The War to End All Wars -- That's what they called World War I, and one of its few living veterans, interviewed in the Washington Post, finds that description particularly bitter these days.
"We were told that my war would be the end of warfare," says Alfred Pugh, now 108. "Here I am, the oldest living veteran of World War I, and we ain't done yet."
No, There Isn't -- Old Alfred Pugh was interviewed on his thoughts about war at the Bay Pines Veterans Administration Medical Center in Florida. But if a new budget resolution makes it through Congress, such accommodations might be harder to come by for the nation's old soldiers.
Republicans on the House Budget Committee recently passed an $844 million cut to the vets' medical care budget for next year. But over the next decade, the proposed cuts would add up to $24.7 billion. Apparently, as many veterans' advocates are saying, they need to cut a lot of money out of the budget to pay for the war with Iraq and the upcoming tax cuts for America's wealthiest citizens. One of the things that would be trimmed under the plan is payments to families if a member was to be killed in action -- something that might be of interest to those serving right now.
Edward Heath, commander of the national group Disabled American Veterans, asked, "Is there no shame?"
An Old Idea Comes Back? -- Washington state is recognizing the 70th anniversary of the Civilian Conservation Corps on Saturday, April 5, at Deception Pass State Park near Oak Harbor. You'll recall the CCC was FDR's instrument to help lift the nation out of the Great Depression. Jobless Americans were paid to improve their communities through new construction projects and even arts programs.
Sure, we agree it's a great birthday to mark, but we'd take it one step further: If our economy doesn't turn around sometime soon, maybe we'll need to dust off the old CCC manuals as a way to pull this generation out of recession.
Operation Dolphin Storm -- You wanna win this war? Better send in the dolphins. According to MSNBC.com, an elite corps of the Navy-trained marine mammals helped secure the southern Iraqi city of Umm Qasr earlier this week. Their mission? To identify -- from a safe distance -- submerged mines for disposal. Citing dolphins' superior underwater capabilities as reason for their deployment by the military, the article went on to describe how sea lions have been trained to protect coalition ships in Bahrain. In addition to speculating what PETA thinks about all this, we have to wonder when did the news suddenly start sounding so much like a story from The Onion?
Publication date: 03/27/03