Patriotism is a pernicious, psychopathic form of idiocy ~ George Bernard Shaw (7/26/1856 to 11/2/1950) Irish socialist, playwright and journalist who examined education, marriage, religion, government, health care and class privilege. Shaw was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature (1925) and an Oscar (1938), for his contributions to literature and for his work on the film Pygmalion.
This is my 9/11/2009 Veterans Day post, presented two days late. I started writing it on Veterans Day, but did not finish because other things came up. Hopefully my thoughts regarding what they perceive to be honoring our soldiers will outrage the Righties and I'll receive some crazy wing-nut insults. I'm not under any illusions that I could actually change any of their minds by pointing out how they are wrong. The propaganda has been so successful that you've got to laugh. Or be horrified.
I decided to post on this topic after visiting the Truth Shall Rule site on Wednesday. Even though the topic of Truth's post was not Veteran's day, but instead a hilarious commentary on ghostwritten autobiography hawking Right-Wing bimbos Sarah Palin and Carrie Prejean, a couple of jingoistic war-crimes-excusing Righties showed up and proceeded to attack Truth for being "totally without gratitude or respect for our fighting men and women", and everyone else on the left for "hating the folks in the military as does President Obama".
This reminded of a Memorial Day discussion I participated in six months ago on a wing-nut blog. "Memorial Day should be a day where politics has no place" - so stated one of the commenters. This was after I posted my thoughts, so I don't know if the person was referring to me, the blog proprietor, or the other commenters.
Gayle, the blog proprietor, after sharing her thoughts on Memorial Day, got on with the real purpose of her post, which was to bash our president. She asserted that President Obama did not honor our troops because he "cut the budget on the next generation of weapons development".
Of course the Righties equate "honoring our soldiers" with handing out billions of taxpayer dollars to defense contractors for wasteful and unneeded military weaponry like "ground-based interceptors", "laser planes", "amphibious ships" and "future combat ground-vehicles". The Laser Plane may be unfeasible and unaffordable, but it certainly wouldn't have been unprofitable. It is a question of priorities, military contractor profits trump providing things our soldiers really need.
Remember that under bush our soldiers had to pay for their own body armor and scrounge in trash heaps for metal to armor their vehicles. Donald Rumsfeld's response for the bush administration's poor planning? "you go to war with the Army you have. They're not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time".
I also pointed out that the bush administration...
...awarded no bid Iraq war contracts to VP Dick Cheney's former company, Halliburton, who provided our soldiers with tainted water and rotten food, exposed them to toxins, and electrocuted them while they were showering - due to shoddy wiring (for which KBR received 83.4 million in bonuses).
...did not see to it that our returning soldiers received adequate health care at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Even though cases of outpatient neglect were reported as early as 2004, nothing was done until the Washington Post broke the story in 2007.
...had no plan to reintegrate returning soldiers, many who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, resulting in an explosion of homeless vets and suicide rates. According to a December 2008 article from CNN, "the rate of suicides among-active duty soldiers is on pace to surpass both last year's numbers and the rate of suicide in the general U.S. population for the first time since the Vietnam war, according to U.S. Army officials".
...expanded use of the military's "stop-loss" policy, under which a soldier's active duty service was involuntarily extended in order to retain them beyond their initial end of term of service date (ETS). According to Jon Soltz of VoteVets.org, "The stop-loss policy is one that has been expanded and abused". This policy has been referred to as a "backdoor draft".
I concluded by stating... I find it incomprehensible that Republicans continue to wrap themselves in the flag considering the absolutely disgraceful job the previous administration did "honoring" our soldiers, *puke*. IMO anyone who voted for GWB should be deeply ashamed of how our soldiers were treated on his watch.
What these examples (this is not a complete listing of all the ways in which the bush administration dishonored our soldiers) prove is that GWB and company did not care at all for our solders, they were a tool he used to gain "political capital" - and shovel taxpayer money to his campaign donors in the form of no-bid Iraq contracts (which directly benefited VP Cheney, whose Halliburton stock increased by over 3000 percent in one year!).
A blogger going by the handle of Old Soldier scolded me by decrying, "dervish, you're an ass! Do you care not even one iota for those who gave their life for your freedom? I find your obsession with continuing to slam GWB, and this time by indicating he essentially abused and totally disregarded the wellbeing of our military, to be over the top. I also find your timing to be absolutely despicable and in total disregard for the meaning of Decoration Day".
Even though "Old Soldier" had previously written "Great post, Gayle. Freedom is not free... blah blah blah... BHO would do them the most honor by simply being quiet for the day". So I guess it is OK to attack Democrats on a day set aside to honor our soldiers, but pointing out how they were mistreated under the last president's watch is "despicable". A day where politics has no place? Clearly the Righties agree those on the left should shut their yaps, but they should be free to denigrate our Democratic President ad nauseam.
Well, I certainly have no intention of keeping quiet while they use these holidays to bash the left while wrapping themselves in the flag.
How about directing some of that outrage towards Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), who is currently holding up passage of the "Veterans' Caregiver and Omnibus Health Benefits Act". Coburn claims his issue with the bill is it's cost, but I would argue that the money is already spent. If we send our soldiers to war surely we are obligated to pay for their health care when they return.
Representative Coburn assumed office in 2005, so he didn't have the opportunity to vote for or against the 9/14/2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists, which was the justification used for the invasion of Afghanistan (although no House Republican voted against it), or the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002, although he has stated that he is a "strong supporter of Bush in removing Saddam", and that "going to Iraq was exactly the right thing...". He has also voted "no" on a number of resolutions which would have set a timetable for an Iraq drawn down.
So, providing health care for our wounded veterans is to expensive, but saving billions by establishing a special Senate committee to investigate allegations of waste, fraud and war profiteering gets a thumbs down? This guy's logic makes no sense. I smell a fraud. He's a jackass, not a fiscal conservative.
Oddly enough, both house of Congress unanimously passed the bill which cancelled development of the laser plane. That must have been a difficult vote. On one hand Republican defense contractor cronies love wasteful military boondoggles like the laser plane, but on the other hand the cons have to maintain the deception that they're fiscally conservative. You win some, you lose some, I guess. But even when they lose it's a win. I pointed out that no Republicans voted to keep the laser plane, so how could anyone claim it was President Obama's fault that our troops would now be stuck with outdated equipment?
I received no response except continued wing-nut assertions that President Obama was "gutting" the military. Even though the bill approved by the President is "larger than any budget that the Bush administration ever proposed by about 20 billion dollars". And defense contractor stock increased by 3.4% when the budget proposal was released. A win for everyone, apparently. Except for those of use who honestly believe slashing the military budget would be a good idea.
Update 9/26/2014: The blog mentioned in the post above "Gayle's Cyber Place" has been scrubbed of all it's political content. There is but one non-political post remaining. This happened, I believe, some time ago. Gayle, as I recall, retired from political blogging. This is why the discussion referenced above no longer exists on Gayle's blog and, if you click one of my links they will go nowhere. The same goes for my link to the blog "Truth Shall Rule", the now-shuttered blog of Joe Kelly (AKA "Truth 101", AKA Joe Truth).