The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Staff Sgt. Anthony D. Davis, 29, of Daytona Beach, Fla., died Jan. 6 in Northern Iraq, of wounds suffered when he was shot by enemy forces. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia.
For more information media may contact the U.S. Army Special Operations Command public affairs office at (910) 432-6005; (910) 689-6187 after hours, or visit http://news.soc.mil .
No, M-NF never announced that death, as they are supposed to. M-NF announces deaths, DoD identifies the fallen after the families have been informed. 4223 is the current number of US service members who have died in Iraq since the start of the illegal war.
Staying with DoD but shifting to another topic . . .
The Army issued a formal apology to the families of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan after it sent them letters with the salutation "Dear John Doe."
In December, the Army sent out 7,000 letters to the families of most of the 3,544 soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001 containing information about services or gifts for which they might be eligible.
Although the envelopes were properly addressed, a software problem resulted in an error that printed the salutation "Dear John Doe" at the top of the letters, which were printed by a private contractor.
That's from Julian E. Barnes' "Army apologizes for error in letters" (Los Angeles Times) and you can read all the way through it or through Elisbeth Bumiller's "Army Letter to Survivors Was Addressed to 'John Doe'" (New York Times) and never find the most obvious statment: The 7,000 letters were form letters. This is from Bumiller's report:
The letters, which were sent to provide information about private groups that offer assistance to families of soldiers killed in the wars, were supposed to have carried personal greetings. The Army said that the mistake was the fault of a subcontractor that printed the letters, but that the service bore ultimate responsibility because it did not check the letters before they were mailed.
[. . .]
The Army said that its chief of staff, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., would be sending 7,000 personally addressed letters of apology.
The John Doe letters, dated Dec. 20 and signed by Col. Carl M. Johnson, the service's director of casualty and mortuary affairs, were sent from the Army Human Resources Command, in Alexandria, Va. An Army spokesman said that Colonel Johnson had signed a master letter but that because of either a computer glitch or human error, individual names and addresses had not been printed on each of the 7,000 copies mailed.
Master letter? They were form letters. Should they have been? 7,000 is not a large number of letters considering the military's size (or budget). Why they were contracted out to begin with is a question that should be answered. Men and women died serving in the military and the military can't even type up a letter? They have to outsource it? What is that, further attempts to ignore the dead, like hiding coffins?
Now if the letters had been kept within the military, you can be pretty sure that someon would have seen a problem before they were dropped in the mail. As for Johnson, it's no more his fault than anyone else's. He signed a master letter. That was used for his signature on the generic form letters.
These were form letters and they shouldn't have been outsourced. You can bet that the letter of apology won't be outsourced (unless someone's a complete idiot) and, guess what, those will be form letters as well. They will insert in the name of the family, the name of the service member who died and mail that out. It never should have happened. It never should have been outsourced. And the company who won that contract needs to be revealed.
Ann Scott Tyson's "Army Sends 'Dear John Doe' Letters to Families of Fallen Troops" (Washington Post) manages to bring the human factor into the story:
"The indication that anyone would perceive that a hero is not significant, that they would not direct this personally to them, is shattering," said Merrilee Carlson, whose son, Sgt. Michael Carlson, died in Baqubah, Iraq, on Jan. 24, 2005. "While it's a simple mistake, it's a very tragic mistake," said Carlson, who learned of the letter from other families and expected to receive one yesterday.
Turning to the wounded, Lizette Alvarez and Erik Eckholm's "Purple Heart Is Ruled Out for Traumatic Stress" (New York Times) details the decision by the Pentagon not to award Purple Hearts to those suffering extreme PTSD. You hear a hundred and one excuses and minimizations.
If you pay close attention, you also grasp that you're seeing why so many suffering from PTSD initially refuse to seek help: The military continues to treat it as a nothing. Read the article, it's not even a 'real' wound. That's the attitude and it's why all the fliers posted in barracks won't change the reluctance of service members, as they prepare for discharge, to say, "I need help."
