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Daily News Brief 03.21.12
Posted by Jacob Worrell on March 21

Here are some of today's top stories and happenings at IAVA.  Prefer to receive real-time updates about major stories and legislation that IAVA is tracking? Follow us on Twitter @IAVAPressRoom and click here to get the News Brief delivered to your inbox every morning.


1) Unemployment Rises for Afghanistan and Iraq Era Veterans

The unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans rose in 2011 just as the average national rate declined. The rate of unemployed OEF/OIF/OND veterans rose only .6 percent, but U.S. officials are concerned that the number of unemployed veterans will increase further as government jobs are cut and the military shrinks troop size. Fight against unemployment andsupport IAVA at Storm the Hill next week when 25 veterans head to DC to unveil the 2012 policy agenda.


2) IAVA Presents 2012 Legislative Priorities to HVAC and SVAC

Today, IAVA's Deputy Policy Director Tom Tarantino will present IAVA's 2012 policy priorities before a joint hearing of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees. In his testimony, Tom outlined the top issues facing new veterans and their families, including employment, education benefits and job training and mental health issues.IAVA.ORG


3) Reflections on Panjwai

João Hwang, a veteran of Afghanistan and an IAVA member, reflects on the killing of 16 Afghans in the same region where he served in 2004. “[I]t is disheartening to see the callousness of some and the lengths some are going to try to justify something unjustifiable,” João writes. The U.S. government’s apology “is not a sign of weakness,” but “a sign of accountability and responsibility.”



  • A reporter for Wired magazine details his visit to a Special Forces compound near Kabul last month.
  • The lawyer for Staff Sergeant Bales says the U.S. government lacks proof to convict Bales of the charges against him.


  • Tuesday’s violence in Iraq, which claimed the lives of over 43 people, comes as the country prepares to host representatives of the Arab League.



  • An Army linebacker was awarded the Sullivan Award for being the best amateur athlete in the U.S.; he is only the sixth football player and third soldier to receive the award.
  • Iraq veteran, IAVA member and double amputee Tammy Duckworth has won the Democratic nomination in the 8th District Congressional Race in Illinois.


  • Senator Patty Murray has released information showing 40 percent of PTSD diagnoses reviewed at Madigan Army Medical Center were reversed.
  • General John R. Allen, commander of all U.S. forces in Afghanistan, told Congress on Tuesday that it is too early to begin withdrawing more troops from Afghanistan.