Sunday, April 29, 2012

Dear Mr Prime Minister

Even as the Global War On Terror has been declared *over* by our politicians, Veterans in both the US and Canada are having to fight their own governments to receive the benefits they have earned in service to their countries.

As our Veterans have fulfilled their part of the contract, it is apparent that our governments feel no need to follow through with their part of the contract for our Veterans.

Our Veterans are not being quiet - and neither should they. What follows is but one letter by one Veteran to the Prime Minister of Canada, printed here with his permission:

From: Dan Slack []

Sent: April-29-12 9:47 AM
To: 'Prime Minister/Premier ministre'; ''; ''
Cc: ''; ''; 'Mike Blais'
Subject: letter of thanks

Dear Mr Prime Minister,

I would first off like to thank you for being in breach of the contract between you and the soldier of Canada.

You as the Commander and Chief of the Canadian Military have shown the Canadian people what real leadership is all about, and what not to do while leading.

It would have been so nice if you had of served, if so you would be standing up for our soldiers and supporting them like a real leader would do.

The people of this great nation live in a free world due to the efforts of our soldier from World War II up to present day conflicts such as Afghanistan. Without the soldier, I shudder to think were we would be and what kind of country Canada would be.

You have some of the best trained soldiers in the world and what thanks have you showed them other than what it is like for a country to turn their backs on them in time of need. They have given so much to their country and in return the government has spit on them and their families for a superior effort in support of people all over the world.

I was watching a show the other day called “The Unit” and thought wow if the PM would only watch that maybe he would get it? I was (SSF) Special Service force trained and can totally relate to what they do on this show.

It takes a special breed to be a soldier and be willing to die for your country for what is right. We are proud of what we do, we respond to orders and stand behind our leadership, no question ask and do it knowing that we may not come back alive and we know that is all part of the life and do what is right to defend the weak and the people that need our skills.

Now just think about that and next time you are looking in the mirror and walking around free, think about the soldier and what they have sacrificed for that freedom. You owe a little more to the troops who have given so much for your freedom. You are the Commander and Chief and are you really doing the troop right by how you are handling things? Canada should be writing them an opened cheque for what the have done for the freedom you have, just remember that that but really who am I but just a soldier. You are the leader not me. If I was the leader I would be doing thing way differently than you. But you have an excuse, you never have been in uniform and to you we are just tools to be used to complete your job, disposable really. So, I can understand why you really don’t care. It is not your fault because you are ignorant to what we do and what we are really all about. Real leaders lead with both their hearts as well as their head.

Thank you so much for your support.

All the best from one of your soldiers
Dan Slack, Sgt Ret.

Sgt Slack is not the only Veteran who is making his voice heard. Equitas is a group of Veterans that is launching a class action suit against the government of Canada, to ensure that the government fulfils their contractual obligations to our finest. Check out Equitas here.

Pay attention.

Some Gave All: Guardsman Michael Roland

Guardsman Michael Roland killed in Afghanistan

28 Apr 12

It is with sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the death of Guardsman Michael Roland, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards. He died on Friday 27th April 2012 as a result of a gunshot wound sustained in Afghanistan.

Guardsman Michael Roland
[Picture: via MOD]

Guardsman Michael Roland deployed to Afghanistan on 3rd April 2012 as a Rifleman in Number Three Platoon, part of The Queen’s Company Grenadier Guards. He was based in Main Operating Base Price near Gereshk in the Nahr-e-Saraj North District of Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

On 26 April 2012 Guardsman Roland deployed with his Company on a three day operation to disrupt insurgent activity in a contested area in the north of Nahr-e-Saraj District. On the morning of 27th April 2012 he was fatally wounded during an exchange of small arms fire. He was extracted back to the hospital in Camp Bastion but sadly he died of his injuries.

Guardsman Roland was born on 5th August 1989 in Worthing, Sussex. After joining the Army, Guardsman Roland attended the Combat Infantryman’s Course at the Infantry Training Centre, Catterick. Upon completion of his training in November 2009 he moved to Nijmegen Company, Grenadier Guards in London. He spent a year conducting public duties at the Royal Palaces and participating in state ceremonial tasks. Guardsman Roland joined 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards in November 2010 and was placed in The Queen’s Company. His first year in the Battalion included field training in the UK and an exercise in Canada. From September 2011 he undertook six months of preparatory training for his first tour of Afghanistan, before deploying in early April 2012.

Guardsman Roland’s family paid the following tribute:

“Michael was a loving and caring son loved by his huge extended family and friends who are devastated by their loss. We are still coming to terms with losing him. Michael always wanted to join the Army and was so proud to be part of Queen’s Company Grenadier Guards. Michael loved us all so much; with us he was not big and tough just gentle. We will miss him so much.”...

For much more on how this Fallen Hero lived and loved, go here.

Always remembered. Always honoured.

Friday, April 27, 2012

STOP the Presses: Nick of Ranger Up is asking for your help

You may remember March 26 when I wrote about the brutal attack on elderly couple Bob and Nancy Strait, which was reported in a British newspaper: STOP the presses! Obama is STILL outraged and demands justice! (part deux)

Since then, I have heard not a word in ANY msm about this attack which left MR Strait a widower, and a family without their mother and grandmother. Silence.

Now, Ranger Up is getting vocal, and they need your help. Please watch this video, and then get LOUD! Thank you.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

One of our Finest: Chaplain Assistant SPC Annette Daniel

From CJTF-1:

Written by U.S. Army Capt. Katharine Williams, 2-82nd Assault Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade Friday, 27 April 2012

LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan –U.S. Army Spc. Annette Daniel of Tiffin, Ohio, a Unit Ministry Team chaplain assistant with Task Force Corsair (right), takes a moment to catch up with Soldiers on Forward Operating Base Shank. Daniel says interacting with Soldiers is what she enjoys most about her job as a chaplain assistant. (U.S. Army Photo by Capt. Katharine Williams, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs)

LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan– In an environment where operations never seem to slow and everyone is on constant alert, Soldiers very often begin to feel the effects of a sometimes chaotic and always demanding profession.

In combat, there are no weekends or holidays, Soldiers are running operations 24/7. For this reason, it is important to have people whom a Soldier can talk to at any time and who can be supportive, understanding and ready to listen. At Task Force Corsair, one of these very special people is U.S. Army Spc. Annette Daniel.

“Sometimes Soldiers just want to be heard. They want to know that someone wants to listen and understand what they are saying. That’s where I come in, I want to hear and understand them,” said Daniel.

Daniel, a 21-year-old Soldier from Tiffin, Ohio, is a chaplain assistant and part of the Unit Ministry Team with Task Force Corsair. Daniel said she became a chaplain assistant because she wanted to make a difference in the lives of Soldiers. When speaking with Daniel, it’s obvious that her profession is a perfect fit; she is engaging, personable and has a warmth that elicits comfort and trust....

