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The War Condolences Obama Hasn’t Sent

Posted on Oct 27, 2009
U.S. Air Force / Tech. Sgt. Scott T. Sturkol

A scene from Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

By Amy Goodman

U.S. Army Reserve Spc. Chancellor Keesling died in Iraq on June 19, 2009, from “a non-combat related incident,” according to the Pentagon. Keesling had killed himself. He was just one in what is turning out to be a record year for suicides in the U.S. military.

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In August, President Barack Obama addressed the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention, saying, “[T]here is nothing more sobering than signing a letter of condolence to the family of [a] serviceman or -woman who has given their life for our country.” To their surprise, Jannett and Gregg Keesling, Chance’s parents, won’t be getting such a letter. Obama does not write condolence letters to loved ones of those who commit suicide in the theater of combat. [After making inquiries, the Keeslings discovered that this was not because of an oversight. Instead, it’s because of a longstanding U.S. policy to deny presidential condolence letters to the families of soldiers who take their own lives.]

Jannett told me: “Chancellor was recruited right out of high school, and this was something he was passionate about, joining the military. I wanted him to go to college, but he said that he wanted to be a soldier.” Gregg added: “We had doubts about him joining. ... When the war broke out in 2003, when many of us were trying to retreat, Chancy decided, ‘This is my duty.’ ... But once he did his first tour ... his marriage broke up during that deployment.”

Chance was very troubled during his first tour of duty in Iraq, although he performed admirably by all accounts. At one point he was put on a suicide watch and had his ammunition taken away for a week. After Iraq, Chance declined a $27,000 reenlistment bonus and transitioned to the U.S. Army Reserves, hoping to avoid another deployment. He sought and was receiving treatment at a Veterans Affairs facility. Gregg said, “We sat down as a family, and we said, ‘President Obama is going to be elected, and President Obama will end this war, and you won’t have to go.’ ” But then his son’s orders to deploy came again.

Current laws prevent transfer of mental health information from active-duty military to the reserves, so Chance’s commanders did not know of his previous struggles. Last June, troubled again, he sent his parents a dire e-mail, mentioning suicide. Jannett recalled: “I spoke to Chancellor the night before he died for about four minutes. And as always, he wore a really tough exterior. ... But what he did tell me that night is that he was going to have a very long, difficult day. His conversation was quite brief. Normally he would say that he loves me, and he would say goodbye. But this time he simply hung up.”


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The next morning, Gregg said, Chance “locked himself in the latrine and took his own life, with his M-4 ... our grief is deep. The letter won’t stop [our pain]—we’ll still be hollow inside for the rest of our lives, but the acknowledgment from the president that our son gave his life in service to the causes of the United States is important to us.”

The Pentagon admits to a mounting suicide crisis in its ranks. Numbers of acknowledged suicides have steadily climbed, from fewer than 100 in 2005, by one report, to nearly 200 in 2008, with a like number among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. Gregg Keesling said that when he and Jannett went to Dover Air Force Base to greet Chance’s coffin, a master sergeant encouraged him to speak out, saying: “I’m greeting a suicide body almost every day. There’s something going on.”

The Keeslings credit Maj. Gen. Mark Graham with helping them through their grief, and working to reduce the stigma of suicide within the military. One of Graham’s sons committed suicide in 2003, while studying as an Army ROTC cadet in college. His other son, also in the Army, deployed to Iraq months later and was killed by a bomb not long thereafter. But the GI Rights Hotline, which advises active-duty soldiers on options for leaving the military, says outside psychological professionals can help suicidal soldiers obtain a medical discharge: “The military wants to know whether the patient can perform their duties without causing trouble, embarrassment or expense. His or her welfare is distinctly less important.”

The United States is engaged in two intractable, massive military occupations, with no end in sight. Obama should certainly write letters of condolence to the Keeslings and to others whose loved ones have found that the only sure way to end the living hell of war, or to escape the horror of its aftermath, is to kill themselves. But an immediate withdrawal from the wars Obama inherited is the only way to stem the bleeding.
Denis Moynihan contributed research to this column.
Amy Goodman is the host of “Democracy Now!,” a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on more than 800 stations in North America. She is the author of “Breaking the Sound Barrier,” recently released in paperback.

