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Bring'em Home - Not Send'em Off

by Judith Moriarity Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2003 at 11:13 AM

I have worked for years with veterans of other wars living under bridges, in abandoned cars and empty tenements. Forgotten cannon fodder-kicked to the curb. War is about, and always has been, despite the Public Relations propaganda; power-greed and conquest; with the poor doing the dirty work of filling rich men's coffers. No politician's sons or daughters are over there, and President Bush's daughters (for all his "Bring'em On" bravado), won't be joining young, beautiful NH Commander Mary. I rest my case. Jude Moriarty

Bring'em Home - Not Send'em Off

By Judith Moriarity


Ah! Slurp-slobber, holiday season upon us. The Foggy Bottom Boys in D.C., are heading home, or off on some Fact Finding Mission (really taxpayer exotic vacation.) They've per usual, done nothing of any consequence for those who elected them. Medicare fiasco, is a look at government for the lobbyists of the lobbyists and by the lobbyists. Hell, even AARP sold the seniors down the river. No honor in Greedville.


As was reported on the floor of Congress by a rare concerned legislator-"We (federal) have our own medical plan and unlike Medicare ours has 80% of the costs picked up and we paying the other 20%. With this bill it's the exact opposite. Seniors will be paying the 80%." Perhaps if our elected officials were suffering the same hardships as their constituents there might be a little more attentiveness to business.


They have five different plans to choose from. Prescriptions, dental, eyeglasses are included. If perchance they get sick while in session, gorging themselves in the Congressional Dining Hall, filled with tables of salads, desserts, roast beef, ham, turkey, etc., (I was there) they can get free outpatient care at Walter Reed or the National Institute of Health. Then there's the fully staffed clinic on site and an ambulance at the ready.


No worry over pensions. After five years they're eligible. No Enron-Tyco-Worldcom taking off with their old age loot. We pay the bill. Al Gore's father a Senator in the 70s, was making approximately 45,000 per year upon retirement. With a yearly cost of living increase (bet your pension if you have one doesn't have this perk), by the time he passed away a few years back his pension was somewhere around 0,000.


When Senator Arlen Specter had some headaches he insisted (and received) the best of testing. No waiting on some flunkie in some HMO to look it up in a book to see if he was eligible to live. A benign tumor was found and now he's fine. When Strom Thumond got tired (I think he was already dead) he checked himself into a hospital for a month's rest. Have a mastectomy or hysterectomy out here in the real world and your not recovered from the anesthesia before your holding the bloody bandages to your gut trying to make it home.


When Reservists came home from Gulf War I they had to go on welfare to get needed medical care. As it stands now they have, or are supposed to have, a whooping 60 days of medical care after they've returned home. Then (unlike Strom-now really dead) they're on their own.


Even that is being neglected, with our new "privatized" army. Men are being kicked to the curb in our new compassionate caring America. Ask John Ramsey who's been abandoned, now that he's no longer viable cannon fodder. John hasn't seen a paycheck since June. A member of the Florida National Guard (reservists listen up) his country is neither paying him nor giving him HEALTH INSURANCE. John, an Orange County Sheriff's Deputy was called up in January for duty in Iraq. He was wounded with serious damage to both shoulders.


Because he was deactivated and sent back to his reserve base, the army won't pay him. Because he got hurt while on active duty, the National Guard won't pay him! Because of his injury, he can't go back to work. Now his wife is the breadwinner. So much for all this Support the Troops eh? But John has received a commendation. Harumph. Only thing is he can't send that in to the bank, or electric company.


John says, "When we left they told us you'd be taken care of all the way through you'd always be taken care of. Don't worry about it. And you know it's not happening that way". Congressman Keller, of Florida, is working on it! Now why would Keller have to be working on anything? I bet he's receiving his paycheck along with Rumsfeld, our Congressmen who voted themselves another hefty raise (they do yearly), and rest assured Bechtel and Haliburton aren't waiting for their billions upon billions upon billions. Remember the mantra..."this 87 billion is needed for the troops." WELL-what about John in Florida and all the other reservists not getting their paychecks? I see they gave Miami eight and one half million of this, for the massive troops with their pepper spray, stun guns, personnel carrier, gas, helmets, and clubs. This, all for those marching for their jobs, in the FTAA secret meetings. John could have used some of this money so needlessly spent.


Here in NH, word came that 120 reservists are being called up in early December--Washington will be on vacation. Today's local paper showed another funeral of a soldier. A few months ago, it was a 20 year old, an only son. Another young man has both hands blown off and a 51 year old reservist was only home 3hours and he dropped dead.


