As a 25 year military reserve veteran, including active duty during the Viet Nam War, I say "shame"- on the elected leaders and members of the VFW for not being among "the first to sign up" in criticizing the distorted history and policy perversions contained in Prez Bushy's August 22nd speech at the VFW national convention.
That would be an act of true patriotism, as opposed to applauding the speech, one of the death-throes spasms of the moribund Bush administration, part of a Joseph Goebbles-styled information management campaign, including White House minions of malfeasance taking over the writing of the reports to Congress due from Gen. Petraeus and Amb Crocker in a few weeks.
It is one thing to salute smartly and carry out orders while in active military service, and quite another not to engage ones brain and introspective moral values to reflect upon and learn from that service and apply the hoped-for wisdom in the broader context of the health and well-being of all co-inhabitants of planet Earth (Sen. Kerry apparently followed this path; Sen. McCain, sadly, lost his way).
The policies and actions of Bush and his "Death Eater" [see Voldemort's Army in the Harry Potter books] neo-con sycophants in no way warrant a salute from VFW membership, which includes combat veterans of the Persian Gulf, Viet Nam, and Korean Wars. Note the extraordinary courage of six currently serving enlisted service members in their New York Times op-ed piece, August 19th.
To ignore the fundamental falsehoods underlying our current criminal fiasco in Iraq - that Iraq under Saddam had (1) anything to do with the 9-11-01 attacks and (2) Iraq posed an imminent security threat to the U.S.; compounded by the Administration's callous disregard for our troops by (1) lack of understanding of the threat and capabilities of the insurgency, (2) inadequate body and vehicle armor, (3) immoral lack of adequate care for our wounded soldiers, and (4) tolerance of war profiteering contractors actions - indicates that the VFW membership and leadership is asleep on watch.
This is beyond sad, as it disgraces their otherwise honorable service by failing to do act to stop the carnage perpetrated by our ignorant and authoritarian leaders and in no way honors the dead or helps the living. Will the marble walled "think"- tanks such as the Heritage Foundation, American Enterprise Institute, join in the intellectually honest criticism of the distortions, canards and solipsism in Bush's speech and other issuances yet to come from this propaganda machine?
Let us hope that Congressional democrats, the major news media, and clear-headed and warm-hearted American citizens find the courage to shine the light of Lady Liberty's torch in the dark corners and rid us of these plague-infested rats rending the fabric of our Republic. Written with 1 year, 4 months, 27 days remaining until the inauguration of the next President.
Can we afford to wait that long? Here, from the VFW website: "About the VFW - The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, with its Auxiliaries, includes 2.3 million members in approximately 8,400 Posts worldwide.Its mission is to "honor the dead by helping the living' through veterans' service, community service, national security and a strong national defense.
The VFW traces its roots back to 1899 when veterans of the Spanish-American War (1898) and the Philippine Insurrection (1899-1902) founded local organizations to secure rights and benefits for their service: Many arrived home wounded or sick. There was no medical care or veterans' pension for them,and they were left to care for themselves."