17 June 2007

The Bushies and Competence

The last post was about a problem that while infuriating if you are the one experiencing it is not a matter of life or death. The republic will go on even if my little niece's summer is ruined.

But what about the way we treat our soldiers returning from the Iraq war? Surely, if there were any place the Bush administration might be expected to take pains, it would be with medical care for our veterans.

You already know the answer of course. Congress slashed funds for head wounds and conditions at the Walter Reed Hospital, mere blocks from El Prez' house and the Army's showcase was shown to be... well, let's just say less than optimal. You can check here for my take on another problem last year before the bad news hit. And here. And for some real rage inducing giggles, here.

But what happens when your wounds are not physical and do not show? Then, apparently the government simply cheaps out and denies that you are wounded. Josh Marshall give a synopsis of a new Washington Porst article detailing the VA's conduct. Here's a bit about one of soldiers who helped capture Saddam Hussein:

One VA psychologist diagnosed Cruz with post-traumatic stress disorder. His condition was labeled "severe and chronic." In a letter supporting his request for PTSD-related disability pay, the psychologist wrote that Cruz was "in need of major help" and that he had provided "more than enough evidence" to back up his PTSD claim. His combat experiences, the letter said, "have been well documented."

None of that seemed to matter when his case reached VA disability evaluators. They turned him down flat, ruling that he deserved no compensation because his psychological problems existed before he joined the Army. They also said that Cruz had not proved he was ever in combat. "The available evidence is insufficient to confirm that you actually engaged in combat," his rejection letter stated.

So we send them into combat, and then deny that they have been in combat. And besides, they were probably crazy to start with. We don't need to spend any money on them! Make no mistake about it: it is a question of money. From Day One the admin has tried to fight this war on the cheap. We have been ... "thrifty"... with everything except blood.

This goes beyond incompetency, beyond stupidity. It is criminal.

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