Ep 7.0 – Iranian protests and the hatred of Tom Cotton

This week, we take a look at a new report on Veterans Affairs (VA) mental health care from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, then discuss a story about Senator Tom Cotton and his war mongering policies along with a breakdown of President Trump’s recent comments on the Iranian protests.

01:00 – National Academies’ report on evaluation of VA mental health care

07:15 – People Danny (and Henri) hate – Sen. Tom Cotton

16:55 – Army pays $4m to families of victims killed by extremist soldiers at Fort Lewis

20:55 – The recent Iranian protests

Enjoy the show?!  Please leave us a review right here.

Got news to share about our military or veterans?! Or just need to cuss at us for a bit?! Contact us direct by email at fortressonahill@gmail.com

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FOH is hosted, written, and produced by Chris ‘Henri’ Henrikson and Danny Sjursen
The show was mixed and edited by Chris Henrikson
Cover and website art designed by Brian K. Wyatt Jr. of B-EZ Graphix Multimedia Marketing Agency in Tallehassee, FL
Music provided royalty free by Bensound.com

VA Provides Mental Health Care to Veterans of Recent Iraq and Afghanistan Wars of Comparable or Superior Quality to Other Providers, Yet Substantial Unmet Need Remains

National Interest – The Cotton Doctrine: More wars, less security – Christopher A. Preble

Seattle Times – Army pays 4 million to families of victims killed by extremist soldiers – Mike Carter

National Interest – Epistemology, Rhetoric, and the Iranian Protests – Paul Pillar

Note: The views expressed in this podcast are those of the hosts alone, expressed in an unofficial capacity, and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.


	

Ep 7.0 – Iranian protests and the hatred of Tom Cotton

This week, we take a look at a new report on Veterans Affairs (VA) mental health care from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, then discuss a story about Senator Tom Cotton and his war mongering policies along with a breakdown of President Trump’s recent comments on the Iranian protests.

01:00 – National Academies’ report on evaluation of VA mental health care

07:15 – People Danny (and Henri) hate – Sen. Tom Cotton

16:55 – Army pays $4m to families of victims killed by extremist soldiers at Fort Lewis

20:55 – The recent Iranian protests

Enjoy the show?!  Please leave us a review right here.

Got news to share about our military or veterans?! Or just need to cuss at us for a bit?! Contact us direct by email at fortressonahill@gmail.com

Patreon – Fortress On A Hill

Facebook – Fortress On A Hill

Twitter – Fortress On A Hill

Soundcloud – Fortress On A Hill

FOH is hosted, written, and produced by Chris ‘Henri’ Henrikson and Danny Sjursen
The show was mixed and edited by Chris Henrikson
Cover and website art designed by Brian K. Wyatt Jr. of B-EZ Graphix Multimedia Marketing Agency in Tallehassee, FL
Music provided royalty free by Bensound.com

VA Provides Mental Health Care to Veterans of Recent Iraq and Afghanistan Wars of Comparable or Superior Quality to Other Providers, Yet Substantial Unmet Need Remains

National Interest – The Cotton Doctrine: More wars, less security – Christopher A. Preble

Seattle Times – Army pays 4 million to families of victims killed by extremist soldiers – Mike Carter

National Interest – Epistemology, Rhetoric, and the Iranian Protests – Paul Pillar

Note: The views expressed in this podcast are those of the hosts alone, expressed in an unofficial capacity, and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.


	

Bonus: What Danny is Reading This Week

Our Latest Longest War: Losing Hearts and Minds in Afghanistan, edited by Aaron B. O’Connell.

Ok, I admit it – I’m sort of obsessed with the war in Afghanistan. It’s now our longest war, I served in it (2011-12), and I can’t fathom what we’re still doing there. Matters are worse than they’ve ever been, and even senior military officers admit the U.S. is mired in a “stalemate,” this after nearly 17 years of American efforts. This book is edited by a Marine Corps officer and former history professor at the Naval Academy. The work is a collection of excellent essays that try to explain what went wrong from a variety of angles. The essays are accessible, digestible and genuinely made me think and reconsider the course of this war. Unfortunately, the book left me even more disenchanted with this ongoing disaster. Check it out!

The New Sultan: Erdogan and the Crisis of Modern Turkey, by Soner Cagaptay.

If you want to understand our longtime “ally” with the second largest army in NATO, then pick up this short book. Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been in power since 2002, and looks likely to stay at the helm well into the 2020s. This guy has grown increasing Islamist, authoritarian, anti-Western, and pro (sort of) Russian. Now, the Turks have invaded Syria, again, and are attacking the US-allied Kurdish militias. Erdogan and Turkey fear Kurdish autonomy more than nearly anything else. In short, the whole situation is a mess and Erdogan is making a power play in the region divergent from US interests. This book tells the story of Erdogan, his rise, and the history of Turkey both eloquently and succinctly. Nerds of the world – pick up this book!

Enjoy the show?!  Please leave us a review right here.

Got news to share about our military or veterans?! Or just need to cuss at us for a bit?! Contact us direct by email at fortressonahill@gmail.com

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Note: The views expressed in this podcast are those of the hosts alone, expressed in an unofficial capacity, and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.


	

Sneak Preview: Danny’s next piece

Hey FOH Listeners,

Tune in to our next pod episode this Friday where Henri and I talk the military-industrial complex and the downfall of our ostensible “republic.”

In the bonus material, I also preview my next article for Defense Priorities about Trump, China, Russia and how to avoid the next Cold War.

Look, Trump – for all his coarse, unsophisticated rhetoric – actually showed some commonsense about foreign policy back on the campaign trail. It really is a good idea to avoid conflict and warfare with Russia, where possible.

Nonetheless, Trump’s Defense Team – Generals Mattis, McMaster, and Kelly – and the recent NDS all but declare a Cold War on Russia and China.

In my next piece I explain why that’s a bad idea and how to both cooperate, and – where necessary – divide and conquer the Chinese and Russians.

Take it from someone who struggled to beat the Third-World Taliban: the last thing the U.S. military needs is a shooting war with nuclear armed Eurasian powerhouses!

One Love,

Danny

Enjoy the show?!  Please leave us a review right here.

Got news to share about our military or veterans?! Or just need to cuss at us for a bit?! Contact us direct by email at fortressonahill@gmail.com

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Note: The views expressed in this podcast are those of the hosts alone, expressed in an unofficial capacity, and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.


	

Ep 6.5 – 50th anniversary of the Tet Offensive – lessons of Vietnam revisited

We recently passed the 50th anniversary of the Tet Offensive.  As such a pivotal point in time to understand, we continue our sit down with COL (ret) Greg Daddis and discuss the factors that led to America’s losses in Vietnam and how those lessons are still so important today.

4:50 – Nation building in Syria

14:37 – Veteran sizzle reel

19:05 – Trump admin’s new national security strategy

28:40 – Changing the rules about VA Individual Unemployability – Check out Ep 5.0 for recent news on the VA involving medical marijuana and using veterans as props.

38:00 – The use of special operations forces in the war on terror

52:52 – Part 2 of our sit down with COL (ret) Greg Daddis on the anniversary of the Tet Offensive and the lessons Vietnam can teach us about the War on Terror.


America in search of an un-Geneva on Syria – War on the rocks – Sam Heller

Military investigating shooting in newly leaked Afghan combat video – Politico – Wesley Morgan

Fact Check: Did Donald Trump’s 2018 Budget Proposal Cut Support for Disabled Veterans? – Snopes

Trump’s National Defense Strategy Has the Pentagon Popping Champagne – The American Conservative – Andrew Basevich

Tomgram: Nick Turse, The Coming Year in Special Ops


Enjoy the show?!  Please leave us a review right here.

Got news to share about our military or veterans?! Or just need to cuss at us for a bit?! Contact us direct by email at fortressonahill@gmail.com

Patreon – Fortress On A Hill

Facebook – Fortress On A Hill

Twitter – Fortress On A Hill

Soundcloud – Fortress On A Hill

FOH is hosted, written, and produced by Chris ‘Henri’ Henrikson and Danny Sjursen
The show was mixed and edited by Chris Henrikson
Cover and website art designed by Brian K. Wyatt Jr. of B-EZ Graphix Multimedia Marketing Agency in Tallehassee, FL
Music provided royalty free by Bensound.com

Note: The views expressed in this podcast are those of the hosts alone, expressed in an unofficial capacity, and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.


