Sunday, August 5, 2007

Bush Gang Double-Crosses GIs, Vets

By Caleb T. Maupin
Published Aug 3, 2007 8:47 PM

Jonathan Town was one of the hundreds of thousands of U.S. youth sent to Iraq. He was sent occupy Iraq and defend the U.S. occupation from Iraqis determined to free their country from it.

Town was probably told countless times by the military recruiters who persuaded him to enlist that he would be given medical care and taken care of if he were injured. He was probably encouraged by the words of George W. Bush and his cronies about “supporting the troops.” He probably felt that those who whipped up the right wing into a frenzy about how opposing the war was “betraying the troops,” would stand beside him when he was wounded in battle with the Iraqi resistance.

But he was misled.

On a fateful day in 2004, a well-armed unit of Iraqi resistance fighters, who had endured sanctions, bombings and other inhumanities by the U.S. government, struck back at the occupation military forces. They fired a 107-mm rocket at the U.S. base in Ramadi, Iraq. The projectile ripped through a building and exploded three feet above Spc. Town’s head.

Town later awoke in a hospital bed and has since suffered from hearing loss, headaches, memory loss, anxiety and an inability to sleep. The military was happy to hand Town the metallic item attached to a ribbon known as a “Purple Heart”; however, when it came to the actual health care he needed to recover from his injury, the government was a little less inclined.

Discharged in 2006, Town wanted to be treated for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), something afflicting tens of thousands of GIs. The Pentagon decided to avoid taking responsibility for his problem. The military claimed he had a previously existing “personality disorder,” and the fact that an 18.8-kg explosive had gone off right above him had nothing to do with his current ills.

Town is not the only one. Records show that since 2001 more than 22,500 GIs have been categorized as having “personality disorders” in order to block the required treatment they would receive from veterans’ hospitals if they had PTSD. What’s significant is that Town, who has two children and spent seven years in the military, received honors 12 times. You would think the Pentagon would give him special treatment.

What an insult it is to say that those who have seen body parts laying on the ground, children dying and all the other carnage of war, are unaffected by having been sent to kill and die in a criminal occupation. And then to blame their trauma on a “personality disorder” that they already supposedly had, in order to avoid paying the bill.

What person who is not already a sociopath would be able to look at such horror and not be disturbed? It seems that to those who run this country, people are commodities, something Karl Marx wrote about years ago in his book, “Capital,” and in his economic manuscripts. Under the capitalist system, words can echo in Dick Cheney’s bunker about “supporting the troops,” sentimental stories can run on the FOX news channel and NBC, but in the end those sent to repress the people opposing imperialism are themselves considered nothing to but cannon fodder by the powers that be.

Because Town put up a fight and got some support, Congress held a special hearing July 25 and the Pentagon decided it had better allow his treatment for the time being. But his case still exposes the war makers: they may call the troops heroes, but profit rules when it comes to paying their bills. GIs and veterans will have to fight another war at home to make sure they get the benefits they were promised.

From Workers World

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