Thursday, March 01, 2007

Meltdown at Walter Reed

When Donald Rumsfeld gave his now infamous oration regarding "things we know we know...things we know we don't know...things we don't know we don't know" (YIKES!) he might very well have been speaking of the nightmare that they should have seen coming (but apparently didn't) in the form of wounded, disabled and horribly disfigured Iraqi war veterans. You would think that George W. Bush, with his habit of defunding vital programs meant to assist the most vulnerable among us, would at the very least cut these kids a break, wouldn't you? After thoughtlessly shoveling them into this untenable quagmire, you would think that the guy might show a little compassion, wouldn't you? Wouldn't you?? Forget it. Since he took the oath of office on 20 January 2001, his one and only priority has been to cut the tax rate on the obscenely wealthy. As a result, our social and economic infrastructure is now in the process of disintegrating. That disintegration can be seen in full view this week at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. At a time where the system has been taxed to the limit with the return of thousands of seriously injured servicemen and women, the First Fool has cut veterans benefits by twenty-eight billion dollars while closing over fifty VA hospitals.
Are you by any chance aware of what a dreadful, historical blunder was committed when this country foolishly sent a disgusting, half-witted little piece of shit like George W. Bush to the White House? Just thought I'd ask.
As bad as things are at the moment, to quote the late, Al Jolson, "You ain't seen nothin' yet." In the wake of the revelations of the conditions of "Building 18", according to the Army Times (a hotbed of liberal muckraking if there ever was one) the wounded soldiers were told not to talk to journalists and to "shut the fuck up". As of this week, reporters are not allowed to tour the facilities without an escort. According to the Washington Post, the Army has known about the rat-infested conditions for over three years. On MSNBC yesterday, Don Imus played a clip of an interview with Secretary of the Veterans Administration, Jim Nicholson, who said (with a straight face, I swear) that the soldiers (some of them amputees) were themselves to blame because they left food laying around in their rooms. He then went on to say that the number of kids who have lost limbs in this useless war is "only" six-hundred.
Did you just gag on your bacon? I thought as much.
What we have yet to come to terms with is the fact that this stupid war is far from over. Society will have to care for these vets for decades and decades - and the money for their care has been squandered. We're you aware of the fact that the last civil war vet died in 1959? That was a year after I was born! By that very reckoning, we'll be caring for the veterans of Operation Iraqi "Freedom" (Doesn't that very name make you want to puke?) until the year 2101. And what the Army and the Pentagon haven't even taken into consideration are the sky-high cancer rates that are inevitable due to the existence of the depleted uranium coating American made tanks and missiles. This situation is believed to be responsible for the so-called Gulf War Syndrome which has been a health nightmare for the men and women who fought in Desert Storm a decade and a half ago. That war lasted months; this one has gone on for almost four years. All of this on top of the serious psychological toll it has taken on at least one-hundred thousand returning soldiers. Expect a crisis very soon.
How will the men and woman we send out to fight our wars ever be able to trust their government again? The answer is quite simple: they won't nor should they. After seeing how their leaders are treating some of the wounded, walking dead, to continue to trust these people would be sheer insanity. We so-called "grown ups" should do everything humanly possible to make sure that our youth have nothing to do with this disgusting killing machine. If we really wanted to, we could obliterate the Military Industrial Complex. The worst mistake we could make would be to give it up as a fait accompli - dismiss it as just another headache that must be lived with - "a necessary evil." Evil may be many things, necessary it is not. The fact is this: WE THE PEOPLE have the power. WE THE PEOPLE are in control. WE THE PEOPLE have the means to turn our once-great nation into the beacon of freedom and hope that the Founding Fathers had in mind when they composed the Constitution over two centuries ago...We can shut this country down if we need to - at the very least we can set it on the right course...It's up to us.
Pray for peace.
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


At 10:20 AM, Anonymous fearless flower said...

Dear Tom,

Once again, you've focused on a critical issue that has prophetic importance.

