In a first for the Army, Chelsea Manning, the convicted national-security secrets leaker, has been approved for hormone therapy for transition to a woman at the Army’s Fort Leavenworth prison, according to a memo obtained Thursday by USA TODAY.
Manning remains a soldier as well as an inmate.
“After carefully considering the recommendation that (hormone treatment) is medically appropriate and necessary, and weighing all associated safety and security risks presented, I approve adding (hormone treatment) to Inmate Manning’s treatment plan,” Col. Erica Nelson, the commandant of the Fort Leavenworth Disciplinary Barracks in Kansas, wrote in a Feb. 5 memo.
Why are our tax dollars being used for a completely elective procedure? Why does someone in prison receive these types of benefits?
Being in prison means a dismal lifestyle with only the bare-essentials to survive and for it to be so terrible that a person will change their ways (now their gender) and not want to perform a crime that would ever put them back there again. Not only is this POS of a soldier and an American guilty of a crime, HE is guilty of a crime against our country.
How about, they take him out of Leavenworth and send him down to Sheriff Joe in Maricopa County, AZ and let him handle Manning. Manning won’t be turned into a girl but I bet you he would be treated like one.
Ok accidents happen, I get that. An unmarked border in the middle of the desert could be hard to identify and a person or helicopter could accidentally cross it.
KVOA-TV reports that Mexican authorities were conducting a drug interdiction operation when the incident happened early Thursday morning on the Tohono O’odham Indian Nation. The Mexican chopper fired at the agents and then flew back into Mexico.
So how about we all agree and understand that and give us our damned US Citizen and Marine back who accidentally crossed over your border with his legal weapons. He did not shoot at your cops or try to harm any Mexican citizen.
Mexico then contacted U.S. authorities and apologized for the incident.
You fired on and tried to kill two of our federal agents, which I think warrants more than a friggen “I’m sorry”. How about you give us our Marine back with that apology, along with all his possessions, and a deep heartfelt apology from the President of Mexico. Otherwise if our administration had a pair, **they might seed the border with Stinger and other Anti-aircraft weapon platforms to shoot down the next “accident” that crosses over the border.
**Oh how I wish President Reagan was still alive and in office because I know that is exactly what he would have done. In the meantime, can our inept and impudent congress stand up as a whole body and DEMAND the President do something about this?
Well I recently stumbled across this trailer for the documentary coming out this summer called The Kill Team. I am curious as to how this documentary will play out to see if there is an agenda in it, or if it is truly just presenting facts.
I have talked about the connection with this film and the incident several times on this blog. One of the main individuals involved in this incident and who was found guilty and sentenced to 24 years in prison was Jeremy Morlock. I knew Jeremy when he was a little boy, long before he joined the Army. I knew his parents very well as I had served with his father for several years. Jeremy has many brothers and sisters and I knew the whole family. I was very proud of him when he joined the Army and had talked to him several times online about his late Father and how much he looked like him and my memories of his Dad.
It broke my heart when all of this happened and Jeremy took these actions that took innocent lives. It broke my heart because I knew him as a innocent little boy and I know it broke his mom’s heart to see the world look at her son as such an inhumane animal capable of doing such things. Even though I look at what he did with disgust, in a weird way only possibly understood by those that have served in combat, I can sort of understand how they did this.
Anyway, here is the trailer and I look forward to seeing a screening of this when it becomes available so I can judge how they are going to present this unit and their actions to the world. Learn more at http://killteammovie.com
After having spent nine years taking care of our war wounded service members, with all its heartbreaks and tragedies, the one thing I value most is opportunities to see how well my former patients have done. For me, to watch these men and women recover, get married, have children, play hockey, basketball, compete in the Para Olympics, graduate from college, is my assurance the care I gave them made a difference.
Recently, I was presented with an opportunity to attend a charity softball game in which the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team (http://www.woundedwarrioramputeesoftballteam.org) took on the NFL Players Association Team. As I scrolled through the team’s roster I realized I had taken care of over half of them. It was great for me to be there and watch the smiles and laughter come from men I had last seen pale, thin, scared and in pain. I cannot tell you how much it means to me to see their recoveries. It makes all the sorrow and the emotional turmoil of caring for wounded warriors worth it. Which made what happened on the softball field that much more a travesty.
