Janet's Conner

This Blog tell the Truth and will never not tell the Truth. Impeach Bush

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Veterans Issues: SUPPORT VETERANS' MENTAL HEALTH NEEDS

Twenty-one percent of Fort Lewis soldiers recently returned from Iraq were deemed "at risk" for post-traumatic stress disorder. Between 15% and 17% of all combat troops returning from Afghanastan or Iraq suffer from depression, anxiety or PTSD.

These brave men and women fight for our freedoms and we should support their mental health needs. Unfortunately, our national veterans outreach relies on unclear criteria for mental health referrals and on veterans seeking treatment on their own. Enhanced mental health screenings and outreach would help veterans get needed support.

The New England Journal of Medicine reported in 2004 that the stigma surrounding mental health care is the greatest barrier to veterans receiving proper treatment. Many soldiers fear mental health diagnoses could ruin their career. We can ease that stigma be requiring screenings with a mental health professional for all combat veterans rather than singling out troops from their peers.

Required screenings with mental health professionals would close gaps in the Defense Department's mental health outreach. Currently, returning service members complete surveys to identify those at risk for PTSD. The Government Accountability Office reports the department has no set criteria for returning at-risk veterans for additional care, refers little more than 20% of those veterans and does not track whether they receive care.

To address these shortfalls, I am working to ensure the 2007 National Defense Authorization Act requires more rigorous mental health screenings for returning service members.

During a recent Fort Lewis visit, I learned Washington state is a national leader in mental health outreach for returning troops, including reservists and National Guard members.

Fort Lewis' Soldier Awareness Assessment Pilot Program requires troops to be assessed by a mental health specialist between 90 and 180 days after demobilization. At-risk veterans often begin to display signs of mental illness during this 90-day period. As many as 30% of SWAPP participants report potential problems for the first time.

Our state also exceeds national standards for mental health care for reservists and National Guard members. The state works with the VA, the Labor Dept. and state veterans service organizations to sponsor Family Days where veterans get mental health information. 41% of participants were referred to mental health professionals during 2005 and the first 4 months of 2006.

Puget Sound's VA network also provides additional mental health attention for veterans. The network's post-deployment clinic includes a 1-hour appointment with a mental health professional. Those sessions can steer patients into other VA mental health programs.

Congress should expand Washington's military mental health programs to other parts of the country. To that end, I cosponsored HR 1588, the Comprehensive Assistance for Veterans Exposed to Traumatic Stressors Act of 2005. This broad legislation would, among other things, direct the VA to develop a demonstration project stationing VA psychologists and psychiatrists at major demobilization sites and military treatment facilities.

When the U.S. goes to war, we must be prepared to accept the full cost of that war. Our men and women often come home with physical and mental wounds that take years to heal. Regardless of our feelings about the current conflict, we can agree that the U.S. should take care of their own, and that we should help the brave men and women return to healthy lives after their service.

Veterans and their families deserve nothing less.


Seattle Post-Intelligencer
By: Adam Smith-Guest Columnist
September 14, 2006

*Rep. Adam Smith, a Democrat, represents the 9th Congressional District in Wahington state.

U.S. INSTITUTIONS, PRESS ASK: IS PRESIDENT BUSH NUTS?

An Establishment consensus is rapidly emerging over the ever-more obvious lunacy of President George W. Bush, and the strategic implications of allowing a man with long-term and severe psychiatric disorders to remain in the Presidency during a period of systematic financial disintegration, which is driving some leading synarchist bankers to push for World War III---using mad George as their patsy. Indicative of the emerging Anglo-American consensus that Bush is too far gone to serve much longer, is British Prime Minister Tony Blair's own "Damascus Road" break with G.W., since his last visit to Washington in the late spring.

This article appears in the September 1, 2006 issue of Executive Intelligence Review
By: Jeffrey Steinberg

While vacationing in the Carribean in early August, Blair, according to British sources, allowed Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott to tell a group of Labour MPs that Bush's handling of the Middle East crisis was "crap." Prescott's comment was quickly leaked to all of the leading British dailies, triggering a public debate, and reports that Blair had encouraged his deputy to signal London's break with George Bush's and Dick Cheney's Washington.

In a series of high-visibility television news broadcasts and opinion pieces appearing in the U.S. over the past 2 weeks, a clear message has been conveyed. The President is mentally incompetent to serve out the remaining months of his term in office, and the sociopathic Vice President Cheney is going to have to go, as part of a clean sweep of the White House.

Precisely how this clean-out is going to occur is by no means settled. But the verdict has been delivered, loud and clear, and a lively public debate has been stoked, through the medium of some popular news/entertainment programs, including MSNBC's "Scarborough Country," Comedy Central's "The Daily Show"---and even the formerly slavishly pro-Washington Post.

