PTSD

The Pronk Pops Show 278, June 12, 2014, Story 1: Who Lost Iraq and Libya To The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Al Qaeda? Obama and Clinton — Forward Al Qaeda (Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (ISIS)) To Baghdad — Air Force C-17 Aircraft Pilot Major Eric Stahl Reveals Some of The Truth About Benghazi — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 278: June 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 277: June 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 276: June 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 275: June 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 274: June 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 273: June 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 272: June 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 271: June 2, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 270: May 30, 2014 

Pronk Pops Show 269: May 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 268: May 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 267: May 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 266: May 23, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 265: May 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 264: May 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 263: May 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 262: May 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 261: May 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 260: May 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 259: May 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 258: May 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 257: May 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 256: May 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 255: May 2, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 254: May 1, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 253: April 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 252: April 29, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 250: April 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 249: April 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 248: April 22, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 246: April 17, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 244: April 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 243: April 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 242: April 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 241: April 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 240: April 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 239: April 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 238: April 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 237: April 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 236: April 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 235: March 31, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 234: March 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 233: March 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 232: March 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 231: March 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 230: March 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 229: March 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 228: March 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 227: March 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 226: March 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 225: March 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 224: March 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 223: March 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 222: March 3, 2014

Story 1: Who Lost Iraq and Libya To The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Al Qaeda? Obama and Clinton — Forward Al Qaeda (Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (ISIS)) To Baghdad — Air Force C-17 Aircraft Pilot Major Eric Stahl Reveals Some of The Truth About Benghazi  — Videos

 

What is ISIS?

Stands for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Originated as an offshoot of al-Qaeda in Iraq

ISIS-Iraq-Attack-960x400

ISIS

 

Syria-ISIS-State-Across-Syria-and-IraqISIS-in-Iraq-6-12-2014 5-30-30 AMiraq_syria-isis-activity

iraq_ethno_2003iraq-map-gen

iraq-oilfields-map

Iraq Mapkurdistan2kurdistan3

kurdistan_mapIslamic State of Iraq and the levant (ISIL)

56190_cartoon_main

mission accomplished

Bushs-fault

Benghazi attackers used State Dept. cell phones to call terrorist leader

President Obama speech Iraq Crisis ISIS or ISIL War and Iraqi Government

June 13 2014 Breaking News Obama after pulling USA forces out of Iraq Obama Considering Airstrikes

U.S. air strikes? Washington divided over action in Iraq

Should U.S. carry out Iraq air strikes?

Gingrich: We must use airstrikes in Iraq

Iraqi Kurds ‘fully control Kirkuk’ as army flees

2014 – BBC World News – Imminent ISIS Attack on Baghdad; Iraqi Kurds Seize Ctrl of Kirkuk

Kurdish Special Forces VS isis 2014

Syrias Kurdish Islamist terror conflict Ceylanpınar

MidEast In-Depth: What’s the impact of the rift between the Kurds in Syria?

Women fighters in kurdistan 2013 (documentary)

History of the Kurdish Aryan Race (Proto indo-European)

BBC – Fast Track, About Kurdistan

 

The Other Iraq Who are the Kurds

KURDISTAN – CBS NEWS REPORT, WHAT IS KURDISTAN?

Booming Economy in Kurdistan Transforms Region into Business Hub

In A Changing Middle East, Should the U.S. Support Kurdish Independence?

The Invisible Nation of Kurds

Networks Mostly Ignore Obama’s Rapid Iraq Withdrawal When Discussing Increased Iraq Violence

Is U.S. embassy in Baghdad ready for Iraqi evacuation?

Is ISIS winning the propaganda war?

29 May 2014 – extreme graphic content, drive by shootings by ISIS.

How Iraq can stop ISIS’ advances

Turning a crisis into a war?

Islamic fascists ISIS advance and take Mosul and Tikrit advance on to Bagdad. Obama failure

Meet ISIS, the Islamic Militant Group That Took Mosul | Times Minute | The New York Times

Syria conflict : Who are ISIS?

Who is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi?

ISIS’ enigmatic terror leader

Journalists: U.S. Failures in Iraq Helped Fuel Current Sectarian Crisis

THOUSANDS of Iraqi soldiers captured by ISIS in Tikrit.

ISIS militants extend control to 90 kms from Baghdad as Iraqi army melts away

ABC’s Jon Karl Grills Carney over Obama’s Claims Al Qaeda Is Decimated, Destroyed

BOEHNER: Obama Is ‘Taking A Nap’ While Iraq Is Falling Apart

In 2010, Biden Predicted Iraq Would Be “One Of The Great Achievements Of This Administration”

Explained: The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)

KHILAFAH IS COMING || Islamic State of Iraq and Sham || Sheikh Anwar al Awlaki on Iraq

Last Message to American People- Anwar al Awlaki

Iraq delays vote on emergency as crisis spreads

Terrorists gain ground in Iraq

BREAKING NEWS – Iraq crisis : Militants attack Tikrit after taking Mosul

Sunni insurgents make Iraq gains as army flees Mosul

Iraq Kurds take Kirkuk as Sunni militants surge toward Baghdad

Islamist militant group captures Iraq’s second largest city

Obama says Washington will use military force unilaterally when its core interests demand

U.S. Withdrawal from Iraq: “In Terms of Destroying Iraq, It’s ‘Mission Accomplished'”

Hume: Strategic Gains In Iraq Being Squandered

 

 

Iraq’s Terrorists Are Becoming a Full-Blown Army

The group so extreme it got booted from al Qaeda controls huge swaths of territory. And now ISIS has got the heavy weaponry to back it up.
With the fall of Mosul on Tuesday, Iraq’s al Qaeda offshoot has not only seized the country’s second-largest city, it appears it also has come into possession of the heavy weapons and vehicles the U.S. military had provided Iraq’s military to fight them.

That’s terrible news for America’s few allies left in Iraq as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (ISIS) morph from terrorist menace to a military force capable of over-running an army the U.S. military trained for nearly a decade. It also calls into question the American government’s decision to withdraw the last of its forces from Iraq in 2011. Three years later that withdrawal now appears premature.

ISIS themselves appear to be pleased with the booty of the Mosul campaign. On Twitter the group posted a photo of a beaming Umar al-Shishani, a senior ISIS commander, examining a captured American-made Humvee, which had already been driven from the Iraqi city to the eastern Syrian town of Deir ez-Zor. “Umar al-Shishani inspects spoils of war…Looks quite pleased,” the tweet said.

General Najim al-Jabouri, a former mayor of Tel Afar, which is a little more than 31 miles from Mosul, told The Daily Beast the bases seized by ISIS this week would provide the group with even more heavy weapons than they currently control. “The Iraqi army left helicopters, humvees, cargo planes and other heavy machine guns, along with body armor and uniforms,” the general, who is now a scholar at the National Defense University, said. He said he was able to learn about the equipment from soldiers and other politicians in and around Mosul with whom he keeps in touch.

General Najim is not alone in this assessment. Jack Keane, a retired four-star Army general who was a key adviser to General David Petraeus during the counter-insurgency campaign in Iraq in 2007 and 2008 known as the surge, said ISIS has now established itself as a formidable military force.

“This organization has grown into a military organization that is no longer conducting terrorist activities exclusively but is conducting conventional military operations,” he said. “They are attacking Iraqi military positions with company- and battalion-size formations. And in the face of that the Iraqi security forces have not been able to stand up to it.”

“We in Anbar want U.S. air and military support because what happened in Mosul could happen in Anbar and we want to prevent it.”

There were signs this was coming. Sheik Jassim Muhammad Suwaydawi, one of the remaining pro-American tribal leaders in western Iraq, told The Daily Beast on Tuesday that his forces have fought ISIS companies that drove tanks in western Iraq. “ISIS is using heavy weapons, in some cases even tanks because of the weakness of the Iraqi Army.”

It was not supposed to be this way. Back in 2008, U.S. counter-insurgency commanders touted the Iraqi city of Mosul, 200 miles northwest of Baghdad, as a model success in the American “troop surge” that helped contain the Sunni-Shia civil war. But today Mosul became the de facto capital of a jihadist newcomer that is not only crumbling the authority of the Iraqi government but also overshadowing al Qaeda.

The siege of Mosul by ISIS, who overran the northern city on Tuesday after Iraqi forces fled posts and government buildings, also amounts to a severe blow to the government of Nouri al-Maliki. The Iraqi government has floundered in its efforts to stop the country from sliding back into a vicious spiral of bloodshed that claimed more than 8,800 lives last year alone.

Following the loss of his country’s second-largest city, the hard-pressed Iraqi prime minister is now turning to the U.S. for more assistance, reportedly asking the Obama administration for missiles and artillery—although he has not asked for a return of U.S. troops, a request unlikely to be viewed favorably either in Washington, D.C., or by Maliki’s Shia Muslim supporters.

Sheik Jassim told The Daily Beast. “The situation on the ground has been deteriorating for the last seven months, but in the last couple of days it has significantly gotten worse.” He added, “We in Anbar want U.S. air and military support because what happened in Mosul could happen in Anbar and we want to prevent it.”

The resurrection of ISIS in Iraq began a year ago. Last summer ISIS staged a successful jailbreak at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison, freeing many of its leaders. After the jailbreak ISIS not only expanded into neighboring Syria while breaking away from al Qaeda’s central command in Pakistan, the group also took Fallujah, the site of one of the Iraq war’s most infamous battles in 2004.

At this point Iraqi leaders in Baghdad are considering asking the Kurdish militia known as the Peshmerga to intervene in Mosul. A senior official with the Kurdistan Regional Government told The Daily Beast that lower-level Iraqi officials have floated the idea today of Kurdish forces stepping into Mosul, a Sunni Arab majority city that is close to Kurdish territory, to try to restore order. This official said: “We have significant interests and assets in the region,” although he noted that ISIS has not attacked Kurdish targets in western Iraq.

That isn’t the case in Syria, where Syrian Kurds have been locked in a ferocious months-long struggle with ISIS and have been unable to maintain the advances they were managing in the winter.

“The jihadists have mounted several attacks in recent weeks,” Kurdish activist Kovan Direj told The Daily Beast in a phone interview.

The capture of Mosul won’t make life any easier for the Syrian Kurds. It is a further major step in the establishing of ISIS, which is made up at its core of battle-hardened Iraqis but has attracted fighters from across the Middle East, Central Asia and Europe, as the most successful jihadi group in history in terms of strategic territory controlled or land battles won.

ISIS’s rise since its formation in 2010 by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has taken many analysts by surprise: Premature obituaries were written when the jihadi group, which emerged from the Islamist insurgency in Iraq, was disowned this year by al Qaeda’s top leaders, who were furious with its brazen refusal to obey orders to withdraw to Iraq, allowing the compliant Jabhat al-Nusra the unchallenged al Qaeda franchise in Syria.

The Iraqi government is not the only one seemingly unable to halt the expansion of ISIS, which has grabbed a swath of cross-border land stretching from Iraq’s Mosul up through Iraq’s Anbar province and all the way west to the Syrian town of Al Bab on the outskirts of Aleppo.

Since being disavowed in February, ISIS has fiercely competed with al Qaeda to secure the allegiance of affiliates and jihadi groups across the Middle East. And for months jihadi religious scholars have been waging theological debate and lining up behind core al Qaeda’s leader Ayman al-Zawahiri or al-Baghdadi in the struggle for jihadi supremacy.

Success breeds success, say analysts. The dramatic seizing of Mosul will only add to ISIS’s luster, helping it to recruit more fighters as it seeks to carve out a “caliphate” across western Iraq and eastern Syria—much as 9/11 was a recruitment driver for al Qaeda. Jihadist social media sites were jubilant Tuesday. “Jihadis are ecstatic with ISIS’s achievement,” say researchers at the Middle East Media Research Institute, a Washington-D.C.-based nonprofit.

Mosul’s capture is being presented by ISIS as a validation of al-Baghdadi’s jihad strategy, one that focuses on controlling territory and proto-state building. Al Qaeda in its videos and websites focuses on global jihad; ISIS in its propaganda celebrates towns captured and land controlled, notes Pieter Nanninga, a Mideast scholar at the University of Groningen in The Netherlands.

There are also funding and logistical imperatives for ISIS to pursue the proto-state strategy.  The group has been able to fund itself by running extortion rackets in the towns it controls in Iraq and Syria and from oil smuggling—essential revenue streams with al Qaeda dominating funding from jihadist-sympathizers in the Gulf.

With its overrunning of Mosul ISIS has taken a significant step in its carving out of a caliphate that is reshaping both Iraq and Syria.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/06/11/iraq-s-terrorists-are-becoming-a-full-blown-army.html

 

 

Congress’s Iraq Vets Helplessly Watch Their Gains Lost

“What was the point of all that?” Perry asks of U.S. action as Mosul and Tikrit fall to extremists.

 

Americans are tired of war. For the 17 members of Congress who served in Iraq, that means watching helplessly as the cities they fought for fall once more to extremists.

Militants believed to be associated with al-Qaida overtook Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq, on Tuesday. The group then seized Tikrit, hometown of former President Saddam Hussein, on Wednesday.

Three Republican congressmen who served in Iraq—Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Doug Collins of Georgia, and Brad Wenstrup of Ohio—said it feels like the progress they made has been thrown away.

“Going out across the desert I remember the feelings that you have, wondering if you’re going to make it out alive,” Perry said. “Right now I wonder what that was all about. What was the point of all of that?”

A security agreement was what Perry, Collins, and Wenstrup wanted to see come out of the war, one that would allow U.S. troops to remain involved in the region when the enemy—thought to be the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria—returned.

“We have an enemy today that senses weakness, knows how to find it, and then goes after it,” Wenstrup said. “I think Iraq maybe thought they could [defend themselves]. This was an opportunity for us to have another ally in the region. I came home from Iraq feeling that we liberated 25 million people.”

But that freedom is in jeopardy, Wenstrup said, if Iraqi citizens cannot or will not fight back.

And none of the congressmen thought there was much the United States could do.

“I think at this point the administration made a choice to cut and run,” Collins said. “When Fallujah fell again, we knew this foreign policy had consequences. Aside from an intervention, which I don’t think is on anybody’s mind, Iraq is going to have defend for itself. At this point we’ll see if the Iraqi security forces are capable.”

Fallujah fell to militants in January. The city was taken by U.S. forces in late 2004 at the cost of more than 100 American soldiers’ lives, the bloodiest battle of the Iraq War.

The Obama administration acknowledges the setbacks in Iraq.

“On the battlefield, it cannot be considered a success,” said Robert Beecroft, former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, at a Senate committee hearing Wednesday. “It’s a struggle. We’re doing what we can to support them with equipment, assistance, training, and sharing any intelligence.”

Reports from Mosul said the Iraqis changed out of their military uniforms, abandoned their weapons, and fled their homes to escape the violence.

“It seems to me that the Iraqis laid down a lot of the arms that we gave to them,” Wenstrup said. “So that doesn’t seem to be the solution.”

At the Senate hearing, the president’s nominee to serve as the next ambassador to Iraq, Stuart Jones, expressed confidence that Iraq could defend itself, and said groups are coming together to respond to the attacks.

“We will continue to work with our international partners to try to meet the needs of those who have been displaced, and we will try to work with the security forces in their fight against [ISIS],” Jones said.

And that may be all the U.S. can do, save from changing course on the president’s foreign policy and sending troops back into the region.

The veterans in Congress also harbor doubts about what will happen in Afghanistan, where U.S. troops are set to leave by 2016. But America isn’t rallying to step back into the war—and that means living with the consequences of letting Iraq and Afghanistan defend themselves.

“I don’t think we’re powerless,” Perry said. “I think we can help form public opinion, which will help to guide [Obama] to some extent. But I don’t think there’s any appetite from the American people to go back and do our work twice.”

 http://www.nationaljournal.com/congress/congress-s-iraq-vets-helplessly-watch-their-gains-lost-20140611

 

Americans being evacuated from Iraqi air base

 

Officials say three planeloads of Americans are being evacuated from a major Iraqi air base in Sunni territory north of Baghdad to escape potential threats from a fast-moving insurgency.

A current U.S. official and a former senior Obama administration official say that means the American training mission at the air field in Balad has been grounded indefinitely.

Twelve U.S. personnel who were stationed at Balad were the first to be evacuated. Several hundred American contractors are still waiting to leave.

They have been training Iraqi forces to use fighter jets and surveillance drones.

Other U.S. contractors at a tank training ground in the city of Taji are still continuing for now.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they refused to be named in discussing the sensitive situation.

http://news.yahoo.com/americans-being-evacuated-iraqi-air-180926112.html;_ylt=AwrBEiQp75lTcwgAAOrQtDMD

 

Iraq in turmoil as Isis jihadists march on Baghdad and Obama hints at military intervention

By Chris HughesJames Lyons 

Half a million refugees fled Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s men for Baghdad, as Mosul’s streets were littered with corpses of civilians and anyone in a security uniform

The world’s most dangerous jihadist is ruthlessly re-drawing the map of the Middle East as his heavily-armed force of gangster-warriors stormed towards Baghdad.

Today the ISIS threat to Iraqi capital Baghdad was so severe that President Obama hinted at a “short -term” military operation to rescue Iraq from the brink.

Sweeping aside all before them his army of Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham fighters are so powerful that al-Qaeda’s command is scared of them.

In just a few years Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has become commander of the most chilling terror force of the post 9-11 world.

His lightning success has rattled even western intelligence agencies.

Staggeringly, less than 1,000 of al-Baghdadi’s gunmen forced two divisions of US-trained Iraqi Army soldiers, a total of 30,000 troops, to flee.

More than half a million refugees have fled the onslaught, heading south for Baghdad, as Mosul’s streets were littered with the corpses of civilians and anyone in a security uniform.

Desperate local forces called in air strikes from the Iraqi air force who bombed insurgent positions in and around Mosul – footage of which was aired on state television.