Go read the rest here.

Want to be a Maroon Beret? Got to pass P course first!

Pushing Soldiers to the Limit...

Apr 26, 2012 by

It is one of the most demanding physical tests in the British Army - designed to push soldiers to their limits.

Anyone wishing to serve with Airborne Forces must pass P Company selection to earn their maroon beret and start the Parachute Course.

At the Infantry Training School in Catterick, Normandy Platoon are the latest to face the challenge.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

ANZAC Day: Lest We Forget

Lest We Forget:  For one of our staunchest allies.


The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming!

Interesting story out of  The European Union Times:

US Calls For Russian Airborne Troops To Take And Hold Denver Airport

  on Apr 24th, 2012

A bizarre report prepared by the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation that is circulating in the Kremlin today on the joint US-Russia military drills taking place next month in the State of Colorado says that the plans received from the Americans call for Russian Airborne Troops (VDV) during this strange exercise to “take and hold” the Central Intelligence Agencies (CIA) main facility, the National Security Agencies (NSA) main facility and the Denver International Airport (DIA).

The Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation is a federal body of executive authority responsible for monitoring and supervising the Russian Federation’s international military-technical cooperation.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Colonel Alexander Kucherenko publically announced this 24-21 May “anti-terror drill” this Friday past noting that this will be the first time Russian airborne forces have held exercises with the US airborne forces on US territory. Colonel Kucherenko stated, “According to the exercise scenario, soldiers of the two countries will hold a tactical airborne operation, including the reconnaissance of imaginary terrorists’ camp and a raid. After the operation, a helicopter will evacuate the soldiers.” He further added that Russian airborne troops would be training with US special service weapons in these drills in Fort Carson, Colorado....

Read the rest here.  This should crank up the conspiracy theorists, but will the Russians be also checking the TSA???!

USDA announces fourth Mad Cow case

From Homeland Security NewsWire:

25 April 2012

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced it had identified a cow suffering from mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE); this is the fourth case of mad cow disease found in the United States since 2003, and the first since 2006.

The latest case was found in a cow from a dairy herd in central California. The USDA says that the discovery is not likely to affect the safety of U.S. beef supplies. No meat from the diseased cow has entered the U.S. food supply.

The animal carcass is kept in a rendering plant in California. Samples from the carcass were analyzed by the USDA National Veterinary Service Laboratories in Ames, Iowa. The lab tests samples from about 40,000 cows a year....

Much more here.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

PA Children's Show: Zion is a Devil with a Tail

A reminder from Israel National News:

PA Children's Show: Zion is a Devil with a Tail

A PA TV children's program recently featured a child reciting a poem with the words: “Our enemy, Zion, is Satan with a tail.”
By Elad Benari

4/24/2012, 6:14 AM

Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas

As part of its ongoing campaign to delegitimize and demonize Israel, a Palestinian Authority TV children's program recently featured a child reciting a poem promoting Pan-Arabism. The poem, by an Egyptian writer, included words “Our enemy, Zion, is Satan with a tail.”

The children’s program, entitled “The Best Home”, aired on April 7 on a PA television station run by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement. The program was documented and translated by the Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) research organization.

In the video clip, the host is seen asking an Arab girl, “Laila, what do you want to recite next?” to which the girl responds by reciting the following poem written by an Egyptian writer:

“When I was young I was taught that Arabness is my honor...
and that our lands extend from one end to the other,
and that our wars were for the Al-Aqsa Mosque,
and that our enemy, Zion, is Satan with a tail...
Our division is by your hands [Arab rulers]. May your hands be cut off.
We are fed up with our division, while all people are uniting.”
The host then says, “Bravo, bravo, bravo.”

I have often written in the past about how children are brainwashed.  This is more of the same.  For the video - and yet more evidence of this ongoing demonising of the Israeli people - go to Israel National News.

Pay attention. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Soldier saved by body armour

Trooper Tom Thorne shows off the body armour plate that saved him from a Taliban bullet
[Picture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2012]

A Military Operations news article

23 Apr 12
A British soldier was recently saved from a Taliban bullet that hit his torso by one of his standard issue body armour plates.

Trooper Tom Thorne, aged 20, from the Queen's Royal Hussars, was shot in the side by an enemy fighter while on operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

The 7.62mm bullet, which was fired from an AK-47 assault rifle, struck Trooper Thorne in one of the side plates of his body armour. The plate stopped the round completely, leaving the soldier with only a light bruise underneath.

Trooper Thorne explained:
"I was providing overwatch for an IED clearance team and was lying on the roof of a compound building. We came under fire but obviously cover was pretty limited up on the roof.
"I knew instantly that I'd been hit - it felt like a very hard punch in the ribs," he continued.

"The body armour is pretty heavy, especially when combined with all the other kit you are carrying, but it clearly works as it's supposed to.
"I just couldn't believe that the small side plate could stop a 7.62mm bullet at fairly close range - it is very reassuring for all of us."
C Company of the Queen's Royal Hussars were taking part in Operation ZAMARY TAKHTA, an IED clearance operation in a hostile region of the Lashkar Gah area, when the incident occurred. 

(c) MoD

Friday, April 20, 2012

Some Gave All: Sapper Connor Ray

Sapper Connor Ray dies from wounds sustained in Afghanistan

A Military Operations news article

19 Apr 12
It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Sapper Connor Ray, from 33 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), died in hospital in Birmingham on 18 April 2012 from wounds sustained in Afghanistan.

On 11 April 2012, Sapper Ray was involved in a search and clearance operation in the Nad 'Ali district of central Helmand near to Checkpoint Kahmanan. The aim of the mission was to clear a compound previously used by insurgents, allowing the local population to safely return to the area.
During this operation Sapper Ray was seriously injured in an IED strike. He received immediate medical attention before being taken to the Camp Bastion Role 3 Hospital and was later evacuated to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

Sapper Connor Ray
[Picture: via MOD]

Sapper Connor Ray
Sapper Connor Ray, aged 21, from Newport, Gwent, started his military career in January 2008 at the Army Foundation College in Harrogate. He joined the Corps of Royal Engineers in June 2009 and qualified as a Building and Structural Finisher upon completion of his trade training at Chatham.

He joined 49 Field Squadron (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), 33 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), in April 2010, where he trained as an Advanced Searcher. He was kept busy in his specialist role, which included providing support for a number of high profile events. During his time in Afghanistan, Sapper Ray and his team successfully undertook a number of high risk searches which undoubtedly saved numerous British and Afghan lives.

