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The First Lady Announces New Funding for Military Families

First Lady Michelle Obama attends the Joint Armed Forces Officers' Wives' Luncheon at Bolling Air Force Base January 26, 2010

First Lady Michelle Obama announces that the President’s 2011 budget will include a record $8.8 billion for military family support programs in remarks to the Joint Armed Forces Officers’ Wives’ Luncheon.

She discussed new support for military spouses and children to be included in the upcoming budget:

  • Increasing funds for military family support programs
  • Reducing shortages in military child care
  • Increasing funds for youth programs for military children
  • Increasing funds for spousal career development
  • New funding for quality Coast Guard housing

The First Lady called for Americans to support military families and thanked the spouses and children for their service to their communities. “You put your own priorities aside. You take care of one another. You take care of America. And as First Lady, I can’t thank you all enough and I promise you that I will use every ounce of my being to make sure that America always takes care of you.”

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This is not the way we should be doing things in America…

Posted by Audiegrl

Colin Powell and Tom Brokaw on Meet the Press 10/19/08Watching the horrific events at Fort Hood unfold yesterday, it saddens me to admit that one of the first things that came to my mind, once the shooter was identified, was “oh no, what is the right-wing going to do with this?” Today, after seeing some fair and some not so fair coverage of the Fort Hood Massacre, it reminded me of what General Colin Powell said on Meet the Press in October of last year. When asked by host, Tom Brokaw whether he was prepared to announce whether he was endorsing John McCain or Barack Obama, Powell answered with a very long explanation on how he came to the decision to endorse Barack Obama for president and how he felt about the recent actions of the GOP. Towards the end of his answer, he said something that needs to be said again and again, regarding some of the countries reaction to the events at Fort Hood.

I’m also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to be said such things as, “Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.” Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer’s no, that’s not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, “He’s a Muslim and he might be associated terrorists.” This is not the way we should be doing it in America.

Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan's mother at his grave in Arlington Cemetary

Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan's mother at his grave in Arlington Cemetary

I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son’s grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards–Purple Heart, Bronze Star–showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death. He was 20 years old. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn’t have a Christian cross, it didn’t have the Star of David, it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life. Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourself in this way. And John McCain is as nondiscriminatory as anyone I know. But I’m troubled about the fact that, within the party, we have these kinds of expressions.~~Colin Powell

His words were important last year, but even more so relevant today. The following are two a thoughtful pieces written by Kamran Pasha and Jon Soltz.

A Muslim Soldier’s View from Fort Hood

Soldiers praying

Soldiers praying

Kamran Pasha—Major Nidal Malik Hasan is a murderer and has brought great shame upon every American Muslim in the armed forces.

There are currently over 10,000 Muslim soldiers in the U.S. military, men and women who are patriotic and love their country and their fellow service members. Hasan’s evil actions, the murder of his fellow soldiers at Fort Hood, have now brought those honorable soldiers’ loyalties into question.

The Islamophobe community on the Internet is trumpeting how Hasan’s behavior is reflective of the threat Americans face from their Muslim neighbors, and how radical Islamists have infiltrated the ranks of our military. Calls for purging the military, and perhaps even the United States, of its Muslim members have already begun.

Today there are dozens of families mourning the attack on their loved ones by a fellow-in-arms. And there are hundreds of Muslims at Fort Hood who knew Hasan and are stunned that he would betray their country and their community with such cold, calculated ease. Hasan’s rampage has truly shattered many more lives than we can begin to imagine.

I spoke today with a friend who is a Muslim soldier stationed at Fort Hood. He is a 22-year veteran of the U.S. Army and a recent convert to Islam. He agreed to share his perspective with me if I granted him anonymity. So we will call him Richard.

Richard is exactly the kind of soldier we need to protect our country from those that seek to do us harm. A combat veteran who has served in Iraq, Richard became interested in studying Islam initially as a strategic means of understanding his adversary in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks. But as he began to study the religion’s teachings, he became struck by how different they were from what was being claimed by men like Osama Bin Laden.

