Friday, February 25, 2005

Fairytale Land

Call it "What's the Matter With Kansas - The Cartoon Version." The slime campaign has begun against AARP, which opposes Social Security privatization. There's no hard evidence that the people involved - some of them also responsible for the "Swift Boat" election smear - are taking orders from the White House. So you're free to believe that this is an independent venture. You're also free to believe in the tooth fairy.


That from Paul Krugman. The same promoters of the Not-So-Swift Boat Veterans now take their sleazy aim at the AARP. And all the right-wing media have the same script: the AARP is a radical left organization bent on ruining civilization as we know it.

That's a joke because a majority of seniors supported Bush in this election. So the nutcakes are about to shoot themselves in the foot - and we should let them do so with vigor. Their first ad is so absurd that it will be ignored, along with the brainless wonders that thought it up.

And veterans, if you supported the swiftless ones before, you' d better take another look at what these slanderers are all about.

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Colonel Hackworth: 'Pentagon is lying its way out of an unwinnable war - again'

"As with Vietnam, the Iraqi tar pit was oh-so-easy to sink into, but appears to be just as tough to exit.

This should be no big surprise! Most slugfests - from bar brawls to military misadventures like Vietnam and Iraq - take some clever moves to step away from once the swinging starts.

This is why most combat vets pick their fights carefully. They look at their scars, remember the madness and are always mindful of the fallout.

That’s not the case in Washington, where the White House and the Pentagon are run by civilians who have never sweated it out on a battlefield. Never before in our country’s history has an administration charged with defending our nation been so lacking in hands-on combat experience and therefore so ignorant about the art and science of war.

Now the increasingly flummoxed Bush team is stealing the page on Vietnamization from Nixon’s Exit Primer, coupled with the same deceitful tactics he used to get us out of the almost decade-long Vietnam quagmire: telling lies.

The Nixon gang kicked off its con in 1969 via a killer of a PR snow job to pacify an American public whose support for the war was exhausted. The guts of this spin show were: We have clobbered the enemy; the South Vietnamese Army (ARVN) is main-event material and ready to take over the fighting; and we can bring our troops home. This propaganda was supported by ARVN combat-readiness reports systematically doctored by our brass to show that the units we were advising were good-to-go.

I was on the ground as an adviser to ARVN when the campaign launched, and I was completely floored. Even the elite outfits - Rangers, Special Forces, paratroopers - were not fully capable of defending their country when put to the test. And these gung-ho troops were ARVN’s finest. Average ARVN grunts down in the ordinary infantry divisions were so ineffective that they couldn’t have fought their way out of a day-care center without massive U.S. air support. Meanwhile, U.S. units started redeploying.

Two years after the last grunt climbed on the last silver “freedom bird” and headed home, ARVN folded like a wet noodle.

All that blood, sacrifice and billions of American taxpayer dollars went for naught because politicians hadn’t worked out the endgame before Round One. And then their solution-without-honor was to lie their way out of a no-win war.

Thirty-five years later, President Bush told the nation that Iraq had nine fully trained combat infantry battalions. Just as he was proclaiming the prowess of the Iraqi army, a major in the Iraqi Training Command told me that the soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, when committed to their first battle, threw down their weapons and ran. “Not sure where the president is getting his info, but we have only one battalion that’s good-to-go,” he said.

Inquiring minds want to know: Is our president still being fed bad skinny comparable to the intel incorrectly linking Saddam to Sept. 11 or claiming that Iraq was chockablock full of weapons of mass destruction?

More recently, Pentagon hype claimed 140,000 trained and equipped Iraqi troops were set to go toe to toe against an estimated 15,000 insurgents. But when congressional pressure from both Republicans and Democrats lit fires around the feet of both Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Richard Myers, they were quick to admit that only 40,000 Iraqi soldiers were ready to meet the tiger. The rest, according to Myers, “were useful in less-taxing jobs . . . in relatively stable southern Iraq.”

The hard truth is that it takes a good 10 years to build an army from the ground up. And the major emphasis must be placed not on numbers such as how many battalions have been fielded or how ready the recruits are, but rather on good, old-fashioned officer training. Until this happens and the corrupt Iraqi officer leadership - from gold bar to four stars - gets a good scrub, our troops are stuck in the tar.

Bush needs to set up a truth squad directly outside his Oval Office door quicksmart. Then, whenever the Pentagon plays fast and loose with the truth, the liars can be immediately rounded up and punished.

Because lying won’t get our troops out of Iraq without our national security taking a long-term hit that our country simply cannot afford."


Thanks to Veterans for Common Sense for the link

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The World Is Upside Down Since I've Been Gone...

...OK, someone tell me it's a joke: the less-than-swift boat veterans are now going after the AARP? Am I in a parallel universe? No, even Stephen Hawking couldn't explain this one - eleven dimensions just aren't enough to contain the outrageous behavior of these charlatans.

More to come on this subject...

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link

Worse Than the Dentist...

...5 days without a computer. It's enough to drive you nuts. And now hours & hours of reloading programs...I'm sort of back...

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link

Monday, February 21, 2005

Note to Readers

Just lucky I guess - after two weeks of fighting off my own biological warfare, my hard drive outdid me with its own nasty infection and became unusable - and is in for major surgery. The technician said he'd never seen anything like it, probably caused by some site I linked to or adware - with the remote possibility that someone tried to hack in. Nobody would do that, would they? Hope to be back on line tomorrow...

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Charles Manson Appointed Head of California Prison System

.....did that get your attention? The real announcement this morning from the White House, which makes just as much sense, is that John Negroponte is W's choice to be our new Director of National Intelligence. You remember - he's the same Iran-Contra personality enmeshed in this country's failed attempt to support revolution in Nicaragua (reported on here last year) while turning a blind eye to death squads from Honduras, at the same time Negroponte was ambassador to that country.

Perfect, don't you think? Who better to track down terrorists than one who knows very well how they operate?

W continues to defy logic, but what else is new?

Update: See Iddybud for more on this story.

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

But He's Such a Nice Guy...

Alberto Gonzales is described by many Senators who confirmed him as such a 'nice guy', and those memos rejecting the Geneva Conventions, well... he really doesn't believe in torture, does he?...well, he did say he doesn't approve of activities that lead to organ failure or death. Such a nice guy. And when asked repeatedly at his hearings whether or not he approves of torture, especially as our new attorney general, he paused and had to ask for the questions to be clarified. Oh, he's such a nice guy. And what a sense of humor, as he and W exchanged chortles at the coming executions of death row inmates back in Texas. What a nice guy! And he was sworn in yesterday, after all the Repubs and 6 Democrats confirmed him, and who just couldn't get over what a nice guy he is!

And two days before, why this nice guy Attorney-General-To-Be quietly recused himself from the Valerie Plame investigation. Why? Because this nice guy had for years advised W as his legal counsel on how to get around the legal 'prohibitions' of prisoner torture. Why? Because this nice guy sat at W's side as the White House tried to figure out how to get around Ms. Plame's troublesome husband who exposed the administration's lies of WMD materials supposedly going to Iraq from Africa. And the results: Plame was outted as a CIA agent and her connections exposed to danger and death.

Oh what a nice guy - getting himself out of harm's way of the Plame investigation so he can do his job of fighting terrorism.

You wish this nice guy luck, don't you?

(Hear Mike Malloy expound more on Alberto Gonzales on Air America)

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link

Monday, February 14, 2005

The Repub Lying Machine Goes Into High Gear

So now we know about the planted 'Jeff Gannon' in the White House Press Corps. And now we know about the bogus Talon News that planted the terror threats that in turned raised the Homeland Security threat levels a couple of dozen times before the election (by the way, have you noticed there hasn't been one raising of a threat level since Nov 2nd?). So all those Tom Ridge bulletins were bs, period. The Repubs and their leader hate the word "lies', but those are the facts, folks. All we are left with is one other possibility - this administration is so incompetent as to be a laughingstock to this country, and the rest of the world. Either way, you voted these folks in again, America.

