by Larry C. Johnson (bio below)

At first I thought this was a blog parody. I mean, really, no one could be this clueless. Right? Boy, was I wrong. Here’s what President Bush had to say at Brooke Army Medical Center the other day. Remember, he is visiting U.S. soldiers who are missing arms, legs, and eyes. Some soldiers are horribly mutilated from wound suffered in Iraq. Most of the soldiers Bush visited were not “injured”, they were “wounded”. You get wounds in combat. You get injured while playing football or cutting brush. This is not just mindless nitpicking on my part. This demonstrates a Commander-in-Chief out of touch with the reality of combat.

President Visits Troops at Brooke Army Medical Center

“As you can possibly see, I have an injury myself — not here at the hospital, but in combat with a Cedar. I eventually won. The Cedar gave me a little scratch. As a matter of fact, the Colonel asked if I needed first aid when she first saw me. I was able to avoid any major surgical operations here, but thanks for your compassion, Colonel.”

The president needs to understand what combat means. It is not tangling with a chain saw and some prickly pear brush. It involves firearms and explosives. It means watching your best friend bleed out on the battlefield. It means mind numbing fear as you prepare to enter a building that may or may not be providing refuge for a terrorist. It means killing other human beings. And for some, it leaves an emotional scar that the brave soldiers carry with them to their grave.

More importantly the President needs to understand that he now has a sacred obligation to ensure that the men and women wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan will have the full backing of their country to provide them with the medical care they need to recover their physical and mental well being. Instead, Bush talks a good game at the hospital but is not removing obstacles for key treatment for a variety of wounds, including post-traumatic stress syndrome. Key benefits and treatment are already being denied to some returning vets.

There is a silver lining, at least the President did not award himself a purple heart. But this attempt at humor, no matter how well intentioned, is offensive and insulting to the soldiers who have sacrificed their bodies in response to the orders of this Commander-in-Chief. That, in my view, is no laughing matter.


Larry C. Johnson is CEO and co-founder of BERG Associates, LLC, an international business-consulting firm that helps corporations and governments manage threats posed by terrorism and money laundering. Mr. Johnson, who worked previously with the Central Intelligence Agency and U.S. State Department’s Office of Counter Terrorism (as a Deputy Director), is a recognized expert in the fields of terrorism, aviation security, crisis and risk management. Mr. Johnson has analyzed terrorist incidents for a variety of media including the Jim Lehrer News Hour, National Public Radio, ABC’s Nightline, NBC’s Today Show, the New York Times, CNN, Fox News, and the BBC. Mr. Johnson has authored several articles for publications, including Security Management Magazine, the New York Times, and The Los Angeles Times. He has lectured on terrorism and aviation security around the world. Further bio details.

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