Tuesday, February 28, 2006

U.S. Troops in Iraq: 72% Say End War in 2006

"The Soldiers Speak. Will President Bush Listen?
[registration to NY Times Select required]

'A new poll to be released today shows that U.S. soldiers overwhelmingly want out of Iraq - and soon.

The poll is the first of U.S. troops currently serving in Iraq, according to John Zogby, the pollster. Conducted by Zogby International and LeMoyne College, it asked 944 service members, 'How long should U.S. troops stay in Iraq?'

Only 23 percent backed Mr. Bush's position that they should stay as long as necessary. In contrast, 72 percent said that U.S. troops should be pulled out within one year. Of those, 29 percent said they should withdraw 'immediately.''

more from Common Dreams

U.S. Troops in Iraq: 72% Say End War in 2006


  • Le Moyne College/Zogby Poll shows just one in five troops want to heed Bush call to stay “as long as they are needed”
  • While 58% say mission is clear, 42% say U.S. role is hazy
  • Plurality believes Iraqi insurgents are mostly homegrown
  • Almost 90% think war is retaliation for Saddam’s role in 9/11, most don’t blame Iraqi public for insurgent attacks
  • Majority of troops oppose use of harsh prisoner interrogation
  • Plurality of troops pleased with their armor and equipment

An overwhelming majority of 72% of American troops serving in Iraq think the U.S. should exit the country within the next year, and nearly one in four say the troops should leave immediately, a new Le Moyne College/Zogby International survey shows.

The poll, conducted in conjunction with Le Moyne College’s Center for Peace and Global Studies, showed that 29% of the respondents, serving in various branches of the armed forces, said the U.S. should leave Iraq “immediately,” while another 22% said they should leave in the next six months. Another 21% said troops should be out between six and 12 months, while 23% said they should stay “as long as they are needed.”

Different branches had quite different sentiments on the question, the poll shows. While 89% of reserves and 82% of those in the National Guard said the U.S. should leave Iraq within a year, 58% of Marines think so. Seven in ten of those in the regular Army thought the U.S. should leave Iraq in the next year. Moreover, about three-quarters of those in National Guard and Reserve units favor withdrawal within six months, just 15% of Marines felt that way. About half of those in the regular Army favored withdrawal from Iraq in the next six months.

The troops have drawn different conclusions about fellow citizens back home. Asked why they think some Americans favor rapid U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq, 37% of troops serving there said those Americans are unpatriotic, while 20% believe people back home don’t believe a continued occupation will work. Another 16% said they believe those favoring a quick withdrawal do so because they oppose the use of the military in a pre-emptive war, while 15% said they do not believe those Americans understand the need for the U.S. troops in Iraq.

The wide-ranging poll also shows that 58% of those serving in country say the U.S. mission in Iraq is clear in their minds, while 42% said it is either somewhat or very unclear to them, that they have no understanding of it at all, or are unsure. While 85% said the U.S. mission is mainly “to retaliate for Saddam’s role in the 9-11 attacks,” 77% said they also believe the main or a major reason for the war was “to stop Saddam from protecting al Qaeda in Iraq.”

“Ninety-three percent said that removing weapons of mass destruction is not a reason for U.S. troops being there,” said Pollster John Zogby, President and CEO of Zogby International. “Instead, that initial rationale went by the wayside and, in the minds of 68% of the troops, the real mission became to remove Saddam Hussein.” Just 24% said that “establishing a democracy that can be a model for the Arab World" was the main or a major reason for the war. Only small percentages see the mission there as securing oil supplies (11%) or to provide long-term bases for US troops in the region (6%).

The continuing insurgent attacks have not turned U.S. troops against the Iraqi population, the survey shows. More than 80% said they did not hold a negative view of Iraqis because of those attacks. About two in five see the insurgency as being comprised of discontented Sunnis with very few non-Iraqi helpers. “There appears to be confusion on this,” Zogby said. But, he noted, less than a third think that if non-Iraqi terrorists could be prevented from crossing the border into Iraq, the insurgency would end. A majority of troops (53%) said the U.S. should double both the number of troops and bombing missions in order to control the insurgency.

The survey shows that most U.S. military personnel in-country have a clear sense of right and wrong when it comes to using banned weapons against the enemy, and in interrogation of prisoners. Four in five said they oppose the use of such internationally banned weapons as napalm and white phosphorous. And, even as more photos of prisoner abuse in Iraq surface around the world, 55% said it is not appropriate or standard military conduct to use harsh and threatening methods against insurgent prisoners in order to gain information of military value.

Three quarters of the troops had served multiple tours and had a longer exposure to the conflict: 26% were on their first tour of duty, 45% were on their second tour, and 29% were in Iraq for a third time or more.

A majority of the troops serving in Iraq said they were satisfied with the war provisions from Washington. Just 30% of troops said they think the Department of Defense has failed to provide adequate troop protections, such as body armor, munitions, and armor plating for vehicles like HumVees. Only 35% said basic civil infrastructure in Iraq, including roads, electricity, water service, and health care, has not improved over the past year. Three of every four were male respondents, with 63% under the age of 30.

The survey included 944 military respondents interviewed at several undisclosed locations throughout Iraq. The names of the specific locations and specific personnel who conducted the survey are being withheld for security purposes. Surveys were conducted face-to-face using random sampling techniques. The margin of error for the survey, conducted Jan. 18 through Feb. 14, 2006, is +/- 3.3 percentage points.

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Saturday, February 25, 2006

No Iraqi battalion capable of fighting without U.S. support

Remember in very recent reports when there were three Iraq battalions 'ready' to take on the 'security' of Iraq; but then oops that was downgraded to only one Iraq battalion was ready. And now with today's report from CNN, none..no Iraq battalion is ready.