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link

Friday, February 11, 2005

9/11 - It Wasn't Bad Intel

The system was in place to question rogue aircraft patterns. The policies and procedures to react quickly to possible threats of hijacked airplanes was in place and used regularly - more than 200 times in the two years prior to 9/11. Specific warnings and precisely predicted scenarios (including warnings about flying aircraft bombs into skyscrapers) were available and known about Bin Laden and Al Qaeda - more than 50 of them (!) - in the six months prior to 9/11.

All of this was known, but not released until yesterday by our forthcoming Bush administration, after our elections of course, after this very incriminating information could not hurt Mr. Bush's re-election.

There needs to be more than an investigation of the FAA. While the temptation yesterday on the talk shows was to dump on the FAA Administrator, whose first day on the job was 9/11, if I were a 9/11 family member, I'd want to know a lot more. I'd want to know who else knew about these warnings in the administration. I'd want to know why this information was suppressed so W could benefit from the delay.

I'd want to know a lot more. How about you?

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

"You Have Three Jobs? Isn't That Just Great in America?"

... that was a paraphrase of W's response to a woman today who just wanted to know how he was going to make things better in the economy...

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link

'Homeless Vets Wait Years for Aid'

John Staresinich is a Purple Heart veteran who has slept in cracks in highway overpasses and abandoned cars, camped out in thin tents next to railroad tracks and fought off rats and bugs in Chinatown flophouses.

In December, he was diagnosed with severe combat-related post-traumatic
stress disorder -- 32 years after returning from Vietnam -- and is now getting help from the federal Veterans Affairs in Chicago. He says it took more than a year of begging that agency.

"Soldiers from Iraq are going to come back with PTSD," said Staresinich, 54. "I hope they treat them sooner than they did me."

Mental health experts are predicting that as many as one-third of all Iraqi veterans will suffer from PTSD, a disabling disorder characterized by flashbacks and war nightmares. A similar percentage of Vietnam veterans have been diagnosed with the disorder -- although it took decades for the government to recognize, treat and compensate those veterans.

Still, the VA officially maintains there's no connection between military combat and homelessness. But people who work with veterans believe otherwise.

"Many people will tell you that military service is not a significant contributing factor to homelessness. But it clearly is a factor," said Pete Dougherty, national director of the VA's homeless veterans programs. "There are more veterans who have shown up in the ranks of the homeless than their average age cohort."

There are 93,000 homeless Vietnam veterans, VA officials say. Illinois has the nation's third-largest population of homeless vets -- about 20,000.

Already about 100 soldiers from Iraq have turned up at homeless shelters around the country. And a study released last summer found that 17 percent of early returning Iraqi soldiers suffered from PTSD. Less than half of them had sought mental health care.

"I think PTSD is probably higher than it was in Vietnam because of the intensity of this conflict and the fact that we're calling up a whole different demographic category of people for this conflict than we did in Vietnam," said Dr. Ron Davidson, director of the mental health policy program at the University of Illinois at Chicago's psychiatry department. Davidson directs counseling services for the Illinois Family Resource Network, the state's outreach program for National Guard and Reserve family members.

Most soldiers in Vietnam were under 25, unmarried and had no children, Davidson said. In this war, most soldiers -- especially those from the National Guard and Reserve units -- are older, married and have children.

The Defense Department says it is evaluating soldiers before deployment, after they return home and three to six months later to determine whether they are at risk for the disorder.

That was certainly not the case when veterans returned from Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s reporting constant fear, sleeplessness, anxiety and violent dreams. The military did not acknowledge their symptoms as a mental disability until 1980. By then, some veterans had been home for 15 years.

