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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.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

How to Thank Veterans

A group of 17 Desert Storm veterans, all held as POWs in Iraq in 1991, won a lawsuit in 2003 as compensation for their treatment (they were tortured) at the hands of Saddam Hussein's regime. The award was nearly $1 billion. The POWs were able to sue Iraq due to anti-terrorism legislation passed in 1996.

"For the...48 days of my captivity, I experienced torture, starvation, mock executions and confinement in a freezing, filthy environment," retired Marine Corps Colonel Cliff Acree told the Copley News Service on April 7. Acree also suffered "violent, prolonged and frequent beatings, to the point of being beaten into unconsciousness."

"This case is not so much about us, as for the people who follow on...we want Iraq to be held accountable for what it did to us and have that serve as an example for other nations (that might hold Americans prisoner in the future," Acree added.

Another POW, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Jeffrey Tice recalled his imprisonment in Iraq, "...Shivering, starving and just trying to survive for the next 15 minutes ... I never, ever imagined, in my wildest dreams, that I would be petitioning the Supreme Court to help me fight my own country for the rule of law."

The tortured Gulf War veterans at the present time are not going to receive a dime; the Bush administration appealed the case to the U.S. Circuit Court in Washington, D.C., claiming the money needed to go to Iraq to pay for reconstruction, and that the current government of Iraq could not be held accountable for what happened under the leadership of Saddam Hussein. The case has been appealed to the United States Supreme Court.

You'd think with all of the money we've poured into Iraq, the least we could do as a nation would be to award the men who not only served their country, but were tortured and abused as part of that service. But hey, I guess the money is better spent providing free health care for Iraqi citizens.

John Norton Moore, a lawyer for the POWs, counters that the United States does have the money to pay the Gulf War vets, as $1.7 billion in assets had been seized from Iraq during Desert Storm.

It's just a small thank-you from the Bush administration, the kind of thank-you our veterans have come to expect from an administration that holds corporations in higher regard than the men and women who serve this country.

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