Patriotism

Right here:

Marine Cpl. James Dixon was wounded twice in Iraq — by a roadside bomb and a land mine. He suffered a traumatic brain injury, a concussion, a dislocated hip and hearing loss. He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Army Sgt. Lori Meshell shattered a hip and crushed her back and knees while diving for cover during a mortar attack in Iraq. She has undergone a hip replacement and knee reconstruction and needs at least three more surgeries.

In each case, the Pentagon ruled that their disabilities were not combat-related.

In a little-noticed regulation change in March, the military’s definition of combat-related disabilities was narrowed, costing some injured veterans thousands of dollars in lost benefits — and triggering outrage from veterans’ advocacy groups.

The Pentagon said the change was consistent with Congress’ intent when it passed a “wounded warrior” law in January. Narrowing the combat-related definition was necessary to preserve the “special distinction for those who incur disabilities while participating in the risk of combat, in contrast with those injured otherwise,” William J. Carr, deputy undersecretary of Defense, wrote in a letter to the 1.3-million-member Disabled American Veterans.

And while this may make your blood boil, and it may look to you like the Bush administration is doing their best to screw vets out of money and care, what you fail to realize is that most everyone in the Bush administration has a yellow “We Support Our Troops” sticker on their car, so there. The soldiers understand what is happening to them:

Dixon said he was denied at least $16,000 in benefits before he fought the Pentagon and won a reversal of his noncombat-related designation.

“I was blown up twice in Iraq, and my injuries weren’t combat-related?” Dixon said. “It’s the most imbecile thing I’ve ever seen.”

This is utter bullshit. Notwithstanding the fact that they should get every penny they deserve, failing to pay these folks will hide the true cost of war. These people are injured and scarred for life because of our desire to wage pre-emptive war. Failing to account for the costs of our actions will just make it easier to engage in this sort of stupidity again. So quit screwing our troops, Pentagon. Quit screwing our troops, Bush appointees. These guys were hurt, in combat, and your post hoc redefining doesn’t change it.

I should probably also add, this sort of thing is nothing new. The brass and the bean-counters have always been screwing our troops this way. For example, remember Gulf War Syndrome, which was widely labeled as bullshit, and that the Pentagon and others spent years denying so they did not have to pay benefits? Guess what? It exists. It is real:

A congressionally mandated scientific panel has concluded that Gulf War syndrome is real and afflicts nearly one-quarter of the 700,000 U.S. troops who served in the 1991 conflict, according to a report released Monday.

The report broke with most earlier studies by concluding that two chemical exposures were direct causes of the disorder: the drug pyridostigmine bromide, given to troops to protect against nerve gas, and pesticides that were used — and often overused — to protect against sand flies and other pests.

Just stop the bullshit and give these guys what they are due.






88 replies
  1. 1
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    This is SOP for the Worst. President. Ever.

    I don’t harbor any delusions about an Obama Administration being as librul as I’d want it to be. But, I do know they’ll stop this kind of shit. Apparently Michelle’s interests lie along these lines.

    And when will the military stop voting for Repups? Sheesh, it’s a variation of "What’s The Matter With Kansas?"

  2. 2
    Tzal says:

    But Citigroup really needs the money, John.

  3. 3

    Just today GWB was on tv in front of an audience of troops, giving them his standard praisiness and declaring success in Iraq.

    Once he has done that, actually doing anything for the troops is something he can leave for the next president, like he has managed to do with the conclusion of the war itself.

  4. 4
    Matthew says:

    The sick part is that they’ll scream bloody murder if anyone tries to save money by, I don’t know, investigating fraud, waste, overcharges, and theft from contractors in our lovely little cost-plus no-bid system. But saving money by screwing over wounded soldiers? Sign them up.

  5. 5
    Nicole says:

    You know, it’s funny, and not in a ha-ha way- I posted a link from here to another blog I frequent (wvincentz knows it. :) ) so that people could contribute to Project-Valour IT and got a really awful, vitriolic response from one of the self-proclaimed conservatives on the site about how he wasn’t about to contribute to something that was on a left-wing site-his description of BJ, not mine. (I responded that I imagine he would go to any length to be able to slap a yellow sticker on his car and call it a day of supporting the troops. I also posted a link to another site collecting for PV-IT called soldiers angels or something like that and said I hoped he’d reconsider.)

    I really think a lot of these people don’t give a flying fuck what happens to the troops- they’re just abstractions serving ideology, not real people. The troops are all well and good as long as it doesn’t cost them any of their own money. Yeah, it does make your blood boil.

  6. 6
    peach flavored shampoo says:

    I’m going to assume that Democrats here are at fault, because–as we all know–it’s the Democrats that hate the troops, and Republicans who support them. It’s a shame that the Pentagon is such a fascist liberal cesspool during this Bush term.

    Besides, if your missing a bunch of your body parts, how much health care do you really need? Probably only 1/3rd of what whole people need, right?

  7. 7
    4tehlulz says:

    >>what you fail to realize is that most everyone in the Bush administration has a yellow “We Support Our Troops” sticker on their car, so there.

    Or. more likely, a spot on their car where their yellow ribbon magnet used to be, but isn’t anymore.

  8. 8
    libarbarian says:

    Dishonorable and stupid.

    People don’t fight for you if they know you will abandon them in their hour of need.

    Fuck these cocksuckers!

  9. 9
    Zifnab says:

    But Citigroup really needs the money, John.

    Fuck Citigroup. We spend billions of dollars on ballistic missiles, high-end stealth bombers, nuclear submarines, EMP-shielded battleships and destroyers, the Osprey, the Channook, spy satellites, mock jets, and a host of other modern military marvels.

    But when it comes down to the most basic of gear – bullet proof vests, armor plated humvees, fucking band-aids – the US Military always seems in short supply.

    The bean-counters can always find millions of extra dollars for the newest armored personal carrier, but they can’t find the thousands of extra dollars for proper medical care. The priorities in this country have been ass backwards for a generation. I really hope Obama gets on that.

  10. 10

    […] Cole of Balloon Juice demonstrates the “utter bullshit” of soldiers being denied benefits for combat-related […]

  11. 11
    The Other Steve says:

    They volunteered though, John. So they all knew what they were getting into.

    It’s not like they were forced to go to Iraq.

  12. 12
    Svensker says:

    If those troops were really patriotic, they wouldn’t be back in the States whining about their injuries. They’d be in Iraq pertecting us from the S.N.’s — with one leg and one eye, if necessary! Bunch a wimps.

    /realamerican

  13. 13
    The Other Steve says:

    BTW, I’m listening to this weeks Marketplace podcast, and it starts off with a couple of people noting the idea of the 401k has proven to be a failure.

    I’m tending to agree somewhat. I’m looking at what I’ve put in, and what my return has been and I’m not terribly impressed.

  14. 14
    Cain says:

    @Nicole:

    I really think a lot of these people don’t give a flying fuck what happens to the troops- they’re just abstractions serving ideology, not real people. The troops are all well and good as long as it doesn’t cost them any of their own money. Yeah, it does make your blood boil.

    It’s a microcosm of what people think about abortion. They care for the life of the child up to the point of birth and then when it becomes a welfare baby nobody wants to pay for it. None of these guys will give one iota of money to help anybody who made a decision to keep their child. It’s the same damn thing. The conservative movement is the biggest sham in the world. A fake ideology that is based on money, self centeredness and fake patriotism.

    cain

  15. 15
    Jason S. says:

    My grandfather had a similar story. According to the Army he contracted malaria in Indiana.

    Six months after returning to Indiana after being stationed in the Phillippines during WWII, he came down with Malaria. While he was in the Phillippines and for the 6 months after he returned home, the army had him take a drug that suppressed the symptoms for malaria. Of course, once he stopped taking the drug his malaria symptoms emerged.

    As it turned out, the Army had a rule that any problems that developed 6 months or more after you came home were not combat-related.

    The troops must be expendable, apparently.

  16. 16
    Betsy says:

    This is even worse than when they wrote the word "hunger" out of the FDA report on…hunger. "Very low food security" just doesn’t have the same ring. I thought that was low. But this is outrageous, heartbreaking, infuriating.

  17. 17
    ksmiami says:

    My final post of the day: I want to put a silver bullet through the last vestiges of the Republican party, light it on fire and then bury the ashes in some remote Utah moonscape location. And yet, these bozos still get time on national TV as very serious people!

  18. 18
    ninerdave says:

    Narrowing the combat-related definition was necessary to preserve the “special distinction for those who incur disabilities while participating in the risk of combat, in contrast with those injured otherwise,” William J. Carr, deputy undersecretary of Defense

    Preserve the special distinction of being wounded in battle? You’ve got to be fucking kidding me. Save that for medals. Special distinction my ass. Personally I don’t care if a soldier stubs his toe walking down the street they should have medical care for it. Free universal care for soldiers for life.

  19. 19
    Dave says:

    >Or. more likely, a spot on their car where their yellow ribbon magnet used to be, but isn’t anymore.
     
    I see those faded impressions all the time on the backs of cars now. I guess it took about eight years for "magnetic patriotism" to recede. Now if only all those people would actually give a shit about the soldiers…
     
    We should do an audit of the military budget and then use some of the savings to make sure that every soldier has the equipment, housing, pay and care that they fucking deserve for being willing to put their life on the line for the rest of us. And if the GOP doesn’t like it, well, as the Good Bard said, they can go fuck themselves.

  20. 20
    Zifnab says:

    And if the GOP doesn’t like it, well, as the Good Bard said, they can go fuck themselves.

    I think I missed that bit from my English Lit class.

  21. 21
    Sophist FCD says:

    Narrowing the combat-related definition was necessary to preserve the “special distinction for those who incur disabilities while participating in the risk of combat, in contrast with those injured otherwise,” William J. Carr, deputy undersecretary of Defense…

    You know, if you took a poll of all those officially injured in ‘combat’ asking about what was more important to them, their ‘special status’ or taking care of their comrade’s medical needs, I would bet a million dollars (that I don’t have) that every last one of them would pick the latter. So, deputy Carr, you can take your weak rationalizations and your feigned concern for "the troops" and shove them right up your ass.

  22. 22
    Comrade Napoleon says:

    @ninerdave:

    Narrowing the combat-related definition was necessary to preserve the “special distinction for those who incur disabilities while participating in the risk of combat, in contrast with those injured otherwise,” William J. Carr, deputy undersecretary of Defense

    So in other words if you are sitting in the Green Zone in the middle of bagdad eating at the mess and incoming mortars kill you that is not combat related?

    Wow.

  23. 23
    Trollhattan says:

    Grrr, I’m imagining the smug bastards who came up with this clever scheme.

    On surface it reads like a cynical money-saving move, but since there’s not a shred of evidence that the administration is actually interested in doing anything but spending the stuff, I have to dig a little deeper into their tiny little reptile brains and conclude they’re actually gaming the dead/wounded statistics. It helps "prove" we won, the surge woiked, etc., etc…retch.

    Never mind the victims, now move along.

  24. 24
    Will Danz says:

    There’s a point at which words like "hypocrisy" are far too inadequate.

    We’re miles beyond that point.

  25. 25
    John S. says:

    Just stop the bullshit and give these guys what they are due.

    That’s a nice McCain solution in theory, but it doesn’t really hold up in practice.

    It took the Army almost 30 years to acknowledge that the Agent Orange they dropped on my uncle that seeped into his gunshot wounds was responsible for the myriad of health conditions he has experienced since.

    He’s finally on the 100% disability that he so rightly deserves (he is the youngest of three brothers and by far in the worst health), but he had to fight the VA for decades to get it.

  26. 26
    Will Danz says:

    @ninerdave:

    By the way, this un-America piece of shit William J. Carr should be fired, as should anyone responsible for this atrocity against our soldiers.

    Narrowing the combat-related definition was necessary to preserve the “special distinction for those who incur disabilities while participating in the risk of combat, in contrast with those injured otherwise,” William J. Carr, deputy undersecretary of Defense.

    Hey Carr, you shameless prick — being in a combat zone is in itself "participating in the risk of combat." You don’t always get to know when or how you’ll be attacked, obviously.

    This is goddamned disgusting.

  27. 27
    Screamin' Demon says:

    I see those faded impressions all the time on the backs of cars now. I guess it took about eight years for "magnetic patriotism" to recede.

    Magnetic yellow ribbons are still in vogue out west where I live. You see them mostly on Hummers, F-150s, Silverados, Explorers, Yukon Denalis, Dodge Rams, Suburbans.

    Blood for oil is okey-dokey with them.

    Just stop the bullshit and give these guys people what they are due.

    Fixed.

  28. 28
    garyb50 says:

    The stench of GWB’s shit mountain grows steadily – his crowning achievement.

  29. 29
    Punchy says:

    According to the Army he contracted malaria in Indiana.

    Coming from someone who grew up bordering that state, I can totally believe it. I’m only half-joking when I call it akin to a 3rd world country…

  30. 30
    Comrade Napoleon says:

    @Comrade Napoleon:

    After some thought, to expand, I guess I could understand their position if, for example, a soldier was killed driving from Base A to Base B in the US by some terrorist who unexpectedly infiltrated the country, but we are talking about in Iraq where there are no front lines and an attack could happen at any time. So you might be a cook who knows that your CO is not going to order you to go bayonet some Al Qaeda, or anything else that classically would be thought of as "combat", but it is also not exactly like cooking for the soldiers at Camp Pendleton. I have to think soldiers who are serving in "non-combat" positions like logistics and the like still have there stomach in a knot half the time when they have the uniform on and are anywhere in that country where the enemy could get to them. In essence you would think they are always on combat status. So to say when one of them is injured or killed by the enemy that it is not combat is simply sick.

  31. 31
    TenguPhule says:

    Failing to account for the costs of our actions will just make it easier to engage in this sort of stupidity again.

    QOTD.

  32. 32
    Notorious P.A.T. says:

    And when will the military stop voting for Repups?

    I don’t know how they voted, but word was that servicemen donated way more money to Obama than McCain. More to Ron Paul than McCain, too.

  33. 33
    TenguPhule says:

    William J. Carr, deputy undersecretary of Defense.

    And yet he’s got a government pension for life + wingnut welfare lobbying.

    Go figure.

    Perhaps if they required mandatory frontline service for all Pentagon officials at least 4 months out of the year they wouldn’t be so quick to short change the troops in equipment and benefits.

  34. 34
    Cain says:

    BTW anybody read that Hamdan is being sent back to Yemen to complete his detention. yay.

    cain

  35. 35
    Duke of Earl says:

    A kid in our neighborhood my daughter went to HS with came back from Iraq missing a leg, he was lucky, an RPG took it off but didn’t explode, if it had he would have been a red mist and they could have shipped his remains home in a baggie.

    Whenever I see him out playing with his little daughter I have to choke back tears of rage. These bushites knew exactly what they were doing and they knew exactly how Iraq was going to turn out. I’m not going to call them names because I can’t think of anything nearly vituperative enough to adequately express my anger.

    Here is Cheney in a 1994 interview using the "Q" word to explain why the US didn’t go all the way to Baghdad in the first Gulf war.

    Cheney 1994 interview

  36. 36
    Tymannosourus says:

    On my Nat’l Guard weekends, I am always the token democrat… and throughout this last election I’ve had to deal all sorts of nonsense repub arguments during our downtime discussions.

    I have a lot of theories about why the GOP has a corner on the troop market, but hopefully as the ranks get younger, and people start to see through BS like this, that will start to change.

  37. 37
    John PM says:

    I was able to track down Mr. Carr’s bio on the DOD website. He is a graduate of the USMA and has served as the Deputy Under Secretary for Military Personnel Policy since 2002. I think this paragraph from his biography is enlightening:

    Mr. Carr’s 20-year military career was performed in the field of military personnel management, including service as Chief of Enlisted Management for Army forces in Korea; he also served with the U.S. Army Military Personnel Center as enlisted strength and readiness manager for the Pacific — Korea, Panama, Hawaii — and as officer accession manager for Department of the Army. Mr. Carr worked with Armed Forces recruiting as commander of the Defense activity managing recruit-eligibility screening for Hawaii and the Pacific region.

    I believe the translation for his experience is "desk jockey." Therefore, I think it is perfectly understandable that he does not know anything about the "risk of combat."

  38. 38
    ibid says:

    Notwithstanding the fact that they should get every penny they deserve, failing to pay these folks will hide the true cost of war. These people are injured and scarred for life because of our desire to wage pre-emptive war. Failing to account for the costs of our actions will just make it easier to engage in this sort of stupidity again.

    Of course, the folks who are responsible for this are the same ones who are eager to engage in this sort of stupidity repeatedly. The fact that denying benefits hides the true cost of war is a feature, not a bug.

  39. 39
    Thoughtcrime says:

    @Zifnab:

    Here’s some words from a true patriot:

    "The real owners are the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians, they’re an irrelevancy.
    The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything.
    They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the statehouses, the city halls. They’ve got the judges in their back pockets. And they own all the big media companies, so that they control just about all of the news and information you hear. They’ve got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying – lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want; they want more for themselves and less for everybody else,"

    "But I’ll tell you what they don’t want, they don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests. They don’t want people who are smart enough to sit around the kitchen table and figure out how badly they’re getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fucking years ago. You know what they want? Obedient workers – people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork but just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, reduced benefits, the end of overtime and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it. And, now, they’re coming for your Social Security.
    They want your fucking retirement money. They want it back, so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They’ll get it. They’ll get it all, sooner or later, because they own this fucking place. It’s a big club, and you ain’t in it. You and I are not in the big club."

    -George Carlin

  40. 40
    jenniebee says:

    Failing to account for the costs of our actions will just make it easier to engage in this sort of stupidity again.

    You mean to tell me you haven’t been away from Jonestown Red State by now to tell the difference between a feature and a bug? Personally, I’ve just been wondering whether they plan on placing the blame for the final tally on unions, environmentalists, college professors, or that vets use too much health care (that’s why the prices are so high, my friends).

  41. 41
    Blue Raven says:

    Oh, dear gods. The fuckers better not try to make that retroactive. I have a good friend who fought for twelve years to get the Navy to admit her PTSD was directly related to her peacetime service because it was a fellow sailor who raped her and a Navy doctor who administered her subsequent abortion without anesthetic. The fight allowed her to go on full disability, something she desperately needed and still does.

  42. 42
    jenniebee says:

    @Zifnab: The Bible says that God told mankind to "go forth and multiply," but I have to wonder if maybe that isn’t just a positive reinterpretation of the words He actually used.

  43. 43
    HyperIon says:

    Two comments.

    First, this attitude is completely consistent with folks who vote against GI Bill education benefits because the existence of said benefits would incentivize leaving the military. So I’m not surprised by this.

    Second, last week I heard some big DC honcho (cannot remember whom) discussing defense budget cuts on NPR. He said: "Tricare for Life is too generous". That’s the plan that pretty much covers all prescriptions for military retirees (with a very nominal co-pay). My parents describe it as a life-saver. (My dad is a retired USAF master sargent.)

    I was talking on the phone with my Dad a few weeks ago about the economic problems; he opined "We own our house so I don’t see how this can be horrible for us." I asked what he would do if his military pension were reduced. Long silence. Evidently this possibility has never entered his mind. Eliminating Tricare for Life would be the same as a big pension cut.

  44. 44

    As you say, it’s not new. MacArthur and Ike broke up the Bonus Army in 1932.

  45. 45
    Cassidy says:

    Makes me wonder if these shits have considered the nature of what pissed off combat veta are capable of doing once we come home and get tired of being shit on.

  46. 46
    koan0215 says:

    Oh man this + the completely awful structure of the Citi bailout has me raaaaaaaaaging like it was 2005. It actually feels good man. Obama had calmed me down and gotten me complacent. Time to email my Senators again…

  47. 47
    Mwangangi says:

    I got out of the Army in 2000. This is part of the reason I said no when they asked me to come back in 2002. Because I had to argue and barter for my GI Bill. When they called me again in 2004 I laughed in the Sgt.’s face that they had calling when he was making offers and counter offers.

  48. 48
    Mr. Mises says:

    Are there any “conservative” blogs left run by real veterans that allow dissenting commenters?

  49. 49
    DrDave says:

    Just stop the bullshit and give these guys what they are due.

    This is actually one for writing or calling your elected representatives and demanding better treatment for these servicemen. Email or call now.

  50. 50
    jenniebee says:

    @Cassidy:

    Makes me wonder if these shits have considered the nature of what pissed off combat vets are capable of doing once we come home and get tired of being shit on.

    These folks who make a big stink over flag pins and bumper magnets and "talking about winning!" and who also vote to cut your healthcare and benefits and kevlar vests, they think you’re stupid.

    Sorry and no offense, but I don’t see any other logical conclusion to make here. They think you’re stupid. And quite a few of them think that they’re performing a service to their country as important as your service to your country when they "serve" America by working for hedge funds and selling credit default swaps. That’s what they think of you, that you’re well meaning but that you don’t have the brains to take down the entire economy in the name of Friedman freedom (it’s easy to mix those up, they sound so much alike), but they’re willing to forgive you for your dimness. It’s a division of labor, and if you’re willing to get shot at and poisoned and blown up to expand access into new markets, they’re willing to sit in air conditioned offices in Manhattan (which they have argued should be considered a combat zone) and exploit those markets. What they’re doing is important, and you should be grateful to them for doing their part; but for their efforts to make a few bucks for themselves the GDP, your sacrifices would have been in vain. It would be a crying shame to send all those brave and patriotic combat troops to their maiming and death and not have somebody make money out of it; that would be the greatest waste of all.

    They are self-delusional and self-important and amoral enough to believe it themselves, and they think that your patriotism and willingness to sacrifice is a sign of your inferiority to them. They don’t think that you’re stupid for believing their BS – they believe their BS – they think you’re stupid because to them, the natural order of things is that smart people make lots of money and people who don’t make lots of money are therefore not smart.

    For the record, they think I’m an idiot too. I make a decent dollar, but I get into all of these radical leftie things (is it ok to yell "bullshit" in a crowded boardroom?)

  51. 51
    Cain says:

    @Mr. Mises:

    Are there any “conservative” blogs left run by real veterans that allow dissenting commenters?

    This one? John is still "conservative", fiscally anyways. He’s obviously not your republican party republican and he is a Gulf War vet.

    cain

  52. 52
    srv says:

    @HyperIon:

    Tricare for Life would be the same as a big pension cut.

    Every time they touch Tricare, the retirees riot, so I wouldn’t worry too much. They’re not like all the sheep quietly accepting their 401k results. My mom described the last major Tricare ‘reform’ (since rethought) session at Carswell like an excerpt from the Southpark AARP Red Dawn episode.

    Where they get them is on prescriptions and copays.

  53. 53
    Atanarjuat says:

    I completely agree with your post, Mr. Cole, and it’s an outrage that so many members of the American military who are wounded in a war zone should be treated with such disregard — especially considering how they’ve sacrificed their health and well-being while serving their country.

    Along those lines, it should trouble you how the liberal mainstream media has stopped reporting about Iraq with the same frequency as before. While our men and women are being horribly injured or even dying in the Middle East, the LMSM has instead focused on celebrities more than ever, and how much taxpayer money we should shower on all these troubled firms begging for yet another bailout.

    It seems our priorities are all wrong.

    But then again, the Great Redistributionist won the Presidential election, so it’s just more proof that we are indeed in an upside-down world where the important is trivialized or ignored altogether (American troops in Iraq), and the truly trivial is glorified in order to distract us all from what really matters.

    And it’s probably only get worse after the end of January, 2009.

    -Country First.

  54. 54
    garyb50 says:

    That mountain of shit I mentioned earlier? Add Atanarjuat to the top of it.

  55. 55
    Faux News says:

    Garyb50 please do not feed the Atana-what’s-its-name Troll. Just ignore it. Now when Paul L deigns to throw his feces on this board, like the monkey he is, then that Troll is worth responding to.

  56. 56
    Goesph Gerbils says:

    Army Sgt. Lori Meshell shattered a hip and crushed her back and knees while diving for cover during a mortar attack in Iraq. She has undergone a hip replacement and knee reconstruction and needs at least three more surgeries.

    Well if Army Sgt. Lori Meshell wanted veteran’s benefits, she should have just stood up and taken the blast, shouldn’t she!

    I CAN HAS WINGNUT WELFARE SINECURE NAO? WANT CHEETOZE.

  57. 57
    TenguPhule says:

    Makes me wonder if these shits have considered the nature of what pissed off combat veta are capable of doing once we come home and get tired of being shit on.

    Given the decided lack of dead GOP/Pentagon/Bushmonkeys, I’d say they think they’re chumps who will shut up and take it.

  58. 58
    Tsulagi says:

    “I was blown up twice in Iraq, and my injuries weren’t combat-related?” Dixon said. “It’s the most imbecile thing I’ve ever seen.”

    I wouldn’t give it the “most” title, but yeah, something like that is a contender. Sad thing is most getting a similar decision would just accept it. They shouldn’t have to.

    One of my top priorities for a new president was and still is to go through all the federal agencies the current POS admin has bloated and sandbagged with incompetent Wingnuttian message keepers. Previous administrations coming to power would put their people in the top layers. This one with their faithful Monica Goodlings keeping watch on the middle and lower levels took that down virtually to the receptionist level.

    That happened not only at Justice but DoD as well. Rummy and his band of “stupidest fucker on Earth” brothers saw to that. I would hope that Obama through his cabinet secretaries will clean the stupid out, but after Lieberman example not sure what the odds of that would be.

  59. 59
    Notorious P.A.T. says:

    These folks who make a big stink over flag pins and bumper magnets and "talking about winning!" and who also vote to cut your healthcare and benefits and kevlar vests, they think you’re stupid.

    Well, people do tend to think everyone else is like them.

  60. 60
    dbrown says:

    But when it comes down to the most basic of gear – bullet proof vests, armor plated humvees, fucking band-aids – the US Military always seems in short supply.

    I developed a new, revolutionary armor that was 1/5 the weight of the army’s best armor with equal stopping power against all known threats (i.e. armor piercing bullets, shaped charged hyper-velocity jets and enhanced penetration fragments.)
    (aside, this was my thesis in college, and you can google cermet armor along with my last name brown and see the abstract if you care.)
    The navy paid for the army to test and prove these results and they did. The government sponsor then rejected my new armor as too heavy (they wanted me to lower the weight by half again.) I said impossible and appealed to the Pentagon and got the shock of my life.
    While my armor was far and away lighter and better performing than the best armor the army was buying (by a factor of two and would be far cheaper, too), they needed even lighter armor because protecting soldiers was not important but rather life cycle costs for vehicles (like a humvee transmissions, or engine repairs) was driving their desire for a lighter armor, not the level of protection for the (expendable) troops (an injured soldier costs came from a other pot of money. I refused to this day to get back into that game.

  61. 61
    Indylib says:

    My husband who is career Navy and I had a long (about 2 yrs) argument that started right before we invaded Iraq. I contended that the Bush Administration and the DOD muckety-mucks under Rumsfeld saw the people in the military as nothing but numbers. Not living, breathing human beings, but something more akin to pieces in a game of Risk. He disagreed vehemently with me at the time because he couldn’t stand the thought that these assholes didn’t give a shit about anyone in the military as people.

    It took me 2 years of pointing out every lying, bullshit thing the Bushwankers were pulling before he could even allow that I might be onto something. The Walter Reed crap was the final straw for him.

    He came around so far as to support Obama (I don’t think he had ever voted for a Dem. before in his entire life). And he tolerated some major crap at work for it.

    Most of the people over 35 in the military are conservative by nature. If you stay in the military for more than 15 years you already were or become comfortable with the idea of tradition, chain of command,etc. Right or wrong they associate this conservative military culture which does big change slowly with the larger big C conservative movement. That’s unlikely to ever change because progressive type people who join the military don’t make a career of it. So by the time you get to the higher ranks in either the officer or enlisted ranks you are left with the least progressive people.

  62. 62
    Mike G says:

    In a little-noticed regulation change in March, the military’s definition of combat-related disabilities was narrowed, costing some injured veterans thousands of dollars in lost benefits—and triggering outrage from veterans’ advocacy groups.

    Meanwhile, John McCain collects a 100% disability amounting to $58k tax-free a year, while declaring himself perfectly fit to run for the toughest job in the world.

    If McThuselah had a fraction of the copious ‘honor’ he likes to imagine himself possessing in quantities greater than any human alive, he would be out there fighting for wounded veterans to get the care they deserve. But as we saw with his gutless cave-in on torture, he’s nothing but a self-centered greedy egotistical hack looking out for number one.

  63. 63
    Trollhattan says:

    Literally, figuratively and technically impossible.

    QED

    Norman chattered:

    And it’s probably only get worse after the end of January, 2009.

  64. 64
    Tsulagi says:

    @dbrown: Another problem you might have had is you weren’t DHB Industries/Point Blank Body Armor then, or Armor Holdings now.

  65. 65
    TheAssInTheHatOnMyCat(Formerly Comrade Tax Analyst) says:

    Just stop the bullshit and give these guys what they are due.

    Yeah, John…that should definitely be the bottom line here. I read the same piece in this morning’s L.A. Times and share your level of disgust.

    What’s amazing and mind-blowing is how we just keep doing this time and time again to our wounded veterans. You can go back to the Viet Nam era and Agent Orange…same thing, denial of benefits and a bureaucratic nightmare for vets debilitated by this nasty crap. And back to WWI…I recall reading about veterans riots…and a violent, repressive government response to same.

    And isn’t it always the guys who bang the drum loudest for war – and shamelessly use injured vets for photo ops and propaganda – who are the first to shit on vets who risked everything for their country?

  66. 66
    Cataphract says:

    Atanar-whatever-the-f—,

    Then show that liberal media what’s up, join the Army, and go to Iraq and really support the troops. Grab a rifle and stand a post.

    It’s your yellow-sticker crowd that got the troops in this mess. People like you never supported them anyway. What do you care that Iraq isn’t getting reported? Your crowd never cared what happened over there from the beginning, and you probably never watched the news anyway.

    You’re just a typical Chicken-hawk clown.

    1st Squadron, 1st United States Cavalry, 1st Regiment of Dragoons–Blackhawk.

    Oh yeah–Country First, Country Last, Country Everything.

  67. 67
    AnneLaurie says:

    On surface it reads like a cynical money-saving move, but since there’s not a shred of evidence that the administration is actually interested in doing anything but spending the stuff, I have to dig a little deeper into their tiny little reptile brains and conclude they’re actually gaming the dead/wounded statistics. It helps "prove" we won, the surge woiked, etc., etc…retch.

    Heads they win, tails we lose.

    As Jenniebee pointed out. Hugh Hewitt (of "Bush is a misunderstood genius" notoriety) actually argued that showing up to "work" at the Empire State Building, potential terrorist target, made him just as much a FREEDOM FIGHTER as those sad-sack soldiers dodging IEDs in Iraq. Because to these Rethug narcissists, cheating crippled veterans is just gamesmanship, but potentially ‘confiscating’ any part of Huge Halfwit’s capital gains is a tragic crime against nature.

  68. 68
    postmodernprimate says:

    Empty platitudinal bullshit like flag lapel pins and "Support The Troops" bumper stickers mask the awful truth that we get off on war. It makes us feel powerful. It gives us a sense of purpose. ‘Us’ in this instance meaning anyone not involved in any actual combat. Experiencing actual combat in an actual war would most assuredly kill off any entertainment value, pun intended. Unfortunately, our all-volunteer army quarantines the consequences. Neither I nor any of my friends know a single person who served in Iraq or Afghanistan. I’m guessing my anecdotal experience is not so uncommon. Until this changes, the ugly side of war will be either ignored or treated as an unpatriotic nuisance.

  69. 69
    Jack says:

    Sometimes, karma strikes quickly. You participate in an invasion orchestrated by a criminal government with the intent of slaughtering innocents, you get screwed by the very government whose bloody wishes you were fulfilling.

  70. 70
    Person of Choler says:

    I will put this matter on the list of things for Obama to correct.

    Please let me know when he has taken care of it.

  71. 71
    Jim Dicken says:

    SOP for the worst President Ever.. VERY TRUE… Bill Clinton put these rules into operation. NOT Bush.
    Attempting to get them changed the Democrats stood in the way. NOW you might want to rethink what you say about Bushie.. 6 years into his presidency we were a great nation. Inflation was non-existent, gas prices were at 2.00 a gallon, and the economy was sailing along.
    A year after the Democrats took control of Congress?? Congress makes the laws, the president signs them. Bush tried to put the breaks on Fannie and Freddie the DEMOCRATS refused saying it was fine. Bush and the RepubliCANS tried to put some rules on loans but guys like Obama sued to continue the idiocy of making bad loans.
    Worst President Ever?? History will show that his actions had they been followed would have prevented the melt down. His actions after 9-11 prevented further attacks on US Soil, and his invasion of Iraq though botched by Rumsfeld prevented further deterioration of a worsening situation in the Middle East.
    When Iraq decided to use its nuclear weapon, you may decide we were right in preventing Iran from obtaining one. YEah I know they would not have built it, but there were plenty on the market from Former Soviet Sources.

  72. 72
  73. 73
    ThymeZone says:

    Sometimes, karma strikes quickly. You participate in an invasion orchestrated by a criminal government with the intent of slaughtering innocents, you get screwed by the very government whose bloody wishes you were fulfilling.

    Thanks, Jack. You provide cover for me. My theatrical rants piss off the gallery, to boost popcorn sales for my relatives in Indiana.

    But comments like yours are genuinely vile and stupid. Even if it was sarcasm, which seems unlikely, it has no redeeming value whatever.

  74. 74
    Svensker says:

    @Jim Dicken:

    You didn’t just drink the Kool-Aid, you filled up the pool and went swimming in it. But then it must have been hard to figure out how to drink with your head so far up your behind.

  75. 75
    ThymeZone says:

    You didn’t just drink the Kool-Aid

    Check his url, he is just here trolling for page views.

  76. 76
    Tymannosourus says:

    @Cataphract:

    I’ve already been there with this clown, "Atanarjuat."

    His sign off should read:

    "Country First, whenever I don’t come first."

  77. 77

    […] which can be saved for the actual confirmation (personally, I would like to know how he feels about the absolute nonsense we discussed yesterday), I would just like to say that if anyone was surprised by this, they simply have not been paying […]

  78. 78
    jj says:

    Jack’s comments are not vile and stupid.

    They are the white elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about.

    I say this as the child of a Korean War veteran and as a civilan employee of the DOD.

    Let’s be clear – we do not have a Department of Defense. That is a misnomer. We have WAR DEPARTMENT.

    Depending on the political winds of the moment, this WAR DEPARTMENT can be instructed by the nation’s civilian leaders to engage in acts that are on the one hand, constructive, justifiable and in keeping with this country’s stated principles, OR (wait for it) on the other hand the exact opposite.

    Since our civilian leaders (and their proxies at the highest levels of military leadership) have been proven to be untrustworthy and corrupt, the indisputable odds are that some of our wars may happen to be unconstructive, unjust, unprincipled, fundamentally murderous endeavors that serve no honorable purpose.

    I think Iraq comes perilously close to fitting the latter description.

    This is what the shiny ads, swaggering recruiters and false patriots riding stridently across the land in their SUVS have diliberately failed to effectively convey to the young people of this nation who make the choice to place their trust, their lives and their very honor in the hands of the military – that at some point you may be a part of an endeavor that absent the ethical cover of "serving ones country", would be classified by some as wrong, ethically indefensible or downright evil.

    When I think of men like my father, I am able to recognize that a lot of people who have made the choice to serve are conscientious enough to recognize and reconcile these ethical dillemas with their own beliefs.

    If you believe in things like Karma, divine justice etc. then it stands to reason that all choices have consequences and military service is not an exemption from the personal responsibility for one’s choices.

    Of course, this in no way justifies dirtbags at the Pentagon denying those who serve the benefits to which they are entitled, not only as a matter of policy but as a matter of principle.

  79. 79
    RememberNovember says:

    maybe they should change the defintion to "Not actually shot at or received bodily penetration by small arms fire"

    WTF?

  80. 80
    Tsulagi says:

    @jj:

    Jack’s comments are not vile and stupid.

    Jack’s comment is vile AND stupid.

    They are the white elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about.

    Utter bullshit. Gag me with a Birk.

  81. 81
    machine says:

    Screwing over injured vets is old news, transcending wartime, peacetime and ideology. I had an ongoing pas de duex with the VA for years over a back injury sustained in a night drop circa 1986. Others have had it much, much worse.

  82. 82
    TenguPhule says:

    His actions after 9-11 prevented further attacks on US Soil,

    Anthrax Attacks Mofo, can you remember it?

    Seconding John, DIAF.

  83. 83
    jj says:

    Utter bullshit. Gag me with a Birk.

    No what is utter bullshit is the huge blind spot our society has developed to the utter untrustworthiness of the M.I.C. and its civilian leadership.

    I don’t happen to believe in karma but the fact remains that we are encouraged, almost from the cradle to attribute honor and nobility to service in the armed forces, in spite of the fact that we’ve been lied into two disastrous wars by these people in the past 40 years.

    Wars that have on the whole, killed more innocent people than enemy soldiers. Wars that have maimed countless soldiers and squandered our limited resources.

    Acquiescence to the directives of corrupt institutions has consequences, even if you manage to get out with your skin intact.

    I struggle with this everyday I show up for work, so it’s saddening to see people pretending that their is any kind of moral safe ground here.

    There isn’t. For anybody. We are all dirty.

    Like I said before, these guys volunteered. They placed their lives on the line and have had their honor betrayed by corrupt and evil people, who have in a way, made them party to some pretty horrendous things. Nevertheless, they deserve their benefits.

    I’ll "choke on a birk" if ANY of you internet tough asses want to show up in DC and just try to feed it to me.

    In the meantime, you can respond to my post with a real argument or fuck off.

  84. 84
    Tsulagi says:

    @jj:
    Okay now that’s funny. You work yourself up with a ginned up “choke on a birk” challenge in your mind then grab your sack or clit to engage in some fanciful imagery vanquishing the challenger.

    Add to that the laugh from the intentional or unintentional symmetry in irony.

    On one side we’ve had the wingnuts who bleat Iraq is the most epicest struggle in American history. But when suggested they walk their talk by grabbing a rifle, like Cheney they have other priorities. Priorities like putting on a Purple Heart bandaid deriding anyone who doesn’t talk their talk and vote R as unpatriotic.

    Now we have you presumably on the liberal or progressive side. It would seem believing Iraq a most immoral war claiming soldiers share in and propagate that immorality. And while you don’t believe in karma like Jack, if they’re WIA or KIA possibly seeing that as justice of some sort for their participation in immoral action. Likely deriding any who don’t see it in those terms as also immoral. While working at DoD. Enabling OIF as much as any uniformed soldier in a support role. Hey, G.W. says “Thanks, buddy!” Guess you have other priorities too.

    But thanks for making it easy. For your first post in moronic argument and support in favor of Jack’s DIAF-worthy post, and for your one above, all the reply warranted and comment necessary to address the vapidity in both is…

    Utter bullshit. Gag me with a Birk.

  85. 85
    slightly_peeved says:

    I struggle with this everyday I show up for work.

    I know it’s glib, but someone complaining about how evil the company they choose to work for really doesn’t deserve any more of a response:

    /violin

  86. 86
    jj says:

    Tsulagi,

    My point was and remains that Jack’s comment is not stupid or vile. It is not something to be be dismissed out of hand because we don’t like its implications.

    I don’t think it would at all be a bad thing if we as citizens were more circumspect about the institutions we lend our support to, especially when that institution’s stock in trade is the use of deadly force against other human beings.

    That being said, the irony about where I work WAS in fact intentional and I’d like to point out that as a civilian, I have a lot more choices about where and on what I will work on than those in uniform.

    Even still, the war in Iraq has convinced me that I can’t remain employed here, despite the long term career benefits. So far I’ve been able to dodge a few bullets and avoid working on projects that I object to on a moral basis (e.g. Gitmo) but my plan is still to get out ASAP and go do something else. For my own peace of mind if nothing else.

    Jack’s post struck a nerve with me because these are issues I’ve been thinking about on a daily basis over the past 5 years and even though I don’t believe in Karma in the theist sense, I still feel an ethical obligation to question exactly what my ethical responsibility is in this whole mess.

    I apologize for the intemperance of my earlier post, I just think this issue deserves a more reasoned response than "eat a birk".

    But hey, what do I know. I just lurk here.

  87. 87
    d3ww3 says:

    I think 53 is Right,

    Watch:

  88. 88

    […] Cole at Balloon Juice does. Which is why he just wrote about attempts by the Bush Administration to deny combat benefits to soldiers who had been injured. He includes this bit of brilliance: And […]

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  1. […] Cole at Balloon Juice does. Which is why he just wrote about attempts by the Bush Administration to deny combat benefits to soldiers who had been injured. He includes this bit of brilliance: And […]

  2. […] which can be saved for the actual confirmation (personally, I would like to know how he feels about the absolute nonsense we discussed yesterday), I would just like to say that if anyone was surprised by this, they simply have not been paying […]

  3. […] Cole of Balloon Juice demonstrates the “utter bullshit” of soldiers being denied benefits for combat-related […]

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