American veterans of Bush's war in Iraq are facing big problems. Just read this article from the BBC:
"At the beginning of the war I was told: 'Don't stop for anybody - if they get in the way, run them over.'"
And he had not been in the country long before he saw a lorry run over a little girl in the road begging for food.
"I had seen dead Iraqis before, but they were fighters. These were people who were getting hit in an innocent way."
He also saw soldiers under his command suffer horrific injuries.
This kind of mental trauma doesn't just disappear overnight. It takes years of treatment, and many don't seek treatment at all. You cannot expect soldiers to return home fit for civilian life after being immersed in daily combat for years at a stretch.
As far as I can tell, Bush is devoting as much care to planning post-withdrawal veterans affairs as he did to post-invasion Iraq.
The invasion of Iraq clearly violated the military's own Powell Doctrine (yes, the doctrine is named after Colin "Good Soldier" Powell). All the lessons learned from Vietnam were ignored. We did not possess overwhelming military force, it proceeded without the informed consent of the American people, and there was never an exit strategy.
We can only speculate why Bush and the neocons betrayed our troops this way. Most likely, Bush and Cheney expected the actual invasion to be simple (as it was), and expected that we would have our hands on the Iraqi oil pump for the next two decades. Being gung-ho types (well, cowardly, draft-dodging, gung-ho types), they expelled, muzzled and demoted anyone who criticised the plan. Along the way, the State Department was locked out of the picture, even though State had prepared a 2500-page document presciently describing the problems we encountered in Iraq. Intelligence officials who brought forward evidence that threw doubt on the master plan were harrassed or demoted by Bush dream team members like John Bolton. Military Generals who dared to claim that we needed more troops or that the reconstruction would take years were given early retirement.
So Bush and company let ideology get the better of them. They screwed up. Time for accountability? No! Bush says promote the idiots who destroyed America's reputation! We give CIA Director Tenet the Congressional Medal of Freedom, promote National Security Advisor Rice to Secretary of State, and GroupThinker in Chief Bolton to U.N. Ambassador.
Insufficient planning, indeed, insufficient caring on the part of the administration has led us into a second Vietnam. This time with too few troops to do the job, and an enemy that truly does threaten our national security. Almost any average citizen would have cared more and done a more thorough job on Iraq.
Long after we exit from Iraq, our brave soldiers will still be fighting Bush's war. And you can bet that, when it comes to funding the war against PTSD, our Republican hawks will suddenly rediscover their spending discipline.
Meanwhile, Bush has the arrogance to take a five-week vacation while our troops get backdoor-drafted into hell. He could at least have continued to pretend he was working in Washington D.C. Hey, Bush voters, still want to have a beer with him?
I propose an amendment to the Powell Doctrine. Don't engage in wars of choice if a) you're unwilling to support the troops while they're in the field, and b) you're unwilling to support them once they return home.