bm185 GI Janes Return from Afghanistan

It was over a year ago that GI JAne first appeared on this program, discussing the problems and concerns of her upcoming delpoyment to Afghanistan. Today, thankfully, she has returned to the US and to this program, and with plenty to say about her experience and the state of the military.

We discuss:
-Her tasks in Afghanistan, daily life
-Other militaries, the differences from the US
-Getting into trouble for strange reasons
-Support for Afghanistan?
-Predictions for what will happen and what needs to happen
-Political awareness of soldiers
-What media do soldiers use?
-The national budget and a soldiers finances
-Contract Clauses
Listen to the show to hear the full list.

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Weekend News and Developments

On the g-chat the other day I spotted GI-JANE, still out there doing her job in Afghanistan somewhere. It had been awhile so of course we had our usual fun conversation about all topics under the sun. The great news is that she said she’s going home.. after I can’t remember how many months guiding the convoys for the US army.. she’s going back to the US. And eventually.. she’ll be free and travelling, surely to pass through Europa. Unbelievable to think of how much time has passed since we spoke together on that podcast prior to her deployment.

somewhere in afghanistan.

Elsewhere there was this vlog moment from Ryanne, which I’m sure is getting is deserved share of links and references. She had one of those experiences I often hear and notice happen to our lady friends. The construction worker wooping and whistling. Well, using the power of the camera and her keen vlogger skill, she went back and confronted the workers.. and well.. you watch.

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bm178 Resisting the War, Moving to Canada

Many of us grew up with stories of how soldiers who disagreed with Vietnam found asylum in Canada. Over 30 years later, soldiers are once again acting on their principles and beliefs and moving to Canada… with some help.

My guest, Lee Zaslofsky, the coordinator of the War Resisters Support Campaign

We discuss
-what is was like during the Vietnam era, to seek aslyum in Canada.
-how the support campaign began and when
-the steps a soldier must take, or what the process is today
-Canadian laws, courts, and the government in relation to how easy or difficult it is
-The rights of US soldiers living in Canada, the benefits and options
-The response to critics who despise the work and ideals of war resisters
-Alternative destinations for war resisters in the world

The article I mention, posted on Alternet

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Collective Amnesia and Unecessary Deaths

One US television weekly news program that I watch fairly religiously is 60 minutes. I don’t love it, but I’m fascinated by it and my own research indicates that 1 out of every 6 stories they cover are actually quite good. Still, I watch them all; the good, bad, and obscenely cliché.

In their most recent program, they began with a piece that had me extra annoyed and yelling at the screen as I so often do as I slowly spiral into madness. I highly recommend watching it online, as the channel has apparently decided to “get with it” and offer their content online for free.

The piece focused on the US military’s medical care for wounded soldiers, how modern, fast, efficient, and effective it has been. Throughout the report they include lots of impressive images of helicopters and super-medical planes to hammer home the point that the military is very modern and good at treating wounded. Which, I must say, is useful since you’ve got over 44,000 wounded soldiers so far.

Also included in the report are a few first-hand testimonies, from soldiers who survived and army doctors based in Baghdad. One particular lady got on my last nerve, as she did what so many of those interviewed did: get very solemn and teary eyed remembering those that died and then she goes on to say how hard they fight to save lives of soldiers and iraqi’s as well. There’s a few minutes even dedicated to an Iraqi child who died on the operating table.

Dead, wounded, and still they rationalize the bullshit.

That is about when I lost it, and I shall try to explain why…

There is no ignoring the enormous irony in all this. An army doctor crying about not having saved an iraqi child, while for most of the last 15 years, her military has bombed the shit out of the country and killed thousands upon thousands of children. Or the spectacle of an Iraqi working with the military talking about how so many people have died, but it is worth it.

How the hell does he know it is worth it? Who promised him that when democracy comes all lives will get better and peace/justice will reign. I can think of many many nations that have democracy and no such conditions exist in those countries. Yet this guy tells the camera, as he looks over the dead bodies of children: it is a sacrifice, but it is worth it.

What the hell measuring stick do these people use? How do they determine how many dead people per vote or maimed children per mcdonalds, indicate that it was all “worth it.”

All I see is violence on a terrible scale. And deaths that did not have to happen. Crying army doctors, destroyed lives, and legless veterans, going around telling us what a shame it sometimes is…. but hey.. it is all WORTH IT.

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