November 11, 2013

Honoring Veterans Day — Marines lend support in the Philippines — 60 Minutes apologizes for Benghazi story

Source: Politico

Journalists: Kate Brannen, Jonathan Topaz, Juana Summers

THE CHANGING FACE OF VETERANS DAY, via POLITICO’s Juana Summers: “As they return home after more than a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, younger veterans argue the holiday can’t just be about wreaths on gravestones at national cemeteries, parades or celebrations in the basement at the Veterans of Foreign Wars post.” They say it also has to be about taking care of today’s young veterans who are grappling with visible and invisible wounds of war.

ON THE TOP OF OUR READING LIST: Want to understand the newest generation of veterans? Then check out David Finkel’s “Thank You For Your Service,” a follow-up to his incredible 2009 book “The Good Soldiers,” which followed an Army battalion on their deployment in Baghdad in 2007. Now, those same soldiers are back home, facing postwar life often on their own.

An excerpt of the book ran in Parade magazine this weekend.

CNAS CALLS ON THE VA TO EXPAND ITS MENTAL HEALTH CARE RESOURCES: In a report being released this morning, the Center for a New American Security says the $7 billion the Department of Veterans Affairs spends this year on mental health care for veterans will not be enough. This is partly because historically veterans’ mental health care needs peak 10 to 20 years after the end of war.

You can download the full report on the CNAS Web site:

BIG LIGHTS WILL INSPIRE YOU: If you’re lucky enough to be in New York tonight, look toward Midtown. The Empire State Building will shine its lights red, white and blue in honor of Veterans Day.

DEFENSE OFFICIALS ATTEND CEREMONY AT ARLINGTON CEREMONY: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter and other senior defense officials join President Barack Obama at the 60th Annual National Veterans Day Observance ceremony at 11 a.m. in Arlington National Cemetery.

Hagel will also walk through the Vietnam Memorial with fellow Vietnam vet, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.


-- Vets with PTSD are at heightened risk for addiction to painkillers, which many take to help with chronic pain. The Wall Street Journal:

-- A profile of Shinseki, who’s in his sixth year as secretary of veterans affairs. The Washington Post:

-- Retired Lt. Gen. David Barno and Phillip Carter, author of today’s CNAS report, write that U.S. military bases are contributing to today’s deepening civil-military divide:

-- Lots of freebies and discounts are on offer today for vets and active military. USA Today:

-- Senior British military officials urge the public not to overlook those still serving in Afghanistan. The Telegraph:

DOD LENDS SUPPORT IN THE PHILIPPINES:  After one of the most powerful typhoons ever recorded hit the Philippines on Friday, the country is trying to come to terms with the devastation, and the U.S. Pacific Command is lending support where it can. Thousands are feared dead, the BBC reports.

Marine Corps Times’ Andrew deGrandpre reports that a team of approximately 90 Marines and sailors left Okinawa, Japan, to help search for survivors.

IT’S MONDAY. Thank you for starting your week with Morning Defense. On this Veterans Day, your correspondent is borrowing a quote from Maya Angelou: “How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!”  Please send your latest defense news, tips and feedback to and follow on Twitter at @k8brannen, @morningdefense and @PoliticoPro for the latest.

LARA LOGAN APOLOGIZES FOR BENGHAZI STORY: Last night on CBS’s  “60 Minutes,” correspondent Lara Logan said she was sorry for her Oct. 27 story on the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.

There’s been a lot of handwringing at the network after The New York Times reported Thursday that the principle source for the “60 Minutes” Benghazi story — a security contractor named Dylan Davies — had given a very different version of events to the FBI.

“We realize we had been misled, and it was a mistake we included him in our report. For that, we are very sorry,” Logan said last night. “The truth is, we made a mistake.”

-- BEHIND-THE-SCENES OF “60 MINUTES” SCREW-UP, via POLITICO’s Dylan Byers: How could the show report the story for more than a year without learning about the FBI report? It might be due to “60 Minutes” independence within CBS, Byers reports.

“Throughout their reporting, Lara Logan and the ‘60 Minutes’ team did not seek assistance from their colleagues in CBS News’s investigative unit, many of whom are well-sourced with the FBI and would likely have been able to assist in the vetting process.”