Throughout the day ISIS marauders swept through northern Iraq’s towns, emptying banks of millions of pounds to fund their locust-like land-grab.

 

Map: Controlled areas of Iraq

 

 

Iraqi security and police sources said ISIS had overrun the town of Udhaim, just 60 miles north of Baghdad.

Local forces were calling for reinforcements.

As firefights broke out, ISIS forces were trying to outflank retreating Iraqi forces to try and cut of the main highway to Baghdad, to the south.

Today, heavily-armed insurgents in 50 vehicles surrounded Iraq’s largest refinery in the northern town of Baiji as they prepared to tap into Iraq’s oil revenue.

Economically the fighting will be felt globally.

In the UK petrol prices will jump by 2p a litre and may even rise further because of the chaos, the RAC warned.

In Saddam Hussein’s home town of Tikrit, 95 miles north of Baghdad, police held prisoner were paraded before a crowd by fighters who overran their base.

As was witnessed in Syria the militants set up military councils to run the towns they captured.

One tribal leader from the town of Alam, north of Tikrit, said: “They came in hundreds to my town and said they are not here for blood or revenge but they seek reforms and to impose justice.

“They picked a retired general to run the town.”

The elderly man added: “They said our final destination will be Baghdad, the decisive battle will be there.”

The sheer ferocity of al-Baghdadi – full name Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim Ali al-Baghdadi- came to the full attention of British MI6 and the US CIA several years ago as his men gained ground in Syria.

 

ReutersAbu Bakr al-Baghdadi
Danger: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

 

 

Originally from the Iraqi capital he was publicly disowned by letter months ago by al-Qaeda for being too extreme having taken up jihad in the rebel town Fallujah, where he was arrested by US troops in 2004.

The town west of Baghdad saw some of the worst fighting of the insurgency and many of its remaining fighters proved loyal to him when he was released in 2007 and joined al-Qaeda.

He rose through the ranks of a local al-Qaeda faction and among his lieutenants are at least three men who served in Saddam’s forces, Abu Ayman al-Iraqi, Abu Ahmad al-Alwani and Haji Bakr, the latter now dead.

Al-Baghdadi is hardly ever seen in public and directs operations from secret bolt-holes, although it is thought he is currently in Northern Iraq.

Because his group is hell-bent on creating an Islamic state across Iraq, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon – AKA The Levant – it means they want to rule a huge footprint across the strategic Middle East.

A senior western security source said last night: “You can put aside the leader of al-Qaeda Ayman Zawahiri, because the leader of ISIS just became the most powerful jihadist fighter in the world.

“This is not some local Islamist group trying to cause trouble and attract a bit of attention – it is an enormous and chilling land-grab bid of thousands of square miles on which it is stamping Islamic extremism.

“Al-Baghdadi’s men are highly motivated and they have not suffered a significant setback as yet -their morale must be soaring and they are raking in the funds of jihad.

 

“He is proving a good strategist.

“Once a nomadic jihadist, it seems he has changed tack and started to hold ground.

“And this is extremely important ground as he knows there is many years of valuable oil beneath it.”

Within months of crossing from Iraq’s lawless Anbar Province ISIS was building up a war chest of funds to buy more weapons and offer bribe money to jihadists to defect from the Syrian rebels.

His men plundered Syria’s east, imposing taxes and Sharia Law which led to hundreds of public executions of all who stood in their way, striking terror into an already brutalised population.

Foreign jihadists – particularly British fighters – flocked to ISIS, attracted to them for their mystique, nomadic holy warrior image and the best jihadist wage on offer at around £200 a-month.

Soon al-Baghdadi carved a huge swathe of power out of Syria, undermining first the official rebels the Free Syrian Army and then ISIS, al-Qaeda colleagues Jabhat al-Nusrah.

The Daily Mirror can reveal how Sunni Muslim al-Baghdadi’s gangster instinct overshadowed his sectarian loathing of the ruling Shia Alawites to form shady agreements with Syria’s President Assad .

In the complex world of Arab politics Assad has resorted to adopting the old maxim “your enemy is my enemy” to help ISIS wipe out other rebel factions before facing them.

 

GettyISIL militants gathering at an undisclosed location
Mass: ISIS militants gathering at an undisclosed location in Iraq’s Nineveh province

 

 

One senior Free Syrian Army commander Colonel Fateh Hassoun, told the Mirror recently that ISIS had all but won the Syrian civil war between rebels – funded by a staggering £700,000 a day in stolen Syrian oil revenues.

He even claimed al-Baghdadi secretly trades the stolen oil back to Assad and has agreed a ceasefire with the regime.

He told the Mirror: “We are losing fighters to this rival group.

“Britain and America has stopped paying funds for our fighters and we will run out of money – but ISIS is able to pay a huge amount every month to their fighters. It is undermining us.

“We also know that the regime has done deals with ISIS not to attack and ISIS has agreed the same so that jointly they can attack my formations.”

Within days of an initial attack black clad ISIS fighters seized Iraq’s second biggest city Mosul and Tikrit, home town of former dictator Saddam Hussein, as well as other towns north of Baghdad.

The ISIS assault across northern Iraq is the biggest threat to Iraq since U. S. troops withdrew in 2011, not long after the 2009 British withdrawal after the death of 179 of its troops since the 2003 invasion.

Security has been stepped up in Baghdad, which is itself divided into Sunni and Shi’ite neighbourhoods and saw brutal sectarian street fighting in 2006-2007 under the U. S. occupation.

Iraq’s million-strong Iraqi army, trained by US troops, at a cost of nearly £15 million is blighted by low morale and corruption.

 

A man is allegedly executed by ISIS fighters
Attack: A man is allegedly executed by fighters from ISIS

 

 

There is also a fear- sometimes justified – by the perception in Sunni areas that it pursues the hostile interests of Maliki’s Shia- led government.

It emerged Britain has sent a humanitarian team to Iraq to help refugees and International Development Secretary Justine Greening pledged to provide “whatever help is needed”.

But Foreign Secretary William Hague and deputy PM Nick Clegg again stressed that the UK will not take military action with Hague saying it was Iraq’s responsibility.

He said: “Britain won’t be getting involved militarily in this situation.

“We are considering if we need to send humanitarian aid.”

An Iraqi-born Downing Street adviser blamed the upsurge on the West’s failure to act over Syria.

Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi also said that the ousting of Saddam Hussein’shenchmen form positions of power after the 2003 invasion had paved the way for the bloodshed.

But he said the “divisive sectarian” rule of the Ira’s leader Maliki and the lengthy and increasingly extremist-led civil war in Syria were fanning the flames.

“I argued for very limited intervention to take the chemical weapons out of the game in Syria to protect the silent majority of innocent people,” he told the BBC.

http://www.irishmirror.ie/news/world-news/iraq-turmoil-isis-jihadists-march-3682134

 

Obama rules OUT sending troops back into combat in Iraq but promises to review military options – including air strikes

  • Former President George W. Bush’s office says he won’t weigh in, telling MailOnline that he has ‘decided not to criticize his successor’
  • President says ground forces are off the table but other options will be among what his national security team presents him ‘in the days ahead’
  • Republicans in Congress insist that waiting shouldn’t be an option: ‘We need to be hitting these columns of terrorists marching on Baghdad with drones now’
  • A senior Air Force official in Afghanistan said air bases there and across the Middle East expect ‘contingency plans’ in the next 72 hours
  • Obama could have airstrikes underway in 24 hours, according to one retired general
  • The president is traveling to North Dakota for a Sioux tribal event, and his national security adviser is not with him
  • His authorization from Congress for military force in Iraq has never expired, so he could legally do it without approval from Capitol Hill
  • American surveillance drones have already been flying over Iraq for weeks
  • Iraqi army units have been overrun by ISIS in Mosul and Tikrit, but gov’t forces have held them in check for now without surrendering Baghdad

By David Martosko, U.s. Political Editor

 

Barack Obama said Friday that his national security team will soon provide him with a list of ‘selective actions by our military’ to help push back a terrorist horde marching through Iraq, but insisted that ‘we will not be sending U.S. troops back into combat’ there.

He will be ‘reviewing options in the days ahead,’ the U.S. president said in a hastily scheduled statement on the South Lawn of the White House, before boarding Marine One en route to Bismarck, North Dakota.

He also defended the amount the country has given to training Iraqi forces and expressed his disappointment that it did not always translate to firm action in the face of the terrorists. 

‘The fact that they are not willing to stand and fight and defend their posts against admittedly hardened terrorists, but not terrorists who are overwhelming in numbers, indicates that there is a problem with morale, a problem in terms of commitment, and ultimately that is rooted in the political problems that have plagued the country for a very long time,’ Obama said.

The murderous Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), formerly known as Al-Qaeda in Iraq, ‘poses a danger to Iraq and its people,’ Obama said, ‘and given the nature of these terrorists, it could pose a threat to America and its interests as well.’

But he emphasized that Iraq’s government should ‘solve their own problems.’

The United States, Obama insisted, will not get involved in a protracted military campaign in the absence of work toward a political solution in the nation that Saddam Hussein once ruled with an iron fist.

Susan Rice, his national security adviser, is not traveling with him to North Dakota, Deputy Press Secretary Joshua Earnest told reporters aboard Air Force One.

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President Barack Obama said he expected Iraq's government to solve its own problems and insisted that he won't send ground troops back there, but left the door wide open for air strikes against ISIS

President Barack Obama said he expected Iraq’s government to solve its own problems and insisted that he won’t send ground troops back there, but left the door wide open for air strikes against ISIS

Obama, the president who has said he was elected 'to end wars, not to start them,' could be locked within days into a position of using airstrikes to give Iraq's government the upper hand

Obama, the president who has said he was elected ‘to end wars, not to start them,’ could be locked within days into a position of using airstrikes to give Iraq’s government the upper hand

On the warpath to Baghdad: A graphic showing the town and cities captured by ISIS over the last few days

On the warpath to Baghdad: A graphic showing the town and cities captured by ISIS over the last few days

 

Marauders: Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) celebrate on American vehicles taken from Iraqi security forces along a street in the city of Mosul, which they now occupy

Marauders: Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) celebrate on American vehicles taken from Iraqi security forces along a street in the city of Mosul, which they now occupy

 

 

 

Earnest said that military options under consideration ‘do not include … putting combat boots on the ground in Iraq.’

They also exclude, he added, a Bush-style ;open-ended military commitment on behalf of the United States.’

Instead, the White House is conditioning ‘any commitment of military resources or a military operation’ on an agreement from Iraqi leaders to commit ‘to pursue an inclusive, political agenda’ with Sunni Islamists who are terrorizing their cities.

Former President George W. Bush has been reluctant to weigh in on the latest developments in the region where he spent years deploying military assets that Obama would later pull back.

A request for comment from the former president was met with a non-response from his communications director Freddy Ford, who told MailOnline: ‘I don’t have a comment for you. When he left office President Bush decided not to criticize his successor.’

Meanwhile, a senior Air Force official in Afghanistan told MailOnline on Friday that his forces, along with others in the Middle East, have been told to expect briefings on contingency plans in the next 72 hours.

Those contingency plans could include a wide range of military and nonmilitary options, he cautioned, but said he expects that anything the president might order would focus principally on air bases closer to the Persian Gulf.

The prospect of U.S. forces as far away as Kabul being put on alert, however, lends credence to an all-hands-on-deck airstrike scenario designed to cripple ISIS’s forces.

That group has been cutting a bloody swath through northern Iraq, marked by beheadings and crucifixions, on its way to a hoped-for takeover of Baghdad.

Obama already has the legal and constitutional authority to re-enter the Iraqi military theater, according to Roll Call.

That’s because a 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force, which Congress gave to former President George W. Bush, has never been repealed.

Obama has argued in the past that it should be repealed. 

‘The Administration supports the repeal of the Iraq AUMF,’ national security spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden told Yahoo News in January.

Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state and a likely suitor to succeed Obama in 2016, voted in favor of the measure while she served in the U.S. Senate.

One Senate Republican said Friday that he blames the 2011 U.S. troop withdrawal for the situation Obama finds himself in, and expects the White House to come back to Congress before it launches anything.

‘The world is now witnessing in real time the results of our president allowing politics to dictate his military decisions and not the advice of military commanders on the ground,’ said Texas Sen. John Cornyn.

‘I pray that for the sake of so many Texans and Americans who gave their lives in Iraq, the president will present a decisive plan to Congress immediately. The people of Iraq and our allies in the region do not have time for a wait-and-see approach from President Obama, and neither do the American people.’

California GOP Rep. Ed Royce, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, blasted Obama for waiting.

‘The President and his team need to be acting urgently – not “reviewing options in the days ahead”,’ Royce said in a statement. ‘This threat has been growing for months, and Iraqis have been asking for assistance to attack these terrorist camps through drone strikes, which have been denied.’

‘Why has the Obama Administration been taken off guard?’ he asked. ‘We shouldn’t have boots on the ground, but we need to be hitting these columns of terrorists marching on Baghdad with drones now.’

The italicized ‘urgently’ and ‘now’ were included in Royce’s emailed statement, an unusual move for a member of Congress.

Crazed: Jihadists are carrying out summary executions on civilians, soldiers and police officers including this police major -- shown shortly before he was beheaded -- after taking control of large swaths of Iraq

Crazed: Jihadists are carrying out summary executions on civilians, soldiers and police officers including this police major — shown shortly before he was beheaded — after taking control of large swaths of Iraq

 

Obama rules out sending troops back to Iraq

 

Ill-gotten gains: This tweeted picture apparently shows ISIS commander Skeikh Umar Al Shishani inspecting an American Humvee that his forces captured from an Iraqi army unit

Ill-gotten gains: This tweeted picture apparently shows ISIS commander Skeikh Umar Al Shishani inspecting an American Humvee that his forces captured from an Iraqi army unit

 

Options, options, options: The United States is capable of blanketing the Iraqi skies with contrails, but Obama is still awaiting a set of military options from his advisers

Options, options, options: The United States is capable of blanketing the Iraqi skies with contrails, but Obama is still awaiting a set of military options from his advisers

 

Thousands of Iraqi soldiers, men and boys captured by ISIS

Sen. James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican, claimed moments later that the advance of ISIS and ‘their ability to gain control as quickly as they have is a direct result of President Obama’s foreign policy failure and his inability to secure a Status of Forces agreement which led to the premature removal of U.S. troops from Iraq in 2011.’

‘We are now seeing the fruits of a short-sighted foreign policy that reacts to the politics of the hour rather than facts on the ground,’ Inhofe added in a press statement.

Tennessee Sen.Bob Corker, another Republican, said Friday afternoon that the Obama administration, ‘working with Congress, should then try to stop the bleeding in Iraq by providing the appropriate air assistance.’

Current Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday in London that ‘given the gravity of the situation, I would anticipate timely decisions from the president regarding the challenge’ in Iraq.

‘We have already taken some immediate steps,’ he said, ‘including providing enhanced aerial surveillance support to assist the Iraqis in this fight. We have also ramped up shipments of military aid to Iraq since the beginning of the year.’

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that drone flights over Iraq were approved by the government there, and that information gathered was shared with the Iraqi.

‘It’s not like it did any good,’ an official told the Journal, however, saying that the U.S> was caught flat-footed when ISIS started to advance and capture entire cities.

The United States could easily launch airstrikes against terror targets inside Iraq within a day’s time if President Obama decided to move in that direction, according to a retired Air Force general.

‘If you can provide me with the appropriate intelligence we can start doing [air strikes] within 24 hours,’ said retired Lieutenant Gen. David Deptula.

The former Air Force deputy chief of staff for intelligence spoke to The Daily Beast, adding that while the U.S. could attack from several bases outside of Iraq, it would be better logistically to secure takeoff and landing rights on a base inside the country’s borders.

The Obama administration pulled American forces out of Iraq at the end of 2011, in part because United States diplomats failed to close the deal on a Status of Forces agreement that could have provided a legal framework to keep some American troops in place to keep the peace.

Any such deal would also have included a way for the U.S. and its aircraft to remain on a military base there.

President Obama convened an Oval Office meeting with his national security team to discuss the situation in Iraq on Friday

President Obama convened an Oval Office meeting with his national security team to discuss the situation in Iraq on Friday

 

ISIS militants in Mosul stamp on Iraqi military uniforms

Priorities: Obama left the Iraq situation on the desks of his national security advisers while he took off to North Dakota for an event with Sioux tribal leaders, along with first lady Michelle Obama (2nd L)

Priorities: Obama left the Iraq situation on the desks of his national security advisers while he took off to North Dakota for an event with Sioux tribal leaders, along with first lady Michelle Obama (2nd L)

 

‘The United States should have been provided basing rights,’ Deptula said.

‘If we are going to assist the Maliki government it needs to be provided inside of Iraq; we should not be doing this from outside.’

As it stands, however, Obama’s operational choices would be limited to launches from bases outside Iraq’s borders.

Among them are Al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar, which already houses command and logistics hubs for U.S. Central Command and was ground zero for air sorties over Afghanistan and Iraq since the early days of the Geroge W. Bush administration.

The Daily Beast reported that Al-Udeid ‘is still used for some air missions over Afghanistan and houses B1-bombers, a long range aircraft that can deliver up to 48,000 pounds of bombs’ on a single flight.

Closer to Iraq’s northern provinces is an American air base in Incirlik, Turkey. After 2011, that facility inherited much of the airborne surveillance hardware – including drones – that the U.S. once launched from bases inside Iraq.

In addition, the U.S. commands a detachment of F-16 fighters in Jordan, where it has 2,000 troops based, according to a Pentagon official.

And the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet is home to two aircraft carriers, the USS Carl Vinson and USS Abraham Lincoln, each of which can be outfitted to carry as many as 130 F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets.

