Revelations have surfaced this week that former president George W. Bush was charging a $100K speaking fee to talk at a charity fundraiser for U.S. military veterans who had been severely wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The former commander in chief was criticized by veterans and anti-war campaigners for profiteering from the fundraising event since he was the chief instigator of the plight of the severely wounded veterans to begin with.
Common Dreams reports:
“Bush led the military into the illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan and failed to fund and prepare the Department of Veterans Affairs to care for those he sent to war,” Maggie Martin, Iraq veteran and organizer with Iraq Veterans Against the War, toldCommon Dreams. “It’s shameful that the former Commander in Chief would profit from funds intended to help struggling veterans.”
ABC News revealed Wednesday that, in 2012, Bush charged the Texas-based charity Helping a Hero the steep fee. The organization says its mission is to help “severely wounded veterans returning from service in the War on Terror, primarily by partnering with the wounded hero to provide specially adapted homes to reintegrate them into their community.”
In addition to the speaking fee, the group paid $20,000 for Bush’s travel to Houston by jet. Just a year before, in 2011, Laura Bush was paid $50,000 for an appearance with the group.
The charity told ABC that the expenditures were justified because Bush helped the group raise money and charged an allegedly discounted fee.
But the latter claim is contradicted by a report last month by Politico which indicates that the price of $100,000 is on par with the former president’s speaking fee during that time.
Former marine Eddie Wright, who lost both of his hands in Fallujah, Iraq in 2004 and formerly served on the board of Helping a Hero, told ABC that the fee is “kind of a slap in the face.”
“For him to be paid to raise money for veterans that were wounded in combat under his orders, I don’t think that’s right,” said Wright. “You sent me to war.”
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