A popular young soldier who was cheerful and engaging, Sapper Ray showed much promise. He was professional and dependable and was well liked by those that knew him. He leaves behind his brother Vinnie, stepfather Steve, sisters Hollie and Bonnie, Aunty Eileen, and girlfriend Hollie.
The family of Sapper Ray have made the following statement:
"We are intensely shocked, distressed and saddened after losing our hero Connor Ray, who died as a result of injuries sustained in Afghanistan. We are all tremendously proud of Connor. Connor was part of Britain's engineer search unit - 33 Engineer Regiment (EOD); he was critically hurt last Wednesday, the eve of his 21st birthday.
"He loved his time in the Army and made great friends. Connor was a hero to all of his family and friends; brother Vinnie, 21, sisters Hollie, 17, and Bonnie, 16, Aunty Eileen, stepfather Steve, grandparents Leo and Linda, Keith and Sue, girlfriend Hollie, and all of his good friends and family will miss him terribly.
"In heaven with his mum now, we will always remember his love of life, his sense of humour and cherish the short time he had to touch our lives. We would like to thank everybody for their kind words, love and support at this tragic time."...

Go here, spend some time, and get to know how this Fallen Hero lived, in the words of those who know and love him the most.

Rest In Peace, young Warrior. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Falklands: Vulcan 607

Apr 19, 2012 by

It has been dubbed the most remarkable British Air Attack since the Second World War.

It is certainly the longest range bombing raid ever conducted.

The target was the Airfield at Stanley in the Falklands which had been taken over by Argentine Forces on April 2nd, 1982.

The Vulcan Bomber took off from Ascension Island on an eight thousand mile round trip.

The Black Buck raid is a remarkable piece of military history which Rowland White has written about in his book "Vulcan 607".

A Special Birthday today: Mike Stokely

From Robert Stokely:

What were you doing 30 years ago?

What were you doing thirty years ago today? Some were watching news reports about USSR Salyut 7 space station going into orbit. Others were waiting to hear who won the Boston Marathon (Alberto Salazar). Two people were proudly being first in another way - Guinon Bluford announced as 1st black astronaut and Sally Ride as the first woman astronaut. In Buenos Aires the U.S. Secretary of State, Alexander Haig, reaffirmed America's commitment to Britain two weeks after Argentina landed troops in the Falklands and took over the islands. Time Magazine, VOL 119 No. 16 ran a number of stories, including one about OPEC going from being a huge depositor of petrodollars in many banks around the world to a borrower in the wake of bad loan decisions by those banks that left OPEC short of cash.... By the way, gasoline prices on April 19, 1982 averaged $1.30 a gallon. Ouch, to say the least.

Well, April 19, 1982, in the early morning hours, like early thirty it is too soon after midnight on a Monday to be awake, I was awakened by the groans of my then wife who needed to be rushed to the local hospital. She was bleeding and in great pain. They admitted her and placed her in a room and called her doctor. Then we waited.... Once there the doctor did ultra sound (really archaic ultra sound compared to what we have today). He rushed her into the operating room, telling me he had but thirty minutes or less to save her life....

I waited what seemed like forever, but it was not really that long looking back. Crash. Doors open and a couple nurses with very worried looks on their faces were pushing a medically distressed frail premature baby came out the into the small area where I was standing. At 10:32 this baby had been born, no name yet because his mother and I had just gotten back together having been separated since weeks after she found out she was pregnant. She had just called me 48 hours before and asked me to come get her and bring her back home. She was but seven months pregnant and in our few hours back together we had not talked about names. She lay in the operating room, her life at risk as they continued to work to stop the bleeding from a separated placenta which explained the severe pain and bleeding that had been going on for several hours.

As the nurses paused they let me touch him. His hand was so small my index finger could not even fit and he looked like a baby that was dying and not going to make it. I asked for some assurance "Will he be o.k.?" Their faces spoke an honesty I was not prepared to handle as they said "We don't know, but we have to get him to Intensive Care." Crash, through another set of doors and they were gone - he was gone. As the doors swung wildly back and forth, I stood there alone and afraid, bowing my head and quietly praying "God please don't let my baby die, please let me have my boy even if only for a little while."

It would be a full day later before his mother was conscious enough and able to even talk about what we would name him. I had visited him often in Neo-Natal Intensive Care - NICU (Nick U) - as they call it in hospital jargon. He was small, frail and clinging to life. He had a lung collapse and in distress, chest tube through his left rib cage to keep it inflated, which would leave a nice scar for life. But he was holding on. He was not giving in and proving in the very first hours and days he could endure stress and hardship and would fight for life. It was two days after he was born that he was named. Michael James Stokely, born April 19, 1982 at 1032 hours. 4 lbs. 2 oz., a high risk premie in 1982. And despite his critical condition, he progressed and we got him out of the hospital three weeks later and home still in 4.5 lb. range, but now gaining weight measured in grams rather than ounces.

And that circular scar? Well, it was remarkable enough that on August 22, 2005, at Dover Deleware Mortuary the medical staff doing an autopsy on Mike listed it as an identifying mark. Many had asked me if I had to "identify" Mike when he came home. No, that was not the case. He was, in the version used by the military "a non-viewable body". And I understand the nature of wondering if that is really your son in that closed casket. But the scar along with other things confirmed to me it was him. Even so, you sometimes, even now, hope it can't be true. I still look at times with longing down a long driveway hoping to see him come home. I don't want to ever move from where we live because how would he find us if it was a mistake and he came home? I envision it was a ruse to cover for him doing some secret mission and he will yet come home. But each time, I know that is wishful thinking. Mike Stokely was Killed in Action by a powerful IED on August 16, 2005 near his FOB at Yusufiyah Iraq.

Tomorrow, on April 20, I will travel to Lenoir NC to bury Dad O, a man who was like a father to me as his wife, Chris Overton another mom. James Elden Overton was born April 28, 1922 and died peacefully in his sleep on April 16, 2012. He lived a long and fruitful life. He and his wife blessed all they came into contact with. If you wanted to see what a real Christian looked and acted like, James (Dad as I called him) and Chris (Mom as I called her) were what you would want to show the world. She died six years ago. They knew tragedy of losing a son, Brian killed in a collision with a train February 12, 1985. I learned so much from Mom and Dad. They were role models to say the least. In their grief, they endured with dignity and grace, never losing faith in God, trusting in a future in Heaven, and continuing to reach out to all around them, sharing all that they had and bearing the troubles of others in need. They loved Mike as dearly as they loved their own grandchildren. They loved me as a son. But our shared Christian faith tells me they are now reunited with Mike.

