Tom Engelhardt of TomDispatch interview Ep 13.5 – Part 1

Danny and I are very excited to bring you the first half of our sit down with Tom Engelhardt, editor-in-chief and founder of TomDispatch, where he brings us amazing long form journalism from a huge group of writers about our national security apparatus and especially America’s endless addiction to militarism.  Here, we discuss Tom’s new book, “A Nation Unmade By War“, along with his journey in creating TomDispatch, being a lifelong New Yorker who was NYC on 9/11, and how people like Donald Rumsfeld used the events of 9/11 to start and maintain the Global War on Terror.  Enjoy!!!

00:40 – Sitdown with Tom Engelhardt – Part 1


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A special thanks to our honorary producers Matthew Hoh and Will Ahrens!!  Without you guys, we couldn’t continue our work.  Thank you both so much!!!

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FOH is hosted, written, and produced by Chris ‘Henri’ Henrikson and Danny Sjursen

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.

Africa on fire and too many military brats – Ep 11.5

As a prolific news junkie, there are some stories that I’m tired of reading about and the Niger investigation has become one of those stories.  Not because the news about Niger is especially horrible or specifically newsworthy, or because we’re seeing more and more expansion by AFRICOM into new corners of Africa; obviously, both those things are true.  My frustration with this is because of the fallout people connected to this news must live through.

The families of these soldiers deserve to fully understand how their loved ones died and what reason the US government says is the prevailing rationality for these soldiers to be in Africa at all.  But the lies and subterfuge continue, most recently in attempting to largely lay the blame of the ambush on the soldiers who died. And I expect more from our military leadership; I shouldn’t, but I do.  These men died being told they were serving their country, but all I see here is lies and propaganda.

Here, Danny and I break down recent headlines out of Africa and discusses the immense number of military members who have family that served.  You wouldn’t think that would be a problem, but for diversity of thought and experience, it’s really important.

00:50 – Danger pay for areas in AFRICOM, new base in Somalia and updates on the Niger ambush

18:06 – Vice chief comments on the US military becoming a caste onto itself through multi generation service

DoD approves danger pay for Niger, Mali, Cameroon – Tara Copp – Military Times

EXCLUSIVE: MASSIVE MILITARY BASE BUILDUP SUGGESTS THE U.S. SHADOW WAR IN SOMALIA IS ONLY GETTING BIGGER – Christina Goldbaum – Vice News

Military Leaders Sent Them On A Hasty, Ill-Planned Mission — And Are Now Blaming Them – Paul Szoldra – Task and Purpose


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

Leave us a voicemail at 860-598-0570.  We might even play it on the podcast!!!

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A special thanks to our honorary producers Matthew Hoh, Will Ahrens, Ron Unger, Gage Counts, and Bashir!!  Without you guys, we couldn’t continue our work.  Thank you all so much!!!

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FOH is hosted, written, and produced by Chris ‘Henri’ Henrikson and Danny Sjursen

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.

Whistleblowers and the US military – Ep 10.5

Whistleblowers are a divided and dense topic.  Bringing up Edward Snowden or Chelsea Manning generally invites conflict, especially for those who work in national security.  However, our government has worked hard to keep secrets while its citizens are kept in the dark.  So, often times, whistleblowers are the only remedy to bring these facts into the light.

Barack Obama was supposed to be the most transparent president in our history, but instead became the exact opposite: a president who set the record for most people charged under the Espionage Act.  With these ideas in mind, Danny and I present our breakdown on whistleblowers.

00:40 – Whistleblowers


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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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A special thanks to our honorary producers Matthew Hoh, Will Ahrens, Ron Unger, and Gage Counts!!  Without you guys, we couldn’t continue our work.  Thank you all so much!!!

Facebook – Fortress On A Hill

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FOH is hosted, written, and produced by Chris ‘Henri’ Henrikson and Danny Sjursen

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.

