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Making Soldiers into Propaganda

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The big news of the summer for those not obsessed with Michael Vick and Larry Craig has been the preliminary results of the “surge” strategy in Iraq. There is a heated argument over whether the surge is working, and if so, how much. It will only intensify as General Petraeus gives his official report to Congress later this month. Supporters and opponents of the war are already trying to win the battle of public opinion.

To that end, Freedom’s Watch, a pro-war group has launched a $15 million, five week ad campaign. The ads feature wounded veterans from Iraq making an emotional pitch to viewers to stay the course.

In the first one, a soldier tells us: “Congress was right to vote to fight terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan. I reenlisted after Sept. 11th because I don’t want my sons to see what I saw. I want them to be free and safe. I know what I lost. I also know that if we pull out now, everything I’ve given and the sacrifices will mean nothing. They attacked us, and they will again. They won’t stop in Iraq. We are winning on the ground and making real progress. It’s no time to quit. It’s no time for politics.”

What most struck me most about the group though, were not its ads, but an appearance on Hardball by one of its founding members, former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer. His naïveté was stunning; he thinks that, “everybody in this country is making a sacrifice” in the war. Worst of all, he couldn’t even name the brave soldier his group was using in its ads.

Paul Rieckhoff, the next guest on the show said it best: “What bothered me most is that Ari Fleischer didn’t even know the guy’s name. He’s willing to run a multi-million dollar campaign utilizing the personal story of a soldier, and he couldn’t tell you on national TV what that soldier’s name is…Our troops are not political props and they’re not chew toys.”

For me, Fleischer’s comments on the show highlighted the divide between those of us who are sacrificing in this war, and those who aren’t. However much Fleischer might downplay it, there’s a huge difference between the mostly working class men in the military, and the chicken hawk aristocrats who exploit their stories of heroism. To men like Fleischer — and a whole host of war supporters — soldiers like the one in the ad are nameless, faceless pawns in their neocon imperialist adventures.

Of course, this is hardly surprising given that the most ardent hawks today largely couldn’t be bothered to fight when they had a chance in Vietnam. Dick Cheney had other priorities, and George W. Bush went A.W.O.L. Saxby Chambliss didn’t have the will to go fight, but he did muster the audacity to attack Max Cleland, a man who lost three limbs in that war for his patriotism in a 2002 race for the Senate from Georgia.

These are the same men who told us to sacrifice by going shopping in the aftermath of September 11. They cut taxes for millionaires — whose children aren’t fighting in the military — at the same time that they made soldiers buy their own body armor and scrimped on veteran’s benefits.

Moreover, I don’t like the way the soldiers in Iraq have become props to help make somebody else’s argument. Fleischer and his ilk aren’t the only ones guilty of this behavior by any means. Anti-war groups are more than willing to use the sacrifices of solders to argue for a withdrawal. It is unseemly to use these brave soldiers to advance a political agenda. Why can’t we have an argument about the war on the merits, without resorting to wounded veterans to make the arguments for us?

In the next few weeks, I expect the soldiers to be exploited on a regular basis as politicians try to make their points in the debate about Iraq. But Fleischer and his group have reached a new low in that tawdry game.

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About Marcus Alexander Gadson

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    You know, I can forgive the partisanship, the bias and the offensive hatemongering and class warfare rhetoric. But I really have to draw the line at the straight-out lying. I realize they let you get away with it in the lefty echochamber, but in a more general audience someone is likely to call you on it.

    Lie #1:

    at the same time that they made soldiers buy their own body armor

    Soldiers in Iraq were all provided with body armor which was standard for the US military at the time of deployment. What they did not have was improved body armor which was in limited deployment and which could not be manufactured fast enough to meet the deadline for deployment. No one was sent to Iraq any less well equipped than they were in Somalia or Bosnia or the first Gulf War.

    Lie #2:

    and scrimped on veteran’s benefits..

    In fact, this administration has spent more on veterans benefits and improving the VA than any other administration in history. Even adjusted for inflation they have increased the VA budget by almost 50% in 6 years. What’s more they have increased the spending per veteran by more than 50% and they have doubled the yearly rate of increase in VA appropriations from what it was in the 1990s. So suggesting they have scrimped on veterans benefits is truly offensive.

    Dave

  • Marcus Alexander Gadson

    As for my “lies” Mr. Nalle,

    1. The fact is that many soldiers weren’t given the armor that would actually save them in this war, and so had to buy it themselves. And that’s just not right, no matter how you spin it.

    2. I’m not the only one saying benefits were cut. The fact of the matter is that veterans benefits still are not good enough; just look at Walter Reed. I challenge you to prove that veterans health care is sufficient. What you said might pass muster in a right wing echo chamber, but I’m going to call you out on it. Accusing me of lying is what’s truly offensive.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Nice try at spin control there, Marcus. Won’t fly, though.

    The armor which would ‘save’ the soldiers in the war was a relatively new development which had not been generally deployed yet. Are we supposed to not engage in war until every new technology is deployed? Perhaps we should just forgo all military action until we can replace living soldiers with robots. The soldiers were deployed with the standard equipment available at the time. The fact that something better became available doesn’t mean that what they were originally given was not appropriate.

    As for ‘cutting’ benefits, how is that even possible given the increase in spending and the improvements in efficiency at the VA. Every veteran I know who uses VA services has commented favorably on how much better they are than they were a decade ago. And I didn’t say the situation was perfect, as demonstrated with the situation at Walter Reed. However, you said Veternas benefits, and Walter Reed is an in-service hospital and not part of the VA. And how anyone could define a 50% increase in spending as ‘scrimping’ is beyond me.

    But to be fair I’ll withdraw my accusation of lying. It may be that you’re just ignorantly repeating talking points with no real knowledge of the subject, rather like Bush and his misinformed claims about WMDs.

    Dave

  • SFC SKI

    There’s a big difference between pushing propaganda and airing a shared opinion. I have served two tours in Iraq, and I also would urge Americans not to give up on supporting the war until Iraq is stable.

  • Baronius

    Marcus, have you ever seen the ads that “attacked Cleland’s patriotism”? There’s only one ad posted on YouTube. It doesn’t question Cleland’s patriotism; it nails him on Senate votes. I’m starting to think that the Chandliss Attack Ad is an urban legend.

    Anyway, I totally disagree with your article, but I’d love to hear from you about Chandliss.

