Janet's Conner

This Blog tell the Truth and will never not tell the Truth. Impeach Bush

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Veterans Issues: "CAN WE TRUST THE INFO WE'RE GETTING ABOUT OUR EXPOSURE TO DEPLETED URANIUM?"

Veteran's Advocate Jim Strickland says, "No, you can not!"

Jim Strickland
via: VA Watchdog dot Org
September 11, 2006

Depleted uranium (DU) has caught your attention and generated some mail for me recently. Veterans are hearing more buzz about their risks and want to know who to turn to for meaningful information. More than anything else, Veterans want to know if they should be concerned or if they can beleive what Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), are telling them.

Depleted Uranium is a by-product of the process of creating nuclear energy or making weapons. Its radioactivity is low and brief exposure probably isn't as hazardous as a dental x-ray. It's a super-hard material that makes it ideal for weapons designed to penetrate heavy armor or in the obverse, building heavy armor that's impenatrable to conventional weaponry. The health hazard comes in not from brief exposure but from breathing fumes or inhaling microscopic fragments when DU is used as intended. Sucked into your lungs it stays there emitting its radioactive particles...forever.

Imbedded shrapnel in human tissue is a no-brainer, retaining "souvenirs" from the battlefield and taking the stuff home secretively is a known issue too...soldiers have done that since before the Romans conquered their world.

Today, DOD & VA are telling us that we needn't worry, we should be happy! They're aware of all the potentials and have a handle on everything. Hmmm, there's that strange and annoying feeling again...it's like I've been here before.

I'm a curmudgeon and a cynic and I'm proud of it. I have a relaible built-in detection system that alerts me if someone is trying to be less than straight-up with me. This isn't a complex system, it's been perfected over the years by paying close attention to the historic behavior of the individual or entity sharing info with me today. If they weren't open and truthful back then, I doubt they will today.

One of the many advantages of being 57 years old is that I remember the 1960s well. There was a little conflict going on in a small country on the other side of the globe no one had ever heard of. America was sending in advisors to assist the good guys in their fight against the evil of communism because for some reason the French had pulled their military out.

In a flash we were up to our eyeballs in a fight most of us didn't understand and the happy days of the early 60s were suddenly replaced with images of our country torn in two. Young American students were being shot and killed on American college campuses by uniformed young American troops and terms like "body bag" and "napalm" entered our lexicon as we heard the daily reports of enemy and American KIA.

We had never fought a war like this before, there were no front lines and we couldn't see the enemy in a country that had few spaces that weren't lush, thick jungle. We wanted a war that was more conventional and an enemy we could see so we decided to turn the landscape into something we understood...a treeless clearing that would expose the enemy and force the fight to be on our terms.

In 1961, the United States began spraying herbicides to defoliate the jungles of Vietnam. Agent Orange was the most heavily used of the rainbow of dioxin laced defoliants. It's said that Americn pilots quipped, "Remember! Only you can prevent forests!," while they flew over hundreds of thousands of acres spraying thousand of 55 gallon drums of AO. In 1969, the extensice use of herbicides was halted after a National Institute of Health report concluded that dioxon caused stillbirth in mice. It was in about 1971 that the last gallon or two of AO was used. Today, dioxin is banned worldwide.

It was about 1978 that the VA began to receive claims from Veterans who said that their health problems were a result of their exposure to AO while serving in RVN. In 1979, Congress enacted Public Law 96-151 and ordered VA to conduct a study to determine if expsoure to AO had caused health issues for the RVN Veterans.

We Viet Nam veterans have a collective memory that tells us that soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen were hardly ever instructed in the safe use of dioxin compounds and at the same time we were assured that it wasn't going to hurt us. Military service carries risk and there's a strong macho component that makes us shrug off danger, particularly if our leaders are promising us that we're safe. So, many of our 17, 18, and 19-year-old troops lit a cigarette [provided in our rations...they were good for you] and strapped on a backpack sprayer of AO and went out to kill some jungle.

Accurate records of exposure are non-existent. We aren't even sure if we used 19 million gallons or 21 million gallons. Until the late 1980s, there was still debate as to whether there was even a problem. At a 1983 convention, the American Medical Association (AMA) offered a resolution calling for a public information campaign on dioxin to "prevent irrational reaction and unjustified public fright." That AMA said that, "the news media have made dioxon the focus of a witch hunt by disseminating rumors, hearsay and unconfirmed, unscientific reports..."

Problem? With Dioxon and Vietnam troops? What Problem? We see no problem. It's only those whining Veterans again.

