Politik

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USAs nya arbetarklass

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Washington Post har en bra artikel om USAs nya arbetarklass . För 100 år sedan fanns det en liknande arbetarklass i Sverige. Sedan kom socialdemokratin och mot högerns konsekventa motstånd byggdes efterkrigstidens välfärdsstat upp.

Idag är Sverige på väg att avskaffa välfärdsstaden och införa det som högern en gång strävade efter. Men innan vi ger Reinfeldt allt det som han vill ha, så är det klokt att titta litet på den modell som han vill införa i Sverige, för den finns redan införd i USA. Grundbulten i dagens amerikanska samhälle är de s.k. temparbetarna som jobbar för svältlöner och som saknar sjukförsäkring och semester. Innan mina moderata vänner protesterar så får vi komma ihåg att artiklar som denna står på förstasidorna av USAs motsvarighet till DN, knappast någon radikal vänstertidning.


Phillip Hicks had loaded his rusting pickup and was heading to work one afternoon last year when his tearful daughter called from a pay phone. She had been pulled over for speeding, she told her father, and worse, she was driving with a suspended license. The police had impounded her car and left her by the side of a dusty highway.

To most workers at the sprawling Toyota plant where Hicks works, the detour to pick up his daughter would be a headache, no doubt. To Hicks, 40, it was considerably more. He called his employer to say he would be late for the swing shift. But since Hicks is a temporary worker, his daughter’s brush with the law became a permanent blemish on an already shaky employment record. Temps are allowed only three days off a year, and Hicks was coming up against that.

“They told me I had an attendance problem,” he sighed wearily, his soft mountain accent revealing his roots in coal country to the east.

Hicks is among the ranks of what economists call the “contingent” workforce, the vast and growing pool of workers tenuously employed in jobs that once were stable enough to support a family. In a single generation, “contingent employment arrangements” have begun to transform the world of work, not only for temp workers, but also for those in traditional jobs who are competing with a tier of employees receiving lower pay and few, if any, benefits.

The rise of that workforce has become another factor undermining the type of middle-wage jobs, paying about the national average of $17 per hour and carrying health and retirement benefits, that have kept the nation’s middle-class standard of living so widely available.

Hicks has spent four years as a temp worker building cars for Toyota Motor Corp., making manifolds and dashboards for Camrys, Avalons and Solaras sold all over the United States. He works alongside full-fledged Toyota employees who earn twice his salary, plus health and retirement benefits.

High-tech jobben i Silicon Valley

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Sphere institute har en ypperlig rapport om high-tech jobben i Silicon Valley och Kalifornien i allmänhet.
Rapporten finns på näten, men kan summeras såhär:

Mer än hälften av alla som jobbade på teknologifirmor i Kalifornien i början av år 2000 hade övergivit teknologisektorn eller helt enkelt lämnat Kalifornien vid slutet av år 2003. Och över 40% av de som jobbade med högteknologi år 2000m har lägre lön idag. De som lyckades behålla sina jobb har dock klarat sig relativt bra och deras löner har också gått upp något under åren (i snitt 11%)

Amerikanska marinsoldater i Irak

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Washington Post har skakande artilel om hur amerikanska marinkårsoldater upplever Irak-ockupationen.


ISKANDARIYAH, Iraq — Scrawled on the helmet of Lance Cpl. Carlos Perez are the letters FDNY. After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York, the Pentagon and western Pennsylvania, Perez quit school, left his job as a firefighter in Long Island, N.Y., and joined the U.S. Marine Corps.

“To be honest, I just wanted to take revenge,” said Perez, 20.

Pfc. Kyle Maio, 19, spots Lance Cpl. Carlos Perez, 20. Maio said he thinks U.S. officials are not being candid about Iraq because of upcoming U.S. elections. (Steve Fainaru — The Washington Post)

Now, two months into a seven-month combat tour in Iraq, Perez said he sees little connection between the events of Sept. 11 and the war he is fighting. Instead, he said, he is increasingly disillusioned by a conflict whose origins remain unclear and frustrated by the timidity of U.S. forces against a mostly faceless enemy.