They typically carry 64 aircraft, even in peacetime, including EA-6B Prowler electronic warfare aircraft, E-2 Hawkeye surveillance planes and SH-60/MH-60 Seahawk helicopters.

The US is armed to the teeth in the Middle East: What are the options?

The United States has about 35,000 troops deployed in the Middle East, according to a Pentagon official, including bases in Kuwait, Bahrain and Jordan.

If the Iraqi government were to persuade President Obama to intervene militarily, the options would include a variety of air and sea deployments along with ground troops and Special Forces.

AIR STRIKES

The American-controlled Al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar houses command and logistics hubs for U.S. Central Command and is used for air missions over Afghanistan. It houses long-range B1-bombers that can deliver up to 48,000 pounds of bombs on a single flight.

The American air base in Incirlik, Turkey is also in play, but mostly for surveillance missions. Much of the airborne surveillance hardware – including drones and other flying sensors – that the U.S. once launched from bases inside Iraq now lives there.

The U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet includes about 1,000 servicemen and women on land in Bahrain, and about 15,000 deployed at sea on a rotating roster of about 20 ships.

Two nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, the USS Carl Vinson and the USS Abraham Lincoln, patrol the Persian Gulf region and the northern Indian Ocean.

Shock and awe: The US has an air base with F-16 Falcons that were used to hit ground targets in the Iraq War

Shock and awe: The US has an air base with F-16 Falcons that were used to hit ground targets in the Iraq War

 

Each can hold a maximum of 130 Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets, or 90 mixed aircraft.

Typically, the carriers are outfitted with 64 aircraft each.

Those also include Northrop Grumman EA-6B Prowler electronic warfare aircraft, Northrop Grumman E-2 Hawkeye surveillance aircraft and Sikorsky SH-60/MH-60 Seahawk helicopters.

Strategic air strikes could serve to slow down the ISIS’s advance toward Baghdad, cut off supply routes and cripple jihadi groups enough to give Iraqi ground troops the upper hand. 

MISSILE ATTACKS

The Fifth Fleet also includes a rotating handful of nuclear-powered Ohio-class submarines.

The U.S. Navy has 18 of these underwater killing machines, including 14 that carry Trident ballistic missiles and four that carry Tomahawk long-range cruise missiles.

Each Tomahawk-equipped sub can hold 154 missiles, all with long enough range (about 620 miles) to reach from Kuwait Bay all the way to Tikrit and Mosul.

Firepower: The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson is stationed in the Persian Gulf and can be called on to launch fighter jet sorties to the north

Firepower: The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson is stationed in the Persian Gulf and can be called on to launch fighter jet sorties to the north

 

While it’s unlikely the ballistic missiles would come into play, cruise missiles – launched from subs or some of the 20 ships usually deployed with the fleet could be launched against terrorist training camps, specific urban buildings, air defense batteries or other ‘hard targets.’

The United States has a global stockpile of about 3,500 Tomahawk missiles with an estimated value of $2.6 billion. It has also sold part of its supply to Great Britain.

DRONE STRIKES

The U.S. has a massive arsenal of MQ-18 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper drones, capable of delivering Hellfire missiles more than 1,100 miles away.

The Reaper drones can also deliver 500-pound bomb payloads.

The ‘unmanned aerial vehicles’ are controlled from a land or ship base.

According to public sources, America has 172 Predator drones and 97 Reapers. Any one of them could be launched to eliminate terror leaders, including the warlords at the tip of the ISIL spear.

They are typically used by the U.S. Air Force and CIA to decimate enemy bases of operations and eliminate specific terrorist targets – including training camps and individual combatants.

Once a terrorist fighting force is ‘decapitated’ by the death of a senior leader, troops often fall into disarray and are more easily captured or turned back.

SPECIAL FORCES

The wild card: Special Operators including Navy SEALS and Army Rangers may already be in Iraq, according to one Capitol Hill aide, but the White House isn’t saying.

These specialized commando units were sent back into Iraq as recently as 2012 to help with counter-terrorism missions, even though the regular American military had evacuated months earlier.

The U.S. could deploy them by air, land or sea, using them for specialized missions including ‘capture or kill’ assignments, ‘exfiltration’ rescues, counter-terrorism and guerilla warfare operations that demand a low profile.

GRIM:  U.S. MQ-9 'Reaper' drones can delivering Hellfire missiles more than 1,100 miles away, or drop 500-pound bomb payloads

GRIM: U.S. MQ-9 ‘Reaper’ drones can delivering Hellfire missiles more than 1,100 miles away, or drop 500-pound bomb payloads

 

BOOTS ON THE GROUND

The least likely of all scenarios would have the U.S. re-entering the Iraq battle theatre, most likely with troops deployed from Kuwait where 10,000 are already based.

Such a move would raise serious questions about the wisdom of the Obama administration’s 2009-2011 pullout of forces from Iraq, a move that critics say created a power vacuum that al-Qaeda-linked groups are now filling.

WAR MATERIEL

The White House will continue to provide the Iraqi military with bombs, missiles, guns and ammunition.

Already the U.S. has sent ‘300 Hellfire missiles, millions of rounds of small arms fire, thousands of rounds of tank ammunition, helicopter-fired rockets, machine guns, grenades, flares, sniper rifles, M16s and M4 rifles,’ according to the White House.

And a Pentagon source told MailOnline that the U.S. expected to speed up a planned transfer of Apache helicopters, a sale that was put on the back burner after Iraq made a large purchase of guns and ammunition from neighboring Iran.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2657229/U-S-launch-airstrikes-against-Iraqi-terrorist-army-warplanes-drones-24-hours-notice-doesnt-need-permission-Congress.html

 

 

Kurdistan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Kurdistan (disambiguation).
Kurdistan
Kurdish-inhabited area by CIA (1992).jpg
Kurdish-inhabited areas
Language Kurdish, Turkish, Arabic and Persian
Location Western and Northwestern Iranian Plateau: Upper Mesopotamia, Zagros, Southeastern Anatolia, including parts of northwestern Iran, northern Iraq, northeastern Syria and southeastern Turkey[1]
Eastern Kurdistan
Northern Kurdistan
 Southern Kurdistan
 Western Kurdistan
Area (est.) 190,000–390,000 km²
74,000–151,000 sq. mi
Population 35 to 40 million (Kurdish population) (Est.)[2]

Kurdistan (About this sound (listen)  “Land of the Kurds”;[3] also formerly spelled Curdistan;[4][5] ancient name: Corduene[6][7][8][9][10][11][12]) is a roughly defined geo-cultural region wherein the Kurdish people form a prominent majority population,[13] and Kurdish culture, language, and national identity have historically been based.[14] Contemporary use of Kurdistan refers to large parts of eastern Turkey (Turkish Kurdistan), northern Iraq (Iraqi Kurdistan), northwestern Iran (Iranian Kurdistan) and northeastern Syria (Syrian Kurdistan) inhabited mainly by Kurds.[15] Kurdistan roughly encompasses the northwestern Zagros and the eastern Taurus mountain ranges.[16]

Some Kurdish nationalist organizations seek to create an independent nation state of Kurdistan, consisting of some or all of the areas with Kurdish majority, while others campaign for greater Kurdish autonomy within the existing national boundaries.[17][18] Iraqi Kurdistan first gained autonomous status in a 1970 agreement with the Iraqi government, and its status was re-confirmed as an autonomous entity within the federal Iraqi republic in 2005.[19] There is a province by the name Kurdistan in Iran; it is not self-ruled. Kurds fighting in the Syrian Civil War were able to take control of large sections of northeast Syria as forces loyal to al-Assad withdrew to fight elsewhere. Having established their own government, some Kurds called for autonomy in a democratic Syria; others hoped to establish an independent Kurdistan.[20]

 

History

Ancient period

Various groups, among them the Guti, Hurrian, Mannai (Mannaeans), and Armenians had lived in this region in antiquity[21] The original Mannaean homeland was situated east and south of the Lake Urmia, roughly centered around modern-day Mahabad.[22] The Medes came under Persian rule during the reign of Cyrus the Great and Darius.

The Kingdom of Corduene, which emerged from the declining Seleucid Empire, was located to the south and south-east of Lake Van between Persia and Mesopotamia and ruled northern Mesopotamia and southeastern Anatolia from 189 BC to AD 384 as vassals of the vying Parthian and Roman Empire. At its zenith, the Roman Empire ruled large Kurdish-inhabited areas, particularly the western and northern Kurdish areas in the Middle East. Corduene became a vassal state of the Roman Republic in 66 BC and remained allied with the Romans until AD 384. After 66 BC, it passed another 5 times between Rome and Persia. Corduene was situated to the east of Tigranocerta, that is, to the east and south of present-day Diyarbakır in south-eastern Turkey.

Ancient Kurdistan as Kard-uchi, during Alexander the Great‘s Empire, 4th century BC

Some historians have correlated a connection between Corduene with the modern names of Kurds and Kurdistan;[7][23][24] T. A. Sinclair dismissed this identification as false,[25] while a common association is asserted in the Columbia Encyclopedia.[26]

Some of the ancient districts of Kurdistan and their corresponding modern names:[27]

  1. Corduene or Gordyene (Siirt, Bitlis and Şırnak)
  2. Sophene (Diyarbakır)
  3. Zabdicene or Bezabde (Gozarto d’Qardu or Jazirat Ibn or Cizre)
  4. Basenia (Bayazid)
  5. Moxoene (Muş)
  6. Nephercerta (Miyafarkin)
  7. Artemita (Van)

19th-century map showing the location of the Kingdom of Corduene in 60 B.C

One of the earliest records of the phrase land of the Kurds is found in a Syriac Christian document of late antiquity, describing the stories of Christian saints of the Middle East, such as the Abdisho. When the Sassanid Marzban asked Mar Abdisho about his place of origin, he replied that according to his parents, they were originally from Hazza, a village in Assyria. However they were later driven out of Hazza by pagans, and settled in Tamanon, which according to Abdisho was in the land of the Kurds. Tamanon lies just north of the modern Iraq-Turkey border, while Hazza is 12 km southwest of modern Irbil. In another passage in the same document, the region of the Khabur River is also identified as land of the Kurds.[28]

Medieval period

Map of Jibal (Mountains of Eastern/Northern Mesopotamia), Highlighting “Summer and winter resorts of the Kurds”, the Kurdish lands. by Ibn Hawqal, 977 AC.

In the tenth and eleventh centuries, several Kurdish principalities emerged in the region: in the North the Shaddadid (951–1174) (in east Transcaucasia between the Kur and Araxes rivers) and the Rawadid (955–1221) (centered in Tabriz and ruled all of Azarbaijan), in the East the Hasanwayhid (959–1015) (in Zagros between Shahrizor and Khuzistan) and the Annazid (990–1116) (centered in Hulwan) and in the West the Marwanid (990–1096) in south of Diyarbakır and north of Jazira.[29][30]

Map by Mahmud al-Kashgari (1074), showing Arḍ al-Akrād Arabic for land of Kurds located between Arḍ al-Šām (Syria), and Arḍ al-ʿIrāqayn (Iraq Arabi and Iraq Ajami).

Kurdistan in the Middle Ages was a collection of semi-independent and independent states called “emirates“. It was nominally under indirect political or religious influence of Khalifs or Shahs. A comprehensive history of these states and their relationship with their neighbors is given in the text of “Sharafnama”, written by Prince Sharaf al-Din Bitlisi in 1597.[31][32] The emirates included Baban, Soran, Badinan and Garmiyan in present-day Iraq; Bakran, Bohtan (or Botan) and Badlis in Turkey, and Mukriyan and Ardalan in Iran.

The earliest medieval attestation of the toponym Kurdistan is found in a 12th century Armenian historical text by Matteos Urhayeci. He described a battle near Amid and Siverek in 1062 as to have taken place in Kurdistan.[33][34] The second record occurs in the prayer from the colophon of an Armenian manuscript of the Gospels, written in 1200.[35][36]

A later use of the term Kurdistan is found in Nuzhat-al-Qulub, written by Hamdollah Mostowfi in 1340.[37]

Modern period

Kurdish Independent Kingdoms and Autonomous Principalities circa 1835.

In the 16th century, after prolonged wars, Kurdish-inhabited areas were split between the Safavid and Ottoman empires. A major division of Kurdistan occurred in the aftermath of the Battle of Chaldiran in 1514, and was formalized in the 1639 Treaty of Zuhab.[38] Apart from the century long intermittent Iranian rule in the early modern to modern period over Kurdish native areas, and the regain of all of it and far, far beyond by the Iranian military genius Nader Shah in the first half of the 18th century, most of Mesopotamia, eastern Anatolia, and northeastern Syria (emcomprising large parts of what is meant to be Kurdistan), stayed under intermittent Ottoman rule for many centuries after the Treaty of Zuhab, virtually until the aftermath of World War I. After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the Allies contrived to create several countries within its former boundaries – according to the never-ratified Treaty of Sèvres, Kurdistan, along with Armenia, were to be among them. However, the reconquest of these areas by the forces of Kemal Atatürk (and other pressing issues) caused the Allies to accept the renegotiated Treaty of Lausanne and the borders of the modern Republic of Turkey – leaving the Kurds without a self-ruled region. Other Kurdish areas were assigned to the new British and French mandated states of Iraq and Syria.

At the San Francisco Peace Conference of 1945, the Kurdish delegation proposed consideration of territory claimed by the Kurds, which encompassed an area extending from the Mediterranean shores near Adana to the shores of the Persian Gulf near Bushehr, and included the Lur inhabited areas of southern Zagros.[39][40]

At the end of the First Gulf War, the Allies established a safe haven in northern Iraq. Amid the withdrawal of Iraqi forces from three northern provinces, Iraqi Kurdistan emerged in 1992 as an autonomous entity inside Iraq with its own local government and parliament.

A 2010 US report says that “Kurdistan may exist by 2030” [41] Given the instability that has overcome Syria and Iraq since then this may be a conservative estimate.

People

Main article: Kurdish people

The Kurds are a people of Indo-European origin. They speak an Iranian language known as Kurdish, and comprise the majority of the population of the region – however, included therein are Arab, Armenian, Assyrian, Azeri, Jewish, Ossetian, Persian, and Turkic communities. Most inhabitants are Muslim, but adherents to other religions are present as well- including Yazidis, the Yarsan, Alevis, Christians,[42] and Jews.[43]

Geography

According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, Kurdistan covers about 190,000 km²,[citation needed] and its chief towns are Diyarbakır (Amed), Bitlis (Bedlîs) and Van (Wan) in Turkey, Arbil (Hewlêr) and Slemani in Iraq, and Kermanshah (Kirmanşan), Sanandaj (Sine) and Mahabad (Mehabad) in Iran.[44][citation needed] According to the Encyclopaedia of Islam, Kurdistan covers around 190,000 km² in Turkey, 125,000 km² in Iran, 65,000 km² in Iraq, and 12,000 km² in Syria, with a total area of approximately 392,000 km².[45]

Historic map from 1721, showing borders of Curdistan provinces in Persia.

Iraqi Kurdistan is divided into six governorates, three of which (and parts of others) are under the control of the Kurdistan Regional Government. Iranian Kurdistan encompasses Kurdistan Province and the greater parts of West Azerbaijan, Kermanshah, and Īlām provinces. Syrian Kurdistan (Kurdish: Kurdistana Binxetê[46]) is located primarily in northeastern Syria, and covers the greater part of the province of Al Hasakah. The major cities in this region are Al-Qamishli (Kurdish: Qamişlû) and Al Hasakah (Kurdish: Hesaka).

Turkish Kurdistan encompasses a large area of south eastern Turkey and it is home to an estimated 15 to 20 million Kurds.[47]

Subdivisions (Upper and Lower Kurdistan)

In A Dictionary of Scripture Geography (published 1846), John Miles describes Upper and Lower Kurdistan as following:

Modern Curdistan is of much greater extent than the ancient Assyria, and is composed of two parts the Upper and Lower. In the former is the province of Ardelan, the ancient Arropachatis, now nominally a part of Irak Ajami, and belonging to the north west division called Al Jobal. It contains five others namely, Betlis, the ancient Carduchia, lying to the south and south west of the lake Van. East and south east of Betlis is the principality of Julamerick, south west of it is the principality of Amadia. the fourth is Jeezera ul Omar, a city on an island in the Tigris, and corresponding to the ancient Bezabde. the fifth and largest is Kara Djiolan, with a capital of the same name. The pashalics of Kirkook and Solimania also comprise part of Upper Curdistan. Lower Curdistan comprises all the level tract to the east of the Tigris, and the minor ranges immediately bounding the plains and reaching thence to the foot of the great range, which may justly be denominated the Alps of western Asia.[48]

The northern, northwestern and northeastern parts of Kurdistan are referred to as upper Kurdistan, and includes the areas from west of Amed to lake Urmia.

The lowlands of southern Kurdistan are called lower Kurdistan. The main cities in this area are Kirkuk and Arbil.

Climate

Much of the region is typified by an extreme continental climate – hot in the summer, bitterly cold in the winter. Despite this, much of the region is fertile and has historically exported grain and livestock. Precipitation varies between 200 and 400 mm a year in the plains, and between 700 and 3,000 mm a year on the high plateau between mountain chains.[45]

Forests

Kurdistan is a mountainous region with a cold climate receiving annual precipitation adequate to sustain temperate forests and shrubs. Mountain chains harbor pastures and forested valleys, totaling approximately 16 million hectares (160,000 km²), including firs and other conifers, oaks, platanus, willow, and poplar.[45]

Mountains

Canyon in Rawanduz in northern Iraq.

Mountains are important geographical and symbolic features of Kurdish life, as evidenced by the saying “Kurds have no friends but the mountains”.[49] Included in the region are Mount Judi and Ararat (both prominent in Kurdish folklore), Zagros, Shingar, Qendil, Shaho, Gabar, Hamrin, and Nisir.

