War
IN A SPECIAL MORNING JOE PROGRAM ON D-DA...

In a special Morning Joe program on D-Day: A Celebration of Heroes, Mike speaks with 94-year-old veteran Lawrence Brannon from Morristown, TN, whose days have been forever shaped by what happened in Normandy seven decades ago. “It was…hell,” says Brannon. “I lived 1,000 years that day.” Adds Mike: “Those who died in Europe serve as a daily reminder of the horror of war and the price of freedom and democracy.” On MSNBC.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNGG4M97w78&feature=youtu.be

IRAQ WAR AT 10

Early Wednesday, the day after the nation paused to remember a war that began exactly a decade ago, the grass and ground in Arlington National Cemetery was still soft as a sponge from the rain that fell Monday evening. As always, it was quiet as a cathedral with the only noise billowing from passenger jets that leaned into the cloudless sky as each departed Reagan airport, soaring above the Pentagon and long rows of the noble dead, lost in a war that began in deceit while they now lie buried in Section 60.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/03/mike-barnicle-iraq-war-at-10-years-89169.html

MIKE BARNICLE FOR POLITICO

Pols ignoring costs of war

Council Bluffs, Iowa – On a day when so many in Iowa will assemble to start the process of picking a president, Mary Ellen Ward will drive a short distance to St Joseph’s cemetery to say a prayer for the soul of her son. Sgt. Thomas Houser died exactly seven years ago, Jan. 3, 2005, while serving with the Marines in the violent city of Fallujah, Iraq.

He is one of 70 from Iowa killed in Iraq or Afghanistan fighting two wars that have had so few serving for so long as America plods into the second decade of a new century, exhausted and isolated from battles that crush the families of the fallen at home.

“I was just looking at a picture of Tommy and his older brother Joe,” Mary Ellen Ward was saying the other day. “It was taken on Oct. 31, 1987.

“He would have been about five years old. His brother was seven. A Halloween picture. Joe was dressed as a Ninja. Tom was in camouflage. He always wanted to be a Marine.

“The last time I talked to him was Christmas Day, a few days before he was killed. He was going to play flag football in the sand. He was on his second tour.”

“How old was he,” his mother was asked.

“Twenty-two,” she answered. “He was only 22.”

“It’s funny,” she was saying, “but the last time he was home, just before he left for his second tour of Iraq, we went shopping, just the two of us. And I had this feeling, this strange feeling, that I’m never going to see him again. I knew…I just knew.”

Across Iowa, the candidates appear in cities and towns like fast-moving clouds pushed across the flat landscape on a wind of ambition. Here is a Gingrich, then a Romney, a Santorum, a Paul, a Bachmann or Perry smiling, glad-handing, promoting, promising, pleading to be sent forward to New Hampshire and beyond by the handful of Iowans who will show up at caucuses Tuesday night.

“I don’t have much interest in it, politics,” said Mary Ellen Ward, who works for the state Child Support Recovery Unit. “And I kind of hate to say this but I think we ought to get everybody out of there, out of Congress. Why does it cost so much to run? I don’t understand that. Why do they get free health care, better health care than the rest of us do, for nothing? They get a nice pension too. They shouldn’t be serving more than two terms either. And none of them talk about the wars. It’s like it’s not there to them.”

 

She lives with her husband Larry in a city framed by the mythic elements of the country’s history. Council Bluffs sits at the edge of the great Missouri River, separated from Omaha, Neb., by waters that divide two states and dominate the landscape. It was once a huge railroad center when America moved mostly by train, before the automobile, the interstates, long after Lewis and Clark came through on the way to the Pacific.

The town, like most, has a narrative to it, a story that is both parochial and universal: It was built by pioneers who suffered and prospered yet greeted each sunrise with a sense of optimism.

Now, in a country confronted with and confused by political people, including an incumbent, all submitting a job application for the position of president of the United States, anxiety about the immediate future fills the air. The economy has flat-lined for three years. Washington is totally isolated from the rhythms, the mood, the fears and apprehension felt by most Americans. And the wars drag on, touching only the few who serve and their families who remain here, praying nobody knocks on the door at night to tell them a sniper, an IED, an ambush or a fire-fight has claimed a son, husband, daughter or dad.

So on Jan. 3, 2012, as candidates organize and hope for a finish that will fuel a continued campaign, Mary Ellen Ward will again – and daily – think of her son Tommy: Sgt. Thomas E. Houser, USMC, 2nd Force Reconnaissance Company, First Marine Division, killed on this day in 2005 in Iraq.

