Saturday, November 24, 2007

Contractor Fraud

The Asociated Press reports today about major cases involving alleged contractor fraud in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan. I'm afraid we haven't heard anything yet; I'm sure this is the tip of the iceberg. It's pretty pathetic that military people are involved, although I am not so naive as to believe that wouldn't happen. A jury of their peers, all members of the military, should serve on the jury and let them come to an authentic judgment.

Major Gloria Davis killed herself in Baghdad, Iraq the day after she admitted to an army investigator that she had accepted bribes. She rests in Arlington National Cemetery along side others she swore to protect. Nothing can or will wash the blood off the hands of someone who profits from war regardless of how much forgiveness they plead for or how much religion they find. If any war profiteers ever have a breath of freedom on this earth, it will be too soon.

-- LEE-DAVIS: Maj. Gloria Davis allegedly told Army investigators before her death in December 2006 that she received $225,000 in bribes from Kuwait-based businessman George H. Lee and his son. Army investigator also said she knew of other payments by the Lees to U.S. contracting officers. No charges filed, but military seized Davis' bank accounts and suspended Lee and his company from doing business with government.

-- MAJ. JOHN COCKERHAM: Federal grand jury in Texas last August indicted Cockerham, his wife Melissa and sister Carolyn Blake on bribery, conspiracy and money-laundering charges, accusing them of taking at least $9.6 million in bribes in 2004-05 while Cockerham was contract officer in Kuwait. Largest bribery case to emerge so far in investigation into contractor fraud.

-- LT. COL. BRUCE HOPFENGARDNER: Hopfengardner pleaded guilty in June to conspiracy to commit money laundering and wire fraud. Sentenced to 21 months in prison and fined $144,500 for accepting cash and gifts while serving in Iraq.

-- MOHAMMAD SHABBIR KHAN: Khan, U.S. citizen and former director of Kuwait and Iraq operations for Saudi Arabian subcontractor Tamimi Global Co., sentenced last December to 51 months in prison and fined $10,000 after admitting paying kickbacks to former employee of Kellogg, Brown & Root Services Inc. to win $14.4 million food services contract at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, and $7.4 million subcontract at palace in Baghdad. Stephen Lowell Seamans, former KBR manager in Kuwait, sentenced to a year and a day after admitting taking kickbacks from Khan.

-- PHILIP BLOOM: Bloom, American living in Romania, sentenced last February to 46 months in prison after pleading guilty to bribery, conspiracy and money laundering. Admitted bribing military personnel with jewelry, computers, cigars and sexual favors to win contracts. Three Army officers awaiting trial for allegedly steering contracts to Bloom.

5 years into the planning of this war, there is still little oversight into war profiteering. The people to lose the most in this high stakes game of avarice and greed on the backs of our military are the military. President Truman is well known for his crusade against war profiteering dating back to his time as a US Senator in 1941.

Back in the spring of 2006, CorpWatch compared the Congressional response from the 40's to these current wars. Truman drove thousands of miles around the country going from one defense plant to another documenting waste and fraud. He then headed the Senate Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program -- the Truman committee, for short. The process saved American taxpayers $15 billion (in 1940s dollars). And by uncovering faulty military equipment, he prevented the deaths of hundreds if not thousands of U.S. soldiers.

Contemporary military auditors have discovered corruption no less shocking than that which Truman observed on his muck-raking roadtrip, but the Bush administration has remained virtually silent on the subject. In 2005 alone, defense contracts totaled more than $270 billion, and the White House recently requested an additional $72 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Given these vast sums, greater oversight is needed.

In Congress, bipartisan bills in both the Senate and House to create a Truman-style oversight committee sit in limbo. Since the Iraq War began, there have been only a handful of hearings on military contracts. Between 1941 and 1948, the Truman committee called 1,798 witnesses for 432 hearings and issued 51 reports.

Truman's investigatory team played a critical role in overseeing the military's overseers. In 1943, for example, it began looking into the aerospace firm Curtiss-Wright after getting tips that the company was delivering defective motors to what was then called the Army Air Corps. The military officials responsible for inspecting the plant insisted that all was rosy, but the committee pressed on, conducting a three-city investigation and taking more than 1,000 pages of sworn testimony.