Apparently this administration intends for these young men and women to make eternal sacrifices, far beyond what they gave of themselves in Iraq or any other misadventures these demented crackpots have got planned for this country.

What should we expect, however from the type of leaders that have left the devastation from Katrina unattended to after almost two years? A friend just came back from an errand she had to do down there and says that you can see big buildings left just as they were after the storm, with an entire side stripped off revealing beds and furniture and belongings. How sad and eerie it looks. I bet Bush's sightseeing plans to that region today won't include this! We'll probably get some lies about how well reconstruction is going.

The fact is we are all expendable to this administration. The abandonment of these soldiers is just a sign of what we can all expect if we don't demand a big change now. I hope our Democratic legislators are listening!

At some point the pendulum has to swing the other way and the support by Americans for this war will turn to regret and rage.

You've been a catalyst for changing opinions for so long; may you be vindicated soon!

At 10:39 AM, Anonymous Charles Moore said...

Hi Tom,

This despicable war and it's effects are probably the biggest moral catastrophe and breakdown in two centuries. Not only are conditions at Walter Reed unbelievable (as is the administrations response to them) but there is also the fact that our young people have been sent in to battle without adequate equipment from day one, and you can bet that many of the ones being sent over now have not had adequate training. I also read this morning that many soldirs who have suffered concussion and brain damage from explosions are returned to their battle stations within a few days, regardless of their physical condition. This war has turned into a meat grinder for humanity.

As disgusting as the war is, there is also the fact that Bush and Co is cutting veterans benefits and making no provisions for these people who are physically damaged when, and IF they ever return home.

Bush is simply mentally deranged and cares for nothing but his f**king pride and "winning" this war. He will stand up yelling Victory until every American soldier is dead and the soil of Iraq is red with blood.

Soldiers in Iraq, poverty at home, an abandoned New Orleans - all must take a back seat to his precious tax cuts for the mega wealthy. If Dante were alive today, he would probably come up with another circle in hell just for Bush and Cheney.

These people must be removed from office immediately.

At 11:27 AM, Blogger Jen Kerlin said...

I'm sorry but everytime I hear or read the word 'war' in regards to Iraq my mind does a double take. Call a spade a spade for the love of whatever it is that you love. This is a bloody vendetta and a sorry attempt at smoke and mirrors gone terribly awry. Of course awry was the only possible way it could go. It is certainly many things but a 'war'?

As to the soldiers I can't even comment. It's too much. I'm praying, really praying, that the 'happy pill' popping drug addict that is the country I call home is finally hitting rock bottom so she can just freakin' admit her addiction go to rehab and we can all get on with our blessed lives.

Thanks Tom.

At 1:09 AM, Anonymous Sandra Green said...

Dear Tom,

We all knew these things years ago and wondered why no one challenged VA cuts and hospital closers when we where in a war Bush and co created. Cut everything from the poor and down trodden for tax cuts for the very, very rich .01% Now we are in a catch 22. There is no money. Bush and DOD don't care if they are wounded without the proper equipment. I read a quote somewhere today that Bush said, why are they(wounded)complaining, all the have to do is die. That should not be so hard for them to do for their country. Better dead than wondered. We are sending national guard without training or equipment with PTS back into battle, to be what? Cannon fodder. I am not sure what he thinks is to be gained? I remember the last war where Nixon did that too. We will not heal as a country for a long, long time.

At 3:51 AM, Blogger larkrise said...

