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Casualties

Deaths Of Local Soldiers Overseas Matter In Shaping War Opinion At Home

ScienceDaily (Oct. 16, 2009) — Americans think locally when they consider whether the loss of U.S. troops overseas warrants troop withdrawals, a new nationwide study suggests.

Researchers found that people were more likely to support withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq if one or more soldiers from their home state were killed there within the past two to three weeks.

That was true regardless of how many soldiers from other parts of the country had been killed recently, or how many total national casualties had occurred.

“If you want to gauge public opinion about the war, look at local coverage about the deaths of local soldiers – that seems to be driving opinion more than what’s on national news,” said Andrew Hayes, co-author of the study and associate professor of communication at Ohio State University.

Last Week: US Iraq Casualties Rise To 74,808

Last week: US Iraq casualties rise to 74,808
Compiled by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com

US military occupation forces in Iraq under Commander-in-Chief Obama suffered at least seven combat casualties in the six days ending October 20 as the official total since the 2003 invasion rose to at least 74,808. The total includes 35,010 dead and wounded from what the Pentagon classifies as "hostile" causes and more than 39,798 (as of October 3) dead and medically evacuated from "non-hostile" causes.*
The actual total is over 100,000 because the Pentagon chooses not to count as "Iraq casualties" the more than 30,000 veterans whose injuries-mainly brain trauma from explosions - were diagnosed only after they had left Iraq.** In addition, ICC names eight service members who died of wounds after they left Iraq and are not counted by the Pentagon.***

Outrageous Thought of the Day: Nuclear Hypocrisy

By Dave Lindorff

How absurd is it that we have the government on the one hand pulling back from using a hollowed out mountain in Nevada to store nuclear waste because of a fear (legitimate I grant) that hundreds or thousands of years hence, some earthquake or other catastrophe could cause the stored waste to leak into the water table, while on the other hand we have this same government deliberately taking some of the most dangerous waste--the actual uranium from the used fuel rods--and putting it into bombs, shells and bullets to be splattered and burned all across the landscape?

And I should note that it's not just remote places like Iraq and Kuwait and Afghanistan that are being covered in super toxic and radioactive uranium dust--and I'm not just talking about the stuff that gets picked up in the wind and carried around the globe, or the stuff that gets inhaled by our troops and carried home internally, bad enough as that is.

Depleted Uranium Weapons: The Dead Babies in Iraq and Afghanistan Are No Joke

By Dave Lindorff

The horrors of the US Agent Orange defoliation campaign in Vietnam, about which I wrote on Oct. 15, could ultimately be dwarfed by the horrors caused by the depleted uranium weapons which the US began using in the 1991 Gulf War (300 tons), and which it has used much more extensively--and in more urban, populated areas--in the Iraq War and the now intensifying Afghanistan War.

Mother's Final Duty To Soldier Son -- Escort His Body Home

Mother's Final Duty To Soldier Son -- Escort His Body Home
By Rachel Streitfeld | CNN

When the Army flew home the body of Spc. Stephan Mace from Afghanistan, his mother climbed aboard a small jet with the flag-draped coffin for the last leg of his trip.

Vanessa Adelson would not let her 21-year-old son make his final journey home alone.

"I brought him into this world, and he was my baby," she said. "I thought it was my responsibility as a mother to bring him home."

Mace and seven other soldiers were killed this month in a Taliban attack on their remote outpost in eastern Afghanistan, making it the deadliest battle for U.S. troops in Afghanistan since July 2008. Read more.

Agent Orange in Vietnam: Ignoring the Crimes Before Our Eyes

By Dave Lindorff

On Oct. 13, the New York Times ran a news story headlined “Door Opens to Health Claims Tied to Agent Orange,” which was sure to be good news to many American veterans of the Indochina War. It reported that 38 years after the Pentagon ceased spreading the deadly dioxin-laced herbicide/defoliant over much of South Vietnam, it was acknowledging what veterans have long claimed: in addition to 13 ailments already traced to exposure to the chemical, it was also responsible for three more dread diseases—Parkinson’s, ischemic heart disease and hairy-cell leukemia.

Under a new policy adopted by the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, the VA will now start providing free care to any of the 2.1 million Vietnam-era veterans who can show that they might have been hurt by exposure to Agent Orange.

