Friday, March 08, 2013

Iraq snapshot

Friday, March 8, 2013.  Chaos and violence continue,  protests continue across Iraq, Nouri's forces fire on protesters in Mosul killing 3 and wounding more, on International Women's Day Barack Obama decides to insult Iraqi women by giving Brett McGurk a job, and more.

It is Friday.  Since December 21st, Friday has meant protests.  The protests are over a number of issues but the final straw was Nouri targeting another Sunni and member of Iraqiya.   Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reported:

Iraq's Finance Minister Rafei al-Essawi said Thursday that "a militia force" raided his house, headquarters and ministry in Baghdad and kidnapped 150 people, and he holds the nation's prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, responsible for their safety.  Members of the al-Essawi's staff and guards were among those kidnapped from the ministry Thursday, the finance minister said. He also said that his computers and documents were searched at his house and headquarters. He said the head of security was arrested Wednesday at a Baghdad checkpoint for unknown reasons and that now the compound has no security.
 The issues are numerous.  Layla Anwar (An Arab Woman Blues) has summed up the primary issues as follows:

- End of Sectarian Shia rule
- the re-writing of the Iraqi constitution (drafted by the Americans and Iranians)
- the end to arbitrary killings and detention, rape and torture of all detainees on basis of sect alone and their release
- the end of discriminatory policies in employment, education, etc based on sect
- the provision of government services to all
- the end of corruption
- no division between Shias and Sunnis, a one Islam for all Iraqi Muslims and a one Iraq for all Iraqis.

On the torture, Jane Arraf filed a report for Al Jazeera this week which included:

Amnesty International and other groups say much of the torture stems from an almost sole reliance on confessions to obtain convictions. Despite hundreds of millions of dollars spent in investigative training by the United States and other countries, cases rarely rely on forensic evidence. The use of secret informers, lack of legal representation, and widespread corruption also stack the deck against those accused.
In Aref's office, stacks of hand-written statements from prisoners tell the same stories that human rights groups say is prevalent among those facing terrorism charges.
"They began using my wife and children. They threatened to rape my wife in front of me if I didn't confess," read one statement. The prisoner said even after he was sentenced to death, his wife and young children were held for five months without any charges laid.
Another prisoner titles a statement signed on May, 27 2012 "after 1,825 days of injustice". He named the police officers allegedly involved in torturing him and asked, "Is there anybody who can support me and remove this injustice from me and my people?"
Fallujah, where anti-government protests started in December against the broad anti-terrorism law many are imprisoned under, has borne much of the brunt of mass arrests.  The law, known as Article 4, allows the death penalty for a wide range of offences broadly categorised as terrorism.

Article IV currently allows innocents to be arrested.  If you are the relative of a suspected terrorist, you can be arrested merely for that 'crime.'  This is why so many women are in Iraq prisons.  Protesters are calling for  Article IV to be abolished and some sympathetic members of Parliament are offering that it can be modified. 

Protesters might also be bothered to be living in an oil rich country that offers no jobs.  The Iraq Times notes Iraq is ranked the ninth worst country globally on unemployment and third in the Arab world.

Iraqis continue to march and rally in March.  And they continue to be targeted by prime minister and thug Nouri al-Maliki.   Kitabat reports Nouri's forces killed two more protesters.  The two protesters killed were in Mosul with four more left injured.   Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) counts only one dead but the article has other counting problems we'll get to it in a moment.  All Iraq News reports, "Two demonstrators were killed and three others injured" but notes a security source states the number may rise.  Dar Addustour also reports two dead and they note it was the federal police -- a point that AP seems unclear on -- that did the firing.  This was not local police, this was the federal police -- under Nouri's command because they're under the direct command of the Ministry of the Interior and, in a power grab, Nouri's refused to nominate anyone to be Minister of the Interior.  Patrick Cockburn (CounterPunch) notes of Nouri:

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s response to all this has been to grab as much authority as he can, circumventing agreements that would parcel out power in a nominally fair way, that, in practice, paralyses the state machinery. The government in the Green Zone, the great fortress it inherited from the Americans, is not shy about its sectarian allegiance. Shia banners and posters of Imam Ali and Imam Hussein decorate checkpoints and block-houses in the Green Zone and much of the rest of Baghdad, including prisons and police stations.
Mr Maliki’s efforts to monopolise power – though less effective than his critics allege – have alienated powerful Shia individuals, parties and religious institutions. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the pre-eminent Shia religious leader of immense influence, whom the Americans at the height of their power found they could not defy, will no longer see the Prime Minister’s emissaries. The marji’iyyah – the small group of men at the top of the Shia religious hierarchy – have come to see the Prime Minister as a provoker of crises that discredit Shi’ism and may break up the country. Iran, the only other large Shia-controlled state, with strong but not overwhelming influence in Iraq, says privately that it is unhappy with Mr Maliki, but does not want a political explosion in the country while it is facing ever-mounting pressure over Syria, its other Arab ally, and its economy is buckling under the impact of sanctions.