So, it takes anywhere from 6 wks to 3 months to train an American youngster fresh out of high school to be deployed in combat to Iraq. And it takes more than 3 yrs to train Iraqi men .... and they are still not ready to take on the full duties we expect of our own high school kids??

CNN.com - Pentagon: Iraqi troops downgraded - Feb 24, 2006:

"WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The only Iraqi battalion capable of fighting without U.S. support has been downgraded to a level requiring them to fight with American troops backing them up, the Pentagon said Friday."

read more here
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Sunday, February 19, 2006

20 Years Old and Destroyed By War and PTSD

This diary at Daily Kos is already on Recommended list today. It offers some very useful links and resources related to PTSD (timeline, where to turn for help, resources). Cross posting the link to the DK story = 20 Years Old and Destroyed By War and PTSD

and recommending bookmark PTSD Timeline

and recommending Ilona's blog PTSD Combat : Winning the War Within

About Ilona; Ilona is an independent Illinois-based online writer and researcher. After reading of a decorated soldier's lost battle with PTSD in 2005 (he killed himself shortly after returning home from Iraq), she decided to pursue the under-reported topic. more at her blog

A strong thank you to Ilona for caring enough.....

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U.S. Church Alliance Denounces Iraq War

U.S. Church Alliance Denounces Iraq War

By BRIAN MURPHY, AP Religion Writer Sat Feb 18, 1:05 PM ET

PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil - A coalition of American churches sharply denounced the U.S.-led war in Iraq on Saturday, accusing Washington of "raining down terror" and apologizing to other nations for "the violence, degradation and poverty our nation has sown."

The statement, issued at the largest gathering of Christian churches in nearly a decade, also warned the United States was pushing the world toward environmental catastrophe with a "culture of consumption" and its refusal to back international accords seeking to battle global warming.

"We lament with special anguish the war in Iraq, launched in deception and violating global norms of justice and human rights," said the statement from representatives of the 34 U.S. members of World Council of Churches. "We mourn all who have died or been injured in this war. We acknowledge with shame abuses carried out in our name."

The World Council of Churches includes more than 350 mainstream Protestant, Anglican and Orthodox churches; the Roman Catholic Church is not a member. The U.S. groups in the WCC include the Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA), the United Methodist Church, several Orthodox churches and Baptist denominations, among others.

The statement is part of widening religious pressure on the Bush administration, which still counts on the support of evangelical churches and other conservative denominations but is widely unpopular with liberal-minded Protestant congregations.

The Very Rev. Leonid Kishkovsky, the moderator for the U.S. group of WCC members, said the letter was backed by the leaders of the churches but was not cleared by lower-level bodies. He predicted friction within congregations about the tone of the message.

"There is much internal anguish and there is division," said Kishkovsky, ecumenical officer of the Orthodox Church of America. "I believe church leaders and communities are wrestling with the moral questions that this letter is addressing."

On Friday, the U.S. National Council of Churches — which includes many WCC members — released a letter appealing to Washington to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility and saying reports of alleged torture violated "the fundamental Christian belief in the dignity of the human person."

The two-page statement from the WCC group came at the midpoint of a 10-day meeting of more than 4,000 religious leaders, scholars and activists discussing trends and goals for major Christian denominations for the coming decades. The WCC's last global assembly was in 1998 in Zimbabwe — just four months after al-Qaida staged twin bombings at U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

"Our country responded (to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks) by seeking to reclaim a privileged and secure place in the world, raining down terror on the truly vulnerable among our global neighbors ... entering into imperial projects that seek to dominate and control for the sake of national interests," said the statement. "Nations have been demonized and God has been enlisted in national agendas that are nothing short of idolatrous."

The Rev. Sharon Watkins, president of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), worried that some may interpret the statement as undermining U.S. troops in Iraq.

"We honor their courage and sense of duty, but ... we, as people of faith, have to say to our brothers and sisters, `We are so profoundly sorry,'" Watkins said.

The message also accused U.S. officials of ignoring warnings about climate change and treating the world's "finite resources as if they are private possessions." It went on to criticize U.S. domestic policies for refusing to confront racism and poverty.

"Hurricane Katrina revealed to the world those left behind in our own nation by the rupture of our social contract," said the statement.

The churches said they had "grown heavy with guilt" for not doing enough to speak out against the Iraq war and other issues. The statement asked forgiveness for a world that's "grown weary from the violence, degradation and poverty our nation has sown."
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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Returning soldiers may face tests for exposure to depleted uranium

Feb 07, 2006

Returning soldiers may face tests for exposure to depleted uranium

Activists cite high cancer rates; bill faces finance committees


South Sound military veterans have urged state lawmakers to authorize tests of returning Washington National Guard soldiers for exposure to depleted uranium used in some armor-piercing munitions in Iraq.

Depleted uranium was used for munitions in the Gulf War and to better armor some Abrams tanks. Gases given off by the firing of the ammunition have been said to create a mist or fog of radioactive material that can be inhaled and absorbed into the body, where bone, lymph, liver and other tissues store it.

Briefings to legislators describe the depleted uranium used in the munitions as coming from the leftover material when radioactive isotopes are removed from uranium for use in nuclear fuel.

Activists cite higher cancer rates in Europe’s Balkan war zones after uranium-238 enhanced munitions were used there in the early 1990s. They also cite anecdotal reports of soldiers exposed to the material who now suffer everything from headaches to chronic upper respiratory illnesses, heart attacks, chronic muscle aches and chronic diarrhea.

