What Fresh Hell Is This?

February 18, 2007

This Is How The Bush Administration Supports The Troops

We're constantly told that if you don't support the war, you can't support the troops. Because (and this is the "logic" here) if you support the troops, by definition you want them to succeed (you can't want them to fail, do you?).

And if that's the case, you can't BOTH be against the war and want the troops to succeed. Ergo, if you're against the war, you're against the troops.

As my British friends would say, complete bollocks, of course.

But all that aside, let's take a look at how the Administration (who presumably support the war) is actually supporting the troops.

If you have the stomach for it, go read through this whole article from today's Washington Post.

I'm sure the part about the cockroaches and mice will get the most press:

Behind the door of Army Spec. Jeremy Duncan's room, part of the wall is torn and hangs in the air, weighted down with black mold. When the wounded combat engineer stands in his shower and looks up, he can see the bathtub on the floor above through a rotted hole. The entire building, constructed between the world wars, often smells like greasy carry-out. Signs of neglect are everywhere: mouse droppings, belly-up cockroaches, stained carpets, cheap mattresses.

This is the world of Building 18, not the kind of place where Duncan expected to recover when he was evacuated to Walter Reed Army Medical Center from Iraq last February with a broken neck and a shredded left ear, nearly dead from blood loss. But the old lodge, just outside the gates of the hospital and five miles up the road from the White House, has housed hundreds of maimed soldiers recuperating from injuries suffered in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And remember, this is where some returning servicemen and women are dropped when their time at Walter Reed hospital is over. It is, as the article points out, a place where almost 700 of them mostly soldiers, with some Marines "have been released from hospital beds but still need treatment or are awaiting bureaucratic decisions before being discharged or returned to active duty."

The tales of the bureaucratic bungling are horrifying.
Vera Heron spent 15 frustrating months living on post to help care for her son. "It just absolutely took forever to get anything done," Heron said. "They do the paperwork, they lose the paperwork. Then they have to redo the paperwork. You are talking about guys and girls whose lives are disrupted for the rest of their lives, and they don't put any priority on it."
15 months.

Here's one reason the paperwork's a nightmare:
Life beyond the hospital bed is a frustrating mountain of paperwork. The typical soldier is required to file 22 documents with eight different commands -- most of them off-post -- to enter and exit the medical processing world, according to government investigators. Sixteen different information systems are used to process the forms, but few of them can communicate with one another. The Army's three personnel databases cannot read each other's files and can't interact with the separate pay system or the medical recordkeeping databases.
Take a look at how dubya's Pentagon supported one of its own:
Staff Sgt. John Daniel Shannon, 43, came in on one of those buses in November 2004 and spent several weeks on the fifth floor of Walter Reed's hospital. His eye and skull were shattered by an AK-47 round. His odyssey in the Other Walter Reed has lasted more than two years, but it began when someone handed him a map of the grounds and told him to find his room across post.

A reconnaissance and land-navigation expert, Shannon was so disoriented that he couldn't even find north. Holding the map, he stumbled around outside the hospital, sliding against walls and trying to keep himself upright, he said. He asked anyone he found for directions.

Shannon had led the 2nd Infantry Division's Ghost Recon Platoon until he was felled in a gun battle in Ramadi. He liked the solitary work of a sniper; "Lone Wolf" was his call name. But he did not expect to be left alone by the Army after such serious surgery and a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder. He had appointments during his first two weeks as an outpatient, then nothing.

"I thought, 'Shouldn't they contact me?' " he said. "I didn't understand the paperwork. I'd start calling phone numbers, asking if I had appointments. I finally ran across someone who said: 'I'm your case manager. Where have you been?'

"Well, I've been here! Jeez Louise, people, I'm your hospital patient!"
And a few paragraphs later:
Shannon, who wears an eye patch and a visible skull implant, said he had to prove he had served in Iraq when he tried to get a free uniform to replace the bloody one left behind on a medic's stretcher. When he finally tracked down the supply clerk, he discovered the problem: His name was mistakenly left off the "GWOT list" -- the list of "Global War on Terrorism" patients with priority funding from the Defense Department.

