Friday, January 18, 2008

Homeless Vets? Not According to Bill O'Reilly

This is a video of Bill O'Reilly essentially denying that there are homeless vets, and also video of Paul Rieckhoff, Executive Director and Founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
( being interviewed by MSNBC's Keith Olbermann.
Paul is also the author of the book Chasing Ghosts, Failures and Facades in Iraq: A Soldier's Perspective. I believe this is the finest book yet written on the war in Iraq (.
Normally, I don't get too riled up by the delusional rantings of Bill O'Reilly (or anyone from Fox News for that matter). I am not entirely convinced that Mr. O'Reilly even believes half of what he says on the air. He is, in fact, an entertainer (as are the others in his chattering class like Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbauh and Neil Boortz to name a few).
But this got me pretty interested.
For a lot of people in this country (and I know some of them personally), Bill O'Reilly's show is a major source of "news", so a lot of people's opinions on current events and issues are formed by his show (and that includes other "hot button" issues like immigration, waterboarding, etc).
That is why he must be challenged early and often on this. IAVA has a place on their website where you can go to sign an "open letter to Bill O'Reilly" (I wonder if he has "goons" that he might send if he gets a list of addresses - I remember him threatening someone awhile back? I signed the letter, so that's the chance I'll have to take).
I would say that there is virtually no chance that he will ever admit that he is wrong.
I also think what is going on is that for those on the right side of the political spectrum, they have a somewhat idealized view of the military, and the Soldiers (Sailors, Marines, Airmen, Coasties too) in it. Make no mistake. They are great people who have been handed a mission that without the Iraqi's political reconciliation is practically militarily impossible. Make no mistake, they are much better than the "leaders" who sent them there.
As long as the soldiers are over there, getting broken, maimed and killed and not causing too much trouble there is a huge outpouring of "support" for them. Yellow ribbons on cars, wearing the red shirt on Friday, etc.
BUT, when they start coming back and causing some trouble and having some issues, where does the support go? You have to remember that for some on Bill O's political spectrum, homelessness, drug addiction, etc. is a MORAL FAILING. No brave, true soldier could POSSIBLY be homeless. Or be a drug addict. Or resort to crime. That simply doesn't fit the mold. For that to happen to someone, well, they would have to be one of the "phony soldiers" who complain a lot about the war, or worse, a weakling.
They simply cannot conceive that the war (which was promised to be short, pain and cost free - a "cakewalk" if you will), and the trauma resulting from it could possibly be causing any problems whatsoever.
No. It cannot be the war. It cannot be the war which has raged for five years with literally no end in sight. It cannot be the war which a thin slice of the population keeps getting sent back to repeatedly to face a constant barrage of IED's, snipers and other surprises from a never shrinking insurgency.
No, it has to be something else "causing" these horrible stories to come out. It has to be the traitorous, America hating, soldier hating people at the New York Times and other liberal media outlets spreading filthy lies and bad news about our President and our troops.
But it is happening. I have posted a lot of things here on this blog (almost to the exclusion of posting anything else)(and they've been talking about a predicted "Tsunami" of vet homelessness), and a lot of other people are telling the stories.
As I have said, there are veterans who are coming back and adjusting to life after the war. I have said repeatedly that these vets should be systematically studied (to see what is making them "tick") and their treatment plans should be replicated as much as possible.
I do agree with one thing that more of the success stories of recovering vets could be found and told.
I'll be looking for them. But, I will continue to tell the other stories that I find too.
Meanwhile, Bill, you should be looking for the homeless veterans that supposedly don't exist. Being in New York City, you probably don't have to go too far.

No comments: