Taking Care of Our Veterans


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Okay this one is right off the top of my head.  This is just an emotional reaction to the stories about veterans having a hard time getting the treatment and the compensation that they deserve.  I don’t think that there is a person in this country who isn’t deeply grateful for the sacrifice that our men and women in uniform make for us.  I cannot even imagine what it would be like being in a war zone knowing every minute of every day that there were a whole lot of people, not too far away, who want nothing more than to put a bullet in you.  To spend days witnessing all of the terror and heartbreak that war brings.  Our men and women in uniform do that for us.

I spent a good part of my life around the military.  I flew on training missions with the fleet air recon squadrons, but, when I flew, the crew didn’t do all the tricks that they would do if a civilian wasn’t onboard.  I have no illusions, I didn’t do their job; I was a tourist.  I saw enough of it to know that they deserve the best when their time was over.

The system set up to help our veterans is overwhelmed.  It cannot handle the thousands and thousands of cases with the care that our heroes need.  Why is that?  It seems like it is because they didn’t take into account the reality of modern warfare.  This is going to sound harsh; please don’t take this the wrong way.  One of the reasons that the system is overwhelmed is that our medical services in the field have gotten so much better.  In earlier wars many of the people that return injured today would have not returned at all in the past.  This means that there are a lot more physically wounded veterans to take care of. 

The second reason is that we now know what we do to our men and women when we plunge them into war.  When you require people to live in a nightmare and then make them go back to that nightmare two, three, four times and more; you cannot expect them not to be scarred mentally and emotionally.  In the old days P.T.S.D. was not recognized and our veterans suffered without support.  Now we know that can they be helped and they must be helped.

We all want the government to cut their budget.  The Republicans claim that everything needs to be cut.  So how do we take care of our heroes and still cut the budget.  You can say we can cut the fat in other programs and we should, but I don’t think that will be enough.  I think people ought to put their money where their mouth is.  There should be a one percent Veteran’s Tax to pay for the services that out heroes need.  I know, people will say that the government will just waste the money but, I’m sorry, I think that is just an excuse not to pony up.  Yes, hunt down waste and mismanagement, but also give the VA the budget it needs to do the job and give our heroes the treatment that they deserve.  They need more than lip service.

Here’s a thought for the future.  We may be able to reduce the VA budget in the future if we are  a bit more careful about sending our people in harm’s way.  Let’s make darn sure that there is no other way, and make sure that our people our fighting for the right cause before we subject them to the nightmare of war.  If you don’t want to do it to have our heroes the pain, then do it because it is a way to cut the budget.


Pete is a retired software developer, a writer, and a martial arts instructor. He lives in Maryland with his wife Cathy and they are enjoying their retirement. Pete is the author of four novels, "The Teacher", 500 Years from Home", and "The Long Journey Home" are available at Lulu.com; and "Pioneers" in available at the Kindle Book Store.

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Posted in Current Events, Opinion, politics, Social Issues

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