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Posts tagged ‘Vietnam War’

Poll: Afghanistan Conflict Least Supported War in US History.


Image: Poll: Afghanistan Conflict Least Supported War in US HistoryA man touches the headstone of Petty Officer 1st Class Aaron Carson Vaughn, U.S. Navy Seal, at Arlington National Cemetery. Carson died August 6, 2011 in Wardak province, Afghanistan.

By Courtney Coren

Fewer than 20 percent of Americans support the war in Afghanistan, making the longest conflict in the nation’s history the least supported war as well, a new CNN poll released Monday reveals.

According to the CNN/ORC survey of 1,035 adults nationwide, 82 percent said they oppose the conflict in Afghanistan, up from 46 percent five years ago. Only 17 percent of respondents in the survey taken Dec. 16-19 said they still support the war effort in Afghanistan.

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama’s Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 

“Those numbers show the war in Afghanistan with far less support than other conflicts,” said Keating Holland, CNN Polling Director. “Opposition to the Iraq war never got higher than 69 percent in CNN polling while U.S. troops were in that country, and while the Vietnam War was in progress, no more than six in 10 ever told Gallup’s interviewers that war was a mistake.”

All U.S. troops are scheduled to be withdrawn from Afghanistan by December 2014, and over half of those polled would like to see them withdrawn sooner. About 25 percent said they believe that some troops should remain in the country after that deadline.

The poll found that only one-in-three respondents believe that the U.S. is actually winning the war there and 57 percent think it is going badly.

“Independents have a much gloomier view of the war in Afghanistan than Republicans or Democrats,” Holland said. “That may be because a Republican president started the war and a Democratic president has continued it, so there may be some residual support among people who identify with either party.”

The government of Afghanistan and the Obama administration are working to reach abilateral security agreement, which would allow 10,000 troops to remain in the country after 2014. Currently, 47,000 U.S. troops remain in the country. A draft security arrangement was reached in November, but so far Afghan leader Hamid Karzai has refused to sign it.

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama’s Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Going to War Over Your Life’s Prophetic Promises.


Bible and cross
There is a time for war. (© damianeva/Flickr/Creative Commons)

War is a word that most people do not like. The events of Sept. 11, 2001, thrust the United States and the world into an ongoing season of war. Whether we liked war or didn’t, we were under a terrorist attack. A response to the attack was to preserve the security and well-being of the citizens of the United States.

Life changed that day not only for the United States but for the world. War has become a way of life for many years. Like it or not, our nation became engaged in war.

In our nation, the purpose of war is to preserve the promises made by the forefathers of this great nation, who stated in the Preamble of the Constitution: “We the people of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

For those promises to be realized in the days ahead, citizens have been required to battle. My father was a machine-gunner on the front line of the Battle of the Bulge during World War II. Most of his comrades were killed during several battles. The Battle of the Bulge was the bloodiest and yet most decisive battle of the war. My dad told us how he would often be the only person left alive during some of the most intense fighting. Our family experienced the trauma and effects of war that left my dad emotionally scarred throughout the remainder of his life.

When my husband, Dale, and I were first married, he was an officer in the U.S. Air Force. At that time the United States was involved with the war in Vietnam. Several of my friends lost husbands during that conflict. Although I have never enjoyed war, I understand the necessity of it. Some things such as freedom, security, promises and many other benefits are obtained only through victory in war. Our blessings and promises as citizens are a result of battles that were not only fought but also won by previous generations.

The Lord has made promises for the citizens of His kingdom. His promises include safety, healing, provision, deliverance and numerous other blessings. Many of these prophetic promises are realized only as a result of victory in spiritual war.

Too often believers think that the promises of God are automatic. Many people who receive prophetic promises think that if the Lord has given a prophetic word, then the word will come to pass. These Christians often do not understand the war involved before they experience the fulfillment of that word. For prophetic battles to be won there must be a revelation of governing authority in the spirit realm.

The apostle Paul described his authority to govern in the spirit (see 1 Cor. 5:3).  His goal was to extend the kingdom of God and to represent Christ fully. Demons knew his influence. He affected entire cities and regions. He fought for prophetic promises and the blessings of God everywhere he went.

