“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.