Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for the ‘veterans’ Category

Remembering Liberty

Posted by Charles II on June 9, 2014

All states do cynical things. One can’t condemn any government for a single bad deed. But the US response to the sinking of the USS Liberty is one of those things that has to be acknowledged before the American people can have any confidence in their own government, much less that of Israel. The basic story is this:

On the 47th anniversary of that unprovoked attack let’s be clear about what happened: Israeli messages intercepted on June 8, 1967, leave no doubt that sinking the USS Liberty was the mission assigned to the attacking Israeli warplanes and torpedo boats as the Six-Day War raged in the Middle East. Let me repeat: there is no doubt – none – that the mission of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) was to destroy the USS Liberty and kill its entire crew.

There were notably heartless actions by the pilots who engaged in the attacks–and notable bravery by American sailors–that makes this an emotional issue. Critics of Israel point to it as the moment in which that state learned that it could act with impunity, poisoning subsequent relations between the countries. That’s probably not true, since the US can always re-assert itself. And, of course, this plays into the Israel-Palestine conflict and the broader Israel-Arab conflict. Those deserve to be judged on their own merits/demerits.

And then there’s the fact that the president who directed the American response to the attack on USS Liberty was perhaps simultaneously both the best and the worst of post-WW II presidents. For those who hate him, it is easy to turn his indifference toward American servicemen into a bloody rag. The stories of both the dead and the survivors would break your heart. But lots of presidents have been indifferent to servicemen. That is, after all, why there have been so many wars and so little response to problems like PTSD, Agent Orange exposure, and Gulf War Syndrome. Just because those men suffer and die out of the public spotlight doesn’t mean that presidents are ignorant of the human consequences of their inaction.

The main issue, as far as I am concerned is the US response:

When President Johnson learned that the USS America and USS Saratoga had launched warplanes to do battle with the forces attacking the Liberty, he told Defense Secretary Robert McNamara to call Sixth Fleet commander Rear Admiral Lawrence Geiss and tell him to order the warplanes to return immediately to their carriers.

According to J.Q. “Tony” Hart, a chief petty officer who monitored these conversations from a U.S. Navy communications relay station in Morocco, Geiss shot back that one of his ships was under attack.

And then, to add insult to grave injurywas this element of the US response:

[According to a commission led by] former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (and before that Chief of Naval Operations) [Admiral] Thomas Moorer…

… surviving crew members were later threatened with “court-martial, imprisonment, or worse” if they talked to anyone about what had happened to them; and were “abandoned by their own government.”

How come Admiral Moorer, along with Marine General Ray Davis and Rear Admiral Merlin Staring were the only senior members of the military to demand that the human beings aboard the Liberty be acknowledged?

Yesterday was the 47th anniversary of the sinking of USS Liberty. Refusing to politicize it in any way, let’s make sure that it is never forgotten. Let’s make sure that the memory of what our government did never be forgotten. And let’s try to make sure that the survivors of that and all acts of war receive humane treatment for all wounds, visible or not.

Posted in Conflict in the Middle East, history, military, veterans | Comments Off on Remembering Liberty

Remember those who served

Posted by Charles II on May 26, 2014


As we see with the VA scandal, this country lionizes dead veterans, but neglects the living. While those who died need to be remembered, let us do so primarily by remembering the living: the widows and orphans and grieving parents and siblings they left, the men and women they served with, and the young men and women who are tempted by dreams of glory to sign on for the wars of empire. As our greatest act of remembrance, let’s care for the survivors not just with medicine, but also with education, jobs, and sound communities. Let’s also try to prevent senseless wars, like the one against Iran that the neo-cons have lusted for, or the conflicts with China and Russia that they have stoked.

Those would be acts of true remembrance.

Posted in veterans | Comments Off on Remember those who served

Honor those who served with care for their wounds, meaningful work, and acceptance

Posted by Charles II on May 26, 2013


Posted in veterans | 7 Comments »

Good men/women served. Good men/women stayed at home.

Posted by Charles II on May 27, 2012

Please honor those who have served… and those who tried to prevent wars.

On Monday, May 28th, Memorial Day, IAVA asks for a moment of silence at 12:01 PM to honor those who have died in the service of this country.

A minute is not enough. Veterans need to be honored with jobs, healthcare, and the opportunity to make their lives whole again. I recommend IAVA as an organization that is trying to make that happen.

Posted in veterans | 1 Comment »

It didn’t have to end this way: Marigold and the lost chance to end the Vietnam War in 1966

Posted by Charles II on January 15, 2012

James G. Hershberg, via National Security Archive:

Who Murdered “Marigold”?

Warsaw, Poland. December 6, 1966: a date which should live in diplomatic infamy. Five thousand miles away, the Vietnam War is raging, with the dead piling up and the escalating violence poisoning international affairs and American politics. Early that morning, the Pentagon informs President Lyndon B. Johnson at his Texas ranch that 6,250 U.S. military personnel had been killed in Vietnam (and Laos) since January 1961, when his predecessor, John F. Kennedy, took office[a] —but few imagine that 52,000 Americans are still to die, along with millions of Vietnamese on both sides of the 17th Parallel. Outwardly, the bloodshed shows no sign of subsiding.

Yet, far from Southeast Asia’s jungles and rice paddies, in this grey, frigid Central European city, a secret breakthrough for peace seems imminent. The United States and North Vietnam lack diplomatic relations and, relying on combat to resolve their clashing visions, appear stuck in a Catch-22 that precludes direct negotiations: Hanoi insists it will not talk until Washington stops the bombing it began in early 1965, and Washington maintains just as stubbornly that it will not halt the raids until assured that Hanoi will pay a reasonable price, such as curbing its support for the Communist insurgency fighting to topple the US-backed regime in Saigon.

But on that cloudy Tuesday, after months of furtive machinations by Polish and Italian intermediaries (with the Soviets lurking in the shadows), Washington and Hanoi have agreed that their ambassadors to Poland will meet to confirm a ten-point outline of a settlement, or at least a basis for direct talks.

Here are the US deaths by date:

1957 – 1
1958 – 0
1959 – 2
1960 – 5
1961 – 16
1962 – 53
1963 – 118
1964 – 206
1965 – 1,863
1966 – 6,144
1967 – 11,153
1968 – 16,589
1969 – 11,614
1970 – 6,083
1971 – 2,357
1972 – 640
1973 – 168
1974 – 178
1975 – 160
1976 – 77
1977 – 96
1978 – 447
1979 – 148
1980-1995 – 66


Almost all of those men, and millions of Vietnamese could have been saved, and soldiers and civilians been spared casualties and illness, had those talks gone forward.

Posted in history, veterans, Vietnam | 5 Comments »

In memory of those who fight for freedom in war or in peace

Posted by Charles II on November 11, 2011

Let us remember those who died by preserving freedom–real freedom–at home. Let us make it more than what our present leaders would tell us: that freedom is the freedom to buy and own, the freedom to amuse ourselves, the freedom to vote even if the process is corrupted.

Freedom is much, much more.

Posted in veterans | 4 Comments »

Iraq/Afghanistan vet beaten, requiring hospitalization, in Oakland Occupy

Posted by Charles II on November 4, 2011

Adam Gabbatt, The Guardian:

Kayvan Sabehgi, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, is in intensive care with a lacerated spleen. He says he was beaten by police close to the Occupy Oakland camp, but despite suffering agonising pain, did not reach hospital until 18 hours later.

Sabeghi, who left the army in 2007 and now part-owns a small bar-restaurant in El Cerrito, about 10 miles north of Oakland, said he was handcuffed and placed in a police van for three hours before being taken to jail. By the time he got there he was in “unbelievable pain”.

He said: “My stomach was really hurting, and it got worse to the point where I couldn’t stand up.

“I was on my hands and knees and crawled over the cell door to call for help.”

A nurse was called and recommended Sabehgi take a suppository, but he said he “didn’t want to take it”.

He was allowed to “crawl” to another cell to use the toilet, but said it was clogged.

“I was vomiting and had diarrhoea,” Sabehgi said. “I just lay there in pain for hours.”

Sabehgi’s bail was posted in the mid-afternoon, but he said he was unable to leave his cell because of the pain. The cell door was closed, and he remained on the floor until 6pm, when an ambulance was called.

Who disrespects veterans? The left? Or the people who have thrown in with the 1%?

Posted in abuse of power, Occupy movement, veterans | 7 Comments »

In memory…

Posted by Charles II on May 30, 2011


In memory of all veterans, who go to fight for promises unredeemed and return to a nation unrepentant.

May all humankind come to know: there is no good war.

I visited the graveyard today. There’s a new plot this year. Not a vet. Just a guy who worked the oil rigs, played a mean guitar for more celebrations than anyone can remember, drank way too much, and lived longer than any of us expected.

And a family vet is headed back into the carnage for his third tour. Lord, watch over him. He has a one-year old who needs him.

Posted in veterans | 1 Comment »

Veterans Administration For The Win

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 14, 2010

Spocko Tweeted the link to this Palm Beach Post story:

Maggots have been discovered in the eye socket of a 76-year-old man under the care of a Gainesville nursing home with ownership ties to Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast, his outraged daughter said.


The Gainesville nursing home is part of a chain that includes Glades Health Care Center in Pahokee, controlled by the family of executive Maxcine Darville of Okeechobee. An investigation by The Palm Beach Post last year found Darville and family members enjoyed salaries above industry norms and spent money on luxury cars and hot tubs while two of three nursing homes in the chain, including the Gainesville home, received the lowest possible one-star rating from state regulators.


A Veterans Administration official confirmed the agency filed a report with the Adult Protective Services unit of the Florida Department of Children and Families.

“Please note that the discussed veteran was not under VA care when this matter occurred at this non-VA nursing home,” said VA spokeswoman Cindy Gaylord in an e-mail. “The veteran was brought to our medical center for care and shortly thereafter, the issue was forwarded to Adult Protective Services, Department of Children/Family Service for investigation.”

Exactly. The problem was only discovered when the man was brought to the VA for treatment.

Posted in health care, health issues, veterans | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

In memory of those who served their country faithfully

Posted by Charles II on May 30, 2010

Even as this country fails to properly support and care for those veterans who return, scarred, from these present wars– as from every war.

Posted in history, veterans | Comments Off on In memory of those who served their country faithfully

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