For The Sake Of My Son, Why I Refused To Shake Blair's Blood-Covered Hands

For the sake of my son, why I refused to shake Blair's blood-covered hands
By Sheena Hastings | Yorkshire Post

"The service was to celebrate the end of the war in Iraq, those who had served and those who lost their lives," says Mr Brierley, who attended the ceremony at St Paul's Cathedral with his wife Christine. "Prince Charles and Camilla were there with Prince William. A lot of positive things were said, and the Archbishop made some very good points in his address. I felt that if this Government listened to his words they would end the war in Aghanistan now."

There were about 1,000 people at the reception afterwards, and someone pointed out that Tony Blair was present, across the room. "I hadn't seen him at the service, and felt that, as the man had taken us to war, who walked away from his job two years ago, it was wrong that he should be there at all at a non-political celebration.

"A while later I looked across and Blair was signing autographs for people, on the cover of the programmes we were given for the service. Suddenly a switch went in my head, and before I knew it I was over there. I said 'Mr Blair...' and he stuck his hand out to me.

"I told him 'I don't want to shake your hand. It has blood on it – the blood of my son, the blood of all the other soldiers who died and of the Iraqi people who also died in the war. You took us to war on a lie and you are responsible for all those deaths in Iraq. One day it will come back on you and you'll have to pay for what you did. I don't think you should be here, but I'm going to leave now.'"

As Mr Brierley turned away, Tony Blair was also ushered away. The bereaved father doesn't regret delivering the dressing down but wishes it had been in different circumstances. "It just happened the way it happened, but I don't really think it was an appropriate place, after such a positive, celebratory service." Read more.

Civilian Contractor Toll in Iraq and Afghanistan Ignored by Defense Dept.

Civilian Contractor Toll in Iraq and Afghanistan Ignored by Defense Dept.
by T. Christian Miller | ProPublica

As the war in Afghanistan entered its ninth year, the Labor Department recently released new figures [1] for the number of civilian contract workers who have died in war zones since 9/11. Although acknowledged as incomplete, the figures show that at least 1,688 civilians have died and more than 37,000 have reported injuries while working for U.S. contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.

More than 5,200 soldiers have died in the two war zones, meaning that one civilian contractor has died for every three soldiers — a ratio that reflects the unprecedented degree to which the Pentagon has outsourced the work of war. Civilian contractors make up [2] about half the total U.S. forces in the war zones and they have been deployed on the front lines far more than any previous U.S. conflict [3]. Iraq and Afghanistan are the most outsourced wars in U.S. history.

Despite the importance of civilian contractors to its mission, the Defense Department hasn’t been measuring their sacrifice. A little-noticed report [4] from the Government Accountability Office last week noted that the Pentagon has yet to implement a Congressional requirement to track contractor fatalities. Read more.

US Iraq Casualties Jump to 74,795

US Iraq Casualties Jump to 74,795
Compiled by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com

US military occupation forces in Iraq under Commander-in-Chief Obama suffered at least 14 combat casualties in the week ending October 6 as the official total since the 2003 invasion rose to at least 74,456. The total includes 35,001 dead and wounded from what the Pentagon classifies as "hostile" causes and more than 39,794 (as of October 3, 2009) dead and medically evacuated from "non-hostile" causes.*

The actual total is over 100,000 because the Pentagon chooses not to count as "Iraq casualties" the more than 30,000 veterans whose injuries-mainly brain trauma from explosions - were diagnosed only after they had left Iraq.** In addition, ICC names eight service members who died of wounds after they left Iraq and are not counted by the Pentagon.***

US media divert attention from the actual cost in American life and limb by occasionally reporting only the total killed (4,351 as of Oct 6), but rarely mentioning the 31,527 wounded in combat. To further minimize public perception of the human cost, they cover for the Pentagon by ignoring the 38,917 (as of Oct 3)*** military victims of accidents and illness serious enough to require medical air evacuation, although the 4,351 reported deaths include 877 (up one) who died from those same causes, including at least 18 from faulty electrical work by KBR and 196 suicides through Oct. 3, 2009.***

Key:

* The number of wounded is updated weekly (usually Tuesday).
** New York Times, Jan 26, 2009
*** http://siadapp.dmdc.osd.mil/personnel/CASUALTY/oif-total.pdf

