Wednesday, June 20, 2012

No, they didn't all come home and a family fights to get their fallen returned from Iraq

Maqsood Hussain (News Tribe) reports, "The United States has now nearly 15,000 troops in three bases across Kuwait -- triple the average number of American forces in the Middle Easter country before the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 [. . .]"  Jennifer Rizzo (CNN) opens with, "The United States has approximately 15,000 troops in Kuwait, according to a Senate report released Tuesday,, the first time the number has been disclosed."  They're referring to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee released [PDF format warning] "The Gulf Security Architecture: Partnership With The Gulf Co-Operation Council" which you can find more on in yesterday's snapshot. 15,000.  And the report recommends that a little over 13,000 stay in Kuwait for several years to come.  Aren't you glad Barack brought ALL the troops home?  (No, he didn't.)

Say a little prayer till they all get home
Say a little prayer till they all get home
I knew when we woke up
You would be leaving
You knew when you left me
It might be too long
That kiss on your shoulder
It's me looking over
Close to your heart
So you're never alone
Say a little prayer till they all get home
Say a little prayer till they all get home
-- "Till They All Get Home," written by Melanie (Safka) and first appears on Melanie's Crazy Love

 An Iraq War veteran returned to Iraq as a DynaCorp week and was dead a week later.  Now his family fights to have his body returned to the US.  Steve Shaw of Oklahoma's News 9 (link is text and video) reports:

Angela Copeland: They came in and they told me that they had found Michael deceased in his living quarters.

 Steve Shaw:  Michael Copeland's widow Angela is distraught -- not only because of Michael's sudden death but because our State Dept told Copeland's family Iraqi leaders say Copeland died of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome -- or SARS -- an extemely rare disease, and our State Dept bought it.  Iraq says it can't release the body.  Michael Copeland's fathe says he talked to his son by phone just 12 hours before his death,  nobody's died from SARS since 2003, and he says that his son showed no signs of the disease.

Mike Copeland:  Everyone that I've spoke with is always sorry for our loss but they say there's nothing they can do. I find that very difficult to believe.  That my government?  There's nothing they can do to bring my son home fom Iraq?

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention's SARS page notes:

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a viral respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus, called SARS-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV). SARS was first reported in Asia in February 2003. The illness spread to more than two dozen countries in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia before the SARS global outbreak of 2003 was contained. Since 2004, there have not been any known cases of SARS reported anywhere in the world. The content in this Web site was developed for the 2003 SARS epidemic. But, some guidelines are still being used. Any new SARS updates will be posted on this Web site.

No new updates have been posted to the CDC's page.

"Not only are we having to deal with the loss," Angela Copeland tells NewsOn6, "but we're having to deal with the battle to get him back home."  Michael Copeland died June 9th.  She tells Victoria Maranan (KXII -- link is video),  "There is absolutely no excuse in this world that you could give me that could convince me why he should not be home."  Jerry Wofford (Tulsa World) reports on the case and quotes Oklahoma State Rep. Dustin Roberts stating, "Michael David Copeland was a man who served our nation as a Marine and our state as a National Guardsman, and his family deserves better than this."

In other news, Olivia Koester (Journal Times) notes the efforts of Fie Chief William Bouma to organize a "Back From Iraq" march in Racine, Wisconsin's upcoming Fourth of July parade. Yvette C. Hammett (Tampa Tribune) reports on Iraq War veteran Mark Goujon's efforts to ceate an Iraq Veterans Memorial in Tampa, Florida's Veterans Memorial Park.

The following community sites -- plus FPIF, The Diane Rehm Show, Cindy Sheehan and -- updated last night and this morning:

Joan e-mailed to ask if we'd note that Melanie has a special series of upcoming shows. From October 19th through 28th at Blackfriars Theatre in Rochester, New York, Melanie and the Recordman will be performed, the story of Melanie and her late husband Peter Schekeryk (he passed away in 2010, they were together for decades, starting in the sixties).  That's ten performances only and among those working on the show with Melanie is her son Beau Jarred Schekeryk.  Melanie is the original Queen of the Rock Festivals, having performed at so many (including Woodstock).  "Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)" made her a name all over the world and her other hits include "What Have They Done To My Song, Ma?," "Peace Will Come (According to Plan), "Bitter Bad," "The Nickel Song," "Ring The Living Bell," her cover of "Ruby Tuesday," "Beautiful People" and her number one hit "Brand New Key."

Ever Since You Never Heard Of Me
She's continues writing and recording and her most recent album was 2010's Ever Since You Never Heard of Me  which Kat praised highly here and also picked it as one of the year's top ten releases. Two tracks from the latest album have videos up at YouTube:  "Motherhood of Love" and "Smile."

Lastly, Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.  She continues fighting for veterans and her latest bill would put veterans on an equal footing with the non-military when it comes to reproductive issues.
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Contact: Murray Press Office
(202) 224-2834
Chairman Murray Introduces Bill to Provide Veterans with Genital and Reproductive Wounds with Access to In Vitro Fertilization through the VA
As veterans continue to return home with catastrophic IED injuries, Murray bill reverses VA ban on critical fertility treatment; will help veterans and their spouses have children.
If forced to turn to the private sector, veterans and their spouses often have to pay tens of thousands in out-of-pocket costs to access IVF services
(Washington, D.C.) -- Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, introduced legislation that will end the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) ban on providing In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) services.   Murray's bill, the Women Veterans Health Care Improvement Act of 2012, also will begin child care programs at Vet Centers for women seeking counseling, and improving outreach to women veterans.
Army data shows that between 2003 and 2011 over 600 servicemembers have suffered reproductive and urinary tract trauma.  The reliance on foot patrols in Afghanistan and the prevalence of improvised explosive devices has left servicemembers far more susceptible to these injuries.
"Reproductive injuries are some of the most impactful and serious wonds of these wars," Senator Murray said today upon introduction of the bill.  "VA has an obligation to care for the combat wounded.  For those with such catastrophic injuries, that includes access to the fertility care they needed.  Veterans and their spouses are specifically barred from accessing In Vitro Fertilization services at the VA and often times have to spend tens of thousands of dollars in the private sector to get the advanced reproductive treatments they need to start a family.  These veterans deserve far more."
Veterans who have severe reproductive and urinary tract injuries and spinal cord injuries (SCI) often need highly specialized treatments and procedures like IVF to conceive.  However, under current law, IVF is expressly excluded from fertility services that are provided by the VA to veterans or their spouses.  This is a significant barrier for veterans with SCI and genital and uringary tract injuries and as a result they have to seek care outside of the VA.  The Department of Defense currently provides access to IVF services under the Tricare program and coverage for IVF and other fertility treatments at no charge to severely combat wounded servicemembers.  Senator Murray's bill would provide veterans with the same access.
Matt McAlvanah
Communications Director
U.S. Senator Patty Murray
202-224-2834 - press office
202--224-0228 - direct

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