Editorial: The Ground Truth—We are not prepared

As I watched the documentary about veterans of this war in Iraq, Patricia Foulkrod’s The Ground Truth, at the Irish Rose last week, a freezing washcloth seemed to slap me in the face. The reality sickened me. The suffering of these young men and women mirrored the veterans who returned from the Vietnam War and struggled with their lives in the ’70s, ’80s, right up to today. Coming clean frosts impossible with this cold reality. Those who serve recoil under the cost-conscious, mind-warped treatment of the U.S. government and their fellow citizens’ lack of consciousness as to their plight. The cannon fodder is no longer a priority once fired.

Remembering all of them was heatedly intensified by Diane Rehm’s show on WNIJ 89.5 FM Tuesday morning. As one who is to many the best journalist in America, she interviewed Stephen Flynn about his new book, The Edge of Disaster (Random House). He is a “senior fellow with the National Securities Studies Program at the Council on Foreign Relations and is also the author of America the Vulnerable,” as posted on the WAMU-NPR web site.

Flynn told Rehm of the astronomical cost of the Iraq War, and how that spending by the hour, three hours and the day could address our real vulnerabilities to terrorist attacks and natural disasters here at home. He spoke of how underfunded the Department of Homeland Security was and the astounding 90 percent turnover in the upper bureaucracy of the agency. He noted how we have not really addressed the problems of new hurricanes striking New Orleans, earthquakes in California and viral pandemics. Go to www.wamu.org/programs/dr, and click on “archives” to listen to this show.

As you listen, add in the costs of a whole new set of veterans returning home. Many of them are already here. You may walk by them every day, and not know it because they are not wearing our uniform anymore.

According to www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/iraq_casualties.htm (there’s a link on our web site www.rockrivertimes.com), 22,401 of our young men and women have been wounded in Iraq. Paying attention to the dates for the data, also look at the figures for U.S. Army Evacuations from Iraq, Wounded In Action, Non-Battle Injury and Disease.

Yes, “Disease.” What have we there? Remember the Gulf War Syndrome that the Pentagon denied existed. Look it up on the web. Remember how the Gulf War veterans were and are treated—the new veterans are getting the same or worse because there’s more of them. By the way, also look up “depleted uranium” on the web, knowing such munitions were used extensively in Iraq. Then, consider the lack of body armor, and Humvee armor, and the Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) aimed up to inflict head injuries and strike limbs the limited armor doesn’t protect.

Watch The Ground Truth, and you’ll see more of this. The following synopsis is from www.moviephone.com: The Ground Truth stunned filmgoers at the 2006 Sundance and Nantucket Film Festivals. Hailed as ‘powerful’ and ‘quietly unflinching,’ Patricia Foulkrod’s searing documentary feature includes exclusive footage that will stir audiences. The filmmaker’s subjects are patriotic young Americans—ordinary men and women who heeded the call for military service in Iraq—as they experience recruitment and training, combat, homecoming, and the struggle to reintegrate with families and communities. The terrible conflict in Iraq, depicted with ferocious honesty in the film, is a prelude for the even more challenging battles fought by the soldiers returning home—with personal demons, an uncomprehending public, and an indifferent government. As these battles take shape, each soldier becomes a new kind of hero, bearing witness and giving support to other veterans, and learning to fearlessly wield the most powerful weapon of all—the truth.”

What this synopsis fails to address is how the documentary brings “Kill” right to you. That’s what our soldiers are trained to do—Kill. They are the best in the world. I won’t go on any more about “Kill” because the film does the job. Watch the Iraqi people.

The film also shows post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in its full horror. Take a good look at what your taxpayer dollars are driving our young people into—for nothing, absolutely nothing!

As we pound our dollars and lives into the sands of Iraq and swallow lies about going to war and the crap about this being part of the “War on Terror,” look at the terror in the eyes of our own kids serving our “National Security.” We are supposedly doing this not for oil, or Halliburton, or any of the rest of the members of the Military Industrial Complex, but we are supposed to be doing this to keep the “Terror” over there—away from our shores.

Guess what? “Terror” lands here every day and has been for the length of this war. Every day we are there, we create more hate and make more people willing to become terrorists. We are not prepared. Our lack of preparedness on so many fronts rests on the shoulders of President George W. Bush, the most disastrous president in the history of our nation, with more of the same coming.

Congress must get us out of Iraq and bring those resources home to care for our damaged patriots who have served us so bravely in this mistaken cause.

Congress must get us out of Iraq and bring those resources home to repair and prepare for the neglected scenarios upon us and to come, as so sadly proved by Hurricane Katrina. We must reclaim our domestic and foreign policy.

Write or call your senators and congressmen today.

From the Feb. 21-27, 2007, issue

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