THE CASKET CONSTROVERSY RESOLVED: COMMERCIAL AIRLINES DO MOVE DECEASED SOLDIERS

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THOSE WHO THINK THAT COMMERCIAL AIRLINES ARE NOT SENDING back the remains of soldiers have outdated information or are wrong it turns out. I have been been flooded with information over the last day about the Department of Defense regulations regarding shipping back a soldier’s remains to the United States. Here is some of what I have learned. The U.S. Army Human Resources Command maintains a good website designed to help those who have lost someone as a casualty in…

DNA PROBES AT TORA BORA? A SOLDIER’S COFFIN ON UNITED?

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AFTER I PUBLISHED “A SOLDIER’S STORY,” A THREAD of extraordinarily interesting and useful comments by others has developed on topics ranging from whether the soldier I was speaking to was feeding me material that was part real and part rumor, all real, or entirely contrived. My judgment is that this guy gave me a snap-shot of his view of things. That’s all. It’s always a mistake to generalize from a single anecdote, but at the same time, it is clear…

EMINEM, BROOKE’S STORY, AND THOSE WOLVES

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LAST NIGHT, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY’S NEWLY ACQUIRED G. JOHN IKENBERRY celebrated his 50th Birthday and his brilliant wife, Lidia Usami, performed in a chamber music recital for about 100 of their Washington friends to whom they wanted to say good-bye. A lot of folks were discussing bin Laden’s latest video message to Americans. However, Eminem got more play at this party than bin Laden. Even if you aren’t into rap, watch Eminem’s latest music video here. I think it’s the most…

A SOLDIER’S STORY: “VOTING FOR BUSH WON’T HELP US”

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I JUST SAT NEXT TO A VERY TOUGH SOLDIER FROM THE 82ND AIRBORNE on a flight back from Europe. I have been thinking for two days about how to share some of the things he told me without compromising him. This guy I met is not one prone to talk; he was very serious, very mellow — and comes from a family of enlisted military men. His dad was in Vietnam. He has had one rotation in Afghanistan, one in…

AMERICAN INTELLIGENCE? COULD WE HAVE BEEN INVOLVED AT AL-QAQAA?

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AP REPORTS THAT AN ARMED INSURGENT GROUP, THE AL-KARAR BRIGADE, says that it worked with various U.S. military and intelligence officers in moving the massive amount of explosives that has become a major pre-election controversy. Clearly, there are problems believing the assertions of an armed and hostile group, but on the other hand, this is the first reasonable scenario for how such a huge cache of weapons-making material could be moved without our intelligence operations seeing it. After all, Colin…

THE GENEVA CONVENTIONS: THE SINS OF THE FATHERS

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THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION’S OBSESSION WITH ESCAPING from the norms of the Geneva Conventions seems bizarre to me. One would think that lessons might have been learned by this point from America’s experiences at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. By ripping up this sacrosanct commitment that all nations have committed to — a commitment to treat all prisoners with a standard level of dignity, not subject to harm or torture — this administration is assuring that future American prisoners are subjected to…

SUPREME COURT, SUPREME COURT. . .SUPREME COURT

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AP IS REPORTING THAT CHIEF JUSTICE WILLIAM RENQUIST is in intensive care, hospitalized for treatment of thyroid cancer. The next president of the United States may appoint THREE justices, and maybe four, to the Supreme Court. Four more years of the Bush administration may galvanize a more cohesive and organized Democratic Party than is the case today — but a balanced Supreme Court, women’s right to choose to have an abortion, and our privacy writ large may be part of…

THE BRZEZINSKI PLAN: FIXING IRAQ AND THE US-EUROPEAN RELATIONSHIP

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EUROPE IS WORRIED ABOUT THE TRANSATLANTIC RELATIONSHIP, and I am in Geneva now making sure that they know that there is indeed a lot about which to be concerned. This meeting which involves a broad cross-section of Europeans, including Russians who at this meeting have defined themselves as Europeans, has a handful of Americans. Strangely enough, this conference and the list of attending Americans were assembled by Catherine Kelleher who is now at the Naval War College and a former…

AMERICA’S CORRUPTION PROBLEM IN IRAQ AND AT HOME

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AMERICAN ACCOUNTING PRACTICES USED TO BE THE ENVY OF THE WORLD. Then came the crimes of Enron and Arthur Andersen, foreshadowed and followed by hundreds of cases of fraud and malfeasance cases of illegal collusion between corporate management and those hired by stockholders to be the watchdogs. There are revelations today in the New York Times that the firm Custer Battles repeatedly billed the Coalition Provisional Authority for non-existent services. After a few years of news about how bad it…