Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Cove.

Watch this documentary.

Information here.

Combat troops in Iraq past the August deadline? Maybe.

Gen. Raymond Odierno, a top Commander in Iraq, has requested to keep a combat brigade in Kirkuk. If Obama agrees to this, he would be breaking his vow to remove all combat troops by this summer. Odierno argues the brigade would be there to “keep the peace” in the turbulent city. Does Operation New Dawn need a combat brigade?

Read more here.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

FRONTLINE: Behind Taliban Lines.

Journalist Najibullah Quraishi spent 10 days with the Taliban in Northern Afghanistan. During his time, he shot amazing footage of the inner workings of militants. The 38 minute special exposes the structure of militant groups, how they build IEDs, and how they carry out ambushes.

I suggest everyone take the time to watch this program. If you have deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq, you’ll want to watch this. If you want to know what the other side is thinking, you’ll want to watch this. Quraishi put his life on the line and has provided us with an intimate look inside the Taliban.

Watch Behind Taliban Lines here.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Martyrdom, Interrupted by Matthew Alexander.

Interested in interrogations and the process of capturing a suspected terrorist? If so, you will want to read this article by my good friend Matthew.

The National Interest.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The New York Times Big Bombshell: Paterson Has a Tight Inner Circle and Enjoys the Hamptons.

The New York Times had been threatening to expose dirty secrets about New York State Governor David A. Paterson, and they have come up with nothing. Well, nothing that should surprise anyone who is interested in politics. Their bombshell news story fell flat. I refer to their article, “As Campaign Nears, Paterson Is Seen as Increasingly Remote,” as a deflated balloon…dead on arrival.

Read about how my Governor enjoys vacationing in the Hamptons, has a tight inner circle, and splurges on himself once a year (Can you blame the guy? It was his birthday after all).

Nothing newsworthy here.

Repayment of the $3,000 Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.

Remember when the Veteran Affairs Department (VA) had a heart and they sent out the $3,000 advance payments of the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits? I do, but now they want their money back.

Apparently 122,000 people have received a “warning letter” stating they can have payments recouped from their monthly living stipends at a rate of $750 a month. The deductions will begin April 1 and the advance pay will be repaid in four months. This means you will receive monthly payments around $200. Yup, $200 big ones. I know a lot of veterans who live off their GI Bill benefits, and this is going to hurt.

If you are not enrolled in a college or university for the spring semester, you need to cough up the money somehow. VA requires a monthly payment plan, and they want their money back within one year. Luckily for you the $3,000 is interest free.

I took the $3,000 when it was offered to me and shortly after my payments started to show up. Before I took the money, I called to see if my claim was close to being processed and they could not tell me anything expect, “Yeah, we have it.” If I would have known my payments would have started as soon as they did, I would not have taken the advancement. Living on $200 a month will be a challenge. Yes, I do work a few nights a week. If I could work more hours I would but my current class schedule makes it almost impossible.

Good luck all!

More information here.


Operation Iraqi Freedom, you are now old news. Defense Secretary Robert Gates recently announced the war (can we say war anymore?) will now go by the name Operation New Dawn.

“Aligning the name change with the change of mission sends a strong signal that Operation Iraqi Freedom has ended and our forces are operating under a new mission,” Gates wrote. “It also presents opportunities to synchronize strategic communication initiatives, reinforce our commitment to honor the Security Agreement, and recognize our evolving relationship with the Government of Iraq,” said Gates.

With the current troop levels in Iraq at 98,000, I am not convinced Operation New Dawn is appropriate just yet. I do not see anything new about the war in Iraq when soldiers and civilians are still being killed. Call it what you want but it will only be a new dawn when the last U.S. troops come home.

Read more here.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Womenetics: Iraq Veteran: A Woman's War Experience.

Womenetics is running the piece I wrote for my school newspaper…Iraq Veteran: A Woman's War Experience. They decided to give me lovely green eyes and a Purple Heart. I have neither. However, I do have brown eyes and a Meritorious Service Medal.

Check it out!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Albany Stratton VA Medical Center Recieves $16 Million.

Today my local VA hospital was given $16 million for some much needed upgrades. The restorations will take place all over the medical center. The old windows will be replaced, the prosthesis lab and dental clinic will be also undergo major transformations. The renovation of the dental clinic alone will cost about $3 million.

This is wonderful news for the medical center and for the patients. I can not wait to see the improvements.

Read more here.

Attack on Marjah.

David Guttenfelder/Associated Press

"U.S. Marines and Afghan troops launched their long-expected attack Saturday on the biggest Taliban-held town in the south, seeking to re-establish government control and undermine support for the militants in their southern heartland."

Read more here.

Taliban plan to use "hit and run" tactics.

UPDATE: "We are going to take this place and take it very hard," Senior Nato official.

Song of the day.

Patsy Cline - Walkin' After Midnight. I have a thing for Patsy and this song.

What song do I want to post for Valentine's Day? Hmm.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Song of the day.

Wilco - California Stars.

This song is for all my California friends. You're missed!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Are you thinking about joining the military?

What questions do you have?

Leave comments or email (

Wondering how to convince your parents it's a good idea? If you should bring your iPhone to basic training? Mortars? Sexual harassment? Makeup? Ask away.

Britain reveals data on detainee abuse.

Binyam Mohamed, Ethiopia-born British resident who was arrested in Pakistan, claims he was tortured there and in Morocco before being sent to Guantanamo Bay. He was charged with plotting with al-Qaida to bomb buildings in the United States.

Britain was forced by an appeals court to reveal how Mohamed was beaten, shackled and deprived of sleep during interrogations by U.S. agents.

