479 posts categorized "Military"

November 15, 2014

The Christmas Truce 1914

This year's Christmas ad by Sainsbury's, the British supermarket and convenience store chain founded in 1869, recreates the legendary Christmas Truce that occurred on the Western Front one hundred years ago during World War I. After the jump are videos about the making of the advert in partnership with the Royal British Legion, and the story behind it.

The video's moving reminder that humanity can emerge under the worst circumstances also reminds us of the pointlessness of war. It was rising anti-German sentiment during WWI, in 1917, that caused the British House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to become the House of Windsor, and Battenberg to become Mountbatten. The British, German, and Russian royals were cousins. The Tsarevitch Alexei, for example, famous hemophiliac son of Tsar Nicholas II, was the great-grandchild of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. If you didn't know better, you might think that as the world grows smaller, it would grow less violent.

At least at this point regarding the English and Germans, the prospect is not war but whether Britain will leave the European Union. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned Prime Minister David Cameron that she would sooner see the UK leave the EU than limit the freedom of movement within EU, with which Britain has a problem. The Iron Lady's ghost hovers, saying "No, no, no."

Continue reading "The Christmas Truce 1914" »

November 08, 2014

Gorillas in the Crossfire

NYT writes:

A national park ranger in the Democratic Republic of Congo struggles to protect gorillas from a brutal civil war.

How anyone could bear to harm such wonderful creatures I do not understand. But then the same applies to the children that are seen in the film. Unending war in this beautiful land harms both. Those who protect them are heroes.

November 07, 2014

Real Navy Seals

October 22, 2014

Rep. Gohmert shows his detailed knowledge of Greek military history

Ah, the endless font of stupidity that is Rep. Louie Gohmert.

September 30, 2014

John Oliver on drones

American drones are not frightening only if you are not living under them. John Oliver of HBO's Last Week Tonight makes it real.

September 28, 2014

Conservative blog: ISIS publicly crushing babies of Christians to death

A friend on Facebook posted this story from a conservative blog and commented, "What you don't want to know, but need to..." Follow the link if you want to see the photo, as I will not.

Speaking of what we don't want to hear but need to know, shall we keep track of the number of Christian babies crushed by ISIS as well as the number of babies and children of all faiths killed by American bombs? There are many horrors in the world. Are we obligated to go to war over each one? The fact is American warfare has made the Mideast less stable, not more. We must not allow ourselves to be stampeded. That is not just my opinion; it is what every damn one of you knows to be true. The neocons refuse to learn any lessons from the past decade. For God's sake, let us not emulate them.

Fox's Bolling makes second apology for insulting female UAE pilot

Media Matters shares this. Here's the transcript:

BOLLING: A personal comment before we go to break. Earlier this week I made a comment that was wholly inappropriate, and I apologize for it. The comment became during K. G.'s One More Thing honoring UAE bomber pilot Major Miriam al-Mansouri, who bombed ISIS. My remark was not intended to be disparaging of her, but that's how it was taken. I should have known better and used better judgment.

Yesterday I made an apology on this show, but it was inadequate. Fox News has received letters from viewers including from women in the military, and I have taken them to heart. Therefore, let me speak clearly and sincerely. I'm sorry for what I said, I believe that Major al-Mansouri is a hero, she's courageous, brave, and she deserves our praise, not inappropriate jokes. I appreciate that she is fighting the extreme radicals that threaten all of us. She has my admiration and my very, very sincere gratitude.

He didn't mean to offend. Pardon me, but fuck you, Mr. Bolling. Some men will die before they honestly confront their male privilege and disrespect of women.

Obama defends his foreign policy

President Obama, in demolishing a Fox News reporter's loaded question on his allegedly weak foreign policy, shows that he agrees with me on the unwisdom of launching another ground war in the Middle East. As he notes, his critics say they don't want a ground war either. So what DO they want? Other than wanting him to fail, that is.

(Hat tip: Ronald King)

September 23, 2014

Scaring up another war

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My first column in my new perch at the Washington Blade is on America's latest Mideast war: How often do we have to respond to distant problems by charging in and making things worse before we bloody well stop doing it?

