Monday, June 20, 2011

The fallen, the wounded

christopher fishbeck

The photo above is of Christopher Fishbeck (from his MySpace page) died, along with five others, as a result of a June 6th attack while serving in Iraq. (If you didn't check in on the weekend -- I know some don't have computer access except at work -- Marcos A. Cintron died Thursday. He died of wounds received in the June 6th attack. The Defense Dept issued the announcement on Saturday. So the deaths from the June 6th attack has now risen to six.)

On today's Morning Edition (NPR), Tamara Keith reports
on the 24-year-old. His mother, Toni Kay, states, "He told me that he felt that there was a 90-percent chance that he wouldn't make it out alive. Whether that was based on a premonition that he had or whether it was based on his knowledge of what lied ahead, I don't know but he just felt a very, very strong sense that he wasn't going to make it out." Keith also speaks with Christopher Fishbeck's wife Stephanie Kidder who, three months after her wedding, now finds herself a widow. Keith's report is audio on the radio and an audio link will be added to it later today online but it's also text and video. Christopher Fishbeck is from my state and it saddens and angers me that neither of our two US senators has issued a statement (Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein). They could, and did, show up to rave over Leon Panetta to a Senate committee but they didn't have time to tell a staffer to write up a quick press release. How very sad. They can take 'comfort' in the fact that, on this topic, they're as lousy as Ed Royce. Royce represents California's 40th Congressional District (which would include Fishbeck's Buena Park) and he's one of the worst members of Congress (judging by? his need to work 'pet issues' that don't have a damn to do with his constituents or, for that matter, with the role of the US Congress). Ed Royce can -- and does -- repeatedly bore the world with his thoughts on what is happening in other countries but a member of his district passes away and he can't even issue a statement? Remember that the next time he's whining about Turkey or North Korea or doing anything that doesn't have a damn thing to do with his district's needs. Jerry Brown is our governor and his office issued the following last week:

SACRAMENTO – On behalf of all Californians, Governor Brown and First Lady Anne Gust Brown honor Spc. Christopher B. Fishbeck, who bravely gave his life in service to our state and nation. The Governor and First Lady extend their deepest condolences to his family and friends at this difficult time.
In memorial, Governor Brown ordered that flags be flown at half-staff over the State Capitol today. Spc. Fishbeck's family will receive a letter of condolence from the Governor.
Spc. Christopher B. Fishbeck, 24, of Victorville, CA, died June 6 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with indirect fire. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, KS. Fishbeck was supporting Operation New Dawn.

Christopher Fishbeck's memorial service takes place in Cypress this morning at St. Irenaeus Catholic Church starting at 11:00 am. On his sense of foreboding, Natalie Sherman (Boston Herald) reported on the passing of Marcus Cintron and noted, "Wilfrido Cintron said his son called him three days before they learned he was hurt, concerned about his safety." Wilfrido Cintron is quoted stating, "He told me, 'Papa, we are in a dangerous place'."

In the New York Times today, James Dao has a report
on the breathing illnesses many US service members and contractors are returning to the US with. He notes that there appears to be a split with scientists on one side recognizing the problem and the VA and the Defense Dept on the other refusing to. I don't dispute Dao's perception but I will note that it contrasts with claims put forward in print by one of his colleagues about that 'caring big lug, gosh, darn it, Bobby Gates.' (Am telling tales out of school to note that the unnamed -- but you should be able to figure out who I'm talking about -- author of that report was all over Gates, gushing and praising him and making statements that demonstrated that ____ had no objectivity when it came to Gates at that off the record photo session last Thursday?) Dao notes Iraq War veteran Gary Durham:

Mr. Durham's breathing struggles have proved to be long-term. When he returned to Fort Campbell, Ky., in 2004, Mr. Durham was coughing up phlegm daily. Running became impossible. Yet a battery of lung tests showed nothing wrong. Before he was medically discharged as a sergeant in 2005, an Army doctor suggested that his problem might be psychological, records show.
Then last year, Mr. Durham read about a specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center who had treated Iraq veterans for breathing problems. The doctor did a lung biopsy on Mr. Durham and concluded that he had a debilitating and largely untreatable injury known as constrictive bronchiolitis.

Bonnie reminds that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Welcome Back" went up last night. Today on Law and Disorder Radio (begins broadcasting at 9:00 am EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week), Michael Ratner explores FBI spying on US activists with attorney and former FBI agent Mike German. Michael also has some very important commentary on Puerto Rico (and the press coverage of Barack's visit last week) and news on the 'suicides' at Guantanamo. I believe co-hosts Heidi Boghosian and Michael S. Smith are off this week.

We'll close with this from the latest column by Ernest F. Hollings (former US Senator "Fritz" Hollings), "Endless war wastes money -- and lives" (Charleston Post and Courier):

I have been trying to fathom Barack Obama. As a member of the Illinois Legislature, Sen. Obama declared against the war in Iraq. Now, as president, he not only begs to stay in Iraq, but increases our commitment in Afghanistan by tripling the number of troops. What puzzles me: What is our "commitment in Afghanistan?"
The only war we have won since World War II was in Afghanistan -- Charlie Wilson's war. Charlie and I had lunch together just before I left the Senate in 2005, and he allowed that we won that war against the Russians because Afghans "hated foreigners." He emphasized that the warlords in Afghanistan didn't trust each other, and the CIA had to pay them off to get anything done.
Now I have come across Zbigniew Brzezinski's 1997 book, "The Grand Chessboard," describing Eurasia, including the land mass of Russia and China. Brzezinski writes: "For America, the chief geopolitical prize is Eurasia. ... Now a non-Eurasian power is pre-eminent in Eurasia -- and America's global primacy is directly dependent on how long and how effectively its preponderance on the Eurasian continent is sustained."
Thus, the U.S. policy of encirclement of Russia and China. Apparently, it's being implemented with President Obama promising missiles for Poland; establishing a naval base with South Korea on Jeju Island; and staying in Afghanistan.
The lesson of Vietnam was that you couldn't change a culture militarily. This is particularly true of Afghanistan, a narco state where they still sell their daughters and the warlords control.

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