“Depleted uranium — we’re very fearful it’s going to be the Agent Orange of this generation,” said Jerry Muchmore, a Democratic Party activist from Thurston County who served more than 20 years in the service, in testimony last week before a Senate committee. “We really want to support our veterans. We’d like to see them tested.”

Further study

Col. Ron Weaver of the state Military Department said the Department of Defense screens soldiers for exposure and tests many who are suspected of exposures. He also said his agency has no objections to the further study of returning veterans to gauge their exposure to toxic materials, because, he he said, the health and safety of about 4,000 Washington National Guard troops rotated through Iraq is the paramount concern.

The states of Connecticut and Louisiana have passed legislation to study effects on their troops, according to activists who joined Muchmore at the hearing. But Weaver said the Military Department prefers to see what the other states’ studies reveal — allowing better testing approaches in Washington if the other states’ work reveals more information.

In the meantime, Weaver said, the agency’s staff surgeon has been ordered to monitor test results already being done.

Local voices

Several veterans and Dr. George Hill, a retired Pierce County physician, also called on legislators to approve testing that goes further than what the Department of Defense now authorizes.

Olympia activist Ken Schwilk said after the hearing that the tests typically used are not as sensitive as those used in Europe in the Balkans, and that U.S. troops found clean by American tests have tested positive to exposure using the European test.

Sen. Rosa Franklin, D-Tacoma, sponsored Senate Bill 6732 (which has a counterpart, House Bill 3103) because she lives in a district with quite a few military personnel. “You saw what happened with Agent Orange. There is a time (after exposure) before it expresses itself. I would like to see the testing done,” Franklin said.

Franklin also would like a base or repository for storing test results so that years from now, those affected could find them. The lawmaker estimated the testing costs are around $150,000, saying: “How do you compare $150,000 with the future of these (soldiers)?”

Uncertain future

The bill was passed out of the Senate Health and Long-Term Care Committee last week on a bipartisan vote, but it now faces an uncertain future in the finance committees. Sen. Marilyn Rasmussen, D-Eatonville, co-sponsored the bill, and Democratic Rep. Brendan Williams of Olympia was the first sponsor of the House version, which got a hearing but was not brought up for a vote in committee.

“It was pretty compelling testimony from veterans and people concerned about the issue. So we did pass it out of committee for further consideration,” said Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Kent, who chairs the Senate Health and Long-Term Care Committee. “ “I don’t know if we’ll able to see it progress much further. This is a new issue and a new idea, and you know how that works in short sessions especially.”

Keiser added, “It is not an issue that will go away, however. I’m afraid we’ll be dealing with it. It sounds like there are serious health effects for our veterans.”
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Sunday, February 12, 2006

Sgt Kevin Benderman Vigil at Ft Lewis I-5 Overpass

Sgt Kevin Benderman Vigil at I-5 Overpass, Ft Lewis on Feb 11, 2006.

Sgt Kevin Benderman served in Iraq, filed for Conscientious Objector and is serving a 15 month imprisonment at Ft Lewis; learn more and why at Kevin and Monica Benderman website; Kevin Benderman Timeline www.BendermanTimeline.com

Vigil for soldier draws two sides
Veteran serving time for refusing to deploy

By Katherine Tam

The Olympian

FORT LEWIS — About two dozen activists, including eight from Olympia, called Saturday for the release of a soldier imprisoned here for refusing to deploy to Iraq a second time.

The activists held a banner that read “Free Kevin Benderman from Fort Lewis Brig” over the Interstate 5 overpass at DuPont near the military installation while drivers honked from below.

“He served in the military very faithfully and went to Iraq,” said Wally Cuddeford, who was in the Navy for a year and a half. “The military, instead of honoring the service he has given to his country, is locking him up.”

Benderman was deployed to Iraq from March to September 2003. He filed for conscientious objector status in late 2004; his application was denied. Conscientious objectors are morally opposed to war.

Benderman was to leave for Iraq again in January 2005, but he refused. He was charged with desertion and intentionally missing movement for not boarding the plane for Iraq when his unit left. He was found guilty of the second, lesser charge and sentenced last summer to 15 months in prison. He is serving that sentence at Fort Lewis.

Many activists at Saturday’s vigil said they have never met Benderman, but they support his right to be a conscientious objector.

The group included veterans and those who have never been in war all from Seattle, Olympia and Tacoma.

“I feel it’s a crime to imprison him for doing what his conscience dictates,” said Alice Zillah of Olympia.

“You don’t have to kill someone to be a hero,” added Phan Nguyen, also of Olympia. “A conscientious objector is a hero, and I support people who risk their careers to do what’s right.”

At least three people did not share those sentiments and came to the overpass to hold a counter-rally.

“It’s a disgrace,” Shelley Weber of Olympia said as she waved a large American flag. “I rally here every Saturday and, upon arrival, I see these people on the bridge. I decorated this bridge. I bought the yellow ribbons and flowers.”

“This is the weekend our troops come in for drill. Their protest demoralizes our troops,” added Terry Harder, whose 23- and 26-year-old sons are in the military. Harder is a member of Operation Support Our Troops.

A number of drivers on the overpass wore military uniforms. Some waved, but it was unclear if they were waving at the Benderman supporters or the people holding the counter-rally, because both sides were clustered at the east end of the overpass closest to Fort Lewis.
Meanwhile, the two sides exchanged words.

“Do you know who Kevin Benderman is?” an activist said.

“I couldn’t care less,” Weber said, while another man added, “Kevin’s where he belongs.”

Legal recognition of conscientious objectors dates to the Civil War.

