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Monday, 26 May 2014

Memorial Day 2014

This is a good day for a bit of discussion about the recent media attention to the problems of health care at the U.S. Veterans Administration.

Last February, Senate Republicans blocked important legislation from Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont: S.1982, the Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014 (full text here; summary here).

The bill would provide $21 billion to improve veterans' access to health care, education and job training. There are 29 co-sponsors of the bill, every one of them a Democrat; not a single Republican.

In that February vote, all but two Senate Republicans voted against the bill. That makes this a partisan issue and there is no question who is on which side.

Please note how, in this video from Sanders' office, that every Republican speaking against the bill objects on the grounds that there are no offsets to pay for it - just as there were no offsets for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq they championed. You know, the wars where these veterans who need help were wounded.

More at Senator Sanders' website.

You might want to keep all this in mind next time you hear a Republican wrapping him- or herself in the flag and proclaiming their patriotism.

Enjoy the holiday - and I don't mean that to be snark. It is not a contradiction to argue for our military and have a barbecue too.


At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Dan Gogerty: Headstone Tweets and Wikihistory on Memorial Day


Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post

Comments

I despise war. And I am overcome with gratitude for what soldiers can accomplish given orders they get for ends ranging from bad to worse. Top medical care and rehabilitation are minimum basic appreciation for young men and women harmed in service to their country.

Today's wars are waged by wealthy special interests and fought by people from low income families.

Memorial day should remind us all that the cost of any war is always high and when we are duped to invade rag tag countries as a ploy to protect so-called “national interests” I get sick to my stomach. The latent damages of war also need to be considered. Today’s vet’s suffering PTSD to the point where families are destroyed and a person’s life tanks are also on-going costs we incur long after the battles are over.

Unless our territory has been invaded or there is genocide occurring by ruthless despots, our obligations should never extend to sending troops into regions of any foreign country where usually nothing more than civil wars are being fought.

Thank you, Ronni, for this powerful message on Memorial Day. The Republicans should be ashamed, but they try to justify their votes by suggesting that the federal government needs to take "entitlements" away from others (such as elders) to pay for veterans' care.

Their strategy of trying to pit one group of Americans against others is diabolical.

You are right in every respect, but in addition, there is no excuse for the neglect at the VA, which is really bugging me right now after reading Joe Klein's article in Time (Shinseki Must Go) http://time.com/108109/shinseki-still-must-go-2/

My son is a Vet and usually gets good care so I can't complain, but he had waited for 2 years for the VA to authorize a colonoscopy and he finally paid for it himself to have the test done privately. While this is not an earth shattering neglect on the part of the VA, it is an example of something being very wrong. Young men are dying while waiting for treatment.

It is nothing short of criminal to send young men to fight a needless war and send them back repeatedly into sheer hell until their bodies and minds are broken and then refuse to help heal them. There has to be a special place in Hell for those Republican hypocrites who voted against Bernie Sanders bill.

I joined Facebook to see pictures of nieces and nephews and their doings. Don't regret doing so, but do have to sort through lots of "stuff" for the privilege. Find it interesting that 7 of 8 Memorial Day posts calling for support of our service men and women were by Republicans (obviously so by other posts they've made.) Just saying thanks and remembering them seems pretty shallow without providing the health services needed when they come home.

Well said, Ronni, and so very true!

Most Republicans seem to have no sense of shame--or responsibility. They were all too eager (rah-rah!) to send other people's kids off to fight in their wars of choice, but perish the thought that they should part with any of their wealth to care for wounded veterans now.

I abhor war, but if our "leaders" elect to pursue this utterly insane path again any time soon, then let THEIR kids share the burden. Reinstate the draft! Today's "all volunteer" military consists largely of young people from poor and working class families who probably had few other choices. The least our millionaire Congress can do is appropriate funds to care for them when they come home.

Yeah, I know. Dream on! The Republicans won't vote for anything that might improve the situation while President Obama is in office, nor will they vote for anything that hits them in the pocketbook. "Disgusted" is way too mild a word for how I feel about these do-nothing obstructionists.

Agree 100%, Ronni. My grandfather was a ww one vet. He had steel plates in his mouth from being wounded.

Excellent comments above.

Next time the warmongers pick a fight will we still fall for their propaganda? I hope not.

It's a particularly ugly bit of partisanship, considering the GOP is the party always pushing for war. But regardless, our veterans should always be a top priority for everyone. Without them we wouldn't even have the freedom to discuss the matter, much less anything else.

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