He brought his Purple Heart to the clerk to prove he was in Iraq.
Others also had to prove their service.
The disappearance of necessary forms and records is the most common reason soldiers languish at Walter Reed longer than they should, according to soldiers, family members and staffers. Sometimes the Army has no record that a soldier even served in Iraq. A combat medic who did three tours had to bring in letters and photos of herself in Iraq to show she that had been there, after a clerk couldn't find a record of her service.
Another story of how dubya's Pentagon's been supporting the troops:

The soldier, Cpl. Jeremy Harper, returned from Iraq with PTSD after seeing three buddies die. He kept his room dark, refused his combat medals and always seemed heavily medicated, said people who knew him. According to his mother, Harper was drunkenly wandering the lobby of the Mologne House on New Year's Eve 2004, looking for a ride home to West Virginia. The next morning he was found dead in his room. An autopsy showed alcohol poisoning, she said.

"I can't understand how they could have let kids under the age of 21 have liquor," said Victoria Harper, crying. "He was supposed to be right there at Walter Reed hospital. . . . I feel that they didn't take care of him or watch him as close as they should have."

The Army posthumously awarded Harper a Bronze Star for his actions in Iraq.

I bet that made his family feel so much better.

The humiliations continue:

The frustrations of an outpatient's day begin before dawn. On a dark, rain-soaked morning this winter, Sgt. Archie Benware, 53, hobbled over to his National Guard platoon office at Walter Reed. Benware had done two tours in Iraq. His head had been crushed between two 2,100-pound concrete barriers in Ramadi, and now it was dented like a tin can. His legs were stiff from knee surgery. But here he was, trying to take care of business.

At the platoon office, he scanned the white board on the wall. Six soldiers were listed as AWOL. The platoon sergeant was nowhere to be found, leaving several soldiers stranded with their requests.

Benware walked around the corner to arrange a dental appointment -- his teeth were knocked out in the accident. He was told by a case manager that another case worker, not his doctor, would have to approve the procedure.

"Goddamn it, that's unbelievable!" snapped his wife, Barb, who accompanied him because he can no longer remember all of his appointments.

Take a look at the guy's age. He's 53. He had his skull crushed and all his teeth knocked out and on top of that, he's got memory problems. And it looks like he's on his own. Just like Harper and Shannon and Duncan and the rest of them.

Yea, these's folks are being supported.
This is how dubya's supporting the troops. I want them all safe and taken care of - so who's the patriot now?


Jesus is a liberal said...

Most all military families are already aware that the lives of our soldiers mean absolutely nothing to the Republicans. They have all been used as pawns in a corporate game for money and world domination that is obviously backfiring for our country. The majority of the military is not republican, yet they trot out active duty members in their uniforms for town hall meetings and campaign events-which is a violation of military ethics.But the GOP has no ethics and no one in a position of power at the penatgon would dare stop them for fear of losing their rank/pay or worse-being shipped of to Iraq.
They only way to make the neocons care about the lives of our young people is to reinstate the draft and send EVERYBODIES kids off to war-not just the poor ones.
Every able-bodied republican under the age of 42 who has not served in the military should enlist. But they won't because they are spineless, souless, wastes of humanity.
Bush, Cheney, & Co. will burn in hell for what they have done to these kids.

Anonymous said...

Whenever I see the We ove our troops" bumper sticker I think. you are loving them to death.
Todays article and the death of the soldier that comitted suicide because he was not hospitilized would make me ASHAMED to have the sticker on my car.

Democrats-Lie said...

"Every able-bodied republican under the age of 42 who has not served in the military should enlist. But they won't because they are spineless, souless, wastes of humanity."

The oldest comeback in the liberal play book. I guess JIAL is holier than the over 90% of the U.S. population who have never served in the military.

By the way, I believe JIAL meant "soulless," but given her most likely furious mood when she authored her comment, we'll let it slide.

"Bush, Cheney, & Co. will burn in hell for what they have done to these kids."

