Former Fox News Radio reporter tries to take gun to court

News from Pittsburgh:

A radio reporter was arrested this morning and accused of trying to take a loaded handgun into the Allegheny County Courthouse.

The county sheriff’s office said KDKA reporter Rob Milford was stopped at 9:25 a.m. after a .38 caliber snub-nosed revolver was found in his briefcase at a courthouse screening station. Mr. Milford said he didn’t realize he had put his gun in the briefcase, said Sheriff William P. Mullen.

Don’t you check your briefcase for snub-nosed revolvers before heading to court?

Mr. Milford, a morning general assignment reporter, arrived at KDKA in April 2006 after working for CBS Radio News and Fox News Radio. He reported from the Iraq war twice, once when he was embedded during the initial invasion in 2003.

The man’s a real war hero, another safely “embedded” journalist writing one side of the story from Iraq. Why bother interviewing Iraqis?

Army Pfc. Shane D. Penley dies a hero

A hero stares back from Eternity.

Army Pfc. Shane D. PenleyA hero stares back from Eternity.

Another young man has died in Iraq. Just out of high school, Sauk Village native Shane D. Penley died April 6 from wounds suffered while on duty at a guard post. He was 19.

This one hits close to home. Shane graduated from Bloom Trail High School in Steger, IL, and wanted to be a police officer. A senior at Bloom Trail who knew Shane shared the shock with me that students felt when they learned the news. Children meeting adulthood head on, victims of war in our back yard.

The Times in Munster, IN, shares thoughts from Shane’s father, David Penley:

“He always wanted to be a hero,” David Penley said from the family’s Sauk Village home. “He’s our little hero. I’m sure whatever the situation was, he stuck his neck out there. He was very brave, very brave.”

Mr. Penley shared times when he and his son would work out together or play baseball.

“He could run circles around me, even before his training,” he said.

Memories of Shane’s childhood and a former babysitter who called him “Tarzan”:

“I guess because he would run around with his bleached blonde hair, and in his diapers (he looked like Tarzan),” David Penley said.

When we count the total number of soldiers killed in Iraq, the number of Iraqi civilians, the billions spent, watch gas prices spiral out of control, or tally our national debt, we pause and reflect. The big numbers have a story to tell on their own.

But here, the only number that counts is “one”. One more life lost. One too many.

Thank you, Pfc. Penley. Thank you, sir.

Two Children Also Died In Baquba Sunday…

Easter Sunday Green Zone bombings, Baghdad, Iraq

Easter Sunday was just another violent day in Iraq, with four American soldiers and 58 Iraqis killed today in violence around the country. The worst was in the Green Zone, above. The four American dead pushes the United States total to 4,000 officially reported.The grim email announcements from various news sources are arriving now.

According to The New York Times:

As many as 20 mortar shells were fired Sunday at the heavily fortified Green Zone, one of the fiercest and most sustained attacks on the area in the last year.

The shelling sent thick plumes of dark gray smoke over central Baghdad and ignited a spectacular fire on the banks of the Tigris River. It ushered in a day of violence that claimed the lives of four American soldiers and at least 58 lraqis around the country.

American military officials said the soldiers were killed by a homemade bomb about 10 p.m. as they patrolled southern Baghdad in a vehicle, pushing the number of American service members killed in Iraq closer to 4,000. Another soldier was wounded in the attack.

This in spite of repeated claims by the Bush Administration that the increase in troop levels has reduced violence across the country.

The Soldier’s names are being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense.

MSNBC provides more analysis on the numbers:

Last year, the U.S. military deaths spiked along with the Pentagon’s “surge” — the arrival of more than 30,000 extra troops trying to regain control of Baghdad and surrounding areas. The mission was generally considered a success, but the cost was evident as soldiers pushed into Sunni insurgent strongholds and challenged Shiite militias.

Military deaths rose above 100 for three consecutive months for the first time during the war: April 2007, 104; May, 126 and June at 101.

The death toll has seesawed since, with 2007 ending as the deadliest year for American troops at 901 deaths. That was 51 more deaths than 2004, the second deadliest year for U.S. soldiers.

Our wounded far outnumber our dead:

But a hallmark of the Iraq war is the high wounded-to-killed ratio, partly because of advances in battlefield medicine, enhanced protective gear worn by soldiers and reinforced armored vehicles.

There have been about 15 soldiers wounded for every fatality in Iraq, compared with 2.6 per death in Vietnam and 2.8 in Korea.

The saddest note comes at the end of the NYTimes story:

Two children in Baquba, a 10-year-old and an 8-year-old, also died Sunday. They were playing in a street when a homemade bomb hidden under some garbage detonated, killing them instantly. When the authorities reached the scene, the security official said, all they found were pieces of the children’s bodies.

Happy Easter.

Five Years Later….

What can I say? I’m told by some that 3,992 American soldiers dead in Iraq is not a bad number. After all, there were many more people killed in World War II.  I should just accept that number.  Is that a just comparison?  Is the war in Iraq at all just?

But this one really irks me….

We have spent $504.01 BILLION in Iraq so far. And John McCain tells us we should not be concerned about that.

The truth is, I am concerned, and you should be concerned also.

When you look at Wall Street, consider the fact that we have spent over $504.01 BILLION so far in Iraq, and we can’t afford that.

So far, we have lost this many soldiers’ in Iraq: 3,992.

Thus far, our Commander-in-Chief, George W. Bush, always sympathetic to the losses of the soldiers, has attended this many funerals: 0.

The Iraqis have lost 1,183,173 people, according to Just Foreign Policy. If you prefer more conservative estimates just based on news reports, then we’re looking at these figures: 82,249 – 89,760.

Our National Debt at this instant is: $9,391,442,204,727.53, according to the U.S. National Debt Clock. When you visit, the figure will no doubt have increased. If anyone has a more accurate source for our National Debt, I’m all ears.

So, here we are. I’ve heard from young people who have commented, “At least we’ve lost fewer lives than in World War II.” And somehow I’m supposed to understand what that really means.

The sad and sorry fact is, whoever wins the Oval Office in November will have to deal with the aftermath of a President who pursued a horrible policy for personal reasons. That’s it. There were no facts to back up any of the claims of this White House administration.

Policy for personal reasons — and we’re at war.

And we’ve only begun to pay….

Women Suffer in Iraq

There aren’t many stories in the United States media about how highly women are generally regarded in Islam.  Many choose to focus on how repressed women are, often without cause.  Muslims I have come to know in the Chicagoland area are proud to share who they are, and how poorly the American media has told their story.

Iraq is a different story.  The American occupation has not helped, according to journalist Dahr Jamail.  While no one denies that Saddam Hussein was a tyrant, women actually fared better in Iraq prior to the American invasion:

Former dictator Saddam Hussein maintained a relatively secular society, where it was common for women to take up jobs as professors, doctors and government officials. In today’s Iraq, women are being killed by militia groups for not conforming to strict Islamist ways.

Basra police chief Gen. Jalil Hannoon told reporters and Arab TV channels in December that at least 40 women had been killed during the previous five months in that city alone.

Read the rest of Jamail’s account here.