Today, we know that we were lied to. There's no other way to phrase that and make it more palatable. Our government failed us by refusing to act in a timely fashion to collate records, contact Veterans, establish information centers and health screening programs and to recognize and adequately compensate those who were harmed.

If you take a walk through a VA Medical Center with me today you'll soon become aware of the enormity of it all...the halls are blanketed with Veterans being treated for cancers, diabetes, nerve diseases and more and they are all "presumptive" to be related to AO exposure. More come forward or die quietly every day.

None of those Veterans had any prior notification of anything they could do to help themselves. Although there are numerous AO programs available today for RVN Veterans, they continue to be passive, the Veterans has to seek them out and ask for help, VA does not seek out the Veteran to notify them of programs available to assist them. Are you aware that a large group of Korean Veterans may have dioxin exposure? No, probably not...the VA isn't shouting that from the rooftops either.

The DOD says, "The voluntary Veterans Affairs Depleted Uranium Medical Follow-up program remains the most important source for identifying potential untoward health effects..." "Voluntaty" means that you have to hear about it from a friend or stumble across it on the Internet, much like the Agent Orange registry in current use, VA isn't going to the trouble to urge you to participate.

How many of you knew (until you read that sentence above) that VA is conducting a Medical Follow-up Program for those of you who served where DU may have been used?

In answer to you who have asked me, "Can we trust the information we're getting about our exposure to Depleted Uranium?," the answer is a very firm, "No, you can not."

Once again, our government is reactive, not proactive and more concerned with partisan politics than aiding a Veteran. If you have been exposed or if you have been in any arena, combat or otherwise, where you may have been exposed, you must seek out and demand information to help yourself. Don't wait until this becomes another Agent Orange debacle. Don't act surprised as your health deteriorates 20 years from today and some doctor tells you it's caused by DU exposure and "If you'd only gotten treatment earlier..."

YOU HAVE TO BECOME POLITCALLY AWARE AND ACTIVE AND LET YOUR REPRESENTATIVES AT EVERY LEVEL KNOW YOU AREN'T GOING TO BE SILENT. DEMAND A REGISTRY, DEMAND FEDERAL SCREENING PROGRAMS AND DON'T ACCEPT ANYTHING LESS THAN THE BEST. YOU GAVE YOUR BEST, IT'S NOW TIME SOME OF THAT IS RETURNED TO YOU.

War on Terror: WHOSE WAR ON TERROR?

"We are all Americans," wrote Le Monde on September 12, 2001. And so it was with most people in the Muslim world, who were as appalled as anyone else at the carnage of the terrorist attacks on Washington and New York. Indeed, when America responded to the attacks, almost no one mourned the fall of the Taliban, who were universally condemned for their fanaticism.

This unanimity of opinion no longer exists. In the 5 years since the attacks, 2 audiences for the so-called "war on terror" have emerged. Indeed, as the "war" progressed, the audience closest to to action began to see the emerging combat in a way that was diametrically opposed to that of the United States and the West.

To the U.S. administration, every act in the drama of the war was seen as discrete and self-contained: Afghanastan, Iraq, Palestine and Hezbollah in Lebanon. The Bush administration, having proclaimed a war on terror, invaded and occupied countries and yet failed to see that these events were being linked in the eyes of people in the region. Glued to Al Jazeera and other Arab satellite channels, the various battles of the "war on terror" came to be viewed as a single chain of events in a grand plot against Islam.

Worse yet, America waved the banner of democracy as it prosecuted its wars. But hopes for democracy---whether secular or Islamist---for the people concerned have been buried in the rubble and carnage of Baghdad, Beirut and Kandahar.

Many Muslims understand---as well as anyone in the West, and in the same terms---the underlying causes of the alienation that animates Islamic radicalism and violence. They know that the rigid dictatorships of the region have paralyzed their populations. Only those consumed by the fires of their rage seem to be able to melt the shackles of these authoritarian societies.

But the price of escape is a kind of deformation. Embittered, fanatical, vengeful: Those who rebel against the status quo enter the wider world seeking retaliation, not just against the regimes that deformed them, but against the West, which propped up the region's authoritarians in the interest of "stability."

Many Muslims also understand that the problem of Palestine, unsloved for 3 generations, goes beyond the suffering of the Palestinian people. They know that the region's dictators have used Palestine to justify their misrule and to avoid political and economic liberalization.

So when America called for democracy, the hearts of many in the region soared with the hope that reform would come at last. But America, as so many times before, let them down. As people at last began to hope for more liberal and decent societies, the U.S. continued to endorse the regimes that were repressing them. America simply could not adhere to its own democracy-promotion script.

After the ouster of the Taliban in Afghanastan, the U.S. turned its sights on the secular dictatorship of Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Instead of encouraging reform of the Saudi/Wahhabi regime---the system that spawned 15 of the 19 hijackers in the 9/11 attacks---the average Muslim saw America as waging war on a regime that had nothing to do with that crime.

Many Muslims acquiesced in this deviation, viewing the invasion of Iraq as partof the passing of dictatorship and the coming of democracy. But the bloodstained shambles of the U.S. occupation led America to abandon the quest for democracy. The deeper America sank into the Iraqi quagmire, the more the U.S. began to turn a blind eye to the region's surviving dictators, particularly those in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt and Pakistan.

Indeed, the last thing the region's dictators wanted to see was a democratic Iraq. Almost from the moment of Saddam's fall, Saudi/Wahhabi jihadists poured into Iraq almost unimpeded. Worse yet, the Muslims who supported the project to democratize Iraq widely suspect that the Sunni resistance that incited the Iraqi civil war has been financed by Saudi oil money. [Terrorism also kept Iraqi oil from becoming a serious challenger to Saudi Arabia].

So the effort to democratize Iraq---indeed, the entire American project to democrtaize the region---has fallen under deep suspicion by even most moderate of Muslims. America, they believe, only wants a democracy that suits its interests. If Palestinians freely vote for Hamas, their choice is actively opposed. Lebanon's "Cedar Revolution," which galvanized the West in the same way as Ukraine's Orange Revolution, has been systematically undermined.

With democracy in most of the region still a long way off---indeed, perhaps a more distant prospect now than 5 years ago---U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice repeats her mantra that the dead civilians of Beirut, Sidon, Tyre and Gaza represent the "birth pangs" of a new Middle East. But until the West stops regarding dead babies as political props, we cannot understand how the Muslim world perceives all that has happened since 9/11. Only then will we understand why the unified view of 5 years ago has fractured so violently.

Tom Paine dot com
By: Mai Yamani
September 11, 2006

AMERICAN AIRLINES STATEMENT REGARDING THE PATH TO 9/11 ON ABC-TV

FORT WORTH, Texas---American Airlines today issued the following statement regarding the ABC-TV program The Path to 9/11:

"The Disney/ABC television program, The Path to 9/11, which began airing last night, is inaccurate and irresponsible in its portrayal of the airport check-in events that occured on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.

"A factual description of those events can be found in the official government edition of the 9/11 Commission Report and supporting documents.

"This misrepresentation of facts dishonors the memory of innocent American Airlines employees and all those who lost their lives as a result of the tragic events of 9/11."

American said it will have no further comment beyond the statement at this time.

Yahoo!
September 11, 2006
Source: American Airlines, Inc.

WORLD REMEMBERS 9-11 BUT NOT MANY CRYING

The nations of the world joined Monday in solemn rememberance of Sept. 11---but for many, resentment of the United States flowed as readily as tears.

Forbes
By: Elaine Ganley
September 11, 2006

Critics say Americans have squandered the goodwill that prompted France's Le Monde newspaper to proclaim "We are all Americans" that somber day after the attacks, and that the Iraq war and other U.S. policies have made the world less safe in the 5 years since.

Heads bowed in moments of silence for the 3,000 killed in the attacks on New York and Washington---while the No. 2 al-Qaida leder issued new warnings in a videotape. And dissident voices said the world has traded in civil liberties and other democratic rights in its war on terror.

In Europe, where Islamic terror has struck twice since 9/11, in the Madrid train bombings and the London transit attacks, the silent tributes were tinged with doubts and recriminations.

Even German Chancellor Angela Merkel---an advocate of repairing ties with Washington that were frayed under her predecessor Gerhard Schroeder---had veiled criticism of the United States, saying: "The ends cannot justify the means."

"In the fight against international terror ... respect for human rights, tolerance and respect for other cultures must be the maxim of our actions, along with decisiveness and international cooperation," she said.

The international landscape has changed irreversibly since terrorists hijacked four airplanes in 2001, crashing 2 into the World Trade Center and another into a Pennsylvania field.

Adding to the global jitters, a senior al-Qaeda leader issued a new warning.

"You gave us every legitimacy and every opportunity to continue fighting you," said Ayman al-Zawahiri, addressing the United States. "You should worry about your presence in the [Persian] Gulf and the second place you should worry about is Israel."

Another video posted on the Internet by al-Qaeda showed previously unseen footage of a smiling Osama bin Laden and other commanders in a mountain camp apparently planning the September 11 attacks.

Allies in the U.S.-led war on terrorism renewed their resolve Monday to fight fanaticism, while skeptics countered that they can no longer follow a superpower they say has relinquished its right to lead.



