Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Saturday, March 03, 2007

How Many REALLY Support the Troops?

Remember when half the cars on the road sported yellow magnets saying Support the Troops? You don't see many these days. That's OK because at best it was a superficial manner of showing support.
Years passed, people quit supporting the war, most of them chose to not even think about it. That's OK too, but no one should have stopped supporting the men and women risking their lives in that misbegotten affair that has turned into a civil war. Supporting them, however, does not mean sending even more to die and it certainly does not mean forgetting the seriously wounded when they are returned to the States. Apparently most Americans have forgotten, though. Otherwise there would be a continuous uproar about the recent disclosures regarding conditions at Walter Reed Hospital. So many are coming back horribly wounded - flown in at night so no one will see - that they have to be warehoused in holding units. The condition of those units is deplorable. The Washington Post brought it to the attention of those who might care.
It's outrageous. Absolutely disgraceful. So they've fired a general and a few other heads may roll and Congress is going to hold hearings. While they're holding those hearings FEMA will be assessing the damage from the Alabama and Georgia tornadoes. This country would be far better off if there were fewer hearings, fewer assessments and far more action.
Conditions really hit the skids at Walter Reed when the Idiot in Chief and his second in command decided that privatizing the care of the wounded should be a moneymaker for someone. So that someone, the CEO of the lucky firm that got the job, turned out to be a former executive at Halliburton. What a surprise that was. His company is the same one that was so slow in getting ice to the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina.
A while back, prior to privatization, there were 300 federal employees at Walter Reed. Now there are 60. The ones who took their place don't seem to be doing much of a job so maybe the man ultimately responsible for the mess will award the CEO a medal. "You did a helluva job," he'll probably be told as it's pinned on his chest.
Allowing someone to turn a profit off the care of wounded veterans is a national disgrace. So where's the outcry from all the people who placed Support the Troops magnets on their cars? Are they too busy thinking about the next NASCAR race or the latest gossip concerning Anna Nicole Smith to pay attention?
This may be a capitalistic country but shouldn't the line be drawn somewhere? When a government sends men off to war isn't it the job of that government to care for those that come back minus a leg, an arm, their eyesight? Not, I guess, if there's money to be made.
Perhaps those in charge of the privatized company at Walter Reed are fine, compassionate people but is there anyone so naive as to believe this country doesn't contain others who are not fine and compassionate? People who would say, "Hey, this is a real money machine so keep those wounded coming."
Yes, this privatization of caring for veterans is indeed a national disgrace. So why is it that I can't hear many voices crying out in protest? Is it just that nobody gives a damn? After all is said and done, waving a flag as soldiers march off to war is more fun than seeing the shattered bodies that return. No fun at all in that so it's more comfortable to just turn away and not look. But whether anyone looks or not they're still there. Still there waiting for enough of those people that bought Support the Troops magnets to rise up and demand that conditions be changed for the better. Is that likely to happen? I'm not holding my breath.


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