US Iraq Casualties Rise to 74,456

US Iraq Casualties Rise to 74,456
Compiled by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com

US military occupation forces in Iraq under Commander-in-Chief Obama suffered at least four combat casualties in the week ending September 29, 2009 as the official total since the 2003 invasion rose to at least 74,456. The total includes 34,987 dead and wounded from what the Pentagon classifies as "hostile" causes and more than 39,469 (as of September 5, 2009) dead and medically evacuated from "non-hostile" causes.*

The actual total is over 100,000 because the Pentagon chooses not to count as "Iraq casualties" the more than 30,000 veterans whose injuries-mainly brain trauma from explosions - were diagnosed only after they had left Iraq.** In addition, IC names eight service members who died of wounds after they left Iraq and are not counted by the Pentagon.***

US media divert attention from the actual cost in American life and limb by occasionally reporting only the total killed (4,349 as of Sept. 29, 2009), but rarely mentioning the 31,514 wounded in combat. To further minimize public perception of the cost, they cover for the Pentagon by ignoring the 38,593 (as of Sept 5, 2009)*** military victims of accidents and illness serious enough to require medical air evacuation, although the 4,349 reported deaths include 876 (up one) who died from those same causes, including at least 18 from faulty electrical work by KBR and 195 suicides through Sept 5.***

Key:

* The number of wounded is updated weekly (usually Tuesday).
** New York Times, Jan 26, 2009
*** Global War On Terrorism - Operation Iraqi Freedom

US Iraq Casualties Rise to 74,451

US Iraq Casualties Rise to 74,451
Compiled by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com

US military occupation forces in Iraq under Commander-in-Chief Obama suffered at least 16 combat casualties in the week ending September 22, 2009 as the official total since the 2003 invasion rose to at least 74,451. The total includes 34,983 dead and wounded from what the Pentagon classifies as "hostile" causes and more than 39,468 (as of September 5) dead and medically evacuated from "non-hostile" causes.*

The actual total is over 100,000 because the Pentagon chooses not to count as "Iraq casualties" the more than 30,000 veterans whose injuries - mainly brain trauma from explosions - were diagnosed only after they had left Iraq.** In addition, IC names eight service members who died of wounds after they left Iraq and are not counted by the Pentagon.***

US media divert attention from the actual cost in American life and limb by occasionally reporting only the total killed (4,348 as of Sept. 22, 2009), but rarely mentioning the 31,510 wounded in combat. To further minimize public perception of the cost, they cover for the Pentagon by ignoring the 38,593 (as of Sept 5, 2009)*** military victims of accidents and illness serious enough to require medical air evacuation, although the 4,348 reported deaths include 875 (up one) who died from those same causes, including at least 18 from faulty electrical work by KBR and 195 suicides through Sept 5.***

* The number of wounded is updated weekly (usually Tuesday) here.
** New York Times, Jan 26, 2009
*** Global War On Terrorism - Operation Iraqi Freedom"

Tracy Lynn Alger

Tracy Lynn Alger
New Auburn, Wisconsin

Tracy Lynn Alger's passions were rodeo and barrel-racing, and she always tried to improve her teams. I feel like I'm a better person for knowing her, said Todd Kirschbaum, coach of the Rodeo Club.

Alger, 30, of New Auburn, Wis., was killed Nov. 1, 2007, by a roadside bomb in Shubayshen. She was assigned to Fort Campbell. She graduated the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in 2001 with a degree in marketing communications.

Serving her country was what she wanted, said her mother, Pauline Knutson. We had a conversation before she left that she might not be coming back, so we spent as much time together as we could.

After college, she worked as a graphic artist and then as a certified nursing assistant before signing up for the National Guard, inspired by the 9/11 attacks.

Alger was in charge of convoys that transported supplies. She was a very considerate officer, Knutson said. She didn't have to go on a lot of the convoys, but she wanted to serve alongside her people. She was not a stay-back-at-camp kind of person.

She was such a good daughter, Knutson said.