The dirt it uncovered proved that the company had sold leaky motors to the government and covered it up with forged inspection reports. The military had protected the company by removing inspectors who attempted to block the flawed parts from being installed in airplanes. As a result of the investigation, heads rolled at Curtiss-Wright, and one general wound up in prison.

Similar investigative zeal is needed today. A modern-day Truman committee could start by looking into the Army's recent decision to reimburse Halliburton $253 million for delivering fuel and repairing oil equipment in Iraq, even though the Pentagon's own auditors had contested the bills. In a statement that did little to reassure taxpayers, an Army spokesperson explained that "the contractor is not required to perform perfectly to be entitled to reimbursement."

Rumsfeld has not always been silent on war profiteering or Halliburton . As a Republican congressman from Illinois in 1966, Rumsfeld raised questions about the 30-year association between Halliburton 's chairman and then-president Lyndon Johnson. "Why this huge contract has not been and is not now being adequately audited is beyond me," Rumsfeld said. "The potential for waste and profiteering under such a contract is substantial."

At that time, of course, Rumsfeld was lobbing his criticism at a president of the opposing party. But oversight of war-time contracts need not be -- should not be -- a partisan issue. After all, Truman's crusade came with a member of his own party in the White House. In fact, although President Franklin D. Roosevelt expressed some initial anxieties about Truman's efforts, he eventually was so impressed that he chose Truman to be his vice-presidential running mate.

Who in this generation is man or woman enough to stand up for the military and for the taxpayers?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I'll give thanks

Friday, November 16, 2007

Bush's hypocritical earmarks

Thanks to Satyam over at Think Progress for a great post with details about the earmarks that are included in HR3043, Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008 . Seems like Bush failed to find anything wrong with several millions in earmarks aimed at Bush family projects, as if we wouldn't notice. The credibility and effectiveness of this president is lower than his approval rating at 31%, within 2 points of his all time low from the summer of 2007. Do we really have to put up with him for another 430 days? 1/20/09 cannot come too soon.

Bush Stuffs Spending Bills With Earmarks For Dad’s Foundation, Wife’s Librarian Program


On Monday, President Bush explained his veto of the recent Labor-HHS bill, claiming the “majority” in Congress had abandoned his “clear goals for the Congress to reform the earmarking process” and was “acting like a teenager with a new credit card.”

In reality, Bush “stuffs his budget with billions for pet projects.” According to Senate Democrats, Bush placed 580 earmarks worth $15.6 billion in a recent military and veterans appropriations request, along with “billions” in the energy and water spending bill:

Some presidential earmarks have obvious roots, such as $24 million for the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program. The president earmarked a billion dollars for the Reading First program, which was criticized by government auditors for steering contracts to favored companies. He also sought $8.9 million for the Points of Light foundation, a pet project started by his father, former President George H.W. Bush.

Congress slashed $676 million from Bush’s request for Reading First and eliminated the Points of Light funding. Bush retaliated by vetoing the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education bill.

The Democratic-led Congress has made major advances in earmark reform in contrast to the profligate spenders of recent conservative-led Congresses. An analysis by Citizens Against Government Waste estimates that earmarks in FY08 appropriations bills are “down about 33 percent from the $29 billion in earmarks in FY06 spending bills”:

The report showed a significant reduction in one of the largest magnets for earmarks, the Defense appropriations bill. The FY08 measure, by the group’s reckoning, included 2,074 projects worth $6.6 billion. This compared to 2,822 projects worth $14.9 billion in the FY06 bill.

The group also said Democrats have made strides against earmarks in the Labor-HHS spending bill, which Bush vetoed Tuesday.

Last week, Bush also hypocritically lambasted “the majority” in Congress, ignoring the fact that the largest earmarks in the legislation that he vetoed were from Republican Sens. Mitch McConnnell (KY) and Richard Shelby (AL).

“Republicans’ newfound fascination with spending stems from a simple reality: They suffered badly over the issue in 2006,” notes the Wall Street Journal. Ironically, President Bush should be the target in his “war over earmarks.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

2 Blog years

As I start the 3rd year of my blog, Gold Star Mom Speaks Out, I look back and think about where this journey started and where it has taken me.