"The VA has to get out of the mentality of sitting and waiting for the patient to come to them," Davidson said. "This is definitely a perverse part of the system."

Homeless veterans are a difficult segment of society to serve. They are transient and, according to VA studies, about 45 percent are mentally ill and 70 percent have substance addictions.

The Chicago VA's Homeless Coordinator refused an interview but her office released a list of programs that target homeless veterans, including an outreach effort that tries to get housing for those who are mentally ill.

But mentally disabled veterans, like Staresinich, say the VA's bureaucracy -- which demands reams of paperwork and months of haggling -- leaves them waiting for disability decisions and appointments with doctors.

"The VA is oriented with procedure," said John Rodriguez, a veterans representative with the Disabled American Veterans in Chicago who files disability claims for homeless veterans.

On Thursday, a Chicago Police officer and a social worker brought a homeless Vietnam veteran, a Purple Heart recipient, to Rodriguez. But when Rodriguez tried to get the VA to review the man's case, he was told he couldn't prove the veteran was homeless. Rodriguez had to get affidavits from the cop and the social worker before the VA would take the case. Staresinich says he also ran into obstacles when he went to Hines VA hospital in December 2003, asking to "be committed."

"I said I was suicidal. I begged them to help me. I wanted to see a doctor, a psychiatrist. I told them there's something really wrong with my head," said Staresinich, looking gaunt, his steel-blue eyes sunken like a skeleton. "They told me there was a wait for rehab."

...On Sept. 3, 2004, Rodriguez filed Staresinich's disability claim for PTSD, unemployability and hearing loss. His file was marked with a dark pink tag to signify that the case involved a homeless veteran and needed to be expedited.

It took five months for a decision. On Jan. 7, the VA ruled that Staresinich is 100 percent disabled. Three weeks later, he received a $6,777 check retroactive to September when his claim was filed. He will receive $2,299 a month and plans to get his own apartment so his 18-year-old daughter can live with him.

But his veteran friends worry that it may be too late for Staresinich, who, flush with cash, now spends much of his time in neighborhood bars.


Read the full story of several vets.

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

'Actions Speak Louder Than Words'

The Bush Budget would double veterans' drug co-pays and cut vocational training for veterans returning to civilian life, and once again, the VA health System will not meet the needs of hundreds of thousands in 2005:

Representing more than 7 million military veterans, The American Legion, the Disabled American Veterans and the Veterans of Foreign Wars today reaffirmed their unanimous support for fully funding the veterans health care system.

The three largest veterans organizations firmly believe that veterans have earned the right to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical care through their extraordinary sacrifices and service to this nation. Yet, each year funding levels must be determined through an annual appropriations process that is fundamentally broken. Year after year, veterans have fought for sufficient funding for VA health care and a realistic budget that reflects the rising cost of health care and increasing need for medical services. Despite these continued efforts, the cumulative effects of insufficient health care funding have resulted in the rationing of medical care.

.....VA health care is an ongoing cost of war. Every veteran answered the nation’s call to arms without reservation....Short-changing VA health care is short changing every military veteran from Bunker Hill to Baghdad. America's veterans are not expendable and should never be treated as such," said American Legion National Commander Thomas P. Cadmus.

"Especially during this time of war, fully providing for the needs of this nation’s past, present and future defenders is more than a mere contract between this government and its people, it is a moral obligation. No veteran must ever be denied VA health care or benefits for want of federal funding," said VFW Commander-in-Chief John Furgess.


The neocons should revise the yellow magnetic ribbon campaign. The new ribbon should begin in yellow and fade to black, and read: 'Support the troops ...and abandon veterans.'

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link

Monday, February 07, 2005

Not a Fun Week

Seem to have lost over a week's worth of posts, so maybe my computer caught the virus that I have... Blogging by tomorrow, I hope....

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link