This English major who flew airplanes for Uncle Sam doesn’t identify with being a veteran as much as many. I’ve probably mentioned it more on this blog than in daily life because it deflects the knee-jerk reaction of those who confuse their voting records with their self-interest.
The Dean Blog has some interesting comments today, in reply to a post by Jon Zall, Colonel, USAF (Ret), who wrote,
Why should military veterans, or anyone associated with the military, consider any option other than Mr. Bush for the coming 2004 election? I’m a veteran, retired with almost 27 years of service, who no longer believes this administration has the best interests of our veterans and our military in mind. Until two months ago, I (like many veterans) wasn’t going to consider any Democrat – after all, I had voted mostly Republican for 40 years. But the weight of events and the actions of the Bush administration, especially with regard to veterans and the use of our military, including the Reserves and National Guard, caused me to change my mind.
That’s why I decided to put the Veterans for Dean Blog into play. Something inside me said that if I am needing to talk about a lot of things that really bother me about the use of our military and support of our veterans, then I suspect there may be many more of you out there. The Blog is a forum for all of you – you don’t have to be a veteran or in the military – who don’t like the direction their country is taking. And, know this for sure, the blog is NOT intended to create dissent among our troops, veterans or active duty, but to intelligently lay out and discuss ideas. This blog also links to other important Veterans-for-Dean websites and other links of interest for you to check out.
Some of the comments are even more emotional than most. I’ve added links where helpful, but not edited content:
“I amalos a veteran. Yesterday I at least emotionally participated in an important birthday – on Nov 10 1775 Capt Robert Mullin enlisted the first United States Marines.
I think the current adminstration’s treatment both of veterans and of currently serving military personnel (gerual service and activated reservs and guard) is atrocious.
David Hackworth‘s various enterprises have been showcasing the horoors for quite some time now.Stars and Stripes has printed a survey on morale.
The general press has bits and pieces, dribs and drabs, but does not put it all together.
– nationalizing the seized Irqi assets to help pay (Halliburton and Bechtel) for rebuilidingn Iraq, rather than allowing those assets to pay for formerly imprisoned American servicement who won a judgment in US courts
– making wounded and injured service personnel pay for their meals while in hospitals
– cutting the additional pay for combat service… gee, if one is shot after MAJOR combat operations is one any less shot?
– making veterans endure 6 month waits for initial medical appointments
– putting guard and reservists in vermin-infested barracks and not giving them the same access to medical care at plcaes like Ft Stewar in Georgia
– for perosnnel whose home base is in the US, providing R & R trasnportation only as afar as Baltimore, and then leaving them on their own, timewise and moeny wise, to get to see family and loved ones
I could go on and on. There are ohters on this blog who could provide far more.
This is an adminstration that reallyb did not value the combat infantry and armor divisions – after all, Rumsfeld wanted to totally reshaped the military. If we had the miltiary he ahd wnated, think how badly off we would be in Iraq today.
The mistreatment of those who ahve served and continue to serve should be reason enough for those who care about the military to reject the current administration.
Colonel, welcome to our cause, to send Bush back to Crawford.
KJB USMC serial number 2105714
Posted by ken fr arlington va at November 11, 2003 02:03 PM
wonderful well written piece Colonel!!!!
Your beliefs are supported in the Des Moines Register this morning.
Des Moines, Ia Register, Metro Section Headline..
MORE VETERANS SEEK COUNTY AID
Living costs, job losses, age issues prompt the need for assistance
A growing number of Iowa’s veterans are asking counties for emergency assistance with rent, utilities or other bills.
Isn’t it a sad state of affairs when the lead story is about the trouble veterans are having pay rent and utilities.
Posted by Darrell in Iowa at November 11, 2003 02:23 PM
My Dad told me he was listening to a radio show the other day and heard a story that goes something like this:
There’s a gentleman who has three sons over in Iraq fighting the war. Each and every day, on his lunch break, this father goes down the street from his place of employment, and for one hour, he holds up a poster of a soldier that has died that day or that week. He blows up the pictures from the internet or newspaper.
While he was doing this, people would drive by everyday, screaming how un-American he is, people would yell anti-homosexual names at him (even though he’s straight), and say he has no faith in his country. They’d honk their horns and berate him…a man who is lending his three brave children to the service of our country.
He finally got them to stop honking…by holding up a “Honk fo
r Peace” sign alongside the picture of the fallen soldier. That, my friends, is sad, sad, sad.
