Pictured are glasses and cap of a former POW… (Photo – Ted Jackson/Times Picayune)
What a great honor for Governor Mitt Romney…
Yesterday, 150 former prisoners of war (POWs) announced their support for Romney:
“I am deeply honored to have the support of these American heroes who suffered so much for our nation and her people,” said Mitt Romney. “Our military men and women are America’s best. They put everything—including their lives and their liberty—on the line for our freedoms. When I am president, I will honor their dedication and those sacrifices by ensuring that we maintain the strength of our military, provide the care our veterans need, and build an economy that gives every American the chance to live their dreams.”
“Our nation’s most sacred commitment is to our men and women in uniform,” said Lt. Colonel Orson Swindle, USMC, (Ret.). “But for the last four years, we’ve been letting them down. Too many veterans come home without opportunities for good jobs. Too many of our wounded are seeing the cost of their medical care on the rise. We need new leadership in Washington. That’s why I am supporting Mitt Romney.He not only appreciates the sacrifices the men and women of the armed forces make, he has the experience and the plan to turn this country around. He’ll make sure that none of our bravest come back from war only to face new and sometimes even more difficult battles at home. Our nation is hungry for that kind of leadership. Mitt Romney will provide it.”
★ The Governor recently paid tribute to America’s prisoners of war and our military missing in action (MIAs) on National POW/MIA Recognition Day (September 21, 2012).
A bouquet of red, white, and blue graces the National Prisoner of War Museum in Andersonville, GA. The site serves as a memorial to all American prisoners of war.
Click on image to enlarge. (photographer unknown)
★ ★ ★
Governor Mitt Romney has a deep respect and love for all who have served or are currently serving in the United States military. He is pictured greeting a group of veterans after speaking at a campaign event, May 29, 2012, in Craig, CO. (Photo – Mary Altaffer/AP)
★ ★ ★
Note: On Oct 17, 2012, Romney announced his Military Advisory Council. You must check out the amazing list of military members serving on his council, including retired General Tommy Franks, who said, “Governor Romney is committed to restoring America’s leadership role in the world. Instead of playing politics with our military, he will strengthen our defense posture by reversing the President’s devastating defense cuts. The fact of the matter is that we cannot afford another four years of feckless foreign policy. We need level-headed leadership which will protect our interests and defend our values with clarity and without apology.”DO read more here.
★ Every name on the following list of endorsers for Governor Romney represents an individual story of enormous sacrifice and valor in the service of our nation. Each individual spent time imprisoned by enemies of the United States. They’ve lived through horrors I can only imagine. Each truly knows what it’s like to suffer for the USA. They see how the Obama economy is affecting returning soldiers and they’re concerned about our shrinking military, sequestration, care for older veterans, and are very aware of Obama’s ‘apology tour’ and his Benghazi cover-up. These POWs know what is at stake in this election. I’ve linked information to the first 10 patriots and the last 10. Copy and paste any name (include “POW’) and search the internet to learn more about every veteran listed. As you look over the list, take a moment to show respect for these American heroes by reading each name.
Pictures of Barack Obama bowing courtesy of today’s Drudge Report.
I’m not going to hammer on the president for his choice of words on Jon Stewart. I’m not a fan of the Dems’ insulting attempts at faux outrage over things like “binders” so I’ll not do anything but quote our president. But we can safely say, as President Obama did, when Americans die our president’s foreign policy is obviously “not optimal.” And when you look back at the past four years, really, we can’t say what’s happened are mere “bumps in the road,” either, but the result of having chosen the wrong road altogether. Today in the New York Post Amir Taheri put it more succinctly: the president’s foreign policy has “failed.”
So before tonight’s debate about foreign policy, let’s remind ourselves just how sub-optimal this president’s foreign policy has been, and how bumpy the road was. People may criticize Mitt for not having foreign policy experience, but Obama only has four more years than Mitt has, having had none when he started on the job training. The question is whether Barack Obama learned anything during that time, and perhaps the biggest indictment contained in the mess in Libya is that his record indicates he hasn’t learned what he needs to, and is willing to close his eyes to the obvious in favor of a narrative that supports, if tenuously, his world view. Meanwhile I’m sure someone else with a different philosophy, like peace through American strength, would do a lot better.
