Saturday, January 29, 2011

Burials and deployments

There were many things missing from the president's address, and every American can take his or her choice as to which was the most significant. I wondered how he could all but leave out Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, when we are fighting at least three (think, too, of Somalia and Yemen) bitter "wars of choice." These are the wars that will poison his chalice in the next two to six years, no matter what he does; these are the hopeless conflicts that will eat American blood and treasure alive, as every American soldier on the ground in those sad and miserable countries serves only as a lighting rod to create more al-Qaida and Taliban terrorists as they perceive they are defending their lands from foreigners. But then, American citizens themselves care so little about these wars, it should be no surprise that our leaders don't care that much, either.

The above is from Georgie Anne Geyer's "SOTU: What was said -- and not said" (News-Herald) and the same week that the president could't be bothered to address the wars at length in his State of the Union address, funerals took place for the fallen in Iraq. WJBD reports that Sgt Michael Patrick Bartley's funeral took place yesterday, "More than 1,400 people filed past his flag draped casket during Thursday's visitation to pay their respects to the fallen soldier. Bartley's fellow soldiers referred to him as a friend, a brother and someone always there for them. With the assistance of members of Sgt. Bartley's unit, Brigadier General Michael Lally presented Sgt. Bartley's mother Rebecca Isles with the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Combat Action Badge. Gen. Lally said Bartley 'always chose the hard right over the easy wrong,' and 'was the type of Non Commissioned Officer that every troop should have.' Gen. Lally also stated Bartley 'did his duty to the very end with valor, courage, and commitment... and made us all better soldiers and better men'." Len Wells (Evansville Courier) quotes Spc Chris Wilhouse stating, "We didn’t just lose a friend — we lost a member of our family. He once told me he looked up to me because of what I did in Iraq. The truth is, he is the real hero." WKYC reports that Maj Michael S. Evans fueral mass took place this morning. Ken Robinson (WTAM) adds, "Jason Sanden, director of the Brunner Funeral Home in Mentor tells Newsradio WTAM 1100 it was one of the most emotional serves he has ever run. Sanden says 579 people attended the service, including active duty military, police, and firefighters." Brandon Baker (News-Herald -- link has text and video) reports:

Lynda Barker of Wickliffe hadn’t even heard of Evarts before the news of his death broke. Still, she stood in the cold in front of Mentor Cemetery Saturday afternoon waving her flag and celebrating the life of a fallen soldier.
"My son is in the Army and my dad was a veteran, so I go to all (soldier funerals in the area) and give my support, thanking them for what they did," she said. "They served for our country, went over and sacrificed a lot for our country."

Meanwhile WTKR reports, "Three-hundred soldiers from Joint Base Langley-Eustis are on their way to Iraq and Afghanistan. They'll spend the next year helping wind the American role protecting the country." Hugh Lessig (Daily Press) reports on the send-off ceremony, "Friday's 35-minute ceremony marked the formal send-off for the soldiers, but the actual departure dates are set for sometime in February. They cased the brigade flag, which symbolizes the official movement of the commander and his troops to a forward location." WTKR has video of the send-off ceremony.

The following community sites -- plus Jane Fonda,, Cindy Sheehan, Green Change and Indymedia -- updated last night and today:

Lastly, international law expert and University of Illinois College of Law professor Francis A. Boyle has a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize:

University of Illinois College of Law Professor Francis A. Boyle nominated retired Illinois Governor George H. Ryan for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize because of his courageous, heroic, and principled opposition to the racist and class-based death penalty. The Illinois General Assembly just voted to abolish the death penalty--a life-long objective of Professor Boyle, a Native Illinoisan. See his article "Teaching Against the Death Penalty," 21 J. Development Alternatives & Areas Studies, No. 1 & 2, at 90-96 (March-June 2002), which recounts his experiences at teaching against the death penalty since his arrival at the College of Law in August of 1978. Together with his former student Karen Conti and her partner Greg Adamski, they served as Co-Counsel to prevent the execution of convicted mass-murderer John Wayne Gacey by then Governor Jim Edgar. The three of them won a Request for a Stay of Execution by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to Governor Edgar on the grounds that the Illinois lethal injection procedure constituted torture, cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment. Nevertheless, Governor Edgar violated this Request and illegally tortured Mr. Gacey to death over a period of eighteen minutes. But thanks to Governor George Ryan there have been no similar executions by the State of Illinois for over a decade. Boyle was elected by the 200,000 members of Amnesty International USA to serve two two- year terms on their Board of Directors from 1988 to 1992. The Nobel Peace Prize Winning Amnesty International is an abolitionist organization that will work to prevent the execution of any human being for any reason. So will Professor Boyle. Amnesty International also opposes the torture of human beings for any reason. So does Professor Boyle.

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thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends