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US troops are still dying in two Mission Impossibles

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  • In Iraq, Obama says it's over but it's not
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  • In Afghanistan, who wants to die for Karzai?
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Jim Hightower, Hightower Lowdown

At long last, it's over. In the pre-dawn hours of August 18--seven years, two months, and 18 days after George W strapped on a flight suit to peacock around at a photo-op that declared "Mission Accomplished"--the Army's 4th Stryker Brigade crossed the border into Kuwait. Stryker was the last US combat unit in Iraq, and its border cross-ing marked the official end of Bush's god-awful war.

The American combat mission in Iraq has ended," President Obama solemnly announced to the nation a few days later. "We have met our responsibility. Now, it is time to turn the page."

No doubt Sgt. Brandon E. Maggart would love to do just that, but he can't. He's dead. The 24-year-old Sgt. Maggart, from Kirksville, Missouri, was killed in action in southern Iraq on August 22--giving him the unfortunate distinction of being the first US soldier to die in Iraq after the war "ended." Sadly, he won't be the last.

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How propaganda is used in the U.S. to control it citizens

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  • This video can provide a one and one-half hour of a Marketing 101 class on how rulers govern.
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  • The End of America? Naomi Wolf Thinks It Could Happen
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Jack Finley, Veterans for Peace

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Bob Heberle

I'm Jack Finley, 76 years old, President of VFP 067 in the Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA, Harbor area. I was drafted between Korea and Vietnam. Four months ago on three occasions I came close to dying and this has prompted me to write my memoir to try and explain to anyone who is interested in finding out those few things that I have learned so far.

One of the most important things that I have learned was just this last week in a video that explains how come we are in such a mess and I recommend that everyone watch it and pass it on to their friends.

Here is the address.

Related:

The End of America? Naomi Wolf Thinks It Could Happen, Don Hazen, AlterNet
An interview with author Naomi Wolf, whose new book, "The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot," may confirm your worries about democracy in America.
If we want an open society, she warns, we must pay attention and we must fight to protect democracy.

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The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers

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  • In 1971, a whistleblower's daring act of conscience led directly to Watergate, President Nixon’s resignation and the end of the Vietnam War.
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  • Broadcast: Tuesday, October 5 at 9:00 PM (90 minutes); Online: October 6, 2010 to October 27, 2010; Check local listings
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  • Series received no corporate funding
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PBS

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Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Bob Heberle

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In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg, a leading Vietnam War strategist, concludes that America’s role in the war is based on decades of lies. He leaks 7,000 pages of top-secret documents to The New York Times, a daring act of conscience that leads directly to Watergate, President Nixon’s resignation and the end of the Vietnam War. Ellsberg and a who’s-who of Vietnam-era movers and shakers give a riveting account of those world-changing events in POV’s The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers by award-winning filmmakers Judith Ehrlich (The Good War and Those Who Refused to Fight It) and Rick Goldsmith (Tell the Truth and Run: George Seldes and the American Press). A co-production of ITVS in association with American Documentary/POV. (90 minutes)

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Read the full film description

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Do The Costs of Two Wars Exceed Our Human Capacity to Care?

Where do the soldiers go next and who can they trust to hear their pain without judgement?

Chante Wolf, Persian Gulf War Veteran, Evergreene Digest

As an uncle recently told me, “I probably will not read your latest publication (my Veterans Book Project) because, for me, it is time to move on, not from your story exactly, but the hardship some of it has caused you.”

I already get the tip-toe treatment and a pat on the head sorta speak from other family members when I get really upset with our military missions of pre-meditated mass murder. So what next? If I can not voice my feelings about war and the currently proposed never-ending one, when do I get to “move on?” When do the troops who have been exposed to mass horror tour after tour get the chance to protect their ʻbeautiful mindsʼ like former first lady, Barbara Bush said in 2003 before the invasion of Iraq?

Are our families in emotional overload? Are they tired of the anger, money problems, isolation and walking on egg shells around their veteran, careful not to set them off over the simplest thing? I know that there are family members who have started to commit suicide themselves. On two different occasions I heard the stories about the children of veterans attempting suicide, including a niece of a
veteran who killed himself.

Often soldiers come home disillusioned, full of guilt, remorse and displaced anger over the tremendous loss of life and destruction as well as the calamities of friendly fire, accidents and fraud, waste and abuse of U.S. tax dollars. And what happens when they get dissed by their own families who can not find the courage to listen with heart or begin to grasp the enormous change their loved one has just gone through, for the fourth, fifth, or sixth time? Are the soldiers told, “it is time for me to move on”, or “shut the fuck up and get over it - it is in the past now”, or “there is more to life than your war shit, you fucking drunk!”?

