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What Else Is In Scott's Head?

The blog site for writer Scott C. Smith. Some observations on the world we live in and life in general. And maybe some politics.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The George W. Bush Guide to Screwing Veterans

If you believe the right-wing propaganda, it is conservatives who really care about the health and well being of our military, while liberals hate the military and their supposed hatred of the military undermines our war effort. Blah, blah blah.

Now for a question: if a group of former POWs sued the country that held them captive, and the POWs won, would the Bush administration be on the side of the veterans, or the nation where the POWs were held and tortured?

Give yourself a cookie if you guessed "against the veterans."

Here's the background: a group of pilots were held as POWs right at the start of Desert Storm in 1991. If you watched CNN's coverage of that war, you may remember seeing the POWs paraded around by their Iraqi captors. The men were beaten and tortured.

Fast-forward to 1996, when Congress passed a law allowing POWs to sue nations that were on the United State's list of nations that sponsored terrorists.

In 2003, the 17 former POWs sued Iraq and the U.S. District Court in Washington ruled in favor of the pilots, awarding $653 million in compensatory damages and $306 million in punitive damages for the abuse. At the time, the United States had frozen $1.7 billion dollars of Iraqi assets.

Now for the twist: the men are not entitled to any money, the Bush administration argues, because Iraq is no longer on the list of nations that supports terrorists.

Take that, POWs.

In one of those funny coincidences of life, some of the men were tortured at Abu Ghraib prison.

Oh, and it gets worse. On May 9, 2004, Donald Rumsfeld appeared before Senate Armed Services Committe, where he supported compensating the Iraqi prisoners abused by the United States at Abu Ghraib.

"I am seeking a way to provide appropriate compensation to those detainees who suffered grievous and brutal abuse and cruelty at the hands of a few members of the U.S. military. It is the right thing to do," Rumsfeld said in his testimony.

Yes, that's right, the Iraqi prisoners abused by our military at Abu Ghraib are entitled to compensation, but our own troops are not because of a legal loophole.

The case has been appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Bush Administration: looking out for the U.S. military since never.

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