Thursday, January 20, 2011

The fallen, the deployments, the empire

From Tuesday's snapshot:

Saturday three US soldiers were killed, a fourth died on Monday. DoD issued the following yesterday: "The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of two soldiers who were supporting Operation New Dawn. They died Jan. 15 in Mosul, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an Iraqi soldier from the unit with which they were training shot them with small arms fire. They were assigned to the 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas. Killed were: Sgt. Michael P. Bartley, 23, of Barnhill, Ill. [and] Spc. Martin J. Lamar, 43, of Sacramento, Calif. For more information on this release, media may contact the Fort Hood public affairs office at 254-287-9993." And they issued this yesterday as well: "The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation New Dawn. Spc. Jose A. Torre, Jr., 21, of Garden Grove, Calif., died Jan.15 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with a rocket-propelled grenade. He was assigned to the Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan. For more information related to this release, the media may contact the Ft. Riley Public Affairs office at 785-239-2022."

Wednesday DoD issued the following: "The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation New Dawn. Maj. Michael S. Evarts, 41, of Concord, Ohio, died Jan. 17, in Tikrit, Iraq, in a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the 256th Combat Support Hospital, Twinsburg, Ohio. For more information, media may contact the 807th Medical Command (Deployment Support) public affairs office, Fort Douglas, Utah, at 801-656-3667." The Clay County Advocate-Press notes, "Bartley is a 2007 graduate of Fairfield Community High School. and the only child of Rebecca Isles of Fairfield. He enlisted in the Army after graduating from high school and had re-enlisted. He was on his second tour of duty in Iraq." Pat Galbincea (Plain Dealer) notes Maj Michael S. "Evarts has a wife, Monique, and two children."

Meanwhile Matthew D. LaPlante (Salt Lake Tribune) informs, "Two Utah National Guard units are currently in Iraq and at least two more are scheduled to enter that theater of operations in coming months. The combined deployments will give Utah its biggest presence in several years and may draw the state Guard’s overall mobilization number over 1,000 for the first time since 2007. The slight uptick in deployments -- last year’s peak number was about 850 -- comes after hundreds of Utah citizen soldiers have completed at least one deployment." The Iraq War continues. Chris Hedges most recent book is Death of the Liberal Class. He speaks with Press TV about the wars:

"Well the fact is like that ... like most wars this is the business. Unlike previous wars we have privatized many of the functions that the traditional military used to do and whether the wars go badly, we're certainly losing the war in Afghanistan," he pointed out.
"And I think it ultimately has been covered in the New York Times that [the Afghan] war is also unwinnable. It doesn't really matter. There are huge corporations whose profits [have] swollen four by four," Hedges said.
"The continuation of these conflicts is good for their bottom-line. That's why we're seeing very little reticence on the part of the government which knows how drastic the situation is in Afghanistan to pull back because the people who hold the ultimate power in the United States, which are corporations want these wars to continue," he went on to say.
Hedges named a number of corporations including Halliburton and Blackwater/Xe and argued that the big firms have obtained substantial profits, saying, "These corporations are doing very, very well. All you have to do is look at the difference in their stock price before 1991 and now."
He said that U.S. President Barack Obama spoke tactically during his presidential campaign "when he said he would withdraw the combat troops from Iraq."
"Even during the campaign if you look at the fine print, Obama wasn't promising" what many expected, he noted.
"There was an acknowledgment that occupation troops would remain in Iraq for many, many years," Hedges concluded.

The following community sites updated this morning and last night:

We'll close with this press release from the Defense Dept:

Army Releases December and 2010 Suicide Data

The Army released today suicide data for the month of December and for 2010. During December, among active-duty soldiers, there were 12 potential suicides: one has been confirmed as suicide, and 11 remain under investigation. To compare and update, in November, the Army reported 11 potential suicides among active-duty soldiers. Since the release of that report, one has been confirmed as a suicide, and 10 remain under investigation. For 2010, there were 156 potential active-duty suicides of which 125 have been confirmed as suicides, and 31 remain under investigation.

During December, among reserve component soldiers who were not on active duty, there were 16 potential suicides: none have been confirmed as suicide, and 16 remain under investigation. To compare and update, in November among that same group, there were eight total suicides. Of those, two were confirmed as suicides and six are pending determination of the manner of death. For 2010, there were 145 potential not on active duty suicides of which 106 have been confirmed as suicide, and 39 remain under investigation.

“Our research and analysis of the suicide cases of this past year continue to reinforce that there are no universal solutions to address the complexities of personal, social and behavioral health issues that lead to suicide within the Army,” said Col. Chris Philbrick, deputy director, Army Health Promotion, Risk Reduction Task Force.

“Regrettably, the numbers of suicides in the Army family did not diminish in 2010, but, we are committed to educating and informing our soldiers and their families to better understand the increasing rate of suicides in the force and reduce the number of soldiers, civilians and family members we lose to suicide. Our unit leaders, first-line supervisors and close friends must continue to be vigilant to the warning signs of risky behavior, and to look for ways and opportunities to reach out to those who need help,” Philbrick said.

Soldiers and families in need of crisis assistance can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Trained consultants are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and can be contacted at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or by visiting their website at

The Army's comprehensive list of Suicide Prevention Program information is located at

Army leaders can access current health promotion guidance in newly revised Army Regulation 600-63 (Health Promotion) at: and Army Pamphlet 600-24 (Health Promotion, Risk Reduction and Suicide Prevention) at

Suicide prevention training resources for Army families can be accessed at (requires Army Knowledge Online access to download materials).

Information about Military OneSource is located at or at the toll-free number 1-800-342-9647 for those residing in the continental United States. Overseas personnel should refer to the Military OneSource website for dialing instructions for their specific location.

Information about the Army’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program is located at

The Defense Center for Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury outreach center can be contacted at 1-866-966-1020, and via electronic mail at

The website for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is at, and the Suicide Prevention Resource Council site is found at

The website for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors is at, and they can be reached at 1-800-959-TAPS (8277).

The e-mail address for this site is