Two years ago, 2072 US military had been killed in Iraq. Today the number is 3865. Not quite doubled, but close enough. We are no closer to ending this war now than we were back in 2005. The war tally in dollars is currently near $500 billion with no end in sight to the spending. Bush wants more money, $196 billion more, with no restrictions. Democrats were sent to Washington last November to end this war and here we still are. As of November, 2007 was the deadliest year in terms of US deaths for both Afghanistan & Iraq.

Initial voting in the primaries starts in little more than 7 weeks. I wonder what, if anything, will change with a new president. Barring an impeachment miracle, we have 432 hellish days left in the Bush presidency. January 20, 2009 cannot come soon enough; how much more damage can he do to our country in those remaining days?. Healing may begin on that day, but I fear people are so weary of the beating our Constitution and our population has taken at the hands of the Bush cabal. Do we recognize what our country has become? I do not want Old Glory to represent a country of torture and fear and lies.

Ken's friends continue to be deployed to Iraq; 1 Lt Florence Nightingale is currently sitting in Kuwait, waiting for that plane trip home to civilization, after spending 15 months in hell at the Green Zone in Baghdad. Captain Steve arrived in January 07 as the tip of the spear of the surge or escalation, whatever you want to call it; he's looking at April 08 for his return home to his family & loved ones. Captain Seth left for Iraq last Monday for 15 long months for his second deployment. How can you go back when you know you are marching straight into hell again? And for what reason? How do families bear the burden of sending their loved ones time and time again?

3 years ago, at my son's funeral at Arlington, I vowed to Ken that people would know what it felt like to be a Gold Star mother. People would know what it feels like to lose your only child in a war you didn't support. And mostly I vowed that I would not allow the memories and the lives of this generation of war dead or the returning veterans to be forgotten. For surely with only 1% of our population being affected by the war, forgetting would be easy to do. We owe them more. I hope for the short time you stop here, that you stand in my shoes and know that you never, never want to walk in them.

The most difficult thing a parent can ever do is to bury their child. That is not in the right order of things and it shouldn't have been part of the deal. Regardless of how your child died, it is something you never quite recover from. Your life is now before and after the death and it takes a very long time to figure out what your new normal is. I still haven't figured it out, but one thing I know for sure is I miss Ken more than I can say; I miss him every second, every minute and every hour of every day. He is my last thought at night and my first in the morning. My broken heart aches and I know that there is a part of me that will never know happiness again. I don't wish this life on anyone.

Thanks for joining me along the way; I'm always glad for the company and the comments.

Outrage fatigue? Get over it

I'm turning my little soapbox here over to Mark Morford of SF Gate. Many of us are suffering from Iraq fatigue, war fatigue and even presidential campaign fatigue. Mark writes about outrage fatigue, and as he usually is, he's spot on about this.

Outrage fatigue? Get over it

Are you sick of being sick? Suffering way too much Bush-induced nausea? Well, tough.

I know how it is. You've had it up to here. There are only so many stories about blood and death and pain you can take, only so many times you can hear about random shootings and corporate malfeasance and how BushCo's squad of scabrous flying monkeys have, say, supported torture or endorsed wiretapping or gouged the nation for another $200 billion to pay for a failed war. Your nerves are raw and your heart is tired and the media will just not shut the hell up already about the sadness and the war and the mayhem and the Cheney and the doom doom doom.

It is outrage fatigue, and it is epidemic. It's that feeling that we are being hammered unlike any time in recent history with so many appalling and disgusting and violently un-American incidents and scandals and manipulations that our b.s.-detectors are smoking like an old V-8 engine on a hot summer's day and it's all we can do to get up every day without screaming.

What's more, it's not the mere quantity of moral insults, either. It's the bizarre absurdity of the subject matter, the things we are being forced to consider, or reconsider, that seem to make it all so horrific.

Torture? Are you kidding? Allegedly the most civilized, the most morally aware nation on the planet and we are still debating, in the highest courts and government offices in the land, about whether the United States should strap human beings to gnarled metal benches in rancid foreign bunkers and inflict such inexplicable terror and fear upon them that they confess to things they didn't even do just to get us to stop? Is this the Middle Ages? Are we regressing back to the goddamn cave?