Read more here.

Torture needs to end and Guantanamo Bay needs to close.

Want to learn more on this subject? Read: How to Break a Terrorist: The U.S. Interrogators Who Used Brains, Not Brutality, to Take Down the Deadliest Man in Iraq by Matthew Alexander.

Read about Alexander's book here.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

War Told in the First Person.

The New York Times ran a wonderful piece on the "well-written war: a recent outpouring of memoirs, fiction, poetry, blogs and even some readable military reports by combatants in Iraq and Afghanistan."

A Well-Written War, Told in the First Person by Elisabeth Bumiller.

Saturday, February 06, 2010


I think it's cute that I'm being called a pogue. For those attempting to use half of their brain they would realize I'm barred from serving in the infantry, etc. It's a shame that soldiers who have served in support roles continue to get shit on. Truth is, the infantry wouldn’t be able to accomplish some of their missions without the help of support soldiers. Every time I went outside the wire I carried my M16 and ammo. I can’t tell you why I wasn’t shot at, blown up, etc…but I know I served honorably and that’s all that matters.

I could be my typical self and tell the haters (some of my fellow veterans) to fuck off but instead I’d like to thank you for your service. I respect everyone who has served regardless of their MOS. I hope one day you find the maturity to do the same.

Sick Of It All - Step Down.

Song of the day!

Friday, February 05, 2010

VetVoice: Emergency Contraception to be available at all U.S. Bases

"The Pentagon for the first time will require military bases worldwide to offer emergency contraception or the so-called morning-after pill, a military spokeswoman said Thursday."

I think this is wonderful. I always found it odd that a 17 year old girl could walk into a drugstore and buy this but it wasn't available to women in the military. I called my local VA hospital a few days ago and asked if they carried Plan B...they didn't know. This is a step in the right direction!

Read more here.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

The Hurt Locker (Continued)

I have received mixed comments on my review of "The Hurt Locker." This is absolutely wonderful. You win some and you lose some, right? However, some people clearly did not understand my point of view, and some comments were completely asinine.

1) Someone said I got William James’ rank wrong. Look again my friend. James wears an E7 rank on his uniform. If you’d like to look for yourself go to, type in The Hurt Locker part 9, and at about 8:42 you see his rank. E7, not E6.

2) Holy shit! This isn’t a documentary? Well, forget it. Let’s just ignore all the inaccuracies and call it a day. For the record, I didn’t expect it to be completely accurate. BUT HOW HARD IS IT TO GET THE UNIFORM CORRECT? This is the primary article of clothing the soldiers wear in the goddamn movie! It might not be a big deal to civilians or soldiers who don’t care how the military is portrayed, but it annoyed me. Let’s put that aside. Want soldiers to wear the ACU’s? Fine. Bump the movie back to late 2005 when ACU’s were issued instead of 2004.

3) I realize this was a movie. Fiction. Not real. However, “The Hurt Locker” seems to be one of few recent war films (regarding the Iraq war) that people were truly curious about and paid money to go see. Furthermore, it received critical acclaim by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. I would like to believe that storytellers (writers, producers, and directors) want to portray realistic accounts of war and those who fight. Yes, there are soldiers in the military who have personalities similar to James. Yes, war is an adrenaline rush. Yes, readjusting to the “normal world” is difficult. I admit these points; nonetheless I find this movie over the top and misleading. Now, before everyone freaks out again, I understand movies are typically over the top and that is often the whole point to them. Yet “The Hurt Locker” had a legitimate opportunity to put a real face on this war (a war that is particularly fresh in our minds and bound to linger on for years) and those serving in it. In my eyes, the filmmakers had a responsibility, yet one could chalk this film up to be one of those picture perfect advertisements the military puts out to attract people to join. Is it possible I am reading too much into this? Sure, from a civilian’s point of view I probably am. But, once you have served overseas you come to realize how much the Iraq war has been ignored by the mainstream media and the public. Additionally, you learn to identify the sensational aspects of film and media designed to grab viewers’ attention and make them curious about the war. “The Hurt Locker’ features many of these elements, and through them the filmmakers got the attention of a more than a few important people. So, the director and actors will attend an award show and maybe walk away with a statue, yet the real story of war and EOD soldiers is still out there.

Clear? We all have viewed or will view this movie completely differently. This is my opinion. Have a different one? Stop crying over mine, start a blog and post it.

(Thank you for all your comments, emails, and Facebook messages. I truly appreciate them! Yes, I'm on Twitter @GIKate)

Huffington Post.

I had the opportunity to write a piece about The Hurt Locker for Huffington Post!

Check it out here!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Vixen Vintage.

This is one of my favorite blogs. It has nothing to do with the military or politics. It's all about (vintage) fashion! Love her!


Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Women's scar of war by Jessica Yadegaran.

What's is like for some female veterans? Check out this article by Jessica Yadegaran.

Jessica referenced my documentary Women of the Military.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Russ Crane.

Want to know what life is like for a sniper? It involves God and being able to kill a Taliban fighter at 806 meters.

Read Crane's story here.

Do Ask, I Can Tell!

Tomorrow Congress will try to catch up with the times! Hopefully? They will be holding their first hearing in 17 years on the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. And guess what? "...while Congress and the administration work on a permanent repeal of the law, the Defense Department “will not take action to discharge service members whose sexual orientation is revealed by third parties or jilted partners, one of the most onerous aspects of the law.” At least this is a step in the right direction.

Think we will ever see U.S. service members marching with a rainbow flag?

Think Progress: Gates to stop military from discharging gay troops who are outed by 'third parties or jilted partners.'