Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Friday claimed that a damning report published in The Atlantic magazine, which said Donald Trump called American troops who died in combat "suckers" and "losers," is false.
"So why would a publication abandon all journalistic integrity and publish this story? It's because the liberal activists at the Atlantic are uninterested in the truth and they are only interested in peddling conspiracy-laden propaganda," McEnany said. "Because here is the one truth, no one, and I mean no one, loves and cares for our service men and women as much as President Donald J. Trump."
After her comments, in which she tried to prove Trump's commitment to American troops and veterans by reading off a list of the things every president does, McEnany stormed off without taking any questions.
Multiple media outlets have confirmed The Atlantic's reporting since it was published on Thursday, including the Washington Post and the Associated Press. The New York Times noted that Trump has called Americans who served in the Vietnam War "dumb" because they didn't get out of serving.
Trump used a diagnosis of bone spurs to avoid the Vietnam-era draft.
Some of the things Trump has since denied saying, such as calling the late Sen. John McCain a "loser," are easy to confirm. Trump publicly called McCain a loser in 2015, saying: "He's not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured."
Meanwhile, Secretary of Defense Mike Esper didn't deny that Trump made the disparaging remarks about troops killed in battle, saying only: "President Trump has the highest respect and admiration for our nation's military members, veterans and families. That is why he has fought for greater pay and more funding for our armed forces."
Trump often claims he was responsible for giving troops their first pay increase "in more than 10 years," a comment deemed a "pants on fire" lie by Politifact.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Friday was irate about Trump's comments about American troops and veterans, saying in a news conference: "If these statements are true, the president should humbly apologize to every Gold Star mother and father and every Blue Star family that he's denigrated and insulted. Who the heck does he think he is?"
Today in Wilmington, Delaware, Joe Biden delivered a scorching response to Donald Trump's reported remarks belittling American troops. Beginning quietly but with increasing fury and dismay, Biden let the president know how little he appreciated the suggestion that his late son Beau Biden – and Beau's fallen comrades in Iraq – were "suckers" or "losers."
America has a "truly sacred obligation" to those in uniform who uphold "duty, honor, country" and their families. Biden promised not to disappoint them if he becomes commander-in-chief.
Listen to the full ten minutes. This is how a real president speaks.
The number of U.S. service members diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries has shot up to more than 100, the Pentagon said Monday, as more troops suffer the aftereffects of the Iranian ballistic missile attack early last month in Iraq.
The department said the latest total is 109 military members who have been treated for mild TBI, a significant increase over the 64 reported a little over a week ago.
The number of injuries has been steadily increasing since the Pentagon began releasing data on the injuries about a week after the Jan. 8 attack at al-Asad Air Base in Iraq. Pentagon officials have warned that the number would continue to change.
The department said 76 of the service members have returned to duty, while 26 are in Germany or the United States for treatment, and another seven are on their way from Iraq to Germany for evaluation and treatment.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper told Pentagon reporters more than a week ago that the department was studying ways to prevent brain injuries on the battlefield and to improve diagnosis and treatment.
Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said it’s possible, in some cases, that symptoms of TBI from the Iranian missile attack won’t become apparent for a year or two. He said the Army is in the early stages of diagnosis and therapy for the troops.
In a statement Monday, Pentagon press secretary Alyssa Farah credited medical professionals with provide care “which has enabled nearly 70 percent of those diagnosed to return to duty. We must continue to address physical and mental health together.”
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.com.
BAGHDAD (AP) — An anti-American cleric is urging his followers to stop attacking U.S. troops in Iraq so that their withdrawal from the country isn’t slowed down, a call meant to ramp up pressure on Baghdad’s political leaders who are considering asking some American forces to stay.
In a statement posted on his website, Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr told his militias to halt attacks against U.S. forces till the withdrawal is finished at the end of the year as required under a security agreement between Washington and Baghdad.
“Out of my desire to complete Iraq’s independence and to finish the withdrawal of the occupation forces from our holy lands, I am obliged to halt military operations of the honest Iraqi resistance until the withdrawal of the occupation forces is complete,” al-Sadr said in the statement, posted late Saturday. Sadrist lawmaker Mushraq Naji confirmed the statement on Sunday.
However, al-Sadr warned that “if the withdrawal doesn’t happen … the military operations will be resumed in a new and tougher way.”
The statement followed last week’s notice by U.S. officials in Baghdad, announcing the start of the withdrawal.
There are currently about 45,000 U.S. forces in Iraq.
However, U.S. and Iraqi leaders are currently weighing whether some American troops should remain past the Dec. 31 deadline as Baghdad continues to struggle with instability and burgeoning influence from neighboring Iran. Last month, Iraqi leaders began negotiating with U.S. officials in Baghdad to keep at least several thousand troops in Iraq to continue training the nation’s shaky security forces.
Officials in Washington say President Barack Obama is willing to keep between 3,000 and 10,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. But with fewer than four months before the final deadline, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and parliament still have not indicated how many U.S. troops Iraq might need, how long they would stay, or exactly what they would be doing.
After more than eight years of war, many weary Iraqis are ready to see U.S. troops go, and staunchly defend their national sovereignty against an American force they see as occupiers. Al-Sadr’s followers vehemently oppose a continued U.S. military presence in Iraq, and walked out of last month’s meeting where political leaders decided to open the talks on having American troops stay.
“Our goal has been always to fight the occupiers because they are still in our country,” Naji said Sunday.
Still, other Iraqi officials privately say they want American troops to continue training the nation’s security forces for months, if not years, to come. The president of Iraq’s northern Kurdish region this week pleaded for U.S. forces to stay to ward off threats of renewed sectarian violence.
Many Iraqis — both Sunnis and Shiites — share that fear.
“As for me, and the sheiks of Nasiriyah, we want the U.S. Army to stay,” Sheik Manshad al-Ghezi of the southern Shiite city of Nasiriyah said in a recent interview. “We are afraid of civil war. All the parties and groups in Iraq are armed and the Iraqi Army cannot manage to bring security to Iraq and stop the fighting among these parties.”
In another statement posted Sunday, a Shiite militia controlled by Iran jeered calls for U.S. troops to stay. The group ridiculed a warning last week by Kurdish regional President Massoud Barzani that raised the specter of civil war if American forces leave Iraq. Kurds have long depended on U.S. troops to protect them, going back to Saddam Hussein’s rule.
“When the (U.S.) occupation gets out of the country with his agents, the Iraqi nation will be unified,” an unidentified leader for Kataib Hezbollah, which operates in Iraq, wrote on the militia’s website. “Whoever calls for keeping the occupation is linking his destiny with the occupation and has sold himself as cheap, and he should leave the country with his masters.”
Violence has dropped dramatically across Iraq from just a few years ago, but deadly bombings and shootings still happen every day.
Late Sunday, police said a roadside bomb targeting a security patrol killed a passer-by and two police in Baghdad’s eastern Shiite Shamaayah area. Three more police were among eight others who were wounded, officials said.
The casualties were confirmed by a medic at Imam Ali hospital. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.
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