Oh my, yes, plethoric are the reasons you should be outraged indeed, and torture just might be one of the most incendiary reasons in the past few years. If nothing else, its disgusting return to U.S. political dialogue certainly means it's no time to be laying down arms in exhaustion, no matter how tempting it might be.

Take this fine example: Keith Olbermann, as is his wont, executed another pitch-perfect bout of outrage recently on his excellent MSNBC show, taking BushCo to task on the issue of waterboarding like you never hear in major on-air media anymore.

Olbermann only barely held on to his trademark fierce hyper-articulation against the sheer disgust he/we have to endure at the idea that a sitting American president obviously thinks medieval torture is a gul-dang swell idea, no matter what psychologists, military experts, ethicists, the United Nations, the Geneva Convention and Jesus himself all say.

It was wonderful, powerful stuff, a razor-sharp, highly informed media pundit who dares to presume an unusually high level of intelligence among his viewers, speaking truth to power in a way most liberal media-haters complain never really happens anymore. And of course, his subject was one of the most deserving of our moral outrage in recent history.

But then I read some of the reaction to Olbermann's diatribe on various political blogs and on some news-aggregate sites, with many saying, gosh Keith, lighten up already, who cares, enough with all the outrage and the spittle, wow I'm so sick of all this ranting and raving and gosh I'm tired of these smarty media people telling me how to think and hey maybe torture is good let's kill us some more, haw haw haw snort.

On the one hand, it is, you can argue, generally the way of the meaner-than-thou blogosphere, with all but the most professional and intelligent and positive-minded of outposts seeming to suffer an undue percentage of reactionary chyme in their comment areas, hordes of Net-drunk twentysomethings and extremists and shut-ins who have way too much free time and merely chime in to see their sneers "published" and to prove how much more jaded and apathetic they are than the next person, while adding zero to the conversation.

But maybe it's worse than that. Because this is where it can happen, where you can get sucked into the vortex of whining and bitterness and where you might feel part of yourself wanting to wallow too, desiring to avoid doing the actual moral and spiritual work of dissecting and researching and analysing something as politically messy and morally ugly as torture for yourself, opting instead for the easy path, for closing your eyes and sticking your fingers in your ears and going, nyah nyah nyah shut up shut up SHUT UP! Hey, it sure beats thinking.

Or maybe we can flip it around. Maybe, with the right intent, the exact reverse can happen, and you see this ocean of nasty ennui, this pile of oft-misspelled, poorly punctuated reactionary effluvia as, in and of itself, something to be a bit livid about.

Maybe, in other words, you can enjoy, as one blogger put it, a big dose of "fatigue outrage," the feeling of disgust you get when faced with all those people who think mental lethargy and laziness is, like, way funny, dude.

In other words, enough with the childish, frat-boy-grade complaints about media overload and too many rants and outrage fatigue. You have to earn that sort of thing. If you never give a crap about engaging the world, if you never want to think deeply about complex issues and care about ramifications and see what truly resonates with your own informed spirit and then stand up for what you believe, this pretty much eliminates your right to sneer at others who do.

It is, for me, all about modulation. It is about remembering that outrage does not necessarily equal misery. Outrage does not mean you must wallow in fear and fatalism and yank out your hair and wake up every morning hating the world and hating yourself and hating humanity for being so stupid/numb/blind and wondering how the hell you can escape it all.

Outrage is rich with humanistic understanding. It is not some evangelical Christian parent "outraged" that her kid saw a woman's nipple on TV. It is not some right-wing Family Council "outraged" that someone put S&M outfits on Barbie, or that some art gallery is displaying Jesus as a woman, or that scientists dared to say that stem cell research does not equal abortion, or that the mayor isn't taking care of all the potholes and stray kitties. That's not outrage, that's reactionary whining.

True outrage, like Olbermann's, like (occasionally, hopefully) this column's, like what you should ideally be experiencing on a daily basis while Bush is in office, is honed and sharp and poignant. It contains a powerful sense of deeply informed decency, and therefore has a true feel for when that sense has been violated. Outrage has meat and substance and intellectual nourishment. It is actually healthy.

Smart, informed outrage engages you and fires your heart, your mind. It is fuel. It is the reason you claim you enjoy being an American, to question malevolent government actions and take a stand and demand accountability where there has, for the past seven years, been none. Bottom line: We simply cannot let them convince us, by way of an all-out assault on science, sex, love, et al, that the good fight just ain't worth fighting.

