Wednesday, February 28, 2007


With the recent Expose` on the Walter Reed Hospital by the Washington Post there has been a lot of outrage expressed over the scandalous way the Bush administration is treating Iraq War Vets who are in need of medical care & especially those in need of long term care in Hospital or as outpatients whether they are physically wounded or suffer from long term psychological problems ie. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder .

The issue of inadequate Health Services for Iraq War Vets has been raised many times over the last few years . Bush has been cutting funding for Vets of earlier wars as well .So here are a few representative articles which show that the neglect of the troops in many areas besides healthcare has been on-going & is a fundamental strategy and policy of the Bush administration since it first came into power as a way to attempt to balance the budget or to appear to be fiscally responsible..

Anyway, only a week before the story broke in The Wasington Post Bush was talking about “ cutting funding for Veteran’s health care” :

By ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press Writer Mon Feb 12,2007

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration plans to cut funding for veterans' health care two years from now — even as badly wounded troops returning from
Iraq could overwhelm the system.

Bush is using the cuts, critics say, to help fulfill his pledge to balance the budget by 2012.

After an increase sought for next year, the Bush budget would turn current trends on their head. Even though the cost of providing medical care to veterans has been growing rapidly — by more than 10 percent in many years — White House budget documents assume consecutive cutbacks in 2009 and 2010 and a freeze thereafter.

The proposed cuts are unrealistic in light of recent VA budget trends — its medical care budget has risen every year for two decades and 83 percent in the six years since Bush took office — sowing suspicion that the White House is simply making them up to make its long-term deficit figures look better.

"Either the administration is willingly proposing massive cuts in VA health care," said Rep. Chet Edwards of Texas, chairman of the panel overseeing the VA's budget. "Or its promise of a balanced budget by 2012 is based on completely unrealistic assumptions."

Edwards said that a more realistic estimate of veterans costs is $16 billion higher than the Bush estimate for 2012.

And As far back as 2002 there were complaints about the treatment of veterans & their families of earlier wars i.e. Korea, WWII, & Vietnam let alone taking care of vets of Iraqi & Afghanistan war & their families :

For instance checkout this article in the Boston Globe in 2002 :
found at website COMMONDREAMS.ORG

December 22, 2002 by the Boston Globe
Frustrated Veterans Accuse Bush of Breaking Promise
by Wayne Washington

WASHINGTON - The leaders of America's most prominent veterans organizations say that President Bush is failing to honor past commitments to military men and women even as he prepares to send a new generation of soldiers and sailors into combat.

The administration's support for rescinding lifetime health benefits for World War II and Korean War veterans and continuing problems at veterans hospitals stand as proof, veteran leaders say, that America is more than willing to lean on its soldiers during times of war but tolerates them serving as political props in peacetime.

''I'm terribly frustrated and extremely angry,'' said retired Air Force Colonel George ''Bud'' Day, a Republican who won the Medal of Honor and was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam with Senator John McCain of Arizona.

Day said Bush is violating his oft-repeated campaign pledge to veterans: ''A promise made is a promise kept.''

''Obviously, he didn't know what that meant or he's too preoccupied to see that his word is kept,'' Day said.

Many veterans are particularly galled that the Bush administration has not backed away from a 1995 decision to rescind a promise of free lifetime health care benefits for soldiers, who from 1941 to 1956 had been told that if they signed up and served 20 years they and their dependents would get free care. The government stopped honoring that pledge in 1995, and many veterans 65 and older have been forced to pay for benefits through Medicare, which now costs about $60 a month and pays for 80 percent of medical care after a $100 deductible has been paid.

Officials from Disabled American Veterans, the American Legion, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars protested the decision.”

And in 2003:

March 28, 2003 by
Support the Warrior Not the War: Give Them Their Benefits!
by Ashley L Decker

“ The recent rally cry "Support Our Troops" seems to me little more than a perverted, propaganda ploy to "Support the War." But we can support our troops, without supporting the war, by rectifying some of the following conditions.

The House of Representatives have recently voted on the 2004 budget which will cut funding for veteran's health care and benefit programs by nearly $25 billion over the next ten years. It narrowly passed by a vote of 215 to 212, and came just a day after Congress passed a resolution to "SUPPORT OUR TROOPS." How exactly does this vote support our troops? Does leaving our current and future veterans without access to health care and compensation qualify as supporting them?

The Veteran's Administration, plagued by recent budget cuts, has had to resort to charging new veterans entering into its system a yearly fee of $250 in order for them to receive treatment. It is a sad irony that the very people being sent to fight the war are going to have to pay to treat the effects of it.

According to the Veteran's Administration, 28 million veterans are currently using VA benefits. Another 70 million Americans are potential candidates for such programs. This amounts to a quarter of the country's population. Veterans and their families will sadly begin finding that they have no place to turn for their medical treatment as V.A. hospitals across the country face closing their doors. With the budget shrinking, staff will be let go. This could mean the loss of over 19,000 nurses. Without these nurses, this leads to the loss of over 6.6 million outpatient visits. Approximately one out of every two veterans could lose their only source of medical care. That is, if they even realize help is available to them. The Bush Administration recently ordered V.A. medical centers to stop publicizing available benefits to veterans seeking assistance. This follows discontinued enrollments of some eligible veterans for healthcare benefits as of January, 2003. ”

And Bush’s lack of support for the troops goes back to the beginning of the Iraq War & goes beyond issues of health care , pensions & salaries as can be shown in this article from 2003 found at the website In These Times :

Dishonorable Discharge
Bush administration slashes veteran’s benefits
By Dave Lindorff | 11.26.03

“Over the last year and a half, President Bush has staged more than a third of his major public events before active military personnel or veterans. His rowdy “Hoo-ah”s and policy pronouncements—even when they have nothing to do with military matters—are predictably greeted with rabid applause.

Even more than his father, and Ronald Reagan before him, Bush is cutting budgets for myriad programs intended to protect or improve the lives of veterans and active-duty soldiers. Bush’s handlers have worked hard, through the use of snappy salutes and fly-boy stunts, to present the service-ducking former National Guardsman as the soldiers’ friend. But though Republicans enjoy widespread military support, Bill Clinton was the only president of the last four to cut weapons programs instead of veteran benefits.

Consider the following:

* With 130,000 soldiers still in the heat of battle in Iraq and more fighting and dying in Afghanistan, the Bush administration sought this year to cut $75 a month from the “imminent danger” pay added to soldiers’ paychecks when in battle zones. The administration sought to cut by $150 a month the family separation allowance offered to those same soldiers and others who serve overseas away from their families. Although they were termed “wasteful and unnecessary” by the White House, Congress blocked those cuts this year, largely because of Democratic votes.
* This year’s White House budget for Veterans Affairs cut $3 billion from VA hospitals—despite 9,000 casualties in Iraq and as aging Vietnam veterans demand more care. VA spending today averages $2,800 less per patient than nine years ago.
* The administration also proposed levying a $250 annual charge on all Priority 8 veterans—those with “non-service-related illnesses”—who seek treatment at VA facilities, and seeks to close VA hospitals to Priority 8 veterans who earn more than $26,000 a year.
* Until protests led to a policy change, the Bush administration also was charging injured GIs from Iraq $8 a day for food when they arrived for medical treatment at the Fort Stewart, Georgia, base where most injured are treated.
* In mid-October, the Pentagon, at the request of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, announced plans to shutter 19 commissaries—military-run stores that offer discounted food and merchandise that helps low-paid enlisted troops and their families get by—along with the possibility of closing 19 more.
* At the same time, the Pentagon also announced it was trying to determine whether to shutter 58 military-run schools for soldiers’ children at 14 military installations.
* The White House is seeking to block a federal judge’s award of damages to a group of servicemen who sued the Iraqi government for torture during the 1991 Gulf War. The White House claims the money, to come from Iraqi assets confiscated by the United States, is needed for that country’s reconstruction.
* The administration beat back a bipartisan attempt in Congress to add $1.3 billion for VA hospitals to Bush’s request of $87 billion for war and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan.
* In perhaps its most dangerous policy, the White House is refusing to provide more than 40,000 active-duty troops in Iraq with Kevlar body armor, leaving it up to them and their families to buy this life-saving equipment. This last bit of penny-pinching prompted Pentagon critic and Vietnam veteran Col. David Hackworth to point to “the cost of the extraordinary security” during Bush’s recent trip to Asia, which he noted grimly “would cover a vest for every soldier” in Iraq.

Woody Powell, executive director of Veterans for Peace and a veteran of the Korean War, says these White House efforts should be viewed as attacks against American soldiers. “I don’t think they see it as attacking them,” he says. “They see it as saving money. But it’s the wrong thing to be cutting, just like cutting education is a bad thing.”

Bush, Veterans, & the Confederacy
By Kyle Tucker
June 2004

* While soldiers are fighting in Iraq, Bush cut soldiers’ danger pay and family separation allowances, cancelled a Congress-proposed doubling of servicepeople’s life insurance benefits, and slashed GI Bill benefits. Most servicepeople now are too low-paid to receive Bush’s per-child tax credit and many live on food stamps.
* Bush cut $600 million from the Veterans Administration budget, although the VA is already under-funded by around $2 billion a year and now has over 200,000 new veterans to service—many of whom are already sick with Gulf War Syndrome, which has left over 270,000 Gulf War vets disabled and over 10,000 dead. There are also plans to cut $1.5 billion per year from the VA’s budget for each of the next ten years.
* Wounded National Guard and Army Reserves have returned home only to be placed in “medical hold” while the Army decides what medical treatment and benefits—if any—they should receive. Some soldiers have stated the Army has tried to claim their Iraq injuries/illnesses were “pre-existing conditions.” Soldiers are having to wait four to six months to receive medical care while their treatable ailments turn to permanent disability. At Fort Knox, more than 400 wounded soldiers lasted the Kentucky summer in a non-air conditioned, animal-infested barracks. At Fort Stewart (Georgia), over 600 wounded soldiers languish with no indoor plumbing and have to pay for food and lodging. On a re-election stop last fall, President Bush visited Fort Stewart, but refused to see the wounded soldiers.

also check out:

IRAQFORSALE The War Profiteers
Soldiers lack necessities, contractors earn huge profits
Added October 02, 2006
From bravenewfilms

See You Later,

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