Wes Moore, writer/executive producer/host, speaks onstage during the ‘Coming Back with Wes Moore’ panel discussion at the PBS portion of the 2014 Winter Television Critics Association tour at Langham Hotel on January 21, 2014 in Pasadena, California
*Author and Afghanistan war veteran Wes Moore will host a PBS series this spring that searches for answers to explain why some veterans get on with their lives after returning from combat and others seemingly cannot.
“For a lot of people, they feel like, once a person comes back home, then everything is now okay; they made it back, so we’re safe now, without understanding that it’s impossible for someone to go into a combat zone and see the things that we have seen and do the things that we have done and expect that person to come back unchanged. It’s literally impossible,” says Moore.
The three part series, “Coming Back with Wes Moore,” doubles as a personal journey for the host. Below, the Army Captain and paratrooper says he had troubles with his own reintegration after returning from active duty.
*Keith David has quietly crept back onto series television with a role in Fox’s freshman comedy “Enlisted.”
The show follows three soldier brothers stationed at the same US Army post while the majority of the base is deployed overseas. The two younger brothers are assigned to rear detachment (a.k.a. the soldiers left behind to care for the base). The eldest brother is demoted to sergeant and forced to return from Afghanistan after punching a superior officer. He’s assigned to supervise a platoon of misfits that includes his brothers.
David plays Command Sergeant Major Donald Cody, who served with the brothers’ late father. It’s a role close to home for the 57- year-old Juilliard School grad.
*A police chief in Ohio didn’t take to kindly to Kanye West comparing his job of performing to that of a police officer or member of the military.
David Oliver, police chief of the northeast Ohio town of Brimfield, has more than 94,000 likes on his department’s Facebook page. But none of his posts have gone as viral as the one when he took on Mr. Yeezus.
“What I simply said in the post I wrote was, I’m calling for you to immediately retire from entertaining and join the military and be deployed,” Oliver said. “Maybe you’ll get a firm grasp on what it’s like to be in the military.”
The whole thing started when West told Saturday Night Online how dangerous he thinks his job is on stage. “This is like being a police officer, or like war or something,” West said. Oliver said: “I was offended because I just don’t think that any entertainer can compare what they do to ducking bullets for a living.” Kanye West really wasn’t on his radar much until now.
Oliver said he’d heard his name, but didn’t know about baby North West…. “No idea until somebody said his daughter’s named after a compass.”
*Dondre Whitfield, “Sons of Anarchy” star Merle Dandridge and Arjun Gupta of “Nurse Jackie” and have joined the CW pilot “Company Town,” reports Deadline.com.
Written by Sera Gamble and directed by Taylor Hackford, it chronicles the aftermath of a scandal at a Naval base, which touches the lives of both civilians and military personnel.
The story follows two early 20-something women — Krista (Gage Golightly) and Page — who grew up together, were once best friends, but now are on opposite sides of the Townie/Military divide.
Dandridge plays Louise, a Navy Division Director, who is suddenly promoted to Commanding Officer of Naval Service Affairs and put in charge of a group of bases and personnel that’s just become beleaguered by a terrible scandal.
Whitfield will play Don, a combat-trained trauma surgeon working at the Naval base’s hospital who is troubled by the repercussions of a terrible scandal on the base.
Gupta will play Jack, a Navy Chief Petty Officer whose priority is to take care of his jet maintenance crew, but privately he’s nursing big dreams.
*If the countries of the world were ranked, many people across the globe would rank the United States first. But this is curious because the United States does not rank very high in education, has the largest national debt with a recently downgraded credit rating, and is a less and less attractive location for businesses due to favorable tax shelters available in other nations.
What then is the basis on the #1 ranking I alluded to earlier? Two things: culture and power. Culture I will leave for another day. In light of the recent news about American drone strikes American power deserves a little more attention.
There are two basic concepts in play here. First: the United States sees itself as the leader of the free world which means it will feels a responsibility to use military force to ensure that world events follow a certain path. This use of military force means a commitment of either American lives or, in our increasingly technologically advanced reality, a commitment of American machinery.