After all, the flying monkeys are far from done raiding the closet and stealing your babies and making a mockery of everything wise and calm and open-hearted people hold dear. And baby, if you ain't outraged about that, something is very wrong indeed.

Mark Morford

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veterans Day 2007

In 1961, President John F Kennedy marked Veteran's Day at Arlington National Cemetery with these words:
Today we are here to celebrate and to honor and to commemorate the dead and the living, the young men who in every war since this country began have given testimony to their loyalty to their country and their own great courage.
And it is so this Veteran's Day 2007.

But the truth is that we have been performing a disgraceful disservice to the men and women who serve our country. Our current president and his administration sent a new generation to fight their war. The premise for the invasion of Iraq was based on lies and fear. Our military was sent, not to defend our country, but to insure the bank accounts of George Bush and his military contractor cronies would grow into obscene piles of gold and to insure that our country got a piece of the pie; oil, that is. Our military was sent to Iraq without proper equipment, proper training and proper planning, but they went, because that is what our military does when their Commander-in-Chief gives them orders. This president, this administration knows nothing of loyalty to our country and our troops. Courage is not a word in their vocabulary or in their soul.

What a sad coincidence in these days before Veteran's Day, that a report, Vital Mission: Ending Homelessness Among Veterans was released this week telling us that Veterans make up one in four homeless people in the United States, though they are only 11 percent of the general adult population, according to a report to be released Thursday. This is true despite the fact that veterans are better educated, more likely to be employed, and have a lower poverty rate than the general population. And that is a national disgrace. Is this how we honor the men and women who stood for this country when we asked them to?

There are many excellent and compassionate programs to support returning veterans, but sadly, they are generally paid for and instituted by caring private organizations who understand that we made a commitment to our veterans. They understand it is time to "pay back", they understand what it means to authentically support the troops. Too bad this administration doesn't.

When a new recruit raises his or her hand to take the oath of recruitment, we, who benefit from this symbiotic relationship, must commit to providing for them while in service to our country and when that job has been completed. We owe them that. Where is the government when it comes time to honor that commitment? How is it so easy for much of this country turn their back on the commitment we made to veterans?

What are you doing to support veterans? I know we can do better. But will we?

To Veterans from any era- thank you for your service.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Support funding for Vets, our troops & their families

As one of the Board of Directors of Military Family Speaks Out, we are diligent in our efforts to make sure the voices of military families are heard. Although this letter was sent to members of MFSO, there is no reason you can't or shouldn't take a few minutes to contact your legislators to make sure they hear your voice and that you support H.R. 3043 and veterans and their families.
The Board of Directors of MFSO has just voted to endorse H.R. 3043, an appropriation bill currently before Congress, which includes funding for critical services for our veterans, our soldiers and their families.

We have joined with IVAW, Gold Star Families Speak Out, the National Coalition for the Homeless and other organizations, representing thousands of veterans and soldiers, in signing a letter which was sent on Tuesday, November 6, to every member of Congress, urging passage of this bill. Today, we are asking MFSO members to individually contact their Congressional representatives and Senators. Ask them to not only support this bill but also to pledge to override a threatened presidential veto.

In asking you to take this action, we do not intend in any way to let Congress off the hook for their continued funding of the Iraq war. This bill is a totally separate issue from war funding votes and our support for it shows commitment to our mission to "take care of them when they get home". While most veteran-related programs are funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services also provide vital services to help our veterans, especially for the two-thirds of recently returning veterans who have not enrolled in the federal veterans' health care program.

Specifically, H.R. 3043 would provide:

  • $231 million for Veterans' Employment and Training programs to assist returning veterans to find and train for good paying jobs.
  • $23.6 million for the Homeless Veterans' Program. Currently 23% ofAmerica's homeless are military veterans.
  • $10 million for those veterans suffering from traumatic brain injuries (TBI), for their rehabilitation, hospital care and long-term support. Thousands of returning National Guard soldiers rely on community-based systems of care that are not funded by the VA.
  • $3.4 billion for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. With Army suicides recently reaching a 26 year high, our returning veterans suffering from PTSD and depression have an urgent need to rely on this funding. This bill is currently being debated on the House floor.