The death toll increased as the day continued.   National Iraqi News Agency reports that the death toll increased to 3 and the number injured is five.  Protests continued after an another four were injured when Nouri's forces again fired, National Iraqi News Agency reports, but from the first attack, the death toll is now 3 and the number left injured is five.  In this video, a protester shows shells from the bullets fired on the protesters as ambulances are loaded.  Alsumaria notes that there were four ambulances and that the police were refusing to allow them to provide assistance and that the federal police -- Nouri's thugs -- attacked one of the paramedics who is described as having been "severely beaten." 

Responses to the attack?   Alsumaria reports cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr is calling for an investigation into this assault on the Iraqi people.  Al Mada reports that the Kurdistan Alliance is calling for an investigation and for the perpetrators to be punished.   All Iraq News notes that Mosul has been placed on curfew.   Ahmed al-Saddy's Facebook page carries the announcement that there will be a strike at the University of Mosul March 10th (Sunday) as a result of the attacks on the protesters.   Alsumaria reports the immediate reaction also includes Ezz al-Din al-Dawla resigning as Minister of Agriculture as a result of the killing of protesters in Mosul and he stated that the voices that sent him to Baghdad are not being represented by the government.  Last Friday another member of Nouri's Cabinet resigned:

Of all the protests across Iraq, Ramadi received the most attention due to a high profile speaker.  Alsumaria notes  Minister of Finance Rafie al-Issawi attended and, in his speech, resigned his office.  Hamdi Alkhshali (CNN) adds, "The finance minister resigned because the government has not met the demands of the demonstrators to end the marginalization, spokesman Aysar Ali told CNN."
Zaid Sabah (Bloomberg News) quotes al-Issawi telling the protesters, "I am with you, I am your son.  I will not return to this government."  Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) quote al-Issawi telling the crowd, "I am presenting my resignation in front of you. I do not care about a government that does not respect the Iraqi blood and its people." Sabah notes the protesters chanted back, "We are with you! We are with you!"
al-Issawi tells Reuters, "More than 70 days of demonstrations and this government hasn't fulfilled our people's demands.  It doesn't honor me to be part of a sectarian government.  I decided to stay with my people."  Alsumaria notes that Nouri al-Maliki has declared he will not accept the resignation until a legal and financial investigation is completed.

So now there are two resignations from Nouri's Cabient.  Will it make any difference?  Will it force him to take accountability for what happened or even to provide answers?  Not likely.  He's still not answered for the January 25th massacre and this brings us back to Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) who references the massacre and the five dead.  Five?  Five the day of.  As Human Rights Watch explained February 14th:

Iraqi authorities should complete promised investigations into the army killings of nine protesters in Fallujah on January 25, 2013, and make the results public. The authorities need to ensure that there will be independent investigations into the deaths, in addition to the promised inquiries by a parliamentary committee and the Defense Ministry, and that if there is evidence of unlawful killing, those responsible are prosecuted.'

Nouri never found answers, never pretended to.  He probably thinks he'll be able to escape blame on this one as well.

And it's not like warnings have been sounded about the way the federal police behaved in Mosul.   Let's drop back to Wednesday's snapshot:

NINA also notes that Nineveh Province Governor Atheel Nujaifi has "warned the security forces in Nineveh, specifically the Federal Police, which oversees the protection of Ahrar Square not to encroach upon the demonstrators."  He is calling out the continued targeting of protesters by Nouri's national force and the warrantless arrests of them.

