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How touching to see George W travel to Ground Zero in New York City for a prolonged photo op during the recent, fifth-anniversary remembrance of the horrors of 9/11.
He laid a big wreath, he prayed, he spoke of heroes, he made some self-serving political points, and he even hugged some family members of 9/11 victims. But there are thousands of Ground Zero heroes who got no comfort from George – not even a mention, much less any actual help.
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These are the 40,000 rescue and recovery workers who responded to the emergency, toiling selflessly in the vortex of dust, ash, and fumes that were unleashed by the crashbombings. A new medical study gives conclusive proof that some 70 percent of those who labored so heroically have had their lungs ravaged by that toxic cloud, and many will suffer debilitating and painful respiratory illnesses for the rest of their lives.
Unfortunately, just as the Bush government failed the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast before and after Katrina, the Bushites also turned their backs on these heroes. Their first response was to issue a deliberately-false EPA report claiming there was nothing nasty in the cloud. Now we learn that the dust included such deadly elements as lead, barium, dioxin, asbestos, and hydro-carbons.
But, five years later, these Veterans of 9/11, who suffer from what is euphemistically called “World Trade Center Cough,” have been left on their own to try to get treatment… and pay for it. They’ve also been dissed by officials. For example, Bush’s Republican buddy, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, coldly dismissed the victim’s claims by declaring: “I don’t believe that you can say specifically a particular problem came from this particular event.”
This is Jim Hightower saying… But, have faith in George, heroes, for he’s now promising to help. How? By creating a task force to study the problem. Meanwhile, try to keep breathing.
“Veterans of Sept. 11,” The New York Times, September 9, 2006.
“Officials Slow to Hear Claims Of 9/11 Illnesses,” The New York Times, September 5, 2006.
“Illness Persisting In 9/11 Workers, Big Study Finds,” The New York Times, September 6, 2006.
“Study: 70 percent of ground zero workers ailing,” Austin American-Statesman, September 6, 2006.