Friday, November 30, 2007

Lies, Damned Lies, and Dead Lies

Bush Lie Dispenser
, originally uploaded by azrainman.

The Bush administration has presented you and me with some spectacularly false information. Consider this mini list of "untruths"...

The complete list is so much longer. (That's 7 good Bush Lie links, not including Crooks and Liars, which tracks the whole crooked lot of them.) Most recently, there are these last two matters of Bush botched record keeping:

The number of brain injuries inflicted on US personnel affects the ultimate long term cost of the war and occupation, something I have been fretting over for a while now, and I'm not alone. Thus, the injury and cost untruths are intertwined.

The last item in the list is blood curdling, at least for me. In a recent edition of CounterPunch, Mike Whitney asserted that, "The Pentagon has been concealing the true number of American casualties in the Iraq War. The real number exceeds 15,000 and CBS News can prove it."

Whitney tells the tale of CBS's Investigative Unit and its experience obtaining misinformation from the Department of Defense (DOD). Whitney's article reveals that CBS submitted a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request to the DOD for a story on military suicide. After a 4 month wait, CBS received a DOD document indicating, "that between 1995 and 2007-- there were 2,200 suicides among 'active duty' soldiers."

Trusting the DOD about as much as I do and realizing the DOD was only answering part of their question, CBS went on to collect veteran suicide data from 45 states and learned that in 2005 alone there were 120 suicides each week for a total of 6,256 suicides among those who had served in just that one year.
Active and retired military personnel, mostly young veterans between the ages of 20 to 24, are returning from combat and killing themselves in record numbers. We can assume that "multiple-tours of duty" in a war-zone have precipitated a mental health crisis of which the public is entirely unaware and which the Pentagon is in total denial.
Adding these 6,256 suicide victims from 2005 to the 3,865 combat casualties "officially" reported by the DOD yields a sum of 10,121 military deaths. Furthermore, even a conservative "low-ball" estimate of 2004 and 2006 suicide figures indicates that US military casualties from the Iraq war and ongoing occupation now exceed 15,000.
That's right; 15,000 dead US servicemen and women in a war that--as yet--has no legal or moral justification.
CBS interviewed the head of mental health at the Department of Veteran Affairs, Dr. Ira Katz, who attempted to minimize the suicide increase, but Whitney doesn't seem to buy it.
Maybe Katz is right...Maybe it's perfectly normal for young men and women to return from combat, sink into inconsolable depression, and kill themselves at greater rates than they were dying on the battlefield. Maybe it's normal for the Pentagon to abandon them as soon as soon they return from their mission so they can blow their brains out or hang themselves with a garden hose in their basement. Maybe it's normal for politicians to keep funding wholesale slaughter while they brush aside the casualties they have produced by their callousness and lack of courage. Maybe it is normal for the president to persist with the same, bland lies that perpetuate the occupation and continue to kill scores of young soldiers who put themselves in harm's-way for their country.
If you want to know my personal opinion (which is consistent with what some officials in a position to know have claimed), the Bush administration has not misled; it has not misinformed; it has not been mistaken. It has lied. They are crooks. They are liars. They are war criminals. And they provided incomplete information about the number of military suicides with the intent to mislead, as they have on every other matter.

To say that the "official" information provided by the Bush administration cannot be trusted is an understatement. And heaven knows, I wouldn't want to be accused of that. I'm just trying to figure out which one of them will blame the soldier suicide surge on the Democrats.

And by the way, it's not normal. You know what else isn't normal? Taking it lying down.
Take lying down~ to hear or yield without protest, contradiction, or resistance: I refuse to take such outrageous lies lying down.
Agitate. Find a way.

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