The most dramatic sign of the Establishment's conclusion that Bush is too lunatic to continue in office came on Aug. 15, when former Republican Congressman-turned-right-wing-TV news analyst Joe Scarborough aired a ten-minute segment of his "Scarborough Country," posing the question: "Is Bush an idiot?" Throughout the segment, the words "Is Bush an idiot?" ran across the bottom of the screen. The segment provoked a firestorm of media commentaries, including 2 subsequent "Scarborough Country" segments, an equal number of satirical assaults on President Bush's mental midgetry by Comedy Central's Jon Stewart, an a detailed news account in the August 20 Sunday Washington Post of the conservative revolt against the idiot-in-Chief. Equally distressing for the White House is a series of op-ed pieces by previously loyal conservative pundits, including George Will and National Review editor Rich Lowry, all declaring that Bush's Iraq misadventure has been a dismal failure.

A senior U.S. Intelligence figure described the situation in Washington as "chaos---the worst chaos I have ever seen." He confirmed earlier reports that former George H.W. Bush is apoplectic over his son's descent into messianic madness, and that Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is so isolated from the White House, that she is not even consulting with the President as she attempts to find a replacement Deputy Secretary of State, to fill the vacany left by Robert Zoellick's sudden departure in June. When Rice attempted to appoint top aide Nick Burns as Zoellick's replacement, she was blocked by Vice President Cheney, and George W. Bush did not weigh in to support her.

It is no secret that Cheney, the leading synarchist bankers' asset in the Administration, is pressing for a resumption of Israel's military actions against Lebanon, and an expansion of the Israeli aggression into Syria---this, despite the fact that Israel's mid-July invasion of Lebanon failed to destroy or even militarily weaken Hezbollah. The renewed Israeli military operations would be, for Cheney, a prelude to a full-scale U.S. bombing campaign against Iran, perhaps before the November U.S. mid-term elections. Sources have confirmed that the Joint Chiefs of Staff have unanimously informed the President that, under no circumstances would they support military action against Iran. "There is no military option against Iran," the Chiefs informed the President, according to several well-placed military and intelligence sources, who spoke to EIR on condition of anonymity. Yet, a number of senior policy analysts freely admitted that they could not say with any degree of certainty that the unanimous view of the JCS will carry any weight at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Between Cheney's commitment to regime change in Tehran before January 2009, and Bush's psychotic refusal to entertain any "bad news" assessments, the U.S. could race, flight-forward, into a pre-emptive war against Iran, in much the same way that Israel raced blindly into its greatest military fiasco ever, in Lebanon. Sane voices in the Israeli military had warned, repeatedly, that a military strike against Hezbollah's asymmetric war-fighting capability would end in dismal failure. Those voices were ignored---largey due to pressure on the Olmert government from the Cheney circles in Washington.

World War III

It is this prospect, of a mad-hatter President and his Vice Presidential accomplice bringing the United States to the brink of self-destruction, that has triggered the institutional revolt. The Scarborough, Stewart, and related assaults on the President's lunacy are merely manifestations of a much deeper, behind-the-scenes process of debate, among senior Establishment figures, over how to deal with a dysfunctional White House, during a period of the greatest combined political and financial crisis in the nation's history. While sense perception might suggest that the television assaults on the President's mental state have triggered the institutional debate, the exact opposite is true. The American public, already sickened by the Administration's bungling, treachery, tyranny, and worse, is being brought into the top-down deliberations. The simple fact is: Nothing short of a top-to-bottom house cleaning in the Executive branch, starting with Cheney and Bush, is going to save the nation and the world from coming from a New Dark Age of global asymmetric warfare, financial disintegration, and the collapse of the sovereign nation-state system itself.

If Bush and Cheney do launch a war against Iran, the outcome will be even more disastrous for the United States than the recent Israeli misadventure in Lebanon was for the Jewish state. If George W. Bush were looking for a short cut in infamy, he could not choose a faster route than a bombing campaign against Iran. Perhaps the President will find a few strands of sanity, tied to his deep fear of failure, and will pull back from the brink. For the U.S. institutions to risk the fate of the nation on such a slender reed would be madness in its own right.


War on Terror: CRITICISM GIVES U.S. JITTERS OVER A FUTURE TORY GOVERNMENT



The White House declined yesterday to issue a direct response to David Cameron's attacks on Britain's "slavish" bond with the United States, even as ripples of concern about what it meant for relations with the possible next government of Britain spread across the American capital.

TIMES Online
By: Tom Baldwin in Washington
September 13, 2006

Tony Snow, President Bush's press secretary, used instead words that the Administration adopts regularly when addressing political opponents and peace protesters: "Freedom of speech is a glorious thing," he said.

A Conservative Party spokesman confirmed yesterday that Mr. Cameron had no plans to visit the U.S. in the near future, suggesting only that such an event "might take place before the next general election."

This statement seems to contradict remarks made by William Hague, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, when he led a delegation to Washington in February. He claimed that they were "paving the way" for a meeting between Mr. Cameron and Mr. Bush, saying: "That, I'm sure, will take place later in the year."

Mr. Cameron's office said yesterday that his speech in London on Monday was intended as a "careful and thoughtful analysis" and should not be seen as "indicating anything other than we're 100% behind the special relationship."

The Tory leader is understood to have emphasized this during a "courtesy call" to Robert Tuttle, the U.S. Ambassador to London, on Monday. A U.S. diplomat was quoted as saying that he disagrred with sections of Mr. Cameron's speech, but "I take him at his word that he did not intend to be anything other than pro-American."

