*warning: this blog posting is another rant against the chicken-hawk president's little war in Iraq and has language chicken-hawks may deem offensive.
As I prepare to take my dad to the VA Hospital tomorrow, I am reminded of how much America gives lip service to its veterans, but treats them with little of the respect they should be accorded.
Sure, on 2 or 3 days per year we say a few nice things about their sacrifice and the commander-in-chief uses them as photo ops any time he can. But, sadly, most people do not know how many earned and promised entitlements have been taken from them in recent years. The Defense Department, headed by bean counters and political loyalists, seems to have little understanding of what a typical veteran lives like. Continuously, things they earned are taken from them, such as free medical/ dental care for Retirees for life. My father was sent to risk his life for little pay on the promise that he would be taken care of for life. Throughout my life I watched as the government and VA have cut the budget for veteran care, with no outcry from the general public.
But, the federal government would rather use funds for public relations and pork barrels than pay for hearing aids for a man that lost much of his hearing during WWII because his medic office was between 2 of the big guns on a destroyer tender. They would rather tell him that he was "not in combat" in the Pacific Theatre, because he did not fire the guns himself or invade the islands. Because he saved lives on a ship, he is not entitled to such benefits.
Of course, this is not of particular importance to members of this administration due to their lack of military service (same with Clinton's administration). Along with Congress, they would rather send poor kids to serve and die in foreign countries to protect their precious freedom instead of sacrifice for themselves. Even more sickening to my conscience is the number of CHICKEN-HAWKS trumpeting the virtues of the military-industrial complex, the need for military action in the Middle East and the constant justification for this war and the death of young Americans in their place, all while sitting in the comfort of a television or radio studio (Limbaugh and the ilk), a seminary classroom (the staff of SBC seminaries), or in front of a computer (many bloggers) having never had the guts to put their "beliefs" to the test by signing up for the military or encouraging their children to enlist. I have no respect for the militaristic convictions of such people.
Interestingly, much of my pacifistic belief system comes from living close to the military and a proud veteran. My father retired, lest he deal with a 3rd war (each less justified than the previous war). I heard from a hero about the disaster of Vietnam. I was banned from joining the military after high school by my father (a career enlisted man) and encouraged to only join the Air Force or Navy as a Chaplain or lawyer (I tried as a Chaplain but there was a freeze).
As I have said before, and I will trumpet until this President's war and power is finished, if you support this war, then volunteer at your local recruitment office (they need you). Call upon your congressman to send his or her kid to the recruitment office (if they voted for this war). Click here to read how one Pro-War Chicken-Hawk politician reacted when the press (doing its job) by asking if he would encourage his child to join the army.
Lastly, hear me once more... "I will never vote for a president to be in charge of sending kids to die in foreign countries, if they did not have the guts to serve in the military themselves." It should be something you decide when you are a kid. I am either in the running for president (by joining), or I opt out. Better to have a Dole, Bush I, Gore, Kerry, McCain, Carter, Powell or Wesley Clark asking for kids and their families to sacrifice than a Clinton, Bush II, Cheney, Rice, Quayle or (moving past the politicians to the general public) Limbaugh Savage, .
At least I know the vets would be respected and not just when they are photo ops and potential voters.