Who needs help from something so insignificant, so minor? Military Order of Purple Heart's John Bircher III 'explains,' "There were wounds there" for 'real' injuries and that to receive a Purple Heart, "Shedding blood is the objective."
That is so insulting and it backs up the culture of denial inbred in the US military when it comes to PTSD. Until it's confronted, many will not receive the treatment they need. The Pentagon's latest stunt and the remarks by so many in the article go a long way towards ensuring that PTSD is not seen as the very real war wound that it is.
Again, posters in barracks and pamphlets left on tables won't change the perception of PTSD when the entire military culture from on high repeatedly insists it's not 'really' a wound
Meanwhile Barack lunched at the White House. A18 of the national edition of the New York Times contains a disturbing photo of Barack flanked by either Bush as he grins at Bully Boy (the junior) who grins back while Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter are off to the side. For those still waking up this morning, Clinton and Carter are the Democrats. Barack's more comfortable with the Republicans. No surprise. Below are similar photos from the gathering.
Former President Bush and Former President Carter to the White House
President George W. Bush meets with former Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter and President-elect Barack Obama Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2009 in the Oval Office of the White House. White House photo by Eric Draper
No surprise they're so cozy. As Wally and Cedric noted in their joint-post last night, Barack's making statements about 'addressing' the Social Security 'crisis' (there is no crisis) -- how very Republican of him.
To be really clear, on another topic, IPS and Foreign Policy In Focus needs to get their damn s**t together. You are PISSING people off, not converting them to concern for the Palestinians. And it's no one's fault but your own.
You've already had the idiot John Feffer write his sexist slam about Hillary (where he needs women cowed and defeated and he so needs that to feel like a man -- indicating he's not one, no surprise to anyone who's seen him -- he will quote right-wingers as reliable sources and Foreign Policy In Focus will allow him to). Now you've got LOONEY STEPHEN ZUNES.
You should never let that ass publish without a fact check. This is the IDIOT who claimed Hillary had only made one trip to Iraq. IDIOT. You pulled that article from the FPIF site. That's not good enough. And Crackpot Zunes' latest? He has to work Hillary into it because he cannot call out Barack. (Like John, IDIOT LUNATIC ZUNES is scared of men but gets his jollies spitting on women.) When he works in Hillary and has a link to back up his claim it's always a good idea if the link actually HAS A DAMN THING TO DO WITH HILLARY.
I have no idea what CRACKPOT did or was trying to link to but I'm not the idiot who let Stephen Zunes out of his padded cell. He's saying Hillary signed onto a letter and linking to the document but Hillary's signature is nowhere on it. She's not even mentioned (it's PDF and you can use the "find" function if it was too much trouble for FPIF to scroll through -- you will however find a strong statement by David Axlerod that Zunes, who linked to the piece, 'forgets' to call out). This s**t is getting real old and will cause people to tune out FPIF and IPS if it continues.
No, Crazy Zunes didn't publish it at FPIF. He published it at the crackpot, spy on young children website. But the article ends with this: "Stephen Zunes is a professor of politics and chairman of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco and serves as a senior policy analyst for Foreign Policy in Focus."
If your Hillary Hatred is more important to you than helping the Palestinians, continue allowing John Feffer and Stephen Zunes to be sexist assholes. It won't help Palestinians but that's obviously not a big concern to FPIF or IPS.
I have no idea how many e-mails there are complaining about The Idiot Zunes. I've easily read forty this morning. We can go into greater depth if need and provide additional facts check to the fact-less Zunes. If this is enough, we'll cover something else tonight. As a general rule, never read Zunes or Feffer. They rarely know what they're talking about. Phyllis Bennis is your best bet at IPS and Foreign Policy In Focus. She can get it wrong (and has) but she's generally on top of the issues she's writing about.
Those writing about Senator Roland Burris, Jim's asked me to try to hold off on the topic so we can make it the editorial at Third again. If I can, I will. If I get pissed off (and I'm almost there reading the morning papers) and can't, the topic will be covered in today's snapshot. (Senator Burris should be seated and shouldn't have to jump through hoops in order to be seated.)
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