Bob Gates Cries About Iraq

At the moment that tears were streaming down Bob Gates's cheeks about the sacrifice of our troops in Iraq, more American heroes were killed that day, by roadside bombs, in preventable deaths, lacking the protections that were not provided by a Washington held in near-universal disrepute by the American people.

George Herbert Walker Bush cried. Then John Boehner cried. Now Bob Gates cries.

I have little sympathy for their tears because they all had the power to act for change but did not.

I have unending sympathy for the tears shed  by Gold Star mothers and the husbands and wives of heroes killed in action, in preventable deaths that were not prevented by politicians and pundits, who were otherwise engaged in their petty politics and cheap-shot smears.

Bob Gates opposed the surge. The Joint Chiefs of Staff opposed the surge. Every commander in Iraq at the time opposed the surge. Every local and regional American battlefield commander in Iraq opposed the surge, a fact publicly testified to by Gen. Abizaid.

Meanwhile, the Senate Republicans filibustered attempted changes in Iraq policy, while Senate Democrats, surrounded as always by public relations advisers, held their insignificant and ridiculous one-night stunt.

And while they did, more Americans died deaths that should have been prevented, but were not, by the filibustering Republicans, the all night-Democrats, the small man who calls himself the commander guy, and Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), who first said the policy must be changed now, and then filibustered against change.

Anybody wonder why the bird flu is more popular in America than the president or Congress? Anybody wonder why this policy is so disastrously failed? Anybody wonder why the president's approval numbers are lower than support for his impeachment, or why approval for Congress is even lower than for the president?

Yet the tears flow from the politicians, while the dance of death goes on. The preventable deaths continue, while the Gold Star mothers mourn, and almost every night the husbands and wives of heroes gather near the television, praying the hero they love is not the next hero to die.

I sent an op-ed to The Hill, not yet published, with the title "Derelictions of Duty" and the proposal that if nothing else, both parties ought to agree to do something about this travesty that will be a stain on American honor for a hundred years, condemned by the high court of history.

It is disgraceful that billionaires soar in our Gilded Age economy, while young heroes die without the equipment and supplies our leaders in Washington believe we cannot
afford.

It is sickening that we gorge on tax cuts while for the entire period of this war we have not provided the protected vehicles that would have saved countless lives of heroes in uniform.

It is a harvest of shame that homelessness among veterans is rising and that our homeless heroes are given such inadequate help from those who proclaim their politics of faith and campaign about their love for those who serve.

It is an outrage that disabled veterans are forced to spend months and even years waiting for help and even then, many get ripped off by a system managed from the heart of this nation's capital.

It is sickening, nauseating, disgusting, pathetic, unpatriotic, anti-military and un-American that we have scandals about wounded troops and that underpaid heroes, at the moment they are facing death for us, find their husbands and wives harassed and intimidated by debt collectors who want to take what little money they have and repossessors who want to drive them from their homes and force them onto our streets.

These truths are unpleasant to say, and hard to print, and easy to avoid, and comfortable to deny, in this place of delusion that is called Washington, in this land of the free and home of the brave, which holds this city and what we do here in widespread contempt.

These are derelictions of duty unprecedented in the history of America at war, committed by those who most loudly proclaim their love of the troops, tolerated by those who raise the Bible and wave the flag, while homeless heroes suffer great hurt, wounded troops endure unfair pain, and disabled vets wait on shameful lines for what should be their right as patriots, heroes and Americans.

They deserve better than commander-guy presidents, obstructionist filibusters, and irrelevant all-nighters.

It is time for those who have the power to end these derelictions to do so. Now.

It is time to end the arrogance of power in Washington by those who have eyes that do not see, and ears that do not hear, what the American people are now demanding  they do, and what patriots who shed their blood on battlefields deserve from honorable people who benefit from their sacrifice from the safety of home.