Rivers

Zê river in Zebari region, Iraq.

The plateaus and mountains of Kurdistan, which are characterized by heavy rain and snow fall, act as a water reservoir for the Near and Middle East, forming the source of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, as well as other numerous smaller rivers, such as the Khabur, Tharthar, Ceyhan, Araxes, Kura, Sefidrud, Karkha, and Hezil. Among rivers of historical importance to Kurds are the Murat (Arasān) and Buhtān rivers in Turkey; the Peshkhābur, the Little Zab, the Great Zab, and the Diyala in Iraq; and the Jaghatu (Zarrinarud), the Tātā’u (Siminarud), the Zohāb (Zahāb), and the Gāmāsiyāb in Iran.

These rivers, which flow from heights of three to four thousand meters above sea level, are significant both as water sources and for the production of energy. Iraq and Syria dammed many of these rivers and their tributaries, and Turkey has an extensive dam system under construction as part of the GAP (Southeast Anatolia Project); though incomplete, the GAP already supplies a significant proportion of Turkey’s electrical energy needs. Due to the extraordinary archaeological richness of the region, almost any dam impacts historic sites.[50]

Lakes

Kurdistan extends to Lake Urmia in Iran on the east and to semi-contiguous Kurdish-inhabited regions to the west on the Mediterranean. The region includes Lake Van, the largest body of water in Turkey; the only lake in the Middle East with a larger surface is Lake Urmia – though not nearly as deep as Lake Van, which has a much larger volume. Urmia, Van, as well as Zarivar Lake west of Marivan, and Lake Dukan near the city of Sulaymaniyah, are frequented by tourists.[50]

Petroleum and mineral resources

KRG-controlled parts of Iraqi Kurdistan are estimated to contain around 45 billion barrels (7.2×109 m3) of oil, making it the sixth largest reserve in the world. Extraction of these reserves began in 2007. Iraq’s former Baath regime controls the resources of Kirkuk and Mosul, cities claimed by the KRG to be included in its territory.

In November 2011, Exxon challenged the Iraqi central government’s authority with the signing of oil and gas contracts for exploration rights to six parcels of land in Kurdistan, including one contract in the disputed territories, just east of the Kirkuk mega-field.[51] This act caused Baghdad to threaten to revoke Exxon’s contract in its southern fields, most notably the West-Qurna Phase 1 project.[52] Exxon responded by announcing its intention to leave the West-Qurna project.[53]

As of July 2007, the Kurdish government solicited foreign companies to invest in 40 new oil sites, with the hope of increasing regional oil production over the following 5 years by a factor of five, to about 1 million barrels per day (160,000 m3/d).[54] Gas and associated gas reserves are in excess of 2,800 km3 (100×1012 cu ft). Notable companies active in Kurdistan include Exxon, Total, Chevron, Talisman Energy, Genel Energy, Hunt Oil, Gulf Keystone Petroleum, and Marathon Oil.[55]

Other mineral resources that exist in significant quantities in the region include coal, copper, gold, iron, limestone (which is used to produce cement), marble, and zinc. The world’s largest deposit of rock sulfur is located just southwest of Arbil (Hewlêr).[56]

In July 2012, Turkey and the Kurdistan Regional Government signed an agreement by which Turkey will supply the KRG with refined petroleum products in exchange for crude oil. Crude deliveries are expected to occur on a regular basis.[57]

Demographics

Cities with population over 100,000
City Population Kurdish Region
Hewlêr 1,293,839 Iraqi Kurdistan
Silêmanî 1,190,251 Iraqi Kurdistan
Amed 843,460 Turkish Kurdistan
Kirmaşan 828,313 Iranian Kurdistan
Riha 526,247 Turkish Kurdistan
Wan 370,190 Turkish Kurdistan
Êlih 348,963 Turkish Kurdistan
Elezîz 347,857 Turkish Kurdistan
Zaxo 336,129 Iraqi Kurdistan
Senne 311,446 Iranian Kurdistan
Dihok 284,000 Iraqi Kurdistan
Kelar 226,000 Iraqi Kurdistan
Semsûr 217,463 Turkish Kurdistan
Hesîçe 188,160 Syrian Kurdistan
Qamişlo 184,231 Syrian Kurdistan
Bokan 171,773 Iranian Kurdistan
Îlam 155,289 Iranian Kurdistan
Mehabad 149,000 Iranian Kurdistan
Qoser 147,585 Turkish Kurdistan
Sêrt 135,350 Turkish Kurdistan
Seqiz 131,348 Iranian Kurdistan
Ranye 130,257 Iraqi Kurdistan
Sêwreg 120,556 Turkish Kurdistan
Pîranşar 115,065 Iranian Kurdistan
Helebce 110,824 Iraqi Kurdistan
Qerekose 107,839 Turkish Kurdistan
Cizîr 106,831 Turkish Kurdistan
Rewandiz 102,399 Iraqi Kurdistan
Sêmêl 100,995 Iraqi Kurdistan
Bêlqîs 100,488 Turkish Kurdistan

Conflict and controversy

Kurdish PKK militant.

The incorporation into Turkey of the Kurdish-inhabited regions of eastern Anatolia was opposed by many Kurds, and has resulted in a long-running separatist conflict in which thousands of lives have been lost. The region saw several major Kurdish rebellions, including the Koçkiri Rebellion of 1920 under the Ottomans, then successive insurrection under the Turkish state – including the 1924 Sheikh Said Rebellion, the Republic of Ararat in 1927, and the 1937 Dersim Rebellion. All were forcefully put down by the authorities. The region was declared a closed military area from which foreigners were banned between 1925 and 1965.[58][59][60]

The city of Batman, eastern Turkey

In 1983, the Kurdish provinces were placed under martial law in response to the activities of the militant separatist organization, Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).[61][62] A guerrilla war took place through the 1980s and 1990s in which much of the countryside was evacuated, thousands of Kurdish-populated villages were destroyed, and numerous extrajudicial summary executions were carried out by both sides.[63] More than 37,000 people were killed in the violence and hundreds of thousands more were forced to leave their homes.[64] Volatility in the region eased following the capture of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan in 1999, and, with the encouragement of European Union, the adoption of tolerance policies toward Kurdish cultural activities by the Turkish state. After 2004, political violence increased, and the Turkish-Iraqi border region remains tense.[65]

See also

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurdistan

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 273, June 5, 2014, Story 1: The Decline and Fall of President Obama — The Arrogance of Failure, Incompetence and Scandal — Videos

Posted on June 5, 2014. Filed under: Addiction, American History, Blogroll, Budgetary Policy, Business, Climate Change, Coal, Communications, Computers, Crime, Disasters, Drugs, Economics, Education, Elections, Employment, Energy, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Gangs, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health Care Insurance, History, Law, Medicine, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Nuclear, Oil, Oil, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, PTSD, Radio, Resources, Rifles, Security, Social Science, Success, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Unemployment, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Story 1: The Decline and Fall of President Obama — The Arrogance of Failure, Incompetence and Scandal — Videos

obama-and-the-taliban-5

5-taliban-traded-soldiers

Bergdahlobama_parents_bergdahl

Taliban

prisoner-trade-sgt-bowe-bergdahl

US soldier freed by Taliban in exchange for Guantanamo detainees

va_scandalTell-Us-The-Truth

Gov-Careveteran_affairs

 scandalbracket

There Is A Parallel Between Now & The Carter 70’s – Barack Obama – Stuart Varney My Take

Judge Jeanine: Obama violated the law by not notifying Congress about the release of the Gitmo 5

Greta: Obama, Congress, media should apologize in VA scandal LoneWolf Sager

Dick Cheney Kelly File. Dick Cheney Gitmo Detainees Will Return to Battle

Barack Obama defends decision to trade 5 Taliban for Bergdahl

Obama defends Bowe Bergdahl swap

While Vets Wait… V.A. Employees To Do Full-Time Union Work – Organized Chaos – Fox & Friends.

Montel Williams on the VA Scandal | “Glenn Beck Program”

President Obama on Veterans Health Care: VA Scandal (2014)

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 265, May 22, 2014, Story 1: The Out-of-the-Loop President — Scandals — Bring On The VA and Benghazi Whistle Blowers — American People No Longer Trust Obama — Videos

Posted on May 22, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, Communications, Computers, Constitutional Law, Culture, Drugs, Economics, Education, Employment, Fiscal Policy, Government Spending, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, History, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Investments, Law, Media, Medicine, Networking, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, PTSD, Public Sector Unions, Radio, Regulation, Resources, Tax Policy, Unemployment, Unions, United States Constitution, Videos, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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out_of_loopal_qaeda_vamlk.i.have.a.dream.obama.i.have.a.droneobama-single-payer-health-care-cartoon

CNN Blasts Obama Presser on VA Scandal

VA whistleblowers continue to come forward Fox News Video

Kelly File | Pres. Obama addresses VA scandal

CVA CEO Pete Hegseth testifying before the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs

Fox & Friends | Vets groups call for VA firings

VA Head Doesn’t Know if People Who Manipulated Data Causing Deaths Would be Fired

 

Krauthammer – Obama Acts as If He Stumbled Upon the Presidency

V.A. investigation widens

Barack Obama on the “sacred trust” of caring for wounded vets

Gretchen Carlson | VA executives knew of scandal in 2010

America’s Newsroom | Obama knew of VA scandal

 

Obama Wants Our Vets to Pay for Their War Injuries, but Illegal Immigrants Get Free Medical Care

IAVA’s Paul Rieckhoff on Billing Vets’ Private Insurance

Obama on single payer health insurance

President Obama Wants A Single Payer Health Care System

obama master plan on health careover the years in his own words–SINGLE PAYER!!!

Kelly File | Chicago VA whistleblower confirms “secret lists”

Veterans Scandal: Outrage Over Hospital Accusations

New Jersey Town Offers Solution In Wake Of Veterans Affairs Scandal

Pres. Obama Veterans Health Care Budget Reform Act

Uploaded on Oct 22, 2009

Pres. Obama Signs Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act
Today

President Obama made remarks and signed into law the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act, which guarantees a timely and predictable flow of funding for Department of Veterans Affairs medical care. The president also made brief remarks about executive compensation in companies receiving government assistance.

 

 

 

The Obama Administration’s Ethics Problem 
The executive branch continues to be plagued by scandal after scandal. 

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki cannot get a handle on the recent scandalous treatment of veterans in VA hospitals, where more than 40 sick men were allowed to die without proper follow-up treatment. A cover-up allegedly followed. When the Walter Reed Army Medical Center scandal broke under the George W. Bush administration, heads rolled. So far, Shinseki seems immune from similar accountability.

Almost nothing that former secretary of health and human services Kathleen Sebelius promised before, during, or after the implementation of the ill-starred Affordable Care Act came true. She was also cited by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel for violating the Hatch Act, as she improperly campaigned for Obama’s reelection while serving as a cabinet secretary.

Former IRS official Lois Lerner used the federal tax-collection agency to go after groups deemed too conservative. She invoked the Fifth Amendment to avoid telling Congress the whole truth.

Susan Rice, former U.N. ambassador and now national-security adviser, flat-out deceived the public in five television appearances about the Benghazi catastrophe. She insisted that the deaths of four Americans were due to a spontaneous riot induced by a reactionary video maker — even though she had access to intelligence fingering al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists as the culprits who planned the attack on the anniversary of 9/11.

Rice recently blamed Obama foreign-policy failures on domestic political polarization. But that is best described as the give and take of democracy and was once thought to be our foreign-policy strength.

Rice also knows little history. In 2007, in the midst of the surge, when Americans were fighting for their lives to stabilize Iraq, then-senator Hillary Clinton implied that the commanding general in Iraq, General David Petraeus, was a veritable liar. Senate majority leader Harry Reid agreed and declared that the war was already lost. Then–presidential candidate Barack Obama prematurely wrote off the politically inconvenient surge as a failure. Was Rice then shocked that “polarization” affected foreign policy?

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton left office with American foreign policy in shambles. She has been unable to make the argument that a single initiative — reset with Russia, lead from behind in Libya, red lines on Syria, deadlines to Iran, complete withdrawal from Iraq, pressure on the Israelis, outreach to radical Islam and Latin American Communist dictatorships — had met with success.

Clinton infamously dismissed the lingering mysteries surrounding the Benghazi deaths with “What difference at this point does it make?” She also refused, despite numerous entreaties, to place the now-infamous Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram on a State Department terrorist watch list.

Eric Holder is the first attorney general to have been held in contempt of Congress. Aside from his divisive language (he called America “a nation of cowards” and referred to African Americans as “my people”), Holder always seems to find himself at the center of scandals. He permitted the federal monitoring of Associated Press journalists. He green-lighted the “Fast and Furious” gun-running scam. He has failed to bring to account rogue IRS officials. Holder is the most morally compromised attorney general since Nixon appointee John Mitchell.

Do we remember former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson? Her case was as unprofessional as it was surreal. Jackson fabricated for herself an alternate identity as a mid-level EPA employee. In communications, she used a fake e-mail address and name, and then unethically honored her own alter ego (“Richard Windsor”) as a “scholar of ethical behavior.” Who could have dreamed up such an unethical caper?

What has happened to NASA? We are currently trying to isolate Vladimir Putin for his territorial aggressions and yet beseeching the Russians to send our astronauts into space. Perhaps NASA administrator Charles Bolden should not have boasted that one of NASA’s “foremost” goals was “to reach out to the Muslim world” and “to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering.” Americans might have preferred Bolden to stick with rockets.

Former secretary of energy Steven Chu left under a cloud of controversy involving crony capitalists’ getting millions of dollars in green loans that produced nothing but failed companies. Former labor secretary Hilda Solis slipped out of office, battling accusations of Hatch Act violations and freebie rides on private jets from insider union friends. Former top officials such as Timothy Geithner, Peter Orszag, and Larry Summers have given new meaning to the revolving door between Wall Street and the White House.

The common denominator?

In all of these cases, politics trumped ethics. Because Obama professed that he was on the side of the proverbial people, administrators assumed that they had a blank check to do or say what they wished without much media audit. The mystery is not whether some administration officials were incompetent or unethical or both, but whether there are any left who are not.

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The Pronk Pops Show 264, May 21,2014, Story 1: Single Payer Government Monopoly on Health Care = Socialized Medicine = A VA Hospital Preview of Death Panels — Delay, Deny, and Lie — The Unacceptable Obama Administration! — Vote The Political Elitist Establishment (PEEs) Out of Office for Incompetence — Part 2 — Videos

Posted on May 22, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Budgetary Policy, Business, Communications, Disasters, Drugs, Economics, Employment, Fiscal Policy, Government Spending, Health Care Insurance, History, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Media, Medicine, Networking, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, PTSD, Public Sector Unions, Radio, Regulation, Scandals, Science, Security, Social Science, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Unions, United States Constitution, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Pronk Pops Show 264: May 21, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 262: May 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 261: May 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 260: May 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 259: May 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 258: May 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 257: May 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 256: May 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 255: May 2, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 254: May 1, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 253: April 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 252: April 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 251: April 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 250: April 25, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 247: April 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 246: April 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 245: April 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 244: April 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 243: April 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 242: April 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 241: April 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 240: April 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 239: April 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 238: April 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 237: April 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 236: April 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 235: March 31, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 234: March 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 233: March 27, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 230: March 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 229: March 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 228: March 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 227: March 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 226: March 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 225: March 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 224: March 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 223: March 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 222: March 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 221: February 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 220: February 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 219: February 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 218: February 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 217: February 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 216: February 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 215: February 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 214: February 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 213: February 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 212: February 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 211: February 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 210: February 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 209: February 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 208: February 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 207: February 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 206: February 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 205: February 5, 2014

Story 1:  Single Payer Government Monopoly on Health Care = Socialized Medicine = A VA Hospital Preview of Death Panels — Delay, Deny, and Lie — The Unacceptable Obama Administration! — Vote The Political Elitist Establishment (PEEs) Out of Office for Incompetence — Part 2 — Videos

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Obama Finally Addresses V.A. Scandal – The Five

Rep Bachmann (R-MN On Pres Obama’s Handling Of The Veterans Affairs Scandal – Cavuto

Milton Friedman on Libertarianism (Part 4 of 4)

Milton Friedman – Socialized Medicine

Milton Friedman – Health Care in a Free Market

Obama on single payer health insurance

Obama’s Single Payer Health Care System : New World Order

 

What a Single Payer Health Insurance Plan Looks Like

Pres. Obama Veterans Health Care Budget Reform Act

Judge Jeanine Pirro Opening Statement – Veterans Left To Die By The VA – VA Full Blown Scandal

Judge Jeanine Pirro – Veteran Affairs Scandal – V.A. Chief Grilled Over Treatment Of Vets

President facing increased scrutiny over VA scandal

Chuck Todd: VA Scandal More Dangerous for Obama than ‘Partisanized’ Benghazi

RPT: Obama Admin Warned of VA Problems in ’08 and Did Nothing

Senate gets serious on veteran care wait time

Breaking Top VA Offical Resigns – Another Scandal

VA official resigns amid scandal

CBS’ Major Garrett: Obama Has Been Silent On VA Scandal For Three Weeks

‘You Want to Cut Obama’s Throat!’ Geraldo, Bolling Clash over VA Scandal

ABC: “Outrage Growing” Over Obama Administration’s Handling Of VA Scandal

Gohmert on Phoenix VA Hospital Scandal

VA Probe Exposes Scandal at Multiple Locations

President Obama describing how to reach single payer flashback

obama master plan on health careover the years in his own words–SINGLE PAYER!!!

