Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Deaths and assaults

As we were noting yesterday morning, "An attack on a US military base isn't deemed 'news'." Two service members died over the weekend and one during an attack on a US military base but it wasn't news to front page or really to even notice unless you were Reuters. After Gen David Petraeus finished his song and dance before the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday, DoD began releasing a flurry of announcements. Including that "Pfc. Erin L. McLyman, 26, of Federal Way, Wash., died March 13 in Balad, Iraq, of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked her base with mortar fire. She was assigned to the 296th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Joint Base Lews-McChord, Wash." We'll get to the other big announcements in minute but note right now that Petraeus goes before the House Armed Services Committee this morning. Meanwhile AP notes that Spc Lakeshia M. Bailey (Columbus) and Sgt Aaron M. Arthur (Lake City, South Carolina) "died in a vehicle accident" Monday of last week.

Jay Warren (WCPO) reports family members have revealed that Staff Sgt Richard Jordan died "in a vehicle rollover" on Monday. Scripps News Service notes his survivors include "a wife and two children and a host of family here in Cincinnati".

DoD's other announcements yesterday included the following:

The Department of Defense today released the fiscal 2009 Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military.
In fiscal 2009, a total of 3,230 restricted and unrestricted reports of sexual assault were filed, involving military members as either victims or subjects, which is an 11 percent increase from fiscal 2008. There were 714 restricted reports filed in fiscal 2009. Under the restricted (confidential) reporting option, service members may choose to obtain medical, mental health care and other services without becoming involved in the military criminal justice process. This year, 123 victims converted their reports from restricted to unrestricted, which is included in the overall total of 2,516 unrestricted reports.
"One sexual assault is too many. As such, the best way to combat sexual assault is to prevent it," said Clifford L. Stanley, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.
To advance the prevention of sexual assault, the department provided its DoD Sexual Assault Prevention Strategy to the senior leaders of each military service and the National Guard Bureau in fiscal 2009. Each military service held leadership summits in fiscal 2009, keynoted by their service secretary, chief of staff and commandant of the Marine Corps, to emphasize the importance of command's role in prevention. The department also deployed a multimedia prevention campaign, "My Strength is for Defending: Preventing Sexual Assault is Part of My Duty," across the military services.
The full report is available at: For service specific information, contact the individual military services at 703-697-2564 for Army, 703-697-5342 for Navy, and 703-695-0640 for Air Force.

Elisabeth Bumiller (New York Times) reports on the above and I'm comfortable with a link but not comfortable quoting. That has nothing to do with Bumiller but everything to do with Kaye Whitley who has repeatedly been caught in one lie after another, who refused to provide testimony at Congress at one point and who, when she now provides testimony, makes a point to attack the credibility and integrity of other women who come before Congress to share their assault stories. In other words, Kaye's a real piece of work. (Typing that, I know she will have her government posse storm the public e-mail with faux outrage. Don't worry, Kaye, I can use a good laugh. And I believe that is your life's purpose.)

Maybe it's seeing a woman cry during her testimony as she relives particulars of her assault in an attempt to help others and then watch Kaye purse her little lips and imply that the woman's a liar that causes me to wonder why she still has her job? Or maybe it's the fact that she refused to provide testimony to the Democratically controlled Congress. Regardless, she should have been out of her job long ago and if the 2008 election meant anything -- any kind of change at all -- Kaye would have been replaced.


I'm comfortable linking to the report by Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers). There are many other reports available but they have too many issues -- which may result from only providing a book report with some pull quotes from an official they phoned as opposed to putting the report into any form of context. The people everyone should have called, the officials everyone should have sought a quote from? US House Reps Loretta Sanchez and Niki Tsongas who have tackled the issues involved in 'restricted reporting' despite the press' aversion to question the policy. Time permitting, we'll go over the report in today's snapshot. (We're attending several hearings today and speaking to five different groups about the March 20th demonstrations so if it's not in the snapshot today, it will be later this week.) In other military news, Gregg Zoroya (USA Today) reports, "Military doctors wrote almost 3.8 million prescriptions for pain relief for servicemembers last year — more than four times the 866,773 doses handed out in 2001, according to data from the Pentagon health office."

The following community sites updated last night:

Genocide has been in the news of late, historical genocide, and international law expert and professor Francis Boyle reminds that the world has seen many genocides in "The Famine Was Genocide:"

Some controversy has surrounded the use of the word “genocide” with regard to the Great Irish Famine of 150 years ago. But this controversy has its source in an apparent misunderstanding of the meaning of genocide. No, the British government did not inflict on the Irish the abject horrors of the Nazi Holocaust. But the definition of “genocide” reaches beyond such ghastly behavior to encompass other reprehensible acts designed to destroy a people.
As demonstrated by the following legal analysis, the Famine was genocide within the meaning of both United States and International law.
The United States Government is party to the 1948 Convention On The Prevention And Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (“Genocide Convention”). As a Treaty of the United States , the Genocide Convention is therefore “the Supreme Law of the land” under Article VI of the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Government has also passed implementing legislation which substantially adopts the Genocide Convention and makes any violation of the Convention punishable under federal law. 18 U.S.C. § 1901.

Article II of the Genocide Convention provides:

In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within a group;

(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

(emphasis supplied)

From 1845-50, The British government pursued a policy of mass starvation in Ireland with the intent to destroy in substantial part the national, ethnical and racial group known as the Irish People. This British policy caused serious bodily and mental harm to the Irish People within the meaning of Genocide Convention Article II(b). This British policy also deliberately inflicted on the Irish People conditions of life calculated to bring about their physical destruction within the meaning of Article II(c) of the Convention. Therefore, from 1845-50 the British government knowingly pursued a policy of mass starvation in Ireland which constituted acts of Genocide against the Irish People within the meaning of Article II(b) and (c) of the 1948 Genocide Convention.
While there are many legitimate subjects of debate surrounding the Famine, there is no doubt that the British Government committed genocide against the Irish People. This particular “debate” should therefore come to an end.
(See Irish Echo, Feb.26-March 4, 1997 at page 7 for the list of 125 distinguished signatories)

The Democratic Policy Committee offers daily videos and we'll note this one by Senator Robert Menendez on job creation.

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thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends