The Military

How war is remembered ...

Note to a friend on 2012:

Marty: We are at the moment in a political trough; the benign phase of the “electricity” in the political cycle. This is an organic counterflow to the fierce peak that came about by years of war under Bush and Cheney. That was a vastly difficult transition — from peaceful pursuits to strenuous warfare virtually overnight after 9/11. When Wes Clark ran for president in 2004, he said to a small group of us here in New Hampshire: “Bush’s war is not America’s war, but in five years it will be.” By 2012 it will be.


Memorial Day reflection

By far the most respected institution in America today is the military. Polls show that people trust the military more than the Congress, the president, major corporations, the church, Hollywood, the postal service and just about anything else you can think of.

Our troops are currently fighting two big wars (one in Afghanistan, the other in Iraq) and a bunch of smaller conflicts around the globe. The president recently deployed 1,500 National Guardsmen to the Southwestern border to help fight illegal immigration, over the objections of Republicans, who wanted to triple the number. Some want the military to help fight the battle against the Gulf Oil spill. Others want to call out the troops to help secure inner cities racked by violence (more specifically, Chicago).


Senators screw American troops for Memorial Day

I stand with groups representing heroic troops, patriotic veterans and America's military families and oppose exempting auto dealers from the consumer-protection provisions of the financial bill.

This is a new low, even by the low standards of what money can buy in Washington. On Monday the United States Senate voted to exempt auto dealers from the consumer protection provision of the bill. As supporters of our troops, military families and veterans know well, there have been cases of auto dealers ripping off military families and active-duty troops.


Just got done with grassroots innovation session at Veterans Affairs

The deal with these are that rank-and-file employees know what's going on and how to do better.

Some simple tech enables people to discuss ideas and get them to the boss.

I just finished meeting with a bunch of VA employees from around the country, including nurses, doctors, claims processing (eligibility) guys, etc. They really know the system, and I learned a lot.


An indispensable insurance policy

So, I came home last week to hear that traffic in Washington was going to be completely screwed up because of some nuclear weapons summit.  

Nuclear weapons summit?  

Are you kidding me?  


Zen and ‘Hurt Locker’s’ Sgt. James

Zen is the art of doing things in the unconscious, Winston L. King writes in his book, Zen and the Way of the Sword: Arming the Samurai Psyche. Doing without thinking. Internalizing knowing as close as can be got to the core of one’s being. This is Sgt. James, taking off the safety suit with eyes and mind and all of his being for the ordnance only and with total disregard to his own safety. He is Master Chief. He is Zen Man.


A real result from the Veterans Affairs innovation initiative

You get real results when you talk to the people on the front lines, the rank and file.

Mr. Hudson's idea sounds remarkably simple — create and use standardized medical questionnaires for private physicians to fill out when they treat veterans to speed up the process for evaluating VA disability claims. Currently, veterans must undergo a further exam at a VA medical facility to get information on their conditions and degrees of disability.

Benefits for veterans from that simple idea could be significant.


Stop-loss veterans, apply for back pay!

OK, the deal is that former and current service members can get back pay, if they were involuntarily extended on active duty because of surprise stop-loss clauses from Sept. 11, 2001, through Sept. 30, 2008.

(The Obama administration made this happen; the prior administration didn't want to pay the troops.)