Opinions remain mixed and strong. Some respect a soldier’s right to change his or her mind, while others see the soldier as a coward who leaves when called into harm’s way.

During the Vietnam War, the military granted 172,000 applications for conscientious objector status from draftees who saw the war as unjust.

In exchange, they worked two years in an alternative service, as hospital orderlies, conservation workers and such. About 17,000 soldiers sought the status during that war.

Every year, the Army receives requests from soldiers seeking conscientious objector status. In 2001, when the war in Afghanistan began, the Army processed 21 applications, according to its figures.
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Note: see also AP report Feb 13, 2006 KIRO 7 News
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Tuesday, February 7, 2006

'Marlboro Man' struggles with aftermath of war

see article The once unquestioning Marine is now also questioning whether US forces should be in Iraq.

'Marlboro Man' struggles with aftermath of war
see article in Spokane, WA newspaper Spokesman Review Marine in iconic image now suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

an aside yet very related, Lietta highly recommending this video
video 'No Bravery', a haunting view of Iraq war

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Monday, February 6, 2006

52 Veterans Running in 2006 Congressional Races

Listening to video of Jack Murtha's town hall meeting in VA on Jan 5, I learned of VetPac from one of the Q & A commenters, retired Air Force Colonel Dick Glasso. He was calling attention to how many Veterans are running in the upcoming 2006 Congressional races.

See at VetPac website

Veterans Running in 2006 Congressional Races

This list is for informational purposes only and does not represent VetPAC's specific endorsement or support of the candidates contained herein.

Incumbents to be addressed at a later date

Paul Hackett http://www.hackettforohio.com D OH
Mark Wilson http://www.votemark.org D WA
Hiram Lewis http://www.hiramlewis.com R WV

Herb Paine http://www.paineforcongress.org D AZ
Jeff Latas http://www.jefflatas.com D AZ
Bill Falzett http://www.falzett.org D CA
Charles Brown http://www.brown4congress.org D CA
Steve Filson http://www.filsonforcongress.com D CA
Jim Brandt http://www.friends4brandt.com D CA
John Graham http://www.johngraham.us D CA
Jim Hester http://www.jimhesterforcongress.org D CA
Karen Otter http://www.otterforcongress.com D CA
Jay Fawcett http://www.fawcett4congress.com D CO
Bill Winter http://www.winterforcongress.com D CO
Rick Penberthy http://rickpenberthy.com D FL
Dave Buderly http://www.bruderly.com D FL
Bill Mitchell http://www.billmitchelleforcongress.com D FL
Jim Nelson http://www.electjimnelson.com D GA
Tammy Duckworth http://www.duckworthforcongress.com D IL
John Laesch http://www.john06.com D IL
Dick Auman More data to come. D IL
Rick Cornstuble http://www.corn4congress.com D IN
Mike Weaver http://www.weaverforcongress.com D KY
Andrew Horne http://horneforcongress.com/ D KY
Mishonda Baldwin http://www.baldwinforcongress.com D MD
Andrew Duck http://www.duckforcongress.com D MD
Tim Walz http://www.timhwalzforuscongress.org D MN
Duane Burghard http://www.burghardforcongress.org D MO
Tim Dunn http://www.dunnforcongress.com D NC
Peter Sullivan http://www.sullivanforcongress.com D NH
Pete Duffy http://www.peteduffyforcongress.com D NH
Richard Sexton http://richsextonforcongress.com D NJ
Eric Massa http://www.massaforcongress.com D NY
David Fierst http://www.realdems.net D OH
John Wolfe http://www.wolfe2006.org D OH
Jack Schira More data to come D OH
Joe Sulzer http://www.joesulzer.com D OH
Bert Smith http://www.bertsmithforcongress.citymax.com D OK
Bryan Lentz http://www.lentzforcongress.com D PA
Patrick Murphy http://www.murphy06.com D PA
Chris Carney http://www.carneyforcongress.com D PA
Tom Kovach http://www.kovachforcongress.com D PA
Phil Avillo http://www.avilloforcongress.com D PA
Lee Ballenger http://www.voteballenger.com D SC
Terry Stulce http://www.terry06.com D TN
Dan Dodd http://www.dandodd.us D TX
Charlie Thompson http://www.charliethompson.org D TX
David Harris http://www.followmetodc.com D TX
David Murff http://www.murff4congress.com D TX
Ted Ankrum http://www.tedankrum.com D TX
Van Taylor http://www.vantaylor.com R TX
John Courage http://courageforcongress.org D TX
Rick Bolanas http://www.rickbolanosfortexas.com D TX
David Ashe http://www.davidasheforcongress.com D VA
Al Weed http://www.alweedforcongress.com D VA
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31 Days in Iraq; Visual Map; while new Majority Leader John Boehner says....

Visual map shows what the last 31 days in Iraq looks like; IED explosions, car bombs, mortar attacks, suicide bombings; killed. It's worth a look and brief study for more realistic view than what is reported in our daily mainstream news; and it certainly doesn't line up with the President, Commander-in-Chief's rosey assessment of situation in Iraq, even while he introduces the 'long war' concept.

And on the 'long war', from the memory hole; Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld said

""It's not knowable what a war or conflict like that is going to cost.

You don't know if it's going to last two days or two weeks or two months. It's certainly not going to last two years, but it's going to cost money,'' Donald Rumsfeld, late 2002.

And this:
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said that he does not think Iraq will be a "long war." But he declined to give a timeline or predict what the U.S. troop level will be at the end of the year.

