Mrs Rose Lage, a middle aged mother and wife, was looking forward to her husband’s retirement and life spent with the grandchildren. That dreams vanished in the smoke from a bomb blast that severely injured her son Sgt. Michael Lage and left him with severe body burns. It has been rare for President Bush, who is so willing to express trite comments about supporting the troops, to ever confront the hidden cost of his disastrous war in Iraq– the impact upon family members of the dead and wounded. Ft. Sam Houston in Texas now has 500 burn victims and 250 amputees who are being cared for both by the hospital and by family members.
Rose Lage left her two story home in Atlanta for a hotel room on the Sam Houston post. She lives with her wounded son and helps with the bandages. Her husband remained for a few weeks but had to return to his job. Living apart has not only been an emotional issue for Mrs. Lage, but it eating into the retirement funds her husband and she had set aside. Judith Markatz, who works with the Ft. Sam Houston assistance center notes that coming to the post by family members is a tremendous help to the wounded soldiers, but it is a severe drain upon emotional and economic resources of those people.
Isn’t it about time Congress recognized the hidden costs of the Iraq war and provided economic assistance to family members who are caring for the wounded soldiers? There is no question this is the last thing on the mind of President Bush, but it should be a first order of business this month as Congress returns to Washington D.C.