The Fourth Ahead and The Forgotten

Yeah, I know, you just want to get your holiday on. We’re all suffering from pandemic fatigue which makes everything we do more challenging.

We can’t just hop in the car and go to the store without planning ahead — not merely shopping lists but whether you have a mask, a backup mask, hand sanitizer, a container of sanitizing wipes, something in which to corral potentially contaminated items, so on. Our lives have become complicated if we’re taking the risk of COVID-19 seriously.

And we want a break from it. We want a slice of normalcy — a cold beverage in hand, burgers on the grill, fireworks overhead, fireflies after dark, family and friends all around us. And we want it now.

Some of us, though, won’t get these things. Some of us have been forgotten.

Some Americans will have to spend the coming Fourth of July holiday in a place we thought we’d have left by now, watching out for deadly attacks we thought were going to diminish.

Some Americans will have to “celebrate” knowing the commander-in-chief simply doesn’t give a rat’s butt about them. Certainly not enough to deal with pushing back at threats against them. They will have to spend the holiday doubling down on security because the president is going to do nothing except his usual nonsensical bullshit talking about himself.

Which is why some of the rest of us Americans can’t let them be forgotten. We need to continue to hold our elected officials’ feet to the fire no matter whether a holiday lies ahead. We need to insist the GOP senators who have majority control whether they are going to simply roll over and do nothing like Trump, or if they are going to uphold their oaths, do their damned jobs, and remember our service members in Afghanistan and elsewhere who have likewise sworn an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution and protect our nation.

~ ~ ~

Here’s your action item, same as posted a couple days ago:

— If you have a GOP senator(s), call their office and ask for a statement from the senator about the Russian bounties on our troops in Afghanistan. Where do they stand? What action will the senator take?

— Share the results of your call here in the comments.

Congressional switchboard number is (202) 224-3121. Or you can look up their local office number at You can also use Resistbot and ask them to respond but this will much slower than a phone call.

Here are all the GOP senators; note the ones especially who are Class II running for re-election this year. Contact only your own senator — they represent you, after all — and share what you hear from their office.

Special note to Floridians and Kentuckyians: Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and other leaders in the U.S. intelligence community are supposed to brief the “Gang of Eight” today about the Russian bounties. Feedback from Sens. Rubio and McConnell will be of particular interest for this reason.

Senator First Name Party State Class Position
Class I – 2024
Scott Rick R FL I
Braun Mike R IN I
Hawley Josh R MO I
Wicker Roger R MS I
Cramer Kevin R ND I
Fischer Deb R NE I
Blackburn Marsha R TN I
Cruz Ted R TX I
Romney Mitt R UT I
Barrasso John R WY I
Class II – 2020
Sullivan Dan R AK II
Cotton Tom R AR II
Gardner Cory R CO II
Perdue David R GA II Called, but no comment to date.
Ernst Joni R IA II
Risch Jim R ID II
Roberts Pat R KS II [1]
McConnell Mitch R KY II Gang of Eight member
Cassidy Bill R LA II
Collins Susan R ME II
Hyde-Smith Cindy R MS II
Daines Steve R MT II
Tillis Thom R NC II
Sasse Ben R NE II
Inhofe James R OK II
Graham Lindsey R SC II
Rounds Mike R SD II
Alexander Lamar R TN II [2]
Cornyn John R TX II
Capito Shelley Moore R WV II
Enzi Mike R WY II [3]
McSally Martha R AZ III [4]
Class III – 2022
Murkowski Lisa R AK III
Shelby Richard R AL III
Boozman John R AR III
Rubio Marco R FL III Gang of Eight member
Loeffler Kelly R GA III Called, but no comment to date.
Grassley Chuck R IA III
Crapo Michael R ID III
Young Todd R IN III
Moran Jerry R KS III
Paul Rand R KY III
Kennedy John R LA III
Blunt Roy R MO III
Burr Richard R NC III
Hoeven John R ND III
Portman Rob R OH III
Lankford James R OK III
Toomey Pat R PA III
Scott Tim R SC III
Thune John R SD III
Lee Mike R UT III
Johnson Ron R WI III

[1] Retiring in 2020. Seat open.
[2] Retiring in 2020. Seat open.
[3] Retiring in 2020. Seat open.
[4] Appointed to fill John McCain’s seat, running in 2020.

~ ~ ~

These are the forgotten Americans. There are families including children who won’t see them or hear from them this coming holiday, let alone ever again. At least two young Americans will never, ever have seen them for any holiday.

22. Jan. 2019 Army Sgt. 1st Class Joshua “Zach” Beale, 32, killed by small-arms fire in southern Uruzgan province.
22. Mar. 2019 Army Sgt. 1st Class Will D. Lindsay, 33, Cortez, Colo., died after being wounded during combat in northern Kunduz province.
22. Mar. 2019 Army Sgt. Joseph P. Collette, 29, Lancaster, Ohio, died of wounds sustained in combat operations in northern Kunduz province.
8. Apr. 2019 Marine Sgt. Robert A. Hendriks, 25, was one of three Marines killed by a car bomb outside Bagram Airfield.
8. Apr. 2019 Marine Staff Sgt. Benjamin S. Hines, 31, of York, Pa., died in a car bomb explosion outside Bagram Airfield.
8. Apr. 2019 Marine Staff Sgt. Christopher K.A. Slutman, 43, was killed by a car bomb outside Bagram Airfield.
6. May. 2019 Army Spc. Miguel L. Holmes, 22, died in eastern Nangarhar province from wounds sustained in a noncombat incident.
25. May. 2019 Army Sgt. James G. Johnston, 24, was killed by small-arms fire in southern Uruzgan province.
25. Jun. 2019 Army Master Sgt. Micheal B. Riley, 32, was killed by small-arms fire in southern Uruzgan province.
30. Jun. 2019 Army Sgt. 1st Class Elliott J. Robbins, 31, a Green Beret medical sergeant from Utah, died from noncombat injuries in southern Helmand province.
23. Jul. 2019 Army Sgt. Maj. James “Ryan” Sartor, 40, died from injuries sustained by enemy fire in northern Faryab province.
29. Jul. 2019 Army Spc. Michael Isaiah Nance, 24, of Chicago, died after being shot by an Afghan soldier at a military camp in southern Uruzgan province.
29. Jul. 2019 Army Pfc. Brandon Jay Kreischer, 20, died after an Afghan solider opened fire at a base in southern Uruzgan province. [Never saw his son.]
21. Aug. 2019 Army Master Sgt. Luis F. DeLeon-Figueroa, 31, was one of two Green Berets killed in northern Faryab province by small-arms fire.
21. Aug. 2019 Army Master Sgt. Jose J. Gonzalez, 35, of La Puente, Calif., was killed during a raid alongside Afghan special forces in southern Faryab province.
29. Aug. 2019 Army Sgt. 1st Class Dustin Ard, 31, died of wounds received in combat in southern Zabul province. [Never saw his second child.]
5. Sep. 2019 Army Sgt. 1st Class Elis A. Barreto Ortiz, 34, from Morovis, Puerto Rico, died in a suicide blast in Kabul.
16. Sep. 2019 Army Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy W. Griffin, 40, was killed by small-arms fire in central Wardak province.
20. Nov. 2019 Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kirk Fuchigami Jr., 25, was killed in a helicopter crash. The incident happened in eastern Logar province.
20. Nov. 2019 Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 David C. Knadle, 33, was killed in a helicopter crash while providing security to ground troops in eastern Logar province.
23. Dec. 2019 Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Goble, 33, was killed in a roadside bombing in northern Kunduz province.
11. Jan. 2020 Staff Sgt. Ian P. McLaughlin, 29, Newport News, Virginia, killed by an improvised explosive device.
11. Jan. 2020 Pfc. Miguel A. Villalon, 21, Joliet, Illinois, killed by an improvised explosive device.
27. Jan. 2020 Lt. Col. Paul K. Voss, 46, Yigo, Guam, killed in crash of an E-11A Battlefield Airborne Communications Node aircraft in eastern Afghanistan.
27. Jan. 2020 Capt. Ryan S. Phaneuf, 30, Hudson, N.H., killed in crash of an E-11A Battlefield Airborne Communications Node aircraft in eastern Afghanistan.
8. Feb. 2020 Sgt. Javier Jaguar Gutierrez, 28, killed in an insider attack in Nangarhar province.
8. Feb. 2020 Sgt. Antonio Rey Rodriguez, 28, killedin an insider attack in Nangarhar province.

Though not all of these service members may have been killed by Taliban for bounty money, they all deserve to be remembered. Their families, friends, and fellow service members deserve answers. All Americans deserve answers, accountability, and action.

