Friday, August 22, 2008

Honoring Our Vets - Bush Style!

by Pa Rock

I am constantly amazed by how the Iraq War's most ardent supporters are the first to crap all over our brave veterans in their hour of need. Remember the awful veteran housing conditions at Walter Reed Army Hospital? Or how about Bush and McBush and the other zealots fighting against a decent GI Bill of Rights. Veterans give their time, their commitment, their safety, and often lose their families, their sanity, and their lives in defense of our country. Is it too much to ask that we treat them with respect and basic human dignity when they come back from Dear Leader's fiasco in the sands of the Middle East?

The latest case in point is unfolding at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. Ft. Sill is one of thirty-five bases across the United States that has a Warrior Transition Unit, a special housing unit designed to address the special needs of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Currently one-hundred-forty-two individuals are housed there. (I have friends that work in other WTUs. The units serve a very important function in the treatment and reintegration of our veteran population back into society.)

Chuck Roeder is a U.S. Army veteran and he is also a Social Services Coordinator at Ft. Sill working with their WTU. Chuck is apparently a dedicated social worker, one who takes his work very seriously - and his job is to take care of veterans. Chuck just came to Ft. Sill this past January. He reported problems with the facility, of which there were apparently plenty, to his superiors, and he was promptly labeled a malcontent and ignored. One of the problems that made Chuck angry was the mold in the living units. When his superiors ignored him and the safety of the veterans they were supposed to be serving, Chuck blew the whistle. Yes, in July he notified USA Today, and that national newspaper brought the matter to everyone's attention.

Now Congress is looking at Ft. Sill, and the Army is busy busting its collective ass trying to make things right.

And they will get Ft. Sill's WTU cleaned up - I'm sure of that. Step one in cleaning up the situation was firing the whistle-blower. That's right. Chuck, who was only there seven months, was told to resign or be fired. A spokesman for Ft. Sill, said that the firing had nothing to do with the whistle-blowing, and that it was purely coincidental. He was fired, according to the spokesman, because he had a history of confrontations with base officials.

(Now folks, here's the truth. I am a civilian working for the military just as Chuck Roeder was. It is impossible - IMPOSSIBLE - to lose a federal job in seven months unless somebody way up the food chain wants your head on a platter in the worst possible way! IM-FORKING-POSSIBLE!)

A delegation of veterans from the WTU at Ft. Sill went to Washington DC to plead in defense of Chuck Roeder. They asked Secretary of the Army Pete Geren to rise to his defense. Secretary Geren responded that it was hard to do anything about hirings and firings from Washington.

Say what?

Secretary Geren, with all due respect, get off your bureaucratic butt and go to Oklahoma and fix the problem! Our veterans are special people, and they deserve far better treatment than what they are receiving at Ft. Sill. And Chuck Roeder deserves better, too.

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