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Michigan National Guard troops were reportedly fed undercooked meals, some with metal fragments inside

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Michigan National Guard troops who are protecting the U.S. Capitol have been fed undercooked and underwhelming meals, according to reports from over the weekend.

These new complaints from soldiers come after similar reports dating back to last month.

The complaints from National Guard troops reached members of the Michigan delegation and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), whose office said she called Acting Secretary of the Army John E. Whitley about the problem on February 17 as soon as the first reports of the food were received, as The Detroit News explained.

The governor was assured the problem would be corrected, and guard officials last week told lawmakers the issue had been resolved, according to the publication. Another round of complaints cropped up over the weekend of poorly prepared and undercooked food again, Whitmer’s office said.

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ABC News affiliate WXYZ Detroit reported Monday about the complaints regarding the quality of the meals, with one staff sergeant on Sunday telling the station’s Brian Abel that “metal shaving” were found in meals.

“Yesterday for instance, there were 74 different meals found with raw beef in them,” the unnamed staff sergeant said. “Just yesterday, […] soldiers had found metal shavings in their food.”

Following dozens of soldiers being put on sick call due to undercooked food, with some being sent to the hospital, the complaints climbed up the chain of command and changes were made to the boxes, WXYZ reported.

MORE ON NATIONAL GUARD: Trump said he requested 10k National Guardsmen at the Capitol on Jan. 6

“They said alright we’re going to make sure we spot check them. And we’re also going to start having them add temperatures to it,” the staff sergeant also said. “At 140, you cook that chicken, undercook it to 140, and now […] you’re telling us that it’s… 30-minute drive. But these meals are, and this is what they say on the little placard that’s (inaudible) good for four hours. No it’s not. It wasn’t good from the start and now it’s had hours to become even more dangerous.”

On Monday, following the new round of meal complaints, WXYZ reported that soldiers are being given dry MREs meals for the next few days.

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The Michigan National Guard on Monday issued a statement regarding meal complaints and slammed the soldiers’ apparent conditions, saying, “The firsthand accounts and pictures of undercooked food being served clearly shows that what is being given to Michigan’s service members is unacceptable.”

“It’s not only a Michigan guard problem. I stop and talk to all the guard out there, and they said it’s improved, but still far from perfect,” said Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), who has been visiting the soldiers every couple of days, according to The Detroit News. “Ultimately, it’s the National Guard that hired the contractor — not those of us on the Hill.”

The office of Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.) similarly reported about soldiers’ complaints over the weekend of metal shavings being found and of at least 74 meals being tossed out and subsequently replaced by MREs, according to the publication.

There are also complaints, according to The Detroit News, of lunch arriving many hours late, a lack of options for vegetarians, and breakfasts consisting of a piece of fruit and a hard roll without any protein, a detail which WXYZ also reported. Vegetarians were instructed to remove the meat and to eat the sides served with the meals, the publication reports.

Following the violent January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol that resulted in five deaths, about 1,000 troops from the Michigan National Guard are assisting in providing security at the complex. Of the 5,200 guard soldiers and airmen helping civilian law enforcement at the Capitol, 20% originate from Michigan, according to The Detroit News.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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EXCLUSIVE: Former Trump appointee explains an ‘America First Strategy’ in the ME

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Photo: Israeli Government

The author interviewed Ellie Cohanim, one of the authors of the new book: “An America First Approach to US National Security.” Ellie is the former U.S. Deputy Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism under the Trump administration. She is currently a Senior Fellow with the Independent Women’s Forum focusing on Iran, Israel, and global antisemitism, and is a national security contributor for the Christian Broadcasting Network. In 2021, Ellie launched and hosted for Jewish News Syndicate 30 plus episodes of the show “Global Perspectives with Ellie Cohanim.” Ellie spent 15 years in media and NGO management before serving in the public sector. How would you define an “America First” strategy in the Middle East?

Cohanim: An America First strategy in the Middle East would seek to advance American national security interests in that region, while maintaining our status as THE global superpower. To do that, the US would ensure that our principal allies in the region, countries like Saudi Arabia and Israel, are economically and militarily strong, and that our adversaries in the region are deterred.

