President Bush Owes Troops An Apology
The baying pack of belligerent draft dodgers – Messrs. Bush, Cheney and Limbaugh – were out in verbal force this week against John Kerry. The Senator miscued a joke about Bush by reading without the “us” in the line, “You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq. Just ask President Bush.” The missing of the “us” word gave the messianic militarists an opening to demand that Kerry apologize to the U.S. troops for his “insulting” and “shameful” remarks.
Interesting isn’t it, how a mis-reading of a word can be seen as
cause for apology when thousands of illegal and destructive deeds and
tortures constitute the Bush regime’s “business as usual.”
There will likely be no apologies from Bush/Cheney for putting U.S.
soldiers into a fabricated war-quagmire – a disastrous, costly
boomeranging invasion. But to set the record straight about who should
apologize, here are on the ground reasons for nine Bush/Cheney mea
1. FAILURE TO PROVIDE ADEQUATE BODY ARMOR AND TRUCK ARMOR IN A TIMELY FASHION.
A Pentagon study found that “as many as 80 percent of the marines
who have been killed in Iraq from wounds to the upper body could have
survived if they had had extra body armor,” according to a New York
Times report. Hundreds of soldiers died who could have been saved.
The Washington Post reported “that in some places in Iraq the U.S.
military could provide only one Interceptor vest with protective plates
for every three U.S. soldiers.”
2. FAILURE TO ACCURATELY REPORT CASUALTIES.
The Bush administration has undercounted injuries to soldiers in
Iraq to hold down opposition to the war. Injuries that were not
incurred in the middle of battle are not part of the official casualty
count by the Bush Administration. Cases of diseases, such as thousands
of Sand Fly afflictions, are not even counted. This disrespects these
soldiers and their families to bolster a cynical political calculation.
3. FAILURE TO PROVIDE SUFFICIENT TROOP STRENGTH IN IRAQ
The Washington Times reports that retired military leaders who
served in Iraq said that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld “ignored
advice for more troops, failed to make a post- invasion plan or equip
troops properly and hid information from the public.”
“I believe that Secretary Rumsfeld and others in the administration
did not tell the American people the truth for fear of losing support
for the war in Iraq,” retired Army Maj. Gen. John R.S. Batiste told the
panel. Mr. Batiste, a self-described Republican who has been
criticizing Mr. Rumsfeld for months, said the secretary “forbade
military planners from developing plans for securing a postwar Iraq”
and helped create the current insurgency by ignoring the potential for
one, though it was “an absolute certainty.”
Retired Army Maj. General Paul D. Eaton, who criticized Mr. Rumsfeld
in the New York Times last spring, said the post-invasion effort in
Iraq is about 60,000 troops short of what it needs for success and that
the Army “is in terrible shape,” lacking proper equipment and resources.
President Bush should never have invaded Iraq, but whenever troops
are deployed they should be at levels which are necessary to protect
the civilian population — an obligation military occupiers are
required, under international law, to fulfill. Hundreds of thousands of
innocent Iraqi women, men and children have become the casualties of
4. FAILURE TO PROVIDE TROOPS IN IRAQ WITH SAFE DRINKING WATER.
Former Halliburton employees and army officials have testified
before Congress that Halliburton provided our troops in Iraq with very
contaminated water, which the troops used to shower, wash their hands
and their faces, brush their teeth, wash their clothes, and sometimes
even make coffee.
5. Sending part-time soldiers from the Reserves and National Guard
on dangerous missions – such as roadside mine searches – without
anything resembling adequate training.
6. FAILING TO CARE FOR RETURNING TROOPS.
The Knight Ridder News Service reported that the Government
Accountability Office found that the Veterans Administration “badly
underestimated how many soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan
might seek medical and other services, in part because of problems in
getting accurate information from the Pentagon.” Consequently many
returning troops have had difficulty getting prompt medical attention.
7. FAILURE TO HELP VETERANS WITH POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD).
The Washington Post reports that a Government Accountability Office
report concluded: “Nearly four in five service members returning from
the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who were found to be at risk for
post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were never referred by government
clinicians for further help…”
8. FAILURE TO PROTECT SOLDIERS AND VETERANS FROM OFF-BASE SCAMS.
The New York Times reports that “several financial services
companies or their agents are using questionable tactics on military
bases to sell insurance and investments that may not fit the needs of
people in uniform.” USA TODAY reports that a Defense Department report
said “the average borrower pays $827 on a $339 loan and called the
lending predatory.” A recently passed law will cap interest rates at 36
percent. The Defense Department should have cracked down on the
corporate and economic predators that prey on military personnel and
9. FAILURE TO ADEQUATELY PAY TROOPS WHEN ABROAD AND WHEN INJURED.
The Baltimore Sun reports that deployment in Iraq is “taking a
financial toll on part-time soldiers who make up about half of the
150,000 troops there. Forty-one percent of National Guard and Reserve
soldiers are losing thousands of dollars through a “pay gap” between
their civilian salary and military pay…”
These inexcusable, contemptuous indifferences to the well-being of
the soldiers, combined with the rush to wage an unnecessary, immoral
and unconstitutional war, characterized by corrupt, wasteful
contracting debacles of unprecedented proportions, should compel
President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney not only to
apologize, but to resign.