages that have been broken by this war.

Including mine.

It was hard to reconnect after more than a year apart, and the open wound of untreated PTSD made it virtually impossible. Lorin is still the best evidence I have of God’s grace in this world, but we just couldn’t find our way back together after the war came home. ++

Stacy Bannerman is the author of “When the War Came Home: The Inside Story of Reservists and the Families They Leave Behind.” She is a member of Military Families Speak Out

Vets on the Street
Hundreds of U.S. soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are ending up homeless. How could this happen?

Sarah Childress, Newsweek
Feb 24, 2007

Kevin Felty came back from Iraq in 2003 with nowhere to stay, and not enough money to rent an apartment. He and his wife of four years moved in with his sister in Florida, but the couple quickly overstayed their welcome. Jobless and wrestling with what he later learned was posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Felty suddenly found himself scrambling to find a place for himself and his wife, who was six-months pregnant. They found their way to a shelter for homeless veterans, which supported his wife during her pregnancy and helped Felty get counseling and find a job. A year later, he’s finally thinking his future. “I don’t want to say this is exactly where I want to be—it’s really not,” he says. “But it’s what I can get at the moment.”

Young, alienated and often living on their own for the first time, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans increasingly are coming home to find that they don’t have one. Already, nearly 200,000 veterans—many from the Vietnam War—sleep on the streets every night, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. But young warriors just back from the Mideast—estimated around 500 to 1,000—are beginning to struggle with homelessness too. Drinking or using drugs to cope with PTSD, they can lose their job and the support of family and friends, and start a downward spiral to the streets. Their tough military mentality can make them less likely to seek help. Advocates say it can take five to eight years for a veteran to exhaust their financial resources and housing options, so they expect the number to rise exponentially in a few years. “Rather than wait for the tsunami, we should be doing something now,” says Cheryl Beversdorf, president of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.

The problem is mainly a lack of resources, advocates say. There are only about 15,000 beds available in VA-funded shelters or hospitals nationwide, and nearly every one is taken. In some smaller cities there simply aren’t many places for a homeless veteran to go. And as affordable housing units shrink nationwide, veterans living on a disability check of, say, $700 a month, (which means a 50-percent disability rating from the VA), are hard-pressed to find a place to live. Most shelters require veterans to participate in a rehabilitation program, but a “fair amount” of veterans just go back to the streets once they leave, says Ed Quill, director of external affairs at Volunteers of America, the nonprofit housing group for veterans that helped Felty.

The VA says it’s making a concerted effort to reach out to vets before they hit bottom, says Pete Dougherty, the VA’s coordinator for homeless programs. Intake counselors are trained to ask questions, especially of newer veterans, to seek out mental health or other problems that could lead to homelessness. “We’re much more sensitive than we were 40 years ago for signs of problems,” he says. And they have expanded some services. Last week, the VA approved $24 million to boost aid for the homeless, which will allow them to add about 1,000 more beds and increase the number of grants to help the growing population of homeless women veterans and those with mental illnesses.

Much of the work with new veterans is being done one soldier at a time. At New Directions in Los Angeles, a center that rehabilitates homeless veterans, Anthony Belcher, a formerly homeless Vietnam vet who now works at the center, looks out for one particular Iraq veteran who shows up at the center about once a month, filthy, drugged out and tortured by PTSD. “He’s a baby,” Belcher says. “You can see it in his eyes.” So far, the young vet is too wary to accept more than a night’s bed or a hot meal. But as Belcher says, at least he has a place to go. That’s more than many of the thousands of vets on America’s streets can say tonight. ++

Bob Woodruff: Turning Personal Injury Into Public Inquiry
The ABC News Anchor Returns With a Candid Look at Brain Injuries and Veteran Care

Nancy Chandross, ABC NEWS
2/26/2007

[snip -- open link for full article]

The Human Cost of War

Later in Tuesday night’s hour, Woodruff returns to Bethesda once again – this time in a more-familiar role: that of a journalist.

It’s there he meets Army Sgt. William Glass, who, like Woodruff, was struck by an insurgent’s roadside bomb in Taji, Iraq, and suffered traumatic brain injury. When Glass’ wife, Amelia, asks Woodruff how long it took him to recover, the reporter says, “It’s still going on.”