Marine From Baldwin County AL Killed By Bomb Blast In Afghanistan

Marine from Baldwin County killed by bomb blast in Afghanistan
By Russ Henderson | AL Press Register | Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Lance Cpl. Bruce "Bubba" Ferrell Jr., 21, a Marine from Perdido in north Baldwin County, was killed Sunday when a roadside bomb exploded during a routine foot patrol near Kandahar in southern Afghanistan, family members said Tuesday.

"He was the only one. He and the others got out of the Humvee and went out on foot," said Bruce Ferrell Sr., his father. "Bubba stepped on an IED and he was gone."

At first, the family was told early Tuesday morning that the lance corporal was missing in action. A few hours later, a group of Marines — including the gunnery sergeant of the young Marine's unit — visited the Ferrell home to deliver the news, Bruce Ferrell Sr. said.

Bubba Ferrell had been part of Fox Company, a rifle unit of the 2nd Battalion, 8th Regiment of the Marine Corps, family members said. He had recently become a Marine and began his first deployment — a seven-month stint in Afghanistan — in May, his father said. The family hadn't talked to him since his deployment, he said.

"Then on Saturday, he called. We got to talk to him for 10 or 15 minutes, and we feel very lucky about that, because it happened the next evening," Bruce Ferrell Sr. said.

Pam Ferrell, the Marine's mother, said her son was "kind-hearted. He would do anything for anyone, and I'm not just saying that because he's my son. Just ask anyone.

"He was goofy," she said with a smile. "He was a free spirit and was true to the Marines. He said he was going over to fight for his friends and his country. He was going over there to watch over them. He went over there and ended up sacrificing it all. I'm going to miss his smile and him telling me he loves me."...

45,000 American Deaths Associated With Lack Of Insurance

45,000 American deaths associated with lack of insurance
By Madison Park | CNN

A freelance cameraman's appendix ruptured and by the time he was admitted to surgery, it was too late. A self-employed mother of two is found dead in bed from undiagnosed heart disease. A 26-year-old aspiring fashion designer collapsed in her bathroom after feeling unusually fatigued for days.

What all three of these people have in common is that they experienced symptoms, but didn't seek care because they were uninsured and they worried about the hospital expense, according to their families. All three died.

Research released this week in the American Journal of Public Health estimates that 45,000 deaths per year in the United States are associated with the lack of health insurance. If a person is uninsured, "it means you're at mortal risk," said one of the authors, Dr. David Himmelstein, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

The researchers examined government health surveys from more than 9,000 people aged 17 to 64, taken from 1986-1994, and then followed up through 2000. They determined that the uninsured have a 40 percent higher risk of death than those with private health insurance as a result of being unable to obtain necessary medical care. The researchers then extrapolated the results to census data from 2005 and calculated there were 44,789 deaths associated with lack of health insurance. Read more.

Proxy Wedding Means Marine's Widow, Baby Unwelcome

Proxy wedding means Marine's widow, baby unwelcome
By Kristin M. Hall, Associated Press | Yahoo! News

Hotaru Ferschke just wants to raise her 8-month-old son in his grandparents' Tennessee home, surrounded by photos and memories of the father he'll never meet: a Marine who died in combat a month after marrying her from thousands of miles away.

Sgt. Michael Ferschke was killed in Iraq in 2008, leaving his widow and infant son, both Japanese citizens, in immigration limbo: A 1950s legal standard meant to curb marriage fraud means U.S. authorities do not recognize the marriage, even though the military does.

Ferschke and his bride had been together in Japan for more than a year, and she was pregnant when he deployed. They married by signing their names on separate continents and did not have a chance to meet again in person after the wedding, which a 57-year-old immigration law requires for the union to be considered consummated.

"She is being denied because they are saying her marriage is not valid because it was not consummated — despite the fact that they have a child together," said Brent Renison, an immigration lawyer in Oregon who has advised the family. Read more.

Lynching Victim Emmett Till's Casket To Go To Smithsonian

Lynching Victim Emmett Till's Casket to go to Smithsonian
By Don Babwin | Black News

The glass-topped casket that displayed lynching victim Emmett Till's disfigured body to the world and became a rallying point for the civil rights movement is headed to the Smithsonian Institution, Till's family announced Friday.

"Hopefully, when this casket, when it's on display at the Smithsonian, young boys and young girls from all over the world are going to see it and it's going to inspire them to fight for those who are too weak to fight for themselves," said Simeon Wright, Till's cousin.