We shared many great times together, and yes, in our loss of sons, we shared much grief. One of my favorite photos of Mike is as a young child sitting all big and proud in Mom's big rocker, as I knelt beside him, as we grinned at each other. We spent many days and nights visiting with Dad and Mom "O" as we sometimes called them to distinguish between my beloved real mom and dad. Mike called them Daddy Jim and Momma Chris. And there are many favorite stories to tell from their home. But I would say my fondest was when Mike was just three or so and we had spent Friday night with Mom and Dad "O". Dad got up early as usual and fixed breakfast for Mike and I. He could cook really good waffles. He was in to healthy eating using fresh ground whole wheat products. He also put walnuts in his waffles for the health qualities they have. Mike sat at a little table in the kitchen eating the first waffle. As Dad and I talked, we heard Mike spit really loudly "phoooooey" and then exclaim loudly "These things got rocks in them..." Guess Mike wasn't in to healthy eating back then. Dad and I laughed. Mom was just walking into the kitchen and heard the commotion and laughter and rolled with laughter herself when we told her the story

I close for now as it is time for me to drive the seventy miles to Mike's grave. I want to be there when 1032 hours comes. I know he is not really there. Mike is in heaven. But I still want to be there at the grave and just visit as best I can and share that moment one more time. A moment when he was born. I am so blessed to have had the privilege of being his dad and able to call him son. I thank God for honoring my prayer 30 years ago and not letting my baby die, and letting me have him, if only for a little while. 23 years, three months and 28 days was a lot longer time with him than what it looked like this morning, 30 years ago. A treasure trove of memories to go along with that time.

Let it not be lost on you that Memories matter. They sustain you when the person you love is not around, or is gone forever. For those of you with children, make many. They are more important than money, career, or things, which can be taken from you. Memories can't.

Robert Stokely
proud dad SGT Mike Stokely
KIA 16 AUG 05 near Yusufiyah Iraq

For much more about Mike, go to They Have Names.

Always remembered. Always honoured...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

This just in: Apologies to follow - UPDATED

Wait for it. Just caught this news on VOANews, and am now waiting for the 'apology tour' to speed up. Wait for BHO, and everybody else to go before the cameras to apologise. In 3....2...1

From VOA News:

April 18, 2012

Photos Allegedly Show US Soldiers Posing with Insurgent Remains

The photos from 2010 and obtained by the Los Angeles Times appear to show members of the United States army posing with the bodies of insurgents who killed themselves in suicide attacks. The Times says it will publish the photographs on its website Wednesday.

In a statement issued before the photos were released, the commander of the International Security Assistance Force, U.S. General John Allen, called the actions "entirely inconsistent" with ISAF and U.S. Army policies. He also said the actions "undermine the daily sacrifices of thousands of ISAF troops" and promised a thorough investigation.

The U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan also condemned the photos.

In a statement, Ryan Crocker called the actions in the photographs "morally repugnant," saying they dishonor the sacrifices of hundreds of thousands of American soldiers and civilians in Afghanistan.

(c) VOA News..

NObody would deny such behaviour is 'unacceptable,' but as usual, the msm will give wall to wall coverage of the politicians and Military leadership falling over themselves to apologise for the behaviour of a few, whilst ignoring the work of the many.

Wait for it, or NOT!


As predicted, but taking longer than I anticipated, the apologies and expressions of 'repugnance' are issued. The LA Times has this, and the BBC has this.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Different View: Travels With Team Easy, Iraq 2007

A Different View: Travels With Team Easy, Iraq 2007 is a wonderful book.

During the current Global War on Terror, a whole new genre of writing - books and blogs - has emerged. Unlike previous wars where only official media organisations would - perhaps - send reporters along (think Ernie Pyle,) in today's theatres it is often the Troops themselves who share their experiences, either through blogs or as books written after they have returned from the sandbox. Think Bellavia, think Luttrell for just two examples. I believe that it is these books/blogs, these retellings, that will stand the test of time and form the true historical narrative of all that our Troops accomplished in the wars fought since 9/11.

A Different View is an important addition to the war archives. C. Blake Powers ('civilian in residence' at BlackFive) took his camera and embedded in Iraq, and the photos in this book add a context that is usually missing from the msm coverage. Powers' photo collection shows the day to day life of troops in Iraq. The images fairly jump off the page: A brilliant sunset beautifully captured; an incongruous, unexpected item in the middle of the action, and Powers' clear-eyed focus shows us a view of a combat zone most of the public will never see.

Yes, there are pictures of sand, alongside pictures of canals, and yes, there are pictures of our Troops at checkpoints, but the texture, the clarity is so stunning, the viewer feels the heat, is IN the middle of a negotiation captured with a sharp lens. From vigilant Troops on guard watch, to down-time as the Troops watch a sporting event (I don't think it was the Olympic Gold Medal Hockey game) this book is an important - unique - record of what our troops do day in, day out, while most of America is at the mall.

(c) C. Blake Powers

A Different View is a great tribute to the Soldiers of Team Easy, and every picture is worth far more than a thousand words. Matt Burden of BlackFive writes the Foreword, and JD Johannes writes an introduction to this must-have book. A part of the proceeds is going to Cooking With the Troops - a 501(c)(3) organisation founded by Powers. All very good reasons to buy and read the book.

Go now, and order your copy - and go read Blake on B5 for more about this terrific book, that does our Troops proud. As a determinedly unobtrusive chronicler of our Troops in the Iraqi combat zone, Powers has shaped a book about our Troops, for our Troops and the civilians who love and support them. I hope to see more volumes of these embed photographs from C. Blake Powers.

[Be sure to tune into YouServed BTR tonight for an interview about A Different View]

Monday, April 16, 2012

Truth Team Alert: Obama IS a moron

Somebody needs to give the US President a world atlas, AND a history book.

From PJ Tatler:

Obama’s Falklands Gaffe Could Start A War

The island chain 300 miles off the coast of Argentina has two names. The United Kingdom, which controls them as a protectorate, and the rest of the world call those islands the Falklands. Argentina calls them the Malvinas. Argentina has never owned the islands. Islanders are 90% British, descendants of the original settlers, and support their relationship with the UK. The UK has controlled the Falklands since 1830, and fought a war over them against Argentina in 1982 to keep them.

But that didn’t stop President Barack Obama from attempting to use the Argentinian name for the islands. And he even got that badly wrong.

President Obama erred during a speech at the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, when attempting to call the disputed archipelago by its Spanish name.

Instead of saying Malvinas, however, Mr Obama referred to the islands as the Maldives, a group of 26 atolls off that lie off the South coast of India.

It takes someone with a very limited understanding of geography to confuse the Maldives, a sovereign country near India, with the Malvinas, a political name attached to islands that are actually called the Falklands. For starters, the two island chains are in different oceans, more than 8,000 miles apart. The Falklands are in the south Atlantic; Maldives are in the Indian Ocean.

Of more importance, though, is Obama’s decision to wade into a sensitive issue between two of our allies in this way. The Falklands war was 30 years ago this month....

You can read the rest of this here.

I don't know if this latest gaffe could actually start a war (not that BHO would call it a 'war' of course, but still) but really, Obama should try and avoid opening his mouth so often and proving how uneducated he actually is. Haaarvard education? Naaaaaah, I don't think so, and such 'limited understanding' (aka ignorance) is inexcusable.