I'm not too reassured either that the new Majority Leader, John Boehner, has this to say about Iraq (video link) " It may not benefit our generation, but for our kids and theirs, this maybe the greatest gift we give them."
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Letter from Sue Niederer, 2nd anniversary, son KIA in Iraq 2004

Posting a letter received from my friend, Sue Niederer, parents of son Lt. Seth Dvorin, killed in Iraq Feb 2004. I met Sue on the Bring Them Home Now tour, when she arrived to travel with us on our central tour bus. I met and spent time with a mother, and a grandmother who delighted in her grandchild. I don't know what I expected as I was in awe and somewhat intimidated having known about her from media reports of her being removed from Laure Bush fundraiser event, handcuffed and arrested around the time of the 2004 elections.

She is as much every mother and grandmother as am I and others, and a woman I've come to respect personally. Later Arthur and I had the privilege of spending a couple of days with Sue, driving her from Seatac airport to Port Angeles where she had speaking engagement, visiting Hurricane Ridge, and driving her back to Seatac. She was accompanied by young Iraq Veteran, Michael Hoffman, of Iraq Veterans Against the War. The woman and mother that is Sue is a Lady and her actions in grief denote the courage she has to speak out....before many were speaking out. Sue's letter of Feb 2, 2006 below. Respect to you Sue.

Sue & Greg Niederer mark 2 years of LIVES SHATTERED...

To All:

I needed to write this note today to get things off of my chest. Do with it as you desire. As for any reports, this is a follow up to what life has been for me the last two years. I send it to you for hopeful publication. Inform people what life is all about for the family of the fallen.

Today is Feb. 3, 2006 for most people this will be just an ordinary day, but for others it will be a day that changes their lives forever. Let me explain that statement. It was two years ago today that I received not the knock on the door, but the phone call from HELL. It was approximately 6:14 in the evening and we were just going to sit down to dinner, when the phone rang. Called ID said it was Pam. Pam is my son's mother in law, I said to Greg this is not good. He said you answer, I did and it wasn't good news. She informed us that Kelly had just been informed by the military that her Husband Seth our son was killed that morning. He had been sent out on what turned out to be suicide mission. I asked what we could do for Kelly and she stated that she and Mike her husband were heading to New Hampshire to be with her. Greg looked at me and stated "it is the worst isn't it"? I said yes. He just came to me and we both cried and went into a state of shock.

We knew what we had to do, but could we do it? I believe that we did it out of rote, without thinking just doing. The phone at that point rang and it was my sister in law, an innocent phone call led her to be the first informed of the killing of Seth. What a shock, she was in disbelief. From that point on we just continued to make phone call to family and friends. The hardest call was to my father who was so proud of his grandson Seth and the person that he was. I made that call as Greg used the other phone line to inform others. I was fortunate enough to get my stepmother on the phone first, and I told her, she just started to scream, at which point my dad asked her what happened. She told him and was not sure, how he was going to handle it. He did how I do not know but he did. The next call went to my brother, what do you say to someone that just adored his nephew. Gary, Seth is gone he was killed this morning. I never say my brother move so fast and be at our home in comfort us so quickly. Our home is now filled with people, friends relatives, neighbors etc. That was my Feb. 2, 2004

Then why do I write this, because I want people to understand how a moment can change a families life forever.
My questions are what has changed in Iraq in the last two years?? NOTHING, yes they have voted and supposedly have a constitution, but their government is still not in place, so what has been gained. Again NOTHING. Do our troops have the proper training and equipment that they well deserve. NO just ask Mr. Rumsfeld, as he stated prior, we go to war with what we have not necessarily with what we want or need. That was stated nearly a year and a half ago, and the troops still do not have either the proper training or equipment. The soldiers are still being killed by the IED's each and every day so why is it that this country spending is spending billions of dollars on technology has not come up with something to jam the signals of the IED"S. Why because they do not care about the troops as they say they do. If they did then some of them would have their own children or themselves serving in this righteous military. Maybe they have but someone's pocket is not being lined enough. Why are these young men and women being sent out on suicide missions, missions of no return? Why.

Why is it that the troops that have come home wounded are not treated with the proper care or respect. Why does the military not understand the meaning of Post Traumatic Syndrome, and asks it's soldiers to sign a waiver, of release for this condition. When are the families of the deceased going to be taken care of? Money is not necessarily what they need, how about schooling, counseling, some type of guidance for the future, not just the first six months of having a mentor. Ours disappeared after (days) I began to protest, so much for her, she is angry, get away from there.

The only thing that has changed, to some extent is that Mr. Bush realizes mistakes have been made. That we as a nation were ill informed by our administration about the reason we went to war. Try we were lied to. However, he informs us that we have to stay the course. What course, what is the direction that we are going in??? Tell us that. He also states that the fallen hero's have died for a "noble cause" explain that to me. I along with many others I am sure would love to know what that is.

The bottom line here is what has Seth and approximately 2240 + others died for. What has changed in these long 2 years. NOTHING. This shows the total lack of respect this administration has for the troops that are fighting for this country. BRING THEM HOME NOW -- AND TREAT THE WITH RESPECT WHEN THEY DO.

Sue NIederer
mother of Lt. Seth Dvorin
KIA 2-3-04 Iraq

P.S. They say that life goes on and gets better with time, NOT TRUE: Let anyone that can stand in my shoe's inform me of that, and I will say thank you. Remember a parent does not bury a CHILD a CHILD bury's their parent.
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Legislation; exposure depleted uranium WA state Natl Guard

SENATE BILL SB 6732 (studying military uranium exposure, returning WA National Guard) moves out of committee and on to Ways and Means in Washington State.

Please contact members of the Senate Ways and Means Committee to tell them SB 6732 is on the way and why it needs to be passed.

