Tag Archives: Army

Khamenei Denies Recount And Ends His Power!

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei threw his support to the obvious fraudulent presidential triumph of President Ahmadinejad, and in so doing may well have ushered in the end of clerical power in Iran. During the past few years, Ahmadinejad has slowly but surely replaced clerics in government with members of the military as he works to redesign the Iranian government into a full fledged dictatorship. Khamenei argued: “If the difference was 100,000 or 500,000 or 1 million, one might say a fraud could have happened. But how can one rig 11 million votes? Perhaps, the Ayatollah might check out “elections” in Nazi Germany or Fascist Italy, five million was easy to rig or even ten million. Khamenei has unleashed a monster who will devour the clerics and drive them from power. One day, the Ayatollah will regret his failure to support the people of Iran who demonstrated in favor of democracy.

The tragedy is the destruction of a potential democracy because some clerics feared the right of people to express their views. Khamenei can blame the United States or the UK for the street demonstrations, but President Obama has been very careful to avoid making provocative statements. Ahmadinejad may push the buttons until he pushes the one which results in retaliation, a retaliation which will damage the people of Iran.

Restore Discipline And End Suicides Argues Army

Army Vice Chief of Staff General Peter Chiarelli urged officers to become more focused on discipline in order to restore an atmosphere in which suicides would not occur. He wants a renewed emphasis on emotional and spiritual health for soldiers and their families and announced the Army Campaign Plan for Health Promotion, Risk Reduction and Suicide Prevention. Soldiers can expect to encounter more barrack inspections, greater supervision to ensure no drugs and a renewed emphasis on keeping healthy.

This is a nice sounding plan, but the easiest way to prevent risk to soldiers is to cease sending them into areas where people shoot to kill. Asking members of the military to endure one deployment after another is the most certain way to foster feelings of suicide. The strain comes from external factors as much as individual emotions. Reduce external pressures and there will be fewer suicides.

Taliban Blasts Way Through Pakistan Valley

Swat Valley in Pakistan has long been regarded as a plush area which attracts middle class people seeking to draw upon its natural beauty for relaxation. However, while attention has been focused on the turbulent tribal areas of the northwest, the Taliban have been cutting a swath through the valley and establishing control. Officials now estimate close to four-fifths of the region is now under Taliban control. Taliban commander Maulana Fazlullah has swept through the area beheading opponents, torching homes and schools as he enforces the strict religious beliefs of the Taliban. Muzzafar Ali and his family fled his farm as the Taliban entered their village. “They behead people, shoot people, destroy schools and hospitals.”

The police are intimidated by the violence of the Taliban and refuse to confront their forces. There are reports poor and unemployed people as well as disaffected young men are drawn to the Taliban which offers money and status. The army is struggling to contain the Taliban and has failed in efforts to raise a local militia.

Army Denied Right To Retry War Objector

Lt. Ehrn Watada is opposed to the war in Iraq and he adhered to his principles by refusing to report for deployment with his unit to a combat zone he believed was involved in the wrong war against the wrong enemy. He made clear his dislike of President Bush and the entire Iraq war fiasco. Watada regarded the war as illegal and to participate in it left him open to being subjected to war crime charges. A mistrial was declared in his first trial, and US District Judge Benjamin Settle told the US Army it could not retry the lieutenant because to do so would violate his fifth Amendment rights.

It is clear the Army is intent in finding some charge level against Watada because having a soldiers refuse to serve in an unjust war is rather unsettling for those who believe Iraq was the right war against the right enemy.

Yes To Felon, No To Gay, It’s The Army Way!

The absurdity of the Defense Department policy toward gays and lesbians was illusrated by the latest statstics which indicate convicted felons, people guilty of manslaughter and so on can get waivers to enter the armed forces, but there is no room for gays and lesbians.! Aubrey Sarvos. executive director of the military watchdog group Servicemembers Legal Defense Network blasted the DOD in a blistering statement: “On the one hand, the Pentagon is discharging highly-qualified, honest, law-abiding men and women because they are gay, while on the other hand, granting waivers to rapists, killers, kidnappers and terrorists. Granting waivers for child molestors and rapists to serve while discharging lesbians and gays is utter madness.”

We truly inhabit a Kafka like world run by a president who invents enemies as readily as he lies about WMD. Where else but under the Bush banner of fighting terrorism would America get rid of law-abiding citizens in order to hire criminals and rapists!!

Murder In Thailand By The Police!

Jon Ungphakorn, writing in the Bangkok Post, tells the story of a lawyer named Somchai Neelaphaijit who left his office one day to head off to a meeting, meet a client, stop to pray at a mosque, and have a meal. Toward evening, he told his daughter that he was fatigued, got in his car and headed for the home of his brother. On the way, a car bumped him from the rear and when he got out to inspect the damage, five members of the police suddenly seized him, threw him in their car and sped away. That is what happened to lawyer Somchai Neelaphaijit on March 12, 2004. To this day, no trace of his body has ever been found.

