Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Militarism with a George Bush face

From Soldiers’ shabby treatment par for the course by Gene Lyons Arkansas Democrat-Gazette 03/07/07:

After observing the Bush administration’s feckless and amoral response to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina, how could anybody profess amazement at its shabby, negligent treatment of wounded American soldiers [in Veterans Administration hospitals]? The same American soldiers it has used as symbolic props to ward off criticism of its incoherent “war on terror” ever since the president’s 2003 “Mission accomplished” aircraft carrier stunt in his Village People fighter pilot costume. Every time George W. Bush gets in trouble, he heads to a military base. To the commander-in-chief, the advantages of mingling with the troops are many. Besides excelling at patriotic pageantry, soldiers can be ordered to cheer on cue. (my emphasis)
There's a mind-boggling level of incompetence as well as corruption and malice in the Cheney-Bush administration. But the scandalous situation in veterans' health care is also a product of the Cheney-Bush approach to governance generally. Lyons writes:

The bureaucrat most responsible was sacked immediately after the November election. That would be former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, whose cocksure ineptitude and determination to fight wars on the cheap led directly to the current strategic mess in Iraq and Afghanistan. Rummy’s practice of sending machine-signed condolence letters to the families of dead soldiers was perfectly in character. Too bad Bush can’t reappoint Rummy and fire him all over again.

But it’s Bush himself who insisted upon huge tax cuts for his wealthiest supporters in wartime. Rummy’s policy of trimming funding for military health care just as grievously wounded soldiers began to arrive home from the Middle East in planeloads, along with the administration-wide mania for “privatizing” government services, has had the same dire effects on Walter Reed and other military hospitals that similar actions had on FEMA.
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