The first of these things is the easiest thing to change but also the most unlikely thing to be changed. There is nothing besides American ego that dictates that we strive to maintain our position as world leader. Our policy makers could decide to retreat from the responsibility of world leadership. But the prestige of that position is too powerful a force to deny. Even with an understanding of the negative consequences of being everywhere in the world, there is virtually no chance that the United States will abandon its role as world leader.
Because of that role the American military must be able operate and enforce the American will in multiple arenas. A few generations ago that meant having a substantial number of troops and equipment spread around the world. But if you are a military decision maker why would you not progress beyond putting American lives in jeopardy? This is what the drones make possible. Given that the drones can strike targets with precision using them is the correct military decision.
All of this brings us to the recent news regarding the use of drones on American citizens. But if you accept the first two concepts listed above there really shouldn’t be any question about who gets targeted. Unless you mistakenly subscribe to the idea that American citizens couldn’t possibly pursue actions that would subvert American interests, then there are scenarios in which American military forces would be in conflict with American citizens.
In this case A+B yields C. If you’d like to change A and relinquish America’s status as the most powerful nation in the world than the outcome might change. If you want to change B and not support American interests around the world then the outcome might change. But without any change in A or B, it is unreasonable to expect that American citizens would not, at some point, be targeted.
Secondly it might be argued that this is different because the American military is executing people without benefit of a trial. This is true. But the American military is not a police force tasked with bring evildoers to justice. Instead the American military is a force tasked with killing people so that the interests of our country are advanced. This is an unpleasant truth. To ask the military to operate in a different manor is to set it up to fail. So when our military targets American citizens, the unfortunate outcome is that American citizens die.
At the end of the day most people who are upset with this outcome are misplacing their anger. No one in this country likes to have Americans losing their life. But the real problem here is the position of the United States as world leader that must have its perspective carried out. Once this changes many of the negative consequences of American military activity will be minimized.
Can our egos take such a change though?
Trevor Brookins is a free lance writer in Rockland County, New York. He is currently working on a book about American culture during the Cold War. His writing has appeared in The Journal News. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @historictrev.
President Barack Obama stands next to Major General Michael S. Linnington as he prepares to lay the wreath in front of the Tomb of the Unknowns during the Presidential Wreath-Laying Ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery on November 11, 2012 Arlington, Virginia
*Delivering a speech during a Sunday ceremony at the Memorial Amphitheater in Arlington National Cemetery, President Obama applauded the efforts of service members and celebrated the diminished number of U.S. military involvements.
“This is the first Veterans Day in a decade in which there are no American troops fighting and dying in Iraq. Thirty-three thousand of our troops have now returned from Afghanistan, and the transition there is underway,” he said.
“When I spoke here three years ago, I spoke about today’s generation of service members. This 9/11 generation who stepped forward after the towers fell, and in the years since, have stepped into history, writing one of the greatest chapters of military service our country has ever known,” Obama said.
“You toppled a dictator and battled an insurgency in Iraq. You pushed back the Taliban and decimated Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. You delivered justice to Osama bin Laden. Tour after tour, year after year, you and your families have done all that this country has asked – you’ve done that and more.”
“Today, a proud nation expresses our gratitude. But we do so mindful that no ceremony or parade, no hug or handshake is enough to truly honor that service. For that, we must do more. For that, we must commit – this day and every day – to serving you as well as you’ve served us,” Obama said, speaking to the commitments Americans, and their government, have to veterans.
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle walk through Arlington National Cemetery after greeting family members of fallen service men and women on Veteran’s Day November 11, 2012 in Arlington, Virginia
He highlighted the needs of veterans returning home, which has been a focus for First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden’s wife, Jill. Obama stressed the importance of efforts to rehire and retrain veterans, maintaining the post-Sept. 11 GI Bill and addressing mounting medical issues.
“If you find yourself struggling with the wounds of war – such as post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injuries – we’ll be there as well, with the care and treatment you need,” he said. “No veteran should have to wait months or years for the benefits that you’ve earned, so we will continue to attack the claims backlog.”
In addition to his remarks, Obama laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns, and followed his speech by meeting with military families in Section 60, where those killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are buried.