When did Trump get a Presidential Daily Briefing on these bounties and what was his response that day? Why didn’t the Commander-in-Chief take action after the intelligence community learned Russia had offered bounties on U.S. service members? Why have we heard multiple different excuses — didn’t hear about, wasn’t credible, didn’t rise to level of action, it’s a hoax — rather than the truth about what happened in the executive office when this intelligence was brought to Trump’s attention?

What action will the Senate take, because the Senate under a GOP majority possesses the deciding votes for any action to be taken?

We need to do our part now to ensure a democracy. We shouldn’t need to take an oath the way every service member and member of Congress and the president do to achieve this aim. We only need to take a few minutes before the Fourth of July holiday to do it. Let’s roll.

35 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    I cried drafting that list of deceased service members, started bawling when I read that one of them would never see his first child who had yet to be born at the time of his death during an insider attack. The soldier was younger than my second-born at the time of his death — he’d only be a sophomore in college if he’d enrolled in school instead of going into military service.

    There’s no way to ever make up this loss to this child or his family. The best we can do is hold the president and those who support him accountable for the decisions they made which cost this young soldier his life.

  2. Jon says:

    I was never a fan of the Draft. But since it ended, the folks serving in the military have ben comprised from an ever narrowing sector of society. And the government, with the passive support of the public, has not been overly bothered with the purposes they have been put to, or the risks and repercussions they have suffered. I hope we have come to a point where we can avoid venturing our military unless needed, and to fully support them, when returned from service.

    • Nehoa says:

      The one good thing about the draft was that many (not those with bone spurs) were at risk. Skin in the game. In the really old days (centuries) leaders’ children were expected to lead soldiers from the front. They often died. Actions had consequences for the elites. Not so today. The professional military is almost totally separate from the economic elite today. That is really bad for the decision making process. The lives of the children of decision makers need to feel the effects of their parents decisions. It tends to clarify the minds of the decision makers.

  3. Rugger9 says:

    The Selective Service is still functioning. Registration has been required for 40 years for those 18 or over.

    However, the point about who is liable to be called up is well-taken, and those who are able to let the little people do the work for them. We know for example that Tiffany would be cut out if she went into the military. We also know that DJT’s attitude about soldiers was demonstrated early on by the men killed in Niger (on a still unclear mission): “…they knew what they signed up for…” which means he doesn’t give a damn about them.

    The Polar Bears (334th) of Archangel included 1Lt Cudahy (of the Bar-S brand family) who had some very rough duty (he apparently named his daughter Toulgas after the battle on Armistice Day in North Russia) but he did not flinch. Shared sacrifice usually means shared community views, as opposed to classes who considered their lessers expendable.

    Lastly, it is worth observing the WH still is not doing anything whatsoever about the bounties.
    What’s worse, no news organizations are demanding that DJT resign immediately in contrast to how fast they all jumped in to demand Bill Clinton resign over Monica Lewinsky.

    • P J Evans says:

      I’ve heard stories about local draft boards in the late 60s, protecting the children of the rich and famous, and drafting others even when they had medical conditions that should have gotten them a 4F…or at least “only in case of national emergency” status.

      • Rugger9 says:

        It’s certainly what happened to W in his posting to the “champagne unit” of the Texas ANG. Where W then went AWOL and no one to this day has found his service records despite a multiple promotion promise for those that found the proof W attended his drill days.

    • DAT says:

      About the current state of the Selective Service. All Americans are required to register on turning 18. The form you fill out doesn’t offer registering as a conscientious objector, or offer information on registering as a conscientious objector, even though it remains legal to be a CO and to register as a CO. Thought we had already fought that fight.

  4. joel fisher says:

    There’s really only one thing to do: get angry; stay angry; vote angry…vote like you’re sending a demon back to hell.

  5. Eureka says:

    Thank you for saying their names, Rayne.

    Nothing from Pennsylvania Senator Patrick Toomey about Trump ignoring intelligence on the Russian-placed/-paid bounties on our service members. Senator Toomey, your silence is shameful. Shameful.

    From today’s York Daily Record, the surviving families of two of the three Marines killed in the April 8, 2019, attack near Bagram are Senator Patrick Toomey’s fellow Pennsylvanians and constituents* :

    In April 2019, three US Marines were killed when a roadside bomb was detonated as they returned to the military base at Bagram Airfield. The infantrymen assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 25th Marines, included Cpl. Robert Hendriks, Staff Sgt. Christopher Slutman, and Sgt. Benjamin Hines.

    Hendriks was from a Long Island, New York, but the two others have ties to the York-area.

    Sgt. Benjamin S. Hines, 31, was killed in the line of duty April 8 , 2019 while conducting combat operations in Afghanistan. He was a 2006 Dallastown graduate.

    Slutman lived in Delaware, but his parents live in Lower Windsor Township in York County. Hines was a 2006 Dallastown High School graduate. He was 31 when he was killed in Afghanistan.

    Russian bounties on US soldiers: What we know about a possible attack

    *Those distinctions shouldn’t matter; in fact, as far as I can tell, the word “constituent” is a Toomey-repellant. However, it is clear from Toomey’s public statements on other matters, and current preoccupations, that if a country like China had placed such bounties, he’d have plenty to say.

    Senator Patrick Toomey’s — and others’ — shameful silence will be remembered.

  6. FL Resister says:

    Thanks Rayne. I emailed Senators Rubio and Scott this week and hear crickets. My son is an active duty battalion sergeant, and I have been crying every day since learning about the bounties, knowing Trump has done nothing.
    It’s horrifying that instead of doing something to stop the bounties he has rewarded Putin with an invitation to the now G-7 while not giving a second thought to the suffering and death all around us during this pandemic.

    • Eureka says:

      Wow, that is awful to hear that they have not gotten back to you. Enraged on your behalf, and hope your son is safe, wherever he is in the world.

    • Rayne says:

      I’m very sorry your family has to deal with this. I know how challenging it is to have a loved one on active duty in a theater of war, but we had the full support of the executive branch and Congress at the time. This is just all sorts of wrong.

      Please don’t be afraid to use your status as a parent of an active duty service member to demand answers; if you don’t hear back within the week, call their offices in Florida. You are definitely owed answers, and I hope you get them.

      • Rugger9 says:

        Also, call the press i.e. the Miami Herald and/or Orlando Sun-Sentinel. Publicity is what DJT craves.

  7. Molly Pitcher says:

    GQ Magazine Correspondent
    @juliaioffe asks, “If kneeling in protest during the national anthem is disrespectful for the troops, what is ignoring intelligence that our troops are being hunted for money?”

    • Eureka says:

      Reminds me of another comment from (someone else) when the news first broke that cuts to the core: what of Trump receiving flag-draped caskets at Dover, and condolence calling the families, with what he knew — and did nothing about.

      • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

        They should really have someone else in charge of those areas who is not a sociopath.

  8. Nehoa says:

    It is two days early, but I wanted to repeat what I said last year. Mahalo to you Rayne, to Marcy, to bmaz, to Ed, to Jim and the commenters on this blog. What a treasure you all are.

    • madwand says:

      Yep poignant article, and worth reading if one wants to see the fallout of a Trump pardon, urged on by Hannity, Hegseth and crew over at Fox. There are real world consequences for those who chose to testify against their platoon leader. The platoon leader was convicted by courts martial and had served 6 years when he was pardoned. Many of those in the platoon had issues reintegrating back into civilian society, there were a number of suicides, busted marriages, etc, the normal for men and woman returning from the ‘zone”.

      I’ve checked my senators websites and still no comment on bounties. No return email either.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        The pardons of war criminals and ordinary civilian criminals like Arpaiao, DiSouza, et. al., reveal Trump’s “Law and Order” bloviation for exactly what it is: one more Trump Hoax. He respects no law, military or otherwise, and order terrifies him because he can’t master it.

  9. Scorpio Jones, III says:

    Thanks Rayne…Its always good to remember this freedom we have so much of comes at a dear cost.

    And, Amen to the virus making life more complicated…even trips to the store requiring at least prepping.

    And, then, there is the hardware store clerk who is clearly offended by the idea that what I want is not bar coded. And that I did not read the signs to that effect….(signs that were not visible at all, taken down for cleaning.) And, was highly offended I found paying and begging unpleasant. You know, I never get attitude from Amazon. Retailers need to understand it is important to make retail shopping easier, not harder.

    Now for that cold beverage, or three.

    Find the cost of freedom, buried in the ground.

  10. soothsayer says:

    Godbless & Godspeed to all our soldiers and of our allies, that have made the ultimate sacrifice.

