“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Friday, November 16, 2007

Some Battles Last a Lifetime

The one enduring lesson to be learned about warfare is that the war had better be worth it. The costs always fall disproportionately on a few. For those few, the war never ends. At a minimum we owe it to them to do whatever we can as a nation and a people to ensure that they have everything necessary to redeem what they can from their future lives.

Wounded warriors face home-front battle with VA

Ty Ziegel lost an arm, part of his skull when he was attacked in Iraq
VA initially rated his brain injury at 0%, meaning he got no compensation for it
Another vet: VA rejected his claim, saying his wounds were "not service connected"
Ziegel: "I want to make the VA system better"

WASHINGTON, Illinois (CNN) --
Ty Ziegel peers from beneath his Marine Corps baseball cap, his once boyish face burned beyond recognition by a suicide bomber's attack in Iraq just three days before Christmas 2004.

Ty Ziegel, a Marine, was badly wounded in Iraq. He battled the VA over disability benefits when he returned.

He lost part of his skull in the blast and part of his brain was damaged. Half of his left arm was amputated and some of the fingers were blown off his right hand.

Ziegel, a 25-year-old Marine sergeant, knew the dangers of war when he was deployed for his second tour in Iraq.

But he didn't expect a new battle when he returned home as a wounded warrior: a fight with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Watch Ziegel display his model skull »

"Sometimes, you get lost in the system," he told CNN. "I feel like a Social Security number. I don't feel like Tyler Ziegel."

His story is one example of how medical advances in the battlefield have outpaced the home front. Many wounded veterans return home feeling that the VA system, specifically its 62-year-old disability ratings system, has failed them. See photos of these Iraq war heroes »

"The VA system is not ready, and they simply don't have time to catch up," Tammy Duckworth -- herself a wounded veteran who heads up the Illinois Department of Veteran Affairs -- told the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee in March.

VA Acting Secretary Gordon Mansfield said cases like Ziegel's are rare -- that the majority of veterans are moving through the process and "being taken care of." He also said most veterans are fairly compensated.

"Any veteran with the same issue, if it's a medical disability, ... it is going to get the same exact result anywhere in our system," he said.

More than 28,500 troops have been wounded in Operation Iraqi Freedom, including about 8,500 that have needed air transport, according to the U.S. military.

A recent Harvard study found that the cost of caring for those wounded over the course of their lifetime could ultimately cost more than $660 billion....
more here


  1. The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has subpoenaed Maj. Gen. George Weightman, who was fired as head of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, after Army officials refused to allow him to testify before the committee Monday.

    Committee Chairman Henry Waxman and subcommittee Chairman John Tierney asked Weightman to testify about an internal memo that showed privatization of services at Walter Reed could put "patient care services… at risk of mission failure."

    Thank you Bush, Rumsfeld, and your ideology of outsourcing government services. Your newly rich patrons and cronies also thank you. Veterans have less enthusiasm.

  2. The human face of rhetoric ...

    ... and game theory.

  3. I don't have the answer but everyone should visit:

  4. "Thank you Bush, Rumsfeld, and your ideology of outsourcing government services."

    Must be nice to have such ever-ready hate objects.

    In reality, these policies predate the Bush Administraiton, even if it is in theory a strong supporter.

  5. I feel bad for the young man. I feel kind of uneasy posting THIS on the same thread, but I think he would probably want me to.

  6. Good post Deuce.

    A reminder that we have some good men and women that we owe, big time.

    Just copied WIO with a donation to Project Valor IT.

    Also gave to these two fine organizations:

    Wounded Warrior Project

    Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund

    Until the VA gets it right, we can all pick up the slack...

  7. Concise post by China Hand at

    "I’ve frequently asserted that the fundamental contradiction at the heart of the U.S.—Pakistan relationship—and the one that militates against U.S. efforts to guide Pakistani politics—is that the U.S. wants Pakistan to make battling extremists on the borders its number one priority, while the main interest of the military is in heartland security and the India/Kashmir issue.

    "If I were to go a step further, I’d say that U.S. policy toward Pakistan is driven by the worsening situation in Afghanistan [me: yes and no] —an area in which Pakistan is even less eager to support our goals and would rather see nature take its course and the replacement of Karzai’s pro-American government with a quasi-tribal outfit more reliant on and friendly toward Islamabad.

    "So we’re dealing with a double whammy on our Pakistan policy."

    What DOES Pakistan get out of its on-again, off-again NWFP operations? Nothing but the mollification of the US. In every other way it's a losing action for the government, most significantly the army, and the Pakistani people generally. A big one.

    So. What're you gonna do, Ranger? What're you gonna do?

  8. I knew this would be a tough post, certainly a lot easier than the life this young man has ahead of him. maybe Whit will save us with something lighter.

  9. brother d-day said...

    thanks, project IT is amazing

    we just added an affiliate program to our business so that we can help raise funds for them and the other fine groups of americans that wish to help our boys and girls in uniform

    I for one, will try to help and never forget these people would not be wounded if the TERRORISTS did not seek our destruction.

    we as americans, always seem to seek to blame the government for all of our ills...

    however in 1783 the islamic nations of north africa declared war on us...

    this is not a new fight and for way to long have we blamed ourselves for this fight...