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Columbia Missourian

ROSE NOLEN: Veterans' medical needs underserved

By Rose Nolen
March 26, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Some Americans believe that we should go to war whenever anyone feels that we are threatened. They feel that the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines are standing by 24 hours a day to defend us.

I don’t like it when we have to send young men and women into harm’s way. I especially don’t like it when we don’t fulfill our promises to them when they have served. So what’s up with the Veterans Administration’s failure to keep up with the military’s list of veterans who need medical services? Why aren’t the veterans hospitals open to take care of them?

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So, the government is in heavy debt. Well, the time to think about that is before we go into wars that we can’t afford. We can’t allow our wounded children to sit round and suffer, waiting until we get the money to treat them. Most of these old congressmen who are so anxious to go to war are people who have never been there. Many of them were deferred for one reason or another.

More and more countries are getting into developing nuclear weapons. We are not going to be able to stop them. We are not the only country in the world that can determine what countries can have weapons.

Today, we are a divided country. This is not unknown to the rest of the world. If we had to go to war today, I’m not sure the country could assemble a majority. Apparently, we cannot even get our gun situation under control, much less decide to go to war.

How many of our veterans have counted more than 500 days since they have had medical attention? How many of them are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder? How many of them are killing themselves every day? And how many people are sitting in Congress pretending not to notice.

And while so many civil servants claim to dislike the president, why are the veterans being persuaded to call on him for help? Is it because he is the only person willing to help them out in their time of need? What happened to all of the big-mouths so willing to go to war?

As Americans, we really need to get ourselves together. We need to decide whether we are going to be a world power or not. At the rate we are going we are not worthy of being viewed as an authority among nations. Nowadays, all we do is sit on the stage complaining like pitiful weaklings, unable to govern ourselves much less anyone else.

At the moment, we seem to be incapable of caring for our own wounded. While we criticize every move the president makes, the Congress behaves as if it is paralyzed. As hard as times are, Congress insists on laying off people from their jobs and trying its best to recreate the recession.

It seems to me, the least the Congress can do is to see that the promises they made to our service men and women are fulfilled. They work so little. They serve only four days a week. They could at least devote that time to the veterans.

Undoubtedly, the military will be expected to act without fail when they are called on. Congresspeople should be unable to look at themselves in the mirror.

Or maybe they are.

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or emailing her at nolenrose@charter.net.