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2011 Medal of Honor Convention in Louisville This Week

Several Medal of Honor recipients will be in Louisville this week for the 2011 Congressional Medal of Honor Society Convention.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the medal, which is the nation’s highest award granted for U.S. combat.

Kentucky native Dakota Meyer is the newest recipient of the medal. Meyer was presented the award earlier this month by President Barack Obama. He’s now one of five Kentucky medal holders that will be in Louisville beginning Wednesday.

Recipients and their families will visit schools, events and participate in a public walk throughout the week. It will end Saturday at an awards dinner, attended by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Over 50 medal recipients will come to Louisville and participate throughout the week.

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Local News

Kentuckian Will Receive Medal of Honor This Week

President Barack Obama will award the nation’s highest military honor to a Kentucky native this week.

Former Marine Corporal Dakota Meyer is the third living recipient of the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. Two years ago in Afghanistan, he ran into enemy fire to find four of his fellow troops. He then helped retrieve their bodies. Meyer didn’t expect any commendation for his actions. He thought he had failed because his fellow Marines died. He’ll receive the medal Thursday.

An interview with Meyer:

Audio MP3

“I have a platform to where I can go out and let Americans know what guys like me are doing. I think the problem in the military is the infantry guys and all the guys out there doing the fighting never get recognition,” he says.

Meyer is back in Kentucky, and he looks forward to his life calming down after this week.

“You try to go and give everyone an interview because how do you decide who to turn down? So then you start running yourself into the ground. You’re talking…everyone wants a piece of you for the worst day of your life,” he says. “It’s just like reliving it over and over.”

Meyer has started a scholarship program and he plans to pursue a business degree, but he says if he could return to combat, he would sign up with the Marines immediately.

He will be the third living recipient—and first living Marine—of the award for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Paul Questions Obama on Libya Pull Out Deadline

Joined by five Senate colleagues, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., sent a letter to President Barack Obama on Friday questioning if the president intends to pull armed forces out of Libya once the 60-day legal limit expires.

According to the 1973 War Powers Resolution, the president can commit troops to hostilities without congressional approval for 60 days. After the statutory period ends, Congress must declare war or Mr. Obama must suspend military operations in Libya.

The deadline expires today.

“As recently as last week your administration indicated use of the United States Armed Forces will continue indefinitely,” the letter reads. “Therefore, we are writing to ask whether you intend to comply with the requirements of the War Powers Resolution. We await your response.”

The group of six GOP Senators aren’t the only critics asking tough question over whether Mr. Obama will respect the War Powers Resolution. Even initial supporters of the intervention in Libya say the president should seek congressional approval.

From the Washington Post editorial board:

An assertion that congressional approval is unnecessary because NATO — and not the United States — is waging the Libyan conflict is not persuasive and ignores the fact that NATO weapons and personnel are supplied and directed by member countries, including the United States. Arguments that the United States is no longer involved in hostilities also fall short. As recently as late April, the United States conducted military strikes using drones.

“The president has said where we have unique capabilities, he is willing to use those,” Defense Secretary Robert Gates said at the time — and rightly so. Even if the administration is now only supplying intelligence and other support, that is part of war fighting — and the uncertainties of conflict may again require more kinetic (to use a recently favored euphemism) military involvement.

The administration seems not even to have tried to secure Congress’s buy-in before the Friday deadline. Rather than dodge compliance, the president should seek congressional authorization next week, once both chambers are back in session. As the Supreme Court has noted, the president’s powers are at their highest when he acts in concert with Congress. In this case, Mr. Obama’s flexibility in taking appropriate action in Libya would be enhanced by securing Congress’s endorsement.

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Local News Politics Uncategorized

Osama bin Laden Killed in Pakistan

Nearly a decade after the September 11 attacks, the founder and leader of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, is dead.

Calling it it “the most significant development” in the fight against al-Qaeda, President Barack Obama said tonight that bin Laden was killed in a firefight in Pakistan, which was the result of a “targeted assault” ordered by the President.

“This momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001,” said Mr. Obama.

The President then remarked that “the fight against terror goes on.”

The fate of the organization’s second in command, Ayman, al-Zawahiri, remains unknown.

“What remains to be seen is whether the death of the leader of Al Qaeda galvanizes his followers by turning him into a martyr, or whether it serves as a turning of the page in the war in Afghanistan and gives further impetus to the Obama administration to bring American troops home,” writes Helene Cooper in the New York Times.

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Local News Politics

Yarmuth Says White House Should Be More Open on Libya

Third District Congressman John Yarmuth says he has a number of questions about the ongoing military action in Libya, and many of them stem from what he calls a lack of clarity from the White House. (For the national perspective on this topic, listen to this NPR report.)

Yarmuth agrees with President Barack Obama that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi should not be in power. But he says the president should’ve been more open with congress before launching military strikes to enforce a no-fly zone.

Yarmuth has been a vocal critic of the war in Iraq. He says the situation in Libya doesn’t compare.

“But it’s not over,” he says. “When you start moving from enforcing a no-fly zone to actually bombing buildings in the compound of Gadhafi that raises questions about what the true mission is.”