Many of the families Woodruff met with across the country express frustration at the lack of care TBI patients receive once they leave specialized rehabilitation centers and return home. Woodruff asks Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs Jim Nicholson about the ability of local VA hospitals to care for brain-injured servicemen. “We have organized the VA with this priority for these combatants returning back,” Nicholson says.

But following brain-injured Army Sgt. Michael Boothby from Bethesda back to the soldier’s hometown of Comfort, Texas, Woodruff watches Boothby’s condition quickly deteriorate as he awaits the arrival of the paperwork that would allow him to continue his treatment.

While the U.S. Department of Defense says that there have been about 23,000 nonfatal battlefield casualties in Iraq, Woodruff discovers – through an internal VA report – that more than 200,000 veterans have sought medical care for various ailments, including more than 73,000 diagnoses for mental disorders.

Nicholson plays down those figures, telling Woodruff, “A lot of them come in for dental problems. … We’re providing their health care.”

Woodruff reports that even these numbers may not tell the whole story: According to unreleased data from the Department of Defense, at least 10 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans may have sustained a brain injury during their service.

The ABC News anchor reports: “That could mean that of the 1.5 million who have served or are now serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, more than 150,000 people could have a brain injury that may be undiagnosed and unrecognized by the casualty numbers from the Department of Defense.”

While everyone with symptoms of a brain injury may not need extensive treatment, Woodruff learns that the Department of Defense is not screening all returning soldiers, despite recommendations from the Defense Department’s own Defense and Veteran’s Brain Injury Center.

Woodruff says that he and others at ABC News will continue to report on this story because “the human cost of war is sometimes overlooked,” and injured veterans “need support that matches their sacrifice.”

When asked today if would return to Iraq, Woodruff said his wife would have the final word. As he thought aloud about the idea, ABC News President David Westin chimed in: “I will not send him,” Westin said. “It just would not make sense. He’s more vulnerable than he was before. It would be the height of recklessness, from my point of view, to allow Bob Woodruff to go back to Iraq.”

Woodruff joked that he would have to go “without” Westin. ++

Pentagon Red Tape Keeps Medical Records From Doctors of the Wounded
Al Kamen, Washington Post
Friday, February 16, 2007

[snip -- open link for full article]

Department of Veterans Affairs doctors are furious over a recent decision by the Pentagon to block their access to medical information needed to treat severely injured troops arriving at VA hospitals from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The VA physicians handle troops with serious brain injuries and other major health problems. They, rely on digital medical records that track the care given wounded troops from the moment of their arrival at a field hospital through their evacuation to the United States.

About 30 VA doctors in four trauma centers around the country have treated about 200 severely wounded soldiers and Marines. The docs had been receiving the complete digital records from the Pentagon until the end of January, using the Pentagon’s Joint Patient Tracking Application.

But on Jan. 25, when Shane McNamee, a physician in the Richmond VA Medical Center, tried to get the full records, he couldn’t. He sent an urgent e-mail to VA chief liaison officer Edward Huycke.

“My JPTA account has been disabled within last few days,” McNamee wrote. “I called the hotline and was told that all VA accounts have been locked. Could not get a good answer why. Anyhow — I have 4 [Iraq/Afghanistan] service members to arrive within the next 2 days. This information is terribly important,” the doctor wrote.

Thirty-four minutes later Huycke e-mailed back: “Ok, Shane. Will get on it. Not sure what’s up.”

An hour or so later, a senior VA official forwarded McNamee’s e-mail to Lt. Col. David Parramore at the Pentagon, saying that McNamee “needs his access back to JPTA to provide the best possible treatment for soldiers injured in [Iraq/Afghanistan] arriving there in a few days. Can you help?”

Tommy Morris, director of Deployment Health Systems, responded the next morning to Parramore’s inquiry, after contacting Ellen Embry, deputy assistant secretary of defense for force health protection. “I spoke with Embry and no agreements, no data sharing via access to JPTA.”

