George Bush, War President…

Ever since I bought my iPod I have used it more to listen to audio books than I have for music and one of the books was Molly Ivins ‘Bushwhacked”. The book is very funny and I thought that I would look online to see if I could find out more about her writing and sure enough she has a column. This one is about how Bush says one thing like how much he appreciates the military, and he should because they are fighting and dying in HIS war, and then he goes and cuts immenent danger pay from $225 to $150 a month and also reduce the family seperation allowance from $250 to $100 per month. I guess thats not really as bad as when he tried to deny National Guard and Reservists access to health coverage. Eh, what the hell, they are only over in Iraq and Afghanistan getting shot at and blown up, why the fuck would THEY need health benefits? If they want health benefits they should get a REAL job!

Just before Memorial Day, Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony Principi said, “Our active military respond better to Republicans” because of “the tremendous support that President Bush has provided for our military and our veterans.” The same day, the White House announced plans for massive cuts in veterans’ health care for 2006.

Last January, Bush praised veterans during a visit to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The same day, 164,000 veterans were told the White House was “immediately cutting off their access to the VA health care system.”

My favorite in this category was the short-lived plan to charge soldiers wounded in Iraq for their meals when they got to American military hospitals. The plan mercifully died a-borning after it hit the newspapers.

Bush really knows how to honor those who died or were horribly wounded on foreign beaches on the anniversary of D-Day, he treats the men and women who love this country enough to put themselves in harms way like dogs. What is the health and welfare of a vetran or a soldier when compared to big fat tax breaks for his rich pals? Hmmm, a prosthetic leg and glass eye for a marine with a bronze cross or a semesters tuition at Yale for Muffy or Tad? With a War President like this who needs enemies?

Decisions, decisions.

9 thoughts on “George Bush, War President…

  1. “Brutha’s body toppled forward almost gracefully, smacking into the table. The bowl overturned, and gruel dripped down onto the floor.

    And then Brutha stood up, without a second glance at his corpse.

    ‘Hah. I wasn’t excpecting you,’ he said.

    Death stopped leaning against the wall.

    HOW FORTUNATE YOU WERE.

    ‘But there’s still such a lot to be done…’

    YES. THERE ALWAYS IS.

    Brutha followed the gaunt figure through the wall where, instead of the privy that occupied the far side in normal space, there was…

    …black sand.

    The light was brilliant, crystalline, in black sky filled with stars.
    ‘Ah. There really is a desert. Does everyone get this?’ said Brutha.

    WHO KNOWS?

    ‘And what is at the end of the desert?’

    JUDGEMENT.

    Brutha considered this.

    Which end?’

    Death grinned and stepped aside.

    What Brutha had thought was a rock in the sand was a hunched figure, sitting clutching it’s knees. It looked paralyzed with fear.

    He stared.

    ‘Vorbis?’ he said.

    He looked at Death.

    ‘But Vorbis died a hundred years ago!’

    YES. HE HAD TO WALK IT ALL ALONE. ALL ALONE WITH HIMSELF IF HE DARED.

    ‘He’s been here for a hundred years?’

    POSSIBLY NOT. TIME IS DIFFERENT HERE. IT IS…MORE PERSONAL.

    ‘Ah. You mean a hundred years can pass like a few seconds?’

    A HUNDRED YEARS CAN PASS LIKE INFINITY.

    The black-on-black eyes stared imploringly at Brutha, who reached out automatically, without thinking…and then hesitated.

    HE WAS A MURDERER, said Death. AND A CREATOR OF MURDERERS. A TORTURER. WITHOUT PASSION. CRUEL. CALLOUS. COMPASSIONLESS.

    ‘Yes. I know. He’s Vorbis,’ said Brutha. Vorbis changed people. Sometimes he changed them into dead people. But he always changed them. That was his triumph.

    He sighed.

    ‘But I’m me,’ he said.

    Vorbis stood up, uncertanly, and followed Brutha across the desert.

    Death watched them walk away.”

    -Terry Pratchett
    Small Gods

  2. That’s a good book. Not sure what it has to do with this entry, but it’s a good book just the same.

  3. On the special pays, they were at the lower levels pre-9/11.  I’m not sure when they were raised, but the raise has always been known to be temporary.  …and the rumblings among those who handle special pays (such as myself) is that there might be an extension in the works on the elevated pay levels.  No guarantees, though.  While I’m disappointed about them dropping (esp the family separation allowance), it doesn’t bother me that they’re going back to the pre-2001 levels.

  4. FactCheck has some analysis of the claims of cuts that’s worth reading. 

    The 164k were the estimated (by the VA) number affected by a calendar year 2003 freeze on further enrollment by middle-income (at least 40% of local income average) vets who were not suffering service-related medical conditions. I’d rather that any vet who wants any medical care was able to get it (indeed, I’d like any individual to be able to do so), but it’s misleading to envision crippled war wounded being dumped out of their wheelchairs into the streets by this.

    Simlarly, the Imminent Danger Pay rate was temporarily raised by Congress for 2003 from $150 to $225.  The Pentagon didn’t want to continue the increase beyond that—which is a bit different from cutting the rate—but it was eventually passed in Congress and signed by Bush for CY04.

    I like Molly Ivins, too (and enjoyed her pre-2000-election book, Shrub), but she’s definitely got an ideological axe to grind, and is as breezy sometimes with facts and nuances as she is in her writing style.

  5. Here is a more direct link to Ivins’ columns which run in the Dallas Ft. Worth Star Telegram. They post links that cover a three month period.

    http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/news/columnists/molly_ivins/

    Eric pulled information from yesterday’s column (6/10) which also mentions cuts to Education and NIH. The piece concludes

    Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., points out that the House Interior Appropriations Committee had to cut $682 million from the White House budget proposal this year. The budget situation is now so dire that the latest Republican scheme is not to pass a budget at all this year (until after the election), lest people notice what is going on.

    The White House’s latest ploy is to claim that the 2006 guidelines it issued are just a mere wisp of a suggestion, nothing to be taken seriously. But the White House has already submitted legislation to impose spending caps that would continue the cuts every year thereafter until 2009.

    Are there any grown-ups in this administration? Budgets are the guts of government. “Who benefits?” and “Who pays?” are the only serious questions. Except, of course, for the always timely “What will they do to us next?”

  6. At $50.00 per barrel the oil companies should be taxed.  this was a war over oil and georges oil indusry cronies are rolling in it.  Pay raises to the employees.. bonuses… not likely.  Once a well is drilled it is largely a fixed cost to pump and process.  Profit is what Iraq was all about.

  7. This has been in the papers and will be formally announced tomorrow (6/16). Twenty six former high level officials have signed a petition saying that Bush must go.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/2004/la-na-diplo13jun13,1,1142936.story?coll=la-home-headlines

    Although not endorsing Kerry, the group of former Diplomat and Military Officials will explicitly condem Bush’s Foreign Policy.

    Those signing the document, which will be released in Washington on Wednesday, include 20 former U.S. ambassadors, appointed by presidents of both parties, to countries including Israel, the former Soviet Union and Saudi Arabia.

    Others are senior State Department officials from the Carter, Reagan and Clinton administrations and former military leaders, including retired Marine Gen. Joseph P. Hoar, the former commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East under President Bush’s father. Hoar is a prominent critic of the war in Iraq

    A Republican analyst claims that membes of this group were primarily involved in Middle Eastern policy and are frustrated because Bush is taking a new direction.

    Here is a list of the signators.

    Avis T. Bohlen — assistant secretary of State for arms control, 1999-2002; deputy assistant secretary of State for European affairs 1989-1991.

    Retired Adm. William J. Crowe Jr. — chairman, President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Committee, 1993-94; ambassador to Britain, 1993-97; chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1985-89.

    Jeffrey S. Davidow — ambassador to Mexico, 1998-2002; assistant secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, 1996

    William A. DePree — ambassador to Bangladesh, 1987-1990.

    Donald B. Easum — ambassador to Nigeria, 1975-79.

    Charles W. Freeman Jr. — assistant secretary of Defense, International Security Affairs, 1993-94; ambassador to Saudi Arabia, 1989-1992.

    William C. Harrop — ambassador to Israel, 1991-93; ambassador to Zaire, 1987-1991.

    Arthur A. Hartman — ambassador to the Soviet Union, 1981-87; ambassador to France, 1977-1981.

    Retired Marine Gen. Joseph P. Hoar — commander in chief of U.S. Central Command, overseeing forces in the Middle East, 1991-94; deputy chief of staff, Marine Corps, 1990-94.

    H. Allen Holmes — assistant secretary of Defense for special operations, 1993-99; assistant secretary of State for politico-military affairs, 1986-89.

    Robert V. Keeley — ambassador to Greece, 1985-89; ambassador to Zimbabwe, 1980-84.

    Samuel W. Lewis — director of State Department policy and planning, 1993-94; ambassador to Israel, 1977-1985.

    Princeton N. Lyman — assistant secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, 1995-98; ambassador to South Africa, 1992-95.

    Jack F. Matlock Jr. — ambassador to the Soviet Union, 1987-1991; director for European and Soviet Affairs, National Security Council, 1983-86; ambassador to Czechoslovakia, 1981-83.

    Donald F. McHenry — ambassador to the United Nations, 1979-1981.

    Retired Air Force Gen. Merrill A. McPeak — chief of staff, U.S. Air Force, 1990-94.

    George E. Moose — assistant secretary of State for African affairs, 1993-97; ambassador to Senegal, 1988-91.

