It was interesting to see the Pentagon spokesman talking glibly about twenty thousand casualties from Iraq and Afghanistan, and then being confronted with the official figures from the Veterans Administration - who are treating more than two-hundred thousand casualties from these conflicts. What is more, the administration is trying to fund care for all these damaged young people with less than ten percent of what is needed.
This is one of the depressing realities of war. However much the government might wax poetic about how much it respects and values their sacrifice for the nation, actual veterans invariably get shafted by their government. One of the preparations for global warfare that the Bush administration undertook quite early on in Bush's first term was to "consolidate" (means closed without providing any viable alternative) hundreds of veterans centers and clinics.
On this evidence alone, you'd have to conclude that Bush and his ministers actually believed that Iraq and Afghanistan would be conflicts that would be decided and done in a few weeks or at worst a few months. Evidently they really believed that our overwhelming firepower would quickly eliminate any opposition and that the people of these countries would flock to the cause of a chicken in every pot. It never entered their wildest dreams that anyone could consider our coalition of the willing an invading foreign power or that any real resistance could be sustained against us, the good guys. Of course exactly none of these people ever had any experience with real combat - neither operationally nor managerially had any of their inner circle ever accomplished anything in war.
The closest any of them came was Cheney, whose management of the Defense Department under Reagan gave us the glorious victory in Grenada. I'm not counting Kissinger, as he was brought in after the fact to help them deal with legitimate criticism by creating the policy that criticizing things that harmed Americans and our allies was helping our terrorist enemies (this was a reprise of the same role he assumed during Vietnam).
The trouble is, none of these guys wants to admit their incompetence and they're all in denial. They won't fund programs to respond to their mistakes and lapses of good judgment because they claim not to have made any mistakes. When change is critically needed, they look the other way. The plight of veterans is just another Katrina - neither had any existence until discovered by the media. The Bush administration response to both is a case of too little, too late.
My father used to say: "You can always tell a liar because he lies and if you want to be sure, just wait and see if he lies about lying." Here we have Bush and all his cronies lying before, during, and after the fact. The only people who have the capacity to still believe in these people are the same people who disbelieve in the Holocaust, who disbelieve in Science, or who proudly display their KKK robes and would wear them to church.
Another thing my father said: "Fair words often cloak foul deeds - when people believe in someone because they say good things, they should be careful to make sure that they and their neighbors see good things as well. Otherwise we'll elect another Adolf Hitler, thinking him to be Abe Lincoln."
I'm here to tell you now: Bush isn't Lincoln. He isn't even close. Who does he resemble? You should be able to figure that out for yourself.
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