Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! CounterPunch is entirely supported by our readers. Your donations pay for our small staff, tiny office, writers, designers, techies, bandwidth and servers. We don’t owe anything to advertisers, foundations, one-percenters or political parties. You are our only safety net. Please make a tax-deductible donation today.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Treason in the White House?

by WALTER BRASCH

Protected by a podium, thousands of thorns in the world’s most beautiful rose garden, and a cordon of Secret Service agents, President Bush continued his retreat into a bunker mentality.

The House and Senate had just passed a $122 billion war funding bill that demanded U.S. troops begin a systematic withdrawal from Iraq. Sen. Harry Reid, majority leader, had said that Congress had finally acceded to the will of the people.

President Bush defiantly told the people that he would veto the bill and continue his war in Iraq. “Democrat leaders in Congress seem more interested in fighting political battles in Washington than in providing our troops what they need to fight the battles in Iraq,” said the President. If anyone could be accused of not providing soldiers what they need it’s the President and his Administration.

Soldiers are dying because the Administration didn’t provide adequate body armor, forcing families to privately buy the bullet-proof vests for their sons, daughters, fathers, and mothers.

The Bush­Cheney Administration also stands convicted of not providing enough armor to the thin-skinned Humvees that were forced to patrol booby-trapped roads. The resourceful soldiers had to “uparmour” their own vehicles, with their own resourcefulness. The Administration would claim that manufacturers couldn’t produce the better-protected Humvees fast enough. Several companies that specialize in providing war-resistant protection for Humvees for private use say they advised the Department of Defense about their companies’ abilities but never received contracts.

The Bush­Cheney Administration, once it decided to lie to the American people and invade Iraq, sent in too few troops. To questions of why there weren’t enough troops in Iraq to quell the rising violence and developing civil war, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld merely parroted the President’s naiveté-“The big debate about the number of troops is one of those things that’s really out of my control.” The President said he provided whatever troops the military leadership requested. Gen. Colin Powell, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the first Gulf War and secretary of state at the time of the invasion, had stated that the troop level wasn’t adequate for invasion and occupation. Denied and Humiliated. Gen. Eric Shinseki, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said as many as 500,000 would be needed. Denied, and forced to retire early. Gen. Tommy Franks, commanding general of Central Command, learned his lesson; he suggested “only” 250,000 troops would be needed. Denied. Even the recent surge of 21,000 troops, which President Bush said was enough to solve the problem, is a lie. The Budget Office estimates 15,000 to 28,000 more troops are necessary just to support the 21,500 combat troops.

The Bush­Cheney Administration stands convicted of sending soldiers into their third tour of duty in Iraq; in what is known as “stop-loss” enlistment it doesn’t allow soldiers to leave the military at the end of their contracts.

With large numbers of military families living at or below the poverty level, the Bush­Cheney Administration stands convicted of having tried to cut a Congressionally-approved pay raise for soldiers. Bush wanted to trim a 3.7 percent raise to only 2 percent, claiming the raise was too costly. Only when it appeared the President’s refusal to increase salaries would jeopardize his political future did the President do the Texas Two-Step and spin reality as quickly as a tumbleweed rolls into Crawford. “We have a solemn responsibility to support the servicemen and women who defend us in the field of battle,” said the President. The following year, Bush tried to slice combat pay for persons in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Bush­Cheney Administration stands convicted of cutting about $1.5 billion for adequate military housing at a time when the Army Times reported that 83,000 barracks units and 129,000 family housing units were substandard.

The Bush­Cheney Administration stands convicted of reducing necessary veterans’ health care benefits by $2 billion, of trying to end health care benefits for almost 175,000 veterans, of requiring several hundred thousand veterans to wait for months to receive medical care because of the lack of funding of VA hospitals, and refusing to allow members of the National Guard to have health care; about 20 percent of all Guardsmen don’t have any health care, according to a Gannett News Service report in 2003.

Only when the “liberal media”-in this case the Washington Post-provided evidence of the conditions at Walter Reed Army Hospital did Bush allow the incoming Secretary of Defense to exercise his authority to take bold action to correct the problems faced by veterans with life-threatening and permanent combat injuries.

Had the $9 billion that was “lost” in Iraq and the billions more that had been misappropriated or wasted been applied to “supporting the troops,” not only would more soldiers have lived through IED explosions, but there would now be adequate medical care for the veterans and their families. There would be enough left over to rebuild New Orleans, give basic health care to the 47 million Americans without adequate insurance, assist the three million homeless (about one-third of them veterans), and probably put a large dent into funds needed to find a cure for cancer.

Of course, Donald Rumsfeld justified all of this non-support for the troops by an excuse. In December 2004, 21 months after the President ordered the shock-and-awe military to invade, occupy, and eventually destroy the Iraq, Rumsfeld flippantly said, “As you know, you have to go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you want.” If nothing else about the Bush­Cheney Administration matters, the war in Iraq shows that this nation does not have the president we want or need. His actions and inactions in the Iraq War alone suggest not only has he failed to support the troops, he has lied, deceived, and degraded his oath of office. A court martial for dereliction of duty is not constitutionally possible for the man who likes to be known as the “Commander-in-Chief,” as a “war president,” and as the “Decider.” His actions justify not only impeachment but also charges of treason.

WALTER BRASCH, professor of journalism at Bloomsburg University, is an award-winning syndicated columnist and the author of 15 books, most of them about social issues, the First Amendment, and the media. His forthcoming book is America’s Unpatriotic Acts; The Federal Government’s Violation of Constitutional and Civil Liberties (Peter Lang Publishing.) You may contact Brasch at brasch@bloomu.edu or at www.walterbrasch.com

 

Walter Brasch is an award-winning social issues journalist. His latest book is Fracking Pennsylvania, an analysis of the history, economics, and politics of fracking, as well as its environmental and health effects.

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

September 29, 2016
Robert Fisk
The Butcher of Qana: Shimon Peres Was No Peacemaker
James Rose
Politics in the Echo Chamber: How Trump Becomes President
Russell Mokhiber
The Corporate Vice Grip on the Presidential Debates
Daniel Kato
Rethinking the Race over Race: What Clinton Should do Now About ‘Super-Predators’
Peter Certo
Clinton’s Awkward Stumbles on Trade
Fran Shor
Demonizing the Green Party Vote
Rev. William Alberts
Trump’s Road Rage to the White House
Luke O'Brien
Because We Couldn’t Have Sanders, You’ll Get Trump
Michael J. Sainato
How the Payday Loan Industry is Obstructing Reform
Robert Fantina
You Can’t Have War Without Racism
Gregory Barrett
Bad Theater at the United Nations (Starring Kerry, Power, and Obama
James A Haught
The Long, Long Journey to Female Equality
Thomas Knapp
US Military Aid: Thai-ed to Torture
Jack Smith
Must They be Enemies? Russia, Putin and the US
Gilbert Mercier
Clinton vs Trump: Lesser of Two Evils or the Devil You Know
Tom H. Hastings
Manifesting the Worst Old Norms
George Ella Lyon
This Just in From Rancho Politico
September 28, 2016
Eric Draitser
Stop Trump! Stop Clinton!! Stop the Madness (and Let Me Get Off)!
Ted Rall
The Thrilla at Hofstra: How Trump Won the Debate
Robert Fisk
Cliché and Banality at the Debates: Trump and Clinton on the Middle East
Patrick Cockburn
Cracks in the Kingdom: Saudi Arabia Rocked by Financial Strains
Lowell Flanders
Donald Trump, Islamophobia and Immigrants
Shane Burley
Defining the Alt Right and the New American Fascism
Jan Oberg
Ukraine as the Border of NATO Expansion
Ramzy Baroud
Ban Ki-Moon’s Legacy in Palestine: Failure in Words and Deeds
Gareth Porter
How We Could End the Permanent War State
Sam Husseini
Debate Night’s Biggest Lie Was Told by Lester Holt
Laura Carlsen
Ayotzinapa’s Message to the World: Organize!
Binoy Kampmark
The Triumph of Momentum: Re-Electing Jeremy Corbyn
David Macaray
When the Saints Go Marching In
Seth Oelbaum
All Black Lives Will Never Matter for Clinton and Trump
Adam Parsons
Standing in Solidarity for a Humanity Without Borders
Cesar Chelala
The Trump Bubble
September 27, 2016
Louisa Willcox
The Tribal Fight for Nature: From the Grizzly to the Black Snake of the Dakota Pipeline
Paul Street
The Roots are in the System: Charlotte and Beyond
Jeffrey St. Clair
Idiot Winds at Hofstra: Notes on the Not-So-Great Debate
Mark Harris
Clinton, Trump, and the Death of Idealism
Mike Whitney
Putin Ups the Ante: Ceasefire Sabotage Triggers Major Offensive in Aleppo
Anthony DiMaggio
The Debates as Democratic Façade: Voter “Rationality” in American Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Punishing the Punished: the Torments of Chelsea Manning
Paul Buhle
Why “Snowden” is Important (or How Kafka Foresaw the Juggernaut State)
Jack Rasmus
Hillary’s Ghosts
Brian Cloughley
Billions Down the Afghan Drain
Lawrence Davidson
True Believers and the U.S. Election
Matt Peppe
Taking a Knee: Resisting Enforced Patriotism
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail
[i]
[i]
[i]
[i]