There is so much suffering in war; and the reasons for this war were fabricated out of whole cloth.
Thousands have died. Thousands are wounded. Those with Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome will be the last to be treated with compassion. PTSD wounds the mind. Stress of any kind can trigger frightening outbursts, withdrawal from family and friends, and suicide attempts. Many families will be torn asunder by this disorder. It is not well-understood by the public, and is not addressed with the necessary compassion by the military. The conditions at Walter Reed are but the tip of the iceberg, when it comes to failure in addressing all the needs of our wounded soldiers. The VA wont be able to handle the situation, either. The Bush Administration and the Republicans in Congress will be sure to sweep this mess under the rug. The Dems dont have enough votes in the Senate to get anything substantial done. Lieberman is a bloddy Benedict Arnold. The people of Connecticut had their heads up their tushies when they voted for that dirty, rotten scoundrel. Harry Reid is already faltering. Can Pelosi be far behind? The fact of the matter is, we have two more years of corruption, stupidity, mismanagement, fence-straddling, death and destruction to navigate until Bush heads to the ranch. The only circumstance that might change the status quo is a big economic meltdown. Given the twitchy stock market, that could happen, but who knows when. Meanwhile, all we can do is continue to support Tom in his rants, send in our e-mails and action alerts, write letters-to-the-editor, march on D.C., if we can, and threaten Republicans with our vote. I have 2 "War Is Not The Answer" signs in my windows and a bumper sticker. Also, one for Amnesty International. I am the only one doing this in my neighborhood. It gets discouraging, but sometimes you have to speak out, and be on the side of the angels.

At 6:33 AM, Anonymous Wilma Lamb said...

len you are right tho I would call it a bloody senseless criminal slaughter not only of our soldiers but of innocent Iraqis who are dying needlessly for Bush's mad drive for world hegemony.
Not only is Iraq a bloody disaster but Afghanistan is unravelling and Bush is beating the drums for another invasion of a sovereign nation.
That will send even more broken bodies home for Bush to treat like they don't exist

At 7:40 AM, Blogger Black Bear Hollow said...

On MSNBC yesterday, they showed an interview with McCain who was at an Iowa University and was babbling about how young people need to join the military RIGHT NOW and support this effort and that they would be taken care of, [enter untrue pro military propaganda here]. ROFL! What was even funnier, besides him getting the name of the school wrong and then quickly correcting himself, was when Chris Matthews asked the audience how many support the war. A show of hands and then he asked them to stand. He then asked how many plan on joining the military. HA! Maybe 10 very uncomfortable looking people. remained standing. Matthews turned to McCain and said he guesses they'd need a draft. :) Guess Republican youth support the Iraq invasion as long as someone else is doing the work. It spoke volumes to see how quiet they got and how cowardly they actually are.

At 8:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom - I appreciate your emphasis on prayer. Surely we must be hitting bottum.

I am having a hard time wrapping my brain around all the scandels and incomptence.

The Walter Reed fiasco ranks up there as among the most pernicious. I pray for those suferring vets and their families.

I fear almost a complete breakdown in trust (perhaps irreversable) in our government. If that is true this formerly great nation is in very deep trouble.

Thanks Tom

Be Well,

"Cannot reveal identity"

At 2:45 PM, Anonymous MARIAM RUSSELL said...


At 3:12 AM, Blogger ChrisP said...


Sadly, I have to agree with you. As
a conservative Republican I have tried to find some wisdom coming from the white house and now scratched to the very bottom. No luck. Scary isnt it?

At 9:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most everything you write is true except for one thing. How can you blame the "Military Industrial Complex" for this mess we are in in Iraq or anywhere else in the world? Those poor soldiers in Building 18 were only following orders. Those Generals who dared to speak out against the First Fool, Commander in Chief, were forced to resign or be fired. I think if they were fired, they might have lost their benefits. What would you do in their place after serving your country faithfully for as much as 35 years? I'm just sayin'..... Look at Korea, Viet Nam or other conflicts that the military leaders were not allowed to make critical decisions concerning the lives of the soldiers they commanded. The military is at the mercy of the Fool in the White House. It's always been that way. It's another wise decision of our founding fathers. That's fine if we don't have a "Fool in the White House".

At 10:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just found you, rah-rah! But you guys have got this nutjob here:
I'm a canuck interested in protecting myself and country from youse guys bizarre authority figures. Any advise? NAU is beyond us already.We all gotta do something. Together. What groups in America are quietly fighting all of this? Our current minority PM is a Bush-wannabe, scary huh?


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