Soldiers are not the only ones dying for your freedom

by lestro

Today is Memorial Day. Originally started as Decoration Day following the Civil War and expanded into the summer-starting three day weekend of flag-waving, barbeques, parades and blockbuster movies, each of us should make sure we take time today to reflect on the meaning of the holiday.

Especially when so many Americans are currently off fighting and dying in stupid wars for leaders who have no way out.

But soldiers, sailors and Marines and not the only people out there in the war zone every day, fighting for your freedom. Each day, journalists from around the world also pull on their flack jackets and head out to the front lines, armed with only a notebook or a camera.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, so far this year, 10 journalists have been killed on duty. They join 65 killed in 2007.

Dozens more remain missing.

In Iraq, two journalists have been killed so far this year, bringing the total number of journalists killed in this conflict to 127. Both deaths this year were Iraqi reporters, highlighting again the danger and power of information in a country wracked by war.

There is no job more important to freedom and liberty than the simple journalist. The founding fathers knew it too, which is why it is the only non-governmental job protected by the Constitution.

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Ghosts of Iraq

by twit

An insightful comment on a previous post raised an important point about the mental health effects of combat stress, and it reminded me of a recent news story that goes far beyond the cold statistics of the suicide rates for our war veterans:

From the Fort Mill Times on May 25, 2008:

Until the day he died, Sgt. Brian Rand believed he was being haunted by the ghost of the Iraqi man he killed.

The ghost choked Rand while he slept in his bunk, forcing him to wake up gasping for air and clawing at his throat.

He whispered that Rand was a vampire and looked on as the soldier stabbed another member of Fort Campbell’s 96th Aviation Support Battalion in the neck with a fork in the mess hall.

Eventually, the ghost told Rand he needed to kill himself.

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If you discovered a whole mess of Japanese pot in your suitcase…we want it back…unsmoked.

by loadz

What’s worse than breaking the law to slip 142 grams of pot into some poor sucker’s suitcase?

Not being able to find it.

A customs officer hid a package of the banned substance in a side pocket of a randomly chosen suitcase in order to test airport security.

Sniffer dogs failed to detect the cannabis and the officer could not remember which suitcase had the stash.

Whoops. Hey listen, we’re really, really sorry about the 142 grams of pot we slipped into your suitcase next to your unmentionables, but if we could have that back we’d surely appreciate it.

One hundred forty-two grams? That’s five ounces. And their dog couldn’t find that?

Apparently now is the time to start smuggling your dope into Tokyo.

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In Honor of Memorial Day

by twit

Bush and his lapdog John McCain argue against the veto-proof support in Congress for a new and improved GI Bill “on the ground that the bill is too generous and may discourage re-enlistment.” Please make a note of it.

Mr. Bush — and, to his great discredit, Senator John McCain — have argued against a better G.I. Bill, for the worst reasons.

… They have seized on a prediction by the Congressional Budget Office that new, better benefits would decrease re-enlistments by 16 percent, which sounds ominous if you are trying — as Mr. Bush and Mr. McCain are — to defend a never-ending war at a time when extended tours of duty have sapped morale and strained recruiting to the breaking point.

Their reasoning is flawed since the C.B.O. has also predicted that the bill would offset the re-enlistment decline by increasing new recruits — by 16 percent. The chance of a real shot at a college education turns out to be as strong a lure as ever.

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