WARNING!!! This post contains seriously foul language.
First I need to give a couple of belated "happies". First, Happy Birthday 10 November to the Marine Corps. The Corps is 232 years old this year. Second Thanks YOU All to the US veterans. 11 November, Veterans Day.
Now to the "meat" of this post and some very "bad" language WILL be used. See the above warning and then proceed at your own risk. I will NOT be responsible for hurt feelings or wounded "pride". If that upsets you, well, sue me. Hell, I am on fixed income being permanently disabled. Good luck with those lawyers.
Our fearful leaders of all stripes keep telling us to "Support our troops". OK, I support the troops, having been one of those troops at a time (1968-72) and even having been to one of their imperial wars, Viet Nam, 1970-71.
I support our troops by wanting them to get their asses back home, ASAP. Then they will be safe and able to rest and recoup from the wars they are currently fighting. After a rest and recreation period (R&R) of say, one year, they will then be able to start to DEFEND America. That is to say, to do their primary mission, defend OUR country. Our "leaders" don't seem to support the troops this way. Funny that they don't. They think(?) that by keeping the troops in two shooting wars and sending them their paychecks on time that is "supporting" them. I don't think the troops see things the same way. Maybe our "leaders" might ask the troops. No, that won't do, they might not get the answers they want. That is leadership?
How else do our "leaders" support our troops? Well, under funded, under staffed Veterans Administration hospitals for one. Not enough trained medical personnel to help the returning vets with PTSD for another. Not enough money to provide proper care, disallowing claims for combat stress. Approximately 1500 Iraq and Afghanistan war vets currently homeless, and that is JUST an approximation. One in every four (4) homeless persons in America is a veteran of the US military! Now THAT should get your attention. Is THAT how "we" support OUR troops? After they do the bidding of our "leaders" we allow them to be homeless? Some support there folks. Does that fact piss you off? If not..........WHY the fuck NOT? Just because we currently have an all "volunteer" military? Because your kid hasn't been drafted? What the fuck?
Many of our "volunteer" military are not "true" volunteers. In hard economic times, the military becomes the employer of last resort. Times like, oh say, the last six years. Thank you Shrub for your "economic miracle" here in the old US of A. Yes sir, that brilliant idea to out source all those blue collar jobs was just a stroke of genius. Horse shit! It is just another way to help America on the down hill slide to third world status. Out source the skilled jobs that Americans used to do and then offer big bucks to join the military. Well, you then have young people with limited choices, work for minimum wages at some dead end job or join the military. The second choice isn't that great as you might end up permanently disabled or dead before your first enlistment is over.
Well, you might say, jobs like the military, fire fighter, or police are dangerous occupations. Sure they are, no argument there. My point is that you usually make a choice to be a fire fighter or a cop. The military isn't a top choice for most people, never really has been either. Now days it is not a popular option. Yes, I know, the Army has claimed that they met the recruitment goals for the current year. But, they have lowered the standards for new recruits also. They have been issuing moral waivers for more and more new recruits and have even lowered the "educational" requirements again. Add in the fact they they are offering quite large cash signing bonuses to the mix. Signing bonus? Now that sounds like some sort of contract for a professional ball team for whatever sport you like best. Signing bonus. Shit. I do remember that re-enlistment bonuses have been offered to those they wished to keep past the enlistment date even when I was a Marine, but a signing bonus for a NEW recruit? That is a new twist on things indeed.
Now, considering the above, how exactly is it that we have an all volunteer military? Oh, because we don't draft them? Well, not yet at least. Somehow, I still don't buy this volunteer shit. I live in central Louisiana now. I am about 25 miles from Alexandria, way out in the woods as it were. I look around and I don't see very many high paying jobs out there for recent high school graduates. Not many high paying jobs for any skilled occupation of any sort. There isn't much industry around here. So, what is a young person going to do for money, job, etc? Join the military? Work at some burger joint for minimum wage? There do not seem to be that many choices today. This tends to make the military, the employer of last resort. That isn't, in my opinion, really volunteer. You enlist because it beats being homeless? Is that actually being a volunteer? I would like to hear your replies to that. I would like for some "leader" or more than one(yeah, right) reply to that. Don't worry, I am NOT holding my breath waiting for an answer. Life is still worth living, for the moment anyway.
A very kind reader of this blog, yes there really is at least one, directed me to an online discussion of the treatment of our veterans this week. This was a message board type discussion on the web site of a Lake Charles TV station. I found that most of the comments were shocked at the treatment of our returning troops. Seems to me that the "regular" people are more concerned about how we treat our veterans and troops than our supposed "leaders" are or have been. Warms this old guys' heart! Honest. It restores my faith in the REAL American people. Hell, I have so very little faith in what passes for leadership today. I would say my faith in our "leaders" extends to the faith(?) I have that given a problem, they will do all they can to make damn sure they totally fuck things up even worse than how things were when they found out about the problem. As Greg Palast wrote, we have the best government money can buy. If I was buying, I'd damn sure want my money back, and fast. If this is the "best" we can dig up to put in positions of leadership, well folks, we are no longer scratching the bottom of the old barrel, we have kicked the barrel over and over turned the rock underneath the barrel. And look what crawled out from under that rock! Our "leaders"! Holy fucking shit.
Let me make a personal comment here about the VA. I am not knocking the folks who work at the VA hospitals. I have not had much to do with them either, so I might be giving them too much benefit of the doubt as it were. In my personal opinion, the folks who work there are trying to do the best they can within the system they have to deal with. If I am wrong here, please let me know and I will post your comments, name with held if requested. When I moved here in 2000, I applied for care at the VA hospital in Alexandria. I figured since I am a veteran, I might as well try the VA hospital. It took some time for them to process me into the system as I had never entered it before. I used to have medical insurance through work, after becoming disabled, I had a medicare supplement when I lived in California. When I moved here, I lost that "extra" as the company which I had the policy with does not do business in Louisiana. I was finally processed and told I could use the facility but I would have a co-pay for every visit. The co-pay wasn't that high for me, and I didn't mind having to make a payment for "services" as I figured, hey, I have an income, even though it is fixed and not very high. I have never minded paying my fair share for services/treatments/etc. Hell, I even pay my taxes...........beats going to jail, for now anyway. Well, I called to make an appointment to see an orthopedic doctor at the VA hospital, my main medical "problems" are orthopedic. To my surprise, I was told that they no longer had any orthopedic doctors at that VA hospital!! What! A great many disabling wounds involve some sort of orthopedic injury. Broken, shattered,crushed bones. No orthopedics! Wow. I could still use the facility though. I wondered what for? When I get my bad cold/flu once every four years or so, I just take large doses of vitamin C and aspirin and lots of liquids and try to get enough rest. If I do this, it usually passes after a week. If I go to any doctor when I am sick like that, I do as he/she tells me and I usually am better in seven days. I still need an orthopedic doctor. I have found a pain management doctor in the mean time and things are getting better in that respect. Thanks Dr. Dole. I wonder if he likes pineapples?
One outfit I DO support with real cash when I can is the DAV. I have seen their mini vans around the area taking disabled vets to and from doctor visits and where ever else they provide vets with transportation to. They actually do something for the vets. I wonder how many organizations that claim to be working for veterans actually DO something for them and not just talk about it. Anybody know? Let me know and I'll pass the information along. I am sure there are other groups out there who really do help veterans, I just don't know them.
This brings me more or less up to date. Now we start to get highly pissed off. Have any of you seen where our government has billed veterans for their bonuses? The government wants the money back! Why? Well, because some of these vets have been seriously wounded, as in permanently disabled, or even killed, before they completed their enlistment! That's right folks. Our government wants their(?) money back from vets who were paid a bonus and then were seriously wounded while on duty in a war zone! This is the biggest piece of goddamn fucking horse shit EVER!
What the fuck are they thinking? Do they actually think at all? What do they use for brains? Christ of a fucking crutch! What sort of low life asshole thought up this cluster fuck program? We need the name of this asshole and his/her personal phone number so we can all give him/her a call and verbally kick some ass! Oh, and we need to know who hired this jackass also, as that person needs some serious hind end adjustment also. Son-of-a-bitch! These "people"(?) must have their heads so far up their asses that all they can see are various shades of brown!
Shit, when I was with 5th Marines in Viet Nam, we used to "joke" that our "great leaders" in DC said; Nothing is too good for our troops. Unfortunately we can't figure how to give them less than nothing." Well, sir, NOW they HAVE!!!!! What a goddamn fucking load of SHIT!!! This sort of thing just about takes the whole fucking cake, hands down. And they wonder why enlistments are down???? No shit? They can't figure out why young people aren't beating down the doors at the recruiting offices trying to enlist?? If that sort of shit doesn't piss you off, well, in my opinion, you are brain dead! Yes, I am very anti-war. Damn right. But, shit, WE have a duty to the kids in uniform who enlisted, for a pay check or out of some sort of patriotism. We should DEMAND that they get HUMANE treatment from our own goddamn government! Imagine, that it was your family member who enlisted/re-enlisted, got a big bonus payment, went to Afghanistan/Iraq and gets killed. You get a letter from the fucking goddamn government demanding you pay back that bonus money! Well, after all, the VA does provide a nice grave marker to veterans. They want the money back because your family member had the audacity to die BEFORE completing his/her enlistment contract! FUCKING goddamn BEYOND stupid!!! I don't have that worry, as they don't want the cats, at least not yet. If it were MY kid, and I got one of those "notices", I'd send a reply. It would be to the effect, come and get it assholes. But, you best wear a flack jacket and come armed and ready for a goddamn firefight! FUCK!!!!!!
And, to add to this SHIT, same thing can happen if that person is seriously wounded and unable to "complete his/her contract". No shit! Seems that there is on the order of $1.5 million in such uncompleted contracts outstanding. Big damn deal. How many BILLIONS do these two wars cost us each MONTH?? BILLION per month, and some goddamn asshole bean counter is "worried" about 1.5 million???????? Talk about screwed priorities!
Now, I admit that to me, 1.5 million is more than I'll ever see. Big deal though when the wars cost in the billions each and every damn month! That 1.5 million won't pay for a goddamn HOUR of these fucking wars. And they want it back! Now. Sure, bud, no worries, the check is in the fucking mail. Fuck. This is way beyond even mother fucking horseshit, This is god damned FATHER fucking bull shit!
So, sure, write to Rodney and Vitter. No need to write to Miss Mary, she never has even acknowledged ever receiving anything from me yet. Of course the other two will reply. They will give me a wishy-washy crap about how they "support the troops" and all that crap. I wonder just how thick they try to lay it on in public. Bet they have to use a trowel. Or a snow shovel!
Oh shit, I'm tired now. This ranting takes it out of you. And then some. Folks, we have to demand decent,humane treatment of our troops. We need to give them medical care. We need to help them as best we can. These people have earned that much. One thing, PTSD sticks around forever, or so it seems to me. Even after all this time, I came back to the states in September of 71 and still, this shit (Iraq & Afghanistan) gets it all stirred up again. Some would tell me, don't follow that in the news. What? How can I turn away? We who have been through war KNOW first hand the long term affects it has on a person. Just how can any of us turn away from the new veterans? We CANNOT. We will not.