Yarmuth is also worried military leaders won’t stick to their timeline to end the strikes.

“I don’t think there’s any question that members of both sides of the aisle are a little bit confused as to exactly what our objective and what our measurements for success are,” he says. “There is potential for prolonged involvement. I don’t think the American people support that, I don’t think they’d be ready for it, I don’t think the congress would be willing to pay for it or endorse it. I think that’s why we need a clear picture of why we’re there, how long we’re going to be there.”

Yarmuth says despite the backing of many European and Middle Eastern countries, it looks like the U.S. is leading the military action, and that’s a cause for concern. Further, he’s wary that the impending NATO-led humanitarian mission won’t go as planned.

Republican Congressman Todd Young of southern Indiana is also critical of the military action in Libya. He raised several concerns in a statement posted on Facebook, but was not available for comment.

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Local News Politics

In Wide-Ranging Speech, Biden Discusses Egypt, Bipartisanship, War

Vice President Joe Biden says it’s time for a smooth transition to Democracy in Egypt.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigned shortly before Biden took the stage at the University of Louisville McConnell Center. The Vice President began his remarks with a comment on the situation.

“This is a pivotal moment in history, it’s a pivotal moment in not only Mid East history, but in history I would argue. We have said from the beginning as an administration that this unrest, that the future of Egypt will be determined by the Egyptian people,” he says.

Biden says any violence against peaceful demonstrators is unacceptable and the rights of the Egyptian people must be respected.

In the rest of his speech, Biden discussed everything from education and the economy to innovation and infrastructure.

Referring to Iraq and Afghanistan, Biden said the Obama administration will begin withdrawing forces in Afghanistan in July and 50 thousand troops will be coming home from Iraq by the end of the year.

Biden was accompanied by the center’s namesake, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. The Vice President said despite frequent disagreements, he and McConnell have been able to reach some common ground.

“We also share the conviction that we can sustain our position in the world and we can and must strengthen it. We share the conviction that America’s best days are ahead,” he said.

Biden cited the recent tax cut compromise as an example of his bipartisan work.

For video of the speech visit the McConnell Center website.

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Local News Politics

Negotiator Discusses START In Louisville

by Sheila Ash

The Chief U.S. negotiator for a treaty on the reduction of nuclear weapons was in town Friday to address the Louisville Committee on Foreign Relations.

Assistant Secretary for Arms Control Rose Gottemoeller’s speech focused on the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with the Russian Federation. START limits the number of deployed warheads each nation may have to 1,550, down from 2,200. Both countries, though, may still stockpile thousands of inactive warheads.

Gottemoeller says the U.S. must keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists.

That is the most significant threat today,” she says. “The United States doesn’t worry so much any more about a nuclear attack from the Soviet Union that was the cold war problem that was the cold war threat number one. But nowadays the threat number one is the threat of terrorism and particularly the threat of nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorists.)

The New START was signed earlier this year and is before the Senate for ratification. The first treaty expired in 2009.

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Shuffle

War Vets

Saturday, September 18, 2010 9pm

Producer: Conrad Bishop
Listen Again

The voices of fourteen men and women who served in the military during times of war. What got you into the service? What did you do there? How were you different when you came home?

The program includes veterans from the Spanish Civil War through Vietnam – a perspective that allows them to look back on how their extremely diverse experiences affected the whole span of their lives. It includes infantrymen, nurses, mechanics, a pilot, a medic, and people just sitting behind a desk. It’s interspersed with musical settings of quotes (both pro- and anti-war) from literature and history.

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Shuffle

The Pipe, the Drum and the Thunder Run: Music and War

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Producer: CBC Radio 2
Listen Again

On this episode of The Nerve, host Jowi Taylor surveys the entwined histories of war and music. Military music is meant to stir the blood. In order to achieve this, some instruments, some compositions, some sounds are more favoured than others. The Israelites used trumpets to bring down the walls of Jericho. Coppola’s Apocalypse Now helicopters played Ride of the Valkyries, which was based on an actual practice used during the Vietnam War – and is used today as part of the “Thunder Run” strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Scots went to war with bagpipes. And every army has a band. And music can also be an instrument of torture, as happens today, when the U.S. Army uses music to “forcibly interrogate” its prisoners.

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Local News

Kentucky Guardsman Killed In Afghanistan

From Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh

A Kentucky National Guardsman on his first overseas deployment has been killed in Afghanistan.                          

In May, 27-year old Specialist Daniel Wallace (right) of Dry Ridge deployed to Afghanistan with a Kentucky National Guard engineering unit.

On Friday, while the unit was clearing roadside bombs, Wallace died in a firefight with Taliban attackers. His brother Alex also serves in the Guard, as a medic.

“I’m going to keep carrying on. I know he wants me to serve my full time, which is what I’m going to do. I’m going to do what I promised him. I’m going to make a career out of the military,” Alex Wallace said.

Daniel Wallace, who was posthumously promoted to sergeant, was the third Kentucky Guard soldier to die in Afghanistan. He leaves behind his parents, two brothers, a sister and a six-year old son. He is the 17th Kentucky National Guard soldier to die in a combat zone in southwest Asia since 2001.