Tuesday, April 29, 2008


How are our soldiers treated by the US government?

I'm impressed with this general, who accepted the fact that criticism of our governments' failings is our patriotic duty.

Dad: 'Good things are happening' after Fort Bragg videoStory Highlights
Father who posted video on YouTube says Army is responding

Video shows moldy, rusty building with paint chipping; broken drain pipe

General called father to assure him of Army's support

(CNN) -- A man who posted a video online showing deplorable conditions in his son's barracks at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, said Tuesday that "good things are happening" regarding repairs.

A soldier battles overflowing sewage in the Fort Bragg barracks shortly after coming home from Afghanistan.

1 of 2 "I had been in those barracks three times in the last four years," Edward Frawley told CNN's "American Morning." "I saw the condition and chose to ignore it, but two weeks ago I couldn't. ... I knew I couldn't walk away from it. Somebody had to do something."

Frawley's son, Sgt. Jeff Frawley, is living in the barracks after returning from a 15-month deployment to Afghanistan.

Edward Frawley's 10-minute video shows still photos from throughout the barracks, which include shots of mold and rust in several areas. The video is posted on the popular file-sharing site YouTube and Frawley's business Web site.

Paint, which Frawley says is lead-based, is chipping off. Ceiling tiles are missing. A broken drain pipe allows sewer gas into the building, while another one has tissues stuffed into it in an apparent effort to stop the gas from coming in.

Photos from the communal bathroom show some of the most disturbing images. In one, a soldier stands in a sink to avoid what Frawley says is 3 inches of sewage that covered the floor when toilets overflowed. Watch the run-down conditions that soldiers have been living in »

At times, "sewage water backs up into the sinks in the lower floors of these barracks," Frawley says in his narration.

Don't Miss
YouTube: Watch the whole video
Leerbug.com: Watch more about Frawley's deployment
Also, "The soldiers have to tell one another who's taking a shower when they turn the sinks on, or the person taking the shower gets scalded with hot water," he says

Edward Frawley said Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Dick Cody called him on Monday to say that he shared his anger and that there was no excuse for soldiers living in such conditions.

"He talked to me for 30 minutes, and I believe what he said," Frawley told "American Morning." "He said he wouldn't want his sons coming back and going into these kinds of living conditions, and he just said somebody dropped the ball and they're going to fix it."

Frawley said the Army had promised to have new barracks ready when his son's unit, part of the 82nd Airborne Division, returned from Afghanistan.

"The conditions depicted in Mr. Frawley's video are appalling and unacceptable, and we are addressing the concerns he expressed," Maj. Tom Earnhardt, spokesman for the 82nd Airborne, said in a written statement.

"Our paratroopers are our most valuable resource, and our commitment is to their well-being. Our actions now must represent the best we can do for our soldiers."

He added, "Fundamentally, we acknowledge these conditions are not adequate by today's standards. The images in Mr. Frawley's video are alarming, and our soldiers deserve the best conditions we can provide as an institution."

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina is among government officials who have responded to the video. In a written statement, she called living conditions in the barracks "unacceptable" and said the situation "must be immediately corrected."

Dole was among a group of members of Congress who visited Fort Bragg on Tuesday.

Earnhardt told CNN the building had been mostly unused during the 15 months Sgt. Frawley and his unit were away. Fort Bragg has a massive construction project under way to create new housing, but it is behind schedule, Earnhardt said. Watch what the Army is building for soldiers »

Edward Frawley told CNN on Tuesday that the Army has "done a lot in the last two weeks" in terms of fixing up the barracks.

"My son is in a tough situation because he wants to make the military his career," he said. "Gen. Cody and the colonels ... guaranteed me this wouldn't come back on him. He had nothing to do with it.

"[Cody] agrees that the pictures are accurate. He doesn't want his men living in conditions like that. ... Who wants their sons living in that?" E-mail to a friend

CNN's Mary Lynn Ryan contributed to this report.

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Monday, April 21, 2008


Bush administration covered up suicide rate among veterans

CBS News Investigates

VA Hid Suicide Risk, Internal E-Mails Show
Follow-Up Reporting On Exclusive Investigation Reveals Officials Hid Numbers
April 21, 2008

In San Francisco federal court Monday, attorneys for veterans' rights groups accused the VA of nothing less than a cover-up - deliberately concealing the real risk of suicide among veterans...

The charges were backed by internal emails written by Dr. Ira Katz, the VA's head of Mental Health.

"There is no epidemic in suicide in VA," Katz told Keteyian in November.

But in this e-mail to his top media advisor, written two months ago, Katz appears to be saying something very different, stating: "Our suicide prevention coordinators are identifying about 1,000 suicide attempts per month among veterans we see in our metical facilities."

Katz's email was written shortly after the VA provided CBS News data showing there were only 790 attempted suicides in all 2007 - a fraction of Katz's estimate.

"This 12,000 attempted suicides per year shows clearly, without a doubt, that there is an epidemic of suicide among veterans," said Paul Sullivan of Veterans for Common Sense.

And it appears that Katz went out of his way to conceal these numbers.

First, he titled his e-mail: "Not for the CBS News Interview Request."

He opened it with "Shh!" - as in keep it quiet - before ending with
"Is this something we should (carefully) address … before someone stumbles on it?"

And that's not all.

Last November when CBS Newsexposed an epidemic of more than 6,200 suicides in 2005 among those who had served in the military, Katz attacked our report.

"Their number is not, in fact, an accurate reflection of the rate," he said last November.

But it turns out they were, as Katz admitted in this e-mail, just three days later.

He wrote: there "are about 18 suicides per day among America's 25 million veterans."

That works out to about 6,570 per year, which Katz admits in the same e-mail, "is supported by the CBS numbers."


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Wednesday, April 09, 2008


Mazin Al Nashi and Titan Corporation: what happens to disabled contractors?

This interesting article that came out recently about Mazin Al Nashi, the civilian translator who was blinded by friendly fire in Iraq. Titan Corporation has refused to provide disability payments.

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