Saturday, December 11, 2010

The suffering

The Defense Dept identified Pfc David Dustin Finch as the service members killed in combat in Iraq December 8th. Fort Hood's Public Affairs Office adds:

Finch joined the military in September 2009 as a cavalry scout. He was assigned to 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Hood, in February 2010 and deployed in support of Operation New Dawn in August 2010.
Finch's awards and decorations include National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon and Overseas Service Ribbon.

Mariann Martin (Jackson Sun) reports:

The news of Dustin Finch's death spread through West Tennessee on Wednesday and Thursday as his family, friends, coaches and teammates remembered the former football player and soldier as a "great guy" who did anything for his teammates and friends.
Dustin Finch played football at Humboldt High School four years, graduating in 2005. He was the team's captain and Most Valuable Player during the 2004 football season. He then played football at Bethel University from 2005 to 2009, leaving that year to join the military. He studied civil engineering at Bethel and planned to finish his degree in that field.

We'll make this entry's theme the suffering. In the United States, Iraq War veteran Spc Anthony Nicolas Jumangit was injured when police shot him September 22nd while responding to a 911 call. Lance Benzel (Colorado Springs Gazette) reports Rebecca Jumangit states her husband had suffered from PTSD and "had repeatedly warned supervisors in his chain of command that he didn't believe he was mentally fit to deploy in March 2010, after a traumatic combat tour that ended in 2008" and that he also repeatedly complained about the medication he was put on. PTSD is under-reported, under-diagnosed and under-treated. It's especially appalling that when service members know they have it and alert their superiors and attempt to get treatment, they still don't get the treatment they need. That's why all the little posted put up all over bases aren't doing a damn bit of good. The problem was never with the rank and file. The problem was with the message that was sent from the top. The problem was greeting returning service members as a group and saying, "Hey, if anyone's got some 'troubles,' you know, they're weak and need some 'help,' go ahead and go next door right now and there's someone there who will listen to you." The first time reports surfaced of that, it should have resulted in a court-martial. Not a disciplinary notice, a court-martial. And that would have sent the message right there that the US military was serious about treating PTSD. No such message has been sent and every service members and veteran is left to fend for his or her self.

In Iraq, Iraqi Christians fend for themselves since the latest wave of violence targeting them began October 31st with the assault on Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad. Since then attacks have taken place in both Baghdad and Mosul. Samer Saaeed (Azzaman) reports that a number of those living in Mosul have left but the few remaining are even more fearful, "Amira Salem says fear and terror have become part of Christian life in the city. 'It is the same during the day and during the night. If one of our children goes to school and is late for a few minutes, we get extremely worried and afraid,' she said. She said Christians lock their doors before it gets dark every day and refuse opening them no matter who is the one knocks on the door." Those fleeing Baghdad and Mosul who remain in the country typically seek safety in the Kurdistan Regional Government. Nawzad Mahmoud (Rudaw) reports Sana left Baghdad with her five children and moved to Sulaimani in the KRG and, like Amal Yusef who also left Baghdad with her family due to the attacks -- and estimated 700 other Iraqi Christians families who have moved to the KRG since October 31st, she hopes they will have a better future there. But 19-year-old Tony Romanio faces many of the problems other Iraqi Christians do after moving, Kurdish is the official language and it is very difficult to find employment.

The following community sites -- plus Cindy Sheehan, Peace of the Action, Jane Fonda, Liberal Oasis and Military Families Speak Out -- have updated since Friday morning:

At Investing for the Soul, there's a new post entitled " Ethical Investors Successfully Engage Companies & Governments." The e-mail address for this site is

thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends