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Iraq War

May 30, 2014 - 1:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Iraq War, funeral.

Iraq War veteran James Carney was laid to rest today with military honors, including a giant American flag hung across West Main Street Road by the ladder trucks from City of Batavia and Town of Batavia.

Carney died unexpectedly at age 27. He was being treated for PTSD but was said to be rebuilding his life in Boston at the time of his death.

Funeral arrangements by Michael S. Tomaszewski Funeral & Cremation Chapel (full obituary).

Previously: Family dealing with unexpected death of veteran who was overcoming post-war struggles

November 15, 2009 - 12:28pm
posted by Daniel Crofts in Arts & Crafts, schools, Iraq War.

Eighth-grader Steven O'Brien is a pretty good salesman. He displayed his knack for hawking things Saturday at Batavia High School's annual Arts & Crafts Festival.

With a variety of goods draped over his arms, he looked like a walking advertisement for "Treats for Troops," an outreach project for the military which began at Batavia Middle School in 2002.

Steven helped sell such items as necklaces, bracelets, picture frames, scarves, towels and blankets, priced from $1 to $10, along with founder and special education teacher Lucille DiSanto.

The money raised will pay for supplies for an "adopted" military troop in Iraq or Afghanistan that has a soldier from Batavia in it. Each year, a different troop is chosen.

"It's grown a little bit each year," DiSanto said. "We're definitely getting more attention."

The fundraiser for those in combat is the culmination of the efforts of her students, the student council and an organization called SWAT -- Students Working as a Team. They sell the items, some of which they make themselves, others are bought with donations. A McDonald's corporation MAC Grant pays for project costs.

"I felt it was necessary to help kids learn community service,” says DiSanto. “And what better way to do that than to help one of our own in Iraq or Afghanistan?"

The Treats for Troops table fared quite well, taking in $65 within the first 70 minutes Saturday. They received a total of $35 in donations.

"This is the most donations I've ever gotten," said DiSanto excitedly.

Steven took it upon himself to venture out beyond the table, working the crowd with his sense of humor. People bought stuff from him, and vendor Fran Norton donated a dollar.

"Anything for the boys," says Norton, who holds America's soldiers in high esteem. "Any services we can provide to them, they deserve it."

Anyone interested in learning more about the Treats for Troops project should contact DiSanto at Batavia Middle School. If you would like to learn more about Batavia High School's Arts & Crafts Festival, please contact Paul Pedersen, BHS Physical Education teacher and Batavia Ice Devils coach.

September 3, 2009 - 9:01am
posted by Bea McManis in Iraq War, Tom Ridge, Rachel Maddow.

Maddow blasts Ridge for clinging to Iraq war justification

Published: September 2, 2009
Updated 1 day ago

During a three-part interview with former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge on Tuesday night, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow made some hard-hitting points on revelations that the “Terror Threat Level” system was manipulated for political purposes during the Bush Administration.

On the program to promote his new book “The Test of Our Time”, the former Pennsylvania governor seemed taken aback as Maddow took him to task as being a “crucial” part of a “false case to the American people.” As Jay Rosen aptly tweeted, “To work himself out of the bind she had gotten him into, Ridge actually disavowed the jacket copy of his own book under Maddow’s questioning.”

MADDOW: I think you making that argument right now is why Republicans after the Bush and Cheney administration are not going to get back the country’s trust on national security. To look back at that decision and say ‘we got it wrong but it was in good faith’ and not acknowledge the foregone conclusion that we are going to invade Iraq that pervaded every decision that was made about intelligence. Looking back at that decision-making process, it sounds like you’re making the argument that you would have made the same decision again.

Americans need to believe that our government would not make that wrong a decision, that would not take such a foregone conclusion to such an important issue, that the intelligence that proved the opposite point was all discounted, that the intelligence was combed through for any bit that would fit the foregone conclusion of the policymakers. The system was broken and if you don’t see that the system was broken and you think that it was just that the intel was wrong - I think that you’re one of the most trusted voices on national security for the Republican party, and I think that is the elephant in the room. I don’t think you guys get back your credibility on national security until you realize that was a wrong decision made by policy makers; that wasn’t the spies fault.

RIDGE: Well, I think you are suggesting that it was only driven by, quite obviously the people who made the decision knew more about the threat than you and I do. And again I think it is a pretty radical conclusion to suggest that men and women entrusted with the safety of this country would predicate a decision upon any other basis other than to keep America safe. Later on it may have proven that some of the information was inaccurate, but there were plenty of reasons to go into Iraq at the time - the foremost were the weapons of mass destruction, that obviously proven to be faulty. But the fact of the matter is, at that time, given what they knew, and they knew more than what you and I did, it seemed to be the right thing to do and the decision was made in what they considered to be in the best interest of our country.
In her closing points on the subject, Maddow adds “If you can go back in time and sell the American people on the idea that 4,000 Americans ought to lose their lives and we ought to lose those trillions of dollars for democracy in Iraq, you have a wilder imagination than I do. We were sold that war because of 9/11. We were sold that war because of the threat of weapons of mass destruction from this guy who didn’t have them, and our government should have known it. And frankly a lot of people believe our government did know it and it was a cynical decision.” She then concludes with “Maybe everybody wasn’t in on it and maybe that is a radical thing to conclude…”

Mr. Ridge did thank Maddow for the civility of their discussion before the end of the program.

New York University professor and press critic Jay Rosen went so far as to call Maddow’s measured, piercing performance “one of the most extraordinary things I’ve ever seen on television.”

Links to all three videos can be found at:

February 6, 2009 - 12:00pm
posted by Tasia Boland in Iraq War, patriotism, real estate.

My husband and I are house hunting, and recently we found a house we fell in love with except, it is part of a homeowners association. Now we have been asking friends and family what they know about homeowners associations. Today I heard about this story and am giving second thoughts to being involved in an association.

From the Morning Show with Mike and Juliet:

When their son was deployed to Iraq in October, Terry and Sue Lewton installed a flagpole outside their Loveland, Colo. home to fly the American flag 24 hours a day until his return. Sgt. Jason Lewton is still stationed in Iraq, but his parents’ homeowners association asked them to remove the 20-foot flagpole to maintain “the high standards of the community.” Sue Lewton refuses to remove the flag until her son comes home. The flagpole is not taller than the Lewtons’ home, the flag is kept in respectable condition, and they received no objections when they asked their immediate neighbors before installing the flagpole.

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