At the South Side church where Mamie Till-Mobley insisted in 1955 on opening the casket that held the remains of her 14-year-old son - and allowed photographs to be taken and published - Wright said her message of what racism looks like still needs to be told.

"Fifty years from now someone will tell the story ... that they murdered him, threw him in the Tallahatchie River, would they believe it without the casket?" asked Wright. He was 12 and was with Till the night the black teenager was pulled from his bed in Mississippi and murdered for whistling at a white woman.

Lonnie Bunch, the director of the Smithsonian's planned National Museum of African American History and Culture, where the casket will be displayed, said he knows of no other casket of a specific American put on display this way at the Smithsonian. He called it a key artifact from the civil rights movement that helps tell the story of what is both one of the darkest chapters in U.S. history and a moment that helped change it.

"Part of the responsibility of a national museum is to help people to remember, and through this donation we will ensure that future generations will remember how the death of a child, a mother's courage, helped to transform America," Bunch said. Read more.

US Iraq Casualties Rise to 74,040

US Iraq Casualties Rise to 74,040
Compiled by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com

US military occupation forces in Iraq under Commander-in-Chief Obama suffered at least 11 combat casualties in the week ending September 15 as the official total since the 2003 invasion soared to at least 74,040. The total includes 34,967 dead and wounded from what the Pentagon classifies as "hostile" causes and more than 39,073 (as of August 1, 2009) dead and medically evacuated from "non-hostile" causes.*

The actual total is over 100,000 because the Pentagon chooses not to count as "Iraq casualties" the more than 30,000 veterans whose injuries-mainly brain trauma from explosions - were diagnosed only after they had left Iraq.** In addition, IC names eight service members who died of wounds after they left Iraq and are not counted by the Pentagon.***

Real ‘Norma Rae’ Dead Of Cancer After BattleWith Health Insurer

Real ‘Norma Rae’ dead of cancer after battle with health insurer
By Daniel Tencer | PuppetGov

Insurers’ delays are ‘almost ... like murder,’ Sutton said.

The woman whose life inspired the 1979 film Norma Rae has died of cancer after struggling with her health insurance company, which had delayed her treatment.

Crystal Lee Sutton was 68. She had struggled for several years with meningioma, a form of brain cancer.

She became a hero to the labor movement in the 1970s, when she took on her employer, a North Carolina textile plant, and unionized the factory floor. Her story became famous nationwide in 1975 after New York Times reporter Hank Leiferman wrote Crystal Lee: A Woman of Inheritance.

In 1979, her story was turned into the movie Norma Rae, a thinly-veiled fictional adaptation of Sutton’s struggle to unionize the J.P. Stevens plant in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. Sally Field won an Oscar for her portrayal of the character inspired by Sutton.

As Daily Kos blogger hissyspit points out, last year Sutton gave an interview to the press where she described a struggle with her health insurer over treatment. The Times-News in Burlington, North Carolina, wrote in 2008:

[Sutton] went two months without possible life-saving medications because her insurance wouldn’t cover it, another example of abusing the working poor, she said. Read more.

Alabama Butterbean Festival Puts Up Yellow Ribbons To Honor Pinson Soldier Slain In Iraq

Alabama Butterbean Festival puts up yellow ribbons to honor Pinson soldier slain in Iraq
By Tom Gordon | Birmingham News

The Alabama Butterbean Festival in Pinson has put up yellow ribbons in a local park to honor Army Pfc. William VanOsdol, a Pinson resident who was slain last month in Iraq.

"This is one of our hometown heroes and ... we want to let him know we haven't forgotten him," said Phil Sims, the festival chairman.

Sims said the ribbons are in Pinson's Triangle Park on Main Street, which is part of Saturday's one-day Butterbean Festival. Hopefully ribbons will remain at the park until all U.S. service members come home from harm's way, Sims said.

VanOsdol, who was 23, was killed at Ad Diwaniyah, Iraq, on Aug. 19, when enemy rocket fire struck his quarters. The Pinson Valley High graduate was buried last week at Jefferson Memorial Gardens.