“Sometimes I see no reason why we’re here,” Perez said. “First of all, you cannot engage as many times as we want to. Second of all, we’re looking for an enemy that’s not there. The only way to do it is go house to house until we get out of here.”

Perez is hardly alone. In a dozen interviews, Marines from a platoon known as the “81s” expressed in blunt terms their frustrations with the way the war is being conducted and, in some cases, doubts about why it is being waged. The platoon, named for the size in millimeters of its mortar rounds, is part of the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment based in Iskandariyah, 30 miles southwest of Baghdad.

The Marines offered their opinions openly to a reporter traveling with the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines during operations last week in Babil province, then expanded upon them during interviews over three days in their barracks at Camp Iskandariyah, their forward operating base.

The Marines’ opinions have been shaped by their participation in hundreds of hours of operations over the past two months. Their assessments differ sharply from those of the interim Iraqi government and the Bush administration, which have said that Iraq is on a certain — if bumpy — course toward peaceful democracy.

“I feel we’re going to be here for years and years and years,” said Lance Cpl. Edward Elston, 22, of Hackettstown, N.J. “I don’t think anything is going to get better; I think it’s going to get a lot worse. It’s going to be like a Palestinian-type deal. We’re going to stop being a policing presence and then start being an occupying presence. . . . We’re always going to be here. We’re never going to leave.”

Jaques Derrida

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Le Monde har en artikel om den franske filosofen Jacques Derrida, som dog idag.

Derrida var viktig främst för sin teori om “dekonstruktion”, dvs hur man kan analysera språket “innifrån” i relation till andra språkkoncept. Dekonstruktion har blivit ett utomordentligt viktigt koncept inte bara inom filosofin, kanske speciellt i USA. Woody Allens film Deconstructing Harry är en indirekt hyllning till Derrida.

Här är Le Monde:


Le philosophe français le plus commenté et le plus traduit au monde ces dernières années, notamment aux Etats-Unis, Jacques Derrida, mort dans la nuit de vendredi à samedi à l’âge de 74 ans, était célèbre pour son concept de “déconstruction”.

Selon ses proches, Jacques Derrida, auteur de quelque 80 ouvrages, est décédé “sans souffrir” des suites d’un cancer du pancréas dans un hôpital parisien où il avait été admis voici environ trois semaines.

Il était le dernier survivant de ces penseurs des années 60, catalogués “penseurs de 68”, (Althusser, Lacan, Foucault, Barthes, Deleuze, etc..), grands pourfendeurs de la notion de “sujet”.

Né le 15 juillet 1930 à El Biar (Algérie) dans une famille juive, plutôt à gauche et pied-noir, il entre en 1950 à Normale Sup, devient assistant à Harvard (Etats-Unis), puis à la Sorbonne. Il est en 1965 professeur de philosophie à Normale Sup où il occupe la fonction de “caïman” (directeur d’études). Il partage ensuite son enseignement entre Paris et diverses universités américaines, parmi les plus prestigieuses.

En 1982, il est enfermé quelques jours dans une prison tchèque alors qu’il soutenait sur place les intellectuels dissidents de la Charte 77.

LE CONCEPTEUR DE LA “DECONSTRUCTION”

Il engage alors une vaste réflexion critique sur l’institution philosophique et l’enseignement de cette matière, créant en 1983 le Collège international de philosophie qu’il préside jusqu’en 1985. En 1988, il dirige, avec Jacques Bouveresse, la commission de philosophie, dans le cadre d’une réflexion générale sur les contenus de l’enseignement, à l’initiative du ministère de l’éducation.

Il a ensuite enseigné à nouveau aux Etats-Unis, puis à l’Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales à Paris.

“Je n’ai jamais fait de longs séjours aux Etats-Unis, le plus clair de mon temps ne se passe pas là-bas. Cela dit, la réception de mon travail y a été effectivement plus généreuse, plus attentive, j’y ai rencontré moins de censure, de barrages, de conflits qu’en France”, déclarait-il récemment au journal L’Humanité.

Parmi ses très nombreux livres, qui constituent un dialogue sans concession avec la métaphysique occidentale, L’écriture et la différence, La dissémination, Marges de la philosophie, Glas, La vérité en peinture, Pour Paul Célan, De l’esprit, Heidegger et la question, Inventions de l’autre, Du droit à la philosophie, Spectres de Marx, Apories ou Résistances de la psychanalyse.


Det gläder mig att Los Angeles Times och flera andra amerikanska tidningar också har förstasidesartiklar om honom. Derrida var gästprofessor bl.a. vid University of California at Irvine. Här är
LA Times runa


Provocative and as difficult to define as his favorite subject — deconstruction — Derrida was a leading intellectual for decades. He is considered the modern-day French thinker best known internationally.

“With him, France has given the world one of its greatest contemporary philosophers, one of the major figures of intellectual life of our time,” President Jacques Chirac said in a statement, calling Derrida a “citizen of the world.”

Born to a Jewish family on July 15, 1930, in El Biar, Algeria, then part of France, Derrida wrote hundreds of books and essays. His reputation was launched with two 1967 publications in which he laid out basic ideas, “Writing and Difference” and “Of Grammatology.” Among other works were the 1972 “Margins of Philosophy” and, more recently, “Specters of Marx” (1993).

Derrida was known as the father of deconstructionism, a branch of critical thought or analysis developed in the late 1960s and applied to literature, linguistics, philosophy, law and architecture.

Paul Bremers Irak-kritik

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Ingenting visar bättre hur allvarligt läget är i Irak idag än att Paul Bremer , USAs tidigare överståthållare i Irak nu öppet kritiserar Pentagons ockupationspolitik :


The former U.S. official who governed Iraq after the invasion said yesterday that the United States made two major mistakes: not deploying enough troops in Iraq and then not containing the violence and looting immediately after the ouster of Saddam Hussein.

Ambassador L. Paul Bremer, administrator for the U.S.-led occupation government until the handover of political power on June 28, said he still supports the decision to intervene in Iraq but said a lack of adequate forces hampered the occupation and efforts to end the looting early on.

Portraits of U.S. service members who have died in Iraq since the beginning of the war.

“We paid a big price for not stopping it because it established an atmosphere of lawlessness,” he said yesterday in a speech at an insurance conference in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. “We never had enough troops on the ground.”

Bremer’s comments were striking because they echoed contentions of many administration critics, including Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry, who argue that the U.S. government failed to plan adequately to maintain security in Iraq after the invasion. Bremer has generally defended the U.S. approach in Iraq but in recent weeks has begun to criticize the administration for tactical and policy shortfalls.

In a Sept. 17 speech at DePauw University, Bremer said he frequently raised the issue within the administration and “should have been even more insistent” when his advice was spurned because the situation in Iraq might be different today. “The single most important change — the one thing that would have improved the situation — would have been having more troops in Iraq at the beginning and throughout” the occupation, Bremer said, according to the Banner-Graphic in Greencastle, Ind.

A Bremer aide said that his speeches were intended for private audiences and were supposed to have been off the record. Yesterday, however, excerpts of his remarks — given at the Greenbrier resort at an annual meeting sponsored by the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers — were distributed in a news release by the conference organizers.

På väg till en datakonferens i San Francisco

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Caltrain

På väg till en datakonferens i San Francisco. Det blir ju ingen lång resa, bara litet över en timme på Caltrain. Ett lokaltåg från tidigt 50-tal som man långsamt håller på att renovera till tidigt 70-tal.

Men Caltrain är bara ett av de olika transportsystemsn som finns här. Vi har också

San Franciscos förträffliga Bay Area Rapid Transit BART

och San Joses lika förträffliga Light Rail

Tyvärr är de tre inte integrerade vilket betyder att man alltså inte kan åka Light Rail från San Jose till San Francisco eller Bart från San Francisco till San Jose.
Att åka CalTrain är bara att tänka på om man har förträffliga njurar. Tåger skakar nämligen som bara den.