That is only the most recent example of al-Nujaifi calling on Nouri's forces to stop harassing and harming the Mosul protesters.  Iraqi Spring MC notes that the people of Adahmiya faced teams of Nouri's forces who attempted to prevent them from protesting or even having  Friday morning prayers.  Kitabat adds that Nouri's forces have turned the city into a "huge prison" and that two mosques had to cancel the morning prayers as a result of the military siege the city is under.  Kitabat also notes that Friday prayers at Baghdad's Abu Hanifa mosque were also cancelled as a result of the military being sent to encircle the area.  Dar Addustour notes "hundreds of thousands" turned in Falluja and Ramadi and thousands in Kirkuk, Tikrit, Baghdad and Samarra.  AP notes that Falluja and Ramadi protesters again blocked the highway between Baghdad and Jordan.   Iraqi Spring MC Tweets about the security forces in Ramadi attempting to provoke the demonstrators and that Nouri's forces arrested 7 protesters in Falluja.

Bradley Manning is the US whistle blower who blew the whistle on what was actually going on in Iraq and Afghanistan behind the press spin and the carefully tested wording, he saw the counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism actions and was disgusted by how Iraqis were made to suffer.  In June, he is set to face a military court-martial.  He should be set free but US President Barack Obama would rather punish whistle blowers.  Naomi Spencer (WSWS) points out, "Organizations that orbit the Obama administration-- including the International Socialist Organization, which has published a handful of articles about the case -- have likewise avoided uttering the name of Manning’s oppressor: the Democratic administration of Barack Obama. The most recent report in the Socialist Worker, the ISO’s publication, was a reprint of a February 22 Belfast Telegraph op-ed which made no mention of Obama."  Nathan Fuller (Dissident Voice) goes over some of the information Bradley had access to:

On 2 March 2010, Bradley was ordered to investigate the Iraqi Federal Police’s detention of 15 individuals for distributing “anti-Iraqi literature.” He quickly realized that “none of the individuals had previous ties to anti-Iraqi actions or suspected terrorist militia groups.”
In fact, the literature these academics were distributing was “merely a scholarly critique” of the “corruption within the cabinet of [Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri] al-Maliki’s government and the financial impact of his corruption on the Iraqi people.”
Bradley brought this to the attention of his superiors, but they told him to “drop it” and help the Iraqi police find more of these dissidents to detain.
I knew if I continued to assist the Baghdad Federal Police in identifying the political opponents of Prime Minister al-Maliki, those people would be arrested and in the custody of the Special Unit of the Baghdad Federal Police and very likely tortured and not seen again for a very long time—if ever.
Instead of assisting the … Baghdad Federal Police, I decided to take the information and expose it to [WikiLeaks], before the upcoming 7 March 2010 election, hoping they could generate some immediate press on the issue and prevent this unit of the Federal Police from continuing to crack down on political opponents of al-Maliki.
WikiLeaks has yet to publish those files.

Nouri continues to use the police to target political enemies.  He has his forces follow protesters home from protests to document where they live, he has the forces videotape the protests, he intimidates and bullies because that's all he's ever had to offer and, somehow, this struck two administration -- Bush's and Barack's -- as leadership.

Iraqiya is the political slate that came in first in the March 2010 elections.  Ayad Allawi is the leader.  Prominent members would include Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi.  Second place in the 2010 election went to Nouri al-Maliki's political slate State of Law.  Coming in second meant Nouri didn't get a crack at a second term as prime minister.  But Nouri had the White House backing and they brokered The Erbil Agreement which went around the Constitution to give Barack a second term.

National Iraqi News Agency reports that last night the Free Iraqiya Alliance in Shirqat district was bombed.  All Iraq News quotes MP Qutayba al-Juburi with the Iraqiya Hurra Coalition stating, "This coward attack will encourage us to expose the criminal acts and gangsters' methods practiced by the enemies of the Iraqi people.  The people will judge these criminals whose names will be written in history pages of shame and disgrace."  Alsumaria adds that a Baquba roadside bombing left three people injured.  All Iraq News reports a Tikrit IED exploded killed a cab driver while injuring four others.  Big Pond News notes, "In the city of Mosul gunmen killed an army officer, his wife and child in an attack on their h

AP notes that the Parliament has passed a $118.6 billion.  MP Ruz Mahdi tells All Iraq News that ignoring the Kurdistan people (who opposed the budget).   In addition, Iraqiya MP Arshad Salhi tells Alsumaria that the Kurdistan Alliance also has the option of appealing the budget to the Federal Court.

