Extreme Liberal's Blog

Where Liberalism Is Alive and Well!

President Obama – Finally A President Who Cares About Veterans and the Troops!

Veterans

It always enraged me that the Bush Administration so willingly sent our troops off to fight in two wars of choice, but when they returned to the states with injuries or mental problems, they turned their backs on them. President Obama has been fighting for veterans for years and now as president he is helping them even more.

First, let’s take a look at what the last Republican administration did for veterans or rather, did TO veterans. Joan McCarter at Daily Kos gives us this in a post…

As VoteVets uncovered in 2008, the VA of those days deliberately misdiagnosed Veterans to reduce the cost of treatment and disability payments:

On March 20, 2008 a VA hospital’s PTSD program coordinator sent an e-mail to a number of VA employees, including psychologists, social workers, and a psychiatrist stating that due to an increased number of “compensation seeking veterans,” the staff should “refrain from giving a diagnosis of PTSD straight out” and they should “R/O [rule out] PTSD” and consider a diagnosis of “Adjustment Disorder” instead.

How shitty is that to send young men and women into a horrible, frightening, brutal environment and then when these young people suffer mental problems from it, those fuckers just abandoned them. And not just abandon but actually put up roadblocks for them, make them suffer a little more. Not many people know that each year, over 6000 veterans commit suicide. That’s twice the national average. CBS News did some excellent research on this…

Dr. Steve Rathbun is the acting head of the Epidemiology and Biostatistics Department at the University of Georgia. CBS News asked him to run a detailed analysis of the raw numbers that we obtained from state authorities for 2004 and 2005.

It found that veterans were more than twice as likely to commit suicide in 2005 than non-vets. (Veterans committed suicide at the rate of between 18.7 to 20.8 per 100,000, compared to other Americans, who did so at the rate of 8.9 per 100,000.)

One age group stood out. Veterans aged 20 through 24, those who have served during the war on terror. They had the highest suicide rate among all veterans, estimated between two and four times higher than civilians the same age. (The suicide rate for non-veterans is 8.3 per 100,000, while the rate for veterans was found to be between 22.9 and 31.9 per 100,000.)

President Obama has done more for veterans in 18 months than the previous administration did in 8 years. Well, really, the Bush administration made many steps backwards for veterans all the while claiming to be the party that represents the military through it’s propaganda machines like Fox News and the rest of the right wing media which was aided and abetted by the cable news networks. Check this out from VetVoice via Daily Kos…

After already increasing VA funding and signing a bill to insure advanced funding for the Department, President Obama’s Department of Veterans Affairs plans to announce next week that it is removing the speed-bumps that hindered PTSD afflicted Vets from obtaining a disability rating:

The government is making it easier for combat veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder to receive disability benefits.

The Veterans Affairs Department plans to announce Monday it will no longer require veterans to prove what might have triggered their illness. Instead, they would have to show that they served in combat in a job that could have contributed to post-traumatic stress disorder.

The nearly 20 percent of Veterans who return with signs of PTSD will now find it easier to obtain what they earned when they bravely defended their country.  Making the process for obtaining benefits as smooth as possible is the least we owe these heroes.  This decision to streamline the process for PTSD claims illustrates a commitment to our Veterans from this Administration that was absent for eight years under previous leadership…

…The new PTSD guidelines aren’t just a boon to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans–they apply to all veterans, and there are still many Vietnam vets suffering, who’ve waited decades for this help.

Hooray President Obama, finally someone who actually cares about the people that presidents like to send off to do their dirty work. Now I know a lot of people on the far left think Obama is just as bad as Bush was when it comes to wars and in my opinion, these people are really out of their minds. I completely understand the principled stance that no wars are good, I personally wish we lived in a world where they weren’t necessary. I never think war is a solution to any problem and am against all wars. Having said that, let me remind people that President Obama DID NOT get us into these two wars and in fact Barack Obama was one of the lone people who stood up against the Iraq war when everyone was signing from the same hymnal about WMD’s…remember that shit. Here is a Youtube post that uses people to read his speech in 2002 (before the war) which has apparently been lost…

Here is a transcript of that speech, please go read it, even you trolls who will undoubtedly go berserk over this post. And I challenge all you “Hillary inspired Obama haters” to go find what ole’ Hillary said in 2002 about the Iraq war. I only say that because some of President Obama’s harshest critics are these folks. If you watch that video or read the transcript, you might notice that this young, future president nailed it…absolutely nailed it…in predicting what would happen if we invade Iraq.

Active Duty Troops

So now onto how he cares for active troops. He’s bringing them home where they belong. This is from a blog I just came across called Musings on Iraq…

U.S. Forces Drawing Down In Iraq

U.S. forces are scheduled to draw down to 50,000 by September 1, 2010 following President Obama’s withdrawal plan. It’s hardly been noticed, but U.S. troops are almost at that level already.

Since 2009 over 60,000 U.S. soldiers have been pulled out of Iraq. In January 2009 when Obama first took office, there were 142,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. After that, several thousand were withdrawn every couple months, going down to 140,000 in February, 137,000 in March, 134,000 in May, 130,000 in June, etc. According to the spokesman for U.S. forces in Iraq, there are currently 77,500 U.S. personnel in Iraq as of July 2010.

U.S. Troop Strength In Iraq 2003-2010
May 2003 150,000 – Invasion force
October 2007 171,000 – Height of Surge
January 2009 142,000 – Beginning Obama administration
February 140,000
March 137,000
May 134,000
June 130,000
September 124,000
October 117,000
November 115,000
December 110,000
February 2010 98,000
April 95,000
May 92,000
June 90,000
July 77,500

President Obama is doing exactly what he said he would do. How many of you have seen stories from the MSM about this? Or on the 24 hour cable news networks? I know that many of these troops are being re-assigned to Afghanistan, where the Obama administration is focusing it’s efforts to weaken Al Qaeda and help get some semblance of a stable government in place. Rachel Maddow was over there last week and did some excellent reporting about what’s going on. Her and Richard Engel are both amazing and paint a much different picture than you will hear out of the right-wing noise machine AND the MSM. Rachel had an exchange with Ann Curry from the Today show where Ann tried her hardest to be a Fox News morning host but Rachel told it like it is, like she usually does. From a Crooks and Liars post about the exchange…

This is the first time I’ve seen a journalist really try to get beyond the basics of the Afghan war and into the details of what our military is actually doing, what they hope to accomplish, and how they’re going about accomplishing it. Rachel Maddow is hardly a hawk, so part of the remarkable quality of her reporting is seeing her come to an understanding that much of what’s being done involves helping people, not killing them.

This clearly doesn’t fit the story they want to tell on The Today Show. Watch the video as Rachel is questioned about the July deadline and the supposed “delayed Kandahar strategy.”

For some reason the video C&L has up there isn’t Rachel on the Today show but here is some of the transcript, once again courtesy of Crooks and Liars…

CURRY: In fact, let’s talk about that. It’s a year from now that the US troops are scheduled to leave. We’re 104 months into this war, Afghanistan is now the longest war in US history. June was the deadliest month in the war with 60 Americans killed, Rachel. And so is this president’s deadline of leaving a year from now, beginning to withdraw a year from now, actually realistic?

Translated: FOX thinks a deadline is foolish. Don’t you think so too, Rachel?

And Rachel’s answer is perfect, because it’s the truth and it makes sense. That July deadline isn’t just there for show:

MADDOW: There have been a lot of critics who have said that that deadline doesn’t make sense in terms of military strategy. But I think that’s only true if you think of war, this kind of war, as if it’s some kind of D-Day every day. It’s really not like that. Counterinsurgency doesn’t look like that. The point of this counterinsurgency strategy is to set up an Afghan government so that Afghanistan is essentially hardened against the Taliban coming back into power and against them link — them — Afghanistan again linking up with these extremist groups. The deadline is not for military strategy in pure military terms. The deadline is so the Afghan government feels like they’ve really got to get their act together and stand up and get it done. I have to tell you that, you know, the counterinsurgency doctrine may not work. It may not work no matter what we do to set up — try to set up Afghan government here. But it definitely won’t work without a deadline, at least in Kandahar, not based on what I’ve seen after this latest embedding.

Rachel Maddow is no hawk, she’s telling the truth about what is going on in Afghanistan – which doesn’t fit in the alternate reality that some on both the left and right seem to be living in. It is creating much cognitive dissonance in their brains…..many I’m sure are just tuning it out or simply denying it. I’m sure my favorite troll will call me and President Obama murderers and all sorts of vile stuff, I really feel sorry for him, not just because his comments always end up in my spam filter but that his brain is actually so clouded that clear thoughts can’t emerge.

I firmly believe that the Obama administration really will have fighting troops out of both Iraq and Afghanistan by the end of his first term. Until then, the haters will surely claim he can’t do it, he’s a warmonger or from the right, he’s soft on terrorism or whatever else Frank Luntz tells them to say. President Obama is proving to be a much better president than I even imagined, he’s able to stay on track and stay focused even with the fickle media (MSNBC and CNN) and the hard right-wing liars (Fox News) and the lame mainstream media (thanks Sarah) trying to trump up stupid ass process stories or the latest poll of 700 people who still have land-line phones. Results really do have a huge effect on the general public, much more effect than the media does. And since the public IS so fickle, with a coordinated advertising campaign for the general election in November, the Democrats simply have to tell the truth about what has ACTUALLY happened over the first two years of Democrats in control and that is much easier when you have the truth on your side.