    “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty.”
    – JFK

    “One flag, one land, one heart, one hand, One Nation evermore!”
    – Oliver Wendell Holmes

    Enjoy your 4th and the weekend folks, God bless and stay safe, all of you.

    (also, a happy belated Canada Day on the 1st)

  11. The Old Redneck says:

    I have a son in the Marine Corps, so this is not sitting real well with me.

    This story really ties back to the Mueller investigation. It’s no surprise that an organization so in bed with Putin and Russian interests failed to lift a finger about this. There is a thread of consistency and predictability in the conduct of Manafort, Flynn, Stone, Gates, and Trump himself.

    As for our home state senators, Marco Rubio seems to be trying to cultivate the image of himself as a serious guy, well versed on international affairs and American interests. Yet there hasn’t been a peep from him about this. As far as I know, nothing from bootlicker Lindsey Graham either.

  12. Narayan says:

    At the risk of committing ‘Emptywheel’ heresy- I’m super disappointed to read this piece and every subsequent comment. In the articles that introduced these allegations last week, all the accusers of The GRU referenced are ‘anonymous intelligence officials,’ plus a captured Taliban fighter. We’ve been here before!

    In 2007 I followed along with an inspiring small group of investigators as they live blogged Scooter Libby’s trial. Their revelations helped develop my understanding about corporate media complicity to create powerful propaganda with forces in our government that thrive on, and will lie and manipulate for, and profit through manufacturing reasons to invade foreign countries. And destroy those in their way. It was a heady time and I’ve always remembered and been grateful for that contribution in my awakening.

    These allegations need to be investigated and confirmed by cool sober heads before a horrendous dominoe effect happens. Until I see evidence from credible sources that the Russians had a real program and that Trump truly knew about it and did nothing then it’s as much a neocon lie as the one’s that got us bogged down in this senseless war in the first place. We were told Cheney and Rumsfeld took us there to get OBL; I remember Tora Bora.
    When we look back at this moment after 19 years of a new cold [please god not hot] war with Russia, will we have learned anything? Will it be because our emotions were ignited by another official lie. How many tens of thousands of additional lives and treasure will have been lost because we were duped into believing anything that fed our loathing of Trump?
    I’m so disappointed at how Jingoistic this article seems, coming from people I’ve turned to for some time now for wisdom and insight.

    [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username each time you comment so that community members get to know you. This is your second user name. Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks for your feedback.

      Funny how you didn’t show up to complain about the Special Counsel’s investigation and subsequent report any time since 2017. The people doing reporting on this story also covered the Special Counsel’s investigation, often running into some of the same sources.

      I wish I could take your comment seriously but we are and have been in a cold war with at least three large countries including Russia for most of the last decade. It’s called asymmetric or hybrid warfare now; every time you use the internet you’re at risk of becoming collateral damage.

      • Narayan says:

        Thank you very much for the reminder of the vulnerabilities anytime I read anything from any source anywhere.
        I did follow your Special Counsel investigation coverage closely, just had nothing I really wanted to “complain” about. This one feels different.
        As much as anyone else I’m subject to confirmation bias (deeply distrustful of corporate media propaganda for the MIC). I’ll try to keep an open mind on this one.
        I wish a peaceful holiday weekend for us all.

    • The Old Redneck says:

      I am not a neocon. My problem is the rank hypocrisy.

      Trump and his minions said Russia invaded the Crimean peninsula because Obama was too soft on Russia. Trump has been notoriously soft on Russia and Putin since the moment he took office, and those same minions have nothing to say about it. And Trump could have acted on the bounties without creating a hot war with Russia. Diplomatic protests and other less drastic steps are taken all the time (and in fact, were taken against Russia in response to the 2016 election meddling).

      Even Republicans aren’t claiming the bounty information wasn’t included in Trump’s briefing materials. They seem to have settled on the “unverified” argument – which, of course, would rule out acting on virtually all intelligence. But their behavior is not part of some coherent policy toward Russia. Instead, it is a way of not addressing Trump’s obvious soft spot for Putin.

  13. Jonathan says:

    I have made calls to both Sens Perdue and Loeffler. Important point, Sen. Perdue serves on the Senate Armed Services committee. I have also been calling both of them out on Twitter since 7/1. Still no response and no comments. I really don’t expect much from Loeffler, but, again, Perdue serves on the g/d Armed Services Committee. You would think he could spare a moment and say SOMETHING.

Comments are closed.