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September 2009

Warrior Legacy Foundation gets action on GI Bill payment delays

When we first heard about delays in GI Bill payments it was from Army of Dude's Alex Horton and we didn't know if it was just an isolated incident. It wasn't. It was a large systemic failure affecting thousands of vets. WLF's leadership reached out to contacts at both the VA and the White House and began working to help all those who faced financial hardship and even the need to drop out of school. We would like to thank all of you who sent us numerous names of those who needed help. We have put their information in the hands of those tasked with fixing this problem and will continue to follow up until all issues have been resolved.

We would also like to thank the folks on both the VA and White House staffs who recognized this as a major problem and worked with us to devise a solution. The decision to issue immediate checks was a good first step and we will continue to see this through. We sent the following press release today, feel free to forward it to your local media. The American Legion has also been in the forefront on this effort.

For immediate release:

Washington DC    28 September 2009

The Warrior Legacy Foundation (WLF) has been working closely with the White House and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on the delays in GI Bill payments to vets in college. We are happy to announce OUR JOINT EFFORTS HAVE LED TO a stop gap measure THAT HAS BEEN PUT INTO EFFECT IMMEDIATELY TO assist those affected by this problem.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki announced the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has authorized checks for up to $3,000 to be given to students who have applied for educational benefits and who have not yet received their government payment. The checks will be distributed to eligible students at VA regional benefits offices across the country starting October 2, 2009.

This is an excellent first step and we applaud the Secretary for listening to the voices of veterans. WE ALSO WOULD LIKE TO THANK ALL OF THE MEMBERS AND FRIENDS OF WLF FOR THEIR MASSIVE EMAIL BARRAGE AND STEADFAST SUPPORT OF OUR VETERANS. WLF has directly helped dozens of warrior caught up in this mess and we will continue until all have received the benefits they earned through THEIR faithful service. We will also continue our partnership with the VA and White House to fix the systemic problems that led to this problem. WLF is committed to ensuring that the brave men and women who make this country great, are treated professionally and fairly.

Veterans affected can still send an email to info @warriorlegacyfoundation.org w/ GI Bill in the subject line and we will get them in contact with the appropriate authorities in their area. Please include the school and last 4 of your social security number.

David Bellavia
Executive Director
Warrior Legacy Foundation

Afghanistan - It Is Decision Time

It is decision time for our involvement in that country - i.e. whether we continue or whether we pull the bulk of our troops out.And placing that decision on the back burner is unacceptable.

As I said in another post it is time to fish or cut bait. Or, in Texas Hold 'em parlance, go all in or fold.

Some look at those two very stark options and point out that there are many other options in between. True. But, given how this war has gone, I think those are the only two viable ones. What we're doing now, which falls squarely between them, isn't working. And variations on that aren't going to work any better.

It seems to me we have to either make a concerted and focused effort to again nation build (and all that entails with time, blood and treasure), or we have to decide to leave that up to the Afghan people and concentrate on al Qaeda hunting on a much smaller scale. That, of course, would be the "fold" option.

President Obama is rethinking the Afghanistan strategy he announced a mere 6 months ago in the wake of the recent Afghan election. The allegations of reported fraud have made the administration much less inclined to support the current Afghan government without dramatic changes. I have no problem with that reassessment if it is done with an eye on settling, soon, on one of the two options above.

If you read what the Taliban are saying, the Karzai government is one of their best recruiting assets. The corruption and cronyism have isolated that government from the people. Of course, in counter-insurgency doctrine (COIN), the link between the people and their government is critical to success, and that link is only viable if the people support said government. That is increasingly not the case in Afghanistan.

That presents the type of problem that does indeed require reassessment of strategy. We can flood Afghanistan with troops, have them at a one-to-one ratio with the population and provide the security COIN requires. But if that population has no confidence in the viability of its own government, doesn't support it and doesn't consider those trying to topple it "the enemy", the entire effort is doomed.

So essentially the choice facing the administration now is to nation build or withdraw. Withdrawal doesn't necessarily mean we quit the fight against al Qaeda. But for the most part, it would mean quitting the fight against the Taliban. And I think we all know how that would end.

It is quite a moral dilemma and it is also not an easy decision. While going "all in" would be the politically unpopular decision here, it would most likely spare the world the spectacle of a Taliban takeover and the resulting barbaric vengeance they would inflict on the population. There is only one nation which will bear the blame in the eyes of the rest of the world even if most of the administration's political base would support the decision. The US would again be charged with not finishing something it started. And that, as we've learned in the past, is something that other rogue leaders see as a weakness they can exploit.It will be seen not as a weakness of our military, but the usual weakness of our political will.