His One Argument: bin Laden
Let’s start by giving the president partial credit for his one “achievement.” In a true team effort, American intelligence, after years of searching that culminated during the Obama administration, was able to find Osama bin Laden. The president then sent a team of experts into Pakistan to kill him. Still, a number of things still trouble me about this “success.”
First, the president’s beaming over the mission and “spiking the football.” While it’s a comforting thought bin Laden is no longer a threat, call me old fashioned but it does not seem appropriate to throw a party when anyone is killed, even if a confessed terrorist and murderer. The appropriate attitude seems to be one of quiet gratitude, and confidence we were able to accomplish what we needed to protect American citizens from harm. But not elation.
Second, the president’s taking personal credit for the achievement. What happened was a success due to years of work starting in the Bush administration and involving hundreds if not thousands of people from intelligence gatherers to planners of the raid to those who actually executed it. Let’s not forget the president watched it on TV, and was not on the ground personally in Pakistan. He deserves credit as the person at the head of the team, but to the extent he deserves that credit, he deserves as much blame for what went wrong in Libya. And gracious leaders give credit where due. I agree he should be congratulated for making the decision to move forward. He took a risk and it paid off. But I disagree with President Clinton’s assessment that this decision took any special fortitude. I believe Mitt’s right that any president would have made the same decision. So Obama’s credit is for being in the seat at the head of table when the team succeeded, and for calling for the two-point conversion to win the game. He succeeded, and gets the credit for that strategic decision. But it was the team on the field, not him that deserves any glory, and an end-zone dance seems particularly inappropriate.
Third, in his desire to take personal credit, the president shared sensitive intelligence information. He volunteered the identity of the team that carried it out, putting them and their families in danger. And this was one of many leaks, coming per Dianne Feinstein directly out of the White House, of sensitive US information. The president seems willing to compromise security when it suits his political purposes, which I find difficult to condone.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the success of this one mission does not mean Al Qaeda is really “on the run,” as has been claimed by the Dems. They’re still in Afghanistan and now are in Libya. And whatever the president’s policy in this regard, despite bin Laden’s removal, the date of Al Qaeda’s last successful terrorist attack is no longer 9/11/01. It’s 9/11/12.
Now, to more problematic issues: world hot spots
1. Libya. Four Americans are killed in Libya despite pleas for additional security. Reports out of the State Department, the intelligence community and the White House contradict who knew what when. Immediately after the attack the president made a generically deniable statement about not letting terrorism deter us, but spent the next two weeks allowing the American people to believe it’s somehow the fault of our freedom of speech and an obscure YouTube video, using rhetoric that could suggest we somehow deserve what happened. Why? Again President Obama and the Democrats insisted on “spiking the football” over Osama bin Laden’s death at their convention, such that it’s an inconvenient truth that Al Qaeda is not really “on the run,” especially in Libya where the president is trying to take credit for “leading from behind.” Contrary to his assertions, Libya is not a model for American foreign policy success as it is now the site of the first assassination of an ambassador in 30 years.
The Pow-MIA flag features a white circle bearing a soldier’s silhouette, a watch tower with a guard on patrol, and a strand of barbed wire. White letters ‘POW’ and ‘MIA’, with a white five-pointed star in between, are placed above the circle. A black and white wreath displays the motto “You Are Not Forgotten”.
The POW-MIA flag is flown on the third Friday in September as well as Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, and Veterans Day.
Far too many forget today is the United States’ National POW/MIA Recognition Day. Observed across the nation on the third Friday of September each year, Americans take this time to remember our prisoners of war (POW) and recognize those who are still missing in action (MIA).
Mitt Romney today paid his respects to America’s prisoners of war and missing in action. Following is his statement on National POW/MIA Recognition Day:
“As we mark National POW/MIA Recognition Day, I am mindful that when America goes to war, we run the risk of losing our servicemen and women to enemy capture. I’m proud to call John McCain, who endured captivity in Vietnam, a friend. He exemplifies those Americans who deserve all honor and respect for enduring hardship and for making sacrifices that we cannot readily imagine. My heart goes out to the families of those who remain missing, often for decades. They deserve to be remembered. And the best way to show our remembrance is by never ceasing in our quest to find them.”
Read about Senator McCain’s horrific ordeal as a Vietnam POW here and here.
