By Dan Lothian, CNN, from CNN website, July 6, 2011
The Obama administration has reversed a White House policy of not sending condolence letters to the next-of-kin of service members who commit suicide, a senior administration official confirmed in a statement to CNN.
The move comes nearly six weeks after a group of senators -- 10 Democrats and one Republican -- asked President Barack Obama to change what they called an "insensitive" policy that dates back several administrations and has been the subject of protest by some military families.
In the statement Tuesday, the White House official said a review had been completed, and the president will send condolence letters to families of service members who commit suicide while deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and other combat operations.
"The president feels strongly that we need to destigmatize the mental health costs of war to prevent these tragic deaths, and changing this policy is part of that process," the official's statement said.
"Unfortunately, perpetuating a policy that denies condolence letters to families of service members who die by suicide only serves to reinforce this stigma by overshadowing the contributions of an individual's life with the unfortunate nature of his or her death. It is simply unacceptable for the United States to be sending the message to these families that somehow their loved ones' sacrifices are less important."
This is just another example of an enlightened U.S. president governing in the middle of a headwind from the political right. It is the Republican resistance to tax hikes as their line in the sand for raising the debt ceiling that is so appalling.
Everyone knows that corporate leaders and large investors, those with incomes over $250,000 can both stand and do support a tax hike for their income group. Nevertheless, in their stubborn, headstrong defence of their political base, the Republican leadership continues to resist removing the Bush tax cuts for this group.
And for Republican John Cornyn from Texas to say that corporations are 'sitting on cash and not hiring because of the uncertainty about future tax policy' is nothing more than a duplicitous and deceptive ruse.
In Canada, yesterday, both federal and Ontario governments announced significant contributions to Toyota to refurb and refit two Ontario car plants, as part of a renewed incentive to support another ailing automaker.
There is no reason why the Republicans do not publicly insist that the government incentives be immediately spent in job creation
The fact that the corporate sector holds the unemployed as hostage to their greed has to stop and a first step to unlocking that stash of cash would be to require it to be moved from the vaults in the basements of the nation's banks to the hiring tables, where there are literally millions starving for both food and a decent job.