Back on October 21st, I posted “The Tragedy of Building 18 continues” and “It Is Time To Speak Out.” These were a continuation of my first post on the tragedy and scandal of care being given the veterans of the Iraqi war, “Supporting Our Troops – The Tragedy of Building 18.”
Now, there is a report from the CBS affiliate in Pittsburgh (KDKA) that the administration is asking (and probably demanding) that soldiers wounded in Iraq return portions of their signing bonuses. Pennsylvania Congressman John Altmire has introduced a bill in Congress to prevent the Department of Defense and the present administration from doing this.
It would be one thing if this was a singular episode but it is a continuation of how this administration treats those it sends over to fight the war in Iraq. At the beginning of the war, it was noted that many reservists were being billed for medical treatment that they required because of their service in Iraq and the wounds they received. Now, this administration is asking that veterans wounded in the line of duty to return the bonus or part of the bonus that they were given when they enlisted. It is inconceivable and defies description that this is being done.
We ask our young people to fight in a war that was ill conceived and has been mismanaged from the beginning. It would be one thing to ask that the bonus be returned if they were quitting but quitting the military is not an option and so veterans should be allowed to keep their bonuses. And there are questions about the lack of accountability concerning the funds given to private contractors such as Blackwater. There is also a report that President Bush is threatening to lay off or furlough civilian employees at various Army bases if Congress doesn’t give him essentially unlimited funding for the Iraq war.
It is quite apparent that the present administration has no concern for the people it sends off to war. It is quite apparent that the present administration feels that the answer to the problems of the war is to continue fighting the present war and perhaps expand the war. At what point will we, the American people, cry out that enough is enough? At what point will we, the American people, cry out that we can not continue sending our young, the hope of this country for the future, to fight an ill conceived war?
It is singularly tragic when veterans are not given the medical treatment they need. But why must the tragedy continue?