It’s the 8th Veterans Day since 9/11 and while hundreds of thousands of troops remain deployed in unstable areas of Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, what’s truly discomforting is the number of Veterans of the wars of this decade who are unable to return to normal citizen lives.
At least 4,780 U.S. servicemen and women are listed as casualties of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the Washington Post’s excellent tribute page.
Some estimates suggest there are more than 755,000 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Of that group, more than 181,000 are collecting disability benefits today, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. — philly.com
And considering the current unemployment rate over 6% and the fact that as many as 50 million Americans are without health insurance, today is a great day to give back — even just a little — if you’re fortunate enough to have both a job and health insurance and most of all, good health.
One in four of America’s homeless are veterans and at least one in five veterans of the Iraq War are reported to suffer symptoms of PTSD.
So today, I’m donating to Iraq Veterans Against War (part of the Veterans for Peace 501(c)(3)) in hopes that I can boost the morale of troops still on the ground — not knowing for sure when they’ll return. And ultimately in hopes that we won’t have to fight wars in the future that have no clear agenda or endgame.
A freelance photographer working for The Associated Press and a cameraman working for AP Television News said a U.S. soldier deleted their photos and video showing a four-wheel drive vehicle in which three people were shot to death about 100 yards from the suicide bombing. The AP plans to lodge a protest with the American military.
The U.S. military blamed its troops’ unfortunate reaction, in which Afghan civilians were killed, on a “complex ambush” by Taliban militants. The deaths of the 16 civilians will undoubtedly hamper the U.S.’s efforts to redouble their forces while making nice and contributing positively to the rebuilding of Afghanistan.
The shooting sparked demonstrations, with local people blocking the highway, the main road east from the town of Jalalabad to the border with Pakistan. And there were differences in some of the accounts of the incident, with the Americans saying that the civilians were caught in cross-fire between the troops and militants, and Afghan witnesses and some authorities blaming the Americans for indiscriminately shooting at civilian vehicles in anger after the explosion.
No matter whose account you believe, the Taliban’s expected “spring offensive” is on. Two British troops were reported killed in southern Afghanistan yesterday.