  • Clavos

    Thank you, SFC SKI, for your service and for your input on the war.

    As a veteran who has been treated by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for many years, I feel eminently qualified to comment on the level of care provided by one of the few federal government civilian agencies that really does meet its obligations and fulfill its mission.

    Without going into boring details, I have a number of problems incurred as a result of my service in Vietnam in the sixties. As I said, I have been a VA patient for many years, in several hospitals in a variety of cities, but I’m in Miami now, so I’ll address the care at the Miami VA Medical Center (VAMC), which is typical of VA hospitals nationwide.

    First of all, the physical building ain’t pretty. It’s not painted in eye-pleasing pastels as the private hospital in the next block where my wife is treated, is. This is where the VA saves money; they don’t worry about non core items, they DO take care of staff, equipment, labs, and most of all, the patients.

    The medical staff are second to none, both in their knowledge and professionalism, and in their caring, attentive and even loving attitudes. Most of them are vets themselves; they work hard, work smart, and most of all, they treat us with respect and caring.

    The physician staff at Miami VAMC are the top in this area in their specialties. Many are associated with the University of Miami School of Medicine as Professors and/or Deans. All of the Chiefs are UM docs. There are no better physicians in South Florida. Interestingly, Donna Shalala, who, along with Robert Dole, was appointed to head up the commission to study and make recommendations for improvements to veterans health care, is the President of the U of M.

    Dave mentioned that Walter Reed, which was revealed recently to have very serious deficiencies, is not part of the VA system. This is true, Reed is an Army hospital, administered and staffed by the Army, with no connection whatever to the VA.

    For the record, according to the Office of Management and Budget, the 2007 VA budget is a 69% increase over VA funding in place when the Bush administration took office. The 2007 VA budget for medical care is 11.2% larger than the 2006 budget.

    The charge that the VA is neglecting the nation’s veterans’ medical care is simply not true.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    It’s Chambliss, dammit.

    Dave

  • Dr Dreadful

    That sounds great, Dave. I’ll have a nice chilled glass of Chambliss. And a croissant. Thanks.

  • Tom W.

    Those poor, helpless vets, used so heartlessly by the evil right-wing chicken hawks.

    What’s the world coming to when evil right-wing chicken hawks put guns to the heads of brave vets and force them to appear in ads against their will?

    We need courageous progressives to rise up and protect our brave but stupid soldiers, who are clearly too dumb to make their own decisions and have their own opinions.

  • REMF

    “Marcus, have you ever seen the ads that “attacked Cleland’s patriotism”?”

    Baronius, did you ever read the BC poster who referred to Cleland as a “gigantic thalidamide baby”?

  • Craig Ranapia

    Personally, I’m rather nauseated by anyone using mutilated soliders as campaign props – but I guess calling both sides out on their offensive hypocrisy is a little too close to the bone for everyone.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    For me it comes down to what the soldiers choose to believe and support. They’ve got as much right as anyone else to state their opinion and lend their support to whatever cause they like.

    Dave

  • SFC SKI

    Clavos, thank you as well. #9, good points, I doubt everyone will get the sarcasm.
    Which is more likely to be misconstrued, having a living veteran express his opinion, or using the name and picture of a deceased veteran posted, or just picture of a casket draped in an American flag, on an anti-war pamphlet?

  • troll

    Ski – *I also would urge Americans not to give up on supporting the war until Iraq is stable. *

    …not asking for a political statement here but what objective benchmarks do you propose (to help folks understand your use of ‘stable’)

  • Baronius

    REMF, BC posters cross the line all the time. The question of a Senate campaign crossing the line is far more interesting. You’re as passionate as anyone when it comes to respecting vets; have you seen the anti-Cleland ads?

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    I, too am a Vietnam era vet who takes advantage of the VA for health care. While I have experienced a glitch here and there, overall I am in agreement with Clavos regarding the quality of care given by the VA.

    As to the level of funding, the increases since Bush took office it should be noted at that time, we were NOT at war. There were few military casualties – and consequently, few recent Vets who required special care until after our incursion into Afghanistan and later into Iraq.

    There have been by some counts around 30,000 military personnel wounded in those two conflicts. Although their initial care has been handled by active military hospitals and other facilities, once these men and women leave active service, most are turned over to the VA. The sheer increase in the numbers of patients necessitated more funds to provide rooms, beds, doctors, nurses, aids and other staff, diagnostic equipment, therapy facilities, etc.

    There have been a few horror stories regarding recent war vets which may or may not have been connected with the VA. Some wounded soldiers were presented with bills for meals provided while in recovery. Some families were presented with a bill for their lost loved one’s uniform – presumably the one they were wearing when blown to bits. These may amount to apocrypha. I can’t say.

    Nevertheless, I find the ads troubling as well. I’ve no doubt that the people in the ads are sincere and believe what they are saying. I doubt that they wrote what they say in the ads.

    In the script noted in Marcus’ piece I am troubled by the line, “They attacked us, and they will again. They won’t stop in Iraq.” This is once again the conflation of Iraq with 9/11. Certainly, Al Qiada now has a presence in Iraq. They didn’t before we blew into town.

    As to his statement regarding our “winning on the ground and making real progress” I doubt that fellow has any idea about that. That is what is being hashed over by the generals, the White House and Congress. Are we winning on the ground and making real progress? Haven’t seen any evidence of it yet.

    When it comes down to it, Iraq was and remains a bullshit war. Vietnam was a bullshit war. It is in my mind unconscionable that the powers that be are using crippled and maimed veterans to urge others to support the very war that crippled and maimed them so that Bush, Cheney and company can continue to bullshit this country and other young women and men can be killed, crippled and maimed.

    The wide eyed naivete’ of those who believe that our invasion of Iraq had anything to do with “freedom” or “fighting the war on terror” just hasn’t been paying attention. Think oil. Think vengeance. Think christian nutballs.

    Baritone

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Baritone, it should be noted that of the 30,000 wounded in Iraq, about 75% are returned to their duties within 48 hours, which means their wounds are very minor and likely will not require followup. The number seriously wounded is lower than it has been in prior conflicts.

    From what I understand about the VA in the Bush era, the additional spending has been important, but what seems to have made more difference is the reorganization and changes in priorities so that veterans get more state of the art treatment and the old practices of giving them minimally adequate care and just stringing them along has become a thing of the past.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    Baritone,

    The VA currently treats something in excess of 5 million vets. For the sake of ease of calculation, let’s call it an even 5M. As you say, there are approximately 30,000 wounded vets from Iraq. To be assured we’re counting everybody, let’s call it 40,000.

