Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Veterans Treatment; Politics vs Reality
Don't you just love that Michelle Obama and the Vice President's wife have taken to championing the military? Doesn't it just look lovely when they attend a luncheon and patiently listen to the problems of the military, both active duty and veterans and their wives? You get such a warm fuzzy, don't you? I don't.
The majority of politicians, to include politicians wives use the military to advance their political aspirations. And, I'm sorry to say, most of the American people forget about veterans once their "usefulness" is over.
First of all, this generation of active duty military has probably been abused more than any other. When I served the U.S. government had a policy that specified once you had completed a year in combat you would not be returned to a combat area until all others had taken their turn. In today's military it is not unusual to see our military compelled to serve four or five tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Two factors account for this. During my years of service a military draft still existed. The military, as such was more of a "citizen army" whereby Americans served their "fair" amount of time and would have bitched to high heaven had they been forced into multiple combat tours. The second factor is that our military has been so decimated that we now have about a third of the force we had during Vietnam. Because of our relatively small force our military is now forced into multiple combat tours.
I do not buy the argument that some make; that this is a volunteer force and our military is making the choice to do this. Not true. One need only take a look around to see that our economy is so bad that many stay in the military as the only means to support their family.
Once our military troops are finished with their multiple tours and finally decide to separate from the military they can expect to be forgotten, as tens of thousands of Vietnam vets have been.
In 1996 President Clinton decided that VA Health Care for veterans was just becoming too expensive. Accordingly, he set up procedures to means test VA Health care. Any veteran making more than $24 thousand a year can expect to be turned away unless they have a combat related injury. And the VA often fights the vet tooth and nail to deny that an injury is combat related. Ask any vet who suffers from Agent Orange from Vietnam and had to fight for 20 years to win a court decision to force the VA to treat it.
How many civilians know that, unless the retired Vet surrenders a huge chunk of his retirement pay, when the veteran dies, the spouse gets nothing from the military; this despite the military spouse serving as fully, and with as much dedication as the active duty member. She or He raises children without a father, serves as tutor and chauffeur, and sounding board for her children. Yet she or he hangs by a tenuous thread in retirement and hopes she or he can die before the retired spouse.
Finally, it's a good thing I'm not at one of those Michelle Obama/Jill Biden military family photo-ops. The first question I would ask is why haven't military pensioners received a pay raise for three years. I would also ask why the U.S. government violated their enlistment contract with the military with respect to Military Tri-Care.
Frankly, I am disgusted when I see the President, the Vice President and Congressmen use the military to boost their political careers. I believe they should be honest and just say "look guys, you're just cannon fodder and this is how the game is played".