© 2009 Amy Goodman

Distributed by King Features Syndicate

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By Carol, November 3, 2009 at 11:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

By Virginia from Virginia said….
What dread it must be to kill strangers for no righteous reason.  Those who commit murder and see its consequences and who have any conscience whatsoever must be thoroughly traumatized.  Valor and courage without a virtuous purpose mean nothing.

To Jean Mc said…...I just saw Amy’s program with the Keeslings.  In case they are reading this, my heart goes out to them.  How can they be so calm and so brave?  I googled them and they are really kind, really community-minded people.  I am convinced they spoke with Amy out of understanding the tragedies of other Families in this horrible situation, and wanting to help others.
I am so disappointed -again- in this government’s policies.
I offer these Parents my heartfelt sympathies and deep condolences for their suffering and loss.
It’s so horribly inadequate and yet I want to thank them for their Son’s sense of duty to his country and my sorrow for his personal struggles in the midst of his doing the right thing.
My God, these people are hugely magnificent.  May they find some peace in knowing people stand with them.

I agree with you both…BRAVO!!!!

My thoughts, What dread to kill anyone? They take good honest people (most of the time) and turn them into killers in the name of what?  Then tell them to “suck it up”?  How can average folks be expected to be killers and feel nothing?  Who cares if your mind is strong or not? Who could stand what goes on there for very long?  Why aren’t they (the GOV) protecting our young men and women who give their lives (matters not if they come home alive or not in a way they are all still dead inside) for their country.  Every medical detail should be in their bags when they get here!!

It saddens me to see soldiers treated like cattle, to go in with such noble idea’s and come home beaten and broken, you would think that the GOV would be so ashamed of not providing these noble men and women the tools to handle all the death and destruction they see that NO ONE would ever know that a soldier chose to die alone like that.

And for our own GOV .... NOT to acknowledge the life of this young man that was lost, let alone our President???

What happen to his first tour?  What about all the things he did well?  What about the fact he went back…..period?  I thought our NEW President was above that? 

That leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  Sickens me really!  The fact that the GOV knew this young man already had issues and sent him back again is a travesty, hadn’t he given enough already?  His family? 

What would the GOV do if these young men and women ever woke up and said, if you can’t treat us any better than this you fight this war yourself?!

I would expect to see GOV officals knocking on the family’s door in person to say I am sorry we let your son/daughter perish in OUR war, but they wont be forgotten.

Well just in case…..Mr. and Mrs. Keesling, thank you for raising a son that was so Strong & Brave, that he would go not once but twice into battle so that my children and I could still be free.  I believe that not only your son but you as well have given the ultimate sacrifice, and if I am ever in Indiana I have no problem knocking on your door and telling you so in person.

Be ever so proud of your son, my son is 6 years old and I can only hope that I do as well in the raising of him as you did of yours.

“The Land of The Free - Because of The Brave”!

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By Ian McIntosh, November 1, 2009 at 9:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Soldiers like Chancellor and many others gave their very all in the service of this great country of ours. They deserve to be recognized at the highest levels for their sacrifices and pain and sufering that has been left behind by their demise. We live at a critical juncture in the history of the world with multiple wars being fought on multiple fronts for the greater common good. None of us is immune from the horrors of war and it effects us all in different ways. Pleae, in the name of mercy and justice, do what is right for those who have lost their lives while serving their countries - no matter what the crcumstances.

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By weezilgirl, October 31, 2009 at 8:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Steve says: Y’all missing the big picture: If you add troop levels in Iraq, Afghanistan, DoD contractors, NATO forces plus Israeli assets and there are sufficient forces to invade and conquer Iran.

WHERE would you get the troops to serve? People are completely burned out over the “wars”.
Except for the old white men who run the wars.