Postal: How has the United States’ standing in the Middle East differed between the Trump and Biden administrations?

Cohanim: Under President Trump, for four years we had peace, stability and prosperity in the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region. Under President Biden, in just three tumultuous years there has been war in the region, which holds the potential for becoming a regional conflict and even a nuclear confrontation. Meanwhile, the US’ status in the region and the world has diminished due to Biden’s disastrous mishandling of the Afghanistan withdrawal, his emboldening of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and his weak response to Iranian attacks on our personnel and assets in the region. 

 

Postal: Do you think the United States and Israel are/were in a stronger position to deter Iran’s nuclear and territorial ambitions in Biden or Trump’s administration?

Cohanim: America’s position of strength has not changed under either administration vis-à-vis the Islamic Republic of Iran. What has changed is our Iran policy. Under President Trump’s administration, the US contained and constrained Tehran. Trump applied a “Maximum Pressure” sanctions campaign which left the Iranian Regime with only $4 billion in accessible foreign currency reserves by the end of his term, giving the Iranians less cash and less ability to fund their terror proxies and their nuclear program, and Trump eliminated Qassem Soleimani. While all President Biden needed to do was to continue implementing such successful policies, his administration instead did the exact opposite.  Under the Biden administration, Israel, our leading ally in the region, was attacked for the first time directly from Iranian soil. This was an unprecedented escalatory attack by the Iranian regime, and could only happen under the Biden administration.

Postal: In your chapter of the book, you discuss the weakening of US relations with Israel and Saudi Arabia under the Biden administration. How has the Biden administration affected the likelihood of future normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and deals between Israel and other Muslim countries (i.e., new Abraham Accords)?

Cohanim: The good news is that the Abraham Accords have withstood the test of multiple Hamas provocations against Israel, and now the current war. Despite numerous claims from the Biden administration regarding “successful” efforts to normalize ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel, I do not think that the Biden administration will be able to clinch such a deal. In the Middle East, people have a long memory. Saudi Arabia’s de-facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has not forgotten President Biden’s snub when he first came into office, and Biden’s incredibly poorly advised behavior towards the Crown Prince when he made his first visit to the Kingdom as president. The last thing the Crown Prince wants is to hand Biden his first foreign policy success with a Rose Garden peace deal ceremony. So, I do not believe President Biden can broker Saudi/Israeli normalization.

However, I am also convinced that it is a matter of “when” and not “if” such a peace deal will happen between those two countries, as it serves both of their interests to make such a deal. The Saudis understand better than anyone that it is the Islamic Republic of Iran that threatens the Kingdom’s security and stability, not Israel.

Postal: What do you think of the Biden administration’s latest statements withholding arms to Israel?

Cohanim: President Biden will go down in history for his abject moral failure in not standing by Israel while she fights a five-front war. Biden has shown his despicable personality for trying to keep his anti-Israel arms embargo concealed until he could first deliver a speech on the Holocaust. Biden’s behavior is despicable on so many levels.

Ultimately, Biden is betraying the American people. He came into office presenting himself as a “centrist Democrat,” but has proven repeatedly to be beholden to the radical, extremist, pro-Hamas wing of his party.

Postal: How does the Biden administration’s support of a Palestinian state differ from the Trump administration’s support of a Palestinian state under its Peace to Prosperity framework?

Cohanim: The Biden administration stated that they will “unilaterally recognize” a Palestinian state. What the borders of that state are and who would lead it, nobody knows. 

The Trump administration’s “Peace to Prosperity” was a detailed plan that was premised on the realities on the ground in Israel. The plan required that the Palestinians reach benchmarks proving a real desire to live in peace with their Israeli neighbors. It included over $50 billion in investment in the region, which would have been a road to prosperity for all. Perhaps most significantly, the Palestinian state envisioned under the Trump plan would have been demilitarized, the wisdom of which could not be more clear following the October 7 massacre and attack.

The author would like to thank Ellie Cohanim for participating in this interview.

 

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