I’m hopelessly confused now. Do homeless troops exist or not?

Recently, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly attacked former senator John Edwards for noting the 200,000 homeless veterans who “go to sleep under bridges and on grates” every night. “The only thing sleeping under a bridge is that guy’s brain,” quipped O’Reilly. [Har har! Good one, Bill!] O’Reilly continued his attack earlier this week, claiming “They may be out there, but there’s not many of them out there.”

Last night, however, O’Reilly pulled an about-face, acknowledging to National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse President Joseph Califano that there are upwards of 200,000 homeless vets in America:

CALIFANO: We have 200,000 veterans who are homeless.

O’REILLY: Right.

O’Reilly admitted Edwards’ claim was right, but still refused to admit his own inaccuracies. He also continued to attack the former senator, calling him “a liar” and “a charlatan.” O’Reilly insisted that homelessness “has nothing to do with the economy” and is “mostly because of addiction and mental illness.”

This is really not the class warfare issue that O’Reilly is making it out to be. There are 200,000 homeless veterans, and whether it’s because they’re poor, or because they’re so psychologically damaged by war that they can no longer function, the bottom line is that no-one’s taking care of them. They risked body and soul for this country, and now they’re sleeping under bridges? How does that square with "supporting our troops"?

This is one of the most infuriating things about Republicans: They make a great big frothing-at-the-mouth show of how much they care about X and Democrats don’t, yet their actions show that they don’t really care about X at all. Troops are a great example of this: Republicans love to rage about how we progressives don’t support the troops, yet the Bush administration sends troops to Iraq with inadequate armor or leave time, covers it up when they get raped and/or killed under suspicious circumstances, subjects wounded troops to Civil War conditions, and screws veterans again and again.

Troops are by no means the only example, however. Republicans claim to be "pro-life," yet they support the death penalty and unrestricted gun ownership. They launched an invasion which killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. And as passionate as they are about protecting fetuses, they have little concern for their well-being after they become babies. Where are their calls for more maternity leave, better postnatal care, or financial aid for indigent mothers? Where, for that matter, is their support for sex-ed and contraception to prevent the unwanted pregnancies that lead to abortions?

Republicans speak of Democracy, but coddle tyrants abroad and suppress votes at home… in the guise of preventing voter fraud.

Republicans speak of Freedom, but reserve the right to detain, torture and spy on anyone they please.

Republicans speak of Civility, but spray smears, insults, and threats like angry firehoses. (But, it should be noted, with a minimum of swearing)

Republicans speak of Accountability, but will not yield to law nor oversight.

Republicans speak of Christianity, but oppose peace, compassion and tolerance.

Republicans speak of Security, but inflame the Muslim world against us and resist efforts to secure ports, plants, and loose Russian nukes. (See also: Tora Bora, Al Qaqaa, Operation Ignore)

Republicans speak of America, and they are burying it.

(h/t Blue Texan)