Saturday, April 21, 2007

"Patriotism" Really Means to Promote Interests of the Wealthy.

Today, patriotism in the USA has nothing to do with supporting our troops, our country, or the Constitution. Thomas Paine's version of patriotism no longer applies.

"My country is the world, all men are my brothers and to do good is my religion,"
Our current version of patriotism should read more like,

"My country is the corporate elite, all rich white men are my brothers, and to make the wealthy wealthier is my religion."

With US casualties at an all time high, on average, 80 per month, it makes no sense that injured troops struggle to get health care and military health benefits paid out are at an “all-time low” when taking into consideration troops injured currently number well over 20,000, mostly from severe life-changing injuries.

IEDs (improvised explosive devices) account for most of the injuries.
The average IED wound requires five surgeries, and it's estimated the Iraq war caused an estimated 28,000 to 30,000 surgeries, including more than 350 amputations. They are buried in the road, in dead animals or humans. The enemy triggers the IED by cell phone normally. These shells are often combined with shrapnel, such as steel nuts, bolts, or nails, cell phones, and many other items easily found in anyone's home, normally presenting no threat. The worst bombs are those with shrapnel covered in feces or decaying flesh, increasing the chance of secondary infections, which require many more surgeries and even more limb loss.

Iraq is the first war where military doctors have performed craniotomies — opening a person’s head and performing brain surgery — in the combat field. The Army's 31st Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad, the only U.S. medical facility in Iraq with CT-scan capability and neurosurgeons, regularly performs craniotomies. Back in 2004, surgeon, Lieutenant Colonel Jeff Poffenbarger said. "We've done more (craniotomy) in eight weeks than the previous neurosurgery team did in eight months."

In August of 2003, the Pentagon tried to cut the combat pay from $220 a month to $150,while at the same time designing a plan for the richest Americans to become "hyper-rich" Americans and conspire to maximize Halliburton and other similar corporation's profits.

Veteran disability benefits paid out today (April 2007) are less than before the Iraq War started. As Lieutenant Colonel, Michael Parker said,

"It went from 102,000 and change in 2001... and now it's down to 89,500," says Parker. "
How can this be? Military disability benefits have to be much more expensive taking into account the ever increasing severe injuries sustained during this war and the toll it takes on the soldiers and their families.

Retired Lt. Gen. James Terry Scott, chairman of the Veterans' Disability Benefits Commission studied veterans' disability benefits. At a Senate hearing last week, Scott said that his commission had compared the way the Pentagon and the VA rated the same soldiers. Scott said there could be an effort to keep costs down by rating the severity of soldiers' disabilities much less severe than they actually are. Scott said the Pentagon "has strong incentive to assign ratings less than 30 percent," the typical cutoff to determine whether a person can get lifetime retirement payments and health care.
"The Department of Defense records were matched with VA records on 2.6 million veterans receiving disability compensation," Scott said. "Those rated zero, 10 or 20 percent [disabled] by the Department of Defense were rated in the 30 to 100 percent range by VA more than half the time."
By assigning ratings of less than 30% the Pentagon can save, only having to cut checks for severance pay therefore avoiding paying out for full medical care for the soldier and his family.

Disregarding that this war was started and continues under false pretenses, one can buy all the yellow ribbons and "Support Our Troops" bumper stickers one wants but the soldier who sacrificed everything including what most of us take for granted, the ability to walk, talk, think, and enjoy a fairly decent quality of life will not benefit at all. I don't know how we can live with ourselves as we watch those that live in luxury gain so much at the expense of those who have sacrificed their lives and the lives of their families for this country.


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