	

Sneak Preview: Danny’s next article

Hey FOH listeners,

Check out the site weekly for short previews about my upcoming articles and other publications. Right now, I’m working on a piece analyzing President Trump’s (well, really it’s Mattis’ and McMaster’s) National Defense Strategy, or NDS.
Here’s the deal: this short (unclassified version) document is – despite the boring prose and buzzword extravaganza – genuinely frightening. These guys are all but declaring a new Cold War with Russia and China, plus rattling their sabers at North Korea and Iran. Oh, and just for good measure, they haven’t forgotten the good old forever – I’m sorry, “generational” – war on terror.

Bottom line: the whole document is a gift-wrapped, early Christmas present for pugnacious generals and the military-industrial complex. Lockheed Martin, Honeywell, and Boeing are licking their chops!

Tune in when the piece publishes (I’ll post a link once it does), as I tear thru the BS and expose what’s inside this document.

Check out the doc itself here (click the first link in this article): https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/theworldpost/wp/2018/01/23/national-defense-strategy/?utm_term=.ff7c4b5e6c93

Danny

Enjoy the show?!  Please leave us a review right here.

Got news to share about our military or veterans?! Or just need to cuss at us for a bit?! Contact us direct by email at fortressonahill@gmail.com

Patreon – Fortress On A Hill

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Note: The views expressed in this podcast are those of the hosts alone, expressed in an unofficial capacity, and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.


	

Ep 6.0 – Interview with COL Greg Daddis, professor and West Point Historian – Part 1

It’s interview time today!!!!  We present part 1 of our sitdown with COL Greg Daddis.  COL Daddis is the expert’s expert on Vietnam and today we will discuss the lessons from Vietnam that can be applied to the endless warfare our country wages.  Ep 6.5 will have part 2 of COL Daddis’ interview, following our normal headlines, which will drop on Feb 9.

Gregory Daddis is an associate professor of history and director of Chapman’s MA Program in War and Society.  Dr. Daddis joined the History Department in the summer of 2015 after having served as the Chief of the American History Division in the Department of History at the United States Military Academy at West Point. A retired US Army colonel, he has served in both Operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom. Dr. Daddis specializes in the history of the Vietnam Wars and the Cold War era.

Arthur Schlesinger – The bitter heritage

Andrew Basevich – The limits of power


Enjoy the show?!  Please leave us a review right here.

Got news to share about our military or veterans?! Or just need to cuss at us for a bit?! Contact us direct by email at fortressonahill@gmail.com

Patreon – Fortress On A Hill

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FOH is hosted, written, and produced by Chris ‘Henri’ Henrikson and Danny Sjursen
The show was mixed and edited by Chris Henrikson
Cover and website art designed by Brian K. Wyatt Jr. of B-EZ Graphix Multimedia Marketing Agency in Tallehassee, FL
Music provided royalty free by Bensound.com

Note: The views expressed in this podcast are those of the hosts alone, expressed in an unofficial capacity, and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.


	

To whom does our military belong? Donald Trump? Secretary Mattis? Beetle Bailey?

I’ve mentioned a few times on the podcast that I feel strongly in the idea that veterans are not the only owners of the ‘military’ story.

Veterans often carry a notion of protection and awareness towards the identities they project to others about their time in service.  Almost daily, I pass a news article or friend’s post on Facebook regarding stolen valor and the comment section is usually foaming at the mouth to discredit ‘fake’ veterans, lest they not distance themselves from the idea that any part of their own service be seen as illegitimate.  I’m not trying to discredit the idea of suppressing and restricting those who say they’ve served when they clearly haven’t (my favorite one roaming around is the guy in USMC dress blues with a SEAL trident sitting below his ribbons.)  My point is that everything about the military experience can be experienced by those who have never served.  Fighting in combat, participating in drill and ceremony, and even the knowledge and training received by Special Operations Forces such as advanced marksmanship and combatives can be experienced and obtained by ordinary people.  The combination of these elements certainly makes the military experience a unique one, but not unknown outside of its ranks.

