Friday, February 8, 2008

army blocked help for soldiers

Yesterday NPR had a show
about how last year Army officials instructed representatives from the VA at Fort Drum, NY not to help veterans with their disability paperwork because there was a "conflict of interest." Soldiers who get help from the VA tend to get higher disability ratings--which means that the government owes them more money. Bush's administration' is too corporate to let that happen.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

suicide post Abu Ghraib

In November of last year, CBS concluded a five-month, national investigation into veteran suicide. What they discovered exposes another shocking cost of war. CBS reports that in 2005, 120 veterans took their own lives each and every week -- or 17 a day.

It found that veterans were more than twice as likely to commit suicide in 2005 than non-vets.

One age group stood out. Veterans aged 20 through 24, those who have served during the war on terror. They had the highest suicide rate among all veterans, estimated between two and four times higher than civilians the same age.

My note: Very unlikely these figures included elderly vets.

Bertrand Roehner

My terrific historiographer, Bertrand Roehner, just emailed me about some of his frustrations researching in Japan about the U.S. military during the postwar period. He was reading "Documents concerning the Allied Occupation and Control of Japan, Vol. II, Political, Military and Cultural compiled by Division of Special Records, Foreign Office, Japanese Government. The document is dated March 1949. It contains a letter written in April 26, 1946 from the Central Liaison Office of Japan (now Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs) to MacArthur on the subject of Compensation for Damage Caused by Allied Military Personnel. The fifth point in the letter says: "The misconduct and accidents involving Allied military personnel have reached considerable numbers, as set forth in Enclosures 1 to 3, and not a few of the victims stand in need of speedy relief."

Guess what? The bottom of the document reads: "Enclosure omitted." The note from the archivist is as follows:
"We are sorry to inform you that we can not show you the enclosures which were
attached to covering letters. We do not possess the enclosures and there is no
information about them".

"Fairly surprising, isn't it," writes Bertrand, "when one thinks that the enclosures were written by the
Japanese side?"

Japanese capital crimes

Toshiyuki Nishikawa's article "Capital Punishment in Japan" reveals that rape was not a capital crime in 1946 in Japan when American GIs were being hung for rape there. It was also not a capital crime in England when 7 black American soldiers were executed for rape at Shepton Mallet at the end of WWII.

William M's certificate

My chief consultant on all things military, William M., read Black Glasses Like Clark Kent last week and emailed me:

Interestingly on my office wall I have a Certificate & Letter of Appreciation from the 306th. Military Police Battalion, who ran the Abu Ghraib and other military prisons in Iraq for supporting their efforts. Apparently people never learn from past actions. The e-mails to me, were asking me what,why and how we managed Prisoners of War and Military Prisoners in custody.The questions were more pointed toward the retention of POW's held during the Korean War, what we did, how we did it, and why we did it.
Surprisingly to me is that although all military units have a historian, who is supposed to keep all facts on the unit it must not be part of any "corporate knowledge" retained anywhere.
To think what went on at Abu Ghraib can be pushed onto enlisted folks, boggles the mind. The only losers were the 2-3 enlisted people(private & three stripe Sgt.) receiving confinement time is crazy. The only officer punished was Brigadier General Janis Carpinski, who was reduced to the rank of Colonel and in fact was a reservist called to active duty for Iraq and had never dealt with or had trained for this type of assignment.

Monday, February 4, 2008

New York Post "Required Reading"

January 27, 2008 Sunday New York Post declared Black Glasses Like Clark Kent "Required Reading" above John Grisham! Here is the on-line version (click image to read review):

Video for Black Glasses Like Clark Kent

Terese Svoboda

Black Glasses Like Clark Kent is my tenth book, first memoir. This blog will present new material relating to the book, especially on issues relating to Abu Ghraib, PTSD, and inequality in the US military justice system.

Visit my webpage to see where I'll be reading, my bio, and descriptions of other published work.