Two Tampa Bay veterans hospitals were forced to turn away ill patients because an overloaded system of care for our veterans prevented them from meeting the needs of those who have fought for their country. The James Haley VA Medical Center in Tampa and the Bay Pines VA medical Center in St. Petersburg are two of the busiest VA installations. Since 2000, Bay Pines has turned away patients about 13% of the time. Dr. George Van Buskkirk, chief of staff at Bay Pines, commented: “We’d rather send them out to a place that can take care of them than have them languish on a gurney in the hallway.”
A veteran, Dick Shockey, 77, who was turned away expressed the view, “it doesn’t seem right that a veterans hospital can ever be filled up. But veterans end up with a big surprise.” There is no doubt a crisis exists in America about treatment of veterans and as those who served in Vietnam grow older the crisis will increase. President Bush frequently has charged opponents with failing to “care about our fighting men.” Perhaps, the president might consider how he has failed to care about our veterans. His appointment of cronies to head the VA caused considerable problems which Congress now is attempting to remedy.
Posted in George Bush, Human Rights, Iraq War, Politics, Veterans, War, World News
Tagged Bush, crisis care, hospital beds, VA, vets denied
The simmering conflict between Turkey and Kurdistan erupted not in the mountainous areas of the Turkish-Kurdistan border, but on the streets of Berlin where factions representing each group came to blows. An anti-PKK(Kurdish Workers Party) demonstration degenerated into violence between young Turks and Kurds. By evening, a threatening mass of nationalist Turks had gathered around a Kurdish cultural center. Turkish marchers were waving banners attacking the PKK when they encountered Kurds who expressed their displeasure. “Soon bottles and stones were flying everywhere,” said a policeman resulting in injury to 18 police officers and the arrest of a dozen demonstrators. It appears the conflict on the border of Turkey-Kurdistan is now spilling over to the streets of Europe since thousands of immigrants from those areas are now living in Germany. The police, in particular, blame the “Gray Wolves,” the unofficial arm of what used to be the National Movement Party which was banned in Turkey in the 1960s for their virulent nationalism. Police also noted that as the riot got underway, right wing German nationalist youths entered the fray.
The history of the United States also contains stories of riots between conflicting groups, but one may hypothesize the riots in Berlin go deeper than conflict between groups. They also reflect feelings on the part of many young immigrants from the Middle East that Germany is not their home because of failure to have them integrated within German society.
In a biting editorial that pulled no punches, editors of the Lebanon Daily Star, said it’s time for the Arab world to cease complaining and assume responsibility for change. As one reviews the Middle East, the situation is a disaster. Egypt is ruled by an autocrat who throws people into jail for questioning his health or plans to install his son as the next leader of the nation, Algeria is again entering a civil war situation that already engulfs Iraq, Turkey is preparing an invasion of Kurdistan, Syria doesn’t know whether to remain in its state of inertia or join the path of economic development, Palestinians are attempting to have a united front in a nation divided into factions, Jordan is overwhelmed by Iraqi refugees, Somalia is in utter chaos and the world is well aware of the Sudan/Darfur disaster. What can be done?
Two recent developments offer signs of moving ahead rather than remaining stuck in the quagmire of anger. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is creating a billion dollar university geared to preparing Saudi Arabians for the 21st century. Religious authorities are banned from the university and women will have equal rights with males on college grounds. The Mohammad bin Rashid al-Mkton Foundation(named after the ruler of Dubai) is creating a $10 project to foster economic development, expand women’s rights, fund research, stimulate scientific education, and move youth into the world in which they must live. As the Daily Star notes: “The idea is to ensure that the next generation can do more than complain about problems.”
The foreign ministers of Iran and Syria announced their nations were completely behind Turkey in its dispute with Iraq over attacks by Kurdish rebels upon Turkish military forces. “Iran condemns,” said Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki, “use of northern Iraqi territory as a launch pad for terrorist operations against Turkey and is fully prepared to combat terrorism any place.” Mottaki and his Syrian counter part, Walid Moualem, both urged Iraq to cease aiding Kurdish rebels. They also confirmed Iran was building a pipeline to transport oil to both Syria and Turkey.
Six years ago, George Bush initiated a war against Iraq that in in his mind would be over in a few weeks and then peace would reign in the Middle East. Little did he realize what a chain of reaction he was setting in place that six years late would witness growing cooperation between Turkey and Iran. Syria, Turkey, and Iran each contain a minority Kurdish population that might be attracted to the idea of an independent Kurdistan. Thus, they share a commonality of interests which compel their nations to cooperate in order to crush the Kurdish Workers Party. Was this possibility ever discussed among Bush foreign policy experts? Did anyone in the Bush/Cheney administration ever grasp the most probable outcome of creating an independent Kurdistan without working closely with Turkey?
Posted in George Bush, Iran, Iraq, Iraq War, Islam, Military, Muslims, Politics, Turkey, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged Bush, Iran, Kurdistan, Syria, Turkey
A Palestinian academic, Sari Nusselbeh, proposed that Arabs should consider the possibility of a compromise under which the new Palestinian nation would be given the existing borders of 1967, including east Jerusalem, in exchange for abandoning the right of refugees to return to Palestine. “Today, we have to choose between the two and that’s why we must decide which right we want to give priority to.” He argues the highest priority is gaining independence and creation of a Palestinian state. The president of Al-Quds university believes Abbas might be willing to consider such a compromise.
It is this type of thinking which can move both sides toward negotiation that produces a compromise which does not satisfy all goals of either group, but it leads to peace and further negotiations.
Iraq Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani defiantly told the world he would not give in to Turkish or American pressure about surrendering leaders of the Kurdish Workers Party. “I will not hand over any person in any regional state no matter what the cost. However, in truth, I will not allow any PKK official to use the Kurdistan region as a base or to be present here and threaten the security of Turkey.” Barzani said he was ready to defend his nation against any action by an outside power, including the United States. His statement came after talks in Ankara ended in a deadlock where Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said, “some of the proposals put forth by the Iraqi delegation were far from meeting our expectations while some were to provide results in the long run. …However, we expect the Iraqis to take immediate action.”
The winds of war grow stronger with each passing rhetorical outburst from the parties involved. The Kurds and Turks are walking gingerly down the road to war and apparently neither side understands how to halt their voyage to chaos and disorder.
Posted in George Bush, Iraq, Iraq War, Peace, Politics, Turkey, War, World News
Tagged Babacan, Barzani, Iraq, Kurdistan, PKK, Turkey, US, War