It’s the military from hell — and, no, I don’t mean the Russian army, though, it certainly qualifies. Few now doubt that Vladimir Putin is a war criminal (and not just because of those Ukrainian children his forces exported to Russia for adoption). Launching a war of aggression is crime enough (for me at least). But here’s the strange thing: despite the recent 20th anniversary of President George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq based on a total set of fabrications, including that Iraqi autocrat Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, a war that would cause hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths and thousands of American ones, help launch the Islamic State, and create chaos in the region, you would be hard-pressed to find mainstream articles here referring to Bush and his top officials as war criminals.
Cartoonist Rob Rogers, however, managed to catch the essence of this moment recently by drawing a half-naked Vladimir Putin, standing amid bones and blood under a headline that reads: “20 years later: the legacy of the Iraq invasion.” Scrawled on a wall behind the Russian president is a bloody “Mission Accomplished” — the infamous line displayed on a banner behind Bush as, in May 2003, he gave a speech on an aircraft carrier declaring his war a raging success. Putin is saying, “Ukraine had WMD!”
Last year, however inadvertently, even Bush himself admitted to Putinesque behavior. Stumbling in a speech he was giving, he condemned “a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq.” (He meant Ukraine, of course.)
Today, however, TomDispatch regular, co-founder of the invaluable Costs of War Project, and military spouse Andrea Mazzarino explores a rarely acknowledged aspect of that criminal war of ours. She focuses on how so many of the American military personnel dispatched to fight it and the rest of the disastrous Global War on Terror have suffered until this very day, while this country largely turned its back, leaving them in the lurch. It is, in truth, a tale from hell, but let her explain. Tom
To Hell and Back
America’s Remarkable Unwillingness to Support Its Veterans
Here's something we seldom focus on when it comes to war, American-style, even during the just-passed 20th anniversary of our disastrous invasion of Iraq: many more soldiers survive armed conflict than die from it. This has been especially so during this country's twenty-first-century War on Terror, which is still playing out in all too many lands globally.
And here's something to add to that reality: even though many more soldiers survive, they do so with ever more injuries of various sorts -- conditions that the Veterans Affairs (VA) and military doctors euphemistically call polytrauma. For some of this, you can thank ever-more-sophisticated improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and other gems of modern warfare like “smart” suicide bombs that can burn, blind, deafen, or mutilate soldier's bodies, while traumatizing their brains in myriad ways, some of which will not be evident until months or years later.Read More