Det riktiga USA, amerikansk gräsrotsdemokrati

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Trots att amerikanska presidentval har mycket litet med demokrati att göra, eftersom de är privatfinansierade och inte demokratiska majoritetsval, så har USA trots det en intensiv gräsrotsdemokrati av ett helt annat slag än det vi ser i Sverige. Det är viktigt att förstå att detta, detta traditionella demokratiska USA fortfarande finns kvar under ytan av det radikala vapenskramlande republikanska USA som vi sett på TV-skärmarna de senaste fyra åren.

Alternet har en mycket bra artikel om just en sådan demokratisk rörelse. Kolla också Indyvoter.org>, som också kallas League of Pissed Off Voters, alltså en organisation som försöker värva sådana ungdomar som helt har gett upp politiken. Alternet har också en bra artikel om hur progressiva aktivister värvar röster i Kentucky i den amerikanska södern.

Den här sortens gräsrotsdemokrati, intensiv, engagerad och landsomfattande, tror jag saknas i Sverige? Stämmer det? Eller var miljöpartiet och Junilistan exempel på det?

Upprop mot allmän värnplikt i USA

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Howard Dean har följande om Irak-kriget och allmän värnplikt i USA:


George Bush is not being straight with the American people about the draft. He promised in the first presidential debate to win the war on terror with “an all-volunteer army”. He has already violated that commitment.

The truth is that a draft has already begun — it just hasn’t affected most of our families yet. Active duty soldiers who finish their commitments are being forced to stay in. And the flagrant misuse of the National Guard and Reserves has ripped apart families by sending unprecedented numbers of them to occupy a foreign country.

Because of George Bush’s failure to lead the world, we are nearly alone in Iraq. If we “stay the course” with this president, he will face a choice: drastically reduce our commitments or reinstate the draft. Sign the petition demanding that he tell Americans which one he will choose:

http://www.democracyforamerica.com/nodraft

George Bush chose to go to war without substantial help from our allies. He has badly over-committed our armed forces. One of the Joint Chiefs and his own administrator in Iraq have both said that we will need tens of thousands more troops to stabilize Iraq. Extreme measures are already being taken to meet the shortfall — and the president has an obligation to explain how he will meet our commitments without drafting young people into service.

Fathers from New York who joined the Reserves to guard America against another attack have been sent to Iraq. Teenagers in the Florida National Guard who expected to provide hurricane relief in their home state have been forced to fight halfway around the world.

George Bush has left our homeland unprotected. And his plans to move existing forces away from threats like North Korea put our interests and our allies in danger. This cannot continue. Sign this petition demanding honesty — we will deliver it to the White House:

http://www.democracyforamerica.com/nodraft

Family friends helped a young George Bush dodge the draft. Dick Cheney didn’t fight because he had, in his words, “other priorities” — he got five deferments. We cannot afford to let them dodge the question of a draft now.

Will they force a new generation of young people to make the sacrifices they refused to make? Or will they leave us unprotected at home and in other dangerous parts of the world?

I have a son in college. My family and millions of other families could be affected by a draft. We deserve to know before we vote in November how George Bush and Dick Cheney plan to prevent one. Sign the petition now:

http://www.democracyforamerica.com/nodraft

Just recently a frightened Congress voted down a bill calling for a draft. (After all, they need to get re-elected in a few weeks.) But the way they rejected the bill showed just how easy calling a draft would be — they suspended normal rules and voted with almost no warning. Authorizing a draft would be just as easy — it could be done in less than 48 hours.

We have been misled about this war from the beginning. They said Iraq had nuclear weapons — that was false. They said the whole war would cost a few billion dollars — in reality, we spend several billion dollars every month. They say things are getting better — but every month brings more casualties than the last.

Now they say we won’t need a draft. We cannot afford to take their word for it.

Governor Howard Dean, M.D.

P.S. Please forward this message to your friends. We will only get the truth if we all stand up and demand it.