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Kamran Pasha is a Hollywood filmmaker and author of “Mother of the Believers”

Many Issues With Tragedy at Ft. Hood — A “Muslim Problem” not One of Them, FOX News

Grave of Major James Michael Ahearn

Grave of Major James Michael Ahearn

Jon Soltz—Yesterday was one of the most tragic days in the military, in the midst of a slew of tragic days as we continue to see casualties in Afghanistan. Innocent soldiers lost their lives, and many more were injured, at the hands of a very troubled Major at Ft. Hood. Our hearts go out to all those who lost their lives, their families, and those wounded.

Like many, I’m angry and confused, as well, at how this could possibly happen. But, until the facts are all known, I won’t jump to conclusions, or cast aspersions at a large group of Americans, like the disgraceful hosts of FOX and Friends.

During an interview with Geraldo Rivera, the FOX and Friends hosts twice implied that this is some kind of Muslim problem. Of course, they didn’t come out and say it outright, they couched it in the form of a question, like FOX News can be so good at. You know, like their teasers, “President Obama. Does He Hate America?”

Brian Kilmeade asked if it’s time to have “special debriefings” or “special screenings” of all Muslims in the military. Because, as he said, “If I’m gonna be deployed in a foxhole, if I’m gonna be deployed in an outpost, I’m gonna want to know that the guy next to me isn’t gonna want to kill me.”

Perhaps sensing that they were not being offensive enough, Gretchen Carlson chimed in, “Could it be that our own military is so politically correct right now…to be careful about treatment of Muslims that they would have allowed this to go by?”

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Jon Stoltz is the Co-Founder of VoteVets.org, served as a Captain in Operation Iraqi Freedom

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Wajahat Ali: The Fort Hood Tragedy: Fanning the Anti-Muslim Hysteria

Right-Wing Media Respond To Fort Hood Shooting By Attacking Muslims

Fox And Friends” Hosts Worry That Military Needs “Special Debriefings” For Muslims

Allen West, GOP Candidate: Ft. Hood Shows “Terrorists Are Infiltrating Military

WND’s Jerome Corsi Claims Fort Hood Shooter Advised Obama

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The Right Time To Repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Is Now by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

Posted by Audiegrl

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

Daily Kos/Senator Kirsten Gillibrand—Since 1994, almost 13,000 gay servicemen and women have been discharged from the military based not on their performance but on their sexual orientation. In 2009 alone, we’ve had more than 400 of our brave men and women leave the military under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. This is simply unacceptable. It is time to repeal this outdated and immoral policy once and for all and end the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly and honestly in our armed forces.

To that end, I’ve secured the commitment from Senator Carl Levin, Chair of the Armed Services Committee, to hold the first hearing on the policy since it began 16 years ago. Chairman Levin expects to hold the hearing soon and it’s my hope that it will be instrumental in demonstrating the level of support that exists for repeal not only throughout the country — where polls consistently indicate that solid majorities oppose the policy — but within the military itself.

I’m happy to see that, as the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing approaches, there are signs of momentum building toward repeal.

On September 24, Majority Leader Harry Reid sent letters to the President and Secretary Gates reiterating his support for repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and requesting their recommendations to Congress on the policy. I agree with Senator Reid. I know the President opposes DADT, and I am confident he and his Administration will work to engage Congressional and military leaders in this debate.

donataskdonttellThen, just last week, an article was published in the Joint Force Quarterly — a publication considered to be the scholarly journal of the Pentagon and released by the Joint Chiefs — that goes beyond addressing just Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, but overtly calls for a repeal of the ban on gays and lesbians serving in the US military. In the article, Air Force Colonel Om Prakash writes:

After a careful examination, there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that unit cohesion will be negatively affected if homosexuals serve openly. Based on this research, it is not time for the administration to reexamine the issue; rather it is time for the administration to examine how to implement the repeal of the ban.

It’s heartening to see such a strong statement coming from the top levels of the military. Not only did this article appear in a publication published by the Pentagon, but it was written by a man currently working under Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and was reviewed by the office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mike Mullen. Supporters of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell often cite the lack of support for repeal among the top levels of the military. With this article, those leaders are sending a clear signal that that’s simply not the case.

Then, yesterday, the New York Times published an editorial in which they cited the Joint Force Quarterly article and called for a reversal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

Read more of the diary @ dailykoslogosmall

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Pentagon Airs Criticism of ‘Don’t ask, Don’t tell’ in Journal Article: Backs Gay Troops, May Signal Brass Open to Debate

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