A Martyr For The Looting Cause

Posted on November 7, 2012. Filed under: KBR | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

24th in the series The Great Cluster Fu…   A treatise on questionable journalism and pre-litigation practices.

Your words for the day (Yeah! MY definitions):

  • martyr = someone who dies so someone else can cash in
  • death = life’s other bookend — everybody gets one at birth (which is the first bookend)

Take any group of 1,000 people, and over a span of 5 years several of them will have died or be in the process of dying, succumbing to either accident or disease, the causes of which may be self-evident while some may be vaguely indefinable.

Take any group of 1,000 soldiers who have spent time in one of the recent tropical combat zones and over a span of 5 years a number of them will exhibit various sets of symptoms, and, be afflicted with vague, maybe debilitating or chronic maladies, and, yes, even death.  These veterans are provided medical care for disabilities for years after contraction.

These veterans can rightfully feel that their conditions are “not my fault.”  Yet, most of them accept that it follows from their commitment to serve their country in the military.  And, they know that war is unforgiving:  their mission is to kill, capture, and destroy, and, that means running the risk of injury, maiming, death or capture.  It is a contract between them and their government that they honor.

Civilian contractors sharing the same environment with those soldiers are subject to the same types of risks in performing their service to that same government.  Just as the soldiers are no longer playing war games under controlled conditions in the backwoods of Tennessee, the contractors are no longer doing business in the ordered environment of the good old USA, looking for ways to appease the gods of EPA and OSHA.  For both types, civilian and soldier, an entirely new set of rules apply:  survive the day, while making the military high command happy.

Ms. Sparky claims that a field grade national guard officer was poisoned by chemicals at Qarmat Ali.  (I am fairly certain that Ms. Sparky is not a licensed medical doctor and is simply and gleefully following the litigator’s lead.)  Doyle Raiznor is apparently representing that officer and several national guard units in a suit against KBR.  That officer has physical problems that Raiznor is attributing to chemicals at Qarmat Ali.  In a last interview by Raiznor (according to a sympathy-inducing dialogue card inserted into the video, the officer has since died) the colonel, at Raiznor’s prodding — and prepping, no doubt — states that the KBR employees had it easy because they had armed soldiers with them at all times.  The insinuation is that the soldier, standing in the same place as the civilian, had a much harder time…   than…   the civilian…   standing in the same place…   as the…   soldier?…    Huh!  If an RPG exploded within 15 feet of the civilian, that civilian would have exactly the same amount of protection with or without the soldier nearby.  You know…   NONE.

Let it be noted that there are a host of other soldiers and civilians who were NOT at the water plant who are also plagued with vague and serious physical maladies.  Viet Nam, the first Gulf War, Afghanistan, Iraq — all producing their shares of afflicted personnel.  There is obviously a general medical downside to crawling around in the tropics and the Mideast at any time, with or without a civilian contractor to scapegoat.

Playing the exposure game.  How come Raiznor has only one body to tout if he has hundreds of clients claiming exposure and injury?  How come that one body is that of a desk jockey (who rarely ventured from the comfort of the office) and not that of a combat grunt who spent days and weeks trampling around with the civilians in a supposedly toxic environment?  (I did my military service at several Army headquarters; I know where the brass hangs outIt isn’t in the foxholes.)

Raiznor’s martyr ploy is as weak as his “it didn’t happen in war” ploy and his phony “rebuttal witness” ploy.  But, in spite of all that, his quest for the spoils of war will continue, win or lose this round.  After all, his website touts him as a giant-corporation killer:  “Bring me your COPD, your hangnails, and irritable skin and I will get you some mo’ M-O-N-E-Yat very reasonable attorneys fees.”  Just watch for Sparky to revive the “shocking deposition” video after the current trial is over.

Next up:  FINALLY!  The summation

Series references:  KBR, Mary L. Wade, Qarmat Ali, Doyle Raiznor, Ms. Sparky, deposition, litigator, sued, cluster

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The Missing Bookend

Posted on March 18, 2012. Filed under: Humor, Memories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

What kid doesn’t want a horse?  How many kids actually get a horse?  It’s not like you can keep them in the house or apartment, ’cause paper training is — to borrow a term from the canine scene — a real bitch.  Forget newspapers.  Think snow shovel.  While the aroma of those scoopings may be several degrees “more pleasant” than that of traditional carnivorous pets, I’m betting that, for tedium, sheer quantity trumps malodorous every time.  There are probably other disadvantages to keeping a 16-hand ungulate tethered to your bed post, but, I forget what they are right now.

The virtual horsey, though, is a staple of childhood.  It gets staked out in that place where every child spends most of its time, that realm of fantasy called imagination.  No snow shovels required there.  Those guys neither eat nor (in the words of televisions’s detective Adrian Monk) un-eat.  All they do is carry the child’s imagination into one adventure after another without the baggage of troublesome chores.

From my childhood, I recall a set of bookends that were cast in metal into the shape of a saddled horse nibbling grass from around its front feet.  Not the best pose for riding into adventure, but, it was workable.  With index- and middle finger astraddle the saddle,  the free hand took that steed in a gallop into all sorts of action.  Yes, indeed, I did get that horse my child-side always wanted.

But there was a rift between fantasy and reality.  My valiant steed had but a single chore to do, and, that was to keep my parents’ books arranged neatly on the shelf.   Going out to play with me left that single chore undone, and, those books sorta got in a state of disarry.  When adventure time was done, I had to straighten those books and slip that bookend back into place so that order and neatness reigned again.  And, I wouldn’t get grounded.

Flash forward a couple of decades (eh, maybe more), and look back at that bookshelf in both a state of order and a state of disarray.  Two bookends equaled order and neatness; one bookend, however, had order near it, but, the farther out you went from it, apparent order became blurred in a heap.  And, I thought…

Life is what happens between two bookends, birth and death.  The longer I travel the road of LIFE, more and more “books” are left behind me.  At some point, the disarray of NOW sort of props up the books behind me so that I can see childhood, teens, military service, whatever, as clean-cut accounts of my journey.  But, the muck of the recent past and the uncertainty inherent in NOW lends an air of disorder to my present path, and, that breeds angst, frustration, hope, satisfaction…??   Hey!  That’s LIFE, isn’t it?  And, my life only has one bookend…

Now, where’s that bottle?  Got the glass.  Ah, there it is!  A red wine from Georgia (the country, not the state).  Pour it into the glass…  Okay!  A toast to that missing bookend:  “May your playtime last a long, long time.  Don’t take it personal, but, that chaotic bookshelf looks just fine without you.”

Next up:  Pismire

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