“I am here [at this demonstration] as a ‘personal’ witness!”
— Activist, poet and Vietnam War veteran, Ms. Madeleine Mysko
Baltimore, MD – On April 24, 2008, a spirited antiwar protest was held in this city in the downtown area. It was sponsored by MoveOn.org and Progressive Maryland. One of the activists participating was Ms. Madeleine Mysko, a registered nurse and a veteran of the Vietnam War. She ripped into Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), who has consistently voted to fund the Iraq War to the tune of $514 billion. This pseudo-liberal politico has insisted to constituents that she is funding the war in order to “support the troops.” She recently wrote Ms. Mysko and vowed that she won’t “abandon the troops.” Ms. Mysko, however, isn’t buying that dubious line. She says: “I saw a lot of soldiers die and suffer and I have not forgotten…I resent it highly that my being against the war and against the money that we are spending on it, is interpreted [by Sen. Mikulski] as not supporting the troops.” 
Here is the plain truth: Sen. Mikulski supports the Military-Industrial Complex, which is a one-trillion-dollar a year drain on our treasury.  She doesn’t give a good hoot about the troops, who are dying and suffering in Iraq. Her votes for war-funding puts the troops in harm’s way, in a conflict which was launched by the Bush-Cheney Gang based on 935 certifiable lies.  When the Democrats took control of the Congress in January, 2007, Sen. Mikulski had an opportunity to stop funding this war and to bring the troops home safely. She failed! As a result, 1,055 troops have died since that date and thousands more have been wounded. 
Ms. Mysko, a former U.S. Army nurse, continues: “I have seen first hand [how our veterans are really treated.] I think it is [still] going on now–how terribly, terribly expensive–it is going to be to take care of the fine young men and women who are serving now [in Iraq], who I do support…We are not going to be able to take care of them. We’re not taking care of them appropriately, now.” Experts put the ultimate cost of the Iraq War at $3 trillion. The seriously wounded U.S. troop number is now over 30,000.
Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA) corroborates Ms. Mysko’s position about the tragic situation with respect to the Vietnam and Iraq War veterans. He’s the chair of the House of Representatives’ Veterans’ Affairs Committee. At an event on Capitol Hill on Oct. 17, 2007, the Congressman said: “We did not take care of them [the Vietnam veterans]. We [the government] made a mistake. We can still rectify it for those who are [still] with us. Over half of the homeless on the streets tonight–200,000–are Vietnam Vets. As many Vietnam Vets have now committed suicide as died in the original war. That is over 58,000! We did something wrong. And, we see ‘the same thing’ happening again [with respect to the Iraq War]. The ‘suicide rates’ are back up to where they were in the Vietnam period. We’ve seen homelessness already…The President says: ‘SUPPORT TROOPS,’ ‘SUPPORT TROOPS…’ but, when they [the troops] come home, they are on their own.” 
Rep. Filner emphasized: “Because, what’s going on now is we’re ‘saving the President’s face.’ Everybody has admitted that we can’t win this [the Iraq War] militarily…It’s a political thing. We’ve gotta get out…He [Bush] is going to ‘stay in.’ He’s going to ‘stay in’ through his term…That is to ‘save his face.’ Thousands of kids are going to come back in caskets, which we are not allowed to see, or with amputations, brain injuries, with traumatic stress…Everybody comes back with [this] incredible…sense of what they went through and it’s very difficult to reintegrate.” 
Getting back to Ms. Mysko. She believes: “They [the Iraq War veterans] are struggling here in Maryland to get help…[with] the head injuries. In my era, [during the Vietnam War, Ms. Mysko served stateside as a nurse], it was burns. It is still burns. I worked in the burn ward, [at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX]. But, now it is these devastating head injuries. And, we are going to have to take care of them [the veterans.] And, where are we going to have the money for it, if our economy is crushed by this really inefficient war?”  
All of this makes me wonder about Sen. Mikulski. Her political career started with such great promise. However, as I note her ongoing complicity in the debacle that is the Iraq War, (along with her endorsement of the draconian U.S.A. Patriot Act), I feel compelled to ask again: “Has Sen. Mikulski lost her soul?” 
Thanks to Peace activists, like Ms. Mysko, Sen. Mikulski’s failure to do her duty has been exposed. The damnable truth is that she’s a doormat for the Military-Industrial Complex! How Sen. Mikulski can sleep at night with that on her conscience is a mystery to me.