And she will barely notice the passing parade of politics because she has other concerns, another worry, one more mother’s burden: Her oldest boy, Joe, is scheduled to depart with the Marines in two months. For Afghanistan. For another tour in a war that has made much of our nation weary and too many of our politicians silent.

Mike Barnicle is an award-winning print and broadcast journalist and regular on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”.

FROM THE BOSTON GLOBE

By Dan Shaughnessy

Globe Columnist

July 20, 2011   

Next time you feel like ripping Terry Francona, try to remember that the man has a lot on his mind. The manager’s son, Nick Francona, a former pitcher at the University of Pennsylvania, is a lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps, serving a six-month tour, leading a rifle platoon in Afghanistan. Twenty-six-year-old Nick is one of the more impressive young men you’ll ever meet. In a terrific piece for Grantland.com, Mike Barnicle asked Terry Francona how’s he doing as the dad of one of our soldiers at war. “I’m doing awful,’’ answered the manager. “My wife’s doing worse. I think about it all the time. Worry about it all the time. Hard not to. Try and stay away from the news about it. Try not to watch TV when stories about it are on, but it’s there, you know? It’s always there.’’

MIKE BARNICLE FOR TIME MAGAZINE

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Glaring Omission in Republican Debate: Why So Little Mention of Our Costly War?

By Mike Barnicle

Manchester, N.H. – At ten past eight Monday evening, Michele Bachmann decided to separate herself from the six guys next to her on the stage by telling John King of CNN why she had come to St. Anselm’s College. She did this on the fifth anniversary of a day when a young man from New Hampshire was killed in a war hardly mentioned last night.

“John…I just want to make an announcement,” she said as the first big TV debate among Republican candidates for president began, “I filed today my paperwork to seek the office of the presidency of the United States. . . . So I wanted you to be the first to know.”

King, quite professional, did not indicate any sense of relief upon hearing the news. Bachmann was behind a podium set on a low stage in the college hockey rink. In black suit and high heels she provided some contrast to the six men who looked like they were about to be inducted into the local Rotary Club; smiling, amiable, eager to please and ready to drop the hammer at any given moment on Barack Obama for everything from unemployment to health care to same-sex marriage. The crowd for the debate was middle-aged, white, patriotic and ready to roll for anyone who could convince them that competence could beat charisma in 2012.

Moments before the TV light went on an old guy with a white beard shouted, “Let’s do the Pledge.” The CNN floor producer said, “What?” and the old guy repeated himself, louder: “Let’s do the Pledge.”

“You want to lead it?” the floor producer asked.

“Yeah, “ the old guy said. And he did. The crowd stood, hand over hearts, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to great applause.

New Hampshire is not that different from 49 other states. Anxiety and apprehension fill the air. Confidence in the country is shaky as people pay over four dollars a gallon for gas, listen to news about staggering debt, watch home prices and wages wallow in the shadow of what sure seems like a double-dip or, at least, a never-ending recession.

In the morning, traffic on I-93 South toward Boston resembles the highway from Baghdad to Kuwait as thousands of New Hampshire residents head to jobs in Massachusetts. The unemployment rate here is merely 4.7%, nearly half the national average but fear is contagious and politics seems to offer little hope as more and more candidates behave like seismographs, reacting to each poll and looking at a future they measure in two or four year increments. What happens in the next election is a larger concern than what happens to the next generation.

On the stage at St. Anselm’s, Mitt Romney, appearing somewhat weary, didn’t have to worry about being ganged up on; the others took a pass on getting personal, allowing Romney to look like the leader of the pack. Newt Gingrich continued a pathetic act, posing as a deep thinker while Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum and Herman Cain merely occupied space on a night when many in the crowd wondered what the score was in a real game being played an hour’s drive south: the Boston Bruins were beating the Vancouver Canucks 5-2 in Game Six of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Of course other numbers were never mentioned: Our exhausted nation has been at war for 10 years. Twenty-three residents of New Hampshire have been killed in Iraq, 13 more in Afghanistan. Hundreds have been wounded, physically as well as psychically, and require costly care that is rarely mentioned by any candidate.