I walked around the stadium looking at the outfield and saw the wounded warriors warming up next to the NFL players. As the players were introduced, I found a seat and watched the fist bumps and high fives of team members gearing up to play with a smile on my face. As the announcer came to the last NFL player to be identified he prefaced it with “he’s not here yet ladies and gentlemen but he’s on his way”. The name Michael Vick was announced. I have always believed in giving people the benefit of the doubt and this particular person’s claim of “turning his life around” was no different. However actions speak louder than words and what transpired over the next couple of hours was truly appalling.
The game progressed, the wounded warriors trouncing the NFL players; the final score 25-8. The NFL players on the field laughed and joked with the warriors and at one point there was an impromptu “brawl” that cleared the benches and had everyone in the stands laughing.
With the wounded warriors on the field, the NFL players up to bat, a full 30 minutes into the game, the announcer calls everyone’s attention to the fact that Michael Vick has now arrived. Since it seemed to be mandatory everyone acknowledge his presence the entire game was stopped. Mr. Vick walked straight across the field and headed directly for the dugout, never stopping to speak with any of the players. Perhaps he was uncomfortable meeting the amputees, perhaps he didn’t know what to say, or how to shake hands as some of them don’t have hands to shake. Maybe he was self conscious? I was still willing to give the benefit of the doubt, as not everyone loves these wounded warriors as much as I do.
However, not once did Mr. Vick emerge from the dugout, not once did he take the field to actually play softball. Only when the announcer and some in the crowd began chanting “we want Vick” did he bother to come out and take a turn at bat. Once at bat, when he finally managed to hit the softball, he simply dropped the bat at home plate and walked off the field. He didn’t try to run, didn’t acknowledge his team members, didn’t have another NFL player run for him. He walked off the field and back to the dugout.
I don’t know who was more stunned, the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team or the crowd. I could see the looks on the amputees faces as they stood there trying to comprehend what happened. I can only imagine the thoughts running through the minds of these combat veterans. I sat numb with shock at the complete and total disrespect shown to these men. Military service members who have given their limbs in protection of Mr. Vick, his freedoms and his ability to act like an ass. I could only sit and shake my head trying to clear the lump in my throat and the tears from my eyes. The game ended and I’d like to think Mr. Vick came out of the hole and talked with the softball team, he could learn a lot from them. I don’t know if he ever did or not, I have no great hope he did.
One last thing before I end. I gotta tell ya, Mr. Vick, there’s a reason why people don’t like you and you’ve just given me another one. Your callus treatment of these men is appalling, disgusting and disgraceful.
Holding someone accountable and punishing them for doing a bad job or not doing their job is a facet of working in our society and should be natural. It should not take an act of congress to fire people who are not doing their job properly or doing it bad.
Two Florida Republicans want to make it easier to fire senior Veterans Affairs Department employees for serious mistakes,but VA officials say what the plan will really do is scare away top talent.
Rep. Jeff Miller, chairman of the House Veteran’s Affairs Committee, and Sen. Marco Rubio introduced legislation in their respective chambers this week that would give the secretary of Veterans Affairs “complete authority” over senior executive service officials in the department, including the ability to demote or fire them.
The move would affect only about 450 of VA’s 300,000-plus employees, but both lawmakers argue it’s a critical change to promote accountability throughout the agency.
That’s been a theme in recent months among Republican lawmakers who have criticized VA leadership for failing to punish mid-level workers and senior executives for the disability claims backlog, poor care at medical centers, and a host of other headaches.
In particular, Miller and Rubio have focused on 31 preventable deaths of veterans in at least five different VA medical centers as a failure of leadership. No administrators have been fired in connection with the incidents, although several have retired.
I was amazed when I read this that it takes two elected representatives time and energy to make this happen. Especially in a Government organization (which is there to serve the citizens of this country) and one that is charged with taking care of those who have stepped forward to serve this country. If there is any organization which should be held accountable for failing to do its job and failing the citizens of this country, it is the VA without question.
What is worse is the person that is accountable for this, is to blame himself. Mr. “Black Beret” himself.
But VA officials, including Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, have pushed back against the idea of firing employees to improve department performance, saying they’re working to solve problems without vilifying VA staff.
How can any level of management in the VA hold anyone accountable when there is a hypocrite at the helm?
