Showing posts with label soldiers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label soldiers. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Pentagon Rag

Come on all of you big strong men
Uncle Sam needs your help again

He's got himself in a terrible crack

Way down yonder in ol' I-raq

So put down your books and pick up a gun

We're gonna have a whole lotta fun

And it's one, two, three, what are we fighting for?

Don't ask me I don't give a damn, next stop might be I-ran

And it's five, six, seven, call up the collections guy

There ain't no time to wonder why, too bad we didn't die.

(Apologies to Country Joe and the Fish.)

WHERE IS COUNTRY JOE McDONALD, anyway? Particularly when you need him to write a new protest song about the vermin we've put in charge of running things in this country, 40 years after he wrote about the then-vermin we put in charge of running this country.

But I don't know that the old vermin had anything on the new vermin, who are pulling crap
like this:
After two combat tours in Iraq on a "quick reaction team" that picked up body parts after suicide bombings, Donald Schmidt began suffering from nightmares and paranoia. Then he had a nervous breakdown.

The military discharged Schmidt last Oct. 31 for problems they said resulted not from post-traumatic stress disorder but rather from a personality disorder that pre-dated his military service.

Schmidt's mother, Patrice Semtner-Myers, says her son was told that if he agreed to leave the Army he'd get full benefits. Earlier this month, however, they got a bill in the mail from a collection agency working for the government, demanding that he repay his re-enlistment bonus, plus interest — $14,597.72.

Schmidt, 23, who lives near Peoria, Ill., is one of more than 22,000 service members the military has discharged in recent years for "pre-existing personality disorders" it says were missed when they signed up.

"They used these guys up, and now they're done with them and they're throwing them away," Semtner-Myers said.

Her frustration extends to Capitol Hill, where the stage is being set for a confrontation between Congress and the Pentagon.

Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, calls the treatment of these troops "disgraceful."

"If they have personality disorders, how did they get in the military in the first place?" Filner asks. "You either have taken a kid below the standards, in which case you've got obligations after you send him to war, or you're putting these kids' futures in danger with false diagnoses. Either way it's criminal."

The Pentagon defends its policy.

"No military in the history of the world has done more to identify, evaluate, prevent and treat the mental health needs and concerns of its personnel," Defense Department spokeswoman Cynthia O. Smith said. All cases of personality disorder discharges are diagnosed by a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist, and troops receive some benefits including health care, life insurance and education, she said.

Filner isn't buying it.

"These young people are being lied to and manipulated," he said. "We deny them proper classification so they can't get benefits, then they get this bill for a prorated signing bonus."

In the Senate, Missouri Republican Christopher "Kit" Bond, along with Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., is leading an effort to force the Pentagon to change its practice. Bond says it appears worse than the scandal earlier this year over poor conditions at Walter Reed hospital.

"This is a very sad story," Bond says. "We are fortunate enough to bring many severely wounded soldiers and Marines home, but we're not dealing with their mental health problems. They need help, not a discharge because some phony pre-existing condition is brought up."
NOT TO MENTION related crap like this:
The U.S. Military is demanding that thousands of wounded service personnel give back signing bonuses because they are unable to serve out their commitments.

To get people to sign up, the military gives enlistment bonuses up to $30,000 in some cases.

Now men and women who have lost arms, legs, eyesight, hearing and can no longer serve are being ordered to pay some of that money back.

One of them is Jordan Fox, a young soldier from the South Hills.

He finds solace in the hundreds of boxes he loads onto a truck in Carnegie. In each box is a care package that will be sent to a man or woman serving in Iraq. It was in his name Operation Pittsburgh Pride was started.

Fox was seriously injured when a roadside bomb blew up his vehicle. He was knocked unconscious. His back was injured and lost all vision in his right eye.

A few months later Fox was sent home. His injuries prohibited him from fulfilling three months of his commitment. A few days ago, he received a letter from the military demanding nearly $3,000 of his signing bonus back.

"I tried to do my best and serve my country. I was unfortunately hurt in the process. Now they're telling me they want their money back," he explained.

It's a slap for Fox's mother, Susan Wardezak, who met with President Bush in Pittsburgh last May. He thanked her for starting Operation Pittsburgh Pride which has sent approximately 4,000 care packages.

He then sent her a letter expressing his concern over her son's injuries, so she cannot understand the U.S. Government's apparent lack of concern over injuries to countless U.S. Soldiers and demands that they return their bonuses.

While he's unsure of his future, Fox says he's unwavering in his commitment to his country.

"I'd do it all over again... because I'm proud of the discipline that I learned. I'm proud to have done something for my country," he said.
I DON'T KNOW what I can say about something this mind-numbingly dishonorable and wicked -- except this: A country that mistreats, uses and abuses those few who have sacrificed so much while so many engage in idle (and idol) pursuits is wholly unworthy of that sacrifice.

Wholly unworthy.

Judgment Day is coming, people. Judgment Day is coming.