Spoken like a true Christian liberal, who claims they know everything there is to know about Jesus.

Jesus is a liberal said...

Braden Parker is an evil coward who spreads republican lies and hides behind his rhetoric to cover his lack of spine as an American.
Yes, Braden I have given of myself to the US military and you are a giant ass who thinks he is somehow better than 'liberals'.
Well guess what? I am proud to be a liberal and a DEMOCRATIC American. You should be ashamed of yourself and your lies.

Anonymous said...

You were wa-a-a-a-y too easy on him.

Democrats-Lie said...

"Braden Parker is an evil coward who spreads republican lies and hides behind his rhetoric to cover his lack of spine as an American.
Yes, Braden I have given of myself to the US military and you are a giant ass who thinks he is somehow better than 'liberals'.
Well guess what? I am proud to be a liberal and a DEMOCRATIC American. You should be ashamed of yourself and your lies."

So much for the Christian liberal you are, right JIAL?

After all of what you just said and you accuse me of hate?

"somehow better than liberals"

Say what? I never said I was better than liberals. Those words never came from me. You put those words into my mouth, which is an artform to the liberal mindset.

"You should be ashamed of your lies."

Yes, Ms. Can't-Be-Wrong-Holier-Than-Thou, you *never* lie, do you? In fact, you're SO perfect.

And yet *I* am the one who gets accused of attacking people on here when I disagree with them.


Democrats-Lie said...


Yes, Mr. IMPOSTOR Democrats-Lie, you are certainly all of that.

xranger said...

The posting details the exact reasons why socialized, governemnt-controlled, medicine will never work in America.

Why don't we out-source the military recuperative and out-patient care to the best medical system in the world?

Makes too much sense, I guess...

Schmuck Shitrock said...

Sure. GWB is already in the process of outsourcing the whole military, why not the Medical Corps?

Anonymous said...

Only a conservative could use the utter failure of a conservative administration's healthcare agenda as a warning against a progressive healhcare position.

Takes all kinds, I guess.

xranger said...

No, nimrod, it was the utter failure of a government - controlled health care system.

See, we conservatives don't like government control.

Anonymous said...

But you conservatives are in control of the executive (and there fore the Pentagon) right now, NIMROD.

xranger said...

And government, led by anyone, should not be in control of health care.

The mere fact that they are a bureaucratic entity, with no intention of making a profit, means that money will be wasted and inefficiency reigns.

Sherry said...

the wounded at walter reed are under the pentagon. they are still active. the v.a. is a different entity.

walter reed is still(altho slated to be closed) fully funded. it's a disgrace!


Schmuck Shitrock said...

See, we conservatives don't like government control.
Ahhhh, Ranger-san, you much humor. Conservatives don't like govenment control over a woman's right to choose or obtain birth control? Over whether science or religious myth is taught in biology class? Over political speech and personal freedom?

I think you maybe left out a few words. I think what you meant to say is, "We conservatives don't like government control over big corporations." I'm sure you'll correct me if I'm wrong.

xranger said...

Well, shitrock, you can't lump all conservatives into the religious-right corner.

The flip side of a woman's right to kill her fetus is that the fetus has a right to live. Since conservatives number maybe 40% of the country (those that always vote right, not left) and the fact that maybe 50% of Americans feel abortion is wrong, I make the case that that is not solely a conservative issue any longer.

The issue of teaching Darwinism vs religous thought on creation is a far far right wing phenomenon. I'm not sure why it is an issue at all. Kooks reign on both sides of the aisle.

Political speech is one thing. However, when one engages in vitriolic speech, though legal and a right, that individual must be prepared for a strong response.

Schmuck Shitrock said...

Well, shitrock, you can't lump all conservatives into the religious-right corner.

I don't see why not. Anybody who voted for a Democrat in the last election was a traitor, right?

xranger said...

I don't feel they are traitors.

Wrong-headed, yes. Traitor is off the mark.

Schmuck Shitrock said...

X, you seem to be at odds with your President on a number of issues. You had best watch yourself, unless you don't mind waking up in a pen in Cuba.