Indeed most of Mr. Cameron's most pointed remarks appear to have been aimed at President Bush and not at America in general. These included his attack on those who "see only light and darkness in the world" or regard the terror threat as coming from a "single global jihad," as well as his remark that "I am a liberal conservative rather than a neoconservative."

In Washington yesterday there was an undercurrent of anger at Mr. Cameron's timing. John O'Sullivan, from the Hudson Institute, said: "Even if these things neded to be said, perhaps the fifth anniversary of 9/11 was not the best day to say them."

Nile Gardiner, who runs thae Margaret Thatcher Centre for Freedom at the right-wing Heritage foundation, said: "I think this speech will have raised sone eyebrows in Washington because, although pro-American in parts, it's clearly designed to put some distance between Cameron and Bush."

He suggested that Mr. Cameron's speech would matter to the White House, not least because the President was beginning to think about his legacy where British political as much as military support will be crucial if his successors were to not abandon Iraq.

National Security: PELOSI (D-CA) SAYS "DEMOCRATS STAND UNITED FOR A NEW DIRECTION FOR REAL SECURITY"

PELOSI: "Democrats Stand Ready to Project America's Power to Protect the American People."

September 13, 2006

Below are Pelosi's remarks:

"Today, Democrats stand united for a New Direction for Real Security. We are advancing tough and smart national security policy to keep the American people safe. Democrats stand ready to project America's power to protect the American people wherever our interests are threatened at home and abroad. We talk about a military that is second to none; diplomacy based on that military strength to forge the alliances necessary to fight terrorism and to defeat it; to stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; stop global warming, and other threats to the safety and security of the American people.

"We believe that Real Security begins at home; a stronger America begins at home. We said at the earliest stage of the new Congress, hopefully before the new Congress, working together in a bipartisan way, we can pass the 9/11 Commission recommendations.

"The 9/11 Commission has given the Bush Administration in this Congress D's and F's and incompletes on passing and implementing their recommendations. The American people deserve better. The American people deserve a new course of action.

"A strong America must be based on bipartisanship; it must be based on working together. Politics must stop at the water's edge to protect the American people. It must also be based on civility and not ever imply that there is any lack of patriotism or, resolve to defeat terrorism. It has to have bipartisanship, civility, and truth and trust.

"It is time for truth, the ground truth, about what is actually happening in Iraq, the ground truth about what we are doing about terrorism, and the trust that the American people must have in our country. We have a reputation that we must enjoy in the world in order to keep the American people safe.

DEMOCRATS STAND READY TO PROJECT AMERICA'S POWER TO PROTECT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE

Today, September 13, 2006, House Domocratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and other House and Senate Democratic leaders joined former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, retired U.S. Army General Wesley Clark, and former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski at a news conference today to call for a New Direction for Real Security.

Please see General Clark's comments below regarding Armed Forces and our Veterans.

General Wesley Clark, former Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO

"Democrats understand that the world is a dangerous place. Our nation is at war and we are here to speak up for a strong national security policy---one that keeps America safe at home; one that advances America's interests abroad; and one that takes care of the men and women who have volunteered to put their lives on the line for America. Our service members and their families have been given a very tough job to do in these times. They are doing their very best and we are proud of them and we admire them.

"But whether you agree or disagree with the President's decision to invade Iraq three and a half years ago, the facts are now indisputable. Some of these have already been sited by Senator Reid and Congresswoman Pelosi, but here is another fact: There is no end in sight for this war under this Administration's policy. It is not only a distraction to the war on terror, it is feeding the war on terror, serving as a training ground for al Qaeda and a recruiting tool for would be terrorists.

"Here is another fact: the Army and the Marine Corps, the services that are bearing the brunt of the burden of fighting in Iraq, are being chewed up by the conflict. Not because they are not doing a great job and giving 100%, not because we don't have great leaders in the Armed Forces, but because they have been under-resourced by the Administration.

"In the latest readiness reporting, two-thirds of the Army's operating forces, active and reserve, are now unready to go to combat. And in the same reporting period, not one of the non-deployed, U.S.-based combat teams was ready to deploy. Both the Army and Marine Corps have suffered a serious loss of material---they are grinding up equipment at accelerated rates---and the money to repair and replace this equipment has simply not been provided. Our Armed Services have had to lower recruiting standards to keep with the need for manpower. Third and fourth combat tours are increasing the stress on families, and the medical and VA funding that has been provided is simply inadequate to meet the magnitude of the needs our our service members and their families when they return.

"So we are here today to call on the Republican-led Congress and the Administration to work with us, to face up to the needs of the Armed Forces, to establish the kind of multiyear reset accounts that are needed to rebuild the Army and the Marine Corps, and to provide the funding for the VA and the DOD that is required to take care of the lifetime medical and non-medical needs to our veterans when they come back from the war. We need to fully fund the request in Congress in 2007, and we need to go beyond that to look at the real requirements to strengthen our Armed Forces for the challenges they may face in the future."