"America’s military is astonishingly top heavy, with 945 generals and admirals on active duty as of March 2012. That’s one flag-rank officer for every 1,500 officers and enlisted personnel. With one general for every 1,000 airmen, the Air Force is the worst offender, but the Navy and Army aren’t far behind. For example, the Army has 10 active-duty divisions — and 109 major generals to command them. Between September 2001 and April 2011, the military actually added another 93 generals and admirals to its ranks (including 37 of the three- or four-star variety). The glut extends to the ranks of full colonel (or, in the Navy, captain). The Air Force has roughly 100 active-duty combat wings — and 3,712 colonels to command them. The Navy has 285 ships — and 3,335 captains to command them. Indeed, today’s Navy has nearly as many admirals (245 as of March 2012) as ships."
The Pentagon wants to move toward a greener military, one that relies more on renewable energy and less on fossil fuels. Why? It would save lives. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey made that case last October and a recent Army study found that “[a] fighting force that isn’t restricted by the reach of a tanker truck or weighted down by heavy batteries is more nimble and, as a result, more lethal.” …However, there are a few hurdles standing in the way: Republicans. The House GOP included a measure in the defense authorization bill this month prohibiting the Defense Department from buying alternative fuels if they cost more than “traditional fossil fuel.” And the Senate Armed Services Committee last week followed suit with an “even tougher” provision mirroring the House version but also exempts DOD from clean energy standards. Why are the Republicans doing this? VoteVets.org chairman Jon Soltz pointed out yesterday that they get a lot of money from the oil and gas industry. – Think Progress
I’m an Iraq war veteran, though I very rarely tell people that. Partly because I never kicked in any doors or anything - I had about the cushiest of war zone duties possible, although being in Kirkuk in 2006-2007 meant lots of random mo[r]tar/recycled rocket attacks and stuff. But the other reason I never tell anyone about it is the reaction, like everything about me being there was unambiguously positive.
Which brings me back to the idea of mandatory reverence around the flag, Memorial Day, July 4, etc… [I]t makes me angry when people are just unable to have two thoughts in their head at once - that we should be respectful of those who do the things no one else really wants to do, like kill people, and that sometimes, just maybe, the stuff we ask them to do is terrible…
Maybe it’s that I grew up in a world run by Baby Boomers (I’m 30), who seem especially incapable of understanding nuance of any sort, but it seems that most people who “fly the flag” and “support the troops” subscribe to this uncompromising approach to patriotism. I don’t know how exactly to fold some self-reflection into these holidays, but I think it would sure help those of us who see a lot more gray in the things we’ve done.
#vice president biden
#end to wars
Biden says end to wars gives foreign policy new flexibility — “Winding down these long wars has enabled us to replace and rebalance our foreign policy,” Biden told the Army cadets and their families at the storied academy’s football stadium. Biden’s speech echoed some of the themes of military success struck by President Barack Obama in his commencement address at the U.S. Air Force Academy on Wednesday. Biden, like Obama, said U.S. combat troops have returned home from Iraq, the conflict in Afghanistan is winding down and American commandos killed al-Qaida terrorist leader Osama bin Laden in May 2011. “Those warriors sent a message to the world that if you harm America, we will follow you to the end of the earth,” Biden said. – Tampa Bay Times
The military’s new fighter jet project only costs $1.45 trillion – While [Gov. Rick] Scott famously refused $2 billion in federal funds for high-speed rail in Florida, deriding it as an expensive boondoggle, his team shows no such hesitations about the $1.45 trillion F-35 project. The most expensive weapons system in Pentagon history, it has suffered technical setbacks, nearly a decade of production delays, and substantial cost overruns; the Pentagon currently estimates each plane will cost $135 million to build and maintain. So it’s no surprise that the Simpson-Bowles commission pointed to halving the Navy and Air Forces’ orders and eliminating the Marines’ version as a deficit-reduction step; in 2009, the Congressional Budget Office floated a similar cut. Any such reductions would lower the $1.59 billion in economic impact that, Lockheed boasts, Florida will get from F-35 contracts held by 95 in-state suppliers. […] During the Republican rebuttal to Obama’s 2012 State of the Union, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels ripped the president for trying to “build a middle class out of government jobs paid for with borrowed dollars.” Yet just three months earlier, his deputy, Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman, blessed a report highlighting the stimulus brought to her state’s economy by nearly 40,000 deficit-exploding federal defense jobs. – Mother Jones
Morning Bunker Report: Thursday 5.24.2012
#withdraw troops from europe
Poll: 51 percent say U.S. should withdraw all troops from Europe – Rasmussen has a new poll out today finding that a slim majority of American “likely voters” think the United States should withdrawal all American troops from Europe: A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 51% of Likely U.S. Voters now believe the United States should remove all its troops from Western Europe and let the Europeans defend themselves. Only 29% disagree, but another 20% are undecided. Part of President Obama’s plan to cut nearly $500 billion in military spending over the next decade (DOD’s budget will still grow over that same period) includes cutting two Army brigades in Europe. – ThinkProgress
#war on the middle class
#1. tax cuts for the wealthy
#2. austerity for the rest of us
#abc's this week
#Swift Boat Veterans for Truth
#veterans for a strong america
The Koch-Arends-Rove Swiftboating Ad on the President was aired nationally, for FREE, by ABC’s This Week
Then the round-table discussed it, as if it were anything but a political hit piece in a campaign season. That’s your liberal media, plebs.
