President Bush’s Photo Op with Amputee Veterans
We think these photos of President Bush jogging on the South Lawn of the White House on Wednesday with amputee soldiers is supposed to be inspiring…instead, we find it kind of tasteless of Dubya to capitalize on the soldiers’ injuries for a “photo op.” Sgt. Neil Duncan lost both of his legs in Afghanistan in 2005, while Spc. Max Ramsey lost his left leg in Iraq last year. Both men met Bush at Walter Reed Army Medical Center last year. If the White House is to be believed, the timing of their visit — on the same day a 29-page report which called for sweeping changes in veterans’ care was presented to Bush in the Oval Office — was coincidental. Any takers?
Some of the recommendations called for creation of a “My eBenefits” website that would allow both the injured and medical personnel to access medical information as the patient is moved to various treatment facilities; broadened support and benefits for family caregivers; and increased awareness of brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), from which many veterans ultimately suicide. As of late May, the most recent date for which we could find data, the U .S. has deployed about 1.5 million military personnel to Iraq and Afghanistan. Of those, up to 40 percent of the returning exhibit PTSD symptoms and up to 60 percent are believed to have some degree of brain injury from combat.
Was it worth it? You decide. The Washington Post maintains an interesting Faces of the Fallen page, in which photos and brief biographical sketches of the 4,041 U.S. military personnel who have died in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) are shown. The data base is searchable by state as well, if you want to see how many people from your state have paid the ultimate price. And that doesn’t include the 250,000 service members being treated at Department of Veterans Affairs-related medical facilities (including about 185,000 who have “readjustment problems”) or the other 180,000 wounded who’ve filed disability claims. Hip, hip, hurray. Not.
P.S. – George, wear jogging pants.
Read another post about war.
Photo credit: AP Photo/Ron Edmonds
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