More than 83,000 Americans are still missing from past conflicts. National POW/MIA observances will be held across the country today on military installations, ships at sea, state capitols, and veterans’ facilities.
Mitt Romney Central joins Governor Romney in remembering and honoring these heroes and their families.
In the days after the Republican National Convention, we’ve heard liberal politicians and Obama’s media doing their best to portray Mitt Romney as somehow unpatriotic or anti-military because he didn’t specifically mention the military in his convention speech. What they sneakily fail to mention is that Governor Romney took the time out of his convention preparations – the day before he was to deliver his acceptance speech for the GOP nomination – to fly to Indianapolis, Indiana to meet and speak to over 10,000 Legionnaires about the challenges facing veterans. He spoke at their 94th American Legion National Convention.
Three American soldiers lie dead in the sun and sands of Buna Beach in New Guinea. Taken in February 1943 by George Strock, this sobering photo wasn't published until September of that year. It was the first time an image of dead American troops appeared in LIFE magazine during World War II without bodies being draped, in coffins, or otherwise covered. President Roosevelt feared the American public was growing complacent about the war and its horrific toll...
How easily we forget the unspeakable sacrifices the brave paid to create our beloved nation. How soon we dismiss from our minds those whose patriot blood saturated soil across the earth and continues to do so – to safeguard freedom.
Governor Mitt Romney today released the following Memorial Day video message:
“Every veteran is the greatest of his or her generation. Today, and every day, we thank you for your sacrifices”. ~ Mitt Romney
Note: Senator John McCain joined Governor Romney this morning to host a Memorial Day Tribute at the Veterans Museum & Memorial Center in San Diego, California. A statement from Romney:
“I am honored to be celebrating Memorial Day this year with John McCain. I don’t have to tell John’s story; the world already knows it. But it is what today’s holiday is all about: sacrifice, valor, honor, courage, and love of country. A lot of young Americans are risking their lives in distant battlefields today. Memorial Day is a day to give thanks to them, and to remember all of America’s soldiers who have laid down their lives to defend our country. As we enjoy our barbecues with friends and families and loved ones, let’s keep them in our thoughts and in our prayers.” ~ Mitt Romney
UPDATE – Photo at today’s event taken by The Gov’s body man, DG Jackson shows the crowd:
Romney addresses the Memorial Day crowd in San Diego, CA. Senator John McCain also spoke. May 28, 2012 (Photo DG Jackson)
Today more than 100,000 people will attend activities at U. S. Dept of Veterans Affairs national cemeteries with color guards, readings, bands, and choir performances. Events will honor about one million men and women who perished in the military during wartime, including about 655,000 battle deaths. Make time to honor them today by participating in a remembrance activity (directory may be found here.) Visit a local cemetery and note the information on veterans’ headstones. Go to a parade. Thank the vets you see and their families. Display an American flag. Join fellow Americans for the ‘National Moment of Silence’ at 3:00 PM local time.
Here’s another Memorial Day 2012 Tribute to help us remember why we celebrate today:
Before the day ends, offer a prayer of gratitude for the maimed, the disabled, the prisoners of war, the missing in action, our fallen, and… those still fighting for us.
On this first anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden…
Governor Mitt Romney released the following statement:
“Today marks the one year anniversary of the mission that brought Osama bin Laden to justice. That mission was the culmination of nearly a decade of hard work and sacrifice by our men and women in the military and intelligence communities. I commend all those who planned and conducted the bin Laden raid, and I applaud President Obama for giving the go ahead for the mission. Let us never forget the thousands of innocents who perished on September 11, 2001, or the brave servicemen and women who have given their lives to defeat those who would do harm to our country. They, and their families, are forever in our thoughts and prayers.”
UPDATE - Mitt Romney issued the following Easter statement:
“As we take time off of the campaign trail to gather with family and friends this Easter weekend, we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and the hope which he brought to all of mankind. We are thankful for our brave men and women in uniform who are serving our country in the armed forces and are away from their families on this special day and we pray for their safe return home. And may the hope and promise which we celebrate at Easter remain with all of us throughout the year.”
O, grave… Where is thy victory?
He is risen!
In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week,
came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
And, behold, there was a great earthquake:
for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven,
and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:
And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
And the angel answered and said unto the women,
Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
He is not here: for he is risen, as he said.
Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead;
and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.
And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy;
and did run to bring his disciples word.
And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail.
And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.
~ Matthew 28: 1-9
Easter Song – Keith Green:
All Christianity today rejoices!
More celebration in song… To continue click on link below.
Eric Edelman, former Under Secty of Defense for Policy and former Ambassador to Turkey and Finland
Ambassador Eric Edelman weighs in on Mitt Romney’s debate performance last night:
Mitt Romney’s Special Adviser on Foreign Policy and former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Eric Edelman, made the following statement after tonight’s debate in Washington, DC:
“I believe Mitt Romney clearly won tonight’s debate with a compelling presentation of a foreign policy based on American strength and resolve. The United States and the international system are at an inflection point as they face the prospect of new nuclear-armed powers like Iran and North Korea, a rising China, the continued terrorism of radical Jihadism, and a turbulent Middle East. Mitt Romney understands that this is a dangerous time for America to shrink our military, retreat from the world, or defer to other actors. All Americans can rest assured that Governor Romney will secure both our interests and ideals with a strong national defense, resolute diplomacy, and a renewal of American leadership.”
Background on Eric Edelman:
Eric Edelman was under Secretary of Defense for Policy from 2005 to 2009. Edelman served as U.S. Ambassador to Turkey (2003 to 2005), U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Finland (1998 to 2001), and Principal Deputy Assistant to the Vice President for National Security Affairs (2001 to 2003).
Mitt Romney is pictured speaking at a fundraiser for Senator John Thune R SD in Sioux Falls, SD. Feb 2011. (Photo AP/Argus Leader/Devin Wagner)
Senator John Thune joined Mitt Romney in Iowa, on the day before Thanksgiving, to deliver a strong endorsement for the former governor of Massachusetts. Romney and Thune spoke at a townhall meeting at Nationwide Insurance in Des Moines. A Q&A session was also held (about an hour).
Speaking to thousands of Iowans in a telephone town hall, Mitt Romney pledged Wednesday to be a visible presence in the state in the weeks leading up to its first-in-the-nation presidential voting contest.
“You’ll be seeing more and more of me as we get closer to the caucuses,” he said. “Hopefully I’ll be able to convince almost all of you to go to caucus. I really do want your support.”
… Romney just opened a campaign headquarters in Des Moines and is visiting the state more frequently. He is expected to begin airing commercials soon, having recently videotaped one here.
Though his campaign has kept expectations low this time around, much has gone Romney’s way — the contest is more wide open at this point than in any Iowa nominating contest in memory, and the socially conservative and evangelical voters who thwarted him in 2008 have failed to coalesce behind a candidate.
If he can persuade his 2008 supporters to turn out for him again and the social conservative and evangelical voters who dominate the caucuses remain splintered, Romney could win on Jan. 3 despite spending a fraction of the money and time he spent here four years ago. That, coupled with an expected victory in the New Hampshire primary a week later, could seal the GOP race.
“We haven’t changed what we’ve been doing,” said David Kochel, Romney’s Iowa director. “We’ve been here several times, we’ll be back several times, and we’ve had small staff here, but they’ve worked hard and we respect the process and hope to do well here.”
Nationally syndicated radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt
Nationally syndicated talk radio host Hugh Hewitt interviewed Mitt Romney yesterday. During the course of the exchange, Romney answered questions about Republican Super Committee offerings to eliminate key tax deductions, the Dept of Defense, Obama’s rhetoric, and more…
Mitt Romney On The Supercommittee, The President’s Rhetoric About America, China and Afghanistan
By: Hugh Hewitt
Friday, November 18, 2011
Just taped an interview with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney which will air with the transcript posted here. My projection of the state of the race slips into the conversation when I call him “Mr. President” before correcting myself. On a serious note, he asserts that now is not the time to (1) be tinkering with the home mortgage interest deduction or (2) withdrawing the surge troops from Afghanistan even as he predicts it would be very difficult to reintroduce troops into Iraq after our bases our shuttered there.
[...] HH: … Senator Pat Toomey and Representative Jeb Hensarling, two of our Supercommittee Republicans, have put forward a plan that calls for lowering tax rates across the board, and extending the current tax rates permanently, but to do so by cutting three key deductions – mortgage home interest, state and local taxes, and charities. What do you make of their plan, and the extra $300 billion in extra revenue it says it will raise?
MR: Well, I haven’t seen their specific proposal, so I’m not going to sign up for it, of course, without reviewing it. My own view is that the idea of limiting deductions in the way the Bowles-Simpson panel recommended makes a good deal of sense. I’d like to see us have lower tax rates, and have a broader base. And it sounds like their idea is looking for a way of doing that. I must admit, I don’t think that this is a great time to be eliminating the home mortgage interest deduction. We obviously have a lot of trouble in the housing sector right now, but I haven’t seen their proposal. It may work just fine, but I just haven’t seen it, so I wouldn’t want to comment on that. But the home mortgage interest deduction right now is something that I think we need to keep in place.
HH: Let me talk to you about the charitable deduction, because obviously without it, churches, synagogues, schools, hospitals, colleges, they’re all going to get hammered. Is that a good idea for us to weaken the not-for-profit sector?
MR: Well, you know, anytime you talk about lowering the rates and expanding the base, why, you’re talking about eliminating certain deductions. And I for one value the charitable contribution deduction. I recognize that in my own view, the American people do a better job picking charities that make a difference in the lives of people than government does. I mean, government wants to get our money so they can take care of people. I don’t think the government does as well as our charities do, and I’d rather let people in the marketplace of ideas send their money to charities they think will have the biggest impact. So I don’t like getting rid of the charitable deduction, either.
HH: There is a $600 billion dollar sequestration over the horizon, Governor Romney, that if the Supercommittee doesn’t get a deal done, will kick into the Department of Defense in 2013 with devastating consequences. If that happens, if that’s on the calendar to happen because of the failure, will you campaign, if you’re the nominee against President Obama, to reverse that sequestration?
MR: Absolutely. This is a Faustian choice that the President and his people put in place. The idea of drastic cuts to our national security at a time when the world is as dangerous as it is, and when frankly, we have men and women in harm’s way around the world, is a terrible idea. Even Secretary Panetta, who works for President Obama, has said that these cuts would be draconian. And I just, I vehemently disagree with the course that’s being set. I think it was a very bad idea to put our national security on the chopping block, and will, if elected president, reverse those cuts, and reverse the prior cuts that President Obama has made to Defense as well. Look, my view is we need to upgrade our weapons systems, we need to have more troops, more active duty personnel, and we need to increase our commitment to caring for our veterans. We’ve got a lot of veterans who need a lot of help.
Governor Romney has stated his intent to eliminate Defense Dept waste/duplication spending and to implement vigorous bidding for armed services procurement. Savings will be reinvested in our military.
HH: Governor Romney, in just the last six weeks, President Obama has said three extraordinary things. In Orlando, he said, or to an Orlando television station, he said this is a great, great country that has gotten a little soft, and we don’t have the same competitive edge that we needed. In San Francisco, he said we’ve lost our ambition, our imagination and our willingness to do the things that built the Golden Gate Bridge and the Hoover Dam. And in Hawaii, just this week, he said we’ve been a little bit lazy over the last couple of decades. He’s gone from apologizing for America abroad to a soft sort of contempt for it at home. What do you make of this?
MR: You know, I don’t think that President Obama understands America. I don’t think he understands what makes America work. I think his failure to get this economy going flows from the fact that he doesn’t understand how free individuals and free enterprise drive the American economy. He is under the mistaken impression that government is what makes America work. And so he’s done the governmental things he wanted to do, and not surprisingly, they have not worked to help the economy, so he’s trying to find someone to blame. And having begun by blaming President Bush, and then blaming Congress and Republicans and ATM machines, he’s finally come down to blaming the American people. And the truth is, as Harry Truman pointed out, the buck stops at his desk. His desk is where the mistakes have been made, and it is not the American people that don’t know what to do. It’s American people who are being oppressed and overwhelmed by a government that is simply too intrusive in our lives. We’ve got to scale back the size of the federal government. And if we do that, America will be cooking again, and he’s simply wrong to suggest it’s the American people’s fault.
(emphasis added )
Governor Romney also offered his opinion on the European debt crisis and foreign affairs, including China, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Read the entire interview here.
Note: Hugh Hewitt is also a columnist for the Examiner, an author, a law professor at Chapman University Law School, and an evangelical Christian. He blogs daily at HughHewitt.com.