President Obama Wants A Single Payer Health Care System

[Daily News] Americas military suicide rate explained

U.S. Veterans Face Staggering Epidemic of Unemployment, Trauma & Suicide

The Invisible Wounds of War: Number of Soldiers Committing Suicide Reaches Record High

Jon Stewart Slams President Obama Over VA Scandal

 

VeteransHealthAdmin

 

Whistleblower expands VA wait-list fraud to eighth facility

BY ED MORRISSEY

Add yet another VA facility to the deadly wait-list fraud scandal. The Daily Beast heard from a whistleblower in the Albuquerque VA organization that the same kind of wait-list fraud alleged at seven other facilities occurs in New Mexico as well. Veterans have to wait months to get medical attention, and any investigation may already be too late for some of them:

Add Albuquerque, New Mexico’s to the growing list of VA hospitals accused of keeping secret waiting lists to hide delays for veterans seeking medical care. And it may already be too late to get to the truth and find out what harm, if any, was done to veterans there—VA officials are already destroying records to cover their tracks, a whistleblower inside the hospital tells The Daily Beast. …

“The ‘secret wait list’ for patient appointments is being either moved or was destroyed after what happened in Phoenix,” according to a doctor who works at the Albuquerque VA hospital and spoke exclusively with The Daily Beast. “Right now,” the doctor said, “there is an eight-month waiting list for patients to get ultrasounds of their hearts. Some patients have died before they got their studies. It is unknown why they died, some for cardiac reasons, some for other reasons.”

There’s no proof yet that veterans died while waiting for treatment, like what allegedly happened in Phoenix. But the doctor says it’s quite possible that some veterans would still be alive if they hadn’t been pushed through a record-keeping trap door that buried their requests for medical care.

On March 19, 2014, for example, a patient with a deteriorating heart condition requested to see a doctor. The patient was finally seen only days ago, on May 16, when they were admitted to the hospital for decompensated heart failure. “A near miss” as the VA doctor familiar with the case described it. “He could have died before being seen.”

That patient was fortunate. It remains to be seen whether all of the patients affected by the alleged wait-list fraud in Albuquerque were as fortunate. They certainly weren’t in Phoenix.Stars and Stripes notes that treatment delays have been listed as factors in more than 100 deaths, although over a time frame that begins in 2001:

As controversy swirls around the Veterans Administration over deaths caused by delayed care, an investigation by the Dayton Daily News found that the VA settled many cases that appear to be related to delays in treatment.

A database of paid claims by the VA since 2001 includes 167 in which the words “delay in treatment” is used in the description. The VA paid out a total of $36.4 million to settle those claims, either voluntarily or as part of a court action.

The VA has admitted that 23 people have died because of delayed care, and is facing accusations that hospital administrators are gaming the system to conceal wait times, including using a “secret list” at the VA in Phoenix. …

The Dayton VA in 2009 paid out $140,000 for a 2006 claim that was described as “Failure/Delay in Admission to Hospital or Institution; Medication Administered via Wrong Route; Failure to Order Appropriate Test.”

A pending $3.5 million claim from March 2013 was filed by a man who says delayed treatment of his wife’s cervical cancer resulted in her death in March 2012. The names of the veteran and her widower were redacted.

Issues with access and treatment delays have been around for decades at the VA. That’s the reason why VA Secretary Eric Shinseki imposed the 14-day wait list metric in 2009, when he took over the Department of Veteran Affairs. The move was supposed to correct the chronic problem of timely access for many veterans. Instead, VA facilities across the country appear to have engaged in widespread and suspiciously similar fraud, and no one at the VA from Shinseki on down seems to have bothered to do anything about it — and have lied about knowledge of the issue to boot.

That’s enough for Dana Milbank, who called this weekend for Shinseki to be canned:

Eric Shinseki has served his country honorably as a twice-wounded officer in Vietnam, as Army chief of staff and finally as President Obama’s secretary of veterans affairs.

But his maddeningly passive response to the scandal roiling his agency suggests that the best way Shinseki can serve now is to step aside.

Reports have documented the deaths of about 40 veterans in Phoenix who were waiting for VA appointments — the latest evidence of widespread bookkeeping tricks used at the agency to make it appear as though veterans were not waiting as long for care as they really were. The abuses have been documented over several years by whistleblowers and leaked memorandums, and confirmed by a host of government investigators.

That’s bad enough. Worse was Shinseki’s response when he finally appeared before a congressional committee Thursday to answer questions about the scandal. He refused to acknowledge any systemic problem and declined to commit to do much of anything, insisting on waiting for the results of yet another investigation.

Shinseki did not cover himself in glory in Senate testimony last week. One indication of how big the problem has become was the abrupt dismissal of Robert Petzel, who was already on his way out for retirement in September. However, his replacement turns out to be even more problematic:

The person nominated two weeks ago to replace the VA’s outgoing undersecretary for health was responsible for supervising one of the hospitals at the center of the current scandal.

Dr. Jeffrey Murawsky was nominated on May 1 to replace Dr. Robert Petzel as undersecretary of health at the Department of Veterans of Affairs.   Petzel’s “resignation” was officially announced today, although his impending retirement was first announced last September.

Murawsky is currently the network director–effectively the CEO–of the VA region that includes the Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital in Chicago.  Before he moved up the VA hierarchy, he worked as a manager at the hospital.

Hines Hospital was the seventh facility to face allegations of wait-list fraud. Murawsky seems better suited to be the target of the investigation rather than the man running it. It’s time to clean house entirely at the VA.

http://hotair.com/archives/2014/05/19/whistleblower-expands-va-wait-list-fraud-to-eighth-facility/

He KNEW! Obama told of Veterans Affairs health care debacle as far back as 2008

By Jim McElhatton

The Washington Times

The Obama administration received clear notice more than five years ago that VA medical facilities were reporting inaccurate waiting times and experiencing scheduling failures that threatened to deny veterans timely health care — problems that have turned into a growing scandal.

Veterans Affairs officials warned the Obama-Biden transition team in the weeks after the 2008 presidential election that the department shouldn’t trust the wait times that its facilities were reporting.

 


“This is not only a data integrity issue in which [Veterans Health Administration] reports unreliable performance data; it affects quality of care by delaying — and potentially denying — deserving veterans timely care,” the officials wrote.

The briefing materials, obtained by The Washington Times through the Freedom of Information Act, make clear that the problems existed well before Mr. Obama took office, dating back at least to the Bush administration. But the materials raise questions about what actions the department took since 2009 to remedy the problems.

In recent months, reports have surfaced about secret wait lists at facilities across the country and, in the case of a Phoenix VA facility, accusations that officials cooked the books to try to hide long wait times. Some families said veterans died while on a secret wait list at the Phoenix facility.

Last week, Dr. Robert Petzel, undersecretary for health in the Department of Veterans Affairs, resigned. His boss, Secretary Eric K. Shinseki, told Congress he will stay despite growing calls for his resignation.

Mr. Shinseki, a disabled veteran, has headed the department since the beginning of Mr. Obama’s first term, when the VA report identified many of the problems.

“Should they have known? Absolutely, they should have known,” said Deirdre Parke Holleman, executive director of the Washington office for the Retired Enlisted Association, a veterans group, which has not taken a position on whether Mr. Shinseki should resign. “These are problems that should have been dealt with.”


PHOTOS: Eye-popping excuses in American political scandals


In particular, the 2008 transition report referred to a VA inspector general recommendation to test the accuracy of reported waiting times.

Such tests, the report noted, could prompt action if results reveal “questionable differences” between the dates shown in medical records and dates in the Veterans Health Administration’s scheduling system. It’s unclear whether that recommendation was adopted because VA officials have not responded to request for comment.

In Phoenix, officials are looking into whether as many as 40 veterans died while waiting for treatment, with “secret wait lists” used to conceal the delays. Speaking in the Republicans’ weekly address over the weekend, Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, said the scandal began in his home state but it has since “gone nationwide.”

“Altogether, similar reports of lengthy waiting lists and other issues have surfaced in at least 10 states,” he said.

Acting VA Inspector General Richard J. Griffin told Congress last week that his office has opened multiple investigations into “reports of manipulated waiting times” in Phoenix as at other facilities.

He said his investigation also aims to find out whether officials in Phoenix purposely left off the names of veterans waiting for care on electronic waiting lists and, if so, whether any veterans died because of the delays in care.

Problems with electronic waiting lists also merited mention in the presidential briefing report.

Audits of outpatient scheduling and patient waiting times completed since 2005 have identified noncompliance with the policies and procedures for scheduling, inaccurate reporting of patient waiting times and errors in [electronic waiting lists],” the briefing papers state.

Briefing reports typically are prepared by career federal employees before a change in power, giving incoming administrations detailed looks at agency operations. The VA report notes that little was done to address the problems surrounding scheduling and wait time accuracy during the George W. Bush administration.

“Although VHA has recognized the need to improve scheduling practices and the accuracy of wait times data, no meaningful action has been taken to achieve this goal today,” officials wrote.

In fact, officials added, nine recommendations arising from inspector general audits from 2005 to 2007 were not implemented by 2008 when officials prepared the report for the incoming administration.

Jim Nicholson, who served as VA secretary during the latter half of the Bush administration, could not be reached for comment.

The briefing materials do not reveal any concerns about outright fraud in manipulating waiting times, but they make repeated references in summarizing past audits and reviews about data accuracy.

“This report and prior reports indicate that the problems and causes associated with scheduling, waiting times and wait lists are systemic throughout the VHA,” officials told the incoming administration.

Testifying to Congress last week, Mr. Shinseki said most veterans are satisfied with their health care, “but we must do more to improve the timely access to that care.”

The American Legion has called on Mr. Shinseki and Allison Hickey, VA undersecretary for benefits, to resign.

“They are both part of VA’s leadership problem,” American Legion Commander Daniel Dellinger said in a statement Friday. “This isn’t personal. VA needs a fundamental shift in leadership if it is to defeat its systematic lack of accountability.”


http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/may/18/obama-warned-about-va-wait-time-problems-during-20/

Exclusive: VA Scandal Hits New Hospital

Veterans with serious heart conditions, gangrene, and even brain tumors waited months for care at the Albuquerque VA hospital, a whistleblowing doctor tells The Daily Beast.

Add Albuquerque, New Mexico’s to the growing list of VA hospitals accused of keeping secret waiting lists to hide delays for veterans seeking medical care. And it may already be too late to get to the truth and find out what harm, if any, was done to veterans there—VA officials are already destroying records to cover their tracks, a whistleblower inside the hospital tells The Daily Beast.

Last month, word broke that the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Phoenix kept a secret waiting list that allegedly led to dozens of preventable deaths. The VA’s inspector general was brought in to investigate the charges and hasn’t yet found any deaths in Phoenix linked to wait times, but his investigation is ongoing. Since then five other facilities have come under fire, leading to calls for VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to step down. And now there’s Albuquerque’s. The evidence for this new secret list may be hard to track down, however.

“The ‘secret wait list’ for patient appointments is being either moved or was destroyed after what happened in Phoenix,” according to a doctor who works at the Albuquerque VA hospital and spoke exclusively with The Daily Beast. “Right now,” the doctor said, “there is an eight-month waiting list for patients to get ultrasounds of their hearts. Some patients have died before they got their studies. It is unknown why they died, some for cardiac reasons, some for other reasons.”

There’s no proof yet that veterans died while waiting for treatment, like what allegedly happened in Phoenix. But the doctor says it’s quite possible that some veterans would still be alive if they hadn’t been pushed through a record-keeping trap door that buried their requests for medical care.

On March 19, 2014, for example, a patient with a deteriorating heart condition requested to see a doctor. The patient was finally seen only days ago, on May 16, when they were admitted to the hospital for decompensated heart failure. “A near miss” as the VA doctor familiar with the case described it. “He could have died before being seen.”

The Albuquerque VA did not respond to requests for comment but Ozzie Garza, director of the VA Regional Office of Public Affairs, provided this statement to The Daily Beast: “We are not familiar with the allegations but will call immediately for an external review as we take all allegations seriously.”

“When everyone found out the IG was doing the audit, the word I heard was ‘Make sure nothing is left out in the open,’” the VA doctor said. “And that ranged from make sure there’s no food out to make sure there’s no information out in the open.” The doctor is not involved in the scheduling process and was unsure of how exactly VA officials would purge the secret wait lists but has heard it discussed among colleagues.

As VA officials reacted nervously to news of an impending audit, the doctor described hearing officials involved in scheduling patient appointments say, “The database had been removed or renamed.” To cover their tracks the doctor said they decided, “Instead of calling it a wait it would be called something like a precedence list.”

On March 19, a patient with a deteriorating heart condition requested to see a doctor. The patient was finally seen on May 16, when they were admitted to the hospital for decompensated heart failure.

When another of the doctor’s colleagues, a physician in a managerial position at the Albuquerque VA, saw the initial story about secret wait lists break he heard him say, “I always knew that Phoenix was better than us at playing the numbers game.”

Secret waiting lists may not be the only problems at the Albuquerque VA, in fact they may only be an accounting trick to mask the deeper issues.

Veterans with heart problems are waiting an average of four months to see a cardiologist at the Albuquerque VA, according to the doctor there who has access to patient records.

There are eight physicians in the cardiology department. But at any given time, only three are working in the clinic, where they see fewer than two patients per day, so on average there are only 36 veterans seen per week. That means the entire eight-person department sees as many patients in a week as a single private practice cardiologist sees in two days, according to the doctor.

For perspective, 60% of cardiologists reported seeing between 50 and 124 patients per week, according to a 2013 survey of medical professionals’ compensation conducted by Medscape. On the low end, the average single private practice cardiologist who participated in the study saw more patients in a week than the Albuquerque VA’s entire eight-person cardiology department.

In some cases, a long wait to see a doctor is just another routine inconvenience of the sort people expect in a large bureaucracy, but other times it can be a matter of life and death.

One veteran’s heart troubles were serious enough that a physician requested they be seen in the next available slot on January 8, 2014. Over three months later, the patient was seen in late April.

A patient whose initial blood test on December 8, 2013 suggested he might have a brain tumor waited until April 28 2014 before he was seen again. Another veteran, diagnosed with gangrene, was referred for surgery so doctors could try to salvage his limb or amputate it if necessary—it’s 36 days after he was initially supposed to see the surgeons and he’s still waiting now.

A second source inside the Albuquerque VA, a medical technician, said the facility provided high quality care. But the technician acknowledged it could take a long time before veterans get in the door to receive it.

The list of patients waiting for tests grew so long in one department that the technician became disheartened and stopped checking it around Christmas of last year. “I honestly stopped doing that because it just overwhelmed me personally,” the technician said.

The VA’s Office of Inspector General began investigating the Albuquerque medical center last year, according The Albuquerque Journal, after employees there reported that appointments were being manipulated to conceal patients’ actual wait times. That would mean that the inspector general, and the VA itself, knew about allegations of corruption there long before the Phoenix story broke in April.

Rep. Jeff Miller, chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, has been beating the drum about wait times and advocating reform since before the latest crisis  put the VA back in the spotlight. “VA’s delays in care problem is real and has already been linked to the recent deaths of at least 23 veterans,” Miller told The Daily Beast.

Yet it wasn’t until the latest VA scandal broke nationally—months after the inspector general first investigated claims that are strikingly similar to what was later reported in Phoenix—that Albuquerque’s came back into focus. The status of the initial investigation still hasn’t been made public.

Last week, New Mexico Senator Tom Udall requested a new investigation into his state’s VA hospitals. Udall called for the audit after his office received dozens of complaints from veterans about long wait times at the VA, and reports that Albuquerque’s schedulers were forging appointment records.

New Mexico is now the seventh state where allegations have emerged about VA medical facilities cooking the books. As new incidents continue to display the same features uncovered in past cases, the details are revealing a common language of bureaucratic corruption communicated across state lines between different VA facilities.

Yet, even as evidence builds of a systemic problem within the VA, the department itself has been slow to acknowledge it and even slower to act. In his testimony before the Senate last week, VA Secretary Shinseki referred to the six cases that had been revealed up to that point as “isolated incidents.”

Veterans, for their part, are divided over the proper response; many believe that the actual care provided by the VA is good and the problem is primarily about access. But as each new week brings another case that seems to show the same pattern of duplicity inside the VA, some are growing impatient.

“Our members are outraged and are demanding true accountability and systemic reform for what appears to be increasingly widespread problems,” said Derek Bennett, chief of staff for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA). “We cannot fix the problems until all the facts are on the table,” Bennett said but added that, “scapegoating and politicization of this issue will not reform the Department of Veterans Affairs nor best serve our veterans.”

To encourage getting the facts on the table, the IAVA has started its own initiative to gather stories from veterans and VA employees. “We have partnered with the Project on Government Oversight on vaoversight.org to provide a safe place for whistleblowers to come forward for this very reason,” Bennett said.

Despite the volume of incidents that have already been publicly revealed and theinspector general’s admission last week that he had more evidence pointing to new mismanagement, the VA has not announced any broad reforms or disciplinary actions. In the only major leadership shakeup since the VA became embroiled in the secret wait list charges, Secretary Shinseki announced the resignation last week of Dr. Robert Petzel, his undersecretary for health. But as many were quick to point out, and in what the IAVA called a “cynicial twist,” Petzel was already scheduled to retire this year after a 40-year career.

For Rep. Miller, the time is overdue for change within the VA. “We simply can’t afford to wait for the results of another IG investigation or VA’s internal review when veterans may be at risk,” Miller said. Immediate actions can be taken now, Miller added, even before formal investigations draw their conclusions. “Sec. Shinseki needs to take emergency steps,” he said, “to ensure veterans who may have fallen victim to these schemes get the medical treatment they need.”

On Sunday, the White House, which has remained relatively quiet on the VA’s latest troubles, weighed in with an interview by President Obama’s chief of staff, Denis McDonough.

