08/23/2005: So much for resolve....
I was going to make today a Cindy Sheehan-free zone for 24 hours, but then I saw the Rasmussen polling results I mentioned below (which interested me), and then Larry Johnson had to go and post this. However, the Johnson post takes the interesting tack of addressing the Sheehan situation by removing Cindy and her son from the equation, and for that reason is worth a read:
Perhaps the conversation ought to start about the other seven men who died on April 4, 2004 in Sadr City.Another reason to read Mr. Johnson's post: Johnson reveals that one of the soldiers wounded in the attack that cost the lives of Casey Sheehan and his comrades was a distant relative of George W. Bush.
From the Army’s 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas were:
Sgt. Yihjyh L. Chen, 31, of Saipan, Marianas Protectorate.
Spc. Robert R. Arsiaga, 25, of San Antonio, Texas.
Spc. Stephen D. Hiller, 25, of Opelika, Ala.
Spc. Ahmed A. Cason, 24, of McCalla, Ala.
Spc. Israel Garza, 25, of Lubbock, Texas.
From the Army's 2nd Battalion, 37th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division, Ray Barracks, Friedberg, Germany was Sgt. Michael W. Mitchell, 25, of Porterville, Calif.
And, from Casey's unit, the 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas was Cpl. Forest J. Jostes, 22, of Albion, Ill.
Maybe George Bush could clarify why these men died. According to several press reports, they were attacked and killed by forces loyal to Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. And where is al-Sadr today? He's a player in the Shiite community in Iraq which is on the verge of installing Islam as the basis of government in Iraq. In effect, Casey and his comrades were killed by people whose leaders are on the verge of taking control in Iraq. It would be one thing if George Bush could tell Casey's mom and the moms of the other boys who died that their sons gave their lives to create a secular Iraq. But we now know that is not true. They gave their lives in a cause that is allowing some Islamic extremists loyal to Iran to play a major role in the "new" Iraq.
[emphasis added --LRC]
You'd think that being a relative of Bush's would get you some consideration when it came time to re-integrate you into civilian life, particularly if you've been wounded in Bush's Folly. Alas, not the case:
Brian survived. He received a purple heart from George Bush himself during his Easter 2004 visit with wounded troops at Fort Hood. But Brian has not fully recovered. Brian's mom ratted on him, telling me about Brian's current state. Then, only after I badgered him did Brian himself admit his difficulties to me. Brian is trying to handle things quietly and bravely, just as he did that day in Sadr City. Yet, he still faces more reconstructive surgery. What is really tragic is that he battles the demon of survivor's guilt. His mom tells me that, on bad days, he wonders why he was allowed to live and his buddies died. The good news is he still loves his country and is getting on with his life. What really sucks is that he is fighting the VA Bureaucracy to get his benefits. They still have not assigned him a disability status. He described his separation from the Army as a boot in the ass and good luck.One has to wonder, would wounded vets get the shaft like this if it was Jenna or Barbara Bush, rather than a mere "distant relative", who had come home a shattered wreck?
Brian and the other wounded vets deserve more than best wishes and good cheer. They have shed their blood in service to their country and deserve our full commitment.
The ultimate irony of this story is that Brian is a distant relative of George W. Bush (his mother tells me she learned of it while doing genealogical research).
Food for thought.
Len on 08.23.05 @ 07:17 AM CST