Where do the soldiers go next and who can they trust to hear their pain without judgement? 

Recently at the Minneapolis VA, I walked in with an ex-Marine hurting from the recent losses of two more men in his original unit (7 already committed suicide alone). He was suicidal. We went to the PTSR clinic for lack of knowledge of where we should have gone. We were then escorted from the PTSR clinic to the Emergency Room, and the woman escort relayed why we were there to the woman at the front desk. Once at the desk the woman asked the ex-Marine some questions, then started to “should” on him for not keeping his appointments three-years ago. He began to cry and told her he canʼt get the war out of his head and he wants to kill himself.

After he went through the task of getting evaluated he was wheel-chaired behind closed doors and left by himself for over 45 minutes. The young man was then ʻshouldʼ on again, this time by the social worker about needing not to do alcohol or drugs for a period of time before he could get help and was then let go to his own accord. Once outside with a fellow VFP Vietnam Marine, he told us that out of his original unit it was only him and another guy left alive, that he just wanted to be normal like everyone else.

Where do us vets go when our families have had enough heartache? What safe space do we find when the family still wants to ʻrah-rahʼ about war and all the good we are doing in Afghanistan and Iraq liberating all those people to Allah? Who will toss the soldiers the life line they need to get them out of their basements? And the flip of the coin, how will the families begin to find their lives after they have cut their loved one down from the water pipe and garden hose they used to hang themselves?

Support the troops has been a very affective propaganda tool, which in my opinion only means that to protest the war the family member may jinx the life of their loved one deployed. Then the guilt and remorse those families would carry would be unbearable when, in reality it again serves its purpose to silence dissent. Even the spitting image has been effectively used against the peace protestors, specifically women. It seems interesting to me that women are the spitters. Hitler used the same image of women spitting on the German troops after their losing WWI to drum up support for his next war.

How do we ever navigate through all the hypocrisy, spitting images, and calling war veterans cowards because they have been injured mentally from the brutality of war? How do the families negotiate the heartache and adjustments they must deal with their wounded warriors? How do the children grow up with all the confusion going on around them and not themselves be forever affected by war?

If this is really all very confusing - welcome home. This is just the tip of the iceberg that has just broken off in Greenland and is coming to a theater near you.

Why do Americans continue to buy the lies and deceit of the rich and the Pentagon to wage war? What can we really do about it all? Perhaps the sand is a better place to put our heads when the shit is too hard to swallow anymore. I certainly feel this way, and have found myself shying away from other war vets when their stories and heart ache has become too hard for me to bear. And the last nine years has been a long time to hold my breath for the current wars and 19 years of my own guilt and remorse that has cost me more than just brain cells, sleep, my friends from the military, my ex-partner, it has now cost me most of my family.

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Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) In Legal Shambles

Last week (Sep 19-25), in a 56-43 vote, Senate Democrats failed to invoke cloture on the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act, falling several votes shy of the 60 need to break a Republican filibuster.

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The Progress Report, Think Progress

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Last week (Sep 19-25), in a 56-43 vote, Senate Democrats failed to invoke cloture on the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act, falling several votes shy of the 60 need to break a Republican filibuster. Along with concerns about voting to repeal the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy before the Pentagon completed its year-long review and the suggestion that the DREAM Act was unrelated to national defense, Republican Senators who say they support DADT repeal used procedural reasons to explain their vote against debating the measure. Republican  like Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) took to the floor and equated repealing the ban against open service in the military to restricting the right of Republicans to offer alternative amendments.

"I was the sole Republican on the Committee that voted for the Lieberman-Levin language on Don't Ask, Don't Tell. I think it's the right thing to do, I think it's only fair. I think we should welcome the service of these individuals who are willing and capable of serving their country," Collins insisted. "But I cannot vote to proceed to this bill under a situation that is going to shut down debate and preclude Republican amendments. That too is not fair." Sen. Blance Lincoln (D-AR) similarly voted against cloture but said that she supported repeal of DADT. As Democrats now prepare to take up the defense authorization bill after the midterm elections, a series of court decisions have severely weakened DADT in the interim and galvanized opponents of the policy to pressure the administration into looking for alternative ways to begin the gradual process of ending the ban before the end of the year.

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