Several things happened as a result of his ability to war in the spirit:

  • Those who practiced magic through books repented and burned the books (Acts 19:18-19).
  • Supernatural miracles occurred. Handkerchiefs or aprons carried from Paul’s body produced miracles, signs and wonders (Acts 19:10-12).
  • The business world was greatly impacted. A great uproar occurred and no one wanted to buy idols sold for worship of Artemis (see Acts 19:25-17).

No demonic power could stop Paul! He was God’s weapon of war to advance the kingdom of God and secure prophetic promises for the earth!

We are facing situations today much like the apostle Paul faced so long ago. Like Paul, you and I have been given governing authority so we can win the prophetic wars we are facing.

My books, Praying with Authority and Prophetic Intercession, will help you reach new levels of governing authority. They will help you win the war to secure your prophetic promises.  I have also written a new book called Fighting for Your Prophetic Promises, which helps the readers know how to receive, release and test a prophetic word.

Whether you like war or don’t, this is a season of intense warfare. Yet, you have the promise of victory. God has not changed His mind concerning His promises for you. War with new authority. War until your promise manifests. Now, continue to smell the sweet scent of victory as you advance in this season of war.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

BARBARA WENTROBLE

Barbara Wentroble is a gifted apostolic and prophetic minister and the founder of International Breakthrough Ministries and Breakthrough Business Network (internationalbreakthroughministries.org). She has written several books, including Praying With Authority and Rise to Your Destiny, and lives in Irving, Texas, with her husband, Dale.

Chuck Smith, Calvary Chapel Founder, Loses Lung Cancer Battle.


Pastor Chuck Smith passed away Thursday at age 86.
Pastor Chuck Smith passed away Thursday at age 86.

Pastor Chuck Smith, who initiated the rise of Calvary Chapel movement of “Jesus People” that was featured in Time magazine in the 1960s, passed away Thursday at age 86 after a long battle with lung cancer.

Smith began pastoring at Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, Calif., in 1965, and was known for his less formal and contemporary approach to worship and church services. His ministry continued to grow until his death. In 2012, after he announced to his congregation he had been diagnosed with lung cancer, Smith established a 21-member leadership council to oversee the Calvary Chapel Association, a fellowship of more than 1,600 congregations in the U.S. and worldwide.

He was lauded for bridging the “generation gap” that existed during the Vietnam War era and was popular among the “hippie” culture, embracing the teachings of Christ and the Bible while shunning the traditional denominational ideology of the church.

Smith often conducted outreaches on the beaches of California and performed baptisms in the Pacific Ocean.

He was the author of several books, including Why Grace Changes Everything, Charisma vs. Charismania, Effective Prayer Life and The Final Act.

Smith’s ministry didn’t come without controversy. In his 1978 book End Times, Smith predicted that the world would end by 1981. In his book Future Survival, he said, “[I] could be wrong, but it’s a deep conviction in my heart and all my plans are predicated on that belief.”

When the world didn’t end in 1981, many followers left his church.

In 1971, Smith helped to launch Maranatha! Music, a nonprofit outreach of Calvary Chapel composed of hymns and worship songs with a folk-rock style. Maranatha! is still alive today and distributed under Warner Music Entertainment.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

Vatican: 100,000 Attend Syria Peace Vigil.


Tens of thousands of people filled St. Peter’s Square for a four-hour Syria peace vigil late Saturday, answering Pope Francis’ call for a grassroots cry for peace that was echoed by Christians and non-Christians alike in Syria and in vigils around the world.

The Vatican estimated about 100,000 took part in the Rome event, making it one of the largest rallies in the West against proposed U.S.-led military action against the Syrian regime following the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack near Damascus.

Francis spent most of the vigil in silent prayer, but during his speech he issued a heartfelt plea for peace, denouncing those who are “captivated by the idols of dominion and power” and destroy God’s creation through war.

“This evening, I ask the Lord that we Christians, and our brothers and sisters of other religions and every man and woman of good will, cry out forcefully: Violence and war are never the way to peace!” he said.

“May the noise of weapons cease!” he said. “War always marks the failure of peace, it is always a defeat for humanity.”

In Damascus, a few dozen Syrian Christians attended a service in the al-Zaytoun Church, joining Francis’ invitation for a global participation in the day of fasting and prayer and to oppose outside military intervention in the conflict.

Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregorios III Laham of Antioch and All East presided, saying most countries supported a political solution to the crisis in Syria and few wanted military action. “This is the start of the victory,” he told the Damascus faithful. “No to war. Yes for peace.”

In Washington, at least 150 protesters picketed in front of the White House and marched to Capitol Hill to voice their opposition to a U.S. military strike in Syria. Anti-war protests were also held in other U.S. cities, including one in New York City’s Times Squares and a prayer vigil in Boston that echoed Saturday’s massive gathering at the Vatican.

Medea Benjamin, a founder of the anti-war group Code Pink, said a cross-section of Americans, many of whom disagree on a variety of issues, are united against military intervention.

“We have suddenly found ourselves united as Americans, overwhelmingly saying we will not let you drag us into another war,” Benjamin shouted into a megaphone in front of the White House.

Francis announced the day of fasting and prayer Sept. 1, alarmed at the acceleration of U.S. threats to strike Syria after the chemical weapons attack.

Since then, the Vatican has ramped up its peace message, summoning ambassadors for a briefing by the Holy See foreign minister this week. Francis appealed directly to world powers at the Group of 20 meeting in Russia, urging them to abandon the “futile pursuit” of a military solution in Syria and work instead for a negotiated settlement.

Bishops around the world joined Francis in the daylong fast and organized similar vigils in their home dioceses. In Francis’ native Argentina, human rights and religious groups held a vigil in Buenos Aires’ Plaza de Mayo and in cities across the country. Vatican Radio reported similar initiatives were taking place throughout Italy, in Cuba and elsewhere. Even the grand mufti of Damascus, who thanked the pope for his initiative in a letter earlier this week, invited Muslims to join the fast in solidarity.

Vatican officials have stressed that Saturday’s event was religious, not political. But the gathering nevertheless took on the air of an anti-war rally, with protesters holding up Syrian flags and banners in the square reading “Don’t attack Syria” and “Obama you don’t have a dream, you have a nightmare.” A few rainbow “Peace” flags fluttered in the breeze.

But by the time the vigil got underway, the posters and flags had mainly disappeared as a more religious tone took over, with leaders from a variety of Christian and non-Christian denominations joining cardinals, politicians and ordinary folk for the evening of prayer, hymns and meditation.

“This is already a success, the fact that all of us are here, Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, atheists,” a Hindu believer named Anata said. Pilgrims “made an effort to fast, not to do many things, and come here from all over Italy and Europe. This is already a success.”

The pope entered the square from the basilica steps, foregoing his usual high-spirited drive through in his open car – an indication of the sobriety of the evening, which capped a day of fasting for the pontiff.

The 76-year-old pope held up well throughout the four hours – lasting longer than many who by the vigil’s 11 p.m. conclusion had already gone home. He thanked those who had stayed to the end for their company, and wished them a good night’s sleep.

The peace vigil marked something of a novelty for the Vatican: Nothing of its kind has ever taken place in St. Peter’s Square, though popes past have participated in daylong peace prayers in places like Assisi, known for its peace-loving native son and the pope’s namesake, St. Francis.

That’s not to say popes haven’t taken vigorous anti-war positions in the past: Pope Paul VI famously uttered the words “War never again, never again war” at the United Nations in 1965 as the Vietnam War raged, a refrain that has been repeated by every pope since. Pope John Paul II sent an envoy to President George W. Bush on the eve of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq urging him to stand down – to no avail.

Francis has condemned the use of chemical weapons in Syria, but has been careful not to lay blame on any one side, exhorting world leaders instead to focus on the plight of Syrian civilians and the need in general to end the violence.

Other church officials, both at the Vatican and in dioceses, have been more pointed in their criticism of any internationalization of the conflict, saying U.S.-French military strikes will only exacerbate the situation for civilians, particularly Christian minorities.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source: NEWSmax.com

Pope Leads Fasting and Prayer Day for Syria.


The Catholic Church has called for a global day of fasting and prayer on Saturday for peace in Syria and against any armed intervention, with Pope Francis scheduled to host a mass vigil on St Peter’s Square.

The Argentine pope has called for a “cry for peace” from the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, Christians as a whole, believers from other faiths and atheists.

Syria’s Sunni Muslim leader, Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, has called for Syrians to join in the prayers and the patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I, spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox, has said he is also backing the initiative.

A giant peace flag will also be raised in Assisi, the hometown of the patron saint of peace St Francis whose name the pope adopted when he was elected in March.

There has been a giant mobilisation of Catholic churches worldwide — through traditional homilies at mass as well as via social media — for the faithful to pray for peace and engage in some form of fasting.

The four-hour prayer vigil in the Vatican starts at 1700 GMT but there will be similar smaller initiatives around the world from Baghdad to Jerusalem, from Mumbai to Buenos Aires, from Washington DC to Beirut.

The pope’s call is not unprecedented but unusual and experts have likened it to the global day of prayer instituted by late pope John Paul II following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

It has also been compared to impassioned calls for peace by John Paul II in the run-up to the Iraq war and a speech by another papal predecessor, Paul VI, against the Vietnam War at the United Nations.

“This cry from the pope distills the calls coming from the one big family that is humanity,” French cardinal Roger Etchegaray, who led peace missions on behalf of John Paul II ahead of the Iraq war in 2003, told AFP.

The head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Families, Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia, even wrote an open letter to parents asking them to take part.

“Do not be afraid to offer your children a sober meal,” he said, adding: “Invite grandparents to a meal that will be poor in nourishment but rich in words.”

“If anyone has experienced war, they should talk about what it means to live under a bombardment — the uncertainty of what tomorrow will bring,” Paglia said.

Brazilian cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, head of the pontifical council overseeing Catholic orders on five continents, said churches and monasteries throughout the world should also take part in the prayers.

Among the many taking part in the initiative will be Bishop Theophile Kaboy in Goma in the war-riven Democratic Republic of Congo, who said he would hold a special prayer session in the local cathedral.

“We also ask that our people, who have lived with war for 20 years, not be forgotten,” he said.

The appeal has been particularly well received in the Middle East, where Christian patriarchs who are often in competition with one another have been united in their concern about the possible escalation of Syria’s civil war and the rise of radical Islamism.

“Peace is a good which overcomes every barrier, because it belongs all of humanity #prayforpeace,” Pope Francis wrote in one tweet, with another saying simply: “Never again war! War never again!”

Francis is expected to be present for the duration of the marathon prayer vigil on St Peter’s Square and will speak briefly in-between long moments of silence and recitals of invocations for peace.

A famous icon of the Virgin Mary will also be carried across the famous square by a group of Swiss Guards.

Couples from Syria, Egypt, Russia and the United States are also expected to take part in the ceremony, which will end with a solemn papal blessing.

Several Italian government leaders have said they will take part, after Italy said it will not take part in any armed intervention without a UN mandate.

Many non-Catholic groups including the far-left Left, Ecology and Freedom party, the anti-clerical Radical Party and the far-right European Solidarity Front for Syria have said they also support the prayer day.

© AFP 2013

Source: NEWSmax.com

Kerry Comes Full-Circle From Vietnam Protester to Syria Salesman.


When an anti-war protester interrupted a congressional hearing on Syria yesterday to yell, “We don’t want another war,” Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged the irony that he first appeared before the same Senate panel 42 years ago as an anti-war activist.

“When I was 27 years old, I had feelings very similar to that protester. And I would just say that is exactly why it is so important that we are all here having this debate, talking about these things before the country, and that the Congress itself will act representing the American people,” Kerry told the Foreign Relations Committee.

Kerry, who spent hours testifying on Capitol Hill yesterday and today to persuade reluctant lawmakers to approve a strike to punish the Syrian regime for what the U.S. says was the gassing of 1,400 people, has emerged as the Obama administration’s most passionate advocate of a military response to an atrocity.

More than President Barack Obama himself, Kerry is the public face of the administration’s campaign to convince the world and the American people that Syrian President Bashar al- Assad committed a war crime and that the U.S. must act in collective self-defense.