The return of John Bolton and deported veterans – Ep 10.0

Wow, these last few weeks have had so much news for Danny and I to comb through.  The gas attack in Douma and our government’s response, John Bolton becoming national security adviser, the killing of Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip, and a whole host of other major stories.  Here’s the Fortress breakdown of recent events.  Our whistleblower episode aires a week from today on the 20th, so keep an eye out for that.

00:40 – Danny’s quick takes on tons of shit – John Bolton, Trump says leave Syria, killing protestors in Gaza

10:15 – Hector Barajas and the Deported veterans support house

18:35 – Pentagon raises budget more than the entire military budget of Russia

24:36 – Imprisoned veterans in Kuwait

Ep 5.0 – Gold Star Families be damned (has story on the return of Marco Chavez from Mexico following his pardon from Gov. Jerry Brown)

Ep 8.0 – Africa under the microscope (has story on the closing of USCIS offices near Army basic training locations, making it much more difficult for military recruits to become naturalized.)

ACLU Report details how the US failed deported veterans

Twice-Deployed Afghan War Vet Denied Citizenship Due To Felony Drug Conviction – MANYA BRACHEAR PASHMAN – CHICAGO TRIBUNE

11,800 active military members have a relative in fear of deportation – Lara Copp – Military Times

The Army Is Testing A Mechanical ‘Third Arm’ Right Out Of ‘Aliens’ – Jared Keller – Task and Purpose

She fought in Desert Storm, now the Kuwaitis are torturing her son and the US won’t intervene – Adam Linehan – Task and Purpose

Killeen woman fights to free fiance from Kuwait prison sentence – Josh Sullivan – Killeen Daily Journal

The Pentagon’s spending increase is more than Russia’s entire military budget – Vice News – David Gilbert


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

Not a contributor on Patreon? You’re missing out on amazing bonus content! Sign up to be one of our contributors today! – www.patreon.com/fortressonahill

A special thanks to our honorary producers Matthew Hoh, Will Ahrens, Ron Unger, and Gage Counts!!  Without you guys, we couldn’t continue our work.  Thank you all so much!!!

Facebook – Fortress On A Hill

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FOH is hosted, written, and produced by Chris ‘Henri’ Henrikson and Danny Sjursen

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.

So many nukes, so little humanity – US nuclear weapons policy – Ep 9.5

Nuclear weapons are a complicated and pretty morose topic.  Most of what Americans know about our nuclear capabilities comes more from movies and TV than actual news and content.  We might discuss how far and how much damage an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) from a nuke would cause or maybe discuss the bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki as the natural result of those who wish to challenge the US.  As a kid, I remember reading about our nuclear capabilities and the workings of our ICBM’s.  It was fascinating and terrifying, wrapped all up in one radioactive package.

So, as usual, Danny and I take the given narrative from the US government and spend some time tearing it apart.  We have far larger nuclear stockpiles than most people know, and yet our president wants even more.  Don’t get me wrong; our nuclear arsenal do need some much needed upgrades and modernization, but is our collective choice in spending billions to maintain and even possibly expand this arsenal actually needed to protect our country?  And what the ever living f*%$ is first strike policy and mutually assured destruction?!

The new cold war here and we’re going to kick its ass.  Enjoy!!  Oh, and please don’t forget to give us a review on iTunes!  It helps us out a lot.

