A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Friday, March 09, 2007

Icebergs and the USS George W. Bush

Another embarrassment for the Bush administration reared its ugly head this week with the disclosure of deplorable conditions at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, DC.

This week, Congress jumped in with several committees holding hearings, and Bush himself appointed a bipartisan committee to investigate the problem. Many members of Congress and the military brass have been appalled at the disclosures, although several members of Congress are baffled by this reaction. The baffled members saw this problem several years ago, but no one wanted to listen to them.

I already know what conclusions will be drawn from the investigations and I can guess what the outcome will be. Congress and the commission will most likely find that the horrible conditions at the military hospitals were caused by budget cuts necessitated by Bush’s tax cuts. The outcome will be a lot of bluster from the White House about responsibility, and how we must see that it doesn’t happen again, and then nothing will be done.

If you don’t believe me, see Hurricane Katrina. There are still people in New Orleans waiting for their homes to be rebuilt, despite the promises.

A few members of Congress have wondered aloud if the conditions at Walter Reed have also cropped up at other veteran’s hospitals around the country. They have compared the Walter Reed problem to the tip of an iceberg. I like this metaphor, and I believe the Democrats in Congress will use it to their advantage every chance that they get.

Many people will cry foul that someone will see some political gain from this scandal, but all is fair in politics. After all this is the nature of the culture inside the Beltway. The Bush regime had plenty of warning about the military hospitals and they chose to ignore the problem.

I can furnish a personal example of how the Bush administration has regarded this country’s veterans. During his last few years, my father would go to the VA hospital in Wilkes-Barre, PA on a regular basis. He was treated for a variety of ailments, and at the end of each visit he would be scheduled for his next appointment automatically. Then, after the budget cuts took effect, the automatic scheduling of the next appointment was replaced with the doctors telling him, “Well, if you have any problems, call us for an appointment.” Granted his experience can’t compare with the horrible conditions veterans are experiencing at Walter Reed, but I can’t help wondering about the difference in Dad’s treatment pre- and post-budget cuts. Would the doctors have found his cancer earlier if they had kept to their regular schedule of appointments?

Now for the political fallout: Dad was a life-long Republican until 2004. I think the budget cuts to the Veterans Administration and the growing body count in Iraq turned him off of the GOP. I would like to believe that he voted Democrat for what would be the last election of his life. To be honest, I don’t know how he voted, but I can imagine that his switching parties was a major decision in his life.

So, yes, President Bush, those are the icebergs of political scandal off the starboard bow, flowing quietly towards the Oval Office, and inflicting political damage beneath your administration’s waterline. Your budget cuts on so many domestic programs have hurt so many people from New Orleans to military hospitals across the country. The disabled veterans sitting in their hospital rooms deserve better, and frankly, so did my Dad.


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