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Supporting our troops is more than a yellow ribbon, but bringing them home

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Message Mary MacElveen
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In January of 2005, I sent the following fax to the White House to speak out on behalf of Specialist Douglas Barber who committed suicide in fighting for the benefits he rightly deserved.

To President Bush,

Every single day, I pray that we make it through the next three years with you ruling this country. I have serious doubts that this republic will survive. There are so many indications that it will indeed fall. But, I pray anyway.

But tonight, my prayers are with Specialist Douglas Barber who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom although, I do not see signs of a free Iraq. Why are my prayers with him? It is because he took his own life while suffering from PTSD after serving our country. For over two years he struggled to get the much needed counseling he rightfully deserved. After reading of his death on the Internet, I was astonished to read that he just received "50% disability with 100% to be awarded within 90 days. After over two years of hell and agony he was finally able to access proper counseling for his PTSD. Sadly it was too little, too late." This is an absolute disgrace and some thanks from a grateful nation.

Before taking his life, several friends stated that he was in a jovial mood and even called one friend. None of them had a clue as to what he was about to do. I was angered beyond belief to read: "The Lee County, Alabama sheriff's department was on the scene trying to talk Doug out of it for over 30 minutes. The investigating officer has stated that every effort was made to stop the situation and save Doug's life. Doug apparently turned his back to the officers, fired one shot, and ended his life." He deserved to live out the rest of his life to the fullest, now he is dead. Dead!

His blood is on your hands, President Bush. If it is not the lack of body armor these soldiers fight for they must also fight for a full range of health benefits when they come home. You might as well be the one who pulled that trigger that ended his life. As far as I am concerned, this was not suicide but murder brought on by greed and power. That is what this war is truly about. Greed and power.

While those who suffer from this disorder wrestle with their inner demons, you are the very demon who causes this pain and suffering. You are truly a soulless man if this is the effect that you have on these soldiers who fight for any health benefits they are entitled to. The next time you make a speech concerning this immoral war, do not use our soldiers as your backdrop. They deserve better.
As I read of the illegal eaves dropping practices you are using on innocent Americans and while yes that deeply angers me, what angers me more is to hear stories such as this. You failed him miserably and have no right to call yourself Commander-in-Chief. That title should be used only when a president gives a damn about those that serve this country.

I will now go on praying each day for our country's deliverance from the likes of you. We as a country deserve better.

As the conditions at the Walter Reed Medical center are exploding within the main stream news, many of us have known how this government truly treats those who go off to war for many years. Yet our collective voices have never been heard by our fellow countrymen and women.

In viewing some photos of these maimed soldiers off the Internet, I faxed President Bush another letter only for it to fall on deaf ears and even circulated it to the main stream media. If you truly have the stomach to view these photos, then it is up to you to visit this link; and become the voice of our soldiers.

Many of you have driven from one place to another and as you have done so, you have seen those yellow ribbons that say, "Support our Troops" and I have always asked, what exactly does that mean. Does it mean supporting Bush's ungodly war or really supporting our troops? There are many times, I think the former than the latter. Supporting our troops means more than affixing a yellow ribbon to one's car.

What you are reading within the main stream news of the treatment of these soldiers is not a new phenomenon and it is telling of lack or morality coming from the Bush administration. President Bush and those that support him would rather sink billions of dollars into Halliburton, Bechtel, Kellogg, Brown and Root then to actually support our soldiers. These defense contractors mean more to him than those brave men and women that he sends off to war.

We who have opposed this war right from the very start knew all of this, and it begs the question; why were not all American with us? On February 15, 2003 we marched in millions and our mission was to save lives. But, many Americans thought of us as being unpatriotic and a group of leftist freaks. That angers me beyond belief as we see the main stream media finally exposing these horrific conditions.

Now we learn that these soldiers have been warned not to speak with anyone in the media. It is up to you if you truly support our troops to be their voice and care for our soldiers. These soldiers go off to war fighting for our U.S. Constitution and one of the rights within that sacred document is freedom of speech. When given the order not to speak with anyone in the media, those who hold this power over our maimed soldiers have forgotten the United States Constitution and all of the amendment contained within it.

Now is the time for congress to do their job by bringing our soldiers home. It is the job of all Americans to send that message to their respective officials. It is time that we protect our soldiers as they have done so for years protecting all of us.
If you are one of those people with that magnetic yellow ribbon adorning your care, or flying the flag of this republic, it is time you actually cared. Those of us who have been against this war from the very start need you to join us. These men and women who serve us bravely need brave voices to speak out on behalf of them. That will truly be thanks from a grateful nation.

Authors note: Should you wish to read the second fax to President Bush, please go to this link: Please feel free to email me at
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I am a writer who currently writes pieces for my own blog I have been published by, and I was a guest on the Jay Diamond Radio Show on WRKO in Boston and have (more...)
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