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By Saddened Hoosier, October 30, 2009 at 4:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The family of fallen US Army Sgt. Dale Russel Griffin should be commended for allowing filming of the dignified transfer that President Obama attended. (the first time he has attended a ceremony like this since he became President) They were the only family that allowed the filming - without that, the country would have no pictures of the President saluting these fallen heroes.  Like the Keeslings, the Griffins are from Indiana.  I send my prayers and deep condolences - as should everyone in the country to the grieving parents of another fallen Indiana soldier.

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By weezilgirl, October 29, 2009 at 9:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hello…......this story is about suicides in the military. It is not for a _______contest about the war. The “war” causes the suicides but this isn’t the place to start fighting about WAR.

I read a post that mentioned the stigma of mental illness. The military still frowns upon any mention of depression or anxiety.

Until the military isn’t run by old white men who tell everyone to suck it up…I’m afraid that suicides will never be treated like kidney disease is.

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By Louise, October 29, 2009 at 5:52 pm Link to this comment


Veterans of every age from every war, kill themselves on a regular basis all over this country, all the time, and always have ... and nobody gives a shit!

Oh I’m sorry, let me amend that ...

Not idiots, just monumental hypocrites!

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By The Grief is Deep, October 29, 2009 at 5:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Perhaps in some small way the story of Chancellor Keesling played a role in encouraging the President to attend the transfer last evening.  Offering such deep and personal condolences to the 15 families that grieved as they received the bodies of their heroes is laudable.  Maybe Chancellor’s family and all the other families whose loved one died from suicide were on his mind last evening.  Regardless of the policy, one can hope that the President appreciates the sacrifice of all who give their lives for this country.

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By TooLoose, October 29, 2009 at 2:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama was chosen to run by those who secretly run the country because he is a “historical first,” which they hope will re-establish our favor and hegemony in the world—where that has been damaged by the Bushies—and at the same time mitigate the rage of Americans who see their hard-earned savings and homes go down the toilet by the unfettered recklessness of the sons and daughters of this secret elite, and their lackeys, who just keep getting richer.

A diversion.  How fortunate and democratic we are that we “elected” a black man (I thought so, too).
How unracist of us.  We’re just soooo progressive.
Even if we had only 2 choices.  Ah, once again: Evil vs. Lesser Evil.

The SUICIDE ISSUE involves, IMO, several major issues:

WAR is our BIGGEST BUSINESS.  It HAS to be perpetuated.

WAR is DEHUMANIZING, no matter who you are.  Some people, particularly those who make the military their career, simply lose their humanity early and
just shake it off for a secure paycheck and retirement.  I hesitate to use the word “soul,” but I mean it in a secular way, i.e., “having even a smidgeon of compassion.”  These military careerists are unrepentantly soulless.

How, then, could they understand the mental anguish
of the temporary soldiers and be able to accept and honor them as fallen heroes, even if they become so
crippled emotionally as to see suicide as their only way out of pain?

Others who have joined up for the foolish reason of patriotism/duty to one’s country (read: maintaining the wealth and security of the elite) will suffer for the rest of their lives for what they have signed up to do to other human beings, animals, homes, land, air and water (war is a major and often permanent polluter).  And they will suffer physically due to all the toxins they are exposed to (like uranium, agent orange, etc.)

Many don’t commit suicide until much later, after they have suffered all the effects, physical and mental, for years, but the cause is war.

And, finally, RELIGION is the biggest culprit in our
disallowing SUICIDE as an honorable form of military death.  This nation was invaded by Christian Puritans who commenced to slaughter anyone who got in the way of their greed and power.  Anything changed? 

In terms of the power aspect, suicide is condemned by religions for any number of reasons, one being it is not your RIGHT to control the time/form/reason for termination of your life.  That is up to GOD, whoever that is, regardless of whether or not you are a person of “faith,” i.e., irrational.

If the military sees itself as anything, it does not see itself as irrational.  Every act is rationalized.
Including suicide, which is not the responsibility of the military.  It is a “personal” failing and a
failure to obey God’s law, which is pretty entrenched these days in the military.