The role of chief spokesman for military action — a tough sales job to a war-weary public and Congress — may seem an odd role for a decorated Vietnam War naval officer who rose to prominence as an anti-war campaigner before entering politics. Those who’ve known him for decades say Kerry is doing now what he did in 1971: speaking his conscience about acts of war.

‘Wrong-Headed Action’

Kerry’s high profile as the administration’s advocate for military action has earned him criticism as well. Retired Army Colonel Larry Wilkerson, who was Secretary of State Colin Powell’s chief of staff, said Kerry “has become one of those people who in order to stay loyal to this administration” is making a case for a wrong-headed action without recognizing that “war is brutal; you have no idea how the person against whom you’re using force is going to respond.”

“The Secretary of State historically seems to be either a recalcitrant, stubborn opponent of the White House or a lapdog. I worked for one who because of his desire to be loyal” made a faulty case for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, said Wilkerson, a visiting professor at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, who opposes military action in Syria.

Others interviewed today, including 10 longtime Kerry strategists, observers, political allies or opponents, argued that Kerry’s position on Syria is rooted in his belief in the rules of war and his personal experience on the battlefield.

‘Moral Authority’

“It’s the arc of a man’s life,” said Bill Delahunt, a former Democratic congressman from Massachusetts who has known Kerry since the two were young prosecutors. “His history gives him credibility. He speaks with such moral authority now — just as he spoke with moral authority when he entered the national stage. Because he is speaking not just about America’s reputation as a military power, but our obligation under international conventions or war.”

Delahunt, now special counsel with the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based law firm Eckert Seamans, said in an interview that two Democratic lawmakers whom he saw today in Washington told him that Kerry’s performance under tough questioning was “astounding.”

While both had felt “conflicted” about a vote to authorize a military strike, Delahunt said, Kerry articulated the moral reasoning and national interest “in such a way that they are moving clearly towards supporting” the administration.

Vietnam Protester

Kerry spoke out four decades ago when he opposed a war of attrition in Vietnam, and he’s speaking his mind now against the use of banned weapons that indiscriminately kill civilians, said one administration official close to the issue, who wasn’t authorized to be quoted by name and asked not to be identified.

Kerry has never claimed to oppose war in all cases. One of his earliest memories was as a four-year-old boy visiting a family home in St. Briac-sur-Mer, France, where he witnessed the devastation of World War II and “concluded there were wars worth fighting for,” said Michael Kranish, a co-author of “John F. Kerry: The Boston Globe Biography.” Kerry’s father was a diplomat in postwar Berlin, a city that made a lasting impression on the younger Kerry.

“It’s almost too easy to say he is an anti-war person,” Kranish said in an interview. “If you look at the fuller picture, he was against one war” in Vietnam, “but saw that American might is right in other cases.”

War Observer

Tom Vallely, who was a Marine in Vietnam and got to know Kerry when they both supported another anti-war veteran’s political campaign, called his old friend “an observer of war. He comes to it like an investigative reporter, and he came to the same conclusions as Neil Sheehan or David Halberstam,” Vallely said, referring to two journalists who wrote prize- winning critical accounts of the Vietnam War.

Twice on live television from the State Department last week and five times on Sunday talk shows, Kerry delivered an emotional tirade against Assad’s alleged war crimes, speaking as “a father and a grandfather” who suffered over images of Syrian children gassed to death.

Kerry’s delivery was striking for its contrast with Obama’s more sober tone in a PBS interview and statements in which the president acknowledged the difficulty of any decision and the war-weariness of the American public.

Testifying this week alongside Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, a fellow Vietnam veteran, and Army General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Kerry parried the majority of the lawmakers’ questions and appeared to be the unofficial chief spokesman for the trio.

‘Passionate’ Denunciation

Kerry’s “passionate” denunciation of Assad for alleged war crimes should not come as a surprise, said Stephanie Cutter, who was Kerry’s communications director during his 2004 presidential run.

“This is not political theater to him; this is his job,” said Cutter, who worked for Obama’s re-election campaign and is a co-host of CNN’s Crossfire. After two decades on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he knows the Middle East and the key players, including Assad, and “because he’s been to war, he speaks with authority” when it’s necessary to take military action “and he doesn’t come to that decision lightly,” she said in an interview.

Cutter, who was at Kerry’s side when he struggled during the 2004 campaign with his regret over voting to authorize the Iraq War, said that decision “weighed heavily on him, and he fully understands mistakes were made in evaluating intelligence and ignoring the advice of the military and rushing to war.” Kerry “sure as hell” would not want to repeat “the mistakes of the previous administration,” she said.

‘Absolutely Certain’

Bob Shrum, Kerry’s senior strategist on his presidential campaign, now a senior fellow at New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, said the senator was haunted by having been misled by faulty intelligence into authorizing the Iraq War. Kerry “would not bring the passion and commitment” to a limited strike “unless he was absolutely certain that the evidence was right,” he said.

Some Republicans, including fellow Vietnam veteran Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican, have defended Kerry’s position before reluctant members of both parties.

William Weld, a two-term Republican governor of Massachusetts who challenged Kerry unsuccessfully for his Senate seat in 1996, said he’s watched his former rival’s performance on Capitol Hill with admiration.

“John Kerry has been the absolute hero of the Syria situation,” Weld said in an interview. “He has grown in office as Secretary of State and is really coming into his own.”

 

© Copyright 2013 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

Source: NEWSmax.com

‘Butler’ Box Office Sales Plummets by One-Third.


Image: 'Butler' Box Office Sales Plummets by One-Third

By Jennifer G. Hickey

The movieThe Butler” saw its weekend box office receipts plummet by nearly a third, from $24.6 million in its opening week to $17 million last week, after a storm of protest from Republican and veterans groups.

The film depicts a White House butler who served eight presidents, and has come under fire for its portrayal of former President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy as being racially insensitive and for casting Jane Fonda as the first lady.

Supporters of President Reagan and veterans groups especially have criticized the film, with some calling for boycotts.

Latest: The Real Ronald Reagan Revealed in This Movie 

Though the film remained at number one in sales this weekend, film critic Christian Toto says “The Butler” is benefiting from slight competition at the box office and advantageous timing this summer.

“This time of year is generally considered a dumping ground for projects without major commercial appeal. It is also that rare movie that plays to more sophisticated movie goers, unlike most of the material at the theater right now,” said Toto.

The casting of Fonda to play Nancy Reagan in the movie has sparked a backlash among military veterans who cannot forgive her for her actions during the Vietnam War.

“I do think the team behind the movie made a mistake by casting people like Jane Fonda in the film. It stirred up a few news headlines, but it likely angered those who might otherwise check the movie out,” said Toto, assistant editor of Big Hollywood. “Fonda is in the film for less than a few minutes, so her talents weren’t needed.”

Elizabethtown, Kentucky movie theater owner Ike Boutwell told The News-Enterprise he would not show the movie – or any Jane Fonda film – in his cinema.

“We’re telling people that if you don’t like Jane Fonda, don’t go see the movie,” Joe Davis, of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, told Newsmax

And former Reagan associates – including former Attorney General Edwin Meese III, former White House chief of staff Ken Duberstein and former Sens. Paul Laxalt and Richard Schweiker — told Newsmax that the depiction of the president as racially insensitive in the movie was inaccurate.

Meese III told Newsmax the true Ronald Reagan “treated everyone extremely well, including people who were in a position of assisting him in one way or another.”

Latest: The Real Ronald Reagan Revealed in This Movie 

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Sergeant Sentenced to Life Without Parole in Killing of Afghan Civilians.


An American soldier was sentenced on Friday to life in prison without the possibility of parole for killing 16 Afghan civilians on their family compounds in a nighttime rampage last year.

Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, a veteran of four combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, has admitted to slaughtering the villagers, mostly women and children, in attacks on their family compounds in Kandahar province in March 2012.

Bales pleaded guilty to the killings in June in a deal that spared him the death penalty.

The jury of six military personnel deliberated less than two hours before deciding Bales should spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Both sides made closing arguments Friday morning at the conclusion of sentencing proceedings at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma in Washington state.

“He wiped out generations and he ruined lives forever,” said prosecutor Lieutenant Colonel Jay Morse. “He should be known by one official title from this day until the day he dies: inmate.”