Today was International Women's Day.  From yesterday's snapshot:

Tomorrow (March 8th) is International Women's Day


This year's theme is "Gaining Momentum."  Alsumaria reports that Nouri al-Maliki, prime minister and chief thug of Iraq, gave a speech today in honor of International Women's Day at the Rashid Hotel in Baghdad.  Whatever the intent, the speech wasn't about Iraqi women.  He denounced the protesters (protests have been going on since December calling out his leadership, among other things).  He denounced the Parliament (dubbing ti "complacent") and he verbally attacked neighbors, pointing to Arab Spring countries and insisting that Iraq didn't want to end up suffering as those countries were -- in his words --  ""  [***SHOUND END PARAGRAHPH***] suffering now as wives, mothers, sisters, girls, workers, home makers" -- they suffer as the country suffers.  One woman they write of saw her husband killed in the sectarian violence, saw her daughter killed in a bombing and now, despite advanced age and illness, she is left to raise her grandchildren. Attorney Dina Abdel al-Ghafir speaks of the brutality and injustice Iraqi women face and notes that some of it is due to what has been put on the books and what is tolerated such as the so-called 'honor' killings -- where a woman is killed for actions that supposedly disgraced the family.

That's Nouri's idea of giving a speech to note the occasion of International Women's Day.

Mahmoud Raouf and Inez Tareq (Al Mada -- Tareq took the photo for the story) report Iraqi women suffer "as wives, mothers, sisters, girls, workers, home makers" -- they suffer as the country suffers.  One woman they write of saw her husband killed in the sectarian violence, saw her daughter killed in a bombing and now, despite advanced age and illness, she is left to raise her grandchildren. Attorney Dina Abdel al-Ghafir speaks of the brutality and injustice Iraqi women face and notes that some of it is due to what has been put on the books and what is tolerated such as the so-called 'honor' killings -- where a woman is killed for actions that supposedly disgraced the family.

"[***SHOULD END PARAGRAPH***]" is where that paragraph should have ended.  All that follows is in the Al Mada paragraph (as it should be).  When making changes in the editing (me saying, "Move the third paragraph to the end, change the sentence . . .") things can get confusing and I'll take responsibility for that error.  Nouri used his speech to attack, he said nothing about women.

For International Women's Day, Tell Me More's Michel Martin (NPR -- link is audio and text) spoke with Iraq's Iqbal al-Juboori.  Excerpt.

IQBAL AL-JUBPPRO:   And then when the 2003 war happened, because I'm living in Bagdad and I was part of the conflict, my house was attacked in 2005. And my brother was taken by forces that were wearing government clothes, military clothes. They were not accompanied by any U.S. coalition forces. It was not only targeting my brother, but they took approximately 11 men from the neighborhood.  And up till this day we don't know what happened to him. And he left four children, four daughters, and a wife. And...
MICHEL MARTIN: You haven't seen him since?
AL-JUBOORI: I haven't seen him. We don't know where he is. Neither he or the 11 men that were taken. And this is like a similar story that you'll hear everywhere in Iraq. It's not only me. And then after one year of this, in 2006, five armed men came to my house. We were only females in that house. And they said we'll give you 24 hours to leave the house, and if not, then we're going to kill every one of you.
MARTIN: Why? I mean what was the stated reason? They wanted the house or...
AL-JUBOORI: There was no stated - there were no stated reasons. You are Sunnis. You leave the house. That's it. And immediately I took my family and we left the neighborhood and we went to another safer place, but all that feeling inside you, like, bitterness, being violated and just was translated through my work. I feel very passionate about it, because nobody deserves to be faced with such an issue - the trauma, the stress.
MARTIN: At this point in the - there were just you, your sister, their four children?
AL-JUBOORI: It was only me and my mother, my sister-in-law, and four girls. The youngest is five years old. She has diabetes right now. She was sleeping in his - my brother's - arm when they took him away and she never got over it. I'm a grown up. I can translate that. I can deal with it better than a child who doesn't understand why.