(H/T Diane)

Wake UP, England MY England

Are YOU paying attention?

Welcome to Israel!

'Flytilla' Activists Receive 'Welcome' Letter from Israel

by Rachel Hirshfeld 'Flytilla' Activists Receive 'Welcome' Letter

The Israeli government has issued an official “welcome” letter to the pro-‘Palestinian’ “flytilla” activists who plan on arriving in the country on Saturday and Sunday. It reads as follows:

“Dear Activists,

"We appreciate your choosing to make Israel the object of your humanitarian concerns.

“We know there were many other worthy choices.

“You could have chosen to protest the Syrian regime’s daily savagery against its own people, which has claimed thousands of lives.

"You could have chosen to protest the Iranian regime’s brutal crackdown on dissent and its support of terrorism throughout the world.

"You could have chosen to protest Hamas rule in Gaza, where terror organizations commit a double war crime by firing rockets at civilians and hiding behind civilians.

“But instead, you chose to protest against Israel, the Middle East’s sole democracy, where women are equal, the press criticizes the government, human rights organizations can operate freely, religious freedom is protected for all - and minorities do not live in fear.”

“Therefore, we suggest you solve the real problems of the region first, and then come back and share your experiences with us.

Have a nice flight,” the letter concludes.

Courtesy of Israel National News.

Are you better off than you were 4 years ago?

Important information from War On Terror News:

BushWObamaClintonIn 1992, the Nation was recovering from a recession. Few believed it was over, though the experts said it was. The question asked of voters was: "Are you better off now than you were 4 years ago. Statistically, the answer was yes. Wages had grown 21% on top of the 35% they had grown under Reagan. 6.5 Million jobs had been added to the 7.1 Million added under Reagan, but it didn't feel like things were getting better. Inflation had eaten up the increases in income, not by much, but by enough.

In 2012, we face an era of growing inflation. The effects of the first round of Quantitative Easing are reaching the economy. It's a fancy way of saying the Government started printing money. It's a typical 3rd World way of paying interest on the debt of the government, and nearly always results in inflation. If there were only $500,000 in print, you'd have to work many weeks to earn a dollar. If we tripled the number of dollars in print, you'd need to earn (and likely would) $100+k a year, and still not be able to buy as much.

Inflation has already reduced the value of your money by 8.64% (cumulative inflation rate since Jan 2009, excluding the cost of gas). If you made $38,376/year in 2008, you would need to make $41,692/year today, just to break even, before you pay for gas to get to work. If you drive the typical 15,000 miles/year at 25 miles per gallon, the increase in gasoline alone costs you an additional $1,470/year due to an increase of the price $2.45 per gallon. Since that's not included in inflation calculations, you would need to make $43,162/year to equal an income of $38,376 in 2008.

That's an effective inflation rate of 12.5% for the average worker. Since it's tax day, you can figure out for yourself if you've taken a pay cut or not by multiplying your 2008 tax return by 1.125 and comparing that to your 2012 return. If you aren't making 12.5% more, then you have less purchasing power now than you did then. If you worked more hours to make that money, you are making less. Of course, if you make less than the average American worker, the effective inflation rate is higher (and your miles per gallon more likely lower), while if if you make more the burden of fuel increases lowers the percentage rate or real inflation to you....

As the election rhetoric gathers speed, it is imperative that all potential American voters know the FACTS.

Go here to read the rest of this.

FET soldier receives medal after work with Afghan women

HR soldier receives medal after work with Afghan women

A People In Defence news article

13 Apr 12

A military human resources (HR) clerk who worked to bridge the gap between ISAF troops and Afghan women in Helmand has received her Afghanistan campaign medal.

Private Louise Haughton receives her Afghanistan campaign medal from Major General James Bashall at a parade in Paderborn, Germany[Picture: Staff Sergeant Ian Houlding RLC, Crown Copyright/MOD 2012]

Private Louise Haughton, aged 26, deployed to Afghanistan with 35 Engineer Regiment as part of one of the Army's Female Engagement Teams, which have been developed to enable the military to better engage with the Afghan people, particularly women and their families.

In some parts of the country, Afghan women are rarely seen by, or communicate with, people outside their immediate family; particularly if they are male. As a result, male International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops are unable to freely communicate with an important part of Helmand's population and, therefore, may not be able to obtain a full understanding of the many issues and concerns of communities. The Female Engagement Teams, by virtue of being female, have the potential to bridge this divide....

Much more at the MoD here.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

RMS Titanic: The legend and the legacy will go on...and on

One hundred years ago today, RMS Titanic hit an iceberg and sank.

Royal Mail Ship Titanic: As high as an eleven story building and nearly four city blocks long, the Titanic was one of the largest and most magnificent ships in the world (photographed April 10, 1912). (Photo Credit: Bettmann/CORBIS) (

The RMS Titanic was a British registered four funnelled ocean liner built for the transatlantic passenger and mail service between Southampton and New York.

Constructed at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Ireland Titanic was, on her maiden voyage, the largest vessel afloat.

On April 10th 1912 the Titanic sailed from Southampton with 2,200 passengers and crew, four days later the Titanic collided with an iceberg and sank. 1500 people died and 700 survived.

Those facts - and many more, plus stories of the survivors, too - from a very cool site: Encyclopedia Titanica.

Titanic may have been a British-registered vessel but the passenger list shows that interest was international. Owned by JP Morgan (Founder of the International Mercantile Marine Company. (IMMC), his company held controlling interests in the White Star Line, the operator of the Titanic) demographic charts of the passengers of that fateful voyage include citizens of twenty eight countries. (Go here for interesting facts and stats.)

RMS Titanic was not the first vessel to fall afoul of icebergs, even if it was the largest maritime disaster.

Ship-Iceberg Collisions before the Titanic Disaster The Titanic disaster was not the first ship-iceberg collision in the North Atlantic, only the worst in terms of lives lost. The first steamship named the “Savannah” successfully crossed the Atlantic in 1819 although she used her sail power for most of the journey. (3) Following the “Savannah’s” successful cross-ocean jaunt, European emigration to North America rapidly increased. Some of the ships they had so eagerly boarded collided with icebergs in fog that lasted for days and even weeks. Some shipping owners’ obsession with speed only increased the hazards of the ice and fog for the passengers. Following are three examples of ship vs. iceberg disasters before the Titanic disaster.