More detail at Military Families Speak Out, Washington state chapter and also posted at Washblog.

The states of Louisiana and Connecticut already have legislation to screen for depleted uranium exposure in place for their returning state Natl Guard. New York is proposing similar legislation for their returning Natl Guard and in my own state of Washington, similar legislation has been proposed; hearings and now on the move to the next level.

Details: View online progress and reports at SB6732

Also including text of the pdf adobe report of the State Senate hearings held on this bill in Olympia Feb 2, 2006

SB 6732

As Reported By Senate Committee On:
Health & Long-Term Care, February 2, 2006

Title: An act relating to exposure to depleted uranium and other hazardous materials by members and veterans of the national guard.

Brief Description: Studying military uranium exposure.

Sponsors: Senators Franklin and Rasmussen.

Brief History:

Committee Activity: Health & Long-Term Care: 2/2/06 [DP-WM].


Majority Report: Do pass and be referred to Committee on Ways & Means.

Signed by Senators Keiser, Chair; Thibaudeau, Vice Chair; Franklin, Kastama, Kline and Poulsen.

Staff: Sharon Swanson (786-7447)


Depleted uranium is what is left over when most of the highly radioactive isotopes of uranium are removed for use as nuclear fuel or nuclear fuel weapons. The depleted uranium is used in armor-piercing munitions and in enhanced armor protection for some Abrams tanks.

Heavy metals such as uranium, tungsten, and lead have chemical toxicity properties that, in high doses, can cause adverse health effects.

Depleted uranium was used extensively in place of tungsten for ammunition by the United States and United Kingdom in the first Gulf War. A report issued by the Hague Peace Conference, dated May, 1999, states that at least 320 tons of depleted uranium was "lost" during the first Gulf War and that much of that was converted at high temperature into an aerosol, creating a mist or fog.

Once inhaled, very small particles of depleted uranium can reside in the lungs for years, slowly passing through the lung tissue into the blood. Uranium can be stored in bone, lymph, liver, kidney, or other tissues. Eventually, all uranium that gets into the bloodstream ends up in the kidneys prior to expulsion through urine.

Summary of Bill: Effective October 1, 2006, the Adjutant General of the Washington State National Guard is required to assist any eligible member or veteran in obtaining federal treatment services, who:

l) Has been assigned a risk level I, II, or III for depleted uranium exposure by his or
her branch of service;

2) Is referred by a military physician; or
Senate Bill Report - 1 - SB 6732

3) Has reason to believe that he or she was exposed to depleted uranium during service.

Eligible member is defined as a member of the Washington National Guard who served in the Persian Gulf War, or in an area designated as a combat zone during Operation EnduringFreedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The bill directs the Adjutant General to submit a report on the scope and adequacy of training received by members of the National Guard on exposure to depleted uranium.

Additionally, the report must include an assessment of the feasibility and cost of adding pre-deployment training concerning potential exposure to depleted uranium and other toxic chemical substances and the precautions recommended under combat and non-combat conditions.

The report is due by October 1, 2006.

A task force which includes the Secretary of the Department of Health, or designee, the Adjutant General, the Director of Veterans Affairs, six legislative members, and additional members totaling fifteen is created. The task force is directed to complete several tasks by January 31, 2007, specifically:

1) initiate a health registry;

2) develop a plan for outreach to affected military personnel; and

3) prepare a report on potential exposure to depleted uranium
and recommendations for precautions to be taken.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Available.

Committee/Commission/Task Force Created: Yes.

Effective Date: Ninety days after adjournment of session in which bill is passed.

Testimony For:

The United States government and military has a history of lying to its veterans.

In Vietnam, it was agent orange. Many veterans returned home to a life of cancer, children with birth defects, and eventually death. The military claimed to not know about agent orange.

Our new veterans returning home from Iraq face similar challenges. We need to force the military to perform the proper tests to determine uranium poisoning.

The current test only looks for uranium in urine. That test is only good for thirty days. The conclusive testing must look at blood results, tissue testing, and must be able to detect microscopic particles.

Depleted uranium becomes microscopic. Troops breath it in and it settles in the lungs.

In Mississippi, returning Persian Gulf male veterans are 1.7 times more likely to father children with birth defects. Female Persian Gulf veterans are 2.4 times more likely to give birth to a child with birth defects.

This is only the beginning.

England and Germany are conducting the proper tests. The United States needs to do the same for their veterans.

Testimony Against: None.

Who Testified:

Terrence Zander, Veterans for Peace

Jerry Muchmore, Veteran

George Hill, M.D.

Peter Von Christierson, Depleted Uranium Study Team

Col. Ron Weaver, Washington Military Department

Harvey Brooks, National Association of Black Veterans

Note: Written testimony by MFSO was provided and entered into the testimony record. While time was allotted to MFSO representative (Lietta Ruger) to give oral testimony, due to the time limitations allowing for approximately 2 minutes to each testimony, choice made for MFSO representation to provide written testimony and yield more time to others presenting oral testimony.
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Wednesday, February 1, 2006

You go Jack Murtha ! Tell it like it is

Just have to take a minute to say I love how Jack Murtha lays it on the line. He was interviewed today on CNN, The Situation Room, and also on Hardball. Thank you Marine Congressman Murtha and please keep on telling it like it is.... once again our President and Commander-in-Chief has delivered the State of the Union and offered zip, nothing except 'the long war' as any kind of plan for Iraq. And even that is not a 'plan', just a new buzz phrase being offered up at the deadly expense of our troops and their families.