    Over a pre-Iraq base of 4,960,000, 40,000 is a less than 1% increase in patients. The Bush years have seen an increase of 69% in VA medical funding.

    Credit where due.

  • http://operationyellowelephant.blogspot.com/ Operation Yellow Elephant

    millionaires — whose children aren’t fighting in the military

    The best way for those eligible to serve [healthy heterosexuals 41-or-under], who agree with President Bush and Ari Fleischer, to Support Our Troops is to contact military recruiters and Be A Man! Enlist!

    Those not personally eligible to serve, who agree with President Bush etc., should encourage their own eligible relatives and friends, their circles of influence, to volunteer for military service.

    If they won’t do that, they really don’t support the war, or President Bush, after all.

  • Dr Dreadful

    #19:

    Whether or not we agree with the sentiments, I think we can definitely say that this is one of the best online handles. Priceless!

  • vascodegama

    Doc, you and I both know there’s no such thing as a yellow elephant. The bastards are all pink …

  • vascodegama

    Marcus Alexander gadfly

  • Dr Dreadful

    Or white…

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Clavos, Dave, etal,

    I won’t argue the point too strenuously. But it should be pointed out though, that a large number of smaller VA hospitals and other treatment centers have been shut down over the last few years. I believe that now in Indiana there are only 2 or perhaps 3 VA facilities still in operation. It is now necessary for many vets to drive or be driven for as long as 2 to 3 hours to get treatment. Given the sometimes long wait, a 2 or 3 minute visit with a doctor may wind up taking virtually all day when taking the travel time into consideration.

    What is more striking to me is the apparent condition of many of the patients. A few go back to WWII and Korea, some from the first Gulf war, Afghanistan and Iraq, but most hail from the Vietnam era. For the most part, they are a sad and sorry lot. I’m not claiming this to be the fault of the VA. But many of these people can rightfully claim that their useful lives were in whole or in part sacrificed for the totally wasteful and unnecessary war in southeast Asia. How fucking long is the learning curve?

    B-tone

  • Clavos

    Baritone,

    The closings of which you speak, while real, are part of the VA’s efforts to both follow their patients (most of the closings are in Northern states and most vets these days are in the Sunbelt) and play catch up to modern medicine’s emphasis on outpatient (as opposed to inpatient) treatment.

    The closings received lots of negative publicity, mostly from politicians grandstanding and posturing to impress their constituents, but the VA currently serves a record number of patients, despite the closings, many of which were long overdue.

    “…many of these people can rightfully claim that their useful lives were in whole or in part sacrificed for the totally wasteful and unnecessary war in southeast Asia.”

    Sadly, all too true.

    If you don’t already, and are able to do so, I invite you to volunteer at your local VA facility; it’s very rewarding. Though not currently able to do so because of my wife’s condition, both she and I used to, and enjoyed it immensely.

  • REMF

    Have fun Labor Day with your mud-wrestling contest with moonraven on another holiday, Clavvy. That’ll be the last thing on my mind when we’re two miles above sea level.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    I won’t argue the point too strenuously. But it should be pointed out though, that a large number of smaller VA hospitals and other treatment centers have been shut down over the last few years. I believe that now in Indiana there are only 2 or perhaps 3 VA facilities still in operation. It is now necessary for many vets to drive or be driven for as long as 2 to 3 hours to get treatment. Given the sometimes long wait, a 2 or 3 minute visit with a doctor may wind up taking virtually all day when taking the travel time into consideration.

    This is true, and it’s actually one of the good things Bush did. Closing those small centers made it possible to improve the large ones and make them run more efficiently. Rather than having to face hours of wait wherever they went and getting inferior service, vets can now go and see better doctors in a better environment, operating more efficiently. Yes, they may have to travel a bit, but when they get there they have an appointment time and rarely have to wait long at all. This based on the experiences of several disabled vets I know here in Austin and reports from others on the net.

    Dave

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Dave,

    In my experience I would say that you are both right and wrong. During my 9 or 10 years of going to the VA, and as I said above, my experience has been, on the whole, good. I’ve rarely had to wait for more than 20 minutes or so, and I’ve received a wide variety of services, most under one roof. I did have knee surgery that was outsourced.

    However, I have spoken with several guys over the years who have complained loudly of having to spend virtually an entire day, being directed back and forth, left waiting, lost in the shuffle, etc. I know some of us old farts just like to complain, to be cranky. It passes the time. But, I do feel that some of those guys (and, ladies, it is mostly guys,) have a legitmate beef.

    By the way, I didn’t mean the above note about “guys,” as any kind of sexist jab. It’s just a question of numbers. There were few if any female combatants during WWII, Korea and even ‘Nam. Consequently, there are relatively few women from those conflicts who are receiving care through the VA. Certainly, there were and are female combatants from the 1st Gulf War and our current involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    I wouldn’t say that this is a good thing, but I have seen a number of generally younger women vets at the hospital who have obviously been wounded, some profoundly. While these women should be proud of their service and their sacrifice, seeing them and all other disabled vets is a stark reminder of the cost, and the waste of war.

    B-tone

  • Clavos

    B-tone,

    If you’re not already familiar with it, this is a good site to get (for the most part) good input on VA issues, from the vets themselves.

    And, you’re right, there ARE vets who now have to drive longer than they used to, but as both Dave and I pointed out, it’s for the greatest good for the greatest number, which is very democratic, no? :>)

    Seriously, the bottom line is the quality of the care, and that’s (again, for the most part) as good, or better than civilian care. As to the bureaucratic aspects of “hurry up and wait:” yes, it happens, but it’s a government (Remember? The people who can’t pour water out of a boot, etc.?) service; it’s a miracle it works at all, let alone as well as it does.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Baritone, I’m very familiar with the stories of long waits as well, but from what I’m hearing those stories are mostly from a few years ago. People I know who are fairly seriously disabled and used to complain about locally provided services and delays now have nothing but good to say about the service they’re getting.

    Have you heard a lot of recent stories of poor VA medical service?

    Dave

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Dave,

    I was at the VA here in Indy a couple weeks ago. An old fellow and his wife, who called him “Arn” (Arnie? Arnold?,) were very disgruntled owing to the scenario I describe above. His initial appointment had been set at 8:00AM which meant they had to be on the road at six. If I’m remembering correctly there had apparently been a mix up about scheduling and at around 2:00PM when I came on the scene Arn had been rolled around in his wheel chair to 3 or 4 different places in the facility and hadn’t as yet seen a doctor or had any of the procedures he was scheduled to have.

    I never heard his wife’s name, but she was a rather big, formidable woman who was not shy about voicing her displeasure to anyone who would listen, or at least not get up and disappear around the corner. I got an earful.

    Nevertheless, it was obvious that Arn was not doing well. He really needed to lie down, but he was told that he had to stay in his chair in the waiting area, and that the doctor would see him soon and blah, blah, blah…

    I don’t know how it was resolved. I was called in to see my doctor and left via another door. I didn’t think to look back to see if Arn and his wife were still waiting, though I did hear her bellowing voice once or twice while I was talking with my doctor.

    I realize that the above is only one incident, and it may well have been an anomaly. I just think everybody would have been better served had they taken Arn back to an exam room or someplace where he could lie down until his doctor was available. Rather, they allowed an already bad situation to fester which was not fair to Arn and his wife nor to everyone else in the area who witnessed it. I suppose that this is one of those “fall through the cracks” kind of happenings. It’s incumbant upon the VA not to allow those cracks to spread or get wider, swallowing more vets in the process.

    B-tone

  • Clavos

    “I realize that the above is only one incident, and it may well have been an anomaly.”

    And you also only know the side of the story you saw and heard, much of which came from the vocal wife.

    I’m not saying she was wrong, but it’s entirely possible that there was a lot more to it.

    I’ve been a patient at several VA hospitals, and the one thing they all have in common is that the majority of their staffers are vets themselves. This is a good policy, not only because it provides work for vets, but also because it tends to make VA staff much more sympathetic than they might otherwise have been.

    There probably are any number of anecdotes about poor service at this or that VA facility, and probably most of them have at least a grain of truth.

    I draw two conclusions from them:

    1. The VA health care system is said (by them) to be the country’s largest. Annually, it treats in excess of 5 million patients, more than 98% “in house.” Though, inevitably, some are bound to “fall through the cracks,” the percentage that do so, from my personal experience and observation, is statistically minuscule.

    2. Those who think the VA is bad should look to it and Medicare for a foreshadowing of universal health care paid for and administered by the government. The one does fairly well, even if occasionally there are problems, the second is rife with corruption, fraud and thievery, and does a much worse job of providing an adequate standard of health care to its “clients” (their word), using private providers.

    We’re in for a fun time when (not if) universal health care finally arrives; I’m glad I have the VA.

  • http://www.libertyrepublican.com Dave Nalle

    Well, people shouldn’t be falling through the cracks. There ought to be someone on staff there whose job is to make sure that’s not happening. Some VA hospitals certainly seem to have developed a new emphasis on customer service. It would be nice to think it was system-wide, but probably too much to hope for.

    Of course, service in non-VA hospitals can have gaps and failures as well, despite the high prices we’re all paying for healthcare.

    As for Arn’s situation, I bet his wife could find someone to give a piece of her mind to for the overall benefit of the system, and hopefully the next Arn won’t run into similar problems.

    Dave

    Dave

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Not to beat a dead horse, but an incident connected with in-patient care at the Indy VA Hospital came to mind.

    My wife’s uncle, a WWII Coast Guard vet was checked into the VA hospital with a variety of problems. I don’t recall the nature of his ailments, but he was taken immediately into intensive care. There, he received top notch care. They had staff monitoring him 24/7. Often, there was a nurse at his bedside keeping track of the telemetry coming from the plethora of monitors attached to him.

    He eventually recovered enough to be removed from intensive care and was placed in a normal care section of the hospital on another floor.

    Almost from the moment he was ensconsed there, problems arose. He was not being fed regularly. They actually missed bringing him several meals. He started having coughing fits which then evolved into vomiting. He almost drowned in his own vomit a couple of times. He didn’t have the strength or wherewithal to ring for help. As it turned out, there were only 2 aides and an LPN running the entire floor on any given shift. We’re talking about nearly 40 patient rooms. The floor was supposed to be staffed with at least one RN, one or two LPNs and 5 or 6 aids.

    His wife had health problems of her own – severe diabetes – and was not able to stay up there for any length of time. Their three children found it necessary for at least one of them to be in the room with him at all times. He could not sit up on his own. When he began coughing and vomiting, someone had to sit him up to avoid drowning. At times during these episodes, he would also wind up defacating. It was often up to his kids to change and clean him up as no staffers were available to help.

    My wife’s uncle died in that room about 8 months ago. He was 84. At his age and overall condition, he likely would have succumbed soon regardless. But with better, more attentive care he may have hung on for a bit longer, perhaps retained some level of dignity and maybe suffered less pain and discomfort.

    Again, I won’t claim that such situations are common. They may be rare. But, as with Arn, this was a bad situation that shouldn’t have been allowed to happen in any case. My wife’s uncle deserved more than that.

    B-tone

  • http://www.libertyrepublican.com Dave Nalle

    Sounds like medical care in most parts of Europe, where they expect relatives to be there to supplement the care provided by the hospital.

    It also sounds like once they moved him into that back part of the hospital he went from what vets experiencing with the ‘new and improved’ VA to something very much like the old, nasty VA of the 80s.

    No idea how common this sort of problem is, but with all the additional money one would hope that the improvements would be more pervasive.

    Dave

  • Arch Conservative

    Does the author of this articel expect anyone to believe that the pro-war side uses propaganda andthose who oppose the war never do?

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Arch,

    I don’t think that was the point of the article. Propaganda, while usually used as a derogatory, simply means an organized use of information to put forward a particular position on an issue. Certainly, anti-war factions have and are using propaganda to further their position against our involvement in Iraq.

    The nature of the pro-war ads being aired by Freedom’s Watch is, as I see it, Marcus’ main concern and which he finds offensive. But alls fair in love and war as they say.

    B-tone

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    Arch, the author of this “articel” didn’t make that point, so you are objecting to something that never happened. Please pay attention…

  • Arch Conservative

    No he didn’t explicitly make the point but do any of us really think that he’d admit to something being propaganda that is obvious and blatant propaganda coming from a fringe antiwar group?

  • Baronius

    Good call, Arch. The article mentions Max Cleland, a disabled vet. Marcus is using the war injuries suffered by a Democrat to support his argument and denounce his opponents. That’s making soldiers into propaganda.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    If the left can trot out Max Cleland, the right can trot out Bob Dole. But let me ask you this. If the two of them were in ads for their respective parties, which would you take more seriously? Cleland has zero credibility and an abrasive personality. Dole is probably the most respected elder statesman we have.

    It’s not the fact that they’re wounded vets that matters, it’s what they’ve done since then and who they are putting that background as wounded vets aside.

    Dave

  • bliffle

    Nevertheless, it is truly monstrous that Ari Fleischer is promoting a $15million dollar operation that exploits soldiers and doesn’t know a thing about the organization and it’s members. He’s just there to make money.

    How cynical can you get?

    Whoops! This just in: Tony Snow had to quit his $168k/year job as an admin flack to go to the private sector and make more money “for his family”. I guess the big salary and the complete benefit package wasn’t enough to keep his head above water.

    I guess we’ve found a new high water mark in cynicism.

    How many people out there would like a $168k job with full benefits? No heavy lifting required. Just a facile conscience that sees no contradiction with maintaining that $47k (without benefits) is enough to live on – for other people, that is.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    I’m no particular fan of Tony Snow. But keep in mind that he is fighting what is likely terminal cancer. In DC $168000 may not be sneezed at, but it ain’t big money. The cost of living there is very high.

    Were I in a similar situation, I would probably, if given the opportunity, do the same thing. Public service in and of itself is not a good way to make a lot of money. I suppose if he can make a good chunk of change in the private sector as long as his health holds out in an effort to leave his family more secure, then what the hell.

    B-tone

  • Clavos

    Well and fairly put, B-tone.

  • Baronius

    Bliffle, nothing in this article indicates that Fleischer is making money.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    How many people out there would like a $168k job with full benefits?

    I face the same choice as Snow right now. I’d like to move back to DC, but with a family income of slightly less than what Snow is earning and two kids there’s no way we can afford it.

    In order to be able to live there at that salary with 3 kids and his wife not working, Snow had to move to the Virginia suburbs and put his kids in a questionable public school system and deal with an hour+ commute into the city.

    He can earn enough more in the private sector to live closer in and send his kids to private school. You think he wasn’t earning twice that salary in his previous job?

    Dave

  • REMF

    Re #46;

    Ah, come on Dave. Don’t let a minor financial question hold you back. Certainly you should be able to unload that fortified compound for a mil, maybe a mil-and-a-half.

    And think of the money you’ll save on ammo not having to kill stray dogs in the back yard anymore…
    (MCH)

  • alessandro Nicolo

    God bless #4 for its rationale and service.

    It makes little sense to pull out. Not now anyway.

    Clavos, didn’t know you served in Vietnam. So a big tap on the bum for #6.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Ah, come on Dave. Don’t let a minor financial question hold you back. Certainly you should be able to unload that fortified compound for a mil, maybe a mil-and-a-half.

    Only if I can convince some slack-jawed mountain yokel from Montana to come down here and buy it.

    Dave

  • REMF

    “Only if I can convince some slack-jawed mountain yokel from Montana to come down here and buy it.”
    – Dave Popu…er, Nalle

    There’s no day an overweight, overbearing Texas blowhard phony will get the best of any Montanan on that deal.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    I was thinking of that guy who regularly calls Rush Limbaugh from his bunker in Montana. One of your neighbors, I imagine.

    Dave

  • REMF

    ^ One of your kinda guys, eh Popu…er, Nalle? You know, bunker = fortified compound. And as a 5th generation Montanan, I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that guy is not a Montanan, but another transplant, ala Rusty Weston, the “Freemen” or David Kaczynski.

    But it is interesting that the truth finally comes out regarding your listening to Rush Limbaugh, after lying about it ever since you’ve been on BC.
    (MCH)

  • Clavos

    “And as a 5th generation Montanan…”

    No wonder….

  • bliffle

    But Dave, it was only a few months ago that you were extolling the low cost of living in DC, how you yourself had found economical rentals and you could assert that a person could live on a quite modest income in DC.

    What happened? Did the cost of living suddenly spike?

    Or could it be that this new line better serves your core beliefs so you have carelessly switched sides?

    Do you just assert whatever serves your interests rather than what you know to be true? Are you a liar?

    Say it aint so, Dave.

  • Nancy

    Yes, Dave: I remember very clearly you insisting in no uncertain terms that life up here in the DC area was a piece of cake. You didn’t even post a caveat that one would have to look to find affordable housing, or good schools, or affordable insurance, etc. So…which is it?
    For the record, Snow’s county’s schools are about as good as public schools go – altho I think he has them in private schools, last I heard, but I won’t swear to it. At any rate, even with the accelerated costs of living in this DC area, $168K/a year is more than sufficient…unless you’re trying to keep up with the Cheneys & Bushes, that is. I weep for poor Tony Snow’s financial straits – NOT.

  • bliffle

    Dave seems to have the requisite facile sense of truth required for the job, so I suspect he’s angling for Tony Snows old job.

    Everything fits, doesn’t it?

    He’s been building up a fine list of rationalizations for GWB actions right here on BC. How could he afford to invest so much time without a hope of payoff? Unless the font business is a lot easier and more remunerative than I ever imagined.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Ok, let me clarify. You CAN live in the DC area at a reasonable price. You cannot be Tony Snow or me and do it.

    Obviously the ethiopians who drive the cabs and the salvadorans who change the sheets in hotels manage to find a way to live in DC on a limited budget.

    Tony Snow needs things which a salvadoran immigrant who changes sheets for a living doesn’t need. He needs to be able to entertain at his house. He needs to be able to educate 3 kids to a certain level of quality. He needs to live at a level which satisfies certain expectations of his status. Maintaining that lifestyle is part of what gets him the high paying job in the first place. It’s as much a business expense as a good suit is.

    Yes, he could pull a Jerry Brown and live in a 2 bedroom apartment in Bladensburg, but expecting him to do that is not realistic at all.

    As for my personal situation, I couldn’t take my kids from a place where they have a decent sized house and their own rooms and a pool and land to roam in, and private schools that we can afford, and put them in an apartment where they would probably have to share a room and attend public schools of dubious quality. That said, there’s every possibility I may have to move to DC to take care of my aging parents at some point in the future, so I’m thinking about this a lot.

    And BTW, Nancy, I did check before I commented. Snow’s kids are in public school. There’s no way he could have even taken the job with 3 kids in private schools in the DC area.

    Dave

  • Nancy

    What county is he living in, Dave? Thanks.

  • REMF

    “How could he afford to invest so much time without a hope of payoff? Unless the font business is a lot easier and more remunerative than I ever imagined.”

    Or perhaps a high bounty on stray dogs…

  • Baronius

    Remf, what?

  • Baronius

    No joke, REMF, I have no idea what that comment was supposed to mean. Also, you’re obviously a guy who cares about politicians’ military histories; have you ever seen the offensive Chambliss ad?

  • Dr Dreadful

    Baronius,

    I’m assuming this is the Chambliss/Cleland ad you saw on YouTube. It is indeed the one there was all the hoo-ha about. The controversy was supposedly because Cleland’s face was pictured on the same split-screen as Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. I’ve run it several times, and – unless Cleland is one of the soldiers seen on patrol at the top right of the screen – this doesn’t appear to be the case, and viewed objectively it’s hard to see what all the fuss was about. (Admittedly, the clip is rather low-quality.)

    I’ve certainly seen worse and dirtier attack ads. That said, I can understand that in the emotional atmosphere of an election campaign, attacking a handicapped combat vet on his national security credentials (and by extension, his patriotism) would have been seen as underhanded by some.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Well, uh, I think we should all just eat cake.

    B-tone

  • Clavos

    I dunno.

    Using Doc’s link, I played that ad several times. Seemed pretty tame for a political attack ad.

    Never saw Cleland and Uncle Osama in the same frame, either.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    What county is he living in, Dave? Thanks.

    Hell if I know. I didn’t do a criminal background check on the dude. Just found two articles that referred to him living in VA with kids in public school. You want my guess? He’s living somewhere down near Manassas or Burke. Nice houses at good prices down there.

    Dave

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Dave seems to have the requisite facile sense of truth required for the job, so I suspect he’s angling for Tony Snows old job.

    Hadn’t thought of it, Bliffle. But yes, I think I’d do a good job. I bet my frankenstein like demeanor will keep those reporters in line. I’ll start putting out feelers.

    Dave

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    You know, bunker = fortified compound. And as a 5th generation Montanan,

    Oh, so you inherited your bunker. I’d respect you more if you’d worked for it.

    I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that guy is not a Montanan, but another transplant, ala Rusty Weston, the “Freemen” or David Kaczynski.

    As I recall he was indeed a transplant.

    But it is interesting that the truth finally comes out regarding your listening to Rush Limbaugh, after lying about it ever since you’ve been on BC.

    Lying? Show me the proof. When did I ever say I had never in my life listened to Limbaugh? I’m sure I’ve said I don’t currently listen and am not a fan, but there was a time our radio choices here were limited and it was all I had to listen to – like 10 years ago.

    Dave

  • REMF

    Re #60-61;
    A way to make more money.

  • bliffle

    “You cannot be Tony Snow or me and do it.”

    How elitist!

    But Dave, I thought you said you HAD done it.

    And why can’t Tony Snow do it? I suspect he CAN do it but he doesn’t WANT to do it? I suppose he can do it because he has contacts and influence to peddle that enables him to forsake government service and Get The Big Money. Just like that two-faced Karen Hughes.

    I suppose that’s what every person in this administration is thinking. No wonder we have such an inept administration: they aren’t thinking about how to do their job, they’re thinking about their next step up the ladder.

  • Nancy

    Most likely he’s living in the GOP enclave of McLean where Rove et al also live. In any event, unless he’s living ‘waaaaaay out in, say, Orange county, all the Virginia counties ringing DC have better than average school systems, & a couple have very superior school systems. None of them have schools rated average, low, or failing. So his kids are hardly getting a poor education, where ever he lives in N. Va. Ironically, the worst (failing) school system in the area is that of DC itself – a system that can’t even adequately & definitively count the number of employees or pupils it has, & that has been perpetually in trouble from embezzlement, mismanagement, & just plain incompetence, for as long as anybody can remember. However, Mr. Snow’s kids don’t go to school in DC, so it’s not an issue.

    In any event, that he can’t live on $170K a year just proves how out of touch & unrealistic the pols & their camp followers are, when most Americans are living on $25000 or less – and WITHOUT the perks such as very lavish medical coverage, etc., that Mr. Snow receives in ADDITION to his take-home of $170K.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    But Dave, I thought you said you HAD done it.

    When you’re 23 you can get away with living a different lifestyle than you can when you’re 48 and have kids and have to keep up with all of the friends you grew up with who still live in DC and make DC-level salaries, while yours is based on a small business with limited growth potential.

    My wife and I together earn enough to live quite well in Austin, but in DC that income would not even come near providing the same quality of life. And that’s a consideration for anyone, especially when you have kids.

    And why can’t Tony Snow do it? I suspect he CAN do it but he doesn’t WANT to do it? I suppose he can do it because he has contacts and influence to peddle that enables him to forsake government service and Get The Big Money. Just like that two-faced Karen Hughes.

    Why should these talented people have to take a huge pay cut to serve in government? Or more to the point, why can’t they take that pay cut, serve for a while and then move on without getting blamed for it?

    I suppose that’s what every person in this administration is thinking. No wonder we have such an inept administration: they aren’t thinking about how to do their job, they’re thinking about their next step up the ladder.

    So, your basic complaint about the administration is that it’s made up of human beings.

    Dave

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    when most Americans are living on $25000 or less

    Talk about out of touch with reality. The median houshold income in the US for a married couple in Snow’s age range is currently just over $65,000 a year, more than double what you apparently think it is.

    Dave

  • Nancy

    That’s the average white-collar middle-class office worker, Dave. Most of the working people in the US are the service people – all the “little people” who go to make your life so comfortable: the cashiers, the teachers, the cops, the clerks, the secretaries, the small business owners, etc. etc. And I’m not even talking about the lower-income service people who make minimum wage, if that, with no medical or insurance benefits. Per IRS figures, the median income per person in the US in 2006 was $23000+/- quite a difference from your figure of $68k. For couples filing jointly, it averaged out to about $48K, or a little more than $24,000 per person. That’s AVERAGE, Dave. That’s the IRS talking, Dave. Tell THEM their figures are wrong, Dave. You seem to get all your data from BushCo as far as economics are concerned. You certainly don’t live in any real world I know of firsthand, or that I read about in the WP, NYT, or WSJ – even if Murdoch does own them all these days.

    In any event, you will indeed find it a rude awakening should you have to move here from Austin, as there are few places in the US where the cost of living is so high – or the traffic such a nightmare. Just wait’ll you try to negotiate the Beltway, even between rush hours – which at this point are almost continuous throughout the day. Another thing about this area is, that there is never a failing demand for housing, etc. since the entire area is populated by what is basically a huge captive audience of government work force & the service sectors that support them. Part of the enormous daily traffic jams here involve the tens of thousands who commute twice a day in from West Virginia, Pa, and even as far as Delaware & NJ – not to mention the hundreds of thousands who commute in from MD & VA, or go to MD from VA, or to VA from MD. Boy oh boy are you in for some shocks, kiddo. You haven’t seen gridlock until you’ve been to the DC area. And still the developers pretty much do as they please in this region. County & state governments seem helpless or unwilling to reign in their insane, uncontrolled development sprawl.

  • Clavos

    “How elitist!”

    Is that bad??

  • Clavos

    Nancy:

    “Per IRS figures, the median income per person in the US in 2006 was $23000+/- quite a difference from your figure of $68k. For couples filing jointly, it averaged out to about $48K, or a little more than $24,000 per person. That’s AVERAGE, Dave.” (emphasis added)

    No, it’s not, Nancy. You yourself say it’s the median, which is not the same thing.

    Median means half the people make more, and half make less.

  • Nancy

    Whatever. It’s still a long way down from Dave’s figure.

  • Clavos

    “In any event, unless he’s living ‘waaaaaay out in, say, Orange county, all the Virginia counties ringing DC have better than average school systems, & a couple have very superior school systems.”

    Compared to what?

    Other public schools?

    Not impressed.

  • Clavos

    “Why should these talented people have to take a huge pay cut to serve in government?”

    In fact, shouldn’t government pay better than the private sector to assure they get the best people?

  • Nancy

    The point is – was, that most working people in the US live on far less than Tony Snow, with none of the additional perks he gets to go with that salary, yet he just can’t make ends meet. Poor Tony – NOT! Now, what impact his medical condition has on all this, I couldn’t say, but I should think he’d be better off staying with BushCo; government perks for the upper-levels are very, very sweet & comprehensive, not only for medical coverage, but survivors bennies, if it comes to that.

  • bliffle

    “In fact, shouldn’t government pay better than the private sector to assure they get the best people?”

    Problem is that they hire cronies rather than especially skilled people, so it’s just a reward for the crony.

    Your assertion would hold for Civil Service people, most of whom make far less, but not for political appointees.

    Doesn’t seem to me that Tony Snow has any special skill that isn’t possessed by a great number of other US citizens. No special schooling, no degrees, no licenses, etc. He’s just a guy who shares GWBs values and will look out for them.

    Tony is just greedy.

  • bliffle

    I can do Tony Snows job, and I’ll only ask 167K in salary. I’ll even establish a residence in DC for the remainder of the Bush term.

    There! Now I should be getting a call from the Whitehouse, right? At least according to the rosy hiring scenario that the hard right puts out about “econ 101 supply and demand”.

    Oh wait, I forgot about cronyism, the most important hiring factor in this admin.

    Never mind.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    When did Tony Snow become a Bush crony? Is every Republican automatically a Bush crony? They share no common background and had only met a couple of times before he was given the job.

    And Bliffle, you lack a number of basic qualifications for the job. Perhaps when you have them THEN you should apply. You might start off by being a Republican…

    Nancy, I am fully aware of the problem in DC as I visit there for a week or two at least twice a year. In my experience the traffic is no worse than Austin and better than Dallas, unless you’re commuting in from the suburbs. The in-town traffic is actually about the same as it was when I lived there full time.

    And Nancy, my figures for median income are from the Census Bureau. They might have some idea, I think. Their caulculation methods are different than those used by the IRS, but not necessarily less accurate. Their individual income figure is much lower than it should be because they divide the income of single income families in half because it represents two taxpayers. As I also noted, that median income I gave was also adjusted for age.

    Your 23,000 is actually substantially lower than even the listed IRS median income for 2006. It seems to actually be the cut-off figure for the bottom income quintile.

    For more info on income I suggest reading the rather comprehensive entry on WikiPedia.

    Dave

  • Baronius

    Doctor D, thanks for your honest assessment. I really don’t see the connection between voting record and patriotism though. I wouldn’t make the argument that voting against Bush is unpatriotic, and I don’t think the ad argues that either.

    There are a lot of people on both sides of the aisle (cough – McCain – cough) who use any criticism as an opportunity to flaunt their military record. Cleland tried to get away with that. The voters didn’t let him. But articles like this one are trying to rewrite history.

  • REMF

    These from the poster bear repeating:

    “However much Fleischer might downplay it, there’s a huge difference between the mostly working class men in the military, and the chicken hawk aristocrats who exploit their stories of heroism.

    Of course, this is hardly surprising given that the most ardent hawks today largely couldn’t be bothered to fight when they had a chance in Vietnam. Dick Cheney had other priorities, and George W. Bush went A.W.O.L.

    They cut taxes for millionaires — whose children aren’t fighting in the military — at the same time that they made soldiers buy their own body armor and scrimped on veteran’s benefits.”

  • Clavos

    You’re repeating false information, emmy. Neither of these are true:

    “…at the same time that they made soldiers buy their own body armor and scrimped on veteran’s benefits.””

  • REMF

    “You’re repeating false information, emmy. Neither of these are true:”
    – Clavvy

    It’s always nice to be judged and condemned by the same guy who claimed a speech in 1971 was responsible for all the problems of five years earlier, in 1966.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Clavos, you know that Emmy doesn’t care about truth. He’s a fanatic. Just ignore him.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    You’re right, Dave.

    I actually posted that comment to set the record straight for other readers.

    What emmy thinks, says, does, or has done is of virtually zero importance to me.

  • REMF

    “Clavos, you know that Emmy doesn’t care about truth. He’s a fanatic. Just ignore him.”
    – Dave Nalle

    “Come on guys. You know that Johnny’s not as good as we are. Let’s play over here and ignore him.”
    – A typical fourth grade bully/wimp, manipulating his lackeys during recess

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    Clavos, if that’s true, you could, you know, try ignoring him.

    Dave, one man’s fanatic is another man’s freedom fighter. You are pretty fanatical about some things too, even though you try to hide it behind your “it’s all carefully thought through” spiel.

    REMF, you are unofficially the most boring person on BC. I agree with some of your points but my mind has become closed to you because of the monotony. It’s like the Chinese Water Torture made manifest.

    Me, I don’t believe anything. And then I doubt it’s veracity. That bloke Thomas has got nothing on me!

    ;-)

  • Nancy

    I believe it was pointed out earlier why the statement that soldiers were having to buy their own body armor was true, ditto scrimping on vet’s benefits. Those are examples of “…from a certain point of view…”, in that they can be true or not depending on what is meant by them. Most certainly, BushCo did not provide the troops with adequate armor of ANY kind; witness Rummy’s stupid & gratuitously arrogant comment about “going to war with the army [we] have…” which was precisely in response to that criticism. So it was true or he wouldn’t have had to use that as an idiotic & lame defense. Armor was provided, but not enough, & not of decent quality, therefore it was as good as none at all as far as field troopers were concerned, & if they wanted to have any chances at survival, they did have to buy their own. No thanks to BushCo & that asshole, Rummy.

  • Clavos

    “I believe it was pointed out earlier why the statement that soldiers were having to buy their own body armor was true, ditto scrimping on vet’s benefits.”

    No, Nancy neither one of those is true, and it’s NOT a case of POV.

    NOBODY “had to buy their own body armor.” Some chose to, because they considered that what they were issued was inadequate, but they were issued body armor, which is more than anyone ever got in Vietnam.

    I have proven numerous times, on this thread and previously, that record amounts of money are being spent on veterans benefits. As a major recipient of such benefits, I am keenly aware of this “issue,” and follow it closely. In point of fact, the 2007 VA budget is 11.2% higher than the 2006 budget, and 69% greater than the budget at the beginning of the present administration.

    What you saw, that was so overblown by the media (what else is new) was deficiencies at Walter Reed ARMY (not VA) Hospital, which involved, not veterans, but active duty personnel, returned from Iraq for eventual discharge, but being treated at Reed prior to discharge.

    The VA is currently closing facilities in some areas, and expanding in others, in a sensible re-alignment to follow where the vets are. Many of their northern hospitals are up to half empty, while the Sunbelt facilities are overcrowded. In this process, some vets are having longer drives to, and longer waits at, their nearest facilities.

    It’s worth noting that this is such a hot button issue, it serves both the politicians’ and medias’ agendas to exaggerate it to the extent the public will swallow.

    End of rant.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    Clavos…is that because these southern boys tend to enlist more than those yankees? I am a yankee by birth btw…

  • REMF

    Chris, I appreciate your opinion. Pretty mild critique, though, considering I have been called a “piece of shit” by Eric Olsen, a “dumbass moron” by Dave Nalle, a “pinko commie” by RJ Elliott, and an “asshole” by Andy Marsh.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    In point of fact, the 2007 VA budget is 11.2% higher than the 2006 budget, and 69% greater than the budget at the beginning of the present administration.

    It’s worth noting that this is more than triple the growth rate of any other element of government.

    BTW, RJ Elliott calls everyone a ‘pinko commie’, so don’t feel special.

    And I never called MCH a ‘dumbass moron’ that would be a tautology. I called him each name separately at different times.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    Andy,

    No, it’s more a function of the fact that, with the exception of the Desert Storm and current Iraq vets, most vets (including Vietnam) these days are reaching, or at, retirement age, and tend to move to warmer climes, just as many other retirees do.

    There’s another element too; over the years, southern politicians were much more successful at getting bases built in the south than the yankees ones were, so there are many more in the Sunbelt (San Antonio, a pretty small town, has five!). Lifer vets seek out bases to live near, because they have PX and other privileges available to them.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    I love my exchanges here in Virginia, use them all the time…they even price match! So, you can get a good price on a lot of stuff and it gets even better because there’s no tax!!!

    It’s amazing the bene’s I get for my peaceful service!!! I haven’t used the VA, so I’m not familar with their operation. I went to the VA once after I retired to see if I qual’d for any benefits…they told me to go home. I do use Tricare, a military HMO and it’s awesome! The company I work for just changed the med plan for employees…everyone’s all bent out of shape about it, but I’ve never used it…

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    MCH, I could actually work all four of those insults into one sentence!

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    All I can say to comment #94 is…if the shoe fits….

    oh wait…one more thing…I’m sure there have been a lot more than just those four MCH…why single us out???

  • Nancy

    I didn’t address the VA benefits issue, but it’s immaterial that it ‘only’ happened at Walter Reed, of all places. People on active duty are served by the VA, therefore any deficiencies apply to the situation. Actually, I have to give the new Sec. kudos for firing the ass of that pompous jerk who was running the place, pretty much on the spot when he found out the guy wasn’t bothering to pull inspections or pretty much anything else basic to his job.

    I have read in the WP & NYT of other problems at other VA- & military facilities regarding injured personnel either on active duty or vets; it isn’t as isolated as Dave makes it out to be, but it isn’t as widespread as the MSM scream & yell about, either. Six of one half a dozen of the other, more like it.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    I spent a few days at Walter Reed back in the day…granted it was about 14 years ago…but I thought it was a nicer hospital than Bethesda at that time.

    I think the thing that bothers me most about WR is the added story about the preferred customer wing in that hospital. The fact that they try to say that no one elses care was diminished due to the money spent on that VIP wing has to be a lie. I definately had to raise the BS flag on that one. How could it not affect the everyday kinda guy???

    I also don’t believe that WR offers any VA services…maybe the basics, but it’s an active duty hospital, not a VA hospital. And they are a different animal.

  • Clavos

    “People on active duty are served by the VA…”

    No, Nancy. By definition, people on active duty are NOT vets; they’re still Army (or Navy, etc.) personnel, and the “V” in VA stands for VETERANS, who by definition, have been discharged and are no longer on active duty.

    Walter Reed is an ARMY hospital with NO connection WHATEVER to the VA. It is operated by the US Army, NOT the VA, and the VA DOES NOT traet active duty personnel.

    In fact, one of the problems that has been pointed out in the media is that the services are dropping the ball in notifying the VA when they discharge a wounded vet, so when the vet goes to the VA for treatment, the VA’s never heard of him/her, and turns them away, but that’s a problem created by the services; again, not the VA.