I read a piece last night by Jason Linkins at Huff Post in which he describes the experience of CNN correspondent Michael Ware and Ware’s difficulty in dealing with the memory of the death of a presumably innocent young Iraqi shot execution style by US troops in 2007.
Mr Ware tells of the alleged incident he says he witnessed and filmed in 2007 when working for US news giant CNN, but claims the network decided the footage was too graphic to go to air.
He alleges that a teenager in a remote Iraqi village run by the militant Islamist group, al-Qaeda was carrying a weapon to protect himself.
“(The boy) approached the house we were in and the (US) soldiers who were watching our backs, one of them put a bullet right in the back of his head. Unfortunately it didn’t kill him,” he tells Australian Story.
“We all spent the next 20 minutes listening to his tortured breath as he died.” (more…)
Cross posted at Veterans Today
The telephone rings just before dinner and you reluctantly interrupt what you’re doing to answer.
“This is so and so and I’d like to ask you for a moment of your time for our veterans,” says the voice on the phone. If you are at all like me, and I expect that you may be, you dislike telemarketers and usually brush them off with more speed then politeness, especially around dinner time.
He tells you that the “Veterans Association” that he represents is a long established charity with tens of thousands of dues paying members and headquarters in more than twenty states. He offers a short list of good works and projects that they have supported in your area and you think that a couple of them sound familiar.
The pitchman is practiced and convincing and when he gives you the address to send your pledge to, you write a check for a ten spot or twenty, maybe fifty bucks, put it in an envelope and put it on the hall table to mail on your way to work in the morning.
Like me you probably derive a small satisfaction from giving, coupled with a bit of guilt that you can’t offer more but, hey, money’s tight everywhere.
This is, fundamentally, how a “charitable organization” known as the US Navy Veterans Association (USNVA) has collected more than twenty two million dollars in the name of veterans over the last several years.
During the past month I’ve excerpted several stories from an investigative series by a team led by St Petersburg Times writers Jeff Testerman and John Martin. If you haven’t done so I recommend that you read the entire series here. It is an eyeopening trip through a shadowy world of “charitable” fund raising and political donations.
Twice a week I have a physical therapy session at the Dayton VA Hospital. I had a heart attack last March 15, (beware the ides?) in October they referred me to cardio pulmonary therapy to build me up for whatever years may lie ahead. They have done an excellent job and I am pleased with my future prospects.
I have been treated at the Dayton VA several times over the years, have volunteered there performing Veteran’s memorial services as part of an honor guard, and three years ago said good bye to my father who died in the VA hospice at the age of 80.
My experiences with VA medical care have been almost entirely positive. The medical staff has been competent caring and willing to communicate with me. My physical therapist (Kinesiologist) whom I refer to as Ms Torquemada has enabled me to return to a relatively normal life and I love her for it. The hospice ward is amazing, they treated my Dad with the dignity and respect he deserved in his final days on this planet and were equally wonderful with my family. The people in the ER and Cardiac Intensive Care wards saved my life which fact may leave me with some bias on the issue at hand.
I have personally witnessed the operations of this facility during the current federal administration as well as during the Clinton years and I have seen a noticeable decline in the state of the physical plant and the attitudes of some employees during the Cheney/Bush era.
What once was a well funded and squeaky clean facility has deteriorated noticeably and budget cutting has caused serious staffing problems. I believe that this decline is due to the penny pinching policies of the knuckle heads who are passing themselves off as our government.
The blame for conditions at Walter Reed and other problems throughout the veterans health system must be placed firmly at the feet of those who set the policies. For the last six years those feet have belonged to George Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. To lay the blame on anyone below the the level of policy maker and budget controllers would be wrong.