Veterans Day: Show Veterans and Active Soldiers Your Support

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.

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.

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It’s Not About Health Care; It’s About Caring

Sure, LA has its own problems with hospital patients being dropped off in skid row, but how — as Joe Galloway so eloquently wrote — can the blinders stay drawn while our injured troops are left in blight within the Beltway?

I try not to get sidetracked with being pissed off at shocking injustices at the hand of our wickedly rich government, but, mind you, I do bother to read Froomkin daily, but sometimes — especially on the day after being brought back to reality from the sheer mechanics and mindless rhetoric of even the most hopeful of campaigns — I must vent.

Froomkin borrows from Dana Priest’s piece in today’s post in remarking on the White House and Tony Snow’s unbelievable non-reaction to the uninhabitable quarters on the Walter Reed campus (ask the DoD… it’s an “action item.”

“At the White House, press secretary Tony Snow said that he spoke with President Bush yesterday about Walter Reed and that the president told him: ‘Find out what the problem is and fix it.'”

I must admit I found that a bit odd: Asking the press secretary to fix a military hospital? Is Bush saying it’s just a PR problem?

Sadly, not taking care of our own is nothing new.

photo by poppyseed bandits