Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day 2014

Along with several thousand others, I attended last night's Memorial Day observance at Union Station in Kansas City. Thunder storms were in the area but the threatening weather cooperated long enough to hear repeated appeals to patriotism and expressions of gratitude to "all who fought and died for our freedoms". This morning I watched as the President of the United States repeated those same themes at Arlington National Cemetery and laid the ceremonial wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Although I stood last night when it came the turn of Army veterans to be applauded by the crowd, a wave of nausea swept over me. The realization that this ceremony, like thousands of others across the nation, was actually an insensate tribute to the power of evil over the easy malleability of the human mind hit me like a hammer.

We are trapped in a decades-old matrix of official disinformation, misinformation and outright lies. Even in the face of incontrovertible evidence to the contrary, we want to believe--no, we must believe--that we stand on the side of justice and good. The alternative is too horrible to contemplate. It would mean admitting that for generations we have supported the slaughter of thousands around the world, including many innocent non-combatants. It would require confronting the complete immorality of sacrificing friends and family to a monstrous idol built of murderous deceit. Flushing reality down the memory hole allows us to deny personal moral responsibility for the crimes committed in our names. It is best not to look too closely. 

Recent events have given us more that should be remembered on this Memorial Day. Three of those events are closely linked and should be considered together.

The 9-11 Memorial Dedication: It is certainly important to remember the 2,977 people killed in New York City, Washington, DC and outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001.  However far more Americans have died in Iraq and Afghanistan fighting Washington's unjustifiable wars of aggression than were killed on 9-11. Some 5,330 American soldiers were deliberately sent to their deaths by evil politicians who played upon the outrage, shock and grief of the American people to advance their dreams of Empire. It is beyond dispute that:
  • American soldiers did not die in Washington's "War on Terror" to "protect our way of life". Neither Iraq or Afghanistan posed the slightest threat to us. The same cannot be said for the bi-partisan Washington establishment that sent them off to die.
  • The 9-11 attacks did not happen because "they hate our freedoms". It is Washington that is hated around the world for systematically overthrowing governments, for installing and supporting brutal dictatorships, and for interfering in the domestic affairs of other nations.
It is undeniable that George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and their neoconservative coterie committed war crimes as defined by established international war. The Obama administration is guilty of continuing those war crimes. If you want to see the smoking gun, download and read the neoconservative description of their war plan in their own words. It will take a while.

The VA Hospital Scandal: The media establishment is in full-throated saturation mode over the sudden discovery that the VA Hospital System is not the Mayo Clinic. One wonders where the critics have been all these years . Veterans have known for decades that the VA Hospital System is a thing to be avoided. Demands for General Shinseki's head have reached lynch-mob proportions. As far as I can tell, Shinseki (himself a wounded veteran) is a decent guy who foolishly accepted an impossible job. He may have thought he could make a government operated single payer health care system work. He didn't because, despite the claims of Obama and his Socialists, no one can.

The hue and cry for Shinseki's dismissal has successfully directed public attention away from a far larger and more important issue. Many veterans would not require care had they not been wounded in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The numbers are staggering and their magnitude is virtually unknown to the American public. As Forbes Magazine reported in its November 4, 2013 issue,
All that can be said with any certainty is that as of last December more than 900,000 service men and women had been treated at Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics since returning from war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that the monthly rate of new patients to these facilities as of the end of 2012 was around 10,000. Beyond that, the picture gets murky. In March, VA abruptly stopped releasing statistics on non-fatal war casualties to the public. However, experts say that there is no reason to suspect the monthly rate of new patients has changed…
VA stopped preparing and releasing these reports on health care use and disability claims involving the 2.6 million U.S. service members who have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan without warning, claiming unspecified “security” reasons.
According to the Veteran Administration web site, there are 153 VA hospitals, 773 outpatient centers, and 260 counseling centers in the United States. The Veteran Administration's total budget submission for 2015 was $163.9 billion. Time did not permit a detailed analysis of the VA budget, but there are two obvious and cost-effective solutions to the problem of substandard medical care for veterans that Washington could implement immediately:
  • Close all VA hospitals and outpatient centers and give all veterans a voucher authorizing full payment for care at all private U.S. hospitals and physicians' offices. This would also offset at least some of the damage inflicted on doctors and  hospitals by Obama Care.
  • Avoid creating new veteran patients by ending the practice of invading and otherwise committing acts of aggression against countries that have not attacked the United States.
The Benghazi Terror Attacks of September 11, 2012: There is no doubt that the feckless and corrupt Obama administration, including then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, failed to take any action to save the four Americans who died at Benghazi. It is also clear that a massive cover-up, aided and abetted by the establishment press, has been underway ever since.

It is difficult to say which is the more disgusting, the Obama administration's cowardly behavior or the sanctimonious posturing of the neoconservative politicians whose empire building policies made the Benghazi attack possible in the first place. It was John McCain and Lindsey Graham who led neoconservative cries for Gadhafi's overthrow. McCain and Graham were furious that Obama was sacrificing U.S. dominance by "leading from behind". McCain went so far as to appear in Benghazi's so-called "freedom square" on the very eve of Gadhafi's overthrow and subsequent murder to call for more aggressive U.S. action.

Obama and his posse are guilty as sin with respect to the Benghazi affair, but it must be recalled that had Libya not experienced "regime change", there would  have been no Benghazi attack. No Benghazi consulate existed during the Gadhafi regime. Without the consulate, Ambassador Stevens and those who died with him would still be alive.


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