What would the Christians, who want to take back “their” country, do if Obama started honoring those who fell by their own hands because they couldn’t recover from the barbarism of war?

Can you imagine?  This would fan the flames of the holy war they are already waging against him and the rest of us.

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By Folktruther, October 29, 2009 at 9:09 am Link to this comment

The problem is that there are idiots like steve from Virgina in planning positions of the American power system. they are politically deranged.  It is quite true that the US could militarily conquer Iran.  But then what?  the US occupying it like it has Iraq and Afghanistan?  Iran has more people then both of them toghether.

But we are being ruled by people like steve from virgina.

Iran is now being backed by Russia and China who have invested hundreds of billions of dollars in Iran. No sanctions are effective unless they agree, and they are not going to, although they too would prefer that Iran not develop nuclear weapons.  So Bush allocated 400 billion dollars for regime change by terrorism and a Color Revolution.  The US backed terrorist organization has recently killed some of their military.  this obviously prevents the Gucci demonstrators against the regime, the basis for the fake Stolen Election, who will withdraw their opposition to it.

Obama is now continuing Bush’s policy of threatening war, and it is not beyond the possibility that this will occur.  The American led coalition vs the Iran, Russia, China coalition, the latter two supporting a geurrila war if there is an occupation.  Adding another quagmire to the US collection.  But it is conceiveable that it will happen, because there are political cretins like steve in charge of policy.  And Obama supports them.

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By sollipsist, October 29, 2009 at 6:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Suicide rates are up everywhere; the military simply exacerbates existing stresses—including the conflict between living a reasonable and ethical life and yet being constantly coerced into doing and believing unreasonable unethical things.

Obama is merely participating in the same cruel situation that makes suicide almost exclusively illegal and shameful, and makes the most mentally ill the least likely to seek and find the help they need.

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By steve from virginia, October 28, 2009 at 7:55 pm Link to this comment

Y’all missing the big picture: If you add troop levels in Iraq, Afghanistan, DoD contractors, NATO forces plus Israeli assets and there are sufficient forces to invade and conquer Iran.

The reason is Iran’s oil and to add to Saudi Arabia’s drive to hegemony over the gulf region.

There are probably more US/Allied troops in the gulf region than there were in Vietnam during its height in 1969. This buildup has been unnoticed by the news media.

One article is here on ZeroHedge:

JEDDAH - Saudi Hajj Minister Fouad al-Farsi told Iran not to politicise the hajj after Tehran leaders said Iranians could experience mistreatment during the annual pilgrimage, a report said Wednesday.

Iran “should not take advantage of the pilgrimage for political purposes and its own agenda,” Farsi was quoted as saying in the Al-Watan newspaper report.

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei recently warned that Saudi Arabia, a predominantly Sunni Muslim country, might abuse the mainly Shiite Muslim pilgrims from Iran during the hajj, which begins in November.

The saber rattling between Iran and Saudia is meaningful, the idea is the Saudis will supply any shortfalls that would emerge from combat activities ... from their incredible ‘spare capacity’. The Saudis are caught between their ongoing and longrunning lies about their reserves on one hand and their perceived need to become hegemons in the Gulf on the other.

The Israelis would put commandos on the ground.

The real battle is in DC w/ Obama- McChrystal vs. the ‘liberals’ who want out of Afghanistan/Iraq. The US/Nato has a large buildup in the region adding all the ‘assets’ in both countries and offshore .. plus Israeli forces. Probably close to 250,000 US/Nato regular combat troops plus aircraft and vehicles. Don’t forget the ‘private armies’ of contractors. Maybe 250,000 ... of which a large proportion are high- quality combat soldiers.

Ending 3rd quarter FY 2009, USCENTCOM reported approximately 243,735 contractor personnel working for the DoD in the USCENTCOM AOR.

This is enough manpower for an invasion of Iran and occupation.