It behooves us all, to not just talk the talk, but write to our local papers to awaken people, to what is happening to our neighbors going off to war. Off to an impossible quagmire of guns jamming, improper vehicles, no nourishing food, enough water, vests etc. No heavy laden taxpayer banquets for these men and women. Michael Jackson made national news. WHY didn't John Ramsey?


Date: Sat, 22 Nov 2003 14:08:35 -0500 Answer to Portsmouth Herald -Nov 22-03 article on NH reservists.


Nov 22-03 Dear Editor: Per your story, Nov 22-03, "For Soldier, its love and then war" of 29 year old Captain Mary Bergner, Commander of NH's 150 member National Guard's 774th Transportation Company off to Iraq this Christmas season; I can only say that given the seriousness of the situation (life and death), I found the trivializing of war, with Mary packing away her wedding dress, more suited to a gossip column than any serious reporting.


Yes, I am opposed to war, identified as a search for weapons of mass destruction, regime change, liberation or protecting America's shores from hordes of invading Iraqis? It changes daily. I am most adamantly opposed to women serving anywhere near a combat zone. I look at Mary, and think of Jessica Lynch; also transporting water, dry goods, needed ammunition and am sick.


With numerous countries refusing to send their soldiers into this cauldron of chaos; it is now left to weekend warriors-reservists, serving up to 18 months, to face various factions of battle-hardened warriors (born to war), in 130 degree heat, mined roads, suicide bombers; with poor equipment (reported in Congress) and M-16s (see Jessica Lynch story) rifles, that jam leaving Commander Mary and our NH men, sitting ducks!


Because much of the military has now been "privatized" soldiers (reported in House Speeches) are without protective vests, the right vehicles, food, and issued only 1 liter of water per day, due to the fact that private contractors say their insurance companies won't cover them in such situations!


Furthermore, news reports (NBC news) tell of new government report claims that red tape (contracting services) is preventing many of them (not Congress but reservists) from being paid! This Congressional Report finds that the Pentagon's pay process is such a mess it's having "a profound financial impact on individual soldiers and their families". "This is well beyond anything I could imagine", said Rep. Christopher Shay, R-Conn. "I would like to think if we send troops off to war that we're not going to have them worry about whether their home is going to be taken because they can't pay their mortgage." In six Guard units examined by the General Accounting Office, a stunning 94% of the soldiers had pay problems-with three month delays in active duty checks, and being told "they weren't entitled to certain health care benefits, in spite of their injuries", explained Rep.Shays.


Area store clerks, loggers, farmers, teachers, mechanics and Commander Mary; with her current military job of training soldiers in diversity, sexual harassment and anti-discrimination, and one month's training before hitting this quagmire of fighting terrorism (like fighting the fog) have their work cut out for them. I am not romanticizing over a wedding dress but worried sick for these reservists being put in this situation. You can bet our politicians in Washington D.C., who recently voted themselves a hefty raise (like every year) aren't missing any paychecks nor is anyone in the Pentagon, Hailiburton or Bechtel (billions upon billions)!


675,000 served in Gulf War I (while the sheiks sons of Kuwait lounged on the Riviera). To date approx half of them are now ill; with thousands dead since '91. Vaccinations of anthrax, smallpox, medications, oil fires, and depleted uranium (radioactive--cuts through tanks like butter) shells, used for the first time in Gulf War I, are all thought to have caused a cocktail of severe health issues and malformed babies. Iraq is a cloud of this poison, with the number of "Shock and Awe" bombs dropped this time around.


Mary needs to be marrying her state trooper husband and raising their children in the beauty of NH mountains. Woman have already been killed including mothers of small children! I would like Donald Rumsfeld-President Bush and all of Washington, to explain to me what the hell have we come to sending mothers of newborns and toddlers to war? There is no sane reason. Mothers belong with their babies-period! Shashauna, the young Black woman, in Jessica Lynch's transportation unit (given wrong directions), was shot through both ankles and has received a whooping 30% disability!


I have worked for years with veterans of other wars living under bridges, in abandoned cars and empty tenements. Forgotten cannon fodder-kicked to the curb. War is about, and always has been, despite the Public Relations propaganda; power-greed and conquest; with the poor doing the dirty work of filling rich men's coffers. No politician's sons or daughters are over there, and President Bush's daughters (for all his "Bring'em On" bravado), won't be joining young, beautiful NH Commander Mary. I rest my case. Jude Moriarty

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