Friday :: Nov 11, 2005

The Bu$hCo War On The Warrior

by pessimist

Despite all of the Bu$hCo rhetoric that 'we need to support our troops' there is little evidence that King George cares a whit about those whom he has sent to conduct an illegal war to steal oil from soveriegn nations that threw off their American reins and chose to oppose the will of The Best Goverment That Multinational-Corporate American Campaign Contributions Can Buy.

You don't have to believe me, Wrong-Wingers, especially those of you who claim to have served. Take it instead from someone who did:

Veterans Day 2005 - "Keepers of the Peace"
by Persian Gulf War I Disabled American Veteran Sean T. Lewis, Veterans for Peace

Veterans Day is more about honoring militarism than it is about honoring veterans. The military parades with tanks, bands, and flyovers are the harbingers of this celebration of our militaristic culture.
Honoring veterans, on the other hand, does not require trotting out weapons or Sousa marches.
Across the United States, groups of veterans are turning away from the marching bands and the military parades. They are shying away from these symbols of war, and are turning instead to each other. Veterans in cities all over the country are gathering together to hold their own humble, solemn ceremonies to honor their fallen comrades and each other. In Portland, Oregon, Veterans for Peace are for the first time inviting the public to join in an observance of Armistice Day, a day of reflection, and a time to teach peace rather than war.

The choice of this observance's name isn't an idle one, as Mr. Lewis goes on to state.

More Than A Name Change

In recognizing Armistice Day in 1926, the US Congress declared it should be a day of prayer and reflection in recognition of the peace attained by veterans of the First World War, "the war to end all wars".

In 1938, when Armistice Day became a Federal Holiday, President Roosevelt reaffirmed this commitment to the day dedicated to peace.

After the second "war to end all wars," and the Korean war, the holiday was changed to Veterans Day in 1954 to honor all of America's veterans and their efforts to bring peace to the world. In the words of President Eisenhower, we were to "reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace."

Unfortunately, changing the name accomplished more than intended.
With peace removed from the name of the holiday, without "Armistice," this day that has been set aside by much of the Western World for the purpose of remembering veterans, and honoring peace, has become a day to instead honor the wars we have fought and the military establishment that has kept us either in war or at the brink for more than 50 years.
How do we truly honor our nation's veterans, that class of citizens who, for whatever personal reasons, have chosen to give up a measure of their own civil liberties for the sake of protecting our nation, and the civil liberties of the rest of us? What is the best way to honor those who have served?

What ever you think it is, this doesn't qualify:

Veterans Day Outrage: Conservatives End 55-Year-Old Practice of Hearings for Vet Groups

On Tuesday — three days before Veterans Day — House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Steve Buyer (R-IN) announced that for the first time in at least 55 years, “veterans service organizations will no longer have the opportunity to present testimony before a joint hearing of the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees.”

The Disabled American Veterans, the “official voice of America’s service-connected disabled veterans,” just issued a scathing release calling the move “an insult to all who have fought, sacrificed and died to defend the Constitution.” The timing, they said, “could not have been worse.”

Remember that Buyer was handpicked by criminally-indicted Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) to replace former veterans committee chairman Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), who had been extremely vocal about the consistent underfunding of veterans causes.

You mean, like this?

Vets lash out at House over budget moves

[V]eterans-service organizations are criticizing House leaders for ending a 55-year legislative tradition, and fearing that Congress will not fill next year’s budget gap for veterans healthcare. [L]obbyists for veterans groups are most incensed at Rep. Steve Buyer (R-Ind.), the new House Veterans Affairs Committee chairman, who announced Tuesday that the groups would no longer have the opportunity to make legislative recommendations at joint House-Senate hearings.

Buyer is replacing the joint hearings with a February series in which veterans groups would outline their budget priorities just as the White House finishes sending its budget request to Congress.

The lobbyists dismissed Buyer’s explanation that the earlier hearings would allow their groups greater influence on the VA’s annual budget. The chairman, the lobbyists charge, is seeking to avoid the public-relations headache of having disappointed veterans groups repeatedly blasting the White House budget.

In the past, that series of budget hearings has been held in March, after lobbyists for veterans groups have fully examined the president’s request.
Though veterans groups have received assurances from House and Senate leaders that their healthcare would be exempted from any across-the-board budget cuts mandated by budget reconciliation, lobbyists were dismayed at the likelihood that the VA will end up with too little for 2006.

Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Jim Nicholson conceded that the department was more than $1 billion short for 2005. The House’s VA healthcare budget for 2006 is billions of dollars less than the Senate’s, which was negotiated after Nicholson acknowledged the deficit.