‘Taking’ Iran and Iraq’s oil would both stifle the Chinese ambitions in the area, guarantee some ‘notion’ of fuel security and shift the ‘white shoe’ balance of power from the Shiites- driven militant factions toward the Sunnis and Saudi Arabia. The US and Europe would deplete the two countries in ten years or less and that would leave Saudia as the world’s swing producer.

The ‘attack’ or raid or whatever it’s called would require gas rationing in the US, but the curve of depletion will require rationing in a few years, anyway.

Look for a big upswing in US military activities. It’s ‘use it or lose it’ time for the US and the Pentagon knows it.

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By Curious, October 28, 2009 at 6:55 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This story should not be viewed as anti war or pro war.  This is a mental health issue.  They need to look at this from a medical point of view in my opinion.  I wish folks would say “die by suicide” in just as if it were “died by cancer”  It is a small thing but the word “commit” seems too much like a crime and I HATE “completed” suicide which is what a lot of people are saying now.  To me it should be “died from suicide” or “died by suicide”... Either way it puts it in the passive tense.  Keesling did not want to die.  He just wanted the psychic pain/pressure/depression to stop. 

The other question I hope Amy will ask is what would happen if a soldier had a heart attack or was struck by lightning in Iraq or Afghanistan?  Would they get a letter?

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By Virginia from Virginia, October 28, 2009 at 5:52 pm Link to this comment

What dread it must be to kill strangers for no righteous reason.  Those who commit murder and see its consequences and who have any conscience whatsoever must be thoroughly traumatized.  Valor and courage without a virtuous purpose mean nothing.

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By Concerned Citizen, October 28, 2009 at 5:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To Jean Mc - I am sure the Keeslings are heartened to read your kind comments.  Thanks for sending them good wishes

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By mandinka, October 28, 2009 at 1:24 pm Link to this comment

rather than resolving the request for additional troops or pulling the plug our great president is more interested in having a battle with fox news. this what happens when someone with no experience, little education, never holding a job is elected a total disaster. only 13 more months of this nonsense before the congress rolls over

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By Jean Mc, October 28, 2009 at 12:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I just saw Amy’s program with the Keeslings.  In case they are reading this, my heart goes out to them.  How can they be so calm and so brave?  I googled them and they are really kind, really community-minded people.  I am convinced they spoke with Amy out of understanding the tragedies of other Families in this horrible situation, and wanting to help others. 
I am so disappointed -again- in this government’s policies.
I offer these Parents my heartfelt sympathies and deep condolences for their suffering and loss.
It’s so horribly inadequate and yet I want to thank them for their Son’s sense of duty to his country and my sorrow for his personal struggles in the midst of his doing the right thing. 
My God, these people are hugely magnificent.  May they find some peace in knowing people stand with them.

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By Brown, October 28, 2009 at 11:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Soldiers faced with killing people who pose no threat to the security or lives of any Americans should do the right thing and refuse to serve. Why Reserve Spc. Chancellor Keesling could not refuse to serve is unknown; duty and loyalty create double binds for the morally inclined in wartime.

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By Cole..., October 28, 2009 at 10:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m relieved to read so many posts which I can totally agree with. Americans are powerless because there is ‘no way to act’. The theory is that a ‘vote’ is considered to be effective. As Obama has proved the overwhelming vote to put him into office is rendered meaningless, the overwhelming vote to put ‘Repugs out of office and Demos in is rendered meaningless. A vote for a third party candidate is the same as a non vote—how then is there a ‘way to act’?

Do we need another Kent State?

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By Joe, October 28, 2009 at 10:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


She doesn’t say that at all.  She only gives the number of suicides but not set against the total number of soldiers and not against the civilian average.  She only says the number of suicides within the military are statistically up, not anything else

My assumption is that it is not significantly higher.  If it is even higher at all.  Other wise they would probably say so

IME, people who volunteer to join militant movements are not usually the most self-reflective group of people.

