"An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted." - Arthur Miller

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Support The Troops...Unless Its Too Much Trouble

With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan — to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations
- Abraham Lincoln; March 4th, 1865 Second Inaugural Address

Support The Troops. Its the catch phrase of the moment. Used as an excuse for war. Its used as a defense. Its used for offense. Its used to increase a financial cost the country can scarcely afford. Its used to funnel more money to the corporate entities that waste it. Yet that phrase doesn't seem to apply when its the troops, our soldiers, that need the support.

The Bush Administration and his republican cronies whip out this phrase on a constant basis when it comes to the Iraq War. The try to use it to fan the flames of patriotism and quash any dissent. Yet time and time again, when supporting the troops will cost money that will not go into the coffers of the Haliburtons and other Bush corporate cronies, suddenly the cost is simply too high. If it goes to a corporation, the money is always there. No expense is spared. If the money is going to the soldiers, the injured or the families of the dead, lets pause and reconsider. Apparently the money can be spent better elsewhere.

The Bush administration on camera cries out that we must support the war so that we can support the troops. Yet privately, he screws over the veterans, those no longer able to help with his legacy agenda. In the line of fire, he likes you. After you have made your sacrifice and your family is left to pick up the pieces, he simply has no use for you. This is evidenced by his repeated health care budget cuts and other cuts to reduce the support the veterans and their families receive. This attitude is no more evidenced by the recently exposed conditions for out-patient care at Walter Reed Hospital.

The Washington Post recently reported on the abysmal conditions at Building 18 used to house out-patients of the hospital. The care is top notch while coming from the field of battle but during recovery, the soldiers are basically treated as refuge. A burden, a cost that isn't worth paying. As if a stitch, some surgery and maybe a prosthetic limb (or two) with a few weeks of bed rest and the soldier should be ready to return back to civilian life as good as new.

Of course we know that's not the case. Recovery is a long, arduous, and expensive process. A process that Bush claims he supports whenever he goes for the photo-op in the Ward 57, the amputee unit. Instead though there is disintegrating buildings, complicated paperwork, confused staffers, un-trained supervisors, in-capable databases and pretty much any error you can name, the soldiers have to deal with on a constant and regular basis.

They sacrificed elsewhere just to start a new fight here at home. A battle against the bureaucratic machine. A battle they cannot hope to win without help from a leadership that simply doesn't care. They got what they wanted out of the troops, the rest is just a burden they are not interested in carrying. For a fraction of the funds handed to the Haliburtons for Iraq this new frontline at home could be over before it began.

The reality of Walter Reed is simply inexcusable. The politicians claim they support the troops yet their inaction's and voting records often show the opposite. The voters slap on yellow ribbons on their SUVs yet continue to vote for the person whose actions do not support their words. You claim to support the troops? Prove it. Write and tell your congressmen to get his shit together and make sure the troops get the support and care they deserve. Remind them that families sent their family over their to "protect our freedoms" and whether they come home injured or in a body bag, they and their families will be taken care of.

As President Lincoln said "to care for him who shall have borne the battle". The troops have already borne one battle, they shouldn't have to fight another and nor should their families.

(image source)

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