Criticizing Bush Leads To Charges Of Sedition
Now, the PEN American Center is honoring the VA psychiatric nurse who wrote a scathing letter to the editor of Alibi, an Albuquerque newspaper critical of the Bush administration in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
“I am furious with the tragically misplaced priorities and criminal negligence of this government,” it began. “The Katrina tragedy in the U.S. shows that the emperor has no clothes!” She mentioned that she was “a VA nurse” working with returning vets. “The public has no sense of the additional devastating human and financial costs of post-traumatic stress disorder,” she wrote, and she worried about the hundreds of thousands of additional cases that might result from Katrina and the Iraq War.
“Bush, Cheney, Chertoff, Brown, and Rice should be tried for criminal negligence,” she wrote. “This country needs to get out of Iraq now and return to our original vision and priorities of caring for land and people and resources rather than killing for oil. . . . We need to wake up and get real here, and act forcefully to remove a government administration playing games of smoke and mirrors and vicious deceit.
Otherwise, many more of us will be facing living hell in these times.”
Those words resulted in her being accused of possible sedition by a Veterans Affairs investigator. The VA retreated, finally, after which she was told by a superior not to refer to herself as a VA nurse in future exercises of her First Amendment. She refused.
Sedition is defined by Princeton’s wordnet as “an illegal action inciting resistance to lawful authority and tending to cause the disruption or overthrow of the government”.
Sadly, there has been almost no coverage of this in the mainstream press. A Google news search of “‘Laura Berg’ nurse” brings up just two articles about the PEN award, but none about the events leading to that honor. Hopefully, with new attention to what Berg has done, will come a greater awareness of what can potentially happen in the “land of the free” when an American exercises a Constitutional right to speak out against an incompetent administration.Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2008 Liberaland