Tuesday, March 06, 2007

I Wonder

So, after the disclosures last week of the incredibly callous treatment being provided to our young wounded, the Secretary of the Army and the general in charge of Walter Reed Medical Center have been fired. As well they should have been.

But I wonder. I wonder if we are going to stop with these two. For as much as they should have known about this disgrace and done something about it long ago, firing them is a little bit like prosecuting Lyndie Englund. Throwing the small fry under the train in order to protect the people who made it possible. No, the people who made it inevitable. The Bush administration and the GOP controlled congress which ran things until last November had a duty to fund all levels of military medical care high enough to provide excellent care for the young people they sent in harm's way. Sent in harm's way without adequate armor, either body or vehicle. Sent in harm's way without adequate planning. Sent in harm's way without enough troop strength to win. Sent in harm's way with support provided by Halliburton, which if we care to remember fed them MREs while charging for full meals for quite a while when they first got there. Sent them in harm's way under the direction of Rumsfeld, a man who had no experience with war and who so thoroughly considered that his ideology was better than battle field knowledge, that he fired the generals who disagreed with him. Sent them in harm's way with lies for justification.

Not only has this administration and their GOP enablers (and some Democrats, as well) not funded enough armor or troops or medical care, they have, systematically and year after year, reduced funding for the Veterans' Administration. While creating an increasing number of more critically wounded soldiers, they have reduced the funds to care for them.

And I wonder if this same mess would have happened if we had a draft, if the sons of congressmen and rich men were going into this war? If the vast majority of our armed forces were not working class? If most of them were not brown skinned? Do you suppose that it would have gotten this bad before someone noticed if the people sitting for months in the cockroach infested rooms were the sons and daughters of the people who are receiving the majority of the tax breaks? Do you suppose that it ever would have gotten this bad at all? Or if the powers that be would have sent their own children out with inadequate armor in the first place? Into a war based on lies?

In A Nutshell follows.


AlwaysQuestion said...

The single worst thing, to my mind, about having an all "volunteer" military is the enabling of a mindset that the military is made up of "their" kids and not of "our" kids. Long-term care has never been something that military medicine is good at, but we always took care of our own while they were in our hands. Now, especially with military hospitals being privatized, it's "business," cost to benefit ratios.
They knew, or they should have known, all the way to the top.

Ginnie said...

I wonder often if things would be entirely different if it were the sons of Congressmen and women going off to war. The "lower class" who make up our forces are the scapegoats of a horrendous war that never should have been started. As I understand it these poor wounded men and women are still not discharged because it would put our fighting forces numbers way too low. In other words, they are just poor human beings that are being used as pawns. It makes me furious that there is so little shame acknowledged by this administrationl.

Maya's Granny said...

Of course they knew or should have known all the way to the top. Bush recently said, about the leadership in Iran and his charge that they were arming the Iraqi insurgents, that "it didn't matter if they knew or didn't knew, because if they didn't know, they should have."

All of the disgraceful things that have happened on his watch are the same -- if he didn't know, he should have known.

These are all our kids and they deserve better. And this administration is totally without shame.

J said...

Well, I certainly remember reading or hearing about the horrid conditions at Reed a couple of years ago. So, if I, with no military in my family, a suburban woman 3,000 miles away, knew about it, then they did as well.

Why do I find myself thinking this more and more often these days? It's disheartening.

Betty said...

It's disgracebul, but typical of this administration. I predict that the Veteran's Administration will begin to unravel, as people start to focus on Veterans' hospitals and see the conditions all over the country. Now that the cork is out of that bottle, you can bet other people will start coming forward and talking about their experiences or those of their family members. High time.