Before now poetry has taken notice
Of wars, and what are wars but politics
Transformed from chronic to acute and bloody?
from "Build Soil"
Robert Frost

Sunday, February 21, 2010

New Dawn

David Bellavia:

That young woman wanted nothing else than the chance to explore her newfound freedom. She didn’t beg for help, or plead for her life. Voting would become her final act. In that moment, she matched our own sacrifices. Denfrund, Carlson, Sizemore. Iwan. Gonzales. Mock.

Our friends died to secure this day. And here on this road in Diyala, I saw proof that the blood spilled in this backward country had value. It made the cause noble and just. This may not mean much to someone who stands in opposition to our fight, but it is the legacy of our fallen. The honor of their sacrifice.

Go read it.

Monday, February 08, 2010


To Absent Companions!

It's been three years now, and I can still taste the dirt, still feel the loss, and still remember watching my platoon slowly inching home.

Rest in Peace:
SGT Jim Holtom
SGT Ross Clevenger
PFC Raymond Werner


SSG Nickel almost died 3 years ago, too, and he's fighting his own battle back here at home now. We could use you to write letters and lend support. Go read Badger 6 for the background.

" So the issue for those of us interested in Staff Sergeant Nickel's treatment is this, can we get the prosecutor to be more flexible and can we push the VA to do more. I think the answer is yes.

The public needs to let the relevant decision makers, all of who work for you, the taxpayer, know how you feel. Citizens of Idaho, and in particular Ada County, can let the prosecutor know that while you appreciate the concern for your security, you also appreciate what Staff Sergeant Nickel and his fellow Idaho Army Reservists did in Iraq. People from out of the area (and I am looking at many of my fellow Springsteen fans up and down the coasts) can let the prosecutors know this case has national attention.

You can write, and I suggest snail mail letters to demonstrate your seriousness to

Greg Bower, Ada County Prosecutor
Shawna Dunn, Asst Prosecutor
Ada County Prosecutor's Office
200 West Front Street, Room 3191
Boise, ID 83702

I urge you to be polite and respectful to these people. This is not personal to them. Profanity and threats would be counter-productive. A friend who has already written them wrote -

I of course recognize that my own knowledge of this situation is, like that of anyone else interested in this matter, inherently incomplete. I also appreciate that the psychological issues presented in this situation are complex. Finally, I fully understand the seriousness of the acts of Mr. Nickel on July 28, 2009, and do not mean in any way to minimize or trivialize them. However, based on my understanding of all of the background facts concerning Mr. Nickel’s case, as well as my personal confidence in the judgment of Mr. Coulson, I write to express my opinion that Mr. Nickel should not be criminally prosecuted in this case, and certainly not with the goal of securing a 15-year sentence for him, as I am informed your office intends to pursue.

I think he puts this professionally and politely. That is what we need to be, polite and professional and urge compromise.

Conversely we need to write, again snail mail demonstrating seriousness, to the Veteran's Administration urging them to do more to present alternatives to incarceration for Staff Sergeant Nickel. You need to write two people -

The Honorable Eric Shinseki
Secretary of Veteran's Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20420


Ms. Sue Hicks, OEF/OIF Coordinator
Boise VA Medical Center
500 West Fort Street
Boise ID 83702

What ever rules and regulations may be blocking some sort of resolution of this matter that benefit both the community and the American War Hero Staff Sergeant George Nickel can be waived or adjusted. They do not exist for the mere reason to exist; they should exist to help the Veteran. I urge you again to be polite and respectful in all correspondence.

Finally I would note the Boise Chief of Police, has written to the Idaho Congressional Delegation to urge help for Staff Sergeant Nickel and other vets suffering from the unseen wounds of PTSD and TBI. I urge you to add them to your letter writing. They are -

Senator Mike Crapo

Senator James E. Risch

Representative Mike Simpson
2312 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Representative Walt Minnick
1517 Longworth House Office Building
Washington D.C. 20515

Additionally I would suggest writing to the Governor of Idaho. Staff Sergeant Nickel has many years of service to the State in the Department of Corrections.

Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter
Office of the Governor
PO Box 83720
Boise, Idaho 83720

We need to be motivated and tell our public servants what serves the people of Idaho and the United States the best; balancing the security of our communities with the needs of our veterans. It could be any of us in that apartment, and for those of us that have seen our friends killed and wounded it could have been any of us in Staff Sergeant Nickels boots. If we flood them with letters we can influence the outcome. Please write now and pass this on. "