Friday, September 23, 2005

What about support for our veterans?

On the 11th day of Opt Out a recruiter said to me....

"As for a recruiter making promises and not following through, the recruiter's not in any position to promise anything. We hope that all our recruiters are communicating honestly with our applicants," Mr. Smith said. But he added, "In the contract [between the new soldier and the Army] it says, "Anything the recruiter may have promised me is 'moot'."
Doug Paton, "Rift over recruiting at public high schools," The Christian Science Monitor, online edition,
18 May 2005.

Veterans Issues- The military may take care of their own- but they forget about the veterans... veteran hospital closures, medical care reductions, PTSD

The GI Bill of Rights educated and housed a generation of soldiers in the 1940s and 1950s. Free lifetime medical care was another benefit for two decades of service.
Now, that free care has been ended. US Court of Appeals in Washington ruled that the recruiters who promised lifetime free medical care to WWII vets did not have the standing to do so.

35 percent of the military hospitals that existed in the United States in 1987 are closed today. Other hospitals have cut services. The number of doctors, nurses and medical technicians in military service has also been cut. Yet more Iraq vets are returning with missing limbs and wounds that could not have been survived in the past. Many have head injuries that will require intensive and long-term - if not lifetime- care.

Bush asks America to support our troops- but do you call this "support"?:
-budget cuts that include a huge reduction in veterans home funding, resulting in the loss of thousands of veterans' nursing home beds, and the closure of some homes entirely.
-cutting the benefit that allows vets to stay in nursing homes, literally forcing them out into the cold
-doubling the amount vets pay for prescriptions

PTSD-Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
What is PTSD?

"People who suffer from PTSD (have) nightmares and flashbacks, difficulty sleeping, and feel detached or estranged. These symptoms can be severe enough and last long enough to significantly impair the person's daily life. PTSD frequently occurs with depression, substance abuse, problems of memory, and other problems of physical and mental health. The disorder is associated with impairment of the person's ability to function in social or family life, including occupational instability, marital problems and divorces, family discord, and difficulties in parenting. "-National Center for PTSD

The Associate Press reported that 1 in 8 returning Iraq vets has PTSD. CNN says it is 2 in 10. And while one study found that 17 percent of those veterans questioned had PTSD- only 40% were seeking help.
"Ninety percent of those posted to Iraq reported being shot at. A high percentage also reported killing an enemy combatant, or knowing someone who was injured or killed. About half said they had handled a body."-CNN
"A 2004 study endorsed by the Veteran Administration says 18 percent of troops returning from Iraq will have post-traumatic stress disorder, the result of fearing for their lives and the lives of their friends, and the guilt of taking other lives in war."-Washington Times

If our country is going to ask men and women to go into battle and risk their life and health, then we need to be prepared to care for them when they return home. I have often heard that "The military takes care of their own", but the veterans who serve our country aren't being cared for.

-National Center for PTSD

-Veterans for Peace


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