Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A stop-loss nightmare

The burden George Bush, and his administration, and the Pentagon, have placed on volunteer servicemen and servicewomen, and their families, is unbearable.

Using a "backdoor draft" called "stop-loss" Bush and the Pentagon have forced responsible and patriotic soldiers to return to an immoral war deployment after deployment.

Many of those who are not physically wounded, or killed, will come back with irreparable psychological wounds. Their families will suffer with them. In the end, we'll all pay while George Bush cuts brush in Crawford. As Ralph Nader said Saturday, Bush has not attended a single funeral of a service person killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. He's met with families under conditions which he controlled. And he doesn't allow photographs of the fallen, from either side (and the press blithely complies). Finally, families cannot even greet the coffins of the fallen when they arrive stateside at Dover Air Force Base.

Recently, Jason Dene, a young career Army officer from Vermont (and coincidentally the nephew of Mia Farrow), died on his third tour of duty in Iraq. His family has suffered, and the death has brought sorrow to an entire community, evidenced by the string of articles and letters that can be found and followed in the Rutland Herald.

His uncle, Patrick Farrow, wrote this letter:

Because of the arrogant, corrupt lies of George W. Bush and his neocon handlers my nephew is dead, and I am mad as hell. My nephew, my sister's son, died in Iraq a few days before this Memorial Day. Jason Dene was not killed by enemy fire nor friendly fire but by Bush's brutal and cynical stop-loss program. Jason grew up in Orwell and Rutland. He was in his mid-30s, a career Army officer due retire next month. His wife and children were planning his homecoming. Because of Bush's abusive stop-loss policy, Jason had been sent into an unwanted third tour of duty. He was a father of three and could not afford to lose his pension. Some "volunteer Army". During his three 15-month tours in Iraq, exposure to roadside bombs and other job-related injuries caused Jason to be hospitalized several times for concussion and internal bleeding and other injuries. Recently, Jason's condition was such that the Department of Defense flew him from Iraq to Dover Air Force Base for surgery. He was released from the hospital into the loving arms of the government who sent him directly back into Iraq. He was put on active duty while he was still on a liquid diet, unable to eat solid food because of a throat hemorrhage due to a botched surgery at a military hospital. To date all the family has heard from the Army is that Jason variously died "in his sleep" and "in his bunk" and "in his quarters" and my favorite "sleep apnea complicated by smoking cigarettes," in other words, natural causes. After his second tour Jason returned home with severe mental and physical issues. He was certainly in no condition to be pressed into a third tour. He wanted out of the army. But Jason was a victim of the liar's back-door draft. The administration knows the war could not continue if the draft was reinstated, hence the criminally deceptive stop-loss program. At all costs, the administration wants to avoid Vietnam-scale student protests. In this case the cost fell on Jason, whose death will not be included as a war casualty. Jason Dene will not be buried at Arlington National Cemetery; he will just sort of ... disappear quietly (they hope). How many others have died in Iraq of "natural causes," the soldiers we will never hear about? Because of George Bush, the arrogant, the corrupt, the liar, the war criminal, my nephew is dead and my sister and the rest of my family are devastated. Yes, I am very, very angry. How would you feel?

Meanwhile, George Bush is in Europe whining about the public perception that he's a "man of war."

H/T to Susan Forbes Hansen

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