Anwar al-Awlaki, one of the world's most wanted terrorists, was killed today by a hell-fire missile from a U.S. drone in Yemen. 9/30/11
Mitt Romney issued the following statement today on the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki:
“The killing of Anwar al-Awlaki is a major victory in our fight against Islamist terrorism and proper justice for the numerous attacks and plots he inspired or planned against America. I commend the President, the members of the intelligence community, our service members, and our allies for their continued efforts to keep Americans safe. Nevertheless, we must remain vigilant and continue the fight against those who seek to destroy us and our freedoms.”
Homes burn in Natori City after 8.9 earthquake and resulting tsunami slams Japan. March 11, 2011
An unspeakable disaster in Japan has led to enormous suffering. Ann and I have the people there in our thoughts and prayers. ~Mitt Romney
As you know by now, a massive 8.9 magnitude earthquake struck Japan today. 8,000 times stronger than the quake that devastated Christchurch, New Zealand last month, it is the 5th largest earthquake recorded in the world since 1900. Hardest hit was the northern coastal city of Sendai, Japan. Reports of devastation and deaths in the hundreds have been reported. 300 bodies have been found on the shore in Sendai and 500 are reported missing. A ferry boat with passengers and a train loaded with passengers are also missing. Obviously, the death toll is expected to rise as the situation remains very fluid.
A worker surveys damage on a section of the Joban Motorway near Mito, Japan. March 11, 2011
Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan has formally requested help from the United States. President Obama assured him of our assistance and stated that initial aid will most likely be in the form of clean-up.
8.9 earthquake wreaks havoc in Sendai, Japan. Fri, March 11, 2011
Tsunami hits northern Japan (Early reporting from the commentator states that the earthquake was an 8.4 on the Richter Scale.):
“The energy radiated by this quake is nearly equal to one month’s worth of energy consumption in the United States,” U.S. Geological Survey Scientist Brian Atwater
MRC extends sincere condolences to all adversely affected by the quake and especially to those in Japan who lost loved ones today.
UPDATE - The Kyodo News agency is reporting that more than 1000 people have probably died in the massive quake and tsunami disaster that devastated large parts of northern Japan’s Pacific coast today.
UPDATE 2 - 12:18 PM PST: Eyewitnesses are reporting that a dam has burst in northern Sendai; consequently, neighborhoods have been washed away. As far as U.S. aid, the United States already has one aircraft carrier stationed in Japan – USS George Washington, which is based at Yokosuka. (So far, none of our 38,000 troops stationed in Japan have been injured, thank goodness.) Seven other ships are now making their way to Japan – stopping at ports along the way to pick up needed supplies. Among them is super carrier USS Ronald Reagan, which was enroute to South Korea for exercises, and has now been redirected to Japan. The USS Ronald Reagan has air cargo lift capacity and full medical facilities on board.
UPDATE 3 12:01 AM PST (3/12/1): BREAKING NEWS regarding a nuclear facility in Japan that had lost its capacity to cool its reactor: Nuclear Plant Meltdown Fears
An explosion has reportedly been heard and plumes of white smoke seen at an earthquake-hit nuclear plant in Japan – amid fears of a possible meltdown. The report from a Japanese news agency comes after emergencies were declared at two nuclear power stations in Fukushima, 150 miles (240km) north of capital Tokyo, due to cooling problems. Several workers have reportedly been injured.
Radioactive steam has been released to reduce rising pressure in the plants and the Japanese prime minister has ordered thousands of people living within six miles to leave the area.
Reports are that the walls and roof of a facility at Fukushima Plant #1 have been destroyed. It is unclear at this time if this structure was a containment building for the reactor. Fears that a nuclear meltdown has occurred are growing. A second nuclear facility is being closely watched.
UPDATE 4 1:43 AM PST (3/12/11): The Japanese government has confirmed that a radiation leak has occurred at Fukushima Plant #1. Anyone within 12 miles of the site is being evacuated.
50,000 Japanese troops are participating in rescue operations.
Elderly man is carried to safety by Self-Defense Force soldier in Natori, Miyagi Prefecture in northern Japan. March 12, 2011
Three trains loaded with passengers are now reported missing. (Japanese railways are more often constructed on flat lands which happen to be on the coast – sea level – rather than through the mountains.) Offers to help with search and rescue efforts have been extended by 50 countries.
