Service members told Congress that mental health care for post-traumatic stress disorder is good– if they can get it. In one case, a suicidal soldier asked for help and got it, in another, a soldier deployed to Iraq asked for help, and when it was denied, he killed himself. Military medical personnel told Congress there are many issues hampering the development of an effective PTS progrm including recruiting and retaining mental health providers, educating officers about symptoms and causes of suicide, and finding proper tretment for PTSD. Ward Casscells, assistant defense secretary for health affair, insisted there still remained many problems, “treatment is a struggle. We don’t know vey wll what treatments work.”
The father of Pfc. Jason Scheuerman, had to file Freedom of Information requests to finally obtained information about the death of his son. A chaplalin said in a sworn statement that he believed Jason “obsessed with suicide” but the brigade psychologist thought the troubled young man was engaged in some form of manipulation to get out of combat. Jason committed suicide. Major Bruce Gannaway lost his foot in Iraq and was evaluted at Walter Reed Army Hospital for mental health issues while under heavy medication.
The Congressmen heard numerous stories and incidents of members of the military who fought in combat only to be denied proper mental health assistance. the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are among the strangest in American history. The invasion of Iraq was based on a Bush lie and subsequent efforts have been characterized by incompetence and inability to find the right political and military policies. These are not wars in which soldiers have a clear rationale why they are fighting. There is insufficient military personnel available to handle the fighting so the same men and women must return for one deployment after another. Is it any wonder many feel emotional stress?
Posted in Democrats, Human Rights, Iraq War, Liberals, Military, Peace, Politics, Republicans, United States, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged congress, mental health, PSTD
Congress is prepared to take new action ensuring the United States military exerts control over the actions of private contractors in Iraq and elsewhere. Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Service Committee, said Congress will insert such provisions in the 2008 defense spending bill. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has already moved to implement new rules for private guards which will specify how and when they can use force in carrying out their duties. However, so far, she has not accepted the desire of many members of Congress that private contractors should be placed under control of the United States military. Levin was firm in insisting new language will be inserted into the defense spending bill, “whether she likes it or not.”
The entire matter of allowing private contractors to conduct their own war activities is a first in American history. The emergence of private war activities stems from the nation’s failure to implement a draft system if it desires engaging in wars. The private contractors today do work that was performed by members of the armed forces in World War II or Korea or Vietnam. No one ever heard any tales of erratic behavior on the part of Seabees in World War II. For some reason, they didn’t go around shooting civilians.
Posted in Democrats, Human Rights, Iraq, Iraq War, Military, Politics, Republicans, War, World News
Tagged congress, Private Contractors, Rice, Seabees, Senator Levin
By the end of this fiscal year President George Bush would have requested $196 Billion for the wars in Iraq and afghanistan pushing total expenditures to about $806 Billion, a figure that is greater than the cost of fighting the Vietnam and Korean wars. However, that figure is not completely correct since interest payments will run another $1 Trillion. Some economists point out if the cost of veteran benefits, including disability costs, is added into the total we might even be envisioning a $3 Trillion final total for the Bush search for ever elusive WMD. Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, noted that Bush vetoed a bill to provide medical care for children that would have cost the American government the equivalent of 40 days fighting in Iraq. As an aside, the record keeping of the State Department is so bumbled that it can not even account for the $1.2 Billion it paid DynCorp for its services in Iraq.
President Bush had a wounded soldier by his side as he asked Congress for more money. Since day one of this fiasco, Bush has played the patriot and fear cards in order to compel Congress to do his biding. An American tragedy is how readily supposedly intelligent political leaders of this country were able to be frightened into granting Bush his way. Few stood up and demanded an accounting of why war, why such a costly war, and why couldn’t diplomacy have achieved results.
Posted in Democrats, George Bush, Iraq, Iraq War, Military, Politics, Republicans, United States, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged Bush, congress, Iraq War, Pelosi children, Trillion Dollars
Democrats on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee sent a letter to President Bush asking him to cooperate with Congress in order to quickly pass a bill to assist those wounded in the Iraq war. Congress has almost completed work on the Wounded Warriors Act and is in the final stages of ironing out details causing many to be shocked that the president was now submitting a new bill dealing with wounded soldiers. Democrats fear Bush’s plan is complex and will tie up the committee into a new set of arguments and discussions. They are requesting the president to hold off on complex issues so that immediate needs of wounded soldiers can be handled in an expeditious manner. The Democrats agree his plan meets some of the ideas already incorporated into the Wounded Warriors Act, but expressed concern “about provisions of your bill that would provide a basis for drastic changes to VA’s disability compensation system.” Democrats made clear they would not allow the VA to unilaterally changes the disability system without congressional input.
Perhaps, Republican supporters of George Bush can explain why the president waited until AFTER work had been completed in Congress before submitting his own ideas. It is obvious this is just another Bush ploy to grab the limelight and take credit for work done by Democrats in Congress. If wounded soldiers get caught up in his political games, so be it. After all, Bush interests always take precedence over those of the American people.
Posted in Democrats, George Bush, Liberals, Military, Politics, Republicans, United States, Veterans, War, World News
Tagged Bush, congress, Democrats, VA, wounded warriors
President Bush urged Congress to modernize the government’s inefficient system that cares for the wounded. Several months ago, Bush appointed a bipartisan commission to examine issues related to dealing with wounded soldiers and veterans. Republican Bob Dole and Democrat Donna Shalala headed a commission which made recommendations, but both stated in an op-ed piece appearing in the Washington Post they feared their proposals would be lost in the bureaucracy and urged a complete reform program. “It’s time,” said their article, “to decide –do we reform the current military and veterans’ disability evaluation and compensation systems or limp along, placing Band-Aids over existing flaws?” Bush informed Congress the “outdated system needs to be changed.”
George Bush is master of creating problems and then blaming others for the problems he created. He appointed political hacks to run the Veterans Administration resulting in veterans being denied benefits, and he did not do his job to organize a medical system ready to cope with Iraq wounded military personnel. Now, the president is “prodding Congress” to get to work. At no point does Bush ever take responsibility for his own failures, he prefers blaming Democrats. The idea for a Homeland Security Department came from Democrat members of Congress and Bush opposed it. Within a few months it became his idea and Democrats were then accused of not being patriotic for insisting on certain procedures in the new department. Bush is trying the same old scam about wounded soldiers.
Posted in Democrats, George Bush, Iraq War, Liberals, Military, Politics, Republicans, Veterans, War, World News
Tagged Bush, congress, Democrats, Dole, Shalala, Veterans, wounded soldiers
Erik Prince, founder of the Blackwater corporation, challenged congressional and Iraq government reports that Blackwater personnel acted in an out-of-control fashion during the killing of 11 Iraqis in a September 16th shootout. He claimed guards responded to hostile shooting and acted in a responsible manner. Mr. Prince says that “every life is precious whether American or Iraqi,” but “based on everything we currently know, the Blackwater team acted appropriately when operating in a very complex situation.”
Mr. Prince claims that “everything we know” indicates Blackwater guards acted “appropriately,” but everything we know based on congressional and Iraqi government reports indicates the exact opposite. His company has had twice the number of shootings as the next two largest security companies combined, but Mr. Prince claims every Iraqi life “is precious.” Observers from various nations, and from the American government note conclusively Blackwater guards were frightened and shooting without concern for human life. The real tragedy is having a system in operation which prevents placing on trial the Blackwater guards for the murder of innocent people– unless congressional and Iraqi government reports are erroneous.
Posted in Human Rights, Iraq, Iraq War, Military, Muslims, Politics, Republicans, War, World News
Tagged Blackwater, congress, Iraq, Prince, shooting civilians