Five members of the police were tried for the abduction, but only one was convicted and he is appealing the sentence. Under Thai law one can not be tried for kidnapping unless a ransom is demanded and since they probably killed the lawyer, no such request was ever made. It is widely believed that top officials of the Thaksin Shinawatra administration were actively involved in the abduction and murder but no attempt has ever been made to pursue that line of inquiry. Somchai was a prominent human rights defender and was active in working for the rights of Muslims in southern Thailand.

This event together with more than 2,000 extrajudicial killings took place in 2003 and 2004 during a war on drugs. During this time there was the mass killing of the entire Sabayoi football teacm and the deaths of 78 demonstrators who were arrested. Up to this point, the Thai military, police and many political leaders involved in these deaths have never been prosecuted.

Gays Need Not Apply To Our Ad For Gay Recruits-Confused?

The Army, Air Force, and Navy have been advertising for recruits on GLEE.com, a networking Web site for gay professionals. Upon realizing the advertising campaign was aimed at gay recruits, Major Michael Baptista said:”We don’t knowingly advertise on that particular Web site” because it does not “meet the moral standards of the military.” Most military jobs that were posted were aimed at finding people to fill positions they have been encountering difficulty in filling. Steve Rails of the Service members Legal Defense Network, a gay advocacy group, commented that gays “have been drummed out of the armed forces for using sites like GLEE.”

At which point will the silliness and immorality cease of allowing men and women to die who are gays and lesbians while at the same time insisting they are not wanted? The positions being advertised are difficult to fill, wouldn’t it make sense to get qualified people to fill them? I find it most ironic that gays and lesbians are kicked out of the armed forces for going to Web sites on which the military is advertising!

US Marines Cause Controversy With Army Generals

Recent reports in newspapers about the desire of the U.S. Marine Corps to pull its troops out of Iraq and take over the fighting in Afghanistan have provoked fury among Army generals. “This (the proposal) is not going down well with the Army,” said a general on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, adding the situation is going to “be more contentious and sensitive than many people outside of the inside team realize.” The Marines have floated the idea of its 25,000 mean force in Iraq being pulled out and going to Afghanistan where it would have complete responsibility for handling military operations. This would require Army troops being pulled out of Afghanistan and redeploying to Iraq. Marine units are designed to be self-sustaining for up to 30 days in case of a Marine expeditionary unit, and 60 days in case of a Marine expeditionary brigade. Longer deployments, “by law” require the Army to provide logistical support. If Marines redeployed to Afghanistan, the U.S. Army would have to provide support for Marine units that are not under the command of Army generals.

Some experts wonder if a Marine seven month rotation works in counter-insurgencye operations which necessitate building long term relations with local inhabitants. There is no doubt Army generals have taken umbrage at the implication Marines have been more effective in fighting Iraq insurgents. This “conflict” is merely one of many in American history in which competing units of our armed forces argue as to which is the more effective fighting group. One can only wonder where Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is as the controversy swirls around — was he aware of Marine desires before they became public knowledge?

The Price Men Pay for Iraq Service

A soldier died while at Ft. Knox in Kentucky, he died sitting in a chair where he had been left alone for hours, he died in his sleep. The parents of Sgt. Cassidy charge their son who had returned from Iraq with brain damage suffered from one of those roadside bombs, was left uncared for and in pain due to inadequate care by medical personnel at the hospital. Although army regulations require wounded soldiers to be seen at least twice daily, Sgt. Cassidy told h is parents there were occasions when he was not seen for at least two days. The initial autopsy revealed he had not been checked for at least a few hours. “He died,” said his mother, “because the Army didn’t care for him because he came back from Iraq and they killed him.”

At this point, it is uncertain exactly how this soldier died, but initial evidence suggests there was inadequate care while he was in the hospital. His parents believe there was failure to ensure he was taking his medicine and that, given his condition, Cassidy probably should have been placed in a room with a buddy. The real problem is that men like Cassidy are placed in a dirty war fought for ambiguous reasons by leaders who have no idea how to terminate the conflict other than to go on and on.

Federal Judge Challenges Court Martial

Federal Judge Benjamin Settle challenged the proposed court martial of Lt. Ehren Wanda whose first trial ended in a mistrial. Wanda was charged with failing to be present for his unit’s deployment to Iraq and for denouncing President Bush and the Iraq war. Wanda argues his participation in the Iraq war compelled him to engage in criminal activities that might result in his being charged with war crimes. He requested that the court martial be voided on grounds it subjected him to double jeopardy. The judge noted the army had yet to submit evidence that Wanda’s request lacked merit.

This is probably one of hundreds of such examples in which members of the military who oppose the war in Iraq are being compelled against their will to participate in a war they claim is not only illegal but immoral. Lt. Wanda had courage in standing up for his moral beliefs knowing full well to do so would result in a court martial.