Also, Blade editor Kevin Naff graciously welcomes me to the Blade's list of opinion writers. As I start this new professional relationship, I want to thank Metro Weekly and editor Randy Shulman for giving my work a home for so many years.

Klayman proposes nuking ISIS

Larry Klayman at right-wing site World Net Daily thinks nuclear weapons are the best way to deal with ISIS. Because sanity sometimes gets in the way of fun.

September 11, 2014

13 years ago today

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(Photo courtesy U.S. Public Safety News & Events)

In lower Manhattan last night, a tribute in lights on the eve of today's 9/11 anniversary. Among the legacies of that awful day have been reckless military adventures abroad and threats to civil liberties here at home. Citizen, awake!

September 03, 2014

Biden: ISIS destined for 'gates of hell'

Palestinian parody about ISIS

Thanks to MEMRI for this glimpse into Middle Eastern political humor. Charlotte Alfred at HuffPo reports.

August 30, 2014

McCain and sidekick weigh in on Obama and ISIL

NYT offers a preview of the Sunday morning political shows on its op-ed page.

As predictable as the dawn. This week the President is a hapless weakling; next week, if he issues an executive order on immigration, he'll be a tyrant. It would be nice if those interviewing McCain and his closeted and overcompensating sidekick would ask them how their hawkish approach worked under Mr. Obama's predecessor. But the media has been much more interested in the President's haberdashery.

August 27, 2014

Commission charts path for open transgender military service

Justin Snow reports at Metro Weekly:

More than three months after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and the White House voiced support for a review of the military’s ban on transgender service, a new report finds the Pentagon could immediately open the armed services to transgender Americans in a way that is consistent with military readiness and core values.

August 22, 2014

Fischer: God Will Use ISIS To Punish America For Gay Rights

Kyle Mantyla reports at Right Wing Watch on the latest lunacy from Bryan Fischer of AFA.

August 14, 2014

'All we say to America is be true to what you said on paper'

Tell it, Martin. Words from 46 years ago that are as apt as when he spoke them, the day before he was taken from us.

August 13, 2014

Sectarian Scavengers

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(Photo by Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons)

My latest column is now up at Metro Weekly. It is subtitled, "Amid war and plague, right-wing Americans export religious intolerance." Here's an excerpt:

In Entebbe on August 9, more than one hundred LGBT Ugandans celebrated the first Pride Uganda since the Constitutional Court overturned the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA) for being passed without a quorum. Entebbe is on Lake Victoria, and the paradise suggested by some of the photos would not make you think the revelers risked mob violence, unless you noticed the masks some wore.

A British name for an African lake is a relic of the same colonial legacy that keeps homosexuality illegal despite AHA being tossed out. African leaders are strangely selective in their outrage over Western influences. They embrace foreign laws, religions, and aid while treating sexual minorities who have always lived among them like hostile aliens. American evangelicals like Scott Lively incited the persecution with the slander that gays recruit and sexually abuse children. This pious vulture denies any responsibility for the consequences, including LGBT Ugandans being hunted like animals.

Read the whole thing here.

August 06, 2014

Tea and crumpets

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KAL's cartoon, from The Economist.

Meanwhile, in NYT, a clear, sensible voice on Israeli colonialism that most Americans just don't want to hear.

July 31, 2014

This evening on Make It Plain on SiriusXM Progress

I will be Mark Thompson's guest at 7 pm Eastern Time this evening on SiriusXM Progress, Channel 127, to discuss my column for this week, "Blood on a Beach," concerning the current conflict between Israel and Gaza.

The photo below, taken from the International Space Station, shows the border between Israel and Egypt and the Mediterranean coastline.

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Blood on a Beach

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(Photo courtesy Anthony Bourdain)

My latest column was painful to write. Its subhead is: "The taboo against criticizing Israel hurts both Israel and America." Here is a portion:

We are all implicated in what is done in our name. We must face our shared responsibility for American politics and its bloody consequences abroad. We war with our own values when we condone behavior by an ally that we would condemn back home.

Last week I told bereaved Jewish Iranian immigrant friends who had lost their mother, "May her memory be for a blessing." What would I say to relatives of children killed in Gaza? Sorry my taxes subsidized it? Sorry our politics makes it hazardous to talk about innocent Palestinians? There are no innocents? That last one would do Al Qaida proud. One friend said the deaths were regrettably necessary. Isn't that a line from Dr. Strangelove?