Our Wrong-Wing Wregulars thus have an opportunity to demonstrate that they truly do care about the welfare of America's sevice personnel - but it's going to take more effort than applying a sticker to their SUVs. It might mean putting their money where their ideological loud mouths are and contacting their Congress members on behalf of America's veterans.

You will note that I, a liberal progressive, am calling for action to support our troops - even if I strongly oppose the war that they are called upon to fight.

But I digress.

Many other Americans are beginning to ask some tough questions - and they are also making some very strong statements:

Not Doing Enough For Veterans
It's easy for someone to buy a bumper-sticker to proclaim that we should "Support Our Troops."

On this Veteran's Day, Americans are serving abroad far away from their friends and loved ones. Hopefully, each of them will return home safely, finish their commitments to the military, and move on to rewarding civilian lives.
But the sad reality is that many of today's service members, including those currently stationed in the combat theaters of Iraq and Afghanistan, will join the ranks of those who call the streets of America home.
Are we doing enough? Not by a long shot. By its own numbers, the federal government is not meeting its obligation to those who have served.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), "as many as 200,000 veterans are living on the streets or in shelters, and perhaps twice as many experience homelessness at some point during the course of a year."
The Director of Homeless Veterans Programs at the VA admitted to The Washington Times last winter that they serve 100,000 homeless veterans each year.
Do those politicians who brandish the title of "leader" have the dedication to do what is right by the least of these brave souls?

Based on their actions, one does certainly know the answer to this: NO!

Could there be a reason why Chickenhawks are so disrespectful to America's veterans?

Veterans Deserve Respect . . . and More from the Bush GOP Administration

Maybe the Bush GOP administration would show more respect to our veterans if any one of them had seen any action at all.

It is complete disrespect for our military to have someone like Bush as their Commander in Chief. None of the Bush GOP administration gave up their life or their families, and none of them did this for an illegal and treasonous war.

How cruel and cynical is it to end a 55-year-old practice of hearings for veterans -- especially from a Commander in Chief who should have been jailed for going AWOL and should be relieved of duty for this illegal invasion of Iraq? This "dirty trick" to our US veterans is just another "I don't care what you think," from the Bush GOP administration.

They don't mind killing our military. They don't mind killing the moral of our military. They don't mind cutting their benefits and they couldn't care less about those veterans whose lives have been ruined because of extensive wounds in Iraq and Afghanistan . . . all for nothing.

Americans can't go three more years with this administration in charge of our government. We've had enough already.

And just how many Members of Congress ARE veterans?

Chickenhawk Update: Congress' Vanishing Veterans


It's a term BuzzFlash often has occasion to use in connection with the Bush administration. We even have a "Perspectives" page dedicated to the idea. The New Hampshire Gazette has some Chickenhawk web pages, too:

Now Parade Magazine, which is delivered to heaven knows how many homes along with numerous Sunday newspapers, has published the following "Intelligence Report" by Lyric Wallwork Winik in their November 6, 2005, edition [Not available on line until after 11/14/05 - ed.]:

To summarize:

As the Parade sub-headline states: "Only 14 of the people who can vote for war have kids in uniform."

Only 26% of our elected representatives currently serving in the House or Senate have served in the armed forces, compared to 77% in 1978.

31 of the 100 senators are veterans; only 8 saw combat. [8% - ed.]

In the House, 110 out of 435 are veterans; 29 saw combat. [6.7% - ed.]

Would you allow someone who never drove to be your chauffeur? Would you allow someone who never flew to be your pilot? Would you allow someonw who never held anything sharper than a butter knife to be your brain surgeon?

Then why the hell do you allow Chickenhawks to conduct your foreign policy with an eye toward causing numerous wars for your kids to fight?

Veterans Day Outrage: Conservatives End 55-Year-Old Practice of Hearings for Vet Groups

This invasion of Iraq was very telling in how our US military is respected by this AWOL Bush GOP chickenhawk administration.
We owe our Veterans more respect than to constantly put their lives in jeopardy because of lies and illegal invasions looking for phantoms. US Veterans and their families should be shown the highest respect for their service to this Country and we don't need an administration in power that can't give that respect to our Veterans and to all Americans.

What all Americans need right now is for this Bush GOP administration to stop running away with our government. The US would have been better off without any government at all these past five years . . . because that is what we have had with the Bush GOP administration in charge.

I think Americans have had enough. Maybe seeking justice will finally get the attention of this Bush GOP administration, because they have ignored Americans for over four years and we have seen nothing but death and destruction . . . we need them like we need another war.

