Monday, February 19, 2007

Supporting The Troops, Republican Style

Smile for the photo op, soldier! caption: President George W. Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush talk with Sgt. Patrick Hagood of Anderson, S.C., Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2005, during their visit to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C. White House photo by Paul Morse

The Hotel Aftermath
Inside Mologne House, the Survivors of War Wrestle With Military Bureaucracy and Personal Demons

Returning veterans who have served in the army of AWOL McFlightsuit and five-deferments-I-had-other-priorities Darth Cheney are treated like shit by the underfunded Veterans Administration. But aren't you glad millionaires are getting all those great tax cuts!

This may be the worst story in the article; this poor double amputee was left off the guest list for a White House ceremony because his missing legs would show. Sick.

Perks and stardom do not come to every amputee. Sgt. David Thomas, a gunner with the Tennessee National Guard, spent his first three months at Walter Reed with no decent clothes; medics in Samarra had cut off his uniform. Heavily drugged, missing one leg and suffering from traumatic brain injury, David, 42, was finally told by a physical therapist to go to the Red Cross office, where he was given a T-shirt and sweat pants. He was awarded a Purple Heart but had no underwear.

David tangled with Walter Reed's image machine when he wanted to attend a ceremony for a fellow amputee, a Mexican national who was being granted U.S. citizenship by President Bush. A case worker quizzed him about what he would wear. It was summer, so David said shorts. The case manager said the media would be there and shorts were not advisable because the amputees would be seated in the front row.

" 'Are you telling me that I can't go to the ceremony 'cause I'm an amputee?' " David recalled asking. "She said, 'No, I'm saying you need to wear pants.' "

David told the case worker, "I'm not ashamed of what I did, and y'all shouldn't be neither." When the guest list came out for the ceremony, his name was not on it.

Here's the link for the first part of the story from Sunday's WaPo.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I noted that the Post story included a common theme for getting the disability rating increased by the Army was contacting a member of Congress before the medical review process was completed. Perhaps this uses the guilt complex theory since Congress failed to fund the Department of Veterans Affairs for FY 2007 during the 109th Congressional session that ended in 2006, except via continuing resolution, which is at a lower funding level. So the advice is to get chummy with your representative in Congress if you don't want to settle for a zero rating from the Army.