Whatever decision the administration makes, it must avoid the status quo. That's not working now and it won't work in the future. Just as Iraq required a dramatic change in strategy to succeed, so does Afghanistan. If the decision is to continue with the current troop levels and a few cosmetic changes here and there, then the administration will be committing us to a strategy of failure. We owe it to our brave men and women there not to play political games with their lives. Whatever decision is made it must be made very soon, within the next month or so, and must be devoid of politics. Delays in making such a decision are not acceptable.

It is time for this administration to step up, make a decision and let the political chips fall where they may. Don't put it on the back burner. The time is now to decide whether we're going all in or we're going to fold in Afghanistan. At a minimum, we owe our military that.

Totally engaged

How's that appeasement policy working? The only chance that the Iranians will not have nukes by the end of Obama's term is named Binyamin Netanyahu, and that is a shame.


In this image released Sunday Sept. 27, 2009, on Iranian state TV channel IRIB, purporting to show a successful test-fire launch of a short range missile. Iran said it successfully test-fired short-range surface-to-surface missiles during drills Sunday by the elite Revolutionary Guard, in a show of force just days after the U.S. and its allies condemned Tehran over a newly revealed underground nuclear facility that was being secretly constructed.

A Direct Challenge To You

I love a good challenge.  It gets things flowing, from endorphins onward.  I've now got one, and so do you.

Rick Calvert, founder and head of Blog World and New Media Expo, has issued a challenge not just to me, but to you too.  It seems Rick is convinced we can get 200 people to the milblog track on 15 October, quite a good number of people.  So, he has challenged me to make it happen, and he has challenged you, our readers, to make it happen as well.  Now, I'm not saying he said anything about us, SO's or anything like that, or that he will call us things if we don't, but I don't plan on giving him any opportunity.  Especially as this is at his generosity, which is greatly appreciated.  So, here's the deal:

1.  If you are currently serving in the Armed Forces, or are a veteran of same (discharged or retired) and want to attend, drop me a line at blake at blakepowers dot n with BWE09 Free Registration in the subject line and a short note introducing yourself within, and you will get a code that gives you a free registration for the milblog track on 15 October, and access to the exhibit hall (and the Milblog Lounge) on the 16th & 17th.

2.  If you are a military spouse, spouse blogger, military supporter, or reader of the milblogs, the same applies. 

3.  If you have a blog or other outlets of your own (Twitter, Facebook, newsgroups, e-mail groups, etc.), please spread the word. 

4.  If you happen to have contacts in blogging or old media in California, Nevada, or Arizona, please reach out to them as well, as we would very much like to be sure that we reach all the different bases in those regions.

I will also note that if you are interested in attending, there are some excellent deals on rooms and such through the Blog World site once you are registered. 

While the registration only covers the milblog track and exhibit hall, if you want to attend parties, other sessions, etc., you can contact BWE after you register and see about the costs of upgrades.  Also, a reminder to those already speaking and attending:  if your spouse, SO, or other is coming with you and you want them to get in, be sure they register with one of the free codes so they can be badged. 

Keep an eye on the grid at Blog World, as we are updating as needed and are still working on trying to make a surprise or two happen. 



Out Cowboy'd By the FRENCH??


Sarkozy: “We live in the real world, not the virtual world. And the real world expects us to take decisions.”

“President Obama dreams of a world without weapons … but right in front of us two countries are doing the exact opposite.

“Iran since 2005 has flouted five security council resolutions. North Korea has been defying council resolutions since 1993.

“I support the extended hand of the Americans, but what good has proposals for dialogue brought the international community? More uranium enrichment and declarations by the leaders of Iran to wipe a UN member state off the map,” he continued, referring to Israel.

The sharp-tongued French leader even implied that Mr Obama’s resolution 1887 had used up valuable diplomatic energy.

“If we have courage to impose sanctions together it will lend viability to our commitment to reduce our own weapons and to making a world without nuke weapons,” he said.

Mr Sarkozy has previously called the US president’s disarmament crusade “naive.”


Riding a horse in the Camargue in April, Nicolas Sarkozy bore “a vague resemblance” to President Bush on his Texas ranch, a French newspaper said. --NYT

It was bad enough when the Russians did it.  C'mon, folks:  Cowboy up.



Strikeforce - United States Army veteran and rising middleweight mixed martial arts (MMA) star Tim Kennedy (11-2) dominated a previously unbeaten Zak Cummings (10-1), submitting Cummings with a north-south choke in the second round (2:43) of their STRIKEFORCE Challengers main event battle live on SHOWTIME from Tulsa, Oklahoma’s SpiritBank Event Center on Friday, September 25.

Arthur was well served

We had a good time at Mackey's last night and the consensus was that I am a genial, polite, kind, well-mannered and cordial host.


The question you want to be asking is, what in the world is that piece of upholstery that Matty O' Blackfive has draped over his carcass?


Seriously, the fly, mint green fashion outrages must end.