March 7, 2007

"Support the Troops" indeed

Nothing more annoying that people who, as Tony Snow tried to deny, repeat a mantra of "support the troops" while at the same time privatizing their care, cutting VA benefits, cutting research into brain injuries, and, as we see from Walter Reed, completely abandoning them after they receive initial care.
Nathan is equally annoyed at the lack of consistency among the so-called "pro-military" crowd:
"If one says “I support our troops”, that must carry over beyond sending them care packages to the desert or putting a tacky magnet on a vehicle. “I support our troops” also means “I support our troops by guaranteeing the best medical care to treat them after their physical and mental injuries."

I agree. I have asked conservatives if there wasn't a contradiction between parading their military members through their church services, slapping yellow magnets on their car (the Daily Show had a great bit on that last night including a car covered in yellow ribbons) and then voting for people who consistently undermined the health and welfare of the troops. I have yet to hear a consistent response, and am baffled at how often liberals are portrayed as anti-military.


Dave said...

I think liberals profoundly misunderstand conservatives. When something like Walter Reed happens liberals think it's because of neglect, and maybe Republicans don't notice because they're not too bright. I think this is wrong.

Walter Reed was working perfectly as far as conservatives were concerned. If the government mollycoddles its patients, they'll never be able to function on their own again. You don't want to make the hospital too nice, or soldiers will want to stay there. What they really need is tough love, not more fancy equipment.

For conservatives, degrading the services available at Walter Reed IS supporting the troops. Liberals, with there soft pillows and trained doctors and rat-free operating theaters are just turning our soldiers into pansies.

Why do you hate America, liberals!? Support our troops. Leave Walter Reed alone.

Streak said...

Heh. Same with armored Humvees. :)

steve s said...

Har har. When the dems were in power, Walter Reed and the VA were examples of perfect care. Vets swam in rivers of chocolate and helicopters took them to and from their appointments.

As bad as it is at Reed, I have a firend that used to work at a VA hospital and I know several people that depend on the VA for care. This is nothing new and the dems presided over shoddy care, too.

Streak said...

Steve, I think you are getting a little defensive here. I have acknowledged that Democrats will fail us and have failed us at many levels. The point about Walter Reed is that it is Republicans who play the pro-military card and the super patriot card. As a liberal, I have had to assure conservatives that I am not anti-American. Conservatives never have to do that. They claim the flag, they claim patriotism, and they claim an exclusive tie to the military. Bill Clinton was nearly a traitor because he avoided service in VN, but the same conservatives who pilloried him turned George Bush into a war hero rather than a drunk rich kid who used his daddy to keep him out.

When they undermine the military, it isn't just shoddy care. It is hypocrisy at a pretty amazing level.

Now it may be me getting defensive, I concede, but I have always resented how easily conservatives could doubt the loyalty of a liberal. You didn't do that, of course, but that is why this Walter Reed is bigger than just another government scandal.

steve s said...

Sorry, I was in an ornery mood when I wrote that.

People's anti-Americanism should be based on their actions and words, not their party affiliation. Saying someone is not "patriotic" if they are a _______ is lazy.

Streak said...

Steve, no worries. Why should you be any different than me. Hell, I am snippy all the time. :)

steve s said...

Ok. I did some research and e-mailed a few people that know far more about the VA than I do.

One thing I learned was that the VA sucks (to put it mildly) and their hospitals are substandard. There have been some improvements in the last decade, Walter Reed notwithstanding, but they are still not what they need to be.

Many vets want privatization. Unlike some most of my conservative friends, I am not 100% behind privatization. There are just some things and services that should not be privatized.

That being said, the VA could close all of their hospitals and start and insurance program for vets. They could use it a regular hospital or a regular doctor and it would work just like BC/BS.

A vet friend of mine lives in the UP of Michigan, which for those of you unfamiliar with Michigan, is pretty rural. He has problems associated with age and being wounded in WWII. For him to go to the VA Hostpital, he has to drive about 100 miles. This is a major hardship, as his health isn't all that great and his wife is unable to drive. His son is happy to do it, but these trips will often take an entire day. There are several hospitals that are much closer.

Streak said...

Steve, like I said, I have no doubt that the VA problems are much deeper than this last 6 years, but I also suspect that this war has put far more pressure on an already failed system. Perhaps a war-hungry president might want to make sure he is taking care of people he sends to die.

Interesting about privatization and I don't doubt there should be some kind of adjustment to the way vets get care. The situation you describe of people having to drive all that way sound only too familiar and true. But isn't part of the problem with Walter Reed that Bush people replaced those who managed the hospital with private contractors close to Bush and Cheney?