Bring It On!

As Troops Languish At Walter Reed, Bush Decides To Send USS Comfort On PR Mission

March 8th, 2007 | by Ken Grandlund |

It turns out that President Bush really does approve of free health care, so long as you live in Central or South America and are not a wounded US combat veteran. Prefacing his upcoming visit to Latin America (where he plans on winning all the hearts and minds away from his third highest ranking arch-nemesis Hugo Chavez) with a speech on Monday, the Decider-in-Chief promised to send the USS Comfort down the coast this summer to deliver treatment to 85,000 people in 12 countries.

With wounded soldiers living in mold infested barracks and enduring 7AM inspections, all while trying to put together the pieces of their shattered bodies and minds and navigate the obstructionist bureaucracy that has become the military medical system, you’d think that maybe, just maybe, there might be another good use for a US Military hospital ship. Something a little better than heading south for a PR mission perhaps?

The USS Comfort has as it’s primary mission “to provide a mobile, flexible, and rapidly responsive afloat medical capability for acute medical and surgical care in support of amphibious task forces, Marine Corps, Army and Air Force elements, forward deployed Navy elements of the fleet and fleet activities located in areas where hostilities may be imminent.” Seems like Bush’s little escapade in Iraq fits into that criteria pretty well. And since we know the president isn’t planning any troop pull-out by June, perhaps we should send the ship there (or keep it there, whatever the case may be.)

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for humanitarian missions. But folks…there’s a time and a place for everything. And when your stateside military hospitals are a shambles, understaffed, and expecting a continued flow of wounded patients, it makes sense to keep your resources at home. Not only that, we have a solemn duty to our fallen men and women to care for them to our best ability. It is only too clear that this administration has failed badly thus far. So why is the president making a bad problem worse by diverting more medical resources away from our troops? Is this what “support the troops” really means?

And don’t even get me started on the ‘free health care’ about face the president is pulling here. Why is it that free health care to foreign nations is a great idea for a PR junket but a lousy idea to even discuss here in America? If this isn’t a case of total cognitive dissonance then I don’t know what is.

Bush seems to be getting out of town at a good time- for him at least. With scandals breaking all around him, with the thin veneer of ‘compassionate conservatism’ wearing away to expose the rotten ideology for what it is, and with an American public (and even some -gasp-elected officials) increasingly calling for his impeachment, the president needs to get out of the harsh light of reality for a little while. That, and maybe he needs to clear some brush at Rancho Nuevo Bush in Paraguay.

[tag]Bush, Latin+America, USS+Comfort, Walter+Reed+Medical+Center, military, wounded+veterans, free+health+care[/tag]

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  1. 7 Responses to “As Troops Languish At Walter Reed, Bush Decides To Send USS Comfort On PR Mission”

  2. By Tom Harper on Mar 8, 2007 | Reply

    Health care and a Constitution — those are two things Bush wants for other countries but not for us.  As the joke goes, “Iraq can have our Constitution since we’re not using it any more.”

  3. By Joyce Guse on Mar 8, 2007 | Reply

    Watch to see if any of the mainstream press sees the irony in this ship o’ Comfort giving away free medical assistance that we all no could darn well used here. I bet not. AAArrrrgghhhh.

  4. By ken grandlund on Mar 8, 2007 | Reply

    So far, I’ve seen a couple MSM paper columns that discuss the trip but not the fact that Bush is sending a military ship off to give free health care to foreign nations- nor have they connected the disconnect between doing that and our own ill-treated troops. Shameful indeed.

  5. By Joyce Guse on Mar 8, 2007 | Reply


    I decided to actually read Mr. Bush’s speech. Well to be honest peruse is what I really did. You know the speech is probably the usual stuff any president has said when they are giving away money to other countries. And just to be clear I guess it is a good thing to do that although I am sure it is not always effective. So I would guess that the Media if they even do read it would say the USS Comfort is just part of the whole package and it is nit-picky(hypocritical?) of us to zoom in on that one aspect of the aid. And besides presidents/congress give away aid all the time so this is not newsworthy. What do you think?

    Also I was thinking about whether there is ever any objection within the Republican party about handing out money to the poor in other countries because of the whole notion that Repulicans do not believe in handouts. I do realize that differences among Republicans some are financially conservative and some that say they are financially conservative(Mr. Bush?).

    I wish I could remember the guy who wrote about how Republicans can not govern. Very eye opening. But the thing that had struck me after reading it is in order for any party to stay in power they have to become “Big Goverment.” They have do pork barrel thing.
    Golly sorry about rambling on and getting off topic with that last paragraph

  6. By ken grandlund on Mar 8, 2007 | Reply


    I agree that foreign aid is important, both from humanitarian and political points of view, and no, neither party is immune from criticism in this arena- it is the what, when, and why of the foreign aid that concerns me.

    I don’t think it is nit-picky to question sending a military hospital ship on a PR junket when troops are not being served first. I think that the decision to use a military hospital ship aas part of a PR junket is reprehensible in light of the current military-health care fiasco.

  7. By The Oracle on Mar 11, 2007 | Reply

    And lest we forget, remember the U.S. Coast Guard hospital ship that sat empty off the Louisiana coast after Hurricane Katrina, and the helicopter pilots from Florida who were chastised for rescuing Katrina survivors from rooftops?

    The “culture of corruption” ?compassionate? conservative Republicans definitely have a spotty record where actually “caring” is involved, er, “caring” that is for other human beings instead of money and power.

    Which, based upon my reading of the New Testament, means that there aren’t any Christian Republicans, no matter what the spin. They’ve all sold their souls to mammon. ..or as Jesus said, “What profits a man, though he gain the whole, yet loses his soul?”

  8. By Stus on Mar 12, 2007 | Reply

    I think that the president is just scouting out a post-election retreat where he can’t be extradited. Paraguay seems about right, some old Nazis may be willing to let property go cheaply.

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