“The president is madder than hell, and I’ve got the scars to prove it, given the briefings that I’ve given the president,” McDonough told CBS’ Face the Nation. “Madder than hell” was the first echo of Secretary Shinseki, amplifying a phrase he used in his testimony last week to describe his own feelings. The second echo of Shinseki came when McDonough said the president had sent staff to look into the VA investigation and “find out if this is a series of isolated cases or whether this is a systemic issue.”

The VA’s own investigation is ongoing and will continue to attract attention as more revelations, like the claims about the Albuquerque VA, keep coming out. It remains to be seen how leaders who are “madder than hell” will react to the evidence they find and what, if anything, they will order done about the situation.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/05/18/exclusive-v-a-scandal-hits-new-hospital.html

Vets Using Phoenix VA are Angry, Sick and Scared

by Jennifer Hlad

The veterans who use the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health System are angry, sick and scared.

They say they call and call, but get no answer.

They say they are ignored, disrespected and turned away by employees with no medical training.

They say they wait months for an appointment with a primary care doctor, then wait several more months to see a specialist.

More than 200 veterans and family members packed into American Legion Post 41 to share horror stories of delays, misdiagnoses and poor treatment with the national commander of the American Legion and the interim director of the Phoenix VA. Steve Young took over after whistleblowers revealed secret waiting lists used to cover up backlogs and extensive wait times. One of the whistleblowers, Dr. Samuel Foote, said there are at least 13,000 patients without primary care doctors, and even more who can’t get timely specialty appointments or follow-ups.

He said 40 veterans died while waiting for appointments in Phoenix VA clinics, and VA wrongdoings have surfaced in at least 10 states.

The Legion’s Daniel Dellinger told the crowd that the VA has “a pattern of unresponsiveness that has infected the entire system.”

People in the room waited their turn, then spoke of broken promises, fear and frustration. Some choked back tears; others spoke harshly of misplaced loyalty, angered that they had proudly served in the military yet weren’t being served by the VA in return.

Turned away

Dennis Morris’ arm was swollen, and he wasn’t feeling well, so he and his wife, Lynn, went to the Phoenix VA’s emergency room. They spent the whole night there, she said, and were sent home with a bag of ice.

The next day, his arm was worse — even more swollen and turning black. They went back to the ER and he was released with another bag of ice, she said.

On the third day, she insisted her husband go to the civilian hospital near their home in Sun City. Dennis was diagnosed with cellulitis and two strains of pneumonia, and he spent several days in the hospital. She said she had to write to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to get the VA to cover the medical bills.

Three years later, when her husband turned 65, she told him there was no longer any reason for him to go to the VA. She signed him up for Medicare, she said, but he still liked the VA.

Late last summer, Dennis, then 66, started feeling bad and began calling the VA to get an appointment with his primary care doctor. After about eight weeks and no appointment, the couple went to the ER at the VA. Dennis was seen immediately, she said, and the doctors did blood tests and took a chest X-ray. They discovered he was extremely anemic and admitted him for six or eight hours to administer iron directly into his blood.

But he didn’t get better. Early the next week he got a call from the VA saying he might have pneumonia. They sent him to a VA clinic closer to home for a second X-ray. He was given antibiotics, but he still felt bad.

Finally, Lynn decided to take her husband back to the civilian hospital. Within 12 hours, he was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer, she said. He died 21 days later.

“I’m convinced they never looked at the X-rays,” she said of the VA.

She acknowledges that it might have been too late to save her husband even if the doctors had found the cancer when they went to the VA emergency room in August. But, she said, the couple would have had time to make plans. Instead, he was nearly unconscious by the time he came home from the hospital 15 days after the diagnosis, and he died less than a week later.

“He just totally disintegrated,” she said. “I was not prepared to lose Dennis in five days.”

‘He stayed loyal to the military’

Navy veteran Dennis Richardson had struggled with post-traumatic stress and survivor syndrome since he returned from Vietnam, his brother Darrell said.

“But he stayed loyal to the military,” he said, and was proud to get his care at the VA.

Dennis Richardson split his time between Wisconsin and Arizona. When he was diagnosed with liver cancer by a civilian doctor in Wisconsin in late July 2012, he decided to get his treatment from the VA in Arizona.

He hand-carried his medical records and diagnosis to Phoenix, but when he tried to get an appointment with his primary care doctor at the VA so he could be referred to oncology, he was told he would have to wait seven months, his brother said.

“They wouldn’t even look at his records,” Darrell Richardson said. Family members tried calling to get him an appointment, but had no luck.

Richardson waited about three months, until he could no longer stand the pain. At the end of September 2012, he went to the VA emergency room and doctors started him on chemotherapy, but it was too late, his brother said. Dennis Richardson stopped chemo after a few weeks, saying he was simply too sick to handle it. He died Nov. 8, 2012, at the age of 65.

Darrell Richardson said he later found out that the Houston VA has one of the best liver cancer treatment programs in the country. If his brother had gotten a transfer to that program when he first arrived in Phoenix, he said, maybe he could have lived longer.

‘You have to be almost dead’

Carolyn Stoor struggled to hold back tears as she recounted the two times she said she almost lost her husband, Ken, in the past year.

“You have to be almost dead for them to do something” at the Phoenix VA clinics, she said.

Ken Stoor served in the Army from 1965 to 1969, and suffers from medical issues including diabetes, heart problems, PTSD and pre-cancerous tumors in his bladder, she said. He has been going to a VA clinic in Phoenix for about three years, even though it is about 65 miles away from their home in Superior, Ariz.

Ken Stoor kept his arm around her shoulders at the meeting, as she talked about how they have struggled to get him help.

In October, she took him to his primary care doctor with low blood pressure and a high fever. The doctor told her to take him home and “pump him full of fluids.”

She said she had already done that, so she took him to a civilian hospital, where doctors diagnosed him with a severe infection.

“They said, ‘We don’t know if he’s going to make it,'” Carolyn said, now crying.

After that, she requested a different primary care doctor for her husband.

“I actually told that last primary doctor what a rotten job she did: ‘Thank you very much but you almost killed him,'” she said. “I should have moved him out of the whole clinic,” she said, but they both really like the physician’s assistant he sees for his heart.

In April, Ken was having severe chest pains and Carolyn took him to the VA. He and six others were waiting for a test when the machine went down, she said.

They left to go to the civilian hospital, where doctors told her Ken was having a heart attack and might not survive.

“I just said, ‘I’m not letting him die on me,'” she said. “I’m not going to lose him over something stupid” like a broken machine.

Forgotten on the 4th floor

Robert Sertich served in the Air Force from 1947 to 1961. He went to the VA hospital in 2011 after being diagnosed with sepsis. His daughter, Kim Sertich, said doctors told her that he might be there for a few weeks.

He was 81, with underlying health issues, but she said he was coherent and could move around when she left him the first night.

By the second night, he was no longer coherent. She said she walked in to find him sitting in the dark, with his oxygen tube pinched under the wheels of his chair.

Doctors had requested an MRI to find the source of the infection, and he was put on a breathing machine in the intensive-care unit for a few days. He never got the test, she said.

When he started having trouble swallowing, the doctors put in a feeding tube.

One night, Robert pulled out the tube in his sleep. Kim gave permission for his hands to be loosely secured when he slept, so he couldn’t pull it out. Then he was moved to a different floor, Kim said, and the problems began adding up.

The MRI was never done, she said, and though a test of his swollen arm had been ordered on the third floor, the staff on the fourth floor never did it. They also refused to secure his hands, she said, and when he pulled the tube out, they wouldn’t put it back in.

Kim tried to feed her father, she said, but he could barely swallow. After a few days, Kim insisted they put the feeding tube back in. She paid for someone to watch her father 24 hours a day so he wouldn’t pull it out.

Her father’s blood tests were improving and he was getting more coherent, Kim said, but his arm continued to swell. When doctors realized it was a blood clot and began giving him blood thinners, “that was pretty much the end,” she said.

Robert Sertich died Nov. 14, 2011, after 33 days in the VA hospital. A week later, the hospital sent a condolence letter for “Richard Sertich.”

They keep coming back

Despite having serious problems with their care, many veterans return to the VA again and again for myriad reasons.

Stoor said her husband continues to go to the VA, where he has appointments and therapy a few times a week and gets many of his medications.

“It’s kind of scary, every time you go,” she said. “But if you don’t go, then you don’t get your benefit.”

Richardson said his brother always “stayed loyal to the military,” he said, and was proud to get his care at the VA, even with a cancer diagnosis, access to the Mayo Clinic and a seven-month wait for a referral.

Lynn Morris said she never really liked the VA, but her husband, Dennis, insisted on going there.

“The waiting room was horrendous,” she said, “and the attitude of the people working there was even worse.”

Still, he had served in the Army and liked his doctors at the VA, she said.

When he turned 65, his wife signed him up for Medicare, she said, but he still went to the VA.

She didn’t understand.

The emergency room was full of people with their heads between their legs because they were in such intense pain, she said. Foote said the average wait time there was frequently 12 to 16 hours.

“I thought it was a horrible mess from Day 1,” she said.

Robert Sertich lived nearly 90 miles from Phoenix, in Payson, Ariz., but going to the VA was “like this badge of honor,” his daughter Kim said.

The hospital floors were filthy, she said, and there were several days when the bathrooms for visitors and the hot water for patient showers didn’t work.

Young, the interim director of the Phoenix VA system, told the crowd he didn’t have answers for the veterans and families. But he stayed at the meeting for hours and took notes.

“I’m just here to listen and understand,” he said. “I don’t have the perfect solution yet.”

http://www.military.com/daily-news/2014/05/17/vets-using-phoenix-va-are-angry-sick-and-scared.html?ESRC=todayinmil.sm

Background Articles and Videos

United States Department of Veterans Affairs

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is a government-run military veteran benefit system withCabinet-level status. It is the United States government’s second largest department, after the United States Department of Defense.[1] With a total 2009 budget of about $87.6 billion, VA employs nearly 280,000 people at hundreds of Veterans Affairs medical facilities, clinics, and benefits offices and is responsible for administering programs of veterans’ benefits for veterans, their families, and survivors. In 2012, the proposed budget for Veterans Affairs was $132 billion. [2] The VA 2014 Budget request for 2014 is $152.7 billion. This includes $66.5 billion in discretionary resources and $86.1 billion in mandatory funding. The discretionary budget request represents an increase of $2.7 billion, or 4.3 percent, over the 2013 enacted level.[3]

It is administered by the United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

History

The Continental Congress of 1776 encouraged enlistments during the American Revolutionary War by providing pensions for soldiers who were disabled. Direct medical and hospital care given to veterans in the early days of the republic was provided by the individual states and communities. In 1811, the first domiciliary and medical facility for veterans was authorized by the federal government, but not opened until 1834. In the 19th century, the nation’s veterans assistance program was expanded to include benefits and pensions not only for veterans, but also their widows and dependents.

VA Medical Center in ManhattanNew York City

After the Civil War, many state veterans’ homes were established. Since domiciliary care was available at all state veterans homes, incidental medical and hospital treatment was provided for all injuries and diseases, whether or not of service origin. Indigent and disabled veterans of the Civil War, Indian WarsSpanish-American War, and Mexican Border period as well as discharged regular members of the Armed Forces were cared for at these homes.

Congress established a new system of veterans benefits when the United States entered World War I in 1917. Included were programs for disability compensation, insurance for servicepersons and veterans, and vocational rehabilitation for the disabled. By the 1920s, the various benefits were administered by three different federal agencies: the Veterans Bureau, the Bureau of Pensions of the Interior Department, and the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers.

The establishment of the Veterans Administration came in 1930 when Congress authorized the president to “consolidate and coordinate Government activities affecting war veterans”. The three component agencies became bureaus within the Veterans Administration. Brigadier General Frank T. Hines, who directed the Veterans Bureau for seven years, was named as the first Administrator of Veterans Affairs, a job he held until 1945.

The close of World War II resulted in not only a vast increase in the veteran population, but also a large number of new benefits enacted by Congress for veterans of the war. In addition, during the late 1940s, the VA had to contend with aging World War I veterans. During that time, “the clientele of the VA increased almost five fold with an addition of nearly 15,000,000 World War II veterans and approximately 4,000,000 World War I veterans”.[4] Prior to World War II, in response to scandals at the Veterans Bureau, programs that cared for veterans were centralized in Washington, D.C. This centralization caused delays and bottlenecks as the agency tried to serve the World War II veterans. As a result, the VA went through a decentralization process, giving more authority to the field offices.[5]

The World War II GI Bill, signed into law on June 22, 1944, is said[by whom?] to have had more impact on the American way of life than any law since the Homestead Act nearly a century before.

The VA health care system has grown from 54 hospitals in 1930 to include 171 medical centers; more than 700 outpatient, community, and outreach clinics; 126 nursing home care units; and 35 domiciliaries. VA health care facilities provide a broad spectrum of medical, surgical, and rehabilitative care. The responsibilities and benefits programs of the Veterans Administration grew enormously during the following six decades.

Further educational assistance acts were passed for the benefit of veterans of the Korean War, the Vietnam Era, the introduction of an “all-volunteer force” in the 1970s (following the end of conscription in the United States in 1973), the Persian Gulf War, and those who served following the attacks of September 11, 2001.

The Department of Veterans Affairs Act of 1988 (Pub.L. 100-527) changed the former Veterans Administration, an independent government agency established in 1930, primarily to see to the needs of World War I veterans, into a Cabinet-level Department of Veterans Affairs. It was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan on October 25, 1988, but actually came into effect under the term of his successor, George H. W. Bush, on March 15, 1989.

The Department of Veterans Affairs was created due to nearly one third of the population being eligible for veterans benefits. Its proponents argued that due to the large number of Americans affected by the VA, it needed an administrator who had direct access to the president.[6]

In their major reform period of 1995–2000, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) implemented universal primary care, closed 55% of their acute care hospital beds, increased patients treated by 24%, had a 48% increase in ambulatory care visits, and decreased staffing by 12%. By 2000, the VHA had 10,000 fewer employees than in 1995 and a 104% increase in patients treated since 1995, and had managed to maintain the same cost per patient-day, while all other facilities’ costs had risen over 30% to 40% during the same period.

VA Medical Center in Palo Alto, California

Functions

The Department of Veterans Affairs is headed by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. The current Secretary of Veterans Affairs is Retired Army General Eric Shinseki.

Its primary function is to support Veterans in their time after service by providing benefits and support. A current initiative in the Department is to prevent and end Veterans’ homelessness.[7] The VA works with the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness to address these issues. Shinseki sits on the Council and is committed to ending Veteran’s homelessness by 2015 as laid out in Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness, released in 2010.[8]

The Department has three main subdivisions, known as Administrations, each headed by an Undersecretary:

  • Veterans Health Administration (VHA): responsible for providing health care in all its forms, as well as for biomedical research (under the Office of Research and Development), Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs), and Regional Medical Centers
  • Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA): responsible for initial veteran registration, eligibility determination, and five key lines of business (benefits and entitlements): Home Loan Guarantee, Insurance, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment, Education (GI Bill), and Compensation & Pension
  • National Cemetery Administration: responsible for providing burial and memorial benefits, as well as for maintenance of VA cemeteries

Benefits

The benefits provided include disability compensation, pension, education, home loans, life insurance, vocational, rehabilitation, survivors’ benefits, medical benefits, and burial benefits.[9] The VA currently breaks down benefits in a benefits booklet.[10] Benefits and topics include; VA Health Care Benefits, Veterans with Service-Connected Disabilities, VA Pensions, Education and Training, Home Loan Guaranty, VA Life Insurance, Burial and Memorial Benefits, Reserve and National Guard, Special Groups of Veterans, Transition Assistance, Dependents and Survivors Health Care, Dependents and Survivors Benefits, Appeals of VA Claims Decisions, Military Medals and Records, and Other Federal Benefits.

Costs for care

As is common in any time of war, recently there has been an increased demand for nursing home beds, injury rehabilitation, and mental health care. VA categorizes veterans into eight priority groups and several additional subgroups, based on factors such as service-connected disabilities, and one’s income and assets (adjusted to local cost of living).

Veterans with a 50% or higher service-connected disability as determined by a VA regional office “rating board” (e.g., losing a limb in battle, PTSD, etc.) are provided comprehensive care and medication at no charge. Veterans with lesser qualifying factors who exceed a pre-defined income threshold have to make co-payments for care for non-service-connected ailments and pay $9 per 30-day supply for each prescription medication. VA dental and nursing home care benefits are more restricted.

VA Medical Center in Long Beach, California

Reservists and National Guard personnel who served stateside in peacetime settings or have no service-related disabilities generally do not qualify for VA health benefits.[11]

VA’s budget has been pushed to the limit in recent years by the War on Terrorism.[12] In December 2004, it was widely reported that VA’s funding crisis had become so severe that it could no longer provide disability ratings to veterans in a timely fashion.[13] This is a problem because until veterans are fully transitioned from the active-duty TRICARE healthcare system to VA, they are on their own with regard to many healthcare costs.

The VA’s backlog of pending disability claims under review (a process known as “adjudication”) peaked at 421,000 in 2001, and bottomed out at 254,000 in 2003, but crept back up to 340,000 in 2005.[14]

No copayment is required for VA services for veterans with military-related medical conditions. VA-recognized service-connected disabilities include problems that started or were aggravated due to military service. Veteran service organizations such as the American LegionVeterans of Foreign Wars, and Disabled American Veterans, as well as state-operated Veterans Affairs offices and County Veteran Service Officers (CVSO), have been known to assist veterans in the process of getting care from the VA.

In his budget proposal for fiscal year 2009, President George W. Bush requested $38.7 billion—or 86.5% of the total Veterans Affairs budget—for veteran medical care alone.

