Monday, February 16, 2015

Abusing Our Own Soldiers

When a man or a woman volunteers to fight for his country, you owe him many things. Respect and support are two basic rewards a hero deserves. A volunteer also should expect medical treatment for wounds, both physical and psychological.
A veteran shouldn't expect that his country will lie to him and prevent him from receiving the care the veteran desperately needs. This is what happened to some of our soldiers in Iraq.
The New York Times has revealed that the CIA was buying chemical weapons created by Saddam Hussein, that were loaded with Sarin gas, and blowing  them up in the open air, potentially inflicting damage to the nerves of many of our soldiers. Since the purchase of these chemical weapons was supposed to be a secret, no one told the Veterans Administration that soldiers could have had their nervous systems seriously impaired by their service to their country.
Upon their return, soldiers who'd been injured by Sarin gas were denied treatment and did not have their conditions monitored. Any attempt by the soldiers to call attention to what had happened to them was denigrated and denied. This country, which I thought valued its veterans, is guilty of a horrible crime. Imagine if you returned from serving your country and had many problems with your nervous system and were told it had nothing to do with your service. This is truly disgusting. Some reports say Karl Rove was one of the people who tried to suppress the information that could have helped these men and women deal with the illness. Shame, shame on the men who sent people to fight and then let them needlessly suffer.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Blood on Putin's Hands

Once again Putin has blood on his hands. Two nights ago, CNN reported that a woman went out to get something from a store and returned to find her building demolished and her three children dead. The shelling may have come from the Ukrainians trying to stop the Russian-based rebels. I'm sure the Russians will use this in their propaganda.
However, the fact remains that the fighting in eastern Ukraine exists because Putin backs the rebels and sends Russian troops into the area to assist them. Without Russian support things would be much quieter in the Ukraine. Europeans would like to see peace in the region and Putin counts on that. So the leaders of France and Germany have agreed to another cease-fire which will last as long as Putin wants it to. Once again, he will send in troops and break the cease-fire, and the Europeans will trudge back to Moscow to ask for another one.
In some ways, Putin learned some lessons from Hitler. Back then Europe desperately wanted peace and Hitler would make nice, until it was time for his next move. It's not wrong to want a world that's better, but it's dysfunctional not to understand the czar of Russia and his bag of tricks.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Henry Wood: A Great American Hero

Henry Wood is the American hero we've been missing for quite a while. Amid the dystopia trapped, value challenged protagonists we've put up with lately, the hero of the Henry Wood mysteries stands out like a beacon.
The product of the fertile brain of Brian Meeks, a woodworker and Iowa Hawkeyes fan, Henry is a straight ahead dramatic hero. His girlfriend meets a lot of qualifications most guys have written down somewhere and stored in a  dresser door.
I once was a newspaper reporter in New York in the 70s, and you knew when you covered the police beat out of One Police Plaza that there would be four murders a night In New York. You would put all the information into one paragraph. It would only run in the first edition and then vanish forever.
Henry is active in 1955 when William B. Williams was on WNEW, you could eat with the mob at Luna (in Little Italy) and lie on the grass in Central Park with your girlfriend. You can count on Henry to be honorable, intelligent and figure out who is pulling what sleazy deal that day. He's admirable and decent. I look forward to reading more and more about him on my Amazon Kindle.