Further more, the stories that ordinary citizens share about their experiences with service members of all nations and stripes belong to them as much as any veteran.  Veterans are simply people who have survived extraordinary circumstances under the flag of our government.  And the extraordinary circumstances through which service members are sent and have survived are debated and chosen politically.  The military is far more politicized that my 18 year old self would ever have fucking believed, both within its ranks and outside of it.  And the reality is that in our type of democracy, our main avenue to affect foreign policy and thereby overall military policy is through elections.  But we seldom make that connection; that our politicians, through the ‘power of the purse’ can help dictate policy.  We’re now at a trillion dollar defense budget.  And what the military does under the banner of ‘protecting our freedom’ have direct and indirect consequences for all Americans, let alone the dead brown people from ‘shithole’ countries that we’ve left in our wake.

So, don’t ever give yourself the chance to let a news alert of a dead service member go by without asking yourself, “What was that servicemember’s mission?” and “What aspect(s) of that mission did not go as planned?”  Granted, that should just be your first two questions, but I think you get the idea.  “Thank you for your service” needs to become “tell me about your service.”  And we need to lose the reverence to which we’ve ascribed to veterans.  Veterans have been through some harsh shit; don’t get me wrong.  I’m walking living proof of that harsh shit.  But my experience is not above other kinds of suffering that people have experienced.  I believe my government owes a significant debt to all veterans and needs to be held accountable in repaying that debt.  However, and if you’ve only skimmed to this point, let me be crystal fucking clear: defending our nation and the rights of its citizens, while repaying our debt to veterans is not mutually exclusive with ceasing the arming of terrorists or stopping the brutal massacre of innocent civilians in actions we support like in Yemen.  We can do all those things together and still maintain the defense of our country.  I want the opportunities to create veterans like Danny and myself to be few and far between.

For now, we’ll continue to wage war in every continent in one way or another.  Those fucking penguins in Antarctica have had it coming.  And we’ll mourn our lost service members as the cost of ‘freedom,’ all the while the only actual people whose freedom it actually affected are already dead, maimed, or displaced into a refugee black hole somewhere.  Many veterans will continue to have meme fights on Facebook and disparage others’ attempts at ‘stolen valor,’ while ignoring the war and chaos still being made by their former employers.

Please speak out about the topics Danny and I cover on the podcast,  Don’t let any of these stories stagnate and become forgotten.  And share new ones we’ve never considered.  We’ll be fucking all ears.

Today is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.  At least for me, it would be less painful to consider the history of Auschwitz if our country wasn’t still creating widows and orphans in the wake of its imperialism.  If we weren’t, at least we could look at survivors and relatives of Auschwitz and tell them that we’ve really learned the lessons that their ancestors’ lives gave us.  For now, all we have is ‘sympathy for the devil.’

Please allow me to introduce myself
I’m a man of wealth and taste
I’ve been around for a long, long year
Stole many a man’s soul to waste
And I was ’round when Jesus Christ
Had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that Pilate
Washed his hands and sealed his fate
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name
But what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game

 

Got news to share about our military or veterans?! Or just need to cuss at us for a bit?! Contact us direct by email at fortressonahill@gmail.com

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Note: The views expressed in this podcast are those of the hosts alone, expressed in an unofficial capacity, and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.


 

Ep 5.5 – White supremacy in the US military

Prior to the election of Donald Trump, white supremacy didn’t seem to be an issue of great concern. Despite record increases in people joining white nationalist groups during Barack Obama’s time in office, it still wasn’t something that seemed terribly important to the nation or our government.  Then, Trump was elected and groups of people longed pushed to the edges of society now had someone in office that is singing their tune.  His support of white supremacy told many in our nation that it was time to push their ideas of hatred and violence.

But white supremacy didn’t go anywhere.  It didn’t evaporate with the election of the first black president or any other common metric one might observe.  And our military is absolutely no exception.  Here’s our take on it.