1. The “William Brown” Disaster

In April 1841 the first iceberg collision to unsettle the world occurred. The “William Brown’s” 17-man crew and her 64 passengers, mainly Irish emigrants, collided first with a pan of ice and minutes later with an iceberg, while traveling at the speed of around 10 knots, according to Brian Hill. (4). The ship went down in 20 minutes, taking with it 33 passengers, “because there were insufficient lifeboats for all.” When one of the two small boats was in danger of becoming swamped, the crew lightened it by throwing overboard 14 passengers. A murder trial followed that taxed the talents of politicians who worked to soothe public fears that they had a right to safety at sea while at the same time tried to protect the interests of the profitable emigration trade. The ethics of the case of the “William Brown” disaster are still cited today, according to Hill. (4)

2. The “SS Persia,” “SS Pacific” and “City of Glasgow” Ship-Iceberg Disasters

As noted above, by the middle of the 19th century, paddleboats were churning across the ocean, reducing the length of voyages to a matter of days. One such vessel, named the “SS Persia”, carried some 200 passengers from Liverpool. It collided with an iceberg in February 1856, but managed to limp to New York. Another vessel, named the “SS Pacific” had also set sail from Liverpool a few days before the “SS Persia”, but never reached New York and was presumed sunk in the same ice field that so badly damaged the “SS Persia.” The experience of these two ships led observers to deduce that a third vessel, named the “City of Glasgow”, which had left England in March 1854 carrying 500 passengers and was never heard from again, also went down in the ice off of Newfoundland. (4)...

Much more information here.

Just as the inititial reverberations from the RMS Titanic collision were felt around the world, so too has the legend and legacy from the disaster been international. One of my sources tells me that in lower Manhatten there is an obscure lighthouse - a direct legacy from the sinking. I can't find anything about that specific lighthouse, but I did find this, about a different memorial in New York:

Titanic Memorial, NY

On April 15, 1913, one year after the sinking of the Titanic, the Titanic Memorial Lighthouse and Time Ball, mounted atop the Seamen’s Church Institute, were dedicated to honor the passengers, officers, and crew who perished in the sinking. The dedicatory service opened with a hymn and prayer, and then Rt. Rev. David H. Greer, Bishop of New York, read the following lines of dedication:
To the glory of Almighty God, and in loving memory of those passengers, officers, and crew who lost their lives in the foundering of the steamship Titanic, on April 15. 1912, I, David Hummell Greer, Bishop of New York, and President of the Seamen's Church Institute of New York, do solemnly dedicate the Titanic Memorial Lighthouse Tower. As its light by night shall guide pilgrims and seafaring men from every clime into this port, so may they follow Him who is the Light of Life across the waves of this troublesome world to everlasting life; and, looking at noon toward this place to note the time of day, may they remember that our days pass as the swift ships, and in view of the shortness and uncertainty of human life, strive to fulfill their duty well, as the beat preparation for Eternity. Amen.

The Titanic Memorial Lighthouse exhibited a fixed green light that could be seen throughout New York Harbor and down as far as Sandy Hook. Five minutes before noon each day, a time ball would be hoisted to the top of a steel rod mounted atop the lighthouse and dropped at the stroke of twelve as indicated over the wires from Washington, D.C. According to The Lookout, the magazine of the Seamen’s Church Institute, the Titanic Memorial Lighthouse would be a much-needed daily reminder, for “in a busy, careless city the average person so soon forgets.”...

There is much more on the history here, and it IS fascinating.

The majority of passengers were American (212) with 45 British and 27 Canadian being the next largest contingents.

Today there will be commemorative events in Halifax, NS. From the Winnipeg Free Press comes this:

Halifax careful to commemorate, not celebrate, anniversary of Titanic's sinking

By: Melanie Patten

HALIFAX - Almost a century ago, church bells tolled to herald the sombre arrival of cable ships carrying Titanic victims in Halifax harbour.

On Sunday morning they will ring again, nearly 100 years to the hour that the great ship vanished from sight, swallowed up by the dark waters of the North Atlantic on a moonless night.

Since the Titanic sank on April 15, 1912, Halifax has become a pilgrimage site for history buffs, romantics and those whose ancestors perished on the ship. The city is the final resting place for 150 of the Titanic's victims.

Organizers of commemorative events have been working for months to attract visitors to Halifax while maintaining the solemnity of the occasion.


On Saturday evening, a candlelight procession will begin on the city's harbourfront boardwalk outside the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.

The museum, which boasts the largest display of wooden Titanic artifacts in the world, launched a new exhibit on cable ships Thursday. The ships were dispatched from Halifax in the days after the sinking to pull bodies from the icy waters....

Much more here.

Halifax, NS's Fairview Cemetary can claim another connection to the sinking of the Titanic:

One hundred and twenty-one victims of the RMS Titanic sinking are interred at Fairview, more than any other cemetery in the world. Most of them are memoralized with small gray granite markers with the name and date of death. Some families paid for larger markers with more inscriptions. The occupants of a third of the graves, however, have never been identified and their markers contain just the date of death and marker number. Surveyor E. W. Christie laid out three long lines of graves in gentle curves following the contours of the sloping site. By co-incidence, the curved shape suggests the outline of the bow of a ship

A complete listing of those victims buried in Fairview can be found here.

Marker of Unknown Child; positively identified as Sidney Goodwin

One of the more well-known Titanic markers is for an unidentified child victim, known for decades as The Unknown Child. No one claimed the body, so he was buried with funds provided by sailors of the CS Mackay-Bennett, the cable ship that recovered his body. The marker bears the inscription 'Erected to the memory of an unknown child whose remains were recovered after the disaster of the "Titanic" April 15th 1912'. In November 2002, the child was initially identified as 13-month-old Eino Viljami Panula of Finland. Eino, his mother, and four brothers all died in the Titanic disaster. After additional forensic testing, the unknown child was re-identified as 19-month-old Sidney Leslie Goodwin, an English child who perished with his entire family.

A grave marked "J. Dawson" gained fame following the release of the 1997 film Titanic, since the name of Leonardo DiCaprio's character in the film is Jack Dawson. Many filmgoers, moved by the story, left flowers and ticket stubs at Dawson's grave when the film was first released, and flowers continue to be left today. Film director James Cameron has said the character's name was not in fact inspired by the grave. More recent research has revealed that the grave actually belongs to Joseph Dawson, an Irishman who worked in Titanic's boiler room as a coal trimmer.

The Fairview Titanic graves also include the burial place and marker of William Denton Cox, a heroic steward who died while escorting third class passengers to the lifeboats.

Twenty-nine other Titanic victims are buried elsewhere in Halifax; nineteen in the Roman Catholic Mount Olivet Cemetery and ten in the Jewish Baron de Hirsch Cemetery. (More, and references to other Titanic-related sources, from Wiki here)

While the sinking of the Titanic made history, it also changed history.

From the Official Blog of the US Coast Guard:

How the sinking of the Titanic changed the world

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The RMS Titanic on her maiden voyage in 1912.  (Coast Guard photo)

The RMS Titanic on its maiden voyage in 1912. (Coast Guard photo)

Everyone has heard about the “unsinkable” RMS Titanic, but [...] we have little connection to the disaster other than watching a movie or documentary. I[n] the world of 1912, the April 14th sinking of the world’s largest, most advanced ship shook the world.

Much like everyone remembers where they were on 9/11, the sinking of the Titanic captured the attention of the planet. It was possibly the first truly global disaster for mankind. With victims from North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and even Africa, not even the plague in the Middle Ages reached so many corners of the world.

The international outcry was strong and the world’s maritime powers acted swiftly. The U.S. sent the Navy to patrol the North Atlantic to search out icebergs and broadcast warnings. The following year the Revenue Cutter Service, predecessor to the modern Coast Guard, was placed in charge of the U.S. ice monitoring operations and still does so today, issuing warnings from February to July each year.

Also in 1913 the first Safety of Life at Sea Convention was convened and global shipping standards were set that greatly improved safety at sea.

Many of those implementations remain in affect. Still today SOLAS standards affect everything from life jackets to radios and the International Maritime Organization, the United Nations agency which safety standards, was also a product of the convention.

Ultimately, 13 nations committed to share the costs of monitoring ice in the North Atlantic and the International Ice Patrol was born....

Go check that out here.

More on that legacy of the sinking of the Titanic which changed maritime protocols:

First International SOLAS

Representatives of the major maritime nations thoroughly discussed the subject of patrolling the ice regions at the first International Conference on the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), which convened in London on November 12, 1913 as a result of the Titanic disaster. Not surprisingly, Commandant Ellsworth Bertholf represented the United States as a member of the 12-person delegation to this convention. On January 30, 1914, the convention “provided for the inauguration of an international derelict-destruction, ice observation, and ice patrol service.” (8) This service was to consist of vessels that would patrol the ice regions during the season of iceberg danger—typically February to July each year--and attempt to kept the transatlantic lanes clear of derelicts during the remainder of the year. A derelict is a ship abandoned at sea that can drift for many years, even circum-navigating the North Atlantic Ocean several times and creating a serious hazard to navigation. They are mined and sunk.

The US Government was invited by the SOLAS convention to undertake the management of this triple service (derelict destruction, ice observation, and ice patrol service), with the expense to be defrayed by the 13 nations signatory to the SOLAS of 1914. The convention was not scheduled to go into effect until July 1, 1915, however, so “the government of Great Britain, on behalf of the several nations interested, made inquiry on January 31, 1914, as to whether the United States would undertake the patrol at once under the same mutual obligations as provided in the convention.” (8) US President Woodrow Wilson, who succeeded President William Taft, “favorably considered the proposition, and, on February 17, 1914, directed that the (then) Revenue Cutter Service begin the International Ice Observation and Patrol Service. Each year since then, with exception of the wartime years, the US Coast Guard has maintained a patrol.” (8)

SOLAS and International Ice Patrol Today

The 1914 version of SOLAS was superseded by SOLAS 1929, SOLAS 1948, SOLAS 1960 (the first adopted under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization--IMO) and SOLAS 1974. (9) SOLAS 1974 is still in force today, but has been amended and updated many times. (10) The US Department of State does the actual billing of each nation for its share of the cost of operating the International Ice Patrol. In recent years, the cost share for each participating nation has been based on each nation’s percentage of the total cargo tonnage transiting the patrol area during the ice season averaged over the previous three years. The International Ice Patrol has maintained broad-based international support for over eight decades despite changing operational and technological factors. Its longevity has been attributed to “the soundness of the basic concept. As of 2005 the 17 governments contributing to the Ice Patrol include Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, German, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the United States.” ...

A REALLY interesting discussion can be found here.

For most of us not born til the latter part of the 20th century, the disaster that was the sinking of the Titanic only piqued our interest, and garnered major attention, following the release of the James Cameron movie. That movie ensures that everybody now knows what happened around midnight one hundred years ago.

The scope of such a disaster is almost unfathomable, but Titanic the movie retold the tale in very human terms, interweaving the personal love stories, and tales of individual bravery, against the backdrop of the enormous, unforgiving ocean. Yes, it was epic in every sense of the word.

And then there is *that* song which ensures that the legend will go on and on...and on..

Now that's a legendary legacy!!!

Every night in my dreams
I see you, I feel you
That is how I know you go on

Far across the distance
And spaces between us
You have come to show you go on

Near, far, wherever you are
I believe that the heart does go on
Once more you open the door
And you're here in my heart
And my heart will go on and on

There are, of course, many sources for Titanic facts and trivia. Apart from those I used and have linked to within this piece, I also used:


Jam-packed with really amazing stats and facts. Go look!

10 Facts about the Titanic that you don't know

One of those facts was about the dogs on board the Titanic. Who was saved, and who was not.

Something tells me that long after this twenty first century is done, and direct descendants of the survivors of the Titanic disaster are long gone, the historians will still be poring over all the minute details and the Coast Guard will still be fine-tuning procedures meant to ensure the world never witnesses another such disaster.

And oh yes, Celine's mammoth hit will still be played on the golden oldie shows of the future.

[Bratnote: My thanks to the encyclopedic brain, who I now refer to as the "Brat Version of Coles Notes,' who pointed me in the right direction in my original research - Celine's for you!]

For Bratdog.....

Who reminds me daily to live in THIS moment, and make every minute count..Carpe Diem!!!

Do I try in every way to show her every day
That she's my only one
And [I] must face the world without [her]
Is the love I gave her in the past
Gonna be enough to last
If tomorrow never comes

And yes, every minute IS being treasured with my gentle, sweet girl..

Friday, April 13, 2012

Soldier inventions in Afghanistan

Apr 12, 2012 by

The best ideas are often the simplest.

In Afghanistan, the ingenuity of several soldiers is said to have improved operational effectiveness and saved the Ministry of Defence money.

Craftsman Adam Brunetti has fixed many fryers by dismantling them and changing every expensive component.

Now a test box he has invented accurately pinpoints faulty parts and has already saved £100,000 in unneccesary replacements.

An accessory that Camp Bastion's Equipment Support Battalion welders have created can widen breakdown trailers to safely carry large helicopters like Chinooks.

Captain Bob Hicks of the Joint Support Light Aid Detachment says: "It could be the difference between getting the helicopter back into the air in a couple of days rather than a couple of months, or not at all."

On a smaller, but no less vital scale, Company Sergeant Major Kev Stacey of 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland says nozzles he attaches to plastic drinks bottles easily beat a military shower bag.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Syria: The very UNcivil war has ended - or has it?

For these first few hours of April 12, 2012, the headlines have been: "Syria ceasefire truce is holding..."

From the BBC comes:

A ceasefire has come into force in Syria amid doubts expressed by Western countries about the government's willingness to stick to it.

Correspondents say the truce appears to be largely holding, with no reports of casualties or deaths so far.