If the President cares about Veterans the way he and the First Lady claim they do, he should fire Shineski ASAP to set the example and put someone in charge that can start cleaning house. They need people that want to be there to serve the public, and more importantly, the Veterans and not someone who just care about reaching 20 years of civil service and a retirement check.
Read the whole story at http://www.militarytimes.com/article/20140214/BENEFITS04/302140012/New-bill-would-make-easier-fire-senior-VA-employees
Last fall a group of 15 Taliban fighters breached the perimeter of one of the largest bases in Afghanistan, completely unchallenged. They made their way on the base, taking the lives of two Marines and then destroyed over $200 million dollars worth of US Marine aircraft (almost the entire Squadron).
After the attack, which resulted in the deaths of two Marines and the largest loss of allied materiel in the 11-year-long Afghan war, the top U.S. commander on the base did not order a formal investigation into the security lapses or sanction any personnel responsible for guarding the facility, the officials said.
It was a joint base with the British and now it appears that because of that fact our country is worrying about embarrassing the British military leadership by publicly stating what everyone in the military knows already.
In the days following the raid, some U.S. and NATO military leaders insisted that the Taliban got lucky by choosing to breach where they did. But several officials with direct knowledge of the assault said in recent interviews that staffing decisions by U.S. and British commanders weakened the base’s defenses, making it easier for the insurgents to reconnoiter the compound and enter without resistance.
This is a disgrace to our entire military, our country and worst of all, the families of those two fallen Marines. There used to be a saying in out country, “The Buck Stops here” which means that whomever is in command it accountable.
You can ask any of my soldiers that ever served with me while I was their First Sergeant and they will tell you that I spoke at length about R.A.I.D. It stands for Responsibility, Accountability, Initiative and Discipline. These were the four tenants that I demanded all of my soldiers exercise all the time. I stressed to them how important it was to apply these to their the lives both on and off duty. In my talks with soldiers about R.A.I.D. I would stress the fact that Responsibility can be delegated but Accountability never can. It is impossible to delegate it. If someone charges you with a responsibility to get something done, you may be able to delegate the task to someone else to physically perform, however you are and always will be accountable to the person that asked or told you to do it. You can’t whine with a “but I told him to do it”. That does not hold any weight or integrity.
So back to this story that came out on Saturday about the dereliction of duty and lack of accountability on behalf of the US and British leadership on the base. The base has been the site of an attempted attack on Secretary of Defense Panetta just six months earlier and it was September of 2012, which was still well within the height of the fighting season in the worst year of violence to date.
“You can’t defend everywhere every day,” Gurganus said in response to a question about the attack. “You base your security on the threat you’ve got.” He said the Taliban caught “a lucky break.”
That statement by MG Gurganus is in itself reason enough to relieve him of his duties and force him to retire. There are many parts in the whole story that are disturbing to read, however that quote above is 100% whining and excuse making. If I was his CSM and was near him, I would have tossed my career right there while I ate him up one side and down the other. I am sure this MG didn’t take whining excuses like that from the Marines in his command throughout his career. Him stating that on the record is a stain on the impeccable reputation of the entire Marine Corps.
The second worse thing stated in this story is the following
No U.S. or British military personnel have been reprimanded as a result of the attack. The Marine Corps does not plan to release its review. NATO also intends to keep its investigation confidential, in part to avoid embarrassing the British for leaving towers unmanned, according to officers briefed on the findings.
“We’ve corrected the deficiencies in security, but we don’t want to put a stick in the eye of our closest ally,” said a senior U.S. official who served in Afghanistan at the time.
To not hold those accountable and be transparent about the mistakes made is a failure on all of the leadership in both countries, all the way to the top. It is amazing how we can make public spectacles out of and punish soldiers who mistakenly throw Korans into a burn put with the other trash they are mixed with, or Marines who out of disgust and anger with a cowardice enemy urinate on their dead bodies (which by the way, nobody in the world gave a crap about except our civilian leaders in the Government) but they don’t make public and hold accountable the leaders and decision makers on this base that directly allowed this to happen.
If this is a sign of what is to come as we drawdown, then it makes it more important than ever to pull all troops out now instead of leaving them there as IED and IDF Fodder for our enemies.
Please take the time to read the whole story. I look forward to your comments and feelings on this topic. Feel free to comment on this blog post and lets chat about it.