Earlier in the day, before the debate at St. Anselm’s, a car stopped on a bridge on Route 114 near Henniker, about 20 miles from Manchester. There is a sign dedicating the bridge to the memory of Sgt. Russell M. Durgin, 10th Mountain Division, United States Army. He grew up in Henniker and was killed in the Korengal Valley, Kunar Province, Afghanistan. He died June 13, 2006 at the age of 23 in a war that seems to be an after-thought for so many in politics on the fifth anniversary of the day his loss fractured a family forever.

MIKE BARNICLE FOR TIME MAGAZINE

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Afghan War Through a Marine Mother’s Eyes

By Mike Barnicle

Nearly everything is a sad a sad reminder for Mélida Arredondo: the news on TV, stories in the paper, speeches of Barack Obama and others who talk about a war that seems to have lasted so long and affected so many lives, those lost as well as those left behind.

“Did your son like the Marine Corps?” I ask her.

“Yes,” she replies. “He loved it.”

“And why did he join?”

“Too poor to go to college,” Mélida Arredondo says.

Alexander Arredondo enlisted at 17 and was killed at 20 in Najaf during his second deployment in Iraq. He died on his father’s birthday, Aug. 25, 2004, when Carlos Arredondo turned 44.

“My husband almost killed himself in grief,” his wife says. “The day [the Marines] came to tell us Alex was dead, he poured gasoline all over himself and all over the inside of [their] car and lit it on fire. He survived … physically.”

Read the rest of Mike’s column at Time.com



MIKE BARNICLE FOR TIME MAGAZINE

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Friday, Oct. 16, 2009

One Death in Afghanistan: Ben Sklaver’s Story

Last week, Laura and Gary Sklaver buried their oldest boy, Ben, who was 32 when killed by a suicide bomber in the remote village of Murcheh in the distant land of Afghanistan. Ben was a captain in the United States Army. Now he has become one of 804 Americans, 37 from Connecticut, to lose their lives in an expanding war that belongs mostly to the parents and families of those who serve a nation preoccupied by a wounded economy and political polarization.

“He didn’t have to go,” Laura Sklaver said the other day. “His obligation was up in May.”

“But he was recalled in March,” Gary Sklaver added. “And he didn’t want to leave his men.”

Ben Sklaver grew up drawn to service. He admired his grandfather who served with Patton’s Army in World War II. He joined ROTC at Tufts, received a Master’s in international relations from the Fletcher School of Diplomacy, was commissioned as an officer in the Army Reserve in 2003 and became convinced that a world consumed with conflict and terror might be changed by Americans bringing clean water, medicine and food as much as by drones, missiles and military might.

Read the rest of Mike’s column at Time.com

BARNICLE’S VIEW ON WTKK: David Letterman/Afghanistan

10/05/09: Barnicle talks with Jim Braude and Margery Eegan about David Letterman admitting to having affairs with women who worked for him and the situation in Afghanistan.

Listen here: http://barnicle.969fmtalk.mobi/2009/10/05/10509-david-letterman-affairsafghanistan.aspx

“Barnicle’s View”, with Mike Barnicle, Imus in the Morning, Monday-Wednesday-Friday, 6:55a & 8:55a.


BARNICLE’S VIEW ON WTKK: Barnicle on the war in Afghanistan

09/25/09: Barnicle on the war in Afghanistan.

Listen here: http://barnicle.969fmtalk.mobi/2009/09/25/92509-afghanistan.aspx

“Barnicle’s View”, with Mike Barnicle, Imus in the Morning, Monday-Wednesday-Friday, 6:55a & 8:55a.

BARNICLE’S VIEW ON WTKK: Medal of Honor winner Jared Monti

09/18/09: Barnicle talks about Jared Monti receiving the Medal of Honor yesterday.

Listen here: http://barnicle.969fmtalk.mobi/2009/09/18/91809-jared-montimedal-of-honor.aspx

“Barnicle’s View”, with Mike Barnicle, Imus in the Morning, Monday-Wednesday-Friday, 6:55a & 8:55a.

BARNICLE’S VIEW ON WTKK: Local police officer’s life cut short

8/31/09: Barnicle talks about the life of Michael Davey, a 34-year-old police officer, war veteran, husband and father cut short after he was struck by a 79-year-old driver last week.

Listen here: http://barnicle.969fmtalk.mobi/2009/08/31/83109-michael-davey.aspx

“Barnicle’s View”, with Mike Barnicle, Imus in the Morning, Monday-Wednesday-Friday, 6:55a & 8:55a.

