Thursday, November 04, 2010

David Jones, deployments, DADT

21-year-old Pfc David R. Jones died on October 24th while serving in Iraq. How? As we've noted before: No one in the government knows or is willing to tell. Tuesday the Utica Observer-Dispatch editorial board weighed in:

The Bennetts initially were told the death was a suicide, but a family member told the Albany Times Union last week that Theresa Bennett received a copy of a text message from a soldier who worked with Jones in Iraq stating that her nephew was one of five people killed or wounded in a shooting "rampage" on a U.S. military base in Baghdad.
[. . .]
A full accounting of Jones’ death must be provided. The death of a soldier in the service of his country is a tragedy under any circumstance, and it must not be made worse by shrouding it in mystery. The family and the larger community who knew and loved David Jones deserve answers.

Albany's CBS 6 (link has text and video) reports
the soldier's body is expected to arrive today at Griffiss International Airport and that "police and Patriot Guard riders will escort Jones back to Johnsville." Expected to. There's already been one delay on returning David Jones to his family. If the schedule holds today, then a viewing will be held tomorrow at St. John's Reformed Church (one to three p.m. and five to seven p.m.) with funeral services to be held Saturday (also at St. John's Reformed Church, starting at 11:00 a.m.). From the young man's obituary:

David enjoyed many activities and sports including soccer, running, and making music with his friends. David loved hanging out with family and friends and watching sports with his loved ones. He was very proud of being in the military and to have the opportunity to serve and honor his country. He will be missed by his family members and many friends. David was extremely close with all of the members of his St. Johnsville High School graduating class of 2008. Family came first in David's life and he leaves his loved ones and friends with countless memories. He was a fun-loving individual and was kind, caring and energetic.
Survivors include his beloved family; his mother: Theresa Ann Bennett of St. Johnsville; his father, George Arthur Bennett, Jr., of St. Johnsville ; his fiance: Britany Winton of Gloversville; his biological father, David Richard Jones; brothers: Timothy Bennett, Nick Bennett, Georgie Bennett III, Chris Bennett, Bernie Bennett and Alexander Jones; his grandmother: Alice Jones, and many aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. He was predeceased by his paternal grandfather, George Bennett; maternal grandfather: Henry Jones; paternal grandmother: Arthella Bennett and by his uncles: Garry and Arthur Bennett and Timothy Jones.

It's amazing Barack Obama's had time to fly all over the country campaigning but not to demand that the military under him provide the family of David Jones with an answer.

Meanwhile Elizabeth Mission (WEWS) reports that a send-off ceremony for 200 soldiers with the "256th Combat Support Hospital based out of Twinsburg, Ohio" will be held evening -- (at the city's Athletics and Fitness Center on Ravenna Road) prior to their departure Saturday for Fort Lewis where they will receive further training before deploying to Iraq.

In other service member news, Nancy A. Youssef and David Lightman (McClatchy Newspapers) report someone's notion -- unidentified -- that any repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell is now dead in Congress. I'm not disputing that possibility -- we noted that was likely to happen after the midterms back in April of 2009 because we didn't snort or inject the Hopium and believe the whole world had changed (or even the tenor of the White House) following the 2008 elections. I am disputing what appears to be Youssef and Lightman's reasoning:

Among the losers in the House of Representatives were at least 10 Democrats on the Armed Services Committee, including Chairman Ike Skelton of Missouri. Two-term Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Pa., an Iraq war veteran who added an amendment to the defense appropriations bill that would have repealed "don't ask, don't tell," also lost.
Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, R-Calif., 72, a nine-term veteran, is expected to replace Skelton as committee chairman. Wednesday, McKeon called for leaving military spending largely intact. Previously, he said he favored leaving "don't ask, don't tell" on the books.

What's the point? Ike was against repeal, Patrick was for it. I don't see that in the above. Nor do I see any understanding that a lame duck Congress will sit between now and January. I don't doubt the possibility that it's dead -- that's why we were repeatedly warning against all the crap that all the Cult of St. Barack groupies were promoting. That's why we wrote the piece we did at Third on Sunday noting that Barack was not planning on ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." He was going to have Congress overturn it but what to do was going to be left to the military. If anything was done, it would be the military and not the Congress (or the courts) and refusal to address this in terms of legalities is how Don't Ask, Don't Tell popped up to begin with and that's why those of us who had some legal knowledge of the history of this issue never fell for Barack's song and dance. I like Patrick Murphy (I consider Ike Skelton's defeat a huge loss for the Congress) but all the obits on him are floating off the earth and not bound by gravity or reality. In part that's due to the fact that a lot of idiots covered DADT. Patrick did not do a great job. He built on the hard work of Ellen Tauscher and gym bunnies wanting to be part of the movement were thrilled because they found Patrick cute and they loathed Ellen. (Apparently just because she was a woman.) Patrick was really good at repeating White House talking points, he just didn't grasp he was being played for a fool. The whole -- quickly dropped when a large number of us began objecting -- "Let's tour the US for months and we'll built support for the repeal!" was nothing but a distraction, a delaying tactic and he realized that far too late. Just like he was out of the loop when he was being told that Ted Kennedy would lead in the Senate (we called that out in real time and noted the reality that no one wanted to speak at that moment, Ted was terminal and was showing up for hearings or doing any Congressional business). I can give 20 times off the top of my head where Patrick Murphy repeated publicly what the White House told him -- repeated it as fact -- when it was an outright lie. He had energy and he had dedication but he lacked perspective and he lacked knowledge.

As I read various whines and moans on his loss Tuesday, I wonder, "Were his boyish looks all that?" Because honestly, he wasn't all that for DADT. It could have used someone with Ellen's strength and passion. Patrick has the passion, he didn't have the strength.

Is movement on DADT dead? It may very well be. Some lame ducks may choose not to return to Congress and their seats may flip before January. At this point, no one knows what will happen but this is exactly why so many of us called for Barack to live up to his damn promise -- something he's apparently incapable of.

The following community sites updated last night? It's not reading those on the side -- not all of them -- and I don't have time, I'm working on getting a flight for a friend. I'll note them in the snapshot or in "I Hate The War" tonight. Sorry.

Bonnie notes Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Aftermath" went up last night. That was a special comic and he states he's still planning to do a new one this Sunday. And David DeGraw weighs in on the elections here.

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