Chances are that Army deserter Adam Martin is long gone from these parts.
But his mother, sister and a newspaper reporter from Martin's hometown in Texas don't want to leave any stone unturned in their search for the 20-year-old soldier.
"He was only at Fort Benning a couple of weeks, and he rarely, if ever, left post until the weekend he disappeared. Maybe somebody in Columbus knows his whereabouts," Martin's mother, Donna Kay Martin, said Thursday via telephone from her home in Palestine, Texas.
Martin enlisted in the Army in July and attended basic training at Fort Jackson, in Columbia, S.C.
On the day he graduated in October, he, his mom and sister Jennifer Cupples went out to dinner and enjoyed a couple of movies before they dropped him off at the post late that evening.
"It was the last time we saw him," Cupples said of her younger brother.
Martin was proud of his accomplishment. He'd lost weight in training and had been accepted to Airborne School at Fort Benning. "Everything seemed to be going pretty well."
But once at Benning, rectal bleeding put him in Martin Army Community Hospital, thus delaying his entrance into Airborne School.
The above is from Mick Walsh' "Benning soldier disappears: Family searches for Adam Martin, who they insist did not go AWOL" (Columbus Ledger-Enquirer) and as the title and the excerpt should indicate, his family doesn't believe he self-checked out. So where he is? He had rectal bleeding, his family doesn't believe he checked out and the military has nothing to indicate he was at risk for checking himself out. Why are they classifiying him as AWOL and deserted? Because it's the easiest thing to do or because something's being sweeped under the rug?
Meanwhile, remember the illegal war had nothing to do with oil. Nothing. Forget Alan Greenspan's revelation in his book, forget everything. Deb Riechmann's "VP, Saudis to Talk About Oil Security"(AP) details Dick Cheney's visit to Saudi Arabia and reminds the White House was visiting that nation at the start of the year:
During his trip to Saudi Arabia in January, President Bush urged the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to increase production, saying it was a mistake to have the economies of its largest customers slowing down as a result of higher energy prices.
The oil-producing nations ignored Bush's request. The White House said it disagreed with OPEC's decision to rebuff that request, and that the oil-producing nations themselves could be hurt by gas prices that are more than $3 a gallon.
Cheney was greeted at King Khaled International Airport by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal. The two shared tea inside the airport before heading to the king's horse farm, a posh retreat with a towering water fountain and statues of four show horses, their tails standing high.
And Alexandra Zavis (Los Angeles Times) reports on the continued US problems in getting the puppet regime in Baghdad to employ the thugs who became turncoats when the US tossed coins at them:
After months of U.S. entreaties, Prime Minister Nouri Maliki's Shiite-led government grudgingly agreed in December to hire a portion of the mostly Sunni Arab fighters for the official security forces. But the process of vetting and approving the job candidates is painfully slow -- some say deliberately so -- and less than a third of them are expected to qualify.
U.S. and Iraqi officials are now hammering out details of a plan to revive local economies and create new opportunities for the fighters through vocational training, public works schemes, farm revitalization programs, micro-grants and business start-up loans. The two governments have committed $155 million apiece to the projects.
But these are long-term strategies, and the fighters need jobs now. If not, many openly declare they will have no choice but to work for the insurgency, which has tried to lure some of them back with offers of more money.
Already, cracks are appearing in what one senior official describes as the central plank of the U.S. counterinsurgency strategy. Hundreds of Sunni guards abandoned their posts for weeks last month in the Diyala provincial capital, Baqubah, demanding the replacement of a provincial police chief, a Shiite Muslim they accused of brutality against Sunnis. Errant U.S. airstrikes, which have killed a number of the fighters, prompted a similar walkout in Jurf al Sakhar, south of Baghdad.
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