Censorship American-Style: Hiding US War Dead

By Dave Lindorff

The Obama administration's freak out, as expressed by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, over the Associated Press Agency's belated circulation of a photograph of a dying US soldier in Afghanistan, Lance Cpl. Joshua Bernard, is the latest of example of the hypocrisy of US authorities who claim to be concerned about the feelings of American military families, while really simply desiring to censor the war's horrors from the eyes of the American people.

Lance Corporal Joshua Bernard, fatally wounded in Afghanistan, AP Photo

US Iraq Casualties Rise to 74,029

US Iraq Casualties Rise to 74,029
Compiled by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com

US military occupation forces in Iraq under Commander-in-Chief Obama suffered at least six combat casualties between September 2 and Sept 8, 2009, as the official total since the 2003 invasion soared to at least 74,029. The total includes 34,958 dead and wounded from what the Pentagon classifies as "hostile" causes and more than 39,071 (as of August 1, 2009) dead and medically evacuated from "non-hostile" causes.*

The actual total is over 100,000 because the Pentagon chooses not to count as "Iraq casualties" the more than 30,000 veterans whose injuries-mainly brain trauma from explosions - were diagnosed only after they had left Iraq.** In addition, IC names eight service members who died of wounds after they left Iraq and are not counted by the Pentagon.***

AP Photo of Deadly Attack in Afghanistan That Is Causing Controversy

AP Photo of Deadly Attack in Afghanistan That Is Causing Controversy

The Associated Press is distributing a photo of a Marine fatally wounded in battle, choosing after a period of reflection to make public an image that conveys the grimness of war and the sacrifice of young men and women fighting it. Read more.

US Iraq Casualties Rise to 73,436

US Iraq Casualties Rise to 73,436
Compiled by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com

US military occupation forces in Iraq under Commander-in-Chief Obama suffered 18 combat casualties between August 18 and Sept 1st, 2009 as the official total since the 2003 invasion soared to at least 73,436. The total includes 34,952 and dead and wounded from what the Pentagon classifies as "hostile" causes and more than 38,484 (as of July 4, 2009) dead and medically evacuated from "non-hostile" causes.*

The actual total is over 100,000 because the Pentagon chooses not to count as "Iraq casualties" the more than 30,000 veterans whose injuries-mainly brain trauma from explosions - were diagnosed only after they had left Iraq.** In addition, IC names eight service members who died of wounds after they left Iraq and are not counted by the Pentagon.***

US media divert attention from the actual cost in American life and limb by occasionally reporting only the total killed (4,340) as of Sept. 1, 2009 but rarely mentioning the 31,483 wounded in combat. To further minimize public perception of the cost, they cover for the Pentagon by ignoring the 37,613 (as of July 4, 2009))*** military victims of accidents and illness serious enough to require medical air evacuation, although the 4,335 reported deaths include 871 (up one) who died from those same causes, including at least 18 from faulty electrical work by KBR and 177 suicides through 2008.****

Key:

Iraqi Insurgent Attack Kills Wis. Soldier; He Becomes 100th Wisconsinite to Die in Iraq/Afghanistan

Iraqi Insurgent Attack Kills Wis. Soldier
Sgt. Earl Werner Killed By Explosive Device | WISN

A Wisconsin soldier was killed while serving in Iraq.

The Department of Defense said that Sgt. Earl Werner, 38, of Mondovi, died when insurgents attacked his vehicle with a "penetrator" explosive devise.

The attack happened on Friday in Rashid, Iraq.

Werner was assigned to the 41st Special Troops Battalion, 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the Oregon Army National Guard in Portland.

His death marked the 100th soldier or Marine from the state to die in Iraq or Afghanistan since late 2001.

Officials said that Pvt. Taylor Marks, 19, of Monmouth, Ore., was also killed in the attack.

Rosendale MA Prepares for 5th Year Anniversary Memorial Service for PFC Alexander Arrendondo This Sunday, 8/30/2009, 9:15 AM

5th year anniversary mass to be held at Sacred Heart Parish, 169 Cummings Highway, Sunday, 08/30/2009 in Roslindale, MA 02131 @ 9:15 a.m.

Memorial Note at Daily Kos:

Hi Alex,

I'm here again to remember you. It's hard to believe it's been 5 years since your short life ended in Iraq. You would be 25 years old now if you were still here with us. A lot has happened in 5 years. One thing that hasn't changed is your friends are still in Iraq. We're trying hard to bring everyone home but in 5 years nothing really has changed.

