And Your City Lies In Dust

Night before last, I was doing my nearly nightly blog-to-blog thing when I landed on gttim’s Better Inhale Deeply and ran into an issue I probably should’ve noticed a week ago. Generally, I’m both up on the news and out of the loop, so I conferred with my esteemed colleague DBK, who is a grown up and doesn’t have imaginary friends. At all. DBK did not recall seeing anyone else blog this story. Then I got angry all over again and stomped my tiny foot. Gttim:

From Newsweek, an article on who should pay for healthcare for returning injured vets:

With record numbers of soldiers surviving injuries that would have killed them in earlier wars, veterans’ organizations are questioning whether the federal government is able–or is willing–to cope with the demand for health-care benefits, rehabilitation services and ongoing treatment. And if Washington can’t do it, then who should?

Who should fucking pay? Which idiot is truly asking that question?

My grandfather, my uncle, cousin, brother-in-law and son-in-law are either veterans or members of the military. I pay attention. Besides gttim, who else saw this? Where’s the full-scale outrage? Here’s a concept: if we can’t take care of our war wounded WE CAN’T MAKE ANY MORE. Yes, I’m going to get a grip now.

We’re – nationally – having a problem with stupid premises. We don’t have Newsweek’s “boy problem” – we have a stupid assumption problem. Contrary to what people seem to think, boys are not supposed to do better than girls. Our president did not tell us the truth about why we’re at war. The media is not going to protect us from ravenous corporations. The French are not our enemies. Unchecked government power does not enhance personal freedom. When veterans’ organizations wonder if Washington is WILLING to care for veterans we have an enormous problem. And we should actively prevent our kids from enlisting until that problem is fixed.

Who pays for veterans’ care should never, never come up for debate. We pay for it. Our nation pays for it. Our veterans’ administration pays for it. Figure it into the war budget, and if we can’t afford the aftercare WE CAN’T AFFORD THE WAR. Damn it, we might have to try fucking diplomacy. Use your words, kids, not your fists.

I’m not the Voice of Reason; I’m the Voice of No Reason Whatsoever. I can’t get through dinner without chasing something shiny across the dining room, but this is has my attention and it should have yours:

“I don’t think anybody in the world expected the numbers of wounded coming back [from Afghanistan and Iraq],” says Bill White, the Intrepid Fund’s president. “In Vietnam, they would have died. And it’s wonderful that they’re alive, but they’ve survived catastrophic injuries that require them to get special help to rehabilitate.”

White, bless his philanthropic heart, tiptoes around the administration’s creepy hope that vets needing medical attention drop dead in a timely manner. Nobody expected them to survive? Where’ve we heard that before?

Nobody expected the levees to break.
Nobody expected our troops to meet with insurgency.
Nobody expected bin Laden to actually do it.

This refrain is like that new Nickelback song that makes you want to stab your eardrums with knitting needles.

Anybody who’s ever asked a slumber party of ten year old boys who put the remote control in the microwave knows nobody expected it won’t cut the mustard with the cable company’s customer service department. You’re going to pay for that. The United States of America will pay for the rest of our and our veterans’ lives for the Bush administration’s inexpicable inability to foresee probable events and reasonable outcomes but that’s not the worst of it. What could be worse?

Let’s imagine January 2009.

You: Hooray! We’re free of the loathsome and larcenous Bush team! I feel better than I have in YEARS! The sun’s come out and my Congressperson’s holding hands with Bruce Springsteen and Larry David’s wife! My life has meaning again! Let’s get Thai food and sing along with the Munchkins, Ding dong, the witch is dead!”

Not so fast, my darling. No matter how the 2008 election turns out, we must be realistic about what we face. The Treasury’s empty. Our armed forces are depleted. Our natural resources are being plundered at an unprecedented rate. Peak oil is behind us and competition for what remains may mean the difference between life and death for whole nations. The housing market crashed, banks foreclosed when the noteholders on the US economy – the Chinese – collected their chips. Millions of formerly middle class Americans were thrown into the streets. The Depression now looks like a picnic when even soup kitchens close. This is a completely possible future.

Someone not named George W. Bush takes office. The bill’s on the table, and nobody reaches for a wallet because wallets are all empty. The President of the United States says, “We partied, we spent, we lived high on someone else’s hog. Now we’re broke, and we’re going to be broke until we’re paid up. Our civilization’s in ashes. We have What’s His Face and his corrupt cronies to thank for it but blame doesn’t help us now. Stick with me. We can work it out together.” That worked in 1930. In 2009, it will never fly. Our stupid premise is we’re rich and always will be, no matter how much money we don’t have. All we can do is offer that messenger a blindfold before the firing squad.

If you can see a problem coming you have a chance of avoiding it. This one’s parked in your lane, and baby, I hope there’s time to stomp that brake pedal.

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