Veterans' Day 2009 is here. Thank you for your service.

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Thank You Veterans DayHappy Veterans’ Day! Thank you for your Service. It was not in vain. I promise.

Now, onto the news. In today’s Washington Post we read that several federal agencies or divisions within various federal agencies were warned about Major Nidal Hasan’s rather unusual public statements considering his position in government and among soldiers. Given that fact, still no substantive action was taken by any of these federal entities to bring him in for questioning.

To state this bluntly, several federal agencies or entities within agencies dropped the ball when it was clear to all of them that this guy was becoming unhinged. Yesterday, these various agencies spent the day pointing the finger at each other when they were questioned about their lack of proper follow-through relative to questioning and dealing with a man who had been repeatedly reported to them as unstable. The day was spent with agencies blaming each other.  The story is here.

     

Major Nidal Hasan’s lawyer, a retired Army colonel who now specializes in military court cases in Texas, has yet to question his client. He says that he has advised Major Hasan not to speak to investigators or any federal authorities. This is getting very interesting. The story is here.

Here is a piece on the 3,557 members of the U.S. Armed Forces (totalling 1.4 million people) that describe themselves officially as Muslim. It tells of how they deal with being a Muslim in the armed forces of a country presently engaged in combat against Muslims overseas. The story is here.

Here is a very disturbing piece from Politics Daily entitled "How Right-Wing Talkers Crassly Exploited Ft. Hood Tragedy".

Here is an interesting piece concerning the Taliban ascendancy over Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. It seems that there are less than 100 members of Qaeda in Afghanistan and whatever fighting needs to be done against coalition forces is done by Taliban "insurgents" who see themselves as patriots and see us as occupiers.

However, the Taliban were never identified as a primary enemy of the U.S., only as a sort of protector and philosophical brother to Al Qaeda.

In short, the Taliban have never really been seen as a primary enemy in Afghanistan by coalition forces. Now they are essentially the only ones fighting us because we are in their country. And the President must decide whether or not we should stay in Afghanistan to fight them. What a mess! The story is here.

In this story, disabled veterans from the wars in western Asia are being steered toward jobs on Capitol Hill.

In this story, Asst. Secretary Tammy Duckworth at the Department of Veterans Affairs is doing quite well in her job of reshaping perceptions about disabled veterans, even without her legs. She lost them when she was shot down in her helicopter in Iraq. That story is here.

John Allen Muhammed, the infamous D.C. Sniper, was executed by lethal injection last night in Jarrat, Virginia. He killed ten innocent strangers by sniper fire over a three week period here in October 2002. I was living here in Northern Virginia at that time. It was a terrifying experience. That story is here.

Unfortunately, it must be reported that he was an army veteran who openly boasted of using his army training to kill people he did not know here. He was never completely clear on why he was doing this.  He just needed to kill people in sniper mode.

In this story, Saudi Arabia has just enforced a naval blockade of a section of desert near Yemen which caused immediate howls of protest from Iran which is supporting Shiite Yemen rebels warring against Sunni Saudi Arabia.

There is speculation that a proxy war in the Middle East pitting Iran against Saudi Arabia is heating up. Saudi Arabia is an ally of ours. That story is here.

This is just one more example of why the U.S. does not need to be involved in the ongoing, never ending, perennial, non-stop, god-forsaken religious strife between Shia and Sunni in the Middle East. For the most part, that is what the violence in Iraq was/is about and fundamentalist fervor in Afghanistan and Pakistan is the main catalyst for violence there. Do we really want or need to be a part of this?

Have a good day today. You have earned it.

Remember, an informed veteran is a comfort to his friends and a danger to his adversaries. Get informed, stay informed and help participative government grow in this country.

Celebrate today with an email to your congressman. Say something….say anything…but register your opinion with your elected officials. You served in uniform for the right to do that, so exercise that right today.

 

CWO3 Tom Barnes, USCG (Ret.)

 

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