-- STILL, GRAHAM WON’T LIFT HIS HOLDS: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said yesterday that he’ll continue his Senate holds on the president’s nominees until he gets more information on the Benghazi attack, POLITICO’s Leigh Munsil reports.

NAVY BRIBERY SCANDAL JUST GETS WORSE AND WORSE, via The Washington Post’s Craig Whitlock: The latest Navy brass to go down in the scandal that involves trading internal Navy information for money and prostitutes are Vice Adm. Ted “Twig” Branch, the service’s top intelligence officer, and Rear Adm. Bruce Loveless, its director of intelligence operations. The two were placed on leave on Friday and their access to classified info suspended.

Whitlock writes that its the worst crisis to hit the Navy since the infamous “1991 Tailhook scandal, when a convention of naval aviators sexually assaulted scores of women.” And still more naval officers are expected to be implicated.

IRAN UPDATE:  NO DEAL REACHED IN GENEVA … TALKS TO RESUME NOV. 20: A deal looked like it was within reach Friday, when Secretary of State John Kerry raced to Switzerland to participate in the last round of negotiations with Iran. But after a marathon session Saturday, the diplomats announced they had been unable to reach agreement this time around. Lower-level negotiators will return to Geneva on Nov. 20 for more discussions.

Initial reports said the French, who wanted tougher restrictions placed on Iran, sank the deal. But The New York Times’ Michael R. Gordon reports “it was the Iranian delegation that balked at completing an interim agreement, saying that it had to engage in additional consultations in Tehran before proceeding further.”

-- KERRY PLANS TO BRIEF THE SENATE BANKING COMMITTEE THIS WEEK: “The Senate will hit pause on any plans to consider further economic sanctions on Iran until the chamber is briefed by the Obama administration this week,” reports POLITICO’s Burgess Everett.

BOY, DOES THIS COMPLICATE THINGS FOR ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN NEGOTIATIONS, via POLITICO’s Josh Gerstein: “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s angry reaction to the prospect of a short-term pact with Tehran is virtually certain to put an even bigger chill on already languishing U.S.-led Israeli-Palestinian talks, and the timing could make things even more difficult.”

THE NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL BOARD ARGUES DOD NEEDS TO MAKE CUTS, BUT NOT VIA SEQUESTRATION: “With the Iraq war over and troops coming home from Afghanistan, the military budget must be reduced. The question is whether we can be smart about it.”

SOME KIDS HAVE SECURITY BLANKETS — THE PRESIDENT HAS A SECURITY TENT, via The New York Times’ Michael S. Schmidt and Eric Schmitt: U.S. security officials take as many precautions as possible to protect the president from spying eyes and ears when he travels abroad. This includes setting up a tent inside a hotel room to create a space where he can safely read classified documents or have a sensitive phone conversation.

Maybe they got the idea from a Wes Anderson film?


-- Six states are refusing to comply with Hagel’s order that gay spouses of National Guard members be given the same federal marriage benefits as heterosexual spouses. The New York Times:

-- SASC member Kirsten Gillibrand defends her sexual assault legislation in an op-ed. Defense One:

-- A look at why sexual assault in the military is not a bigger political issue. POLITICO:

-- The State Department is denying visas to a growing number of Afghan interpreters, many of whom claim their lives are at risk from the Taliban. The Washington Post:

-- The Syrian opposition has consented to join peace talks in Geneva. Reuters:

-- Sen. John McCain says NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander should either resign or be fired over the revelations by Edward Snowden about secret NSA programs. Der Spiegel:


9 a.m. The president and Vice President Joe Biden attend a White House breakfast to honor veterans and their families.

11 a.m. Obama, Biden, Hagel and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. James Winnefeld participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

11 a.m. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno participate in the Veterans Day Parade in New York City.

1:30 p.m. Ryan Crocker, former U.S. ambassador to Iraq and Afghanistan, moderates a University of Virginia Miller Center symposium on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.


  • David Finkel

    David Finkel is the national enterprise editor of the Washington Post. He is the author of The Good Soldiers and Thank You for Your Service, written while in residence at CNAS...