Speaking of cold-blooded analysis, demographic trends show that without a two-state solution, Israel must eventually choose between being a democracy and being a Jewish state. What will America do then? Israel's bunker mentality, and its posturing as a victim despite its power, blind it to its slow self-destruction. Assisted suicide is still suicide.

Our ubiquitous social media are a game changer: having seen pictures of dead boys on a beach, we cannot un-see them.

Read the whole thing here.

UN Official Chris Gunness Breaks Down On Air After School Bombing

Think Progress reports:

Cameras on Wednesday captured a spokesman for the United Nations mission devoted to assisting Palestinian refugees breaking down in tears over the latest artillery fire against a U.N.-run school killed at least twenty civilians.

United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) spokesman Chris Gunness has been a go-to source for information on what’s happening on the ground in the Gaza Strip for the past three weeks, as first airstrikes, then Israeli ground forces, have waged a war. The Israeli government has defended its actions as protecting Israeli citizens, focusing its assault on Hamas — which the United States and many other governments rank as a terrorist organization — and the militants allied with them. But in the course of the latest incursion, the dead have been almost entirely on the Palestinian side of the conflict, with the vast majority of them being civilians.

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Note: YouTube keeps taking this video down. Contemptible. If they keep doing it, I will look for another copy to post.

July 29, 2014

John Oliver on our insecure nukes

Quick, hide under a picnic blanket!

July 26, 2014

The polite debate on Israel and Gaza, in case you missed it

Early in the week, Jon Stewart illustrated the response often received by anyone who criticizes Israel in any way, or simply expresses sympathy for innocent children killed in a conflict.

July 24, 2014

This Land Is Mine

Pretty well sums it up. Lovely singing by Andy Williams.

Gohmert: Bomb Iran (because Gaza)

The latest incoherence from Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX).

Night in Gaza

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From Alexander Gerst aboard the International Space Station, a photo of Gaza at night. It is hard to tell ordinary lights from explosions.

Israel Is Destroying West Bank Houses To Punish Hamas’ Family Members

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(AP photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Very Old Testament. Bibi (and I mean you and your fanatical supporters and not your nation), may you reap what you sow.

July 18, 2014

DOD: Chelsea Manning May Begin Transition in Prison

Advocate.com reports:

WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning has been approved to begin receiving hormone replacement therapy while serving her 35-year prison sentence at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., the Associated Press reports.

This is the right decision. Denial of healthcare is not an appropriate form of punishment. All prisoners are entitled to proper healthcare, and transgender prisoners are no exception.

Obama: evidence suggests Russia-backed separatists downed Malaysia Airlines

Update: London-based Russia Today reporter Sara Firth has resigned in protest over the lies her employer demanded regarding the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17. Good for her.

July 17, 2014

NBC News Pulls Veteran Reporter from Gaza After Witnessing Israeli Attack on Children

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(Ayman Mohyeldin reports from Gaza City on killing of four Palestinian boys by Israel. Photo credit: NBC News)

NYT reports that Israel has begun its expected ground assault on the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, Glenn Greenwald reports:

Ayman Mohyeldin, the NBC News correspondent who personally witnessed yesterday’s killing by Israel of four Palestinian boys on a Gazan beach and who has received widespread praise for his brave and innovative coverage of the conflict, has been told by NBC executives to leave Gaza immediately. According to an NBC source upset at his treatment, the executives claimed the decision was motivated by “security concerns” as Israel prepares a ground invasion, a claim repeated to me by an NBC executive. But late yesterday, NBC sent another correspondent, Richard Engel, along with an American producer who has never been to Gaza and speaks no Arabic, into Gaza to cover the ongoing Israeli assault (both Mohyeldin and Engel speak Arabic).

Mohyeldin is an Egyptian-American with extensive experience reporting on that region. He has covered dozens of major Middle East events in the last decade for CNN, NBC and Al Jazeera English, where his reporting on the 2008 Israeli assault on Gaza made him a star of the network. NBC aggressively pursued him to leave Al Jazeera, paying him far more than the standard salary for its on-air correspondents.