"Right after Sept. 11 the world was united with Americans. Their moral leadership was unquestioned," Paul Zalewski, head of the Polish parliament's foreign relations committee, wrote in the Gazeta Wyborcza. "However, this strong moral authority was abused as a result of the Iraq war."

Exactly 5 years after its message of solidarity, Le Monde titled its lead editorial "The Mistakes of Bush."

In Caracus, Venezuela, about 200 marchers protested what they called "imperialist terrorism" carried out by the United States since the 9/11 attacks. Demonstrators---many of them supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and some of Arab descent---carried Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian flags. Many criticized the U.S. invasion of Iraq and Afghanastan.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani wrote President Bush on behalf of the Iraqi people, expressing condolences to the families of Sept. 11 victims.

"On this sad and memorable day, I would like to reiterate the gratitude of the people of Iraq for the people of America and for your leadership," Talabani wrote. "The people of Iraq will never forget those who helped them in getting rid of the most brutal and terrorist regime of Saddam Hussein."

New Zealand's Prime Minister Helen Clark joined many when she said: "No, we're not more secure since 9/11."

Clark said more should be done to reach out to moderate states and leaders in the Islamic world to encourage understanding between different peoples, and to help end the sense of alienation and exclusion among some young Muslims that fuels extremism.

In Europe, bells tolled in Rome's city hall square. Bouquets of white roses and yellow carnations were piled in a memorial garden where the names of 67 Britons killed in the New York attacks are inscribed. Relatives tearfully remembered their dead.

"It doesn't get any easier, but our minds are much calmer, and we can think through all the events without being flooded by tears and sadness," said Adrian Bennett, whose 29-year-old son, Oliver, was killed.

At a 38-nation Asia-Europe summit in Helsinki, Finalnd, leaders stood in silence in a circle. The stock exchanges in Nordic and Baltic countries observed two minutes of silence to honor the victims.

French President, Jacques Chriac, in Helsinki, reiterated in a written message to Bush his nation's "friendship" in the fight against terrorism.

A week after the Sept 11 attacks, Chirac flew over the World Trade Center site---the first foreign leader to pay personal condolences. That solidarity quickly dissapated into rancor in the buildup to the Iraq war, when Chirac led opposition to Bush's plans.

Israel's Haaretz daily expressed disappointment and cynicism in an op-ed piece that said: "This is Sept. 11 five years later: a political tool in the hands of the Bush Administration."

In southeast Asia, U.S. and Phillipine troops fighting Islamic extremists in the jungles prayed for peace and safety. Other rememberances took place in Japan, Australia, Finland, South Korea, Thailand and Indonesia.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who won the country's first post-Taliban election, expressed the appreciation of the Afghan people to the U.S. for the "sacrifices of your sons and daughters," in rebuilding his country. But in the Afghan capital, many residents said they had not seen much improvement since the U.S.-led invasion that toppled the Taliban for harboring bin Laden.

Despite about 20,000 U.S. forces fighting a-Qaida and Taliban fighters in Afghanastan, and about the same number of NATO troops, and billions in aid, the Taliban resistance has shaken the country, while corruption has stymied development.

In Brussels, NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer led a solemn military ceremony outside the alliance's headquarters to remember the victims of 9/11. A lone bugler played taps while a ceremonial guard, drawn from each of the 26 NATO member nations, lowered national flags to half-staff.

"Terrorism remains a threat to all of us...this is why we are in Afghanastan, the cradle of 9/11," de Hoop Scheffer said, calling on NATO nations to "strengthen our alliance politically and militarily to meet this new scourage."



5 YEARS LATER, SOLIDARITY AND SKEPTICISM



Leaders across the world Monday expressed solidarity with the United States on the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. But behind the soaring rhetoric, a strong skepticism remained toward America's war on terror and President George W. Bush's leadership.

International Herald Tribune
By: Dan Bilefsky
September 12, 2006

There were outpourings of grief for the nearly 3,000 dead, among the Britons, Indians and many other nationalities. The target 5 years ago was America, but globalization saw to it that the attacks on New York and Washington reverberated far beyond the United States.

Daniel Keohane, foreign policy expert at the Center for European Reform in London, said that common global concerns such as the war against terorism, fear's over Iran's nuclear program and the recent war in Lebanon were helping to bridge the differences between the United States and its European allies.

But he said a wide gap remained between political leaders' grudging support for Washington and the wariness among the European public. Nowhere has this been more pronounced that in Britain, where Prime Minister Tony Blair's outspoken support has caused his popularity to plummet and inspired intensifying pressure from him to leave office.

