This morning I was completely disgusted by the news coming out of Washington. It hurt my head to read how some Senators view any dissent of the president's "plans" as a morale killer. That's the oldest propaganda line in the books, for god's sake. If the legislative branch of the government gave a shit about our troops, they would take care of those returning (not to mention the ones that are over there fighting with not enough armor or ammunition).
Please read how the president's budget will shortchange the veterans. Greatly.
It's so heartbreaking. As much as I am opposed to war and the war profiteers, I don't fault men and women for signing up to "defend their country" because that is ingrained into our heads the second we're born. It's supposed to be the greatest thing one can do. Being a person who rarely takes anything at face value, I never bought into the idea of marching around in a uniform and learning how to shoot a gun, but to each his own... whatever floats your boat... and part of the price of living in America is that my tax dollars pay for the military. I expect that my tax dollars will take good care of those who serve.
Our president and congresscritters insist that the troop's morale be considered at all times during a time of war. Hogwash. I care about the troop's morale and well being more than anyone in DC does. Those who fight for this country ought to be treated, at the very least, as well as defense contractors- especially those who come home mentally or physically injured -even for the rest of their lives if needed. Veteran's services should be figured into a war budget just as much, if not more, than the profiteers.
Which brings me to this article at WaPo this morning. Soldiers Face Neglect, Frustration At Army's Top Medical Facility Good heavens. Walter Reed Hospital Army Medical Center is in a shambles:
On the worst days, soldiers say they feel like they are living a chapter of "Catch-22." The wounded manage other wounded. Soldiers dealing with psychological disorders of their own have been put in charge of others at risk of suicide.
Disengaged clerks, unqualified platoon sergeants and overworked case managers fumble with simple needs: feeding soldiers' families who are close to poverty, replacing a uniform ripped off by medics in the desert sand or helping a brain-damaged soldier remember his next appointment.
"We've done our duty. We fought the war. We came home wounded. Fine. But whoever the people are back here who are supposed to give us the easy transition should be doing it," said Marine Sgt. Ryan Groves, 26, an amputee who lived at Walter Reed for 16 months. "We don't know what to do. The people who are supposed to know don't have the answers. It's a nonstop process of stalling."
UPDATE Monday: In today's WaPo, The Hotel Aftermath-- more heartwrenching stories of returning troops staying at Mologne House on Walter Reed's grounds... stories of how their family members fight the Army day in and day out, pleeing for help with what is left of their loved one. In some cases, the Army doctors insist that there are pre-existing medical conditions and that the fact that the troop was blown up in Iraq had nothing to do with his current disabled condition. Some amputees received celebrity status are showered with gifts from corporations and movie stars, while at the same time, others don't have decent clothes to wear.
UPDATE Tuesday: Amazingly, MSNBC covered quite a bit of the stories last night. In other news, NY Senator Chuck Schumer announced that that "he will introduce a bill after the Senate returns to session next week to bring benefits for troops in the reserves and National Guard in line with those of active-duty soldiers." I had no idea that the reservists and guardspeople were getting shortchanged. Read more.