In the 2011 Costs of War report from Brown University, researchers projected that the cost of caring for veterans of the War on Terror would peak 30–40 years after the end of combat operations. They also predicted that medical and disability costs would ultimately total between $600 billion and $1 trillion for the hundreds of thousands treated by the Department of Veterans Affairs.[15]

The New GI Bill

The new GI Bill authored by Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) doubled GI Bill college benefits while providing a 13-week extension to federal unemployment benefits. The new GI Bill doubled the value of the benefit to roughly $90,000 up from $40,000. In-state public universities essentially are covered to provide full scholarships for veterans under the new education package. For those veterans who served at least three years a monthly housing stipend was also added to the law.

Upon passage of the new GI Bill President George W. Bush stated “Our nation has no greater responsibility than to support our men and women in uniform—especially because we’re at war… This bill shows the American people that even in an election year, Republicans and Democrats can come together to support our troops and their families”, which highlighted that the new GI Bill had been overwhelmingly supported by both parties in the U.S. Congress.[16]

Congress and President Barack Obama extended the new GI Bill in August of 2009 at the cost of roughly $70 billion over the next decade. Upon passing the GI Bill extension President Obama stated his support of the fighting forces of the United States by saying “Over the last eight years, they have endured tour after tour of duty in dangerous and distant places… They’ve experienced grueling combat, from the streets of Fallujah to the harsh terrain of Helmand province. They’ve adapted to complex insurgencies, protected local populations and trained foreign security forces.”

The Pentagon worked closely with Congressional lawmakers to ensure military families were protected in the expansion of the law. In doing so, military officials worked non-stop to add a provision to extend the GI Bill to the surviving spouse and children of servicemembers killed while in combat.

This provision was highly favored by the Pentagon which authorized the Department of Defense (DoD) to allow individuals who, on or after August 1, 2009, have served at least 6 years in the Armed Forces and who agree to serve at least another 4 years in the U.S. Armed Forces to transfer unused entitlement to their surviving spouse. Servicemembers reaching 10 year anniversaries could choose to transfer the benefit to any dependent(s) (spouse, children).[17]

National Cemetery Administration

In 1973, the Veterans Administration assumed another major responsibility when the National Cemetery System (NCS) (except for Arlington National Cemetery) was transferred to the Veterans Administration from the Department of the Army.

The VA was charged with the operation of the NCS, including the marking of graves of all persons in national and State cemeteries (and the graves of veterans in private cemeteries, upon request) as well and administering the State Cemetery Grants Program. The VA’s National Cemetery Administration maintains 131 national cemeteries in 39 states (and Puerto Rico) as well as 33 soldier’s lots and monument sites.

The Department of the Army maintains two national cemeteries, the Arlington National Cemetery and the U.S. Soldiers’ & Airmen’s Home National Cemetery. Many states have established state veterans cemeteries. The American Battle Monuments Commission maintains 24 overseas military cemeteries that serve as resting places for almost 125,000 American war dead; on Tablets of the Missing that memorialize more than 94,000 U.S. servicemen and women; and through 25 memorials, monuments and markers.

Fourteen national cemeteries are maintained by the National Park Service.

Related legislation

See also

Notes and references

  1. Jump up^ [1] USA.GOV
  2. Jump up^ [2] VA Press Release 2011
  3. Jump up^ [3] VA.gov
  4. Jump up^ Kammerer, Gladys 1948. “The Veterans Administration in Transition”. Public Administration Review Vol. 8, No. 2, pp 104.
  5. Jump up^ Kammerer, Gladys 1948. “The Veterans Administration in Transition”. Public Administration Review Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 103–109.
  6. Jump up^ http://www.va.gov/opa/publications/archives/docs/history_in_brief.pdf
  7. Jump up^ [4]
  8. Jump up^ Opening Doors | United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH). Usich.gov (2010-06-22). Retrieved on 2013-07-23.
  9. Jump up^ Benefits: Links, US Department of Veterans Affairs, Retrieved May 26, 2007
  10. Jump up^ [5] Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents and Survivors
  11. Jump up^ Detailed list of VA eligibility criteria
  12. Jump up^ Dennis Camire, “New fees, limits face ailing veterans,” Albany Times Union, 10 February 2003, A1.
  13. Jump up^ Cheryl L. Reed, “VA chief orders inspector to probe disability rating system,”Chicago Sun-Times, 11 December 2004, A3.
  14. Jump up^ Cory Reiss, “VA fighting losing battle against backlog of veterans’ claims”,Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 27 May 2005, A7.
  15. Jump up^ “Caring for US Veterans”Costs of War. Brown University. Retrieved 19 July 2011.
  16. Jump up^ [6] President Bush Signs GI Bill
  17. Jump up^ [7] Post-911 GI Bill Transferability Fact Sheet

Further reading

In 1998, the Institute of Medicine began a series of studies to respond to requests from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Congress for an examination of the health effects of potentially harmful agents to which Gulf War veterans might have been exposed.

External links

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Story 1: Breaking News: Shooting At Fort Hood in Texas — 16 Wounded From Gunshots and 4 Dead Including Shooter — Shelter in Place  — PTSD and Suicides of Afgan and Iraq War Veterans — The War Within — Videos

 

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Sources have confirmed to CBS 11 that this image is that of suspected shooter 34-year-old Ivan Lopez.

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Soldier Opens Fire At Fort Hood; 4 Dead, Several Injured

A soldier opened fire Wednesday on fellow service members at the Fort Hood military base, killing three people and wounding 16 before committing suicide at the same post where more than a dozen people were slain in a 2009 attack, authorities said.

The shooter, 34-year-old Ivan Lopez who served in Iraq in 2011, had been undergoing an assessment to determine whether he had post-traumatic stress disorder, according to Lt. Gen. Mark A. Milley, the senior officer on the base. He was also undergoing psychiatric treatment for depression.

FULL COVERAGE OF FORT HOOD SHOOTING

There was no indication the attack was related to terrorism, Milley said “although we are not ruling anything out.”

A Texas congressman said the shooting happened at a medical center. Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, also identified the suspect as Ivan Lopez. But additional details about the gunman were not immediately available.

The injured were taken to Darnall Army Community Hospital at Fort Hood and other local hospitals. Dr. Glen Couchman, chief medical officer at Scott and White Hospital in Temple, said the first four people admitted there had gunshots to chest, abdomen, neck and extremities and that their conditions range from stable to “quite critical.”  At last check, nine patients had been admitted to Scott and White.

The 2009 assault on Fort Hood was the deadliest attack on a domestic military installation in U.S. history. Thirteen people were killed and more than 30 wounded.

After the shooting began, the Army’s official Twitter feed said the post had been locked down. Hours later, all-clear sirens sounded.

On Wednesday evening, a fatigue-clad soldier and a military police officer stood about a quarter-mile from the main gate waving away traffic. Other lanes were blocked by a police car and van.

Meanwhile, relatives of soldiers waited for news about their loved ones.

Tayra DeHart, 33, said she had last heard from her husband, a soldier at the post, that he was safe, but that was hours earlier.

“The last two hours have been the most nerve-racking I’ve ever felt. I know God is here protecting me and all the soldiers, but I have my phone in my hand just hoping it will ring and it will be my husband,” DeHart said.

Brooke Conover, whose husband was on base at the time of the shooting, said she found out about it while checking Facebook. She said she called her husband, Staff Sgt. Sean Conover, immediately to make sure he was OK, but he could not even tell her exactly what was going on, only that the base was locked down.

“I’m still hearing conflicting stories about what happened and where the shooting was exactly,” Conover said in a telephone interview, explaining that she still did not know how close the incident was to her husband.

“I just want him to come home,” said Conover, who moved to Fort Hood with her husband and three daughters two years ago.

President Barack Obama vowed that investigators would get to the bottom of the shooting.

In a hastily arranged statement in Chicago, Obama said he was following the situation closely. He said the shooting brought back painful memories of the 2009 attack.

Obama reflected on the sacrifices that troops stationed at Fort Hood have made – including enduring multiple tours to Iraq and Afghanistan.

“They serve with valor. They serve with distinction, and when they’re at their home base, they need to feel safe,” Obama said. “We don’t yet know what happened tonight, but obviously that sense of safety has been broken once again.”

The president spoke without notes or prepared remarks in the same room of a steakhouse where he had just met with about 25 donors at a previously scheduled fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee. White House officials quickly pushed tables to the side of the room to make room for Obama to speak to the nation.

The November 2009 attack happened inside a crowded building where soldiers were waiting to get vaccines and routine paperwork after recently returning from deployments or preparing to go to Afghanistan and Iraq.

Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan was convicted and sentenced to death last year in that mass shooting. He said he acted to protect Islamic insurgents abroad from American aggression.

According to testimony during Hasan’s trial last August, Hasan walked inside carrying two weapons and several loaded magazines, shouted “Allahu Akbar!” – Arabic for “God is great!” – and opened fire with a handgun.

Witnesses said he targeted soldiers as he walked through the building, leaving pools of blood, spent casings and dying soldiers on the floor. Photos of the scene were shown to the 13 officers on the military jury.

The rampage ended when Hasan was shot in the back by Fort Hood police officers outside the building. He was paralyzed from the waist down and is now on death row at the military prison at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.

After that shooting, the military tightened security at bases nationwide. Those measures included issuing security personnel long-barreled weapons, adding an insider-attack scenario to their training and strengthening ties to local law enforcement, according to Peter Daly, a vice admiral who retired from the Navy in 2011. The military also joined an FBI intelligence-sharing program aimed at identifying terror threats.

 

http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2014/04/02/search-for-active-shooter-on-fort-hood-base/

3 Victims, Gunman Dead After Second Fort Hood Mass Shooting

Deceased are all military personnel, Fort Hood official says

By Frank Heinz

Four people are dead, including the gunman, and another 16 are injured in a mass shooting at the Fort Hood Army post Wednesday. One of the survivors is in grave condition, NBC News reports.

More than four hours after the shooting, all-clear sirens sounded as the lockdown at the post was lifted. Hundreds of cars began streaming from the giant complex, many including children who had been kept locked-down in schools since gunshots were first reported at about 4:30 p.m.

A military official told NBC News that the deceased shooter, identified as 34-year-old enlisted Army soldier Ivan Lopez, took his own life and appeared to be the only shooter, despite an earlier report of two possible gunmen.

Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, the commanding general at Fort Hood, refused to identify the gunman during a news conference Wednesday night pending notification of family members.

Milley said the sequence of events are not 100 percent clear but that investigators believe the shooting began when a soldier assigned to the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) fired shots at individuals in the 1st Medical Brigade. Milley said the shooter then left that building, got into a vehicle and continued firing. He then went to another building at the post, went inside and opened fire.  The gunman, when confronted by a military police officer, put his gun to his head and pulled the trigger.

The gunman was armed with a single weapon, a .45-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun he had recently purchased, Milley said.

The gunman had served four months in Iraq in 2011 and was currently under diagnosis for post traumatic stress disorder, but had not been officially diagnosed with PTSD, Milley said. He added the shooter was undergoing behavioral health care for depression and anxiety, had a self-reported traumatic brain injury and was not physically injured in combat.

NBC News learned that Lopez served with the Puerto Rican Army National Guard and was an E4 in the U.S. Army.  NBC News reported that the shooter was in uniform and that the shooting rampage may have resulted from an argument with other soldiers in the motor pool and was not related to terrorism.

The names of the victims have not yet been released, though Milley did confirm that all of the victims are military personnel.  Officials at Fort Hood said the names of the victims will be released 24 hours after all family have been notified.

Temple Hospital Taking Fort Hood Patients

Baylor Scott & White Hospital in Temple confirms they have a command center in place and have received nine patients from the post.

All patients are in the intensive care unit; three are critical and five are serious.  The ninth patient is en route, as of 10:20 p.m. Wednesday night.

In an update early Wednesday night, Glen Couchman, chief medical officer for Baylor Scott & White Memorial Hospital, said patients are receiving treatment for wounds to their chest, abdomen, neck and extremities and range from “stable to quite critical.”

“This is another sad day for Central Texas,” Couchman said. He said the hospital planned to offer another update on the conditions of the victims later in the evening.

Officials at Baylor Scott & White said the blood center closed at 8 p.m., but will be open for donations from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday.

Investigation Continues

Officials at Fort Hood said Wednesday that there is no indication the mass shooting is related to terrorism.

The investigation by law enforcement is ongoing and post officials were reluctant to reveal any further information about what may have led to the rampage.

Milley said the investigation into the shooting continues and that nothing is being ruled out as a cause at this point. The investigation is being conducted with the support of The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Texas Rangers, The Texas Department of Public Safety, military police, Army CID, the Killeen Police Department and the Harker Heights Police Department.

During the lockdown of the base, officials with the Bell County Sheriff’s Office and Texas Department of Public Safety were called in to help to secure the perimeter of the largest active duty armored post in the U.S. Armed Services.

Obama, Gov. Perry Respond

President Barack Obama addressed the shooting in brief remarks in Chicago, where he was attending a fundraiser Wednesday night.

“We’re following it closely. The situation is fluid right now … I want to just assure all of us we are going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened,” he said. “We’re heartbroken something like this might have happened again.”

Texas Gov. Rick Perry issued a statement Wednesday as well. “Today, Fort Hood was once again stricken by tragedy,” he said. “Fort Hood has proven its resilience before, and will again.”

Perry was one of several politicians who tweeted messages following the news of the shooting, many of whom called for prayers for the post and Central Texas.

Mom Stuck at Fort Hood With 4-Year-Old During Shooting

Charlotte Spencer was picking up her 4-year-old son from soccer practice on the Fort Hood post when Wednesday’s shooting occurred.

Spencer said her son had just climbed in the car when a woman came over a loudspeaker telling everyone to shelter in place immediately.

“The siren came over and she was like, ‘This is an emergency. Get in your homes, lock your doors, lock your windows, turn off your AC units and turn off your heaters if you have them running. Just stay in place. This is an active emergency,’” Spencer described.

Spencer said she tried to delicately explain the all too familiar situation to her young son.

“It Sounded Powerful”

Antonio Ortiz, 30, who lives a quarter of a mile from the east gate of Fort Hood, told NBC News he heard a commotion and went outside to hear alarms going off and announcements for people to stay inside. He went back in and turned on the TV news, then soon after heard a barrage of gunshots.

“It sounded powerful,” Ortiz said, adding that while it seemed to be coming from the base, he couldn’t rule out the possibility someone in the civilian neighborhood was shooting.

“I’m scared for my son. He’s 7,” Ortiz said. “But I do have a 12-gauge pump shotgun.”

Tayra DeHart, 33, said she had last heard from her husband, a soldier at the post, that he was safe, but that was hours earlier.

“The last two hours have been the most nerve-wracking I’ve ever felt. I know God is here protecting me and all the soldiers, but I have my phone in my hand just hoping it will ring and it will be my husband,” DeHart said.

Brooke Conover, whose husband was on base at the time of the shooting, said she found out about it while checking Facebook. She said she called her husband, Staff Sgt. Sean Conover, immediately to make sure he was OK, but he couldn’t even tell her exactly what was going on, only that the base was locked down.

“I’m still hearing conflicting stories about what happened and where the shooting was exactly,” Conover said in a telephone interview, explaining that she still doesn’t know how close the incident was to her husband.

“I just want him to come home,” said Conover, who moved to Fort Hood with her husband and three daughters two years ago.

Tragic History at Fort Hood

In November 2009, 13 people were killed and more than 30 others injured when Maj. Nidal Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, opened fire on dozens of people at the post. Hasan was paralyzed during an exchange of gunfire and, in late 2013, was sentenced to death.  He is currently awaiting execution.

In February, officials at the Central Texas Army post said the site of the 2009 massacre, a processing center also known as Building 42003, had been razed.

Hasan’s rampage isn’t the most recent mass shooting at a U.S. military installation.  Last September, a lone gunman with ties to North Texas, Aaron Alexis, killed 12 when he opened fire at the Washington Navy Yard.

Largest Active-Duty Military Base

Fort Hood covers a total of 340 square miles and supports multiple units, a corps headquarters and a robust mobilization mission. It is home to two full divisions, the 1st Cavalry Division and 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) and 12 additional units.

Around 50,000 soldiers work at Fort Hood, and there are an additional 150,000 civilians who support the base.

The post is about 60 miles north of the capital city of Austin, 50 miles south of Waco, 160 miles south of Dallas and 150 miles north of San Antonio

http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Active-Shooter-Reported-at-Fort-Hood-253636461.html

FBI, military hunt ex-Army recruit suspected of plotting ‘Ft. Hood-inspired jihad’

EXCLUSIVE: The FBI is searching for a recent Army recruit believed to be planning a “Fort Hood-inspired jihad against U.S. soldiers,” FoxNews.com has learned.

The alert, whose legitimacy was confirmed by military and law enforcement officials, stated that a man identified as Booker had told friends of his “intention to commit jihad.” Booker, who is also known as Muhammad Abdullah Hassan, was recruited by the U.S. Army in Kansas City, Mo., in February 2014 and was scheduled to report for basic training on April 7. But he was discharged last week, apparently after law enforcement authorities learned of his alleged plan.

Both the FBI and the 902d Military Intelligence Group at Fort Leavenworth are involved in the hunt.

The alert, a copy of which was obtained by FoxNews.com, was sent out by the FBI’s Kansas City Division on Friday and distributed through the U.S. Marine Corps. The portion obtained by FoxNews.com did not include Hassan’s photo or age. It was also sent to the Kansas City Police Department, which could indicate authorities believe he may have remained in the area where he was recruited.

The alert is titled, “Planned Fort Hood-inspired Jihad against US Soldiers by Army Recruit” and was issued “to inform and protect officers who may encounter this individual or others exhibiting the same aspirations.” The source of the information contained in the alert was listed as “An FBI agent.”

According to the alert:

“On 20 March 2014, the Kansas City Division FBI became aware of an individual named BOOKER aka Muhammad Abdullah Hassan who had publicly stated his intention to commit jihad, bidding farewell to his friends and making comments indicating his jihad was imminent. BOOKER had been recruited by the US Army in Kansas City, Mo., in February 2014 and was scheduled to report for Basic Training on 7 April 2014. Kansas City Division Agents interviewed BOOKER on 20 March 2014.”

Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Ty Balzer confirmed the alert’s legitimacy, but referred questions to the FBI. A spokeswoman with the Kansas City Division of the FBI — the same division responsible for sending out the alert and who, according to the alert, spoke with Booker on March 20 — said she did “not have any information to provide in regards to your inquiry.”

Law enforcement sources familiar with the alert said it appeared to suggest that there may be others in addition to Booker who also might have expressed similar intentions to commit jihad against U.S. military installations.

A military source said it appeared the bulletin was provided by the FBI, then distributed by the Marine Corps under the normal protocol of sharing any information relating to a potential threat to U.S. military installations or personnel.

A spokesman for the Kansas City recruiting station where Booker enlisted referred FoxNews.com’s questions to 902d Military Intelligence Group, which did not immediately return requests for comment.

The Fort Hood shooting, referenced in the alert, took place on Nov. 5, 2009. U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, a psychiatrist who had become a radical Muslim while serving in the military, killed 13 people and injured dozens more inside the Texas Army base. Hasan, who represented himself at a military trial after clashing with his appointed attorneys, was sentenced to death in August.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/04/01/military-hunts-one-time-recruit-planning-ft-hood-style-jihad/

 

Shooting Confirmed at Fort Hood Army Base

NBC News reports there may be two shooters, one down, one at-large

 

Multiple people have been injured and the search for the gunman is underway after a shooting at the Fort Hood Army post Wednesday afternoon.

Reports of an active shooter triggered a lockdown at Fort Hood, with local sheriff’s deputies and the FBI immediately responding.
As many as eight people may be injured, and there may have been two shooters, NBC News reported. One of those was believed to be “down,” while the second was believed to be at-large, according to NBC News.

Fort Hood confirmed that a shooting occurred at the base, though the number of people injured and the severity of their injuries has not been confirmed.

Just after 5 p.m. local time, the base tweeted that all personnel were being asked to shelter in place, close doors and stay away from windows.

The shooting is believed to have taken place at the Medical Brigade Building. Local NBC affiliate KCEN-TV reported there were also reports of victims at the Battle Simulation Center.

Central Texas College’ campus was evacuated due to the shooting, with all personnel and students asked to leave and all classes canceled.

Officials with the Bell County Sheriff’s Office and Texas Department of Public Safety are helping to secure the perimiter of the base.

In November 2009, 13 people were killed and more than 30 others injured when Maj. Nidal Hasan opened fire on dozens of people at the base. Hasan was paralyzed during an exchange of gunfire and, in late 2013, was sentenced to death. He is currently awaiting execution.

 

How Can Government Battle a ‘Suicide Epidemic’ Among Veterans?

The VA has boosted its funding, but Congress’s latest attempt lacks a pay-for.

The Fort Hood shooting is an extreme and shocking example of what has become a chronic concern for the military: soldiers with mental-health problems taking their own lives.

And it’s not just the active-duty military who face what has become an increasingly daunting problem.

At least 22 veterans commit suicide each day, according to the Veterans Affairs Department. This adds up to more than 2,000 veterans killing themselves so far this year alone, and the military community is facing what advocates refer to as a suicide epidemic.

 

To help address the growing problem, Democratic Sen. John Walsh of Montana introduced legislation last week that includes provisions to force the Pentagon to reexamine troops who were discharged for PTSD-related behaviors—which can include nightmares, flashbacks, changes in personality, sleeping disorders, and suicidal thoughts.

The bill also expands veterans’ eligibility to enroll in VA health care from five to 15 years after leaving the military. The current system doesn’t take into account the fact that some veterans have a delayed reaction to trauma after they leave the service, according to veterans’ advocates.

Walsh, who is one of the first Iraq War combat veterans to serve in the Senate, is also a member of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, which backs the bill. Fifty-one percent of Iraq or Afghanistan War veterans know someone who has attempted or committed suicide, according to a Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation survey released this week.

“Red tape and government dysfunction have blocked access to the care that saves lives,” Walsh said in a statement.

But a key hurdle remains for Walsh’s legislation: how to pay for it.

A cost estimate has yet to be released from the Congressional Budget Office, but when asked about how Walsh planned to pay for the legislation, his spokesman said that Walsh has described the bill as part of “the cost of war.”

But this approach is similar to the “paid in full” slogan Senate Democrats attached to a failed proposal earlier this year from Sen. Mark Pryor to reverse roughly $6 billion in cuts to veterans’ pensions. And in Congress’s fiscally conscious atmosphere, Republicans demanded that funding be offset by something.

Walsh is, however, open to adding a pay-for to his legislation.

A stalled omnibus veterans bill by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont also has mental-health provisions, including extending combat eligibility and focusing on education and training for mental health professionals.

But senators blocked Sanders’s legislation in February, with Senate and House Republicans alike criticizing the use of war funding to pay for the veterans bill.

Walsh’s legislation is the first part of a three-step, yearlong outreach program begun last week by IAVA to raise awareness about the suicide crisis.

IAVA President Paul Rieckhoff hopes President Obama will issue an executive order before Memorial Day mandating that the Pentagon and the Veterans Affairs Department integrate electronic health records. He also hopes the president will create a standardized method for tracking suicides and suicide attempts among veterans and military family members.

National tracking of veterans suicide rates is unreliable at best. Even the VA—whose 22-per-day estimate has become the go-to standard—had to build its nationwide statistic with information available from only 21 states.

The veterans advocacy group will also spend the year reaching out to communities across the country to help raise awareness.

VA Secretary Eric Shinseki told members of the Senate that the department is broadening how it tries to reach veterans, such as by expanding “telemental health capabilities,” including a 24/7 crisis line—which the VA says has saved more than 35,000 lives. The crisis line is also available via text message. VA staffers respond to veterans who text on a range of issues including chronic pain, anger, and depression.

“It’s getting the veterans who reach out where they are, in whatever medium is comfortable to them,” said Caitlin Thompson, the VA’s deputy director of suicide prevention.

The Department of Veterans Affairs requested a slight increase in its mental-health funding in the 2015 budget request—up to $7 billion from $6.9 billion in fiscal 2014. The VA expanded its mental-health funding by 64 percent between 2009 and 2014. It’s also increased its mental-health force by 2,400 people since 2012.

Thompson added that the VA has found that veterans who aren’t in VA care are more likely to commit suicide than those who aren’t. Of the 22 veterans who commit suicide a day, the VA estimates that only one in five of them are in VA health care.

Zach McIlwain, who served two combat tours with the Army in Iraq, is a part of that outreach. McIlwain, like many veterans, returned to the United States suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder.

“Basically I found myself where I was slowly sinking in quicksand,” McIlwain said, crediting his wife with urging him to get the help that saved him.

McIlwain also pointed out that communities can do much more to help veterans adapt to civilian life.

“It’s not just Congress, it’s not just the president—it’s back in the local communities, welcoming these service member back home.”

Attempting suicide is currently considered a crime under the military’s rules, and something IAVA is hoping to get changed.

“A big piece of this is removing stigma ,” McIlwain said. “There’s concerns about, ‘Is this going to affect my employment; is this going to affect my security clearance when I’m in the military?’ ”

http://www.nationaljournal.com/defense/how-can-government-battle-a-suicide-epidemic-among-veterans-20140403

 

 

 

Background Articles and Videos

The Marketing of Madness: The Truth About Psychotropic Drugs

Making a Killing: The Untold Story of Psychotropic Drugging – Full Movie (Documentary)

Fort Hood Shooting – Another Shooting Induced by Medication

Increase in School Shootings Linked to Antidepressant Prescription Drugs Health Impact News

How Do Antidepressants Work

 

SSRI Drugs are Dangerous!

SSRI Withdrawals – Do Natural Products Help?

Mini-Lecture: Use of SSRI’s in Depression

 

 

 

 

US Soldier Suicides: Congress to increase efforts to curb high rate of military suicides

Vets Rally to Curb Military Suicides

Iraq and Afghanistan veterans express pain and pride of war

According to a new survey, 89 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans say they would join the military again, while also reporting a spike in suicide, reduced physical wellness and feelings of disconnection. Gwen Ifill talks to two veterans, Tom Tarantino of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and Nathan Smith of Hire Heroes USA, as well as Rajiv Chandrasekaran of The Washington Post.

Tens of thousands of Afghan, Iraq war veterans homeless in 2013

Quick Facts: Plight of US veterans

On Afghan War 11th Anniversary, Vets Confront Mental Health Crisis, Suicide, Violence 1 of 3

On the 11th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, we take a look at the invisible wounds of war here at home. Since the war began on Oct. 7, 2001, less than a month after the Sept. 11th attacks, at least 2,000 U.S. soldiers have died. Some 2.4 million U.S. soldiers have served in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the psychological toll of the wars is mounting. Last year, the Veterans Administration treated almost 100,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and soldier suicides reached an all-time high this year.

On Afghan War 11th Anniversary, Vets Confront Mental Health Crisis, Suicide, Violence 2 of 3

On Afghan War 11th Anniversary, Vets Confront Mental Health Crisis, Suicide, Violence 3 of 3

ALEX JONES INFOWARS – US VETERANS – RECORD SUICIDES DUE TO PTSD

Between Iraq and a Hard Place – PTSD and Suicides in Iraq

Veterans of PTSD PBS NOW

The War Within 1 of 4

The War Within 2 of 4

The War Within 3 of 4

The War Within 4 of 4

Marines PTSD Suicide CPL Anthony Clay Ward, USMC, FOX 2/11 Iraq War

 

 

Veterans statistics: PTSD, Depression, TBI, Suicide.

The following veterans statistics are from a major study done by the RAND Corporation (full pdf of study), a study by the Congressional Research Service, the Veterans Administration, and the US Surgeon General.

PTSD statistics are a moving target that is fuzzy: do you look only at PTSD diagnosed within one year of return from battle? Do you only count PTSD that limits a soldier’s ability to go back into battle or remain employed, but that may have destroyed a marriage or wrecked a family? Do you look at the PTSD statistics for PTSD that comes up at any time in a person’s life: it is possible to have undiagnosed PTSD for 30 years and not realize it–possibly never or until you find a way to get better and then you realize there is another way to live. When you count the PTSD statistic of “what percentage of a population gets PTSD,” is your overall starting group combat veterans, veterans who served in the target country, or all military personnel for the duration of a war?

And veterans PTSD statistics get revised over time. The findings from the NVVR Study (National Vietnam Veterans’ Readjustment Study) commissioned by the government in the 1980s initially found that for “Vietnam theater veterans” 15% of men had PTSD at the time of the study and 30% of men had PTSD at some point in their life. But a 2003 re-analysis found that “contrary to the initial analysis of the NVVRS data, a large majority of Vietnam Veterans struggled with chronic PTSD symptoms, with four out of five reporting recent symptoms when interviewed 20-25 years after Vietnam.” (see also NVVR review)

There is a similar problem with suicide statistics. The DoD and their researchers tend to lose track of military personnel once they retire, and not all suicides will be counted as a military suicide (plus, is a person who drinks themselves to death committing suicide?). A recent study found U.S. veteran suicide rates to be be as high as 5,000 a year. See suicide statistics (bottom of page).

Summary of Veterans Statistics for PTSD, TBI, Depression and Suicide.

    • there are over 2.3 million American veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (compared to 2.6 million Vietnam veterans who fought in Vietnam; there are 8.2 million “Vietnam Era Veterans” (personnel who served anywhere during any time of the Vietnam War)
    • at least 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have PTSD and/or Depression. (Military counselors I have interviewed state that, in their opinion, the percentage of veterans with PTSD is much higher; the number climbs higher when combined with TBI.) Other accepted studies have found a PTSD prevalence of 14%; see a complete review of PTSD prevalence studies, which quotes studies with findings ranging from 4 -17% of Iraq War veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder)
    • 50% of those with PTSD do not seek treatment
    • out of the half that seek treatment, only half of them get “minimally adequate” treatment (RAND study)
    • 19% of veterans may have traumatic brain injury (TBI)
    • Over 260,000 veterans from OIF and OEF so far have been diagnosed with TBI. Traumatic brain injury is much more common in the general population than  previously thought: according to the CDC, over 1,700,000 Americans have a traumatic brain injury each year; in Canada 20% of teens had TBI resulting in hospital admission or that involved over 5 minutes of unconsciousness (VA surgeon reporting in BBC News)
    • 7% of veterans have both post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury
    • rates of post-traumatic stress are greater for these wars than prior conflicts
    • in times of peace, in any given year, about 4% (actually 3.6%) of the general population have PTSD (caused by natural disasters, car accidents, abuse, etc.)
    • recent statistical studies show that rates of veteran suicide are much higher than previously thought (see suicide prevention page).
    • PTSD distribution between services for OND, OIF, and OEF: Army 67% of cases, Air Force 9%, Navy 11%, and Marines 13%. (Congressional Research Service, Sept. 2010)
    • recent sample of 600 veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan found: 14% post-traumatic stress disorder; 39% alcohol abuse; 3% drug abuse. Major depression also a problem. “Mental and Physical Health Status and Alcohol and Drug Use Following Return From Deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan.” Susan V. Eisen, PhD
    • Oddly, statistics for veteran tobacco use are never reported alongside PTSD statistics, even though increases in rates of smoking are strongly correlated with the stress of deployment and combat, and smoking statistics show that tobacco use is tremendously damaging and costly for soldiers.
    • More active duty personnel die by own hand than combat in 2012 (New York Times)

Other veterans PTSD statistics references and sources:

 

U.S. Suicide Rate Surged Among Veterans
Eli Clifton

Suicides among United States military veterans ballooned by 26 percent from 2005 to 2007, according to new statistics released by the Veterans Affairs (VA) department. 

“Of the more than 30,000 suicides in this country each year, fully 20 percent of them are acts by veterans,” said VA Secretary Eric Shinseki at a VA-sponsored suicide prevention conference on Monday. “That means on average 18 veterans commit suicide each day. Five of those veterans are under our care at VA.”

The spike in the suicide rate can most clearly be attributed to the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the high number of veterans returning to the U.S. with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

”We have now nearly two million vets of Iraq and Afghanistan and we still haven’t seen the type of mobilisation of resources necessary to handle an epidemic of veteran suicides,” Aaron Glantz, an editor at New America Media editor and author of “The War Comes Home”, told IPS.

”With [President Barack] Obama surging in Afghanistan coupled with his unwillingness to withdraw speedily from Iraq, it means we have more veterans who have served more and more tours and as a result we have an escalating number of people coming home with PTSD, depression and other mental health issues,” Glantz continued.

Health officials have pointed to the multiple tours of duty served by many U.S. soldiers deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq as one of the stresses placed on military personnel that differs from previous wars fought by the U.S.

“The unfortunate truth is that the real challenge begins when these service men and women return home and readjust to day-to-day life,” said Rep. Michael McMahon, co-founder of the Congressional Invisible Wounds Caucus.

“The Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs must be prepared with the appropriate staff and funding to conduct post-deployment psychological screenings with a mental health professional for all service men and women,” he said. “Evidently, the paper questionnaires currently in use simply do not suffice. How many more young men and women must die before we provide the necessary mental health care?”

The VA estimated that in 2005, the suicide rate per 100,000 veterans among men ages 18-29 was 44.99, but jumped to 56.77 in 2007.

A Rand Corporation report last year found that as many as 20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans exhibited symptoms of PTSD or depression.

”As I’ve often asked, mostly of myself, but also of others from time to time, why do we know so much about suicides but so little about how to prevent them?” said Shinseki.

The VA came under attack by veterans’ groups in April 2008, when internal emails sent by the VA’s head of mental health, Dr. Ira Katz, showed that the VA was attempting to conceal the number of suicides committed by veterans.

Under the Obama administration, the approach to handling the increasing number of suicides appears to have shifted, with a greater focus on transparency – the VA is holding a three-day conference on suicide this week. Last year, Obama announced a 25-billion-dollar increase in the VA’s budget over the next five years.

While the emphasis on greater transparency, particularly with regards to PTSD and mental health issues, and increased funding for the VA has been welcomed, many are still concerned that the troop surge in Afghanistan and the ongoing U.S. role in Iraq will put ever greater strains on the VA and its ability to deal with soldiers returning from multiple tours of duty.

”The first Gulf War was over in a matter of months. This war has gone on for nine years in Afghanistan and seven years in Iraq. There are two million vets, most of whom have served multiple tours,” said Glantz.

”What this means is that the military has never faced the stress it faces now. Not even in Vietnam where we had a draft and most soldiers only served one tour. In Iraq and Afghanistan everyone’s on the frontlines all the time. Even being in a vehicle going from one military base to another is extremely dangerous,” he said.

Shinseki cited the fact that of the 18 veterans who commit suicide each day, five are under the care of the VA, as evidence that both the VA’s efforts to prevent suicides are falling short and that the VA is failing to bring enough veterans under its care.

Suicides among active duty personnel have also risen, with 147 reported suicides in the Army from January through November 2009 – an increase from 127 in the same period of 2008.

Among non-active duty reserve soldiers, 50 suicides were reported in 2008 but the number had risen to 71 during the first 11 months of 2009.

Suicide rates in all four services of the military are significantly higher than in the general population, with 52 Marines, 48 sailors, and 41 members of the Air force committing suicide in 2009.

The final figures for suicides in the Army during 2009 will be released Thursday.

http://ipsnorthamerica.net/news.php?idnews=2784

 

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 68-70

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 65-67

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 62-64

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 58-61

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 55-57

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 52-54

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 49-51

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 45-48

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 41-44

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 38-40

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 34-37

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 30-33

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 27-29

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 17-26

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 16-22

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 10-15

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 01-09

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