Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I'm going to ask one more time...Who supports the troops?

Geez! When I think these people in the administration can't get any lower, they go and do it again.

As a member of Military Families Speak Out, we say Bring the Troops Home Now and take care of them when they get here. It's simple. The president sent the military to fight a war (make no mistake the country is at war- we aren't, but the military is). The president sent them without the proper equipment, without proper training, without a clear mission and without a plan for the peace. There is no exit plan either, but that discussion is for another time.

When the military is sent in service to this country, we owe them for the rest of their lives. We owe them for healthcare; mental and physical. We owe them for lost job opportunities by giving them educational and vocational training. We owe them a hell of a lot more than they get now.

When these cretins in the White House say they support the troops; they are still lying because they don't. They don't even know what "support the troops means". They don't care that much of the military is on their 2nd, 3rd or fourth deployment. They don't care how many have been extended because they, the administration, didn't make any plans to manage this war and they never had enough soldiers there at any time during these past 4 years anyway. They don't care what being at war means to the families and they sure as hell don't care about the families of the fallen- that would be families like mine.

When I read an article like this, it really makes me crazy because Bush gets up and talks about sacrifice and then they pull a stunt like this- cutting programs that take care of the severely injured. Yes, there is another program called the Army Wounded Warrior program, or AW2 in army jargon. Why lay off the Military Severely Injured Center employees? Why not transition them into AW2? And what about the other services who surely have severely injured Marines, Seaman and Airmen (sorry, ladies, you, too!), where do they go?

Sources say case workers for wounded laid off
Defense Department officials have laid off most of their case workers who help severely injured service members, sources said.

The case workers for the Military Severely Injured Center serve as advocates for wounded service members who have questions or issues related to benefits, financial resources and their successful return to duty or reintegration into civilian life — all forms of support other than medical care.

The center officially opened in February 2005, with its primary offices in Arlington, Va., but also hired advocates at hospitals around the country.

Four sources said the decision was made to cut back the personnel because officials with the ArmyÂ’s Wounded Warrior program felt the Defense Department program was a duplication of efforts.
Defense officials did not comment on the actions as of Jan. 19. Wounded Warrior officials also could not be reached.

Reports indicate that Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Lewis, Wash.; and Fort Campbell, Ky., were among the locations that had case workers cut. It is not clear what will happen to case workers at the Arlington center.
The only case workers that have not been laid off are at three hospitals: Brooke Army Medical Center, Texas; Tripler Army Medical Center, Hawaii; and Naval Medical Center San Diego, sources said. But those case workers will not be allowed to work with soldiers and must refer them to the Army Wounded Warrior program.

The laid-off workers were told Wednesday to finish up their case work with severely injured troops, and that Friday would be their last day.

“I’m just livid about this,” said Janice Buckley, Washington state chapter president for Operation Homefront. She was notified that the two case workers at Fort Lewis were given short notice that their jobs were ending, but she has no further information.

“They did a fabulous job for these families,” Buckley said. “The kind of work they do for these families who are hanging by a thread ... no other organization helped service members and their families like they did.”
The MSIC case workers provided the wounded service members with contacts and referrals to other organizations and agencies, ranging from the Department of Veterans Affairs to the Social Security Administration, depending on their individual needs. Operation Homefront often helps with the familiesÂ’ emergency financial needs.


Chancelucky said...

It's very scary to see what's happening with the VA. I'm especially senistive to the number of soldiers returning home with traumatic brain injuries, a condition that takes lifelong support and care. For the most part, they're not going to get it.

It's shameful that we aren't taking care of our own soldiers, but it's even more shameful that so many politicians indulge the rhetoric of "I support the troops 1000 percent." when it's really just a way to deflect criticism of the war itself.

Alice_Z said...

The seemingly proper & responsible reason submitted to the public for cutting the Military Severely Injured Center's field Advocates is typical government spin: it sounds great but there’s not much veracity or reality in it. DOD reports that, with the best interest of the taxpayer at heart, they cut the MSIC because it essentially duplicated services already provided by AW2. I was employed by MSIC. The advocates assigned as several posts often found it difficult to address activities on behalf of the MSIC due to the extensive number of soldiers who requested help/were referred to us after their calls to AW2 were never returned or their cases were simply dropped without follow-up. A significant number of the cases I handled were of a similar nature. DOD was fully aware of this when the MSIC advocates were cut because they demanded and were given all of our files detailing the problems & failures to assist our wounded soldiers by AW2. I am distraught with my loss of employment as well as the disrespect & disregard demonstrated by both DOD & the management of the MSIC (who all managed to ensure that they were safely in positions under the Military OneSource brand before the ax fell) towards those of us who had extended so much effort to assist the soldiers and make the MSIC a success. But I am equally angry that our work is being insulted & misrepresented as a "duplication" of AW2s efforts. With the exception of their large profile PR events (AW2 bike races, etc.), the only way in which we could duplicate AW2s services would be to do absolutely nothing. Nothing. And a little more nothing after a long nap.