One thing that did happen the past year was your father voting for the President of the US for the first time in his life. I can't tell you how proud he was placing his vote, thinking of you while he did it.

I haven't been able to talk to your parents in a few months. We've both found ourselves in hard economic times and it seams like we spend all of our time chasing the all mighty dollar just to keep a roof over our heads. Melida did give me some great advice on some people who could help us and I'm so thankful to her because when I thought all was lost her contact came through for us. Things are going to be OK now that we have a President who cares about us a little bit more than the last one.

The Christmas holidays were a little easier on your parents this year. It was the first time since you left them they felt like celebrating a little. But it's still hard for them not having your presence around them. Read more.

15 Casualties Reported Over 14 Days in Afghanistan and Iraq

15 Casualties Reported Over 14 Days in Afghanistan and Iraq
The average age among the fallen is 25.
Tim King | Salem-News.com

Reports of American casualties in Afghanistan are frequent in recent days. In this dispatch we learn that nine U.S. Army soldiers, five Marines and one U.S. Navy sailor were killed between July 25 and August 7, 2009.

Thirteen of the deaths occurred during combat operations in Afghanistan. One soldier died from injuries suffered during an anti-tank grenade in Iraq, and one soldier in Iraq died from non-combat related circumstances.

Of the fallen, Florida, Texas, Mississippi and North Carolina paid the highest price with two residents among each of those states listed here. Other states these members of the U.S. military hailed from include Georgia, New York, Hawaii, Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. Read more.

Fort Bragg Iraq War Vet Kills Girlfriend, Then Himself

Fort Bragg Iraq war vet kills girlfriend, then himself
By Glenda Anderson | The Press Democrat

A Fort Bragg man and his former girlfriend were found shot to death in an apparent murder-suicide that left the small town on the Mendocino coast reeling Tuesday.

Jacob Gregory Swanson, 26, a former Army paratrooper who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was haunted by his memories of combat and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, said his mother, Tracy Swanson.

Jacob Swanson apparently shot Amy Rochelle Salo, 36, and then turned the gun to his own head sometime Monday afternoon, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Lt. Rusty Noe reported Tuesday. He described their relationship as on again, off again.

Salo, the mother of three children ages 3, 10 and 12, was a personal trainer and cycling instructor at Mendocino Sport Club. Read more.

US Iraq Casualties Soar to 73,417

US Iraq Casualties soar to 73,417
Compiled by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com

US military occupation forces in Iraq under Commander-in-Chief Obama suffered six combat casualties in the week ending August 18 but the official total since the 2003 invasion soared to at least 73,417. The total includes 34,934 dead and wounded from what the Pentagon classifies as "hostile" causes. The sharp rise reflects the official count of a July 4 total of more than 38,483 dead and medically evacuated from "non-hostile" causes.*

The actual total is over 100,000 because the Pentagon chooses not to count as "Iraq casualties" the more than 30,000 veterans whose injuries-mainly brain trauma from explosions - were diagnosed only after they had left Iraq.** In addition, IC names eight service members who died of wounds after they left Iraq and are not counted by the Pentagon.***

My Book Is Now Available from Publisher Before Stores Get It

"Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union," by David Swanson is due in stores September 1st, but the publisher has it now and you can get it straight from Seven Stories Press.

Five US Troops Killed as Afghan Violence Swells

Five US Troops Killed as Afghan Violence Swells
26 Afghans, most of them members of a wedding party, are reported killed in roadside bombings. The Americans died in two separate incidents.
By Laura King | LA Times

Reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan - The pace of American combat deaths in Afghanistan has quickened anew as roadside bombs killed five U.S. troops in 24 hours in the same western province, the American military said Thursday.

The deaths bring to 11 the number of American troops killed in Afghanistan so far in August, on the heels of what was the worst month for Western and U.S. troop fatalities since the conflict began in 2001. Forty-three American military personnel died in July.

Violence has been surging in advance of Afghanistan's presidential and provincial assembly elections, which are two weeks away. In addition to the troop fatalities, a total of 26 Afghans, most of them members of a wedding party, were reported killed in roadside bombings Thursday. Read more.

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