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Marines in Trouble; Politicians & Press Push Corps Toward TruthTim King Salem-News.com
Interestingly, American media groups have not been ignoring this story, particularly McClatchy newspapers
(SALEM) - It looks like some jarheads in the nation's capitol may be on the verge of learning some very hard lessons. It isn't figurative; the Corps has been blocking efforts to bring it to responsibility for the irreversible damage caused by serious water contamination at Camp Lejeune.
We've suspected it, others have proven it; the officials running the U.S. Marine Corps and the Department of the Navy- have been acutely aware of the toxic water at Lejeune, along with the Department of Defense, and their bets are being called.
It has cost the lives of too many Marines, their families, and civilian base employees. Chronic problems include male breast cancer. The base is oozing with Benzene and cancer causing degreasing agents like TCE (trichloroethylene) and PCE (perchloroethylene) and the list keeps going.
In China the people responsible would be lined up and shot. Could that Communist regime have more credibility and honor than the core leadership of the Marines?
For their part, the Marines have had the audacity to use a low ranking officer as their top level spokesman. A captain named Brian Block will be forever associated with the official bogus information that the Corps has tried to peddle. He is their fall guy, he should have refused, and for that matter, why not toss a Lance Corporal or a Pfc out there, why not?
Interestingly, American media groups have not been ignoring this story, particularly McClatchy newspapers.
They have been putting plenty of time into this and equal interest continues from politicians like Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, the top Republican on the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, Rep. Brad Miller, D-N.C., the head of the House Science and Technology Committee's oversight panel, and Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C. 
We have written about them before, and now, more than ever, these elected officials seem to be getting somewhere in this fight that affects approximately a million people. This ceaseless advocacy is leading to a better day for Marines and others connected to Camp Lejeune.
The trail was blazed by many, the name that comes up most often is certainly that of a retired Marine Master Sgt. named Jerry Ensminger of White Lake, N.C. As McClatchy states in a recent article, he spent years trying to get to the bottom of what was going on; he wanted to know what claimed the life of his little girl, Janie Ensminger, who died of leukemia in 1985, after living at Camp Lejeune.
Ensminger praised the work of these officials, and the congressional work on the amendments. He believes the legislation can force action by the military and the scientists.
"I, along with many other victims of this tragic issue, are having a difficult time believing the sincerity of their statements," Ensminger said of the Marines. He says an obligation outlined in a memorandum of understanding between the Navy and federal scientists that was signed in 1991, has not been fulfilled.
It is leading these politicians to force the Marines into compliance. The are angry and frustrated by what they see as hesitance by the military to reveal everything it knows. Decades have passed, but in the last year the spotlight has been gradually increasing, and now the Marines are going to have to produce an inventory of all the documents scientists say are needed to understand the contamination.
One of the dirtiest tricks came in June 2009, when the DoD, DoN and Marines gathered a new group of scientists, a bunch of paid of stooges, seriously, who released a paper calling all research up to that point, which was helping Marines, null and void.
It was a really low class move and one that did the government no good in the end.
Of course it is all about money, accountability, responsibility. We are raised to meet all of those expectations in life, but the government slithers like a worm trying to get out from under its share.
That is probably because they know being honest will open the floodgates. Anyone who visits Salem-News.com regularly, knows the now closed MCAS El Toro in Southern California is equally trashed, with all of the same contaminants and even more, a real smorgasbord of deadly chemicals that, believe it or not, the local government of Irvine, California, conveniently tries to ignore, with hopes of making the place an expensive park and housing community, good luck. It is also an EPA Superfund Site.
I suggest reading the fantastic recent article from McClatchy Newspaper, a real media agency doing good work in this country, we applaud them, along with Republicans and Democrats who are acting like Americans, standing up for the right things, Semper fi Senators Burr, Miller and Hagan.
They have what it takes to place real pressure on the Marine Corps, which needs to come clean with the informational goods, which many say has been a slow and overly frustrating process. The House version of the bill as presented, allows 180 days for the Defense Department to act; the Senate version offers 90 days.
 June 16, 2009: Hagan Jumps in the Ring for Marines - Salem-News.com
 June 17, 2009: Burr Presses on Camp Lejeune Water Contamination at Hearing - Salem-News.com
Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.
Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. You can send Tim an email at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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