Saturday, May 24, 2014

I Hate The War

In yesterday's snapshot, I noted:

 Our focus is the VA scandal.  And I've never written about expanding the VA medical system for all Americans.  So I could take a pass on this and get away with it.  But I have been speaking around the country about war for so many years and one thing that comes up is this.  I have no problem stating -- or now dictating -- that I do think the expansion of VA would be a good thing.  I have no problem with socialized medicine.  The VA's current scandal isn't about socialized medicine.  
I don't want to get to deep into this because it's not a main point (we can touch on it tomorrow in "I Hate The War").  But certainly, true socialized medicine would not have to factor in profit motive.  And yet two sets of lists -- one real, one fake -- were kept at least in part because certain officials got bonuses and high performance appraisals (which means raises) by doctoring the books.
There may be reasons to argue against or for socialized medicine but the VA scandal currently is not one of them.
Unless you want to treat an issue like a political football.  Gun control advocates who immediately start screaming after a public shooting never get how tacky and outrageous to most Americans.  A tragedy has taken place and a group is stepping forward to try to hijack the grief for their own political goals.  It's unattractive.  It's also unattractive when the right or the left tries to use the current VA scandal as a political football on the issue of socialized medicine.

How did this come up, a number e-mailed.

Everything that could come up has in the years of speaking.  This past week, for example, as we spoke about Nouri's continued War Crimes, the targeting of civilians in Falluja (collective punishment), three different people told us _______ had to be covering it.  This was an issue they would grab.  We found it strange that fans of the program would assume that the show would cover it when, if they were fans, they should know whether or not the program covers it.

But, fine, Ava and I were going to be noting a long running program and we could fold ______ into our TV piece for Sunday.  So we watched the week's worth of episodes and, no, ______ doesn't cover the War Crimes. They cover a lot of crap -- including high school prom invitations -- but, no, they don't cover serious issues despite being a so-called political program.

In terms of the VA and expanding health care for all Americans?

US House Rep Charlie Rangel repeatedly floated reviving the draft when the US had hundreds of thousands of troops on the ground in Iraq.

Why was Rangel proposing this?

He was against the war and a vocal opponent of it.

His point was that too many Americans did not have 'skin in the game' -- only a small segment of the citizens were being deployed.  His argument was that this allowed the Iraq War to be abstract.

He wasn't the only one who felt that way.

Tom Hayden also falsely claimed that since Americans couldn't be drafted the war wasn't hitting home as it had in Vietnam.

I called that out in a snapshot noting that I was opposed to the war on Vietnam and I, like all other women at that time, was never going to be drafted -- let alone sent to Vietnam.

When you're trying to do everything you can to end a war -- as Tom Hayden and Charlie Rangel were at that time -- certain realities from the past can go fuzzy.

And, to be clear, Tom argued the draft motivated opposition to the war, he did not then argue we should return to drafting in this country.

Ending the draft was a win and an accomplishment for the peace movement.  The last thing the country needs is to return to the draft.

And reality, the US military was on the ground in Vietnam for years before substantial opposition to the war developed in the US.  Opposition to the Iraq War developed quickly by comparison (and did so without a draft).

As we would explore this topic, various things would come up.  One was that if the draft had not ended, we'd have socialized medicine in this country because the bulk of citizens would have been in the military.  Had the draft continued, it would have to include women and you'd have the bulk of those not choosing alternative service (non-military, such as peace corps work) would be in the VA system.

You don't need that to create universal coverage -- you only need to expand Medicare so that it covers every American.  But it is true that a draft would have also offered possibilities for universal coverage.

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4489.

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