How The Bush Administration Supports The Troops

Yesterday we took a look at just how much Sprint honors those who have gone off to risk their lives for our sake. Before that, we saw in just what high regards Republican Gopper candidate Mitt Romney holds our men and women serving in the Armed Forces. But you would at least think that this administration, the one that condemned hundreds of thousands of men and women to war, the same administration that has overseen the death of thousands of our best and brightest in uniform, you would at least think that this president would know something about supporting the troops, right?

Man, if you bought into that, I’m not even going to try and sell you anything, you should just forward me the contents of your checking account right now. If you really have any doubts about how Bush views the troops, let’s just take a quick look at a couple of things from today alone.

During a Press Conference at the White House, we have this little exchange:

Q Thank you, Mr. President. You speak often about taking care of the troops and honoring their sacrifice. But the family of Corporal Pat Tillman believes there was a cover up regarding his death, and some say perhaps he was even murdered, instead of just friendly fire. At a hearing last week on Capitol Hill your former Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, other officials used some version of “I don’t recall” 82 times. When it was his term to step up, Pat Tillman gave up a lucrative NFL career, served his country and paid the ultimate sacrifice. Now you have a chance to pledge to the family that your government, your administration will finally get to the bottom of it. Can you make that pledge to the family today, that you’ll finally, after seven investigations, find out what really happened?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, I can understand why Pat Tillman’s family, you know, has got significant emotions, because a man they loved and respected was killed while he was serving his country. I always admired the fact that a person who was relatively comfortable in life would be willing to take off one uniform and put on another to defend America. And the best way to honor that commitment of his is to find out the truth. And I’m confident the Defense Department wants to find out the truth, too, and we’ll lay it out for the Tillman family to know.

Q But, Mr. President, there have been seven investigations and the Pentagon has not gotten to the bottom of it. Can you also tell us when you, personally, found out that it was not enemy fire, that it was friendly fire?

THE PRESIDENT: I can’t give you the precise moment. But obviously the minute I heard that the facts that people believed were true were not true, that I expect there to be a full investigation and get to the bottom of it.

(bold added for emphasis)

Every time I read this section of today’s press conference, I get a little more and more disturbed. There is so much wrong with this it’s hard to know where to start. Seven investigations? He can’t recall exactly when he found out? He would expect?

Here’s the deal, if Bush really honored the sacrifice of our troops, he would know a little more, he would feel a little more, he would demand a little more. I’m sorry, but they saw fit to use Pat Tillman’s death as an advertising campaign, and when his death didn’t fit the narrative they were trying to build, they couldn’t even have the common decency to actually pay attention and care?

He should be able to remember when he found out it was friendly fire. He should be able to remember exactly when it was that he found out that the nature of the friendly fire was not exactly as it was sold.

He should not be “expecting” a damn thing, he should be demanding it! This man did give up a very lucrative career and lifestyle to die in under the poor stewardship of this Commander in Chief, and his memory has been kicked around in the dirt like one of Michael Vick’s dogs.

It’s disgraceful, but then what do you expect from a man who can’t even grasp the concept of the “significan emotions” that Tillman’s death might cause his family.

Moving on.

On top of not caring much about those soldiers who don’t make it back from abroad alive, it doesn’t seem as though Bush has much regard for those who do beyond their ability to serve as an effective backdrop for one of his speeches:

The Bush administration opposes a Democratic effort to restore full educational benefits for returning veterans, according to an official’s comments last week.

Senate Democrats, led by Virginia’s Jim Webb, want the government to pay every penny of veterans’ educational costs, from tuition at a public university to books, housing and a monthly stipend.

Such a benefit was a major feature of the historic 1944 G.I. Bill, which put more than eight million U.S. soldiers through college and is now credited by historians as fueling the expansion of America’s middle class in the post-war era.

But in recent years the benefit has dwindled; under the current law, passed in 1985, veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan can expect Uncle Sam to cover only 75 percent of their tuition costs. That’s not enough, say Democrats and veterans’ advocates.

Right, so, the message I’m hearing here is that they’re good enough to die for us, they’re good enough to cherry pick quotes from about how great the war is going, they’re good enough to stand up in formation while you deliver a speech, but as far as giving them the best possible opportunity to prepare for a life outside of the military, eh… we’ll stick with the cuts to their educational benefits that Reagan enacted.

But hey, the corporations of America are the real heroes, right? They’re the ones that deserve tax cuts.

Oh well, only 529 days until this guy is gone, and counting.

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