Once Were Soldiers: More Bush Abuse for Cannon Fodder

(Updated below.)
Army deployed seriously injured troops (Salon.com)
Soldiers on crutches and canes were sent to a main desert camp used for Iraq training. Military experts say the Army was pumping up manpower statistics to show a brigade was battle ready.

…. Military experts say they suspect that the deployment to Fort Irwin of injured soldiers was an effort to pump up manpower statistics used to show the readiness of Army units. With the military increasingly strained after four years of war, Army readiness has become a critical part of the debate over Iraq. Some congressional Democrats have considered plans to limit the White House's ability to deploy more troops unless the Pentagon can certify that units headed into the fray are fully equipped and fully manned.

Salon recently uncovered another troubling development in the Army's efforts to shore up troop levels, reporting earlier this month that soldiers from the 3rd Brigade had serious health problems that the soldiers claimed were summarily downgraded by military doctors at Fort Benning in February, apparently so that the Army could send them to Iraq. Some of those soldiers were among the group sent to Fort Irwin to train in January.
They're doing this for one reason only: to avoid drafting nice, white middle-class boys (upper-class boys, like Bush and Quayle, would squirm out of combat somehow). For they know that the instant they have to dragoon nice, white-middle class boys into Bush's war of loot and domination, the war will be over. And so they are bringing in gang members and criminals, they're forcing the wounded back into service, either in Iraq itself or to serve (and suffer) as PR number-padding.

It is truly remarkable. The Bush gang and its media bootlickers have elevated "support for troops" into, quite literally, a religious dogma, which they invoke at every turn to choke off debate and dissent about the war. Yet I doubt that there has ever been a presidential administration that has abused and neglected its soldiers as egregiously – and deliberately – as the Bush Regime has done.

The chief abuse, of course, is sending them into a brutal and brutalizing war of aggression where they are killing, dying and suffering for the greed and ignorance of a privileged elite. But the utter contempt the Bushists show for their broken cannon fodder – not only the "ethnics" and white trash that no Bush could be expected to care about, but even the nice, white "citizen-soldiers" of the National Guard units Bush has impressed into service – is breathtaking in its openness: "Wounded? Tough shit. Get back to the front – or at least stand around over there in the desert sun to make our numbers look better. Or if you're really such a damn sissy that you need a doctor or something, then crawl into this filthy room here with the rats and the mold, and one of our private contractors will get around to you – eventually."

We've often written here about the fact that the Bush Regime's depredations are, in essence, simply extensions and amplifications of long-running policies and philosophies of the bipartisan American Establishment, and this is surely true. But by God, there is still something special – some extra dram of evil – about this sick crew. Every day they remain in office is another indelible stain on American history, another day of moral rot that pollutes us all.

Update: Karen Kwiatkowski has more on the Bush Administration's "support for the troops" in this scathing piece: Buried Alive.