"We are all Americans," the French newspaper Le Monde proclaimed on Sept. 12, 2001, in the aftermath of the attacks.

But its headline Monday---"Bush's Mistakes"---bluntly addressed the growing disillusionment with his conduct of the war in Iraq.

Le Monde qualified the war in Afghanastan a "relative" success but the invasion of Iraq "a major error."

"In 5 years, the United States has pushed the world toward the clash of civilizations Al Qaeda had wanted," Le Monde said.

A Swiss newspaper, Le Temps, had a biting variation on Le Monde's 2001 headline.

"Europe has long stopped saying, 'We are all Americans.' In London you can read, 'We're all Hezbollah,'" it said.

The commemoration ceremonies were darkened Monday as Al Qaeda renewed its call for more terrorist attacks against the United States.

Appearing in a new video in which he urged Muslims to step up their attacks, Al Qaeda deputy leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, warned of "new events" and said that Gulf allies of Washington and Israel were the next targets.

With Europeans digesting recent foiled attacks in Britain, Germany and Denmark, America's allies expressed solidarity with the United States and vowed to defeat terrorism.

"These horrific attacks clearly demonstrted that terrorism is a threat to all states and to all peoples," said a statement from the European Union.

In Germany, Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Mass in front of 70,000 people Monday in the German pilgrimage center of Altotting and listened to a brief prayer for peace. In Britain---Washington's most steadfast ally in Afganastan and Iraq---public ceremonies were few at the request of victims' families. A new poll Monday indicated that only 7% of Britons believe that the United States and Briain are winning the fight against global terrorism.

In Europe, the outpouring of high-level support for the United States reflected renewed solidarity following a prolonged chill in the trans-Atlantic relations following the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

After Sept. 11, 2001, America's European allies rallied around the United States. But Bush's unilaterism after the attacks alienated many of America's friends and divided Europe.

Analysts said the European animosity that followed was slowly beginning to dissipate, but that enormous skepticism about U.S. foreign policy and Bush remained.

The growing clash between Islamic fundamentalism and the West---reflected in attacks in London and Madrid and in the cartton controversy in Denmark that triggered protests throughout the Muslim world---had helped bring the United States closer to European governments by creating a global community of shared values. Yet it has also alienated many Europeans, who fear Europe's civil liberties are at risk. Allegations that European governments colluded with Washington by allowing CIA agents to interrogate suspected terrorists on European soil have caused widespread consternation.

According to a recent Transatlantic Trends survey of 12 European countries published by the German Marshall Fund of the U.S., only 3 European countries---Britain, the Netherlands, and Romania---view United States leadership more positively than negatively. When asked to evaluate feelings of warmth toward the United States on a scale of 100, the overall response among Europeans declined from 64 degrees in 2002---the year after the attacks---to 51 degrees in 2006. "While people remain empathetic about Sept. 11, that does not erase their unease with the way Bush conducts America's foreign policy or with European governments that support him," Keohane said. "Europeans remain wary of Bush and his division of the world into 'us' and 'them,' which they don't think is conductive to solving global conflicts."

Outside of Europe, the reaction to the anniversary was more ambivalent. In Afghanastan, President Hamid Karzai thanked the United States for its help in forcing the Taliban from power. But Afghan newspapers had little coverage of the anniversaty and Afghans complained that their lives had seen little improvement since the U.S. invasion in 2001.

Their skepticism resonated at a NATO meeting in Brussels, where calls by the alliance for reinforcements of up to 2,500 troops have met a cool reception by countries increasingly wary of alienating public opinion and putting their soldiers in harm's way.

Australia chose the anniversary to appeal to moderate Muslims to be more critical of terrorism, while Pakistan warned against pinning the blame for terrorism on Islam and urged the international community to attack poverty and alienation instead.

"We are not attacking Muslims generally, but you have to call terrorism what it is," Prime Minister John Howard of Australia, said in an interview with the Australian newspaper. "It is a movement that invokes a totally blasphemous and illegitimate way the sanction of Islam to justify what it does."

Chinese state media chided the United States for destabilizing the world with the war in Iraq.

"It's fair to say that September 11 changed the United States," said an editorial in People's Daily. "But what really changed the world was the erroneous U.S. response," it added, "especially the war in Iraq."

Such criticism was expressed more vociferously in the Middle East, even in moderate Arab countries allied with the United States. Egypt's press was particularly angry, sharply criticizing U.S. foreign policy.

"Five years after the disaster of 'black Tuesday,' terrorism is still present, but even more dangerous and more spread out," Mohammed Barakat wrote on the front page of Al Akhbar.