01:00 – Afghanistan update from the Strategy Bridge

14:07 – White supremacy in the military

https://thestrategybridge.org/the-bridge/2018/1/3/turning-the-corner-in-afghanistan

https://www.militarytimes.com/news/pentagon-congress/2017/10/23/military-times-poll-one-in-four-troops-sees-white-nationalism-in-the-ranks/

https://taskandpurpose.com/leader-of-charlottesville-white-nationalist-group-was-a-marine-corps-recruiter/

Got news to share about our military?!  Please hit us up at fortressonahill.com

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FOH is hosted, written, and produced by Chris ‘Henri’ Henrikson and Danny Sjursen
The show was mixed and edited by Chris Henrikson
Cover and website art designed by Brian K. Wyatt Jr. of B-EZ Graphix Multimedia Marketing Agency in Tallehassee, FL
Music provided royalty free by Bensound.com

Note: The views expressed in this podcast are those of the hosts alone, expressed in an unofficial capacity, and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.


	

Ep 5.0 – Gold star families be damned – using veterans and their families as props

Memes are as prevalent today as tear-off apartment flyers and peg message boards once were before the Internet existed.  As veterans, we find that our community has a lot of memes created around it, many not even made by veterans in the first place.  Wounded veterans, families of grieving servicemembers, and even invoking the memory of a deceased veteran to score political points (Pat Tillman, Chief Owens’ widow at the State of the Union, and Mrs. Wilson receiving a fucked up POTUS condolence call are all prime examples) are not beneath many politicians in this country.  And the sad reality is that memes are free speech, but that doesn’t excuse the pain caused by meme creators wanting to appropriate the pain of both being in and surviving the military.

So for a community that’s constantly told that it actually protects our rights, including free speech, what is a veteran to do when his or her story / photo / video and so on are appropriated for what really amount to propaganda?  Here’s our take on it.

01:00 – Recent veteran medical marijuana news – VA’s change in marijuana policy and AZ doc left in the lurch with her medical marijuana study for veterans with PTSD

5:00 – The death of Mr. Vance Perry, disabled veteran who died of hypothermia after leaving a VA facility

11:35 – Trump admin national security posture changes toward China and Russia

35:15 – Marco Chavez finally comes home to the US after being deported for a crime he denied ever committing.

40:20 – Use of servicemembers, veterans, and their families as political props.  

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/01/09/576577596/va-clears-the-air-on-doctors-talking-to-veterans-about-marijuana-use

https://www.azcentral.com/story/money/business/health/2017/06/08/arizona-marijuana-doctor-johns-hopkins-university-veterans-administration/378212001/

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/immigration/sd-me-marco-chavez-20171221-story.htmlhttp://www.nbc15.com/content/news/Family-shares-concerns-after-fathers-death-467971303.html

http://www.11alive.com/mobile/article/news/local/army-veteran-freezes-to-death-after-being-released-from-va-hospital/504901459

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2018/01/07/learn-his-name-first-trumps-tweet-politicizing-military-widows-touched-a-nerve/?utm_term=.78d8fe4b9a45

https://www.thedailybeast.com/trolls-scammers-and-verified-facebook-pages-made-this-combat-wounded-vet-an-anti-kneeling-meme-his-real-story-is-much-better?utm_content=tp-facebook&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social


Got news to share about our military or veterans?! Or just need to cuss at us for a bit?! Contact us direct by email at fortressonahill@gmail.com

Patreon – www.patreon.com/fortressonahill/

Wounded veterans, families of grieving servicemembers, and even invoking the memory of a deceased veteran to score political points (Pat Tillman, Chief Owens’ widow at the State of the Union, and Mrs. Wilson receiving a fucked up… Click To Tweet

FOH is hosted, written, and produced by Chris ‘Henri’ Henrikson and Danny Sjursen
The show was mixed and edited by Chris Henrikson
Cover and website art designed by Brian K. Wyatt Jr. of B-EZ Graphix Multimedia Marketing Agency in Tallehassee, FL
Music provided royalty free by Bensound.com

Note: The views expressed in this podcast are those of the hosts alone, expressed in an unofficial capacity, and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.