Army prosecutors have said Bales acted alone and with premeditation when, armed with a pistol, a rifle and a grenade launcher, he left his outpost twice during the night, returning in the middle of his rampage to tell a fellow soldier, “I just shot up some people.”

The killings marked the worst case of civilian deaths blamed on a U.S. soldier since the Vietnam War and further eroded strained U.S.-Afghan relations after more than a decade of conflict in Afghanistan.

Defense attorneys have said Bales carried out the killings after suffering a breakdown under the pressure of the last of his four deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. They have said he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and a brain injury even before shipping off to Kandahar province

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: NEWSmax.com

VFW to Jane Fonda Foes: ‘Don’t See Butler’.


Image: VFW to Jane Fonda Foes: 'Don't See Butler'

By Jennifer G. Hickey

The selection of Jane Fonda to play Nancy Reagan in Lee Daniels‘ movie “The Butler” has sparked a backlash among military veterans who cannot forgive her for her actions during the Vietnam War.

“We’re telling people that if you don’t like Jane Fonda, don’t go see the movie,” Joe Davis, of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, told Newsmax.

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Fonda gained the nickname “Hanoi Jane” in 1972 when she visited enemy territory in North Vietnam and was photographed sitting on top of an anti-aircraft battery.

“There are some veterans who can never forget and some who can never forgive Jane Fonda for what they saw as her treasonous actions during the Vietnam War. That anger is only deepened by her playing the wife of someone who they continue to hold in high esteeem,” says a representative of a veteran’s organization who spoke on background with Newsmax.

The official said veterans respect Reagan as an individual who “built the issue [of POWs] from zero during his time as governor and then made it a priority when he was elected president.”

Editor’s Note: Weird Trick Adds $1,000 to Your Social Security Checks 

“Some will never see one of her movies because they do not want a nickel or dime going to her,” the official said.

Some protests have been launched on Facebook pages, such as “The Butler Boycott,” which urges a boycott of the movie “to let Hollywood know what you think about Jane Fonda acting as Nancy Reagan.”

Another Facebook page – “Boycott Hanoi Jane Playing Nancy Reagan” – has over 30,000 “likes,” and says it’s “time for vets and Americans to band together to make a statement and to educate some of the younger generation about who Hanoi Jane Fonda really is.”

Rather than try to tamper down the criticism, Fonda has inflamed passions over her casting as the first lady.

In April, Fonda said veterans should “get a life” after hearing about the planned boycott of the movie and last month she wore a “Hanoi Jane” T-shirt during a film promotion.

Reagan historian Craig Shirley told Newsmax that Fonda “was definitely cast to push buttons, there was no doubt about it. They chose her specifically to get people talking about it, happily, or, in the case of a lot of conservatives, unhappily.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Carl Bernstein: ‘Admirable Aspects’ to Snowden’s Security Leaks.


Carl Bernstein, the former Washington Post reporter who helped expose the Watergate scandal, spoke out in favor of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden Wednesday.

“We are seeing that there are admirable aspects to what he’s done,” Bernstein said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program.

Story continues below.

 

“What Snowden has done, regardless of what we might think of him in terms of serving all aspects of our national interest, is that he has finally caused a real debate in this country and abroad about the vacuum-cleaning nature of our intelligence collection. It’s an overdue debate.”

To be sure, the NSA programs leaked by Snowden were conducted appropriately, Bernstein said, and most of the information Snowden released was already known.

“The most important aspect is that so far, as far as we know, the program has not been abused and safeguards are in place domestically,” Bernstein said.

Bernstein wasn’t so keen on Snowden’s flight from the United States.

“In this form of civil disobedience, he would have done better perhaps for himself and for his case, as we’re now seeing in this opera, to stay in the United States and say, ‘I did this for this reason,’” Bernstein said.

“It’s a tough call if you’re in his shoes. . . . He’s got to face the music, and he’s facing them in this odyssey.”

Another Watergate-era player, Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers about the Vietnam War, has also defended Snowden. “I think he’s done an enormous service, incalculable service,” Ellsberg told CNN last month.

But, unlike Bernstein, Ellsberg staunchly opposes the NSA surveillance program. “I have no doubt that this violates the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution and probably other parts of the Bill of Rights and should have been exposed.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Dan Weil

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