Friday, March 09, 2012

Burn Pits

Scott Weakley tells Denver's 9News (link is text and video), "It isn't like you're in a Humvee where you can name the date, time and route you were on. With these post-deployment lung disorders veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are getting, we don't know [where they are coming from]." The former army Major spent 22 years in the military, he did marathons when not deployed, after his last deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, he returned to home to discover marathons were out and even trying for a half mile was impossible. Tests on his lungs reveal that they "are damaged, constricted and scarred" and that both together now function as if they are "just half of one." Weakley is among many who suffer from exposure to burn pits and he's trying to raise awareness on this issue. National Jewish Health is currently studying the issue and Dr. Cecile Rose is leading the study into exposure to "burn pits, desert dust and extreme humidity."

Rosie Torres: It wasn't the military it was the contractors that were running those burn pits. Everything was burned. I mean, amputated body parts, unused pharmaceuticals, batteries, tanks, you name it. Everything was burned there. Because I asked him, I said, "Well didn't you notice?" He's like, "No, no, I have pictures. I've seen the smoke, it's there, but when we ask questions, it's like, no everything's fine, everything's safe." Because they were told that too. So it never dawned on them. He was like, "We were just there to fulfill our mission. We weren't there to ask about smoke, you know?" It would go through the mess hall like when they were eating. The plume would just sort of hang all over. Like the air conditioner unit, would come in through there. There was like no escaping it, it was everywhere. What people fail to realize is that invisible wounds aren't just PTSD, I mean it's now toxic exposure too.

Rosie Torres is the wife of Iraq War veteran Leroy Torres and, like Scott Weakley, Leroy Torres was deployed fit and healthy and came back to the US with multiple health issue. Kelly Gustafson and Kristen Kellar (Medill Reports, link is text and audio -- Rosie Torres' comments above are from the audio) report:

When Torres lost both of his jobs -- he was a captain in the Army Reserve and a Texas state trooper -- because of his ailments, his wife made the march to Washington. There, she fought to create a national registry that could link long-term health problems with burn pits in the future.
"We need to make every legislator aware of our cause. These soldiers are from every state," Torres said. "I think what people fail to realize is invisible wounds aren’t just PTSD, it’s toxic exposure, too."
Torres rallied congressional support from Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) and Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.). While the bill sits in front of the Committee of Veterans Affairs, Torres has started an online registry that is tracking more than 500 soldiers.

And you can find out more information at Burn Pits 360.

The following community sites -- plus Adam Kokesh, CSPAN and -- updated last night and this morning:

The following sites updated but aren't showing as updated:

Attorney General Eric Holder needs to be called before Congress. The fact that this hasn't happened indicates Congress has likely signed off on what he's been declaring publicly -- that Barack Obama can kill any American citizen, anywhere in the world and that Barack deciding to kill one is "due process" in full. That's beyond crazy. Joe Scarry (World Can't Wait) offers his take on Holder's speech -- Holder is in bold, Scarry is in regular text:

"An individual’s interest in making sure that the government does not target him erroneously could not be more significant."

He then proceeds to say exactly NOTHING about how an individual might protect that interest of his/hers. For instance, can the individual expect the courts to protect that interest?

"Some have argued that the President is required to get permission from a federal court before taking action against a United States citizen who is a senior operational leader of al Qaeda or associated forces. This is simply not accurate. “Due process” and “judicial process” are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security. The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process."

Okay, silly question. So perhaps Congress is where the individual will find his/her interest protected?

"That is not to say that the Executive Branch has – or should ever have – the ability to target any such individuals without robust oversight. Which is why, in keeping with the law and our constitutional system of checks and balances, the Executive Branch regularly informs the appropriate members of Congress about our counterterrorism activities, including the legal framework, and would of course follow the same practice where lethal force is used against United States citizens."

Why do I get the feeling that the august oversight being described would be of the kind that happens months -- if not years --


the individual in question has been incinerated in a drone strike?

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