UPDATE 5 10:38 AM PST (3/12/11): RED ALERTS have been issued for three of the four reactors at Fukushima. Specialist teams working around the clock to avert nuclear meltdown; sea water is being poured on reactors to aid in cooling. Aftershocks in the area are disrupting work. Three workers at the plant stricken with radiation sickness; 190 local residents have also been affected. Officials distributing iodine tablets to residents to help with symptoms. Instructive animation being aired on TV to inform residents of what to do in the event they are exposed to radiation.
*Note -30% of Japan’s electricity is produced by 55 nuclear power units in 17 plants. The earthquake has caused 11 units to be shut down. Japan has asked oil-rich Russia to help as the need for fossil fuels increases. (With more oil going to Japan, predictions are that gasoline prices will increase.)
9500 people are reported missing in a small fishing and tourist town – Minamisanriku, in Miyagi Prefecture (northern Japan). (Prefecture means the same as ‘state’ in the United States but on a smaller scale.)
International response to the disaster is bolstering spirits; So. Korean dog teams now in the area. Social networking, i.e. Facebook, Google Person Finder, and Twitter playing a vital role in locating loved ones.
Food and fuel shortages are a growing concern; reports of hoarding.
Preliminary estimates for rebuilding – $15 billion.
Re U.S. aid – Super carrier USS Ronald Reagan should arrive today in Japan. U.S. Marines stationed in Okinawa are preparing to arrive in mainland Japan and will bring supplies – food, cots, etc. Stars and Stripes report (3/11/12):
The USS Tortuga embarked landing craft units and departed Sasebo Friday evening, he added. The ship is headed toward Pohang, South Korea, where it will pick up MH-53 heavy lift helicopters.
“We have directed most helicopter capable ships to be ready to sail within 24 hours,” Davis said.
The flagship USS Blue Ridge, which arrived in Singapore this morning, is loading a disaster relief kit and preparing to depart for Japan on Saturday morning.The Sasebo-based USS Essex, embarked with the Okinawa-based 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, was also preparing to return to Japan Saturday morning after arriving in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, Friday morning.[...] Additionally, the USS Harpers Ferry and USS Germantown are heading for Japan.
“A number of the exercises we conduct in this region are specifically designed as humanitarian-type relief missions,” Lapan said. “Unfortunately we’ve had to do this several times in different areas in the Pacific.”
Well-known Fairfax County and Fire Rescue from Virginia will arrive tomorrow at the Misawa Air Force Base (located at Aomori Prefecture in the Tōhoku region of Japan) to aid in search and rescue. They are an elite, uniquely trained, self-contained team with a medical component, canines and handlers, structural engineers, listening devices, jack-hammers, and inflatable boats, etc. They will pick up an additional rescue team in Los Angeles before heading to Japan tomorrow.
U.S. military forces in Japan aid in humanitarian efforts in earthquake-ravaged Japan.
UPDATE 6 2:20 AM PDT (3/13/11): The earthquake has been upgraded to 9.0. Scientists say the force of the quake has caused the nation of Japan to shift 8 feet.
1.4 million people have been without water since the quake hit. 2.5 million are without electricity.
Japan’s government is warning of the possibility of a second blast at Fukushima Plant #1. They are currently working to cool down 4 reactors. News is that a partial melt-down has occured with the first reactor, but it cannot be ascertained because they can’t get into the reactor housing. Tokyo Electric Power warns that the radiation level has risen above the safety level. 170,000 people have been evacuated from the area.
Warnings have been issued that another quake measuring as high as 7.0 could occur within the next 3 days. Estimates this morning are that the death toll could reach as high as 10,000.
American military rescue work has been dubbed ‘Operation Tomodachi’ meaning friendship. The name was chosen by the Japanese. Helicopters from the USS Ronald Reagan have already conducted 20 missions delivering food and supplies to 3 different towns. They will also transport Japanese forces to stricken areas.
VIDEO – March 12, 2011
Read more about rescue operations here.