However there were some reports of shelling and firing in the early hours and troops are still on the streets....(here)

There's a shocker - NOT! I am sure that news of such a truce will be a comfort to the thousands of Syrian families who have lost loved ones at the murderous hands of Assad loyalists:

The unrest began in the southern city of Deraa in March when locals gathered to demand the release of 14 school children who were arrested and reportedly tortured after writing on a wall the well-known slogan of the popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt: "The people want the downfall of the regime." The protesters also called for democracy and greater freedom, though not President Assad's resignation.

The peaceful show of dissent was, however, too much for the government and when people marched though the city after Friday prayers on 18 March, security forces opened fire, killing four people. The following day, they shot at mourners at the victims' funerals, killing another person.

Within days, the unrest in Deraa had spiralled out of the control of the local authorities. In late March, the army's fourth armoured division - commanded by the president's brother, Maher - was sent in to crush the emboldened protesters. Dozens of people were killed, as tanks shelled residential areas and troops stormed homes, rounding up those believed to have attended demonstrations.

But the crackdown failed to stop the unrest in Deraa, instead triggering anti-government protests in other towns and cities across the country, including Baniyas, Homs, Hama and the suburbs of Damascus. The army subsequently besieged them, blaming "armed gangs and terrorists" for the unrest. By mid-May, the death toll had reached 1,000. (More on the background here.)

For anybody who has paid attention these last many months, reading headlines of promises of truces, deals, is to remain hugely sceptical of any possibility the Assad loyalist troops will lay down their weapons, and cease killing their own citizens by the thousands. Such acceptance of the validity of a truce requires an unfathomable ignorance of the lessons of history. Not just the immediate history within Syria, where Assad has ignored many MANY pleas from the international body - UN, Arab League, and who can forget the incessant wagging of fingers and declarations of "unacceptable" out of the current US administration? - as Syrian innocent civilians have continued to be murdered by the hundreds.

In the constant barrage of the 24/7 news cycles, where the msm flits from one 'if it bleeds it, leads' headline to the next, it is easy to forget how and where such waves of UNcivil murders of ordinary citizens continue to sweep small nations apparently disconnected to ourselves, because it is happening in countries far, far away.

However, if history has taught us anything at all, it should have awoken us to the fact that what happens in seemingly isolated countries far from our own doorsteps can, and WILL have long-term ramifications, lessons for us all, ignorantly safe within our 'civilised' borders.

Syria is but the latest in a long list of countries where UNcivil war - wars of untrammelled murders of innocents - continues as the rest of the so-called civilised world looks away, or at the least picks and choose which despot they will merely wag their fingers at, or which popoulation they will actively engage in protecting, whatever form that tangible support and protection may take.

From Front Page Magazine comes an excellent article clearly detailing the perils of 'civil war' in countries seemingly unrelated, and with no consequence, to us in the west, and specifically, of no concern to America:

A Tale of Two Civil Wars

Posted by on Apr 11th, 2012

The Syrian civil war is now more than a year old. The Syrian army has killed some 10,000 people—and counting. Although Damascus has made promises about ceasefires and diplomatic settlements, it’s not in Bashar Assad’s DNA to countenance any challenge to his rule. Recall that his father slaughtered 20,000 Syrians to staunch a 1982 uprising. The younger Assad’s army—what one observer describes as a “hellish killing machine”—is on its way to eclipsing that grisly milestone. For instance, Assad’s henchmen ushered in this week by attacking refugee camps, firing across the Turkish and Lebanese borders, and making a mockery of the latest UN peace plan. In response, President Barack Obama has offered little more than promises of non-lethal aid and intonations about establishing “a process” to transition to a “legitimate government.” Inaction in the face of such butchery is easy to criticize, of course. Since America cannot intervene everywhere, presidents have to draw the line somewhere. But it’s difficult to understand why the president has chosen to draw that line at Syria, especially if we consider Obama’s response to the Libyan civil war just one year ago.

Recall that in announcing his decision to intervene in Libya (by bombing Qaddafi’s forces), the president declared, “We cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people that there will be no mercy, and his forces step up their assaults on cities…where innocent men and women face brutality and death at the hands of their own government.” [Yes, Brat emphasis ]

That sounds like a fairly accurate description of Syria. Yet this time around, there’s no help on the way for the rebels—at least not from Obama. Instead of a Libya-style air war, Obama’s reaction to Syria is beginning to look a lot like Washington’s non-response to the mangling of Bosnia almost two decades ago. As Senator Joe Lieberman recently observed, “I feel like we are reliving history.”...

Much more on this MUST READ here.

The question for me has always been: how can the politicians decide which countries they will support, and which countries the world turns a blind eye to - even as the blood running in the streets continues? Iran, Egypt, Israel, African countries, and yes, Iraq and Afghanistan. How often have we all heard the anti-war crew screech that "Afghanistan is not our war," or "Iraq is nothing to do with us. Let them kill themselves."

As we see, specifically, in those last two countries, what happens over there most certainly DOES affect us over here. As I have watched the Syrian death toll rise, I have been reminded of the echoes of Iraq, Iran, Israel, and yes, my beloved Yugoslavia, where the international community expresses "outrage" and politely tells each other, in oh so civil tones, how such murderous genocide is "unacceptable." Really?

But it is election season in America, and Obama and his fellow encumbents tread the minefield of US public opinion carefully, as they dredge for votes. Election season in America, where the oh so 'civilised' discourse descends - as usual in the age of Obama - into very UNcivil electioneering. How else to explain the apparent ignoring of desperately dying civilians outside America?

We have seen the Obama regime loudly trumpet to a war-weary American population the end of the war in Iraq. We watched incredulously (well some of us!) as Obama sent the terrorists in Afghanistan a very public memo of the withdrawal date of our troops there, which reassures the thugs that they only have to wait us all out, and make sure the door is closed behind us, as they get back to their own UNcivil civial war. Think I jest? Iraq, anyone? But hey, Obama said the war in Iraq was over, so the almost daily suicide bombings/murdering of innocents in that country no longer garner front page msm ink...

So back to Syria which will no doubt fade from the front pages of our msm, as Obama et al falsely claim that 'diplomacy has worked. Re-elect me, because I am the smartest (most civilised) man in the room...' Riiiight.

I am sure that will be a huge comfort to those Syrians who have died since March 2011.

It is said that those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. What is happening in Syria is yet the latest example of that truism. Anybody who actually believes that Assad will quit murdering his own citizens (the same folks who think that because Iran is no longer front page news, that Ahmajinedad has stopped torturing and murdering those citizens) is choosing to remain wilfully ignorant.

Ignorance may be bliss for some, but in this day and age - and especially with the current crop of politicians in the west - to be determinedly, wilfully ignorant is not only immoral, it is also extremely dangerous. It is dangerous not only to those in places like Syria, Iran, Israel, etc etc etc who run the gauntlet of murder and mayhem on a daily basis, but it is dangerous for all of US. Really, it is.

Pay attention.