00:38 – Daily Beast – whistleblower retaliation

11:51 – Senior leader misconduct hearing (and whistleblower retaliation) – House Armed Services Committee

20:22 – US nuclear weapons policy

Misbehavior by top officials and officers is on the decline, Pentagon leaders say – USA Today – Tom Vanden Brook

U.S. Intelligence Shuts Down Damning Report on Whistleblower Retaliation – Daily Beast – Kevin Poulson

Exclusive: CIA Whistleblower Lawsuit Highlights Lack of Agency Accountability and Need to Extend Protections to Intelligence Community

Why Trump might bend nuclear security rules to help Saudi Arabia build reactors in the desert – Washington Post – Steven Mufson

Trump admin nuclear policy – Washington Post

US to loosen nuclear weapons constraints and develop more ‘usable’ warheads – The Guardian

Prevention is the Only Solution: a Hiroshima Native’s View of Nuclear Weapons – Counter Punch – Seiji Hamada

Defense One – The State of Defense 2018


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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Facebook – 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

A special thanks to our honorary producers Matthew Hoh and Will Ahrens!!  Without you guys, we couldn’t continue our work.

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.


	

Interview with Iona Craig of the Intercept – Part 2 – Ep 9.0

Here’s Part 2 of our in-depth interview with Iona Craig of The Intercept on all things Yemen.  Thanks to Iona for taking so much time to talk with us and sitting in on some of our headlines.

We also dig into the recent news involving denied claims for veterans and family members who were poisoned by drinking contaminated water at Camp Lejuene.  This is a far reaching issue, as anyone who lived or worked on or near Camp Lejuene could possibly get diseases, including a variety of cancers.  If you happen to have served or lived in that area, please click the link below for the VA’s website dedicated to this issue.  There’s also the matter of current servicemembers being forced to use and drink contaminated water (looking at you, Quantico!!)

00:41 – Danny attend West Point panel with Col (ret.) Andrew Basevich on the Global War on Terror

14:38 – Former marine fighting for coverage from Camp Lejuene exposures

29:16 – Current status with our ‘frenemy’ Turkey / how Turkish citizens see Americans

39:24 – Interview with Iona Craig of the Intercept – Part 2

1:15:10 – Five min rant – military parade on Veteran’s Day

IONA CRAIG WON A POLK AWARD FOR HER INVESTIGATION OF A SEAL TEAM RAID THAT KILLED WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN YEMEN. HERE’S HOW SHE DID IT. – The Intercept – Peter Maass

Death in al Ghayil (Women and Children in Yemeni village recall horror of Trump’s “highly successful” SEAL raid)- Iona Craig – The Intercept

VA whistleblower: Veterans poisoned at Camp Lejeune need Trump’s help getting care – Washington Examiner – Scott Davis

Former Marine from West Penn Twp. in a battle for justice in cancer fight – The Standard Speaker – Jill Whalen

Benefits available to people who served at Camp Lejuene – Veterans and family members – Department of Veterans Affairs


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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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

A special thanks to our honorary producers Matthew Hoh and Will Ahrens!!  Without you guys, we couldn’t continue our work.

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.


	

Iranian protests and the hatred of Tom Cotton – Ep 7.0

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.


	

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.


 

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

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/

[bctt tweet=”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. ” username=”fortressonahill”]

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.


	

Bowe Bergdahl and the crisis in Yemen – Ep 2

In Episode 2, Chris ‘Henri’ Henrikson and Danny Sjursen discuss recent developments in the military’s case against Bowe Bergdahl and the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

01:00  – VA PAWS Act

05:00  – Afghanistan

13:00  – New beret for SFAB

27:00  – Bowe Bergdahl sentence announcement

38:00 – Army secretary nominee

44:40 – HR McMaster on Trump’s use of language

55:10 – Yemen

1:32:00 – Total

Once An Eagle by Anton Myrer

Bowe Bergdahl, the former hostage who pleaded guilty to desertion, avoids prison – Washington Post

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/complicit-americas-non-war-crimes-yemen/

The VA Paws Act; HR 2327

Task and Purpose – Tempers Flare Among Special Forces Vets Over New Unit’s Beret

H.R. McMaster: Trump ‘will use whatever language he wants’ on Asia trip

Seattle Times – AP Interview: SEAL wants Bergdahl dishonorably discharged

The Daily Beast – We Lost Soldiers in the Hunt for Bergdahl, a Guy Who Walked Off in the Dead of Night