The access cutoff came after Morris, in a Jan. 23 e-mail, instructed a colleague: “If the VA currently has access I need a list of persons and I need their accounts shut off ASAP. It is illegal for them to have access without data use agreements and access controls in place by federal regulations and public law.”

There have been meetings between VA and Pentagon officials. The Pentagon declined to comment yesterday. VA officials apparently thought it might have been resolved Monday. But an e-mail Monday from Morris to a co-worker said: “The leadership has not authorized the VA accounts to be turned back on, in case someone approaches you about this.”

Last week, Sens. Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii) and Larry E. Craig (Idaho) — the chairman and ranking Republican on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee — wrote David S.C. Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel, of their “deep concern” about VA trauma center doctors not having access to complete records.

“For those servicemembers suffering from a traumatic brain injury,” they wrote, “VA’s access to in-theater imaging is an important and valuable tool for tracking their patient’s progress since being wounded or injured.” They suggested the VA doctor be given temporary access to JPTA while the data-sharing questions are worked out.

They’re still awaiting an appropriate response. McNamee is still waiting for the records. ++

Iraq war vets come home to find their jobs gone
Ann McFeatters, Capital Hill Blue
Friday, March 2nd, 2007

Last week we learned that many of our disabled Iraq-war veterans are being shafted by the military and medical bureaucracy. Now we find out that some reservists and members of the National Guard are returning home to find their jobs gone.

Although there is a 1994 law — the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act — requiring reservists to be fairly and quickly re-hired after deployment, it is often not enforced. A military office called Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, whose local branches returning soldiers are to contact if they can’t get their jobs back, has just two press releases on its Web site for 2007.

One said: “The military is grateful to the civilian employers of National Guardsmen and reservists who support their employees when they’re called to duty, said Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” in a statement in Anchorage, Alaska, a few days ago.

January’s press release said the Department of Defense will mobilize Guard and reserve members by units, increasing the odds of multiple deployments by individuals. While it said the goal is only one year of involuntary deployment and five years of non-mobilization, because of “today’s global demands” that will not be possible for all units.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the Department of Defense has mobilized more than 500,000 reservists and Guard members. Sometimes they make up nearly half of the U.S. ground troops fighting abroad.

An investigation of the military’s employer-support office last year for Denver magazine, by Maximillian Potter, argued that although it should be a “tremendous resource” for returning U.S. troops, it is “a bureaucratic mess, mired in incompetence, undermined by conflict of interest and accountable to no one.”

A new report in February by the Government Accountability Office found that the Pentagon does not even know the scope of the problems reservists face when they try to go back to work. In 2005, one out of seven was thought to return jobless.

Under the 1994 law, there are about 12,400 formal complaints filed each year alleging that employers refused to give returning reservists and Guard members their old jobs. The GAO said Congress hears about 2,400 of those complaints.

The GAO report concluded that the Departments of Defense, Justice and Labor and the Office of Special Counsel have different ways of approaching the law and don’t compare cases, one reason for the chaos and confusion. The Department of Veterans Affairs, which is taking heat for the problems that returning soldiers face, oddly, is not involved in employee claims under the 1994 law.

An Air Force nurse with 32 years in the military, seven in active duty, and nearly two-dozen medals for valor and service was terminated from her civilian health-care job of 10 years when she was sent to Iraq for four months last year.

She is not alone. Increasingly, as reservists and Guard members return home after service in Iraq, they are finding their jobs were eliminated or their pay checks were smaller or promised promotions disappeared.

Last November, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management sent its annual report to Congress on veterans and disabled veterans working for the federal government. The press release said, “And by every measure, the Bush administration is living up to its commitment to make career opportunities available to soldiers, sailors and airmen.” The report said the total number of veterans employed in 2005 out of a federal government work force of 1.8 million was 456,254.

But the number of veterans newly hired in 2005 was only 5,000 more than the number hired in 2004.

That was also when 36 members of the Florida National Guard got letters, while serving in combat in Iraq, informing them that their jobs in a federal drug-interdiction program were abolished.

The Denver magazine report told of a 53-year-old Marine, in the service for 29 years, who deployed for nine months in Kuwait and Iraq in 2002 and 2003.

