Newsweek is reporting today that hundreds perhaps thousands of US Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are homeless. When added to the number of homeless surviving Vietnam vets its estimated that there may be as many as 200,000 US vets living on the streets. This number is expected to grow as Dick and George's Excellent Iraq adventure goes on and bloody on and Afghanistan becomes a more and more intractable problem with no end in sight.
Its also been reported by the Washington Post that Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC is falling apart under the strain. Five and a half years of returning Iraq and Afghanistan vets who have undergone their medical procedures and are now outpatients waiting for psychological help or housing or rehabilitation now outnumber inpatients by a ratio of 17 to 1.
Adds a whole new level of warmth to "Support the Troops" don't it?
I will be brutally clear: the only servicemen and women who have value to the Bush administration are the ones who come home in a box. The maimed, disturbed and outright mad are simply human waste as far as the Bushites and todays GOP are concerned. Something distasteful to be shuffled out of sight, out of mind with as little fuss and cost as possible.
I don't know if all empires have treated failed cannon fodder that way but this one certainly is.
I only hope there are a few men and women in Veterans Affairs Canada who have the jam to stand up and fight back loudly and publicly when the assholes Harper and O'Connor start shifting defence spending away from the responsibilities owed to our vets, wounded as well as not wounded.
They will try at some point, count on it.
Here's why I say that.
As the costs of our foolish over-commitment in Afghanistan mount over the years government will be pressured, probably by some officious assclown bean counter like Sheila Fraser, to start finding "efficiencies".
The corporate model of government we've had foisted on us over the past decades dictates that those efficiencies centre on cutting costs where there is no return on the investment.
Wounded vets and their families are costs with no return.
Why else do you think it's happening in the US?
The pointed end of the stick, where all the big noises and flashes happen get the attention and the funds. There's a return every day in the flag waving media.
The blunted ends are silently ignored and disappeared and then unceremoniously thrown away.