The people who engineered our invasion of Iraq are full of jingoistic slogans and buzz words. “Patriotism,” “Support our troops,” anyone who disagrees with the war “hates America,” etc. Spouting off simple-minded slogans is the easy part. It’s much more difficult to provide our troops and veterans with the health care and other benefits they’re entitled to.
VA hospitals are overburdened beyond capacity. More than 10,000 U.S. troops have been wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan; some of them have waited months to get the help they need.
When a soldier is killed in action, do you know how much the surviving family members get? $12,000. Whoa!!! Don’t spend it all in one place. Some members of Congress want to raise this benefit to $100,000, but how likely is that? We need that money for the war in Iraq – not to mention more tax cuts to stimulate the economy. Veterans’ groups are concerned that funding for veterans’ programs could be frozen, or even reduced.
I don’t want to be reduced to rightwing sloganeering, but if there’s anyone who “hates America” it’s the lawmakers – of either party – who refuse to provide the necessary funding for veterans’ benefits. We can spend hundreds of billions to invade Iraq (and Iran and Syria might be in our crosshairs) but we don’t have enough money for veterans’ health care? Where’s the outrage on the Right? Have any of the Patriotism-spewing Chicken Hawks been pontificating about this?
The former chairman of the House Veterans Committee, Chris Smith (R-NJ) was a strong advocate for veterans; and that might be why he’s no longer the chairman. According to a spokesman for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, “It's our contention that in the eyes of the leadership he did too good a job. He was clearly pushed out. It's unprecedented.”
His replacement has said that “funds are finite” and that future cuts might be “inevitable.”
In a related story, the Army expects to maintain its current troop level of 120,000 in Iraq for at least two more years. And Army officials are trying to extend the current 24-month limit that a reservist can be assigned to active duty.