New video of the force of the tsunami when it struck the fishing port of Miyako, Iwate Prefecture, Japan:
Japan’s central bank is injecting a record 15 trillion yen ($183.8 billion) into money markets, while the Tokyo stock market nosedived Monday on the first business day since an earthquake and tsunami devastated the country’s northeast and raised dire worries about the economy.
The Bank of Japan moved quickly to try to keep financial markets stable. By flooding the banking system with cash, it hopes banks will continue lending money and meet the likely surge in demand for post-earthquake funds. Central bankers were gathered Monday for a one-day policy board meeting.
Preliminary estimates put repair costs from the earthquake and tsunami in the tens of billions of dollars—a huge blow for an economy that lost its place as the world’s No. 2 to China last year, and was already in a fragile state.
[…] The nation’s big-three automakers, meanwhile, said they would halt all production in Japan due to widespread damage to both suppliers and transport networks in the region.
“The impact on Japan’s economy will be devastating,” said Sheila Smith, senior fellow for Japan Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, a New York-based think tank. “The long-term economic blow to a country already struggling to lower its budget deficit … will be significant.”
Takajo, Japan - Rescuers retrieve a body among the many washed up on Japan's northeastern coastline. Workers have run out of body bags and crematoriums are overwhelmed. March 14, 2011
UPDATE 8 7: 37 PM PDT (3/14/11): The Chief Cabinet Secretary of Japan has confirmed that an explosion has occurred in Fukushima Plant #2 and nuclear rods were partially exposed for two and a half hours. Residents are warned that radiation in the air has reached levels that can now impact human health. Residents are cautioned to remain indoors. A new fire has also occurred in Reactor #4 – which heightens concern for a nuclear nightmare.
Some 2,000 bodies have washed up on the shores of Ishinomaki and Minamisanrik; local authorities are struggling to deal with the number of corpses. 450,000 are homeless; food, water, and fuel are scarce. Nighttime temperatures are bitterly cold and snow is expected tomorrow.
Half a million Japanese residents are homeless; five million are without power. With nighttime temps in the 20's, survivors heat water to fill hot-water bottles at a shelter in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture. 3/15/11
Meanwhile, rescue efforts continue. The USS Ronald Reagan moved to a new position to further itself from the effects of radioactivity. Rescue work is hampered by ongoing after-shocks and 10 to 15 feet of debris in many locations.
UPDATE 8 7:30 PM PDT (3/15/11): ALL WORKERS HAVE SUSPENDED OPERATIONS at an unidentified nuclear power plant in Fukushima. Due to lack of power and generator failure caused by the tsunami (generators were anchored at ground level), cooling the reactors has been done manually – with sea water. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano issued a statement saying work on dousing reactors with water stopped when radiation levels rose quickly. Government officials are tight-lipped with details…
Meanwhile, sales of potassium iodide pills (anti-radiation pills that protect the thyroid gland) have flown off suppliers’ shelves in western coastal states in the USA.
UPDATE 9 11:00 AM PDT (3/16/11): The United States Pentagon has ordered all U.S. military helping with humanitarian rescues/operations in Japan to stay 50 miles away from the nuclear power plants in Fukushima – unless special authorization has been granted.
It’s currently snowing heavily in northeastern Japan. 450,000 residents are in shelters (which are quickly running out of food and water) and many are living outside in the elements.
In an extremely rare occurrence reserved for times of extreme crisis or war, Japan’s revered Emperor Akihito spoke somberly on national TV today to offer hope and encouragement:
Meanwhile, the heroes continuing to work at the Fukushima power plant are not afraid to die.
UPDATE 10 11:30 PDT (3/17/11): The U.S. State Dept is helping employees and other government workers and dependents leave three cities in northeastern Japan. One charter flight departed yesterday to Taipei (with only 100 on board) and two additional flights will be offered tomorrow.
The Dept of Defense is also offering commercial or chartered flights available tomorrow to aid in evacuations. The DOD has also sent additional shipments of potassium iodide pills to Japan.
The U.S. military has delivered 40 tons of humanitarian relief thus far. President Obama will speak on the continuing situation from the W.H. Rose Garden today at 3:30 PM EST.
UPDATE 11 10:30 AM PDT (3/18/11): “The boss of the company behind the devastated Japanese nuclear reactor today broke down in tears – as his country finally acknowledged the radiation spewing from the over-heating reactors and fuel rods was enough to kill some citizens.” Read more here.