Shaun Waterman (Washington Times) reports that the Pentagon is examing allegations made this week of abuse in Iraq, "Earlier this week, the British Guardian newspaper and the BBC’s Arabic language news channel alleged that the United States sent a veteran of controversial U.S. counter-insurgency efforts in Central America during the 1980s to oversee Iraqi police units involved in some of the worst acts of sectarian violence and torture during Iraq’s bloody insurgency."  All around the world, media is covering the details unearthed in the Guardian report by Mona Mahmood, Maggie O'Kane, Chavala Madlena and Teresa Smith -- all around the world except in the US.  For example,  The Muslin News carries Al-Akhbar's "Pentagon used 'dirty wars' tactics in Iraq."  From the article:

In Iraq, Steele and special adviser to Petraeus Colonel James Coffman worked to establish a ring of detention centers in areas with high levels of “Sunni insurgency”. In an interview with US military paper Stars and Stripes Coffman described himself as the “eyes and ears” of Patraeus, who was General at the time.
In the documentary, Iraqi General Mundadher al-Samari, who aided Steele and Coffman in setting up the special police commandos said: "I never saw [Steele and Coffman] apart in the 40 or 50 times I saw them inside the detention centres. They knew everything that was going on there ... the torture, the most horrible kinds of torture."

John Glaser ( via Global Research) notes:

“The Pentagon sent a US veteran of the ‘dirty wars’ in Central America to oversee sectarian police commando units in Iraq that set up secret detention and torture centres to get information from insurgents,” The Guardian reports. “These units conducted some of the worst acts of torture during the US occupation and accelerated the country’s descent into full-scale civil war.”
After a 15-month investigation, The Guardian and the BBC Arabic has published its findings about the torture and atrocities organized and committed by US officials reporting directly to the highest echelons of the US government, including General David Petraeus.
“I remember a 14-year-old who was tied to one of the library’s columns,” said General Muntadher al-Samari, one of the Bush administration’s Iraqi proxies who helped run the torture centers. “And he was tied up, with his legs above his head. Tied up. His whole body was blue because of the impact of the cables with which he had been beaten.”

In potential trouble for Iraq, Laura Rozen (Back Channel) reports:

Brett McGurk, President Obama’s former nominee for Iraq ambassador, will likely be tapped as the next State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq and Iran, current and former US officials tell the Back Channel. The State Department plans to fuse the two offices, officials say.
McGurk has been serving as a senior Iraq advisor at the State Department since withdrawing from consideration to be US ambassador to Iraq last summer. McGurk did not immediately respond to a request for guidance from the Back Channel.

The sexism of the White House has been well documented but it's still appalling.  On International Women's Day, they leak to Rozen that Brett McGurk will be the new Dept. Asst. Secretary of State for Iraq and Iran?

Racy e-mails weren't the problem.  Democratic Senators did not tell the White House, when Barack nominated can't-keep-it-in-his-pants McGurk for US Ambassador to Iraq.  The problem was he was of no help to Iraqi women.  He was a hinderence.  They could have no contact with him or the Embassy if he was ambassador.  Because he went to Iraq married and began an affair with a married woman resulting in two divorces.  The US put thugs in charge to ensure that Iraq became more conservative and now, when Iraqi women are suffering so much, they want to name someone to a post that Iraqi women can't interact with -- unless they want to risk becoming the target of an 'honor' killing.

McGurk was a lousy choice for ambassador, he's a lousy choice for this post as well.  And that this insult to Iraqi women would come on International Women's Day makes it all the more insulting.

March 6th, the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction released a report and we noted one of the most important things about the report:


That's important because Bowen doesn't believe the office should be closed.  It's important because the White House -- which is spending billions in Iraq still, via the State Dept -- does not want the SIGIR to remain open.  The State Dept refused to brief SIGIR on what they would be doing with regards to the billions.  The most recent training of Iraqi police is a failed effort and that's a failed State Dept effort.  That failure includes handing over the training building that US dollars built -- the highly secure, highly costly building.  That includes putting billions into a program that Iraqis did not want.

Ernesto Londono (Washington Post) reported the next day:

Congress is expected to extend the operations of a watchdog office tasked with carrying out criminal inquiries of wartime contracting in Iraq, giving investigators more time to wrap up cases.
The move to fund the office, which otherwise would have had to shut down this spring, follows a Washington Post article that raised questions about the viability of dozens of criminal investigations of wartime contracting.