To this man, who’s children are in harm’s way, to all of those who are fighting, and to all of those we have lost in defense of our flag, I am in your debt, and so is our country.
Shane in Ohio
Posted by Shane in Ohio at November 11, 2003 02:43 PM
Wage Slaves with Rifles
Military people are the wage slaves of the industry called America. As corporations manipulate their hourly employees, so does this administration use cheap labor to express its foreign policy.
When veterans and soldiers look at their values and not their voting habits, Dean is the obvious choice.
If you’re in the military or a union or paid for doing real work with your hands, you are in the same position relative to senior management. Even if loyal to your direct boss, you’re an expense from the viewpoint of senior management.
Major corporations are the spiritual godfathers of this administration. Just as companies are cutting benefits and raising CEO bonuses, so is the Department of Defense. The Army Times has a Veteran’s Day article about active duty benefits, “An Act of Betrayal – In the midst of war, key family benefits face cuts“. The Department of Defense (DoD) has closed 19 commissaries and may close 19 more; and is considering the fate of 58 schools it runs around the country. As with so many initiatives, it seems DoD had made up its mind to study the closings prior to 9/11, and seems unaffected by later events:
The two initiatives are the latest in a string of actions by the Bush administration to cut or hold down growth in pay and benefits, including basic pay, combat pay, health-care benefits and the death gratuity paid to survivors of troops who die on active duty.
The roots of all these efforts reach back to the highest levels of the Defense Department.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has made no secret of his desire to get the military out of support activities that are not central to its core war-fighting functions, said Joseph Tafoya, director of the Department of Defense Education Activity. As soon as he arrived at the Pentagon three years ago, Tafoya said, Rumsfeld began asking: “Why am I running stores? Why am I in education?”
Schools for dependents are a big issue. Military families don’t pay local taxes so they have no voice in local districts, which don’t have room for them anyway. The military has better schools than most districts, perhaps because the peer group is families more disciplined than average. Further, the local schools are struggling already. “I would be transferring 800 students into a 600-student [public] school, and have no voting representation in the school board,” says Lt. Gen. William Lennox, superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.
Military people live in some of the tightest-knit communities on earth. Sure, families transfer in and out, but common values, experience and challenges knit everyone together. That’s why it’s so striking that a commander would describe call these cuts a “betrayal,” not as an off-the-record slip of the lip, but as carefully as any order :
A ‘personal affront’
“Betrayal — write that down and put it in your report,” said Col. John Kidd, garrison commander of Fort Stewart, Ga., testifying at Tafoya’s forum on the need to keep military-run schools on his post. “As a commander, I will fight this tooth and nail. Folks down there are not just militant on this issue. They will march on Washington.”
Lowe, the Quantico base commander, said he never has seen his community more united than it is over the schools issue.
“The very fact that this transfer study is being conducted at this time when Marines, sailors, soldiers and airmen and their families are increasingly required to give more of themselves and to go in harm’s way is taken by many as a personal affront,” he said. “It raises serious questions about DoD’s commitment to all quality-of-life issues.”
Soldiers feel entitled. Maybe not so much in peacetime, though they are. But when your ass is on the line and your wife can’t make ends meet, the last thing you’ll put up with is the loss of the preferential commissary (grocery store) pricing, or seeing your kids shoe-horned into an under-funded public school.
“Col. Larry Ruggley, garrison commander at Fort Campbell, Ky., showed local newspapers with headlines noting a two-week delay in the opening of civilian schools outside the gate because of budget wrangling.
Fort Campbell soldiers will continue to be deployed, Ruggley said. “We look to the stability and support of the school environment on Fort Campbell to take care of the children. It’s all about the soldier we put in harm’s way.”
Col. John Neubauer, commander of Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., said his base’s schools outperform those outside the gate. DDESS students at Maxwell consistently score in the 75th percentile nationally, he said, while “students outside the gate consistently score in the lower half.”
“We have a close relationship with the local community,” he said. “But the state of Alabama refuses to adequately fund education.”
New York Army Times
The above links are to, respectively:
- The San Jose Mercury News
- The House of Representatives
- Veterans for Common Sense
- Gainesville, Georgia Times
- Fox News
- Des Moines Register
- The Army Times
This isn’t some left-leaning paper in the heart of Gothomorrah. The administration and its sympathizers can explain away bitching N’Yawkas, but not red-blooded Americans calling them on the treatment of our troops–the greatest symbol of righteousness for the Republicans’ entire political base.
How stupid are these people?