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July 10, 2010 - Posted by | Media, MSM, Politics, President Barack Obama |

12 Comments »

  1. love your blog and hope to see Obama win a second term! :)

    Comment by Jeff | July 10, 2010 | Reply

  2. Thank you for your blog. People keep underestimating President Obama and if the Dems don’t get their act together we may lose some seats in the house and senate. I put his news items on my Facebook. Will probably drive some of my family nuts. But it’s important that people start reading what he is actually doing. Not what the MSM says he is or is not doing. I have been lurking for awhile,just getting settled and doing some odd jobs out of town. But read you and Al everyday.
    thank you again for helping keeping me sane. LOL

    Comment by Roberta in MN | July 10, 2010 | Reply

  3. would like to add one more comment. It’s doubtless that the progressive movement like the young turks will see that this isn’t enough as they’ve usually seen with nearly everything that Obama’s done. I know that they shouldn’t anger me and if I don’t like them don’t listen to them but I can’t help but feel more than a little betrayed by these groups. They claim to be about change but they aren’t very specific about what kind of changes that they want.

    Plus they fail to realize that the majority of the population doesn’t want the kind of changes that they are pushing for.

    Comment by Jeff | July 11, 2010 | Reply

  4. (edited for abusiveness, keep it up Werk and you will be banned) The majority of the country doesn’t want to kill children and women and men every day. If you do, please go run into a burning building.

    Meanwhile, let’s all dance at Obama’s minuscule troop withdrawals while his generals tell us to expect combat in this region for “another decade.” The fact is, we were lead into two wars through lies and manipulation, never to “promote freedom” or “fight terror” but to increase fat fucking capitalist’s wealth. Every day that Obama keeps even a single soldier in these lands is a day he continues to be a murderer.

    How many thousands does Obama want to kill before his corporate overlords tell him they are ready to decimate another land for profit.

    This makes me sick.

    Comment by werk | July 13, 2010 | Reply

    • You are a piece of “werk” dude. “minuscule”??? He is ahead of schedule in pulling troops out of Iraq. Of course, how do you even have a discussion with someone who types “Every day that Obama keeps even a single soldier in these lands is a day he continues to be a murderer.”

      You really ought to just crawl into your utopian underground city where everything is just perfect. The rest of us are living in reality which isn’t so perfect.

      End of discussion.

      Comment by ExtremeLiberal | July 13, 2010 | Reply

  5. I don’t live in a “utopian underground city”, which is why I’m so upset. Your excuse being that this world isn’t perfect is absolutely no justification for the outright murder of Afghanis, Iraqis, or Americans on a daily basis. Your satisfaction with murder makes you an enemy to humanity, just like every blood-lusting capitalist president of this country.

    Comment by werk | July 14, 2010 | Reply

  6. You should build an underground utopian city for yourself, because you are going to be miserable for the rest of your life if you don’t come to the realization that the world is a violent place, it’s everywhere. Shit, there are thousands of websites that simply host fights between girls, guys, gangs beating up lone kids….video games. I abhor violence, but I’m not going to sit in the fetal position because the world is so violent. I’m going to do my part to make it less violent. How about you? Do you think by calling people who didn’t murder anyone a murderer is helping your cause? Do you think by using overblown hyperbole that you are helping anything? Do you think by attacking both parties, one which is a lot less war-like than the other, helps your cause? You could call your city “Werkville” or “Werking Heights” or “Werkle Jerk”. :)

    Comment by ExtremeLiberal | July 14, 2010 | Reply

  7. blah blah blah be content with death the world over because… there’s death the world over? Don’t you see your own circular logic? I should accept “another decade” of death simply because some soulless general wants to jusify his own existence by prolonging war? Or a president who wants to seem “tough on terror” like to kill brown people in the Middle East?

    Which one is less warlike? They are both disgusting blood soaked capitalists. Thanks Woodrow for a pointless WWI, thanks Truman for dropping two nuclear bombs on civillians, thanks JFK for a pointless Vietnam, thank LBJ for expanding it, thanks Clinton for starting a genocide in eastern Europe, for bombing pharmaceutical plants that STILL are not replaced.

    Both your parties are murderers. Murders made for the sake of profit.

    Comment by werk | July 14, 2010 | Reply

  8. I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore.

    YOU sound so peaceful, Werk. Love flows from every sentence you type.

    A head so clouded with anger can’t possibly do anything to help change the world.

    We live in a shitty world, and I don’t see it getting better anytime soon…..maybe ever. So I choose to do my part to make it a better place. And I find it much more useful to be in a party that is actually at the table and leans in my direction when it comes to priorities.

    You’ve chosen differently, how’s that working out for you?

    Comment by ExtremeLiberal | July 14, 2010 | Reply

  9. How’s it working for me? I have a clean conscience and I do not celebrate death simply for the sake of it being slightly less death. So it works well for me.

    Your party is at the table, sure, I’ll admit that. But it’s not something to be proud of when it acts as the force driving us into extinction. That’s a table I’m glad not to have a seat at. 

    I only hope that I live to see the dawn of such a post-American era, and for that I suppose I owe you thanks. Without your unwavering support of the anti-human actions of anyone with a letter “D” (and for some “R”) next to their name, this death-state would take so much longer to finally fold.

    Comment by Werk | July 15, 2010 | Reply

  10. This feels like a lost cause, I’m done. Goodbye EL.

    Comment by werk | July 15, 2010 | Reply

  11. Buh bye!

    Comment by ExtremeLiberal | July 15, 2010 | Reply


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