Murtha's Letter To The President..."Iraq Has Diverted Our Attention Away From The Fight Against Global Terrorism"...
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Iraq war vet survives Iraq; shot 3 x by deputy sheriff

Elio Carrion, an Air Force policeman who spent 6 months deployed in Iraq survives to come home to California where he is shot 3 times by sheriff's deputy. Carrion was a passenger in a car that was stopped for speeding. It appears Carrion was following deputy's orders and trying to de-escalate the situation when he was shot.

CNN.com - Video shows�deputy wounding Iraq war vet� - Feb 1, 2006
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T-shirt, SOTU, the other woman escorted out of SOTU

How about the other woman wearing a t-shirt and was escorted out of SOTU last night. With plenty being said and reported about Cindy Sheehan and the t-shirt she wore at SOTU last night when she was escorted out of Chambers and arrested, how about the other woman who wore a t-shirt and was escorted out of Chambers (although not arrested). Who is she?

Beverly Young, wife of Republican Congressman, S.W. Bill Young, who wore a t-shirt at SOTU last night and was escorted out seems to doing for the troops more than many of us are doing or able to do....thank you and way to go Beverly!

"Beverly supported the Iraq war but now has qualms. She has seen too many soldiers and Marines blown up by improvised explosive devices, the bombs used by insurgents.

"I'm all for (the troops) coming home because these IEDs are vicious," she says."

Worldandnation: Capitol Hill wife who just won't sit still: " Seen but not heard? Not Beverly Young. For wounded soldiers, she'll make such a fuss laws are changed.

By BILL ADAIR, Times Washington Bureau Chief
Published December 19, 2005

BETHESDA, Md. - This is not how congressional wives are supposed to act.

They are not supposed to curse at Pentagon officials, write angry letters to President Bush or say that members of Congress take bribes.

But Beverly Young, the wife of Rep. C.W. Bill Young of Indian Shores, doesn't play by those rules. Spend a day with her visiting wounded Marines at the National Naval Medical Center and you'll hear a few expletives. When she sees a photograph of a former hospital official, Beverly says: 'See this b----? If she were here, I'd deck her.'

But mostly what you hear from Beverly is compassion for the Marines who lie in the surgical ward, wincing from their injuries. Many have had arms or legs amputated. She holds their hands and tells each of them, 'We love you, Marine.'

She asks one if he needs chewing tobacco or whiskey. She slips $200 to the fiancee of another.

She spends several days a week at the hospital, often bringing pizzas or DVDs. When the Marines have no family, Beverly spends hours in their rooms like a surrogate mother. One Marine says that when he was overmedicated with painkillers, she saved his life by cursing in his ear like a drill instructor.

Laws have been changed thanks to Beverly. She prodded her husband to create a nationwide registry for bone marrow donors. When she discovered the military charged wounded soldiers for hospital meals, she raised such a fuss Congress repealed the law.

Says Marine Brig. Gen. John Kelly: 'She can be a royal pain in the a-- - but only to people who don't care about the troops.'

* * *

On a cold December morning, the Youngs arrive at the Bethesda naval hospital. Three staffers from Bill's congressional office carry boxes of CD players and music CDs for the injured Marines. People injured in battle often can't stop the sounds of war in their heads. Music helps.

As the Youngs stop in each room, Beverly goes bedside and holds a hand or rubs a shoulder. She never lets go.

She and Bill talk with a Marine whose leg was amputated at his knee because of a grenade blast. He is groggy from painkillers.

They are ready to offer him a CD player when his mother says the band Fleetwood Mac has given iPods loaded with rock music to everyone in the ward. But Beverly has noticed a photo of the Marine wearing a cowboy hat. "Do you need any country music?" she asks.

He does. She summons the aide with the CDs. "We need some country."

She flips through the assortment. "Lonestar? Brooks & Dunn? Kenny Chesney?"

"I like Brooks & Dunn," he says. She hands over a CD player, a Brooks & Dunn CD and a couple of others.

They chat about his family and his Western roots. Beverly wonders if a little chewing tobacco would help him recuperate. "Do you need some dip?"

He shakes his head no.

"You need some whiskey?"

"I love whiskey," he says.

They talk about his injuries and his wish to get home for Christmas. She ends the visit by telling him, "We love you, Marine."

* * *

The Youngs' generosity comes in hundreds of gestures, big and small. When wounded soldiers or Marines leave the hospital, Bill and Beverly take them out for a steak dinner. On Christmas, the Youngs deliver turkeys to Marines in Quantico, Va., and then take gifts to the patients in the Army and Navy hospitals. "We just try to make them know they are loved," Beverly says.

The Youngs do not seek publicity for their work. (It took several requests before they would allow the St. Petersburg Times to accompany them for this story.)

But Beverly is not shy about seeking donations. She got her gynecologist to pay for the CD players and music. She got the country band Alabama and many others to donate money to a paralyzed sailor.

She makes her rounds at military and veterans hospitals in Bethesda, Washington and the Tampa Bay area. Bill accompanies her when his schedule permits. They spend hundreds of dollars from their own pockets on pizzas, clothes, movies. Beverly has been known to bring pitchers of margaritas or a bottle of Jack Daniel's.

She insists they call her Beverly. "You call me "ma'am,"' she says, "and I'm going to whup your a--."

* * *

Beverly, 50, grew up in an Italian family in Seminole, the youngest of five. She married a Pinellas sheriff's deputy shortly after high school and they moved to Colorado, where she became a volunteer firefighter and medic.

They divorced and she returned to Pinellas County and went to work as a secretary in Bill's congressional office. Bill divorced his first wife and married Beverly in 1985. They have two sons, Billy, 21, and Patrick, 18, and Robbie, 29, from her first marriage.