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By GoldenT, October 28, 2009 at 9:02 am Link to this comment

How sad. One can only imagine suffering the discovery that, rather than defending freedom from tyranny, one’s military service is given to an awful tyranny exercising a colonial policy whose purpose serves a bankrupt enterprise desperately enforcing the very inequity that brought about its bankruptcy in the first place.

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By LostHills, October 28, 2009 at 8:51 am Link to this comment

When they give out peace prizes to war criminals every citizen of the world should receive condolence letters.

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By Folktruther, October 28, 2009 at 8:47 am Link to this comment

The NYTimes has stated in a column today that Obama has decided to escalate the Afpak war in a ‘no win, no lose’ strategy, keeping the fighting going and the blood flowing until the next presidential election.

We can therefore expect a blackout on news from the wars, as is now the cas in the Iraqi war.  Reports on casualities of all types will be kept secret as in the Bush regime and diversion from the war will be provided by Ameican political leaders and the mass media.  The Dems will hold onto a portion of their rank and file by still be The Lesser Evil.

Meanwhile a movment must be organized against the Dem-Gop bipartisan consensus.  And this requires the evolving of a new ideology.

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By Tokin Lib, October 28, 2009 at 8:30 am Link to this comment

By joe, October 27 at 8:27 pm #
Is the rate of military suicides significantly higher
than regular civilians?
Does anyone have the figures?

in the piece on Democracy Now, Amy describes the
military suicide rate as having surpassed the
civilian rate…Via SunSentinel:
While President Obama mulls a surge that could
send 40,000 additional troops to Afghanistan — where
more U.S. war fighters already have died this year
than in all of 2008 — casualties mount on another

New Army figures indicate that seven active-duty
soldiers are believed to have taken their lives in
September. That brings to 117 the number of reported
Army suicides, from January to September, of troops
serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. That’s up from 103
over the same period in 2008, and blazes a pace to
break the record of 133 suicides set that same year.

The Army finally is rallying with a surge of suicide-
prevention programs. Nevertheless, the escalating
numbers, despite Army efforts, underscore this grim
fact: Suicide among troops — active duty, Guardsmen
and reservists — isn’t a problem soon to retreat.
It’s a national burden that Army officials must
address more vigorously.”

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By montanawildhack, October 28, 2009 at 3:35 am Link to this comment

Yes, I voted for Barack Obama and for that I am truly sorry… He has turned out to be the worst kind of shill, pimp, hustler, Judas Goat and Uncle Tom…  (should have just wrote in Eugene Debbs on the ballot)  Anywho boys and girls, you can forget about this cat pulling stakes in our wars for freedom in the Middle East… Old Uncle Barack be getting his marching orders from the NEOCONS now.  And we all know what that euphemism stands for…

But montanawildhack, he’s so well spoken and such a good athlete….

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By teadrinker, October 27, 2009 at 10:48 pm Link to this comment

My previous post should have said,
“...then we (will) have these kind of wars that drag on…”

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By Teresa smith, October 27, 2009 at 10:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I find the US an increasingly embarrassing place to live due to the blatant
egocentricism of our government.  Who exactly do our leaders think they are,
imparting it’s muscle on any foreign country it sees as a potential threat.  We have
lost the respect of so many countries, and to think Obama had a chance to
remedy that fact but seems to be choosing war is indefensible.  I don’t understand
this present war at all.  There is nothing to be gained.  The “enemy” isn’t in
Afghanistan and probably has long left Pakistan.  Do we intend to just keep
following this elusive threat until we have killed every soldier of ours and there are
none left?  Our behavior is both insane and dangerous and that is a volatile mix
destined to fail.  I hope Clinton will lead as a sensible woman but I’m afraid she is
too brainwashed with Washington politics and hubris to come to a rational

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By faith, October 27, 2009 at 8:36 pm Link to this comment

I am aghast that President Obama first, has not stopped all wars in the middle
east.  Secondly, that he has singled out one particular faction of soldiers that he
intends to deny a letter of thanks to because of the reason for the loss of his or
her life.  What egregious, superficial conduct.  I worked for Obama’s campaign
and I honestly thought that he would be different, that he would not be one of the
politicians who has long since sold his soul to the lobbyists and war corporations. 
What a sad state of affairs our nation is in.  We will have to vote in a third party,
because it has become very clear that we cannot trust the words of the democrats
nor the republicans.  Tragic.

