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Some say, Send more; some, Bring ’em home

first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Permanently disabled by wounds suffered in a rocket-grenade attack outside Baghdad, retired Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Bain has every right to feel bitter about the approaching fourth anniversary of the Iraq war. The Santa Clarita native spent most of the past three years undergoing surgery and rehabilitation at the troubled Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where shoddy conditions – at one point, Bain was even asked to paint his room – have led to several high-level resignations. Yet Bain remains resolutely supportive of the war in which nearly 3,200 U.S. soldiers have died since the U.S. invasion on March20,2003. And as he gears up for a run for Congress next year, he is urging even wider U.S. involvement. “I support President Bush’s push to increase troops,” says Bain, who plans to run as a Republican for the 10th Congressional District in Pennsylvania, where he lives with his wife and three children. “But I don’t think 22,000 troops are enough. Maybe 22,000 support soldiers. But I think we need 100,000 to 200,000 to 220,000 combat troops over there, if we’re going to patrol the streets and fight a war against car bombs.” Bain’s hard-line position in support the war represents one extreme of sentiment among Iraq veterans and the families of those wounded or killed in action in what has become the most polarizing conflict involving Americans since Vietnam. At the other extreme is Melanie House of Simi Valley, whose husband, Petty Officer 3rd Class John D. House, died two years ago in a helicopter crash near Ar Rutbah in western Iraq. “Why did my husband die? Why are we over there? Is there an end in sight? What is the plan?” asks House, 28, who has been involved in candlelight peace vigils with anti-war movement leader Cindy Sheehan, including a protest at President George W. Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas, where she was also joined by her mother-in-law, Susan House. John House, a 1994 graduate of Moorpark High School, never got to meet his son, James, who was born Christmas Eve2004, though he was able to hear the infant’s first cries of life over a satellite phone and saw him a few days later via a video hookup. Even more strident in her opposition to the war is Jane Bright of West Hills, whose son, Army Sgt. Evan Ashcraft, an infantryman with the 101st Airborne Division, was killed in Iraq on July24,2003. “His death is a crime against humanity, and the fault lies with the war criminals who inhabit our White House,” Bright wrote in one of her letters calling for an end to the war. Today, Bright remains involved in the anti-war movement, joining Iraq war critic Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., and others in protests around the country. “What is it going to take for America to pull out of this immoral war?” she asked rhetorically in an interview. “For every family to lose a child? Where’s the outrage?” Another adamant opponent of the war is Rosina Vidana of Sun Valley, whose son, Sgt. Jesus Vidana, suffered a head wound in Iraq and remains disabled despite extensive rehabilitation. “My son remains depressed and frustrated that he can’t do any of the things he used to do,” Vidana said. “My personal feeling is that this is an unjust war, an unjust invasion, that Mr. Bush was unwise in undertaking. It was a mistake, and my advice would be to please withdraw all our troops. “I would not want any other mother to suffer the way I have in seeing what happened to my son.” Jesus Vidana, who had earned a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy from the University of Southern California before his deployment to Iraq, says he is learning to cope with the lingering effects of brain damage. “Psychologically and emotionally, it’s a struggle,” says Vidana, who is studying for graduate school entrance examinations. “The amount of time it takes to process information, the ability to comprehend, processing problem solving … it’s all slower.” Even after an honorable discharge, Vidana tries to remain the good soldier. “I was in the military, and I followed orders,” he says. “I was there to do a job – to serve my nation – and I did that.” But he says he struggles with a comment by former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who was responding to criticism about how U.S. troops were equipped. “He said, `We go to war with the army we have, not with the army we’d like to have,’ Vidana recalls. “I can’t help but think they’ve failed in how the returning troops have been treated … things like how they have been treated at Walter Reed.” It is something that Christopher Bain, back in Pennsylvania, says he understands personally. For a short while, during his recuperation at Walter Reed, Bain says he was moved to Building18, the substandard housing complex that became the heart of the recent scandal into Veterans Affairs’ treatment of patients at the medical center. “They tried to get me to paint the walls in my room,” says Bain, who suffered severe combat wounds to his arms and back. “I told them, `I’m going elsewhere.”‘ Bain said he moved into other housing at the medical center where he was able to locate an open bed. Bain, 35, also said he wishes there were some way he could comfort parents whose sons and daughters have made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and pledges to do so through improved VA programs and benefits if he is elected to Congress. Bain is a graduate of Hart High School, as is his twin brother, Kim, a sergeant in the California National Guard who is preparing for his second tour of duty in Iraq. Last month, Christopher Bain was honored at the 70th annual George Washington Day banquet of the American Legion Post in Newberry, Pa., near wife Misty’s hometown, which presented the couple with gifts and awards from individuals and businesses and gave him a hero’s welcome. “Being escorted like that was awesome,” Bain told the dinner crowd. “I felt like I was the president of the United States.” In between the two extremes on the war are soldiers’ parents such as Jerry Pennington of Van Nuys, who says he has opposed the war from its beginning but who supports the troops, especially 28-year-old son Wes, an Army sergeant awaiting his third deployment to Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division. “The military is something he wanted to do, and as long as he’s happy about it, I’m happy about it,” Pennington says. “I support our troops 100percent.” On two occasions, Pennington’s son has received minor wounds, each time returning to action, leaving Pennington aware that there are many parents who have not been as fortunate. “When he returned the second time, I went to San Antonio to see him at Fort Sam Houston, and there I spent a couple of days visiting with wounded soldiers,” Pennington says. “It breaks my heart to see young men with arms and legs missing. “My heart goes out to any parents whose children are deployed overseas.” [email protected] (818) 713-3761 last_img

Thiago nearing Bayern return

first_imgBayern München Thiago nearing Bayern return Alex Fisher Last updated 1 year ago 20:09 2/2/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) thiagoalcantara - cropped Getty Images Bayern München Bundesliga Mainz 05 v Bayern München The Spain international is on the road to recovery, having been out since November, but his return will not be rushed Thiago Alcantara could return ahead of schedule from his muscular injury lay-off, according to Bayern Munich boss Jupp Heynckes.The Spanish midfielder limped out of Bayern’s 2-1 win over Anderlecht in the Champions League in November and has not featured since.An exact diagnosis of his problem was never revealed by the Bundesliga leaders but Heynckes is now hopeful the 26-year-old will be ready to feature again soon after making good strides in his recovery. Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player “We need to wait and see over the next two, three weeks with Thiago,” Heynckes told a media conference. “It is looking good.”He has worked phenomenally until now and can already take part in the beginning of [training] sessions.”[But] one thing is clear, he will not return too early.” Saturday’s trip to Mainz was always going to be too soon for Thiago, but Heynckes also has concerns over Sandro Wagner and David Alaba, while Arturo Vidal is definitely out.”Vidal will miss Mainz with stomach flu,” added Heynckes. “Sandro Wagner will probably be involved.”[Alaba] hurt his pelvis in training yesterday. We will have to see how he feels today.”last_img read more