Where is the outrage?

“Our troops are counting on their elected leaders in Washington, D.C., to provide them with the support they need to do their mission. We have a responsibility, all of us here in Washington, to make sure that our men and women in uniform have the resources and the flexibility they need to prevail.” President George W. Bush

“A man who is good enough to shed his blood for his country is good enough to be given a square deal afterwards. More than that no man is entitled, and less than that no man shall have.” Theodore Roosevelt

Where is the outrage?
By: Joe Leonardi

As a veteran, as a former congressional candidate, as a doctor and as an American; the incident at Walter Reed Army Hospital, specifically Building 18, still has me enraged. What I don’t understand — is where has the anger been from conservative commentators, republican politicians and most importantly from the White House? Where — is the outrage?! Oh wait, approximately two weeks later we were told “the President is angry.”

Conservative, entertainment commentators tell the American people, “You can’t support the troops without supporting the war and/or the President.” What a gargantuan pile of balderdash. Of course, you can support our armed forces without supporting President Bush’s blunder in Iraq. My questions to the Limbaughs, the Hannitys and yes even President Bush and Vice President Cheney is where is your support for the troops? How do you serve those who guarantee your freedoms? While Limbaugh and Hannity cower behind the lines throwing bombs at veterans, like Senators John Kerry and John McCain who actually served, the military had our wounded heroes sleeping in housing barely worthy of a slum. How do you justify having placed our heroes in roach infested, rat teeming, holes in the ceilings, mold abounding berthing without nary a whimper from the right? HOW?

Well I’m on the right and to quote a famous movie, “I’m as mad as hell!” Not only should our soldiers, sailors, airmen or marines have never been treated in this ghastly fashion, I’m mad as hell that the President of the United States hasn’t been mad as hell. Mr. President, you and the Vice-President artfully dodged serving in the war of your generation, Vietnam, yet without hesitation you continue to send those who volunteer off to combat. President Bush, you have been playing up the Commander in Chief role from every dais you can find, perhaps it is time stop the talk and walk the walk.

Do I think the President should have known first hand what was going on in Building 18? No, I am not stupid enough to think that the President knows everything that goes on at every base in the nation. However, once he learned how his troops were being treated, or should I say mistreated, he should have come out to the military and the American people to express his anger and disdain.

Two weeks after it had been made public, scapegoats were fired and then, suddenly, reporters told us the President was angry. These are your troops Mr. President, tact and diplomacy be dammed, where is your outrage? I don’t want to be told about it, I want to see it.

Building 18 represents a horrible disrespect to our service men and women. Building 18 doesn’t even meet the most minimal criteria President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed in the above quote. Building 18 demonstrates, from those proclaiming it the most, an overt lack of support for our troops.

More telling than Building 18 though, is the lack of leadership, the lack of immediate moral repulsion and the lack of non-calculated outrage from the man who is their leader.

This all demonstrates a truth I was told in my Navy days. A Marine warrant officer once said to me, “Beware those who cry for war the loudest, for they are those who have never known the horrors of combat.” In retrospect it is fitting that General Colin Powell was nick named the “Reluctant Warrior” and President Bush rattled from his Secret Service provided safety, “Bring it on.” Well, Mr. President, they brought it on, now please take care of our heroes.

Joe Leonardi

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8 Comments

Filed under Conservative, Iraq, President, Republican, Veterans, Walter Reed, War

8 responses to “Where is the outrage?

  1. Dr. Leonardi,

    I share your feelings on this issue at Walter Reed. Our troops deserve better than to be treated as cast-offs and throwaways after so valiantly fighting a war that more often looks to be one against reason instead of terror.

    Are we really so shortsighted as to believe that treating our soldiers in this way will not cause others who might have served to shun service?

    ~A!

  2. Joe,

    I enjoyed reading your comments about the fiasco at Walter Reed. As a former commander, I was often evaluated more on how I responded to a situation than maybe what caused it. I’m not sure who in the White House seems to be missing the obvious, but maybe there needs to be a personnel shake-up within the staff.

    A couple of years ago while on active duty, I had the opportunity to meet President Bush briefly. I found him very engaging and appreciative of my service to our country. I don’t believe for a minute that he intended to minimize the events at Walter Reed. In fact I remember Vice-President Cheney voicing outrage and the promise to take immediate action that very day the story broke to resolve the issues at Walter Reed.

    I believe the problem is with the public information “handlers” at the White House. Tony Snow (who I respect) and his staff should have read the tea leaves sooner and advised the President that additional comments voiced by him personally. Especially crucial due to the fact that we are at “war.” As Commander-in-Chief, he needs to take care of his men and women in uniform. When you’re in “command” you have responsibilities to those under you.

    Thank you for allowing me to comment and keep up the good work!

    jd

  3. fitnessfortheoccasion

    Thanks for making this post. It’s right on the mark. Bush should have come out immediately and been clearly outraged, or at least moving to fix the problem. All the calls of “support the troops” fall flat against this failure.

    Continuing to draw attention to this issue is essential. We can’t let the President photo-op his way out of responsibility on this one.

  4. jay-b

    Problem is , when have you ever seen Bush outraged about anything? Okay, the megaphone scene at the World Trade Center in 2001. But all those guys he was going to “smoke out of their caves” and “do in” are still out there causing us grief. And in Iraq, at the end of the day, we killed the one guy that knew (for better or worse) how to run place. What we have now–in Iraq–is a satellite of Iran. The Ayatollahs must love that. I’m sure Bush is a great guy to have a beer with, but his outrage over the Walter Reed mess and the VA hospital system is way too reminiscent of his ham-handed response to Hurricane Katrina. Truth is, the guy from Yale with the “gentleman’s C average” shouldn’t be running the country. Give me the self-made valedictorian/workaholic over the frat boy any day of the week.

    Also, what we could use is the citizens of this country taking a stand on this mis-begotten adventure in Iraq–perhaps employing the selective service system. Then we might really see how people feel about the war. As to the wounded veterans of Iraq, their needs have to be kept at the foreront of our thinking, because the pols will drift away from this as soon as publicity dies down.

  5. i couldn’t agree with your view on this more. we are from two very different planes but we both see and know how important it is to take care of our veterans (as well as those still serving of course)

  6. rose,

    there are some subjects that mus transcend politics and political parties.

    Thanks for the comment and keep up the dialogue.

    Joe

  7. joe,

    “…conservative commentators, republican politicians and most importantly from the White House” are far more interested in consolidating power than governing. walter reed is a perfect example of why you don’t put the government in the hands of people who despise government.

    similarly, you don’t entrust the troops to an administration that doesn’t respect the military.

    where are the real conservatives…?

  8. Hi Spaceneedl,

    Real conservative right here. I’m hoping more of them find this site and we band together. I am extremely disappointed that my party has been co-opted by the neocons.

    Thank you for the post and keep up the dialogue.

    Joe

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