When he got home, he was fired from his $88,000-a-year job in a firm where he’d worked for 19 years. He was allegedly told by the Department of Labor, where his commanding officer referred him, that he didn’t have a legal case unless he heard somebody say he was fired because of his military service.

The officer, a lawyer, was so outraged, that he fought for the Marine, who won $324,082 in U.S. District Court in Colorado. As of late last year, reporter Potter said the Marine was still looking for a job with health insurance for his family.

The National Committee of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve says veterans with job problems should call one of its ombudsmen from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday at 1-800-336-4590. Sometimes you can get a real person.

The betting is that there will be thousands of cases as returning reservists and Guard members try to reclaim their old jobs. The betting is that many will be out of luck. ++

Panel slams treatment of Guard, Reserves
Lolita C. Baldor, Capital Hill Blue
Friday, March 2nd, 2007

The National Guard and Reserves don’t get enough money or equipment and are left out of important planning for national emergencies, an independent panel concluded Thursday, long after the Iraq war and Hurricane Katrina exposed serious stresses on the services.

The report from the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves compounds earlier criticism of the Bush administration’s response to the devastating hurricane that struck the Gulf Coast in August 2005. The administration also is still struggling to better manage the reserves nearly four years into the Iraq war.

The 151-page report found a significant lack of communication between reserve officials and other military leaders, the Homeland Security Department and U.S. Northern Command, which is responsible for the military’s defense of the U.S. homeland.

Calling those failures unacceptable, panel Chairman Arnold Punaro said in an interview that federal agencies must get past their turf battles to better protect the public.

“This is unacceptable. The American people would find it unacceptable,” said Punaro, a retired Marine Corps general. “These are not problems that have just cropped up in the last two years or five years. These are issues that have been pretty much ignored and glossed over for decades.”

The panel, which was created by Congress, also criticized the Pentagon for not budgeting or planning specifically for civil support missions, such as domestic disaster response, because they are viewed as extensions of wartime preparation.

“This is not a sustainable course, and their capability to do their mission will deteriorate over time if it’s not changed,” Punaro said. “The thought that if we are capable of doing the away game, we can do the home game, we believe is a flawed assumption.”

He told reporters Thursday that if there is a chemical, biological or radiological incident, “we’re going to need mass decontamination, we’re going to need mass medical. … That capability is not there in sufficient quantities to deal with those scenarios.”

Members of Congress, meanwhile, criticized the commission for not going far enough in its recommendations., Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Kit Bond, R-Mo., said they will continue to push for their legislation, which gives the Guard chief budget authority and the power to buy equipment, and also makes that person a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The senators said the panel endorsed only halfway measures to solve the Guard’s problems.

“Their recommendations are thin soup,” said Leahy.

And Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia, who is the ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said that while the commission recognized the challenges that face the guard, “admiring the problem isn’t enough. The Commission’s recommendations for the most part won’t address the issues they acknowledge.”

Guard and Reserve troops have been under increasing strain since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, serving in Afghanistan and Iraq while also patrolling the border with Mexico and responding to hurricanes and other natural disasters. During parts of 2005, the citizen soldiers made up nearly half of the U.S. forces in Iraq, with some facing repeated deployments.

At the same time, Guard units have struggled to get the equipment and training needed to go to war, often swapping armored trucks, radios and other equipment between the states to meet battle and disaster requirements.

In what likely will be one of its more controversial recommendations, the report said governors should be given more command authority over active duty military troops responding to local disasters. In previous situations such as Hurricane Katrina, military leaders have worked side-by-side with governors, but have maintained command of their active duty troops.

“We believe that without giving governors a greater voice, and without giving them a greater ability to bring all the assets of our government to bear, particularly in the immediate aftermath of any kind of incident, that we’re putting our citizens and property and our economy at greater risk,” Punaro said.

The panel outlined recommendations that would elevate the status of the Guard to become more of a partner with other military and homeland defense agencies. It would make the National Guard chief a four-star general and a direct adviser to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and his top commanders. ++

“So keep fightin’ for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don’t you forget to have fun doin’ it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin’ ass and celebratin’ the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was.”
~ Molly Ivins, 1944 – 2007

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)

This entry was posted in Political Waves. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply