“Support” Our Troops

I’d like to believe this scandal — this nationwide collection of scandals — will finally be treated with the seriousness it deserves, and remedied to the extent possible. We’ve got a lot of veterans who need the care we promised them, now and going forward for the next several decades. But I suspect Mr. Charles P. Pierce has the truth of it:

The problem with the VA system right now is that, for an entire decade, we sent people into the meat grinder of a war the architects of which conducted completely off the books. They kept it off the books used to keep the federal budget, and they did all they could to keep it off the books of the nation’s moral conscience as well. They lied and they cooked their estimates on everything far worse than did the likely criminals who fudged the documentation at the hospital in Phoenix. The whole country was awash in the moral equivalent of a Ponzi scheme, all glistening and shiny and bedecked in bunting. Meanwhile, the physical, financial, and moral cost of it all built up and built up until the scheme got bigger and more complicated and, ultimately, it became untenable. And now, the people who launched it in the first place are tut-tutting about what happened when the whole thing finally collapsed. The one thing to remember about a Ponzi scheme is that the people who get in first get paid off. They got their war. They profited from the double-entry bookkeeping they kept on the national conscience and, now, there’s a Democratic president, and a whole lot of injured veterans, who end up holding the bag.

… Now, there will be a lot of stuff and nonsense about reforming the whole system — privatizing it, so that it more closely resembles the wonderful health-care system we had before the Kenyan Usurper cast his socialist spells upon the republic — and there will be a great deal of posturing from both sides about the “debt” we owe to our “wounded warriors.” But, as we all know, you can’t solve any problem by “just throwing money at it.” The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, which has been completely mad since before Reagan closed all those counseling centers, pointed that out to us just today. But, ultimately, Bernie Sanders is completely correct about it all. If you don’t want to pay all the real costs of taking the nation to war, then don’t take it to war at all. It is, after all, criminal naivete to be shocked by the inevitable.

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22 replies
  1. 1
    MattF says:

    Hey, ‘Mission Accomplished.’

  2. 2
    MikeJ says:

    Why is it that everything that is a scandal the Republicans have filibustered spending on the subject in the previous months? VA and embassy security both.

  3. 3
    John Revolta says:

    “Fortunate Son” by CCR.

    Wait, what? This isn’t the greatest song thread?

    Well, I’ll leave it here anyway.

  4. 4
    Roger Moore says:

    That tweet is going to leave a mark, as well it should. One more example of Obama being blamed for the bad consequences of the Republicans’ actions.

  5. 5
    Baud says:

    If you don’t want to pay all the real costs of taking the nation to war, then don’t take it to war at all.

    Reminds me of this classic:

    Archie Bunker: I ain’t talkin’ about that war!Goddammit I don’t want to talk about that Goddamn war no more! I’m talkin’ about somethin’ else! And what he done was wrong! Sayin’ he won’t go! Whaddya think, the old people of this country can say whether or not they wanna go to war? You couldn’t get a decent war off the ground that way! All the young people would say no – sure they would! Cause they don’t wanna get killed! And that’s why we leave it to the Congress, cause them old quacks ain’t gonna get killed! And they’re gonna do the right thing, and get behind the president and vote yes!

  6. 6
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @MikeJ:

    Why is it that everything that is a scandal the Republicans have filibustered spending on the subject in the previous months? VA and embassy security both.

    It’s a puzzlement.

  7. 7
  8. 8
    Baud says:

    @David Koch:

    It really is. Thanks.

  9. 9
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    #NominateMcCain

    And also, ask some of the physicians in Congress — Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey, Rand Paul, Tom Coburn, etc. — whether they want to fill one of those 400 VA vacancies.

  10. 10
    efgoldman says:

    @pseudonymous in nc:

    Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey, Rand Paul, Tom Coburn, etc.

    Would you really want one of them to treat you or a loved one?

  11. 11
    Jay C says:

    How timely – a more appropriate home for my comment...

    Good news and bad news today: the good part:

    SGT Bowe Bergdahl, the last (only) US military POW held in Afghanistan was freed today .
    Bergdahl, of Hailey, ID had been held prisoner since June, 2009/ He was exchanged for five Taliban high-rankers who had been held at Guantanamo Bay: they were turned over to officials in Qatar (who had helped broker the deal).

    The bad news? In among all the outpouring of support and gratitude for Sgt Bergdahl’s release: who, do you think, has decided to piss on the parade by griping about the President’s negotiations? Well, if you guessed “Republican lawmakers”, you’d be correct! Oh, and the alternative answer of “John McCain” would also be right.

  12. 12
  13. 13
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:

    @efgoldman:

    I think they should treat each other’s loved ones and be paid in chickens. Why? Well, obviously, Benghazi!!!

  14. 14
    efgoldman says:

    @Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers):

    I think they should treat each other’s loved ones….

    ‘Specially the wimmins!

  15. 15
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:

    @efgoldman:

    We could probably make a special video-game out of it: Call of Duty: Night of the Undead Doctors. Maybe have a special twofer pack with Call of Duty: Heroes of Dressage, which doesn’t seem to be selling as well as we had hoped.

  16. 16
    Roger Moore says:

    @efgoldman:

    ‘Specially the wimmins!

    Sorry, but too many OB/GYN’s aren’t able to practice their love with women all across the country. I know, because George W. Bush told me so.

  17. 17
    bjacques says:

    Read “Back Home,” by Bil Mauldin, the famous WWII cartoonist. He had choice words about the people behind the rotten state of VA hospitals even in 1945. Just or unjust war, some are out to screw servicemen (and -women) every which way. Mauldin also didn’t think much of the American Legion.

  18. 18
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @bjacques: And rightfully so. The American Legion has always been more in line with Stahlhelm than with any actual crosssectional group of American veterans.

  19. 19
    mclaren says:

    Anyone who thinks that the United States government has ever “honored” its war veterans is deluded and gullible and ignorant beyond belief.

    Ever since the Bonus Marchers got shafted by the U.S. government and ridden down by armed troops with sabers, America’s government has treated its war veterans with total contempt and utter disgust. A U.S. citizen who fights in one of America’s wars is treated by our leaders and our government like a turd on the pavement, something to be shunned and avoided and dumped into the garbage if possible.

    The attitude of America’s leaders toward our troops is clear:

    “Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.” — Henry Kissinger, quoted in quoted in Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, The Final Days (Simon & Schuster, 2005), Chapter 14.

    The so-called “contract” citizens sign with the U.S. government upon enlistment into the armed forces is legally binding upon the citizens, but not upon the U.S. government. As a result, Americans who enlist in the U.S. military are constantly getting screwed and abused and lied to and misused and scammed by our government, and they have no legal recourse — as in this most recent case where the U.S. government lied to and abused a bunch of air force recruits.

    Entering into a legal agreement with the U.S. government to serve in the armed forces today is like signing a contract with Don Corleone. Only a fool would do it.

  20. 20
    Ruckus says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    Dad belonged to the legion. I wondered why I didn’t care for it at all. I think he went there for the camaraderie, some place to hang with people that had similar experiences as him in WWII as he was pretty much live and let live. But then he was also a mason and a shriner so who the hell knows.

  21. 21
    Arclite says:

    McCain is right. Treatment of veterans in Arizona is disgraceful. If only there were a prominent veteran in Arizona who could have helped

    Okay, that right there is comedy gold. Like something you’d see on the Daily Show.

  22. 22
    RSR says:

    an excuse to privatize a system by failing it? Sure sounds familiar. I’ll bet if I had some better teachers I’d remember. Think I’ll send my kids to the charter school instead.

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