After five years of bumper stickers and magnets on cars proclaiming support for our troops, reality has begun to rear its ugly head. Yes, it is ugly. For lo these five years, the right wing Ã¢â‚¬â€œ who still controls the White House agenda as well as the results of what comes out of the Democratic-majority Congress (read: threatened vetoes of nearly everything war-related) Ã¢â‚¬â€œ has berated nearly everyone about how opposition to the war equals opposition to the troops. Of course, it is possible to oppose the decision to go to war, the war itself, and those who fight the war. Unlike Viet Nam, this hasn’t been the case. This time there has been overwhelming support, at least in public pronouncements, from everyone everywhere that no one opposes the troops or that anyone denigrates their valiant efforts. Well, out loud, that is.
WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve all heard Donald Rumsfeld say, Ã¢â‚¬Å“We go to war with the military we have, not the military we want.Ã¢â‚¬Â The fallacy there is that we (well, no not “we” — Bush) chose when to invade, and we could have waited until we did have the military we wanted. There is no excuse for sending our troops into war ill prepared and under-equipped. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s immoral to have done so and then pretend there was no alternative.
WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve also heard the choruses of Ã¢â‚¬Å“support the troopsÃ¢â‚¬Â every time Congress has to consider the supplemental bills to fund the war. The choruses reach deafening levels any time anyone questions the very concept of this war or its conduct.
And weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve also heard about the care offered to our vets and how it compares to care provided on the battlefield. If you have any question about the inadequacy of the state-side care, think Walter Reed and the brilliant, Pulitzer-prize winning reporting by Dana Priest of the Washington Post.
Well, it seems that the boards and committees convened to resolve and improve the medical care offered state-side to returning veterans have failed utterly and the situation is even worse than weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been made aware, unless we are individually acquainted with a returned veteran.
From an article at the BBC online, the lead paragraph:
US veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are suing the government, claiming inadequate care is leading to an increase in suicides.
And another excerpt:
An average of 18 war veterans kill themselves each day – five of them under Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) care – according to a December e-mail between top department officials that has been filed as part of the federal lawsuit.
The Rand Corporation has recently released a study that shows some 300,000 US troops – about 20% of those deployed – are suffering from depression, or post traumatic stress disorder, after serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.
“We find that the VA has simply not devoted enough resources. They don’t have enough psychiatrists,” said Mr Erspamer.
In 2006 suicide rates were reported to be the highest in 26 years, at 99 confirmed suicides.
You can read the whole article here
This is how the Bush Administration supports our troops? The administration holds up the troops as great heroes and gives them a kiss-off when they come back, battered and broken. McCain consistently declines to comment on the new GI bill sponsored by Sen. Jim Webb. [full disclosure: if McCain has said anything, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not aware of it, and anything less than full support is inadequate]
This is how those who start a war support those who actually fight it? Hypocrites! And they demonstrate no shame.