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    by Jim Hightower



Excuse me while I throw up.

I'm nauseated by the disgusting treatment that the Bushites keep giving to the troops they publicly profess to love末troops that they are all too willing to use for their own political purposes. We've learned about the Pentagon's deadly failure to provide body and vehicle armor for the troops in Iraq, about the Bushites shameful efforts to keep America's wounded soldiers out of the public eye and even to deny them health care, about the sickening stonewalling by the White House and Pentagon brass so the entire blame for prisoner torture falls on a few lowly grunts末but the scandals just keep coming.

How about Tourniquet-Gate? Just when you thought your disgust-O-meter couldn't register any higher, it's now been revealed that troops in Iraq are being sent into the hell of battle without something so simple and life-saving as tourniquets to apply when wounded. This small, inexpensive item is no small thing to our soldiers末the Army estimates that tens of thousands of U.S. fighters are in combat without tourniquets. Officials now concede that untold numbers have bled to death from injuries that would not have been fatal if a tourniquet had been applied.

Apparently, the Pentagon chiefs have not placed an order for first-aid kits containing tourniquets because末get ready to barf末they have not yet developed training manuals and a pouch for carrying the tourniquets!

Here's another one. While hundreds of private companies and state governments have stepped up to pay the difference between the low military wages that Reservists and National Guard members are getting in Iraq and the higher pay they got in civilian life, one big employer has not stepped up: The federal government. The Bushites have exempted themselves from doing what's right for these troops on the grounds that it could cost too much.

Why are the White House and Pentagon so lackadaisical about providing our soldiers the basic support they need and deserve? Shouldn't "Support Our Troops" be more than a political phrase on a bumpersticker?

Sources: "Part-Time Pay for Full-Time Service." The New York Times, March 10, 2005.
"Senators: Why Do Troops Lack Tourniquets?" abcNEWS Internet Ventures, March 8, 2005.

Reprinted with permission.



The problem for U.S. presidents who jump on their moral high horse and gallop around the world loudly lecturing other nations' leaders about freedom and democracy is that their presidential practices back here in America are often the exact opposite of what they're preaching to others.

George W, our present preacher-in-chief, recently went on a highly-publicized moralizing mission to Russia, where he publicly scolded President Putin for imposing anti-democratic measures on that country. Fine Putin's autocratic tendencies are abominable. But then George got caught up in asserting his own moral purity, declaring: "I'm perfectly comfortable in telling you our country is one that safeguards human rights."

Well, yes, Americans certainly have a strong belief in that, and we've been striving for that ideal for two centuries until BushCheneyRumsfeld & Company arrived. They have been energetically pushing America backwards on human rights, ranging from insisting that the White House has a right to torture war prisoners to using federal police and the military to shut out and shut up Americans who protest Bush's policies.

Filled with moral piety, however, George continued his democracy lecture, saying: "I live in a country where decisions made by government are wide open." What an absurdly awkward thing for him to say, since Bush & Company are notorious for pushing a dangerous new culture of government secrecy in America. They have gone to court again and again to assert "executive privilege," insisting that they have the autocratic right to hide all information about their decisions. They also maintain secret "no fly" lists, they have unilaterally suspended the public's use of our right-to-know laws in case after case, they've doubled the number of government documents classified as secret, and they've claimed in several cases that not even congress or the courts can examine their decisions.

Of course, even under Bush, America is no where near as bad as Putin's Russia...yet.


Sources: "Access laws pry open secrets across the world," Austin American-Statesman, February 26, 2005.  For the U.S., talk of human rights proves awkward," Austin American-Statesman, February 27, 2005.



(c) 2005, Copyright - Saddleburr Productions, Inc.  Reprinted with permission.



Updated  April 02, 2005

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