Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Byron Pitts (CBS News) reports on service members who were stop-lossed that "fewer than half of those eligible have received the funds [. . .] just 69,000 of the 145,000 eligible servicemen and women have filed and received payment." Stop-loss is the backdoor draft. Those thinking their service contracts were ending are informed by the military that, no, they're not. Though no one's explored this aspect in this year's coverage, when the person stop-lossed was not an American citizen, the law was violated. Those who were stop-lossed and were not US citizens at the time should consider seeking legal advice on what their options are if they are now citizens (if they have not become US citizens, they are welcome to consider suing but they should be aware that the most likely response from the government would be deportation).

Since so few have applied for the funds, the deadline has again been extended. The US Army announces:

The deadline for eligible servicemembers, veterans and their beneficiaries to apply for Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay has been extended to March 4, 2011, Defense Department officials announced today.
The deadline extension is included in the continuing resolution bill that President Barack Obama signed Dec. 21, providing funding for federal government operations through March 4.
Congress established the retroactive pay to compensate military members who served involuntary extensions or whose retirement was suspended between Sept. 11, 2001, and Sept. 30, 2009. Eligible members and their beneficiaries are required to submit a claim to their respective military service to receive the benefit of $500 for each full or partial month served in stop-loss status.
The services estimate 145,000 servicemembers, veterans and beneficiaries are eligible. Because most of those eligible had separated from the military, the services have engaged in persistent outreach efforts throughout the year.
Efforts, including direct mail, engaging military and veteran service organizations, social networks and media outlets, will continue throughout the period of eligibility, Defense Department officials said.

There are two veterans stories that we're not touching but e-mails keep coming in on. First, women who served in the military and are now pregnant? We need more studies. Those who struggle -- and many women struggle with pregnancy -- know already what they're going with. I'm not in the mood to create a hysteria or panic. Should female veterans speak about it before Congress in 2011, new studies or not, we'll cover it. But there's a real pattern in the US of putting in very little real research into women's health issues while pimping panic narratives about women. More study is needed before we're touching the 'findings' on that basis. Second, in the Dallas-Fort Worth area (I'm having trouble from the articles e-mailed telling where the man is from in that area) a man has claimed that the only thing that helped him make it through readjusting to civilian life was his dog and now they were trying to take his dog away and he was an Iraq War veteran and . . . It turns out he was not a veteran of any kind. He clearly has problems. Did he create the story when he was at risk of losing his dog? I don't know. I don't care. He's not the first to pose. We've really only covered one person for faking and that's because, two years before he was outed, Ava and I made the decision not to cover him because he was so clearly lying. We noted here that we weren't interested in him and were kind enough not to go into why. When the story exploded -- that he was a liar and a fake -- and all the right-wing blogs were screaming that the left promoted him and blah, blah, blah, we noted him to explain, no, we didn't promote him here.

So on the two stories that keep popping up in the e-mails, I don't really see what either of those stories advances that's helpful here. (That's not a criticism of any who want to explore either story. I'm just saying I don't see how it fits with our scope here.)

Last week, Rhys Saunders (State Journal-Register) reported that the Iraq Veterans Against the War's regional chapter in Illinois held a fund-raiser and raised awareness on Operation Recovery at the home of Sarah Lazare's parents. Sarah is with Courage to Resist and other organizations.

The following community sites updated this morning and last night:

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thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends