The morning didn't start out well. The first news after the alarm rang was that 14 US soldiers were killed in a Blackhawk helicopter accident in Iraq. Another was killed in other combat operations. Mechanical problems are the expected cause of the crash. 9 families from Hawaii stopped living a normal life today; they might as well have been hit by lightning, or crashing into a freeway soundwall at 180 mph. That is how fast it hits you. The oxygen is sucked out of your body when you hear "I regret to inform you" or maybe they don't hear anything at all as their world turns black and white and everything starts moving in slow motion. You can't be sure you heard what they said, but if you ask, your brain just might register the awful, horrible truth. 15 new Gold Star families today; 3722 total since this war began.
George Bush spoke to the Veterans of Foreign War at their convention in Kansas City today. Bush said as long as I'm Commander-in-Chief we will fight to win. For those of you who wear the uniform, nothing makes me more proud to say that I am your Commander-in-Chief. Fight to win? I wish I knew what that means. I do know for sure that as long as Bush remains president & Commander-in-Chief that I will fight to end this war and be an opposition voice to his failed policies. I've got alot of work to do and besides, I promised my son, Lt Ken Ballard that I would.
It's a bit disingenuous for Bush bring up Viet Nam and compare it to Iraq This is a complex and painful subject for many Americans. The tragedy of Vietnam is too large to be contained in one speech. I'm not so sure it is all that complex. The US did not belong in Viet Nam where we overstayed our presence and it's no different in Iraq. Bush really ought not talk so much about Viet Nam; people might talk.
Bush was busting his buttons telling the good men and women of the VFW how proud he was to be their Commander-in-Chief and how much he has done for them. We agree our veterans deserve the full support of the United States government. We agree that health care for our veterans is a top priority, and that's why we've increased health care spending for our veterans by 83 percent since I was sworn in as your President. We agree that a troop coming out of Iraq or Afghanistan deserves the best health care not only as an active duty citizen, but as a military guy, but also as a veteran -- and you're going to get the best health care we can possibly provide. We agree our homeless vets ought to have shelter, and that's what we're providing. In other words, we agree the veterans deserve the full support of our government and that's what you're going to get as George W. Bush as your President. You could have fooled me. That he admitted there are "homeless vets" was his first mistake since it is happening under his watch. There are too many Iraq/ Afghanistan vets who are homeless and in desperate need of healthcare. The VA’s backlog of disability payments is now between 400,000 and 600,000, with delays of up to 177 days to process an initial claim and an average of 657 days to process an appeal. A shortage of surgeons, nurses and auxiliary staff has created a backlog of 500 patients awaiting orthopedic surgery at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in La Jolla. In some cases, those patients must wait as long as a year and a half for their surgeries. If this is the best health care, and represents that vets are a top priority to this administration, I'm pretty sure we can do alot better. Bush's bar is set way too low.
At about the same time Bush was speaking at the VFW convention announcing how he supports Veterans, the Pentagon released a report that said 1,500 mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles, or MRAPs, rather than 3,500, would be delivered because of the time it takes to equip them with radios and armaments and then deliver them by sea. He said the Pentagon was now trying to cut that time to 30 days from 50. The MRAP, which supporters claim boasts a record of no U.S. troops killed inside its heavily-armored cabin. It seems it is more cost effective to ship these life saving vehicles by sea. I hope the military will be sure to include that information with the incident report or the autopsy, although I'm pretty sure that the family will know why their loved one got blown up in a Humvee when they should have been traveling in an MRAP. The US is well into the fifth year of the war and our men and women of the military are still lacking protective gear. Bush, as the Commander-in-Chief is responsible for this shameful lack of attention to our loved ones safety. The blood on his hands will never wash off.
I heard the news today and it wasn't very good at all.