Thursday, December 09, 2004

Support the Troops...How About the Vets?!

Drudge had a very disturbing article linked yesterday about troops returning to the States from Iraq and Afghanistan. It was from the Washington Times and claimed that 300,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. 300,000! (half of these vets are from Vietnam). This indicates (to me anyway) a larger problem than a few soldiers making poor financial decisions. When troops first started coming home the Pentagon did indeed acknowledge that 'reassimilation time' for the troops had been rushed, but they have since claimed that the problem has been fixed. …Really?

"Data from the Department of Veterans Affairs shows that as of last July, nearly 28,000 veterans from Iraq sought health care from the VA. One out of every five was diagnosed with a mental disorder, according to the VA. An Army study in the New England Journal of Medicine in July showed that 17 percent of service members returning from Iraq met screening criteria for major depression, generalized anxiety disorder or PTSD."

Why isn't this a red flag to the Pentagon/Administration that there is a major problem with how 'returns' are being handled? These boys have seen things that could scar Charles Manson, yet they are expected to somehow instantly resume civilian life?

"Around one-fourth of all homeless Americans are veterans, and more than 75 percent of them have some sort of mental or substance abuse problem, often PTSD, according to the Homeless Veterans coalition."

For the staunch fiscal conservatives out there...I ask...Isn't the cost to society/morale/reenlistment greater than the monetary cost for truly helping these vets? These are the folks who gave what most will not -and we tie the yellow ribbons, hang the POW/MIA flags out and put the magnetic yellow ribbons on our cars while they are away...but what do we do when they return? This is the government's responsibility! It is tax payer's money that should be making sure that these men and women have the best transition possible -the best medical care -the best psychiatric care and continued monetary compensation for wounds (physical and emotional) that can not be healed. It makes me sick to think that the government is paying to buy millions of women baby formula through WIC (when they have perfect breast milk free in their body) while 300,000 vets are homeless...

Read the article...

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