Yesterday, Mohyeldin witnessed and then reported on the brutal killing by Israeli gunboats of four young boys as they played soccer on a beach in Gaza City. He was instrumental, both in social media and on the air, in conveying to the world the visceral horror of the attack.

NBC, you are beneath contempt.

July 07, 2014

George Takei: Why I love a country that once betrayed me

Gay actor George Takei tells of when soldiers with bayonets came to his Los Angeles home when he was 5 and sent his family to a Japanese-American internment camp on a presidential order, without due process. He then talks about his heroes, including the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the most decorated unit in American military history. And he explains why he loves America and is committed to democracy.

June 22, 2014

Bauer: Obama 'Obsessed' With Gay Issues, Will 'Destroy' Republic

Brian Tashman of Right Wing Watch reported from Friday's "Road to Majority" summit. In this clip, Gary Bauer offers an astonishing catalog of lies about our 44th president, from he destroyed America's military to he declared war on the Little Sisters of the Poor. One wonders how many wars the (in my view) more-than-sufficiently hawkish Obama would have to start in order to avoid the former charge. As to the latter charge, it appears to be based on the nuns having to fill out a form concerning their religious exemption to the contraception mandate in ACA, because they don't just want to avoid providing such converge to their employees--they want to prevent their employees from getting it from anyone.

In short: as usual with the radical religious right, if they are prevented from imposing their intolerant doctrines on others, they claim their own freedom has been infringed. And the commandment against bearing false witness is once again trampled by the ones most loudly announcing their righteousness. As the saying goes, God help us.

June 19, 2014

Megyn Kelly Confronts Dick Cheney

Get the popcorn! Megyn Kelly on Fox News confronts Dick and Liz Cheney on their shameless blaming of President Obama for the Bush-Cheney debacle in Iraq. As a general principle, the arsonist should not criticize the firefighter.

June 07, 2014

Presenting colors

A color guard provided by the United States Military District of Washington marched in the Capital Pride Parade today. I saw them as they turned from 17th Street NW onto P Street. They were right behind Dykes on Bikes, who were behind a couple of police cars. Happy Pride!

Ghosts on a beach

This haunting blend of current and historic photos says more than I can after watching ceremonies at Omaha Beach yesterday marking the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landing in Normandy. In the video of the ceremonies below, my favorite part is near the end, when President Obama interacts with the old soldiers, now in their 90s, who were there 70 years ago. In his remarks he mentioned that his maternal grandfather was in Patton's army that followed the invasion to liberate Europe from the Nazis. These moments are important as more than just ceremonies; they are a reminder of the cost of war. By June 6, 1944, my father had been a prisoner of war for nearly 16 months, having been captured in Tunisia at Kasserine Pass in February 1943. This year he would have turned 96.

June 04, 2014

Richard Grenell Behind PR Campaign For Soldiers Critical Of Bowe Bergdahl

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Media Matters reports:

Fox News contributor Richard Grenell and his public relations firm have been coordinating interviews for soldiers criticizing the actions of recently-released Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.

Those critics have said that Bergdahl, who had been imprisoned by the Taliban since 2009, risked the lives of soldiers who tried to find him after he reportedly walked off his Afghanistan base.

Several media outlets have reported on these soldiers and their concerns, including Fox News, The New York Times, Time, The Los Angeles Times, The Daily Mail, and The Daily Beast. According to a report in Buzzfeed, Fox News contributor Richard Grenell and his firm Capitol Media have "played a key role in publicizing" these critics.

Grenell served as a spokesman for former U.N. ambassador (and current Fox News contributor) John Bolton in the George W. Bush administration, and also worked for a short time on the Romney 2012 campaign.

Ah, Richard Grenell. Here is my piece on him from 2012.

March 06, 2014

Feder: Gays In The Military, 'Armed With Vibrators,' Greater Threat Than Putin

Um, what?

(Hat tip: Right Wing Watch)

March 03, 2014

American troops perform in drag; WND gets its panties in a twist

Some American troops donned drag for a charity performance in Okinawa. World Net Daily is appalled.

Kerry on Russia's 'incredible act of aggression'

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told President Obama after speaking to Russian President Vladimir Putin that she was not sure he was in touch with reality.