And while that's a needed step with regard to one office, it doesn't address the larger problem of the administration resisting oversight.  the snapshot for December 7, 2011:

 Subcommittee Chair Jason Chaffetz:  Before recognizing Ranking Member [John] 
Tierney, I'd like to note that the Defense Dept, State Dept, USAID and SIGIR will not 
have IGs in January.  In May of this year, I wrote the President asking him to move 
without delay to appoint replacements.  That letter was signed by Senators [Joe] 
Lieberman, [Susan] Collins, [Claire] McCaskill and [Rob] Portman, as well as [House 
Oversight Committee] Chairman [Darrell] Issa and Ranking Member [Elijah] Cummings
 and Ranking Member Tierney.  I'd like to place a copy of htis record into the record.  
Without objection, so ordered.  To my knowledge, the President has yet to nominate 
any of these replacements, nor has he responded to this letter.  I find that totally 
unacceptable.  This is a massive, massive effort.  It's going to take some leadership
 from the White House.  These jobs cannot and will not be done if the president fails 
to make these appointments.  Upon taking office, President Obama promised that his
administration would be "the most open and transparent in history." You cannot 

achieve transparency without inspectors general.  Again, I urge President Obama and 
the Senate to nominate and confirm inspectors general to fill these vacancies  and
 without delay.

The IGs are important positions and you can't have true oversight without them -- that also means you can't have true oversight with an 'acting' IG. 

Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Budget Committee.  Her office issued the following today:

Friday, March 08, 2013
CONTACT: Murray Press Office
Senator Murray’s Statement on Army Review of Behavorial Health Diagnoses and Treatment Since 2001
(Washington, D.C.) - Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray issued the following statement on the Army Task Force on Behavorial Health’s Corrective Action Plan that was released after the Task Force did a comprehensive, Army-wide study on mental health diagnoses going back to 2001. The report found significant problems associated with the Army’s efforts to diagnose, evaluate and therefore properly treat soldiers with behavorial health conditions including PTSD. The study’s findings come at a time when the suicide rate among active duty service members is outpacing combat deaths.
Senator Murray asked the Army to initiate the review after hundreds of servicemembers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in her home state had their PTSD and other behavioral health diagnoses overturned by a team of forensic psychiatrists only to have those diagnoses restored after their stories surfaced and Murray asked for their cases to be reviewed. The episode allowed Senator Murray to continue to push the Army and the Pentagon on the lack of any uniform approach to properly diagnosing and treating behavioral health conditions in the military.
“I am pleased that the Army completed this review and has vowed to make fixes over the next year, though I am disappointed it has taken more than a decade of war to get to this point. Many of the 24 findings and 47 recommendations in this report are not new. Creating a universal electronic health record, providing better rural health access, and standardizing the way diagnoses are made for instance have been lingering problems for far too long. Our servicemembers and their families deserve better.
“The sheer number of changes this report recommends is indicative of the size and scope of the problem. This report lays out shortcomings in diagnosing, identifying, and providing standardized care for PTSD and a wide range of behavioral health issues. It also focuses on the painfully long delays that have plagued a joint disability system that many servicemembers and their families have given up on. And, according to those who led this review and are tasked with implementing these changes, this isn’t an issue of not having the resources to make changes. Instead, it is simply a matter of problems that have been allowed to persist while far too many soldiers fell through the cracks. That is unacceptable.
“I’ve made clear to Army Secretary McHugh that I want the most aggressive solutions to these problems, not just what checks a box so they can say they fixed the problem. If we continue to simply react to these problems as they arise we’ll never succeed in fully enacting the systematic changes that are necessary. The only way to truly make headway on reversing the troubling trends we have seen, including the fact that suicide deaths continue to outpace combat deaths, is to change the culture associated with identifying and treating behavioral health conditions.
“This report came about because servicemembers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state were left to fend for themselves in a system that was broken and penalized them for having PTSD. At JBLM, hundreds of servicemembers saw their PTSD diagnoses reversed or changed, and it became abundantly clear that the DoD had no uniform system for diagnosing or treating these invisible wounds. My commitment to those servicemembers and their families at JBLM continues to be that I’ll do everything possible to ensure that military families like theirs never have to go through what they did in Washington state or elsewhere. And that is exactly why I pushed for this study and why I will continue to push Secretary Hagel and Secretary McHugh to make the changes needed to properly diagnose and treat all servicemembers.
“I believe that the Army wants to do the right thing by the soldiers who have sacrificed so much for us, and that the corrective action they are taking now is not solely the result of political pressure. Though there are places where the action plan could go further, I believe this plan is a good starting point to make real changes for our soldiers. I intend to get regular updates on the progress the Army makes in implementing the solutions in this study and will hold them to their word on completing these recommendations in a timely fashion.”

Matt McAlvanah
Communications Director
U.S. Senator Patty Murray
202-224-2834 - press office
202--224-0228 - direct
Twitter: @mmcalvanah

zaid sabah

qassim abdul-zahra