A British newspaper suggests that in our desire to unite the various warring factions in Iraq, we should take our cue from their long period of sectarian negotiations in Ireland.

In the September 5 edition of the Independent, Patrick Cockburn reports on a recent secret 4-day meeting of 16 representatives of Sunni and Shia factions, which took place in Finland, that was co-chaired by former IRA commander Martin McGuinness and former South African minister, Rolf Meyer, “so when [they] told them that violence should cease and that inclusive dialogue was the way ahead, they listened. In addition, they agreed a set of principles as a basis for further talks.”
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We hear so much about soldiers coming home from Iraq with missing limbs due to insurgency bombings, but a more pervasive problem is that gunfire is making many of our soldiers deaf.

Gunfire can have a profound impact on soldiers’ hearing, and the long-term effects carry over to their post-military lives. A recent study found soldiers have a major risk of hearing loss due to the “impulse noise” associated with gunfire, often leading to acoustic trauma in 10 to 15% of soldiers returning from active military duty. Researcher David R. Nielsen says, “Long-term hearing loss?severely impacts our soldiers’ abilities to transition back to civilian life.”

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk
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We hear news about the Iraq war from the White House all the time, but we rarely hear from the soldiers themselves. Do they feel that the war they are fighting is working?and is it worth it?

British soldiers are fighting the same war in Iraq that we are, and in the Independent, Terri Judd quotes two of them as saying the Coalition troops are totally ineffective: “sitting ducks” to an “increasingly sophisticated insurgency.” She quotes private Paul Barton as saying, “Basra is lost, they are in control now. It’s a full-scale riot and the Government are just trying to save face.”

Corporal Richard Bradley says, “[Guys] are dying for no cause at all and [guys] are getting injured for no cause at all.”
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How did our VA hospitals get in such terrible shape?and WHY did this happen? Our government’s cost cutting tactics, which farm out the management of VA hospitals to private corporations, is one reason. A Princeton professor has a theory about what’s REALLY going on.
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