the shameful legacy of the "swiftboating" campaign

NPR reports on how the Army is routinely denying the Purple Heart to soldiers who have sustained traumatic brain injuries, despite the fact that such injuries are explicitly listed in regulations for the medal.

In 2008, the top medical commander in Iraq, Brigadier General Joseph Caravalho, blocked doctors from talking about the Purple Heart with soldiers who suffered mild TBIs, claiming that "in many cases, [concussions with] minimum medical intervention will not warrant this award" -- a statement that contradicts Army regulations, which require only that the injury must require treatment by a medical officer and must be documented. "Concussion injuries caused as a result of enemy generated explosions" are explicitly included in the list of injuries eligible for the award.

So what's the deal? One officer says that "no more John Kerrys" became a catchphrase among some medical officers in Iraq.

You may recall that during the 2004 presidential campaign, scumbag GOP operatives cast doubt on John Kerry's war record -- including the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and three Purple Hearts. The GOP convention featured delegates wearing bandages with small purple hearts on them.

The attacks on Kerry's records have been totally debunked, and the co-founder of "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth", John E. O'Neill, was caught lying about his own military service; but the "swift boating" of Kerry apparently not only helped trick gullible voters into keeping the war criminal George Bush in the White House, but reduced respect for soldiers wounded in battle.

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