Silicon Valley legender: John Doerr

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John Doerr är en av Silicon Valleys stora legender

Han är medlem i Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers , en av Silicon Valleys mest inflytelserika investeringsfirmor.
Kolla de firmor de jobbar med.

Här litet information om John Doerr.


Three years ago, Doerr was already a famous Silicon Valley venture capitalist. But the event that moved him to global business fame was the arrival of the Internet. Recognizing the Net’s potential before almost anyone else, Doerr has turned Kleiner Perkins into the cradle of the Web revolution. Doerr and his partners have backed dozens of ventures building and defining the Internet, from America Online to iVillage, and from Ascend to Verisign. Netscape and @Home are two of the best-known Doerr projects. But Doerr prefers to talk about linked “initiatives” rather than stand-alone investments. In June, 1996 KPCB organized a $100 million Java Fund to back a slate of startups using Sun’s Java programming language, including Active Software, Calico, Internet Security Systems, Marimba, and Netiva.

As the avatar of the Web, Doerr’s greatest contribution may prove to be his ability to network all of KPCB’s investment for mutual advantage. Thus Intuit’s Quicken incorporates the Netscape Navigator. Early adopters of Sun’s Java were Netscape and Macromedia. If you’ve seen this kind of connectedness before, think Microsoft. Although Doerr protests otherwise, with his portfolio of software and netware companies, his drive to create entrepreneurial teams, and his capacity to sight new emerging markets John Doerr may be Bill Gates’s greatest competitor.

Den Europeiska Drömmen

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Axel Olssons berömda staty av Karl-Oskar och Kristina som står nere vid stranden i hamnparken i Karlshamn symboliserar inte bara den svenska utan kanske hela den europeiska attityden till den amerikanska drömmen. Men idag, efter fyra av de mest horribla år som USA har upplevt sen inbördeskriget på 1860-talet har man börjar prata om en Europeisk dröm. De värderingar som gjorde USA till en magnet för de som sökte ett nytt liv finns idag mer och mer i Europa. Som den här viktiga artikeln visar

Att blogga i Cleveland

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Halvmiljonstaden Cleveland i den amerikanska delstaten Ohio uppe vid Lake Erie är ett av USAs bakvatten i mellanvästern. Staden har en tidning som heter The Cleveland Plain Dealer och den tidningen har startat en leadarblog. Men som redaktören Doug Clifton redogör i runan över sin misslyckade blog, som han just har lagt ner, han fick aldrig mer än 100 läsare per dag och inga kommentarer. Han startade bloggen eftersom han besvarade läsarbrev per epost och tyckte att en blog skulle vara mer effektiv. Vilket den var. Han höll på i 9 månader och tyckte att det tog på tok för mycket tid.

Jag tror att Doug Clifton missade en stor chans, som jag också har talat om för honom. Istället för att tänka på bloggen som ett sätt att besvara läsarbev på så skulle han tänka på den som ett sätt att nå en helt ny publik som idag aldrig skulle läsa hans tidning. En blog är ett nytt medium som skiljer sig från traditionella tidningar precis som filmen var ett nytt medium som skiljde sig från teatern och TV ett nytt medium som skiljer sig från filmen.

Internet och svenska politiska partier

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Vet någon om de svenska politiska partierna har eller åtminståne utnyttjar Internet-experter precis som de amerikanska? Jag tänker på experter som Joe Trippi. Används Internet överhuvudtaget i svenska valkampanjer?

Om jag skulle vända mig till t.ex. Socialdemokratiska Partiet och fråga om de har tänkt på att börja använda bloggar, vem inom partiet bör jag vända mig till, vem är IT-ansvarig?

SvD understreckare om boken Imperial Hubris

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SvD har en välbehövlig understreckare av Carl Johan Gardell om boken Imperial Hubris skiven av en icke namngiven CIA-analytiker. (Tack för tipset och kopian Jan-Inge!) . Den här boken är utomordentligt viktig inte minst för att den kommer innifrån CIA och därför med stor säkerhet representar synen på kriget i Afganistan och Irak av ett stort antal amerikanska underrättelseofficerare. Situationen i de båda länderna är mycket allvarlig den blir bara allvarligare dag för dag.

Jag bifogar en del av recensionen av samma bok i New York Times.


‘Imperial Hubris,” the scalding new book by a current Central Intelligence Agency officer — who was able to publish the book on the condition that his real name not be revealed — is an assessment of America’s war on terror that is bound to provoke large heapings of controversy, on both the right and the left, among hardliners on Iraq and critics of the administration alike. Readers will doubtless contest some or many of the things Anonymous has to say, but he pulls few punches in this book and gives us a fascinating window on America’s war with Al Qaeda — at least as framed by one senior analyst, who seems to have put all bureaucratic niceties aside.

It is a book that not only slings all manner of arrows at America’s political, military and intelligence establishment (going back to the mid-70’s, with the qualified exception of President Ronald Reagan and his C.I.A. director, William J. Casey), but a book that also calls for a complete re-evaluation of the nation’s foreign policy toward Muslims and the Middle East.

In its pages, prescient analyses of recent developments in the Persian Gulf and Middle East (informed by the author’s experience in the mid-1990’s as head of a C.I.A. unit assigned to tracking Osama bin Laden) jostle for space with incendiary calls for a Shermanesque exercise of American military power in a potential war with the Muslim world; maverick assessments of Islamic attitudes toward the United States, with shrill exhortations for America to adopt a neo-isolationist stance based on narrowly defined self-interest.

If the country’s foreign policy remains status quo, Anonymous warns, ”America’s military confrontation with Islam” will broaden ”with escalating human and economic expense.” He predicts that Al Qaeda ”will attack the continental United States again, that its next strike will be more damaging than that of 11 September 2001, and could include use of weapons of mass destruction.”

In addition, Anonymous accuses United States leaders, elites and media of being in denial about the nature of the Qaeda threat and the balance sheet on the war on terror: he argues that America must stop using the terrorist paradigm for Al Qaeda and accept ”the fact” that the group is ”leading a popular, worldwide, and increasingly powerful Islamic insurgency,” and he asserts that United States victories against Al Qaeda have thus far been tactical ones that have failed to slow ”the shift in strategic advantage toward al Qaeda.”

In the course of this book, Anonymous excoriates American leaders for not having had an immediate military response planned for an event like 9/11: ”None had been planned in the eleven months since the attack on the U.S.S. Cole, or in the five-plus years since bin Laden declared war” on the United States.

And he assails American generals for passively accepting their civilian leaders’ directives for waging light, fast operations (of the sort favored by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld). ”Fight and win quickly; do not kill many of the enemy, destroy much of his property, or kill many of his civilians; and, above all, lose the barest minimum of U.S. soldiers because the soft American public will not tolerate high casualties” — this sort of cautious, fastidious war-making, Anonymous contends, is ”a recipe for disaster,” invariably leaving behind ”half-finished or, more accurately, half-started wars that will be refought later.”

De sårade soldaterna kommer hem

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Mer och mer information kommer nu fram om de problem som de nästan 30.000 sårade amerikanska soldaterna i Irak och Afganistan har när de kommer hem.
(Det är antalet soldater som har sökt hjälp från den s.k Veterans Administration, det department som hjälper amerikanska soldater sedan de har återvänt till det civila livet. Det ligget ett stort sådant sjukhus här i Silicon Valley) Det är inte bara de ofta fruktansvärda fysiska skadorna, det är också en stor procent mentala skador. Många, upp till en tredjedel, har inte fått någon hjälp alls. Då får man komma ihåg att dessa soldater inte kan tjäna sitt uppehälle och ofta måste försörja en familj. Och siffran bara stiger.

Through the end of April, the most recent accounting the VA could provide, a total of 166,334 veterans of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan had separated from military service, and 26,633 — 16 percent — had filed benefits claims with the VA for service-connected disabilities. Less than two-thirds of those claims had been processed, leaving more than 9,750 recent veterans waiting.

Officials expect those numbers to increase as the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan continues.