    David D. Newsom — acting secretary of State, 1980; undersecretary of State for political affairs, 1978-1981; ambassador to Indonesia, 1973-77

    Phyllis E. Oakley — assistant secretary of State for intelligence and research, 1997-99.

    James Daniel Phillips — ambassador to the Republic of Congo, 1990-93; ambassador to Burundi, 1986-1990.

    John E. Reinhardt — professor of political science, University of Vermont, 1987-91; ambassador to Nigeria, 1971-75.

    Retired Air Force Gen. William Y. Smith — deputy commander in chief, U.S. European Command, 1981-83.

    Ronald I. Spiers — undersecretary-general of the United Nations for Political Affairs, 1989-1992; ambassador to Pakistan, 1981-83.

    Michael Sterner — deputy assistant secretary of State for Near East affairs, 1977-1981; ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, 1974-76.

    Retired Adm. Stansfield Turner — director of the Central Intelligence Agency, 1977-1981.

    Alexander F. Watson — assistant secretary of State for Inter-American affairs, 1993-96; deputy permanent representative to the U.N., 1989-1993.

  8. Here’s some more info…

    WASHINGTON (CNN)—Several former presidential diplomatic and military officials have signed a statement condemning the Bush administration’s foreign policy, saying that it has harmed national security, one of the document’s signers said Sunday.

    Many of the signers were appointed by Republican administrations.

    Phyllis Oakley, the deputy State Department spokeswoman during former President Ronald Reagan’s second term and an assistant secretary of state under former President Bill Clinton, said the statement was “prompted by a growing concern, deeply held, about the future of the country’s national security.”

    The statement clearly calls for defeat of the Bush administration, she said, although it does not endorse any candidate.

    “We are on the wrong track, and we need a fundamental change,” said Oakley.
    20 former ambassadors among signers

    The statement, which will be released Wednesday, was signed by 20 former U.S. ambassadors, including William Harrop, who was appointed ambassador to Israel by former President George Bush in 1991.

    Military commanders who signed the document include retired Marine General Joseph P. Hoar, commander in chief of U.S. Central Command over-seeing the Middle East in 1991; and retired Admiral William Crowe Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff 1985-89.

    The signers called themselves Diplomats and Military Commanders for Change.

    Oakley said the group is representative of very senior, former government officials who “have spent their lives working to erect the stature and posture of the U.S. as a leader in the world … and we simply see that edifice crumbling.”

    Oakley also said that releasing the statement was not an easy decision.

    “We’re all career [public] servants who have never taken a political stand,” she said. “What we want to get on record is our profound concern about the future security of the U.S.”

    One by one folks supposedly from Bush’s side of the aisle are standing up to denounce this puppet. Seems to me that there’s gonna be a whole lot less people voting repub this time around and a lot more dems coming out that didn’t bother back in 2000. Dubya’s gotta go!

    Meanwhile the “war” continues…

    “[Rumsfeld] says he has told the Pentagon to ‘think the unthinkable’. [Cheney] has said the US is considering military or other action against ‘40 to 50 countries’ and warns that the new war may last 50 years or more… […and Bush adviser, Richard Perle says] ‘If we just let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely, and we don’t try to piece together clever diplomacy but just wage a total war, our children will sing great songs about us years from now.’”
    John Pilger, Daily Mirror, 1/29/02

    War on “Terror” – what a joke! Might as well call it the “War on Evil” or the “War on Bad Shit”. Hey man, vote for me! I’ll protect you from the boogieman!
    How could such a war ever be declared won? There will be terrorists forever.
    Bullshit I say! (spoken in poor excuse for WC Fields imitation)

    phuquers! shock

  9. At $50.00 per barrel the oil companies should be taxed.  this was a war over oil and georges oil indusry cronies are rolling in it.

    While discussing more tax breaks for their contibutors, Conservative Congressmen admit on the House floor that both Gulf Wars were about oil.

    http://www.americanprogress.org/site/pp.asp?c=biJRJ8OVF&b=6228

    IRAQ – CONSERVATIVES ADMIT WAR IS ABOUT OIL: On the House floor yesterday while debating the president’s energy bill, senior Republicans openly admitted that the war in Iraq is about oil. Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said the nation needed to pass massive tax cuts for oil companies “instead of constantly fighting over battlefields to defend other people’s energy supplies that we depend upon.” Similarly, Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX) said, “When we look at this [energy] bill, we need to call upon ourselves and ask ourselves what probably is the major duty of a Member of Congress. It is probably to prevent a war. And how do you prevent wars? You prevent wars by removing the cause of wars… Lack of energy causes wars.” He said, “George Bush’s father sent 450,000 kids to a desert; that was a battle for energy [to] keep them from getting a bad man’s, Saddam Hussein, foot, on half the known energy resources in the world.”

    (Both links retrieve appropriate pages of the Congressional Record.)

    Any bets on whether these guys talked about conservation or alternate energy sources. What exactly are they conserving?

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