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Monday, June 18, 2007
(11:12 AM) | Stephen:
Casualties Of War

From the WaPo comes the story of Army Specialist Jeans Cruz, one of the soldiers who captured Saddam Hussein. He was hailed as a hero, the toast of New York City and even his parents' hometown in Puerto Rico.

Unfortunately, the parades and honors haven't driven the images of dead children from his mind. He started cutting, scarring his forearms. His life fell apart, and he went to the VA, where he was diagnosed with severe PTSD.

The VA denied the request for benefits and even further treatment because, "The available evidence is insufficient to confirm that you actually engaged in combat." The rejection also claimed that his psychological problems existed before he joined the Army.

I could go on for thousands of words about the level of pure evil represented by the way the Bush administration treats our soldiers. If you have any common human decency, however, you will be able to supply your own outrage just by going to the link and reading the article. What's clear is that our soldiers are to be publicly honored and feted when it's politically useful. But when they're no longer useful as state props, they're treated like just another schlub looking for a handout from the government.

If Spec. Cruz was so psychologically disturbed, he should have never been let into the Army and sent to combat. But it's clear that the rejection letter was a tissue of lies sent in the hopes that it would discourage Cruz from taking any further action. Bush doesn't want to fund the VA, he doesn't want to pay our soldiers a living wage, he doesn't want to increase the benefit paid to families of soldiers who die in combat, he doesn't want to give our soldiers proper equipment, and the list goes on and on.

It's far past time for Americans to grow up and cease supporting cowardly politicians who will publicly fellate the image of the American soldier while privately consigning our actual sons and daughters, mothers and fathers to the literal garbage heap. Get our troops out of Iraq and take a big part of the hundreds of billions of dollars this mess is costing us and put them to good use in our VA system to treat the countless physical and mental injuries inflicted upon our men and women. That's how you support the troops.

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