Was the Iraq War Worth It? – Washington Post

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Now, the Iraq War Marine inIn today’s Washington Post there is a leadoff article entitled "Was the Iraq War Worth It?…" and we find mixed reactions among U.S. soldiers, Iraqis and others in the article to that question. The story is here.

In this odd story we learn that veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan are advising police in the Salinas, California area on gang violence control.

Salinas is the most vicious gang ridden city in California and perhaps in the country and "surge" veterans are giving their expertise to local police departments in that area in order for them to use it against the thugs. That story is here.

     

In this article we learn that almost a half year after the beginning of the largest social unrest in Iran in thirty years, the opposition is rudderless and fractured and the rank and file of Iran’s opposition do not seem to agree with their leadership on many key issues, most especially, loyalty to the idea of a continuing adherence to religious rule in Iran. That story is here.

In this article we learn that the President’s visit to China as part of his Asian summit (1) there is a sizable African and mixed African-Chinese population within China and (2) these people often live in fear because there can be radical and dangerous anti-African feelings among the Chinese. That story is here.

We are losing our trading influence in Asia in a big way.

Asia’s economies are rebounding vigorously from the Great Recession at over 6% annual growth while ours is stuck at just over 1% growth and so we have lost a great deal of influence there. The Asians are openly complaining about American protectionism against their exports.

The President has unexpectedly been placed on the defensive in trade talks with Asian leaders. A trade rift is threatened. The story is here.

In a related article, Asian trading partners which includes the USA, are calling for new growth paradigms to enhance trade among them at the summit. Everyone at the summit is in fear of U.S. protectionism since our economy is the biggest economy at the present time of all members. That story is here.

In another issue at the summit, Peru’s delegation pulled out of the summit over spy charges against neighboring Chile. The two countries have had a simmering border dispute over maritime boundaries for years. That story is here.

From the Associated Press as reported on AOL News we learn that Defense Secretary Gates has blocked release of any further pictures of prisoners and detainees who may have been beaten or worse by U.S. troops for fear that the pictures would place U.S. troops in danger. The ACLU had sued to get the pictures released. They lost. The story is here.

Congress gave Gates the power to block release of the photographs last month in a Homeland Security Bill signed by the President.

Here is an excerpt from that article:

"Gates’ order specifically cites the 21 pictures sought by the ACLU, plus 23 additional ones cited in a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. However, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said the order covers all photographs from investigations related to the treatment of individuals captured or detained in military operations outside the United States between Sept. 11, 2001, and Jan. 22, 2009.

Gates’ new powers were included in a budget bill for the Homeland Security Department."

Here are other stories from the Associated Press.

At the Asian summit, the President is pushing for a new nuclear arms control deal with the Russians. That story is here.

The federal government is thinking about buying a mostly empty prison in Northern Illinois to house Guantanamo Bay detainess here in the U.S. and that story is here.

In this story we learn about mourners from Fort Hood grieving for the dead.

In this story we learn that militants in Pakistan have opened fire on the home of an anti-Taliban mayor.

In this article we learn that Swine Flu has killed roughly 4,000 Americans and sickened about 22 million so far.

From the New York Times we have other stories of interest to veterans today.

In this article we learn that the high cost in dollars attached to any troop elevation in Afghanistan is going to limit the number of troops sent overseas. It is just too expensive for a mission with no clear goal acceptable to the American tax payer.

In this story we learn about the tangle of clues left behind in the wake of the investigation on the Fort Hood killings by alleged killer Major Nidal Hasan, M.D., U.S. Army.

China is our greatest creditor. We are presently in debt to China for over a trillion dollars.

To state this bluntly, they paid for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and now they are a bit worried that we have overextended ourselves and they watch our recovery actions quite carefully. They have lent us so much money, we basically have to shut up whenever we deal with them. It is more or less that simple. Here is the story.

In this story we find that the U.S. Navy now thinks that there is substantial health hazards to the residents nearby Viecques due to naval gunfire practice that has taken place there for generations. This is a reversal of an earlier finding.

Here are some stories from the BBC News.

It seems that during the 20th Century, Britain sent many of its poorest children overseas to British colonies or other Commonwealth Nations ostensibly for a better life than they were having in Britain. At least that was the idea.

What actually happened was that most of these children ended up living in misery in orphanges or institutions all over the world. Their plight has never been fully explored. The British Prime Minister has just decided to formally apologize to them. The story is here.

In this story, the leaders of the USA and Russia have warned Iran that time is running out for them to conduct useful talks on their nuclear program.

In a related story, Iranian police have set up a special unit to monitor the web sites in Iran for political activity. Wow! That is no small thing although it is not unexpected from that regime. That story is here.

And in yet another bizarre story from the British press we have this gem.

It seems that three homeless men in Russia killed another man, ate part of his body and sold the rest of his body to a Kebob Shop. Hmmm! Now that will have you looking very closely at your next Shisk Kebob adventure, won’t it? That story is here.

Remember, an informed veteran is a comfort to his friends and a danger to his adversaries. Get informed and stay informed.

It is your civic duty and your responsibility as a veteran to participate in the government of this republic.  In order to do that, stay informed and communicate frequently with your elected officials.

 

CWO3 Tom Barnes, USCG (Ret.)

 

 

 

 

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