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By thebeerdoctor, October 27, 2009 at 8:19 pm Link to this comment

From the front page of The Cincinnati Enquirer 10/27/09
Defense appropriations bill protects 1,000 local jobs
  President Barack Obama said Monday he’ll sign a bill that safeguards 1,000 local jobs by authorizing funding for a jet engine built by GE Aviation and Rolls-Royce for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.
Keeping the engine in the defense spending bill for fiscal 2010 protects not only the jobs at Evendale’s GE Aviation plant, but also the company’s ability to bring new technology to the commercial and military aviation markets.
“To make sure you can meet the missions we ask of you, we’re increasing the defense budget,” Obama said in prepared remarks at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida. “This week I’ll sign that defense authorization bill into law.”
Earlier, the White House had threatened to veto the measure over funding for the GE engine, which is competing with an engine being built by Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technology Corp.
Many members of Congress didn’t believe the veto threat, because the authorization bill also contained $130 billion in funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
GE Aviation spokesman Rick Kennedy said the company’s decision to offer a fixed price on the initial group of engines, essentially accelerating competition with primary supplier Pratt, was a key to Obama’s decision to support the funding.
U.S. Rep. Steve Driehaus, D-West Price Hill, who lobbied both Obama and his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, for the GE engine, called Obama’s decision “good news. We made a solid argument that the competitive process makes sense.”
The actual amount of funding for the engine probably won’t be ironed out until December, Kennedy said, when a House-Senate Appropriations conference completes its work.
Congressional sponsors sought $560 million for the GE-Rolls engine.

That is what I would call right out there in plain view, if only you take the trouble to read the details of the sausage maker. I guess I am suppose to be thankful that Representative Driehaus of my own district, took the trouble to lobby President Obama and his even more important chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, for making that solid argument that the competitive process makes sense.
What does not make sense is the fact that F-35 Joint Strike Fighter that this engine is being built for, is a murderous instrument of ultra modern warfare, where you do not have to worry, when it comes to combat, it has both shock AND awe.
Soulless ghouls is an apt description.The forces of insanity are logically secure.

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By Folktruther, October 27, 2009 at 7:42 pm Link to this comment

The casualties of war reported in the media are the number of dead, and the media lies even about that.  they do not report the number permenently physcially or emotionally maimed.  War is entirely a form of death, but the connection is lost in the glorification and justification of aggression by US power.

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By Rick Ladd, October 27, 2009 at 7:06 pm Link to this comment

While it was George Bush who so recklessly started this unnecessary war (and, let’s face it, even Afghanistan wasn’t truly necessary), President Obama’s hands are becoming more blood-stained with each passing day. I doubt I’ll see it in my lifetime, but I’m confident the time is coming when the so-called “Men” who lead the military as if it’s a corporation will be remembered for the soulless ghouls they are. To ignore the trauma being suffered by so many who wished to serve honorably (in a conflict where there is very little honor to go around), is unconscionable.

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By joe, October 27, 2009 at 5:27 pm Link to this comment
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Is the rate of military suicides significantly higher than regular civilians?
Does anyone have the figures?

It is disturbing that they would re-deploy someone who they had already been put on suicide watch.  Mentally unstable and armed soldier isn’t a good combination

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By teadrinker, October 27, 2009 at 4:46 pm Link to this comment

How much fat is in the military budget? A huge amount.
  The only war worth fighting is the war against the de facto military dictatorship we have in the USA and those who support it!
  If our citizens saw a who’s who list of those invested in private companies who have military contracts, a great number of Congress people would be on the list. 
  The simple truth is that if Americans don’t vote out the Democrats and Republicans who won’t reform military spending and all the illegal relationships it has with contractors, then we won’t have these kind of wars that drag on. Americans are powerless because they won’t act.

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