Articles in recent issues of Disabled American Veterans Magazine and American Legion Magazine report on efforts by members of Congress in favor of canceling enrollment in Veterans Affairs health care for 1.3 million veterans who fall in priority groups 7 and 8 — those who have no service-related disabilities and also are not poor, at least by prevailing government yardsticks. This action would adversely affect Iraq/Afghan veterans!
More than 2 million of our servicemen and servicewomen have served in Iraq/Afghanistan, and nearly 500,000 have already enrolled in the VA health care system. Rather than cutting back on these earned benefits, Congress should enact legislation paying for these wars now financed primarily with money borrowed from foreign countries such as China. Thus far the cost is over a trillion dollars, nearly one-tenth of our national debt, and will continue to rise for at least 60 years. By not raising additional revenue, Congress will, in effect, cut earned veterans' benefits in order to pay for the wars.
Many of the congressmen in favor of cutting the VA budget are strongly supporting the Iraq war and sending our best and finest men and women into "harm's way." They should have the fortitude to pay for wars they started or supported instead of placing additional burdens on the backs of the men and women who fought the wars. Unconscionable and unpatriotic.
Carl H. Niewoehner lives in Columbia.