There is only one way that Americans are going to be able to stop these Bush GOP warhawks and that is . . . bring on the war criminal courts.
We need justice for the illegal invasion of Iraq. We need justice for all of those dead and wounded. Maybe those wounds will heal, but what the Bush GOP administration has done to this Nation, Afghanistan, and Iraq . . . those wounds will never heal.

I started out with the words of a veteran. I will thus end this post the same way [emphases mine]:

A Veteran Speaks to President Bush on Veterans Day

President Bush,

It is Veterans Day and, as one of those Veterans, I am sad and I am angry.

As our nation celebrates the contributions and sacrifices of America's Veterans today, I thought I would take the time to let you know how one Veteran feels about your commitment to our military and your true level of patriotism.

You wear the self-provided mantle of a wartime president, love to appear before troops (even if it's a fake piece of theater with pre-screened questions and answers), and use as one of the last available devices in a failed presidency, your zeal for all things military and national security.

But there are many things a Commander-in-Chief must be to truly gain the respect and authority that such a designation merits – and you have shown none of those.

[T]here's not a thinking American who truly believes you served your time honorably in the Air National Guard. [W]hat is beyond dispute is the total lack of paperwork or witnesses showing that you ever truly served – period. You leapfrogged over hundreds of other qualified applicants to the National Guard because of your family connections and, despite all your crowing about service to country, dodged your main opportunity to live out that creed.

Those of us who have served in the military know the rigors of boot camp, the positive aspects of completing that introduction to true mental and physical discipline and the lifelong feeling of pride in successfully finishing those hard months. Many of us have also held a rifle, fired that weapon at another human, had bullets come at us and know what that truly means.

And no, Mr. President, it's not the toy-soldier, "bring-it-on" thrill that your protected, sheltered experience would lead you to believe. It is terrifying. You're scared to death, shoot at almost anything that moves and pray to whatever deity you worship that you see tomorrow. But you would have no way of knowing that – not even through the stories of the sycophants you are surrounded by, most of whom have never served a day in uniform in their lives.

But is military service necessary to be an effective president and Commander-in-Chief? Not really.
President Bill Clinton (you remember him - the person your party savaged for his lack of military service) didn't serve a day in uniform and yet was a capable and thoughtful Command-in-Chief. You never saw Bill Clinton invent intelligence and mislead the country into a disastrous war and you certainly never witnessed Clinton's people ridicule and shame highly-decorated Veterans like John Kerry and Max Cleland as your crew of Chickenhawks has so gleefully done.
If Audie Murphy himself were a Democrat today, you and your party would find a way to smear his service as well.
After all, the Republican party smears anyone they oppose by questioning their support of the troops and their national loyalty so that's all fair game, right? [W]e saw how much you listened to Ambassador Joe Wilson when he tried to set you straight, didn't we?
Which brings us to the Iraq war.

Your administration invented intelligence – I believe "fixed" is the word the British used in the Downing Street Memos – and lied to the American people.

* It is now an indisputable matter of fact that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction and no immediate way of attaining that capability. That didn't stop you, Vice President Cheney, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and anyone else you could get in front of a camera from lying about that contention which, at the very least, you had evidence to suggest might not be true.

* There was also no link between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda and no connection between Iraq and the events of September 11, both of which you misled us about originally and continue to imply, in a despicable attempt to bolster your presidency to a nation that is now collectively seeing the truth.

This issue is now so far beyond anything that we Veterans can argue about amongst ourselves - whether we be liberal Democrats or conservative Republicans - because it is no longer a matter of political perspective or belief.

As a Veteran, I resent this, I resent your administration and I most certainly resent you.
I "celebrate" Veterans Day by thinking of 2,057 Americans [as of 11/10/05 - ed.] who, because of you, will never hug their spouses or parents again and will never see their kids grow up.
I think of the 100,000 Iraqis you have killed by using the honorable intentions and service of those on active duty in such a dishonest and horrible way.
I think of the 15,000 brave men and women who will exist for the rest of their lives minus a limb and those who will forever carry the mental images of war because of your personal agenda — an agenda that had nothing whatsoever to do with national security.

And, because of the budget cuts that your administration has visited on returning Veterans of the Iraq war, many of them cannot get desperately-needed treatment, which is the icing on the cake of your five-year display of bad faith toward those who have served.

So you want to do something to honor Veterans today, Mr. President? If you want to really do something noble that would truly honor those who have served, use that time to think about admitting what you have done to Veterans. Stay in the White House, out of public view and at least have the decency to say nothing.

And then give serious thought to doing the honorable thing – and resigning.

Before we impeach your sorry ass - and then try you for war crimes.

Think that will get into Babs' 'beautiful mind'? Let's hope.

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