Bill is 75, 25 years older, a difference that was difficult at first. "There were people taking bets on whether this marriage would last - and I was one of them," she says. "A couple of times I wanted to run. But we had kids."

Their marriage grew stronger as they put the boys first. She stayed home to take care of them, and Bill skipped nighttime political events so he could be home for dinner.

They have very different personalities. Beverly is fiery and blunt, Bill is gentle and diplomatic. Their marriage is proof that opposites attract. "He once told me that I was everything he was not allowed to be," she says.

Spend a day with them and you get the sense there is a good cop-bad cop strategy at work. He smiles and steps aside while she raises hell. But he supports everything she does.

He says Beverly introduced him to some important health care programs such as bone marrow transplants. He then created a federal bone marrow registry that has saved thousands of lives.

Both of the Youngs are devoted to the military. Beverly always respected men and women in uniform, but she became more passionate five years ago after helping a Marine who was shot in the back during training. Now, when she or Bill meet with the wounded, they always say, "Thank you for your sacrifice."

It is common for Capitol Hill spouses to adopt causes, but what's striking about the wife of Florida's most powerful House member is her style. She is not demure. She once attended a meeting of congressional wives but walked out after 20 minutes. She and Bill avoid the D.C. party circuit.

"She has never been the typical congressional wife," Bill says, with a knowing smile. He says he likes the fact that she is "very honest and open."

Beverly makes wisecracks about going through menopause, but looks five or 10 years younger than she is. She has a stylish haircut and gold hoop earrings, and - even when visiting the Capitol - wears jeans and a Marine Corps T-shirt that says "Nothing But Attitude."

"I could buy a dress for George Bush's Christmas party - or give $200 to (the fiancee of the wounded Marine). I'd rather give it to the girl."

Members of Congress usually live in pricey homes close to the Capitol or in nearby suburbs. But the Youngs live 30 miles away in Woodbridge, Va.

Beverly says it's all they can afford because her husband "doesn't take bribes like all the others."

* * *

Bill, who has clout with the military as chairman of the appropriations defense subcommittee, is a Republican who usually votes with his party. But his record is a little too conservative for Beverly's tastes, especially on abortion and gay rights.

"I think people should be able to be in love with whoever they want," she says. "I don't think men have a right to tell women what to do with their bodies."

Beverly supported the Iraq war but now has qualms. She has seen too many soldiers and Marines blown up by improvised explosive devices, the bombs used by insurgents.

"I'm all for (the troops) coming home because these IEDs are vicious," she says.

She is no fan of politicians, even though her husband is one.

"The world would be a much better place without partisanship," she says. But she is protective of Bill's reputation and says that when he retires, she might run for his seat if she doesn't like the candidates.

"I don't have a lot of political knowledge and I don't know much about the system. But I think I would be better than a lot of these people in state politics. I would do what's right for the people."

She is a Republican so she can vote for Bill in primary elections, but at least once she voted against him. In 1984, she voted for Democrat Robert Kent, a former wig salesman who changed his name from Ivan Korunek because he wanted a stronger name. He had little money and got trounced, but Beverly liked his honesty. She always prefers the underdog.

* * *

A few months ago, Beverly read that the Army was tightening its rules about when wounded soldiers could accept donations.

She was outraged. She feared the crackdown would discourage donors and intimidate soldiers.

She sat down at her computer and fired off a letter to President Bush. It began, "My name is Beverly Young, wife of Chairman Bill Young of Florida. In my 20 years in Washington I honestly believed there was nothing more that could shock me, but I was wrong."

A White House aide wrote back to say that the Pentagon would look into Beverly's complaints.

Her letter violated an unspoken rule for congressional wives, that they are to be seen and not heard. But Beverly didn't care. She was furious that an Army official would try to restrict donations.

"Why the hell did some idiot make that stupid comment and put it in the paper?" she told a reporter. "It has scared the wounded."

The Army insisted the rules were not discouraging anyone and that soldiers were still getting donations swiftly. But Beverly didn't believe it.

"F--- that!" she later said. "Print that: F--- that! These kids ought to be able to get anything they want from a grateful American."

Because of her complaints, Congress is changing the law.

* * *

Marine Lance Cpl. Josh Callihan was shot four times in the back in a training exercise. The bullets hit his spinal cord, leaving him partially paralyzed.

When he heard the Youngs wanted to see him, he expected the usual political visit: a handshake, a few snapshots and they would be gone.

But the Youngs came every day. When his condition deteriorated, Bill and Beverly acted as his family, meeting with doctors, discussing treatments.

Callihan was so heavily medicated, he was a zombie. He stopped eating and simply sat in his bed, staring into space. Bill and Beverly conferred with his doctors, who said his prognosis was not good. They wanted to transfer him to the psychiatric ward.

Beverly broke into tears. She left the meeting and went to Callihan's bedside.

"You know something, Marine?" she whispered in his ear. "You are a damn disgrace. If you were a real Marine, you would just pull out of this. I will get Gen. Jones (the head of the Marine Corps) down here and we will kick your a-- if you don't get better."

It was as if someone flipped a switch inside him. Callihan came to life and started talking to Beverly. He did not have to go to the psych ward.

When Callihan recovered, Rep. Young hired him for his congressional office. When he needed a place to stay, Bill and Beverly let him live at their home.

Callihan, who now works for a congressman in his home state of Idaho, says Beverly's tough love was the spark he needed.

"It got me fired up," he says. "She was instrumental in me surviving. If it hadn't been for her, I would have literally fallen through the cracks."

--Washington bureau chief Bill Adair can be reached at adair@sptimes.com or 202 463-0575.

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