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Four Color Politics

Mainly the Quotes of the Morning, with occasional Other Crap.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: Supporting the Troops (Afterwards)

“Ok. I made it back from vacation, but I’m not yet ready to deal with a lot yet, so let’s just chat a second about our American troops who are protecting us from terrorism overseas. There’s no sarcasm involved when I say that these brave men and women fighting in the military for us deserve only our best, and since Fearless Leader, as we know, is 110% behind the troops you can imagine that our injured troops receive only the best of care.”

“Behind the door of Army Spec. Jeremy Duncan's room, part of the wall is torn and hangs in the air, weighted down with black mold. When the wounded combat engineer stands in his shower and looks up, he can see the bathtub on the floor above through a rotted hole. The entire building, constructed between the world wars, often smells like greasy carry-out. Signs of neglect are everywhere: mouse droppings, belly-up cockroaches, stained carpets, cheap mattresses.

This is the world of Building 18, not the kind of place where Duncan expected to recover when he was evacuated to Walter Reed Army Medical Center from Iraq last February with a broken neck and a shredded left ear, nearly dead from blood loss. But the old lodge, just outside the gates of the hospital and five miles up the road from the White House, has housed hundreds of maimed soldiers recuperating from injuries suffered in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
-Washington Post, February 18, 2007

“That can’t be right. These people deserve our best, not cockroaches and black mold. This must be a mistake, or maybe just a temporary thing to help deal with the large number of troops that we have that are surviving attacks.”

A pale scar creates a deep furrow connecting [Pvt. Robert Van Antwerp] Van Antwerp’s eyebrows. Doctors replaced bone with titanium after he fractured his skull. Bare-chested as he trimmed, Van Antwerp has a deep, laddered line from beneath his sternum to at least the top of his sweatpants. A blast ruptured his spleen and ripped out his colon. Pushing up his left pant leg as he told his battle story, Van Antwerp showed where three ligaments tore away from his knee, and then pointed out the scar from his broken tibia.

Above his heart, the ranks and last names of two dead friends are etched in ink. But he calls a friend to ask their first names. Short-term memory loss arrived for Van Antwerp in the same attack that killed his buddies.

Yet when it was time for the Army to take care of him, one of its wounded warriors, Van Antwerp gave up before he even began. Rather than fight for a higher disability rating, he quietly signed for 20 percent — and no medical benefits — saying he knew he couldn’t do better. He inherited his father’s stubbornness, he said, and refused to ask anyone to pull strings based on his dad’s rank. Then his first medical board counselor, the person who would help him make his way through the medical evaluation board system, left. The second, he said, ‘wasn’t on the ball.’
‘The Army is trying to give you the lowest amount of money possible,’ he said.”
-Washington Post, February 19, 2007

“Sgt. David Thomas, a gunner with the Tennessee National Guard, spent his first three months at Walter Reed with no decent clothes; medics in Samarra had cut off his uniform. Heavily drugged, missing one leg and suffering from traumatic brain injury, David, 42, was finally told by a physical therapist to go to the Red Cross office, where he was given a T-shirt and sweat pants. He was awarded a Purple Heart but had no underwear.”
-Washington Post, February 19, 2007

“Man… That does not sound good. It sounds like they are just slapping something together to deal with the injured veterans. Our troops deserve more. How could this have happened?”


“’We are looking more and more like the Democrats we replaced,’ a House committee chairman told me Wednesday. That comment came before he learned, to his surprise and sorrow, that the House Republican leadership had removed Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey as chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee. The extraordinary purge buttressed the growing impression of arrogance as Republicans enter their second decade of power in the House.
The party's House leaders purportedly removed Smith, a tireless promoter of spending for veterans, to save money. But two days earlier, the same leaders pulled every string during a closed-door caucus to defeat reforms against pork barrel spending. Those disparate moves are united by a common purpose of making decisions from the top down. Smith was a committee chairman who did not take orders. The defeated spending reforms came from conservatives outside the leadership.
Obsession with centralizing authority by the leadership does not precisely fit the pattern set by Democrats during 40 years of ruling the House. But the new majority party resembles the old one in this sense: having long been in power, they act as though they are sure they will keep it forever. That attitude manifested itself in determination to get rid of Chris Smith.
The leadership's problem with Smith has been his insatiable desire to make life better for veterans during 24 years on the Veterans Affairs committee (six years as vice chairman, four years as chairman).”
-Robert Novak, January 10, 2005

“Thanks to AmericaBlog for finding today’s Quotes.”


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