What Everyone Should Know About The Secretive Group Trying To Swift Boat Barack Obama
The group’s leader and sole employee, Joel Arends, told Mother Jones, “Yes, it’s the swift boating of the president.”
3. Arends also tried to Swift Boat Obama in 2008. Arends, under the auspices of a similar group called “Vets for Freedom,” ran an ad accusing Obama of refusing to meet with wounded soldiers from Illinois. [NPR,7/5/08] …
4. Arends worked as a consultant for the Koch Brothers’ Americans for Properity. “Though he doesn’t list it on his public resume, around 2006 Arends went to work for Craig Dewey, the state director of Americans for Prosperity, an advocacy outfit that’s Astroturfed everything from the tea party and the Wisconsin union fight to public-school segregation.” The Koch Brothers and their allies have pledged to spend $100 million to defeat Obama. [Mother Jones, 5/4/12; HuffingtonPost, 2/3/12]
7. Arends helped promote a documentary advocating war with Iran. Arends appeared on a panel in South Dakoa promoting the documentary Iranium, which strongly suggests beginning a war with Iran, in March 2011. [Flier; ThinkProgress, 11/3/11]
8. Veterans for A Strong American is fully endorsed by Karl Rove. The man known as “Bush’s Brain” tweeted his support of their first web ad. [Twitter,5/3/12]
#anniversary of mission accomplished speech
#George W Bush
#may 1 2003
#worst president ever
Nine years ago today: Never Forget — May 1, 2003
Worst president ever.
On this date in 2003, Bush declared “mission accomplished.” (via)
On May 1, 2003, Bush became the first sitting President to make an arrested landing in a fixed-wing aircraft on an aircraft carrier when he arrived at the USS Abraham Lincoln in a Lockheed S-3 Viking, dubbed Navy One, as the carrier returned from combat operations in the Persian Gulf. He posed for photographs with pilots and members of the ship’s crew while wearing a flight suit. A few hours later, he gave a speech announcing the end of major combat operations in the Iraq War. Far above him was the warship’s banner stating “Mission Accomplished.”
Bush was criticized for the historic jet landing on the carrier as an overly theatrical and expensive stunt. For instance, they pointed to the fact that the carrier was well within range of Bush’s helicopter, and that a jet landing was not needed. Originally the White House had stated that the carrier was too far off the California coast for a helicopter landing and a jet would be needed to reach it. On the day of the speech, the Lincoln was only 30 miles (48 km) from shore but the administration still decided to go ahead with the jet landing. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer admitted that Bush “could have helicoptered, but the plan was already in place. Plus, he wanted to see a landing the way aviators see a landing.” The Lincoln made a scheduled stop in Pearl Harbor shortly before the speech, docked in San Diego after the speech, and returned to her home port in Everett, Washington on May 6, 2003.
Continue: 2003 Mission Accomplished speech – Wikipedia
And the Republicans want President Obama to quit talking about giving the order to take out Osama bin Laden on his watch? Speaks for itself.
"For every soldier killed on the battlefield this year, about 25 veterans are dying by their own hands. An American soldier dies every day and a half, on average, in Iraq or Afghanistan. Veterans kill themselves at a rate of one every 80 minutes."