Until now, I thought “eco-terrorist” was an industry spin. However, the leader of the Taliban in Afghanistan, Hibatullah Akhundzada, has gone all green. It appears that when his followers are not throwing acid in the faces of girls seeking to be educated or blowing up mosques and markets, they should be planting trees. It is the Taliban version of Greenpeace without the peace part.
By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
Yesterday I discovered a touching and effective video bringing light to the many struggles and hauntings those afflicted with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder struggle with daily. It is not often the personal toils of these challenges are presented to the public in a manner other than academic or disaffected medical analyses but I found this video to be very engaging and while certainly difficult at times for most to watch, due to some very graphic imagery inherent with combat, I believe these depictions of violence and hardship are necessary to provide you with a sense of how gripping this injury can be on those so encumbered.
While the video presents PTSD as experienced through the thoughts and trepidation of an Iraq war veteran, it can in most ways be insightful to the same traumas causal to other manifests of the injury.
SSG Kyle Hausmann-Stokes, the video’s author, is due much credit for a presentation into the manner and effect of a PTSD injury. I invite you to share in his experiences…
One of the most controversial potential nominees for President-Elect Donald Trump just got more controversial. John Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, has been listed as the possible second in command at State. He previously served as ambassador under a recess appointment because he was heavily opposed by Democrats and some career State Department officials. He can now likely add intelligence officials to his opposition. In an extraordinary interview on Fox News, Bolton dismissed the CIA report finding Russian interference with the election and hacking of emails. Instead, he suggested that the entire controversy could be a “false flag,” or a false story planted by parties in the United States. That would sound like the American intelligence community and specifically the CIA to many. (The FBI was widely criticized by the Clinton supporters for its own alleged influencing of the campaign). It is an entirely unsupported and rather unhinged suggestion, particularly from someone being considered for a high office. It could make an already hot potential nomination into a positively radioactive one.
There is an interesting criminal investigation that seems to fulfill the Washington DC adage “One week on the cover of Time, next week doing time.” The point is that sometimes press is not a good thing. That would seem the case of Special Forces Maj. Matthew Golsteyn who went on Fox News for an interview. In the course of the interview, Golsteyn appears to admit to murdering a suspect in his custody in Afghanistan. Army investigators also watch television and immediately reopened the investigation into the death of the accused Taliban bombmaker.
On this blog, we have often discussed and lamented how billions are wasted in the government, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan, without the slightest accountability of officials or serious reforms. The problem is especially prominent in the military. Now, the Washington Post has acquired an internal study that found $125 billion in waste from bloated staff to needless redundancies. The response of the Defense Department in the Obama Administration was swift and firm . . . it buried the report so neither Congress nor the media would see it. It is good to see that our bureaucrats can still move aggressively when called to action.
I have previously criticized past prosecutions for stolen valor (here and here) as a threat to the first amendment. Such cases are deterred through social stigma and simple research. We have criminal laws allowing for the prosecution of those who use false claims to secure financial gain or benefits. Such is the case with former Marine Brandon Blackstone, who stole a combat veteran’s story of valor to secure a house and benefits. He is now facing 21 years in jail for his crimes in assuming the valor of Casey Owens, left, who lost both legs in combat. Blackstone served in the same unit as Owens.
Longtime Cuban leader Fidel Castro is dead at age 90. While many around the world spoke highly of Castro’s success in greatly reducing illiteracy and proving basic services like health care, I have long been critical of his reign and his enablers in the West. Whatever success he achieved, he did so through a brutal dictatorship that denied freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and other basic civil liberties. For those of us who grew up in the 60s and 70s, he was a defining character of our generation. The menace across the border. When we were being taught to shelter under our desks in any nuclear attack, it was his image with that of the Soviet premier that would be flashed across the screen. It was a time of utter madness and mania — on both sides of the Iron Curtain.