Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Congress is tired

I'm sorry that Congress is tired. The average annual pay for a member of congress is around $160K . They should earn their wages. This "Do Nothing" Congress, the 109th has worked less than any since 1948 .

The House of Representatives is projected to meet for only 99 days this session, nine days less than the Congress of 1947-48. The Senate is projected to meet for 129 days, tying the sixth fewest days a Senate session has met since 1948.

The average pay for a soldier fighting in Iraq & Afghanistan is $7.50 per day. How's that for supporting the troops? Yes, I'm talking to you folks out there who slap a yellow ribbon on the back of your SUV. $7.50 a day! So, I'm not feeling too bad for those members of the 109th session of Congress.

"There is a lot of battle fatigue among members, probably on both sides of the aisle," said Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), usually a reliable conservative firebrand. "Contrary to popular belief, members of Congress are human beings. They have a certain shelf life and a certain amount of energy to be drawn on. We're tired."

Rep Pence** should not dare to use the words "battle fatigue" unless he is referring to the troops in Iraq & Afghanistan. You know, those men & women who are being deployed for multiple trips into a war zone and who are being stop lossed because "they volunteered" to serve their country. Members of Congress do not have a clue, not one inkling what battle fatigue is. Back in the day, battle fatigue or "shell shock" was what soldiers suffered from when they returned from WWII or the Korean conflict or Viet Nam; now they call it Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

If you dare, go to the PTSD Timeline and read a little bit about some of the PTSD cases in the past 3 years.

Read about Tony Garcia, a 24-year veteran of the military who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Or Corey Small, a 20-year old Army private first class based out of Fort Polk, LA committed suicide while serving in Iraq with the 502nd Military Intelligence Company, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment. " [A]n account published by the Gettysburg Times tells of a soldier, who shot himself July 3 after calling the USA. The suicide took place in front of other troops waiting to use the telephone."

Or James Curtis Coons, a 36-year old Army Master Sgt., who'd been evacuated from Kuwait weeks earlier following an overdose, hung himself while getting treatment for PTSD. He told doctors he was seeing the shattered face of a dead soldier in the mirror. They diagnosed him with post-traumatic stress disorder, sent him to a hospital in Germany and then to their premier treatment facility, Walter Reed Army Medical Center in northwest Washington. By July 4 he was dead, hanging from a bed sheet in his room at Mologne House, a hotel for outpatients and families on the grounds of Walter Reed. The soldier had served for 17 years in the Army, earning an OIF Bronze Star. His family is fighting to get his suicide listed as KIA.

Or my friends, Joyce & Kevin Lucey, the parents of Jeffrey Lucey, a 23-year old Marine Reserve who fought in the battle of Nasiriyah and who hung himself a year after returning home from military duty in Iraq. In late May 2004, his parents had involuntarily committed him to a military veteran's hospital after he ignored pleas to seek help. The hospital discharged him after a few days. Three weeks later, he was dead -- the dog tags of two Iraqi prisoners he said he was forced to shoot unarmed, lay on his bed.

So don't talk to me about battle fatigue and DO NOT tell me you are tired unless you are a soldier who has done one, two or three tours in Iraq of Afghanistan. And finally DO NOT tell me you "support the troops" unless you are doing something about bringing them home NOW and are taking care of our son's and daughter's when they return home. If you aren't doing either of those, you are not supporting the troops.

** Rep Pence of Indiana is still drinking the purple koolaid that this administration is serving. In June 2006, he issued a press release saying that WE ARE WINNING THE WAR IN IRAQ. We weren't winning the so-called war, this occupation in June 2006 and we aren't winning anything now. Even the nominee for US Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, was asked at the Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing today, "Do you believe that we are currently winning in Iraq?" Gates was equally blunt in responding. "No, sir," he said simply.

No sir, indeed.


pogblog said...

"Battle fatigue"? That is grotesque.

$1616 a working day should keep them in Guccis.

Anonymous said...

We can only say that this Gold Star mom speaks the truth! She has every right to speak out for that right has been thrusted upon her by the actions of this administration and government which launched into a war without justification; without preparation and without a plan to care for the troops. Then to hear this congressman talk of battle fatigue - what a horrible pretense and narcissistic attempt to make himself and others feel that they are more important than they are truly are.It is the troops - those men and women who are in the field - those are the real heroes. Those who sit in their chairs and in the comfort of their offices - we would tell them to please not insult our troops by alluding to battle fatigue when it comes to their doing their duty - which in no way resembles the duty which the troops do every day.