MIKE BARNICLE FOR THE DAILY BEAST

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On a drizzly morning in Cape Cod, all talk of birthers and beer summits was silenced as hundreds said goodbye to a fallen soldier. Mike Barnicle on Corporal Nicholas Xiarhos and his forgotten war.

Nicholas Xiarhos funeral

Yarmouth Police Lt. Steven Xiarhos pauses at the casket of his son Nicholas Xiarhos. (Photo by Steve Heaslip / Cape Cod Times)

On a soft summer morning last week, when much of the nation’s media exploded with coverage of the prior night’s White House gathering of a president, a professor, and a policeman, hundreds of ordinary strangers stood like silent sentries along a busy Cape Cod road to salute a funeral hearse carrying a noble young Marine killed in Afghanistan. His name was Nicholas Xiarhos, Corporal Nicholas Xiarhos, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines, 21 when a war fought by so few claimed him as one of the latest of 768 victims wearing the uniform of the United States of America in Operation Enduring Freedom, the violent effort to tame the Taliban in a land largely unchanged across the centuries.

A Cadillac hearse slowly carried the flag-draped coffin along Route 28, from St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church in Centerville to Bourne and the National Cemetery where Xiarhos was buried. The procession stretched for miles beneath a warm drizzle and a gunmetal gray sky.

Along the way, there were people, hundreds of them; people who were, for the moment, not consumed with health-care debates, deficits, bailouts for big banks, birthers, or house arrests in Cambridge.

It passed ice cream shops and supermarkets, malls and movie theaters, pharmacies and golf clubs, and all along the way, there were people, hundreds of them; people who were, for the moment, not consumed with health-care debates, deficits, bailouts for big banks, birthers, or house arrests in Cambridge.

They stood by their cars, stopped by the side of the road to let the long parade of grief pass. They held children on their shoulders, American flags and homemade posters in their grasp. They had hands over hearts and tears in their eyes for a boy most never met and a crushed family: the father, Lieutenant Steven Xiarhos, wearing the full dress uniform of the Cape Cod police department he has served for 30 years, the mother, Lisa Xiarhos, the dead Marine’s twin sisters, and younger brother.

The roadside mourners were of all ages and from several states, joined now in a unique American moment, a tribute to a casualty of a long war that has affected so few families in this country of such short memory. Witnesses to brutal reality.

Nicholas Xiarhos and motherSteven Xiarhos snapped this photo of his wife, Lisa, and their son, Nick, at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina on Sept. 1.At the cemetery, the mist became rain and thunder announced itself in the distance. A color guard responded to nature’s noise with a 21-gun salute. A bagpipe brigade played “God Bless America.” His mother was presented with the gift of a grateful nation, the folded flag that protected the coffin carrying a son who died protecting others.

Three summers ago, Nick Xiarhos graduated from high school. In the 36 months since his senior prom, he fought in Iraq, returned to Cape Cod, redeployed to Afghanistan, and had now come home forever to a country and a culture that simply does not place enough value on the loss of those who go to a war that sometimes seems as forgotten as those who fight it.

Mike Barnicle has been a newspaper—remember them?—columnist for 35 years. He is a contributing commentator on MSNBC’s Morning Joe program.

BARNICLE’S VIEW ON WTKK: Media coverage of those who sacrifice for our cou...

7/27/09: Barnicle tells the story of Marine Cpl. Nicholas Xiarhos, a local 21-year-old man who died recently in Afghanistan, and the minimal newspaper coverage of his and other soldiers’ deaths.

Listen here: http://barnicle.969fmtalk.mobi/2009/07/27/72709-marine-cpl-nicholas-xiarhos.aspx?ref=rss

“Barnicle’s View”, with Mike Barnicle, Imus in the Morning, Monday-Wednesday-Friday, 6:55a & 8:55a.


BARNICLE’S VIEW ON WTKK: A recommendation for the film “The Hurt Loc...

7/17/09: Barnicle gives a thumbs up to Summit Entertainment’s new Iraq War movie “The Hurt Locker,” calling it “as real as any war movie ever made.”

Listen here: http://barnicle.969fmtalk.mobi/2009/07/17/71709-the-movie-the-hurt-locker.aspx

“Barnicle’s View”, with Mike Barnicle, Imus in the Morning, Monday-Wednesday-Friday, 6:55a & 8:55a.