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Politicians should not be allowed to utter the phrase “Support Our Troops” – unless they actually do.
None have shouted this phrase more insistently than the Bushites, yet they’ve been caught again and again shortchanging our troops on everything from protective gear to family benefits. Most damning has been the abysmal failure of Bush & Company to honor war veterans with adequate treatment here at home, and two recent cases show how empty their words really are.
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First is the important, bipartisan proposal made by Sen. Jim Webb to establish a new GI Bill for veterans of Bush’s war. The original version, signed in 1944 by FDR, was an enormous success, not only moving millions of vets into the middle class, but also democratizing America’s college system. Just in financial terms, the investment paid for itself seven fold. Webb now wants those who are sacrificing so much in Iraq and Afghanistan to make the same gains.
But guess who says no? Bush, the Pentagon, and even John McCain. Why? It would cost too much, say these Washington warmongers, who have already thrown trillions of our tax dollars into the debacle of Iraq.
The second case is the shameful inaction by the top mental health official in Bush’s veterans department. Ira Katz has not only gone along with Bush budgeteers who’ve been shortchanging vets on mental treatment, but he’s also tried to cover up the startling suicide rate among veterans who have been victims of this failure. Katz has now been exposed as the author of an agency email that he titled: “Shh!” The email conceded that there are some 35 suicide attempts each day by veterans – half of them successful. Katz’s message, however, was not to call for more help for our soldiers, but instead to stonewall disclosure of the problem.
Abandoning those you’ve sent to war is traitorous behavior by the commander-in-chief.
“Doing the Troops Wrong,” New York Times, May 6, 2008.
“Democrats assail VA for withholding information about veterans’ suicides,” Austin American Statesman www.statesman.com May 7, 2008
“Tempers Flare At Hearing On Vet Suicides,” www.cbsnews.com, May 6, 2008