Bush has said he will veto the bill because it does not conform to his request for $3.6 billion in cuts below last year's total funding levels. As military family members, we are outraged that this administration and Congress can continue to spend $5 billion dollars a week in Iraq and yet not care if our soldiers and veterans are denied these critical funds for practical help in finding jobs, providing shelter for homeless vets, and for medical and mental health care.

Please take a simple action today. Call, send a postcard to or write a letter to your representative and senator and ask them to approve H.R. 3043. Ask them not to back down from overriding a Bush veto. Tell them, as a military family member, what this bill's provisions will mean to your child, spouse, or loved one returning from Iraq. And tell them that passing the provisions in this bill demonstrate the kind of authentic support for our troops that every soldier and every American understands.

In peace and solidarity,

The Board of Directors of MFSO



The Senate passed the bill 75-19. Here is the the list of members of the Senate Hall of Shame for voting NO on this bill. If you are in the district for any of this Senators; please ask them why they do not support the troops and their families. And don't ever let them tell you they do. If they say that this country cannot afford to spend more money, tell them they are wrong; we cannot afford to NOT support veterans and their families. And remind them of the $2 billion dollars a week we are spending on the occupation in Iraq.

And here is the Hall of Shame for the members of the House who voted NO. 274 Representatives saw fit to vote yes and pass this bill 274-141

Notice all the "R"'s? Where are the "D"'s? Oh yeah, the Democrats do support the troops.

Out of Iraq, bring 'em back!

So says Montana in successful election referendums passed this week. Helena & Missoula in Big Sky Country, never the bastion of liberalism has had it with this ill conceived morass in Iraq and is searching for a peaceful future.

The Missoula News reports:
Here in Montana we often read the results from national polling and wonder if they represent our views. But in both Missoula and Helena, referendums to bring the disastrous war in Iraq to an immediate end passed with overwhelming margins that almost exactly reflect what the national polls have been saying. Simply put, about two-thirds of our citizens agree with the campaign slogan of the Iraq referendum organizers: "Out of Iraq, bring 'em back."

Critics of the ballot measures complain that the referendums are meaningless and that municipal governments have no business involving themselves in foreign policy, much less opposing President Bush, the self-described "war president," while troops engage in active combat around the world.

In Helena, those opposing the peace referendum went so far as to put their own ballot measure in front of voters that called on Congress to "fund our military forces totally and without conditions in the global war on terror." Obviously having the opposing measures in front of voters presented a clear choice and, perhaps not surprisingly, when the ballots were counted the votes reflected public sentiment in an equally clear manner.

Helena's peace referendum drew about 62 percent approval with the opposing measure losing by almost exactly the same numbers. Missoula voters approved their own peace referendum by an even larger margin, drawing 64 percent of the vote. Considering the clear language of the measure, which calls for Congress "to authorize and fund an immediate and orderly withdrawal of the United States military from Iraq," it's hard to see how anyone can misinterpret the results.

That these votes were cast on the same day as the announcement that 2007 has become the deadliest year in Iraq for American soldiers only adds to the urgency to pull us out of the expensive and un-winnable war immediately.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Bush's post White House plans

Richard Roeper, a columnist from the Chicago Sun-Times writes

In a recent column I speculated on President Bush's post-White House plans.
What should he do with himself?

Alice Collins of Oak Lawn has an idea.

"Three hundred and sixty-five days a year, in the wind and snow of winter and the heat and humidity of summer, let him tend to the graves of the almost 4,000 men and women who have given their lives in the debacle of Iraq. They honored their oaths, obeyed their commander-in-chief and sacrificed their lives of promise to a lying, unprincipled warmonger.

"He can begin at the grave of my grandson, Lcpl Jonathan W. Collins, killed in action on 8/8/2004."


Marine Lance Cpl. Jonathan Collins of Crystal Lake was killed by enemy fire in the Al Anbar province of Iraq in the summer of 2004. He was 19.

Nineteen. You're supposed to be attending college and going to football games and meeting girls and dreaming about your future when you're 19.

Access tributes to Jonathan and other soldiers at It's impossible to read the comments from friends and relatives and loved ones without feeling your heart get so heavy you can barely breathe.

Amen, indeed!