I can’t imagine that there could be anyone 30 years or older in the United States who does not realize that we do not treat our veterans well. With all the publicity and hoopla created over the way Walter Reed Hospital was being operated a few months ago, some news reports suggest that even today things aren’t much better. That’s why I find it hard to understand that some parents would encourage their children to join the military. I would think all Americans should demand that the necessary money be appropriated for veteran’s benefits before they agree to send them off to war.
I am especially puzzled by the fathers who want to beat themselves on the chest and let everyone know that their sons are fighting the war. I know one father who was virtually frothing at the mouth because his second son did not receive his orders in time to join his brother on the battlefield. The fact that many of these people have never served in the military and couldn’t possibly know what goes on, is mind-boggling. Except for those who grew up in a career military family, most men who have been to war are not thrilled to have their children enlist. I suppose that the Vietnam War is considered to be too long ago for modern society to remember those horrific times. A few visits to veterans’ hospitals would fix that problem. Is there honor in serving one’s country? There certainly is, and one’s country should appreciate it and provide the necessary services to those who serve.
Still, with as much attention as is devoted to the subject of the War in Iraq, one would think that citizens would be outraged when they hear about the way veterans suffering both mental and physical injuries are being neglected. I think it is downright shameful that none of the presidential candidates have taken up the issue and are advocating for change. All the talk about supporting the troops seems ridiculous when they are being so obviously ignored.
As an anti-war person, it actually embarrasses me when I hear the pro-war types making all these patriotic speeches when they know as well I do that the veterans are in sore need of assistance. I read stories about those who have lost limbs in the war and suffer from post-traumatic stress who are unable to hold jobs and can no longer support their families. Where are all these so-called patriots in these situations, and why are they not organizing support groups and services to help these young men and women? Some families are having to appeal to their senators and representatives in Washington just to get members treated for their injuries. And do people realize that, according to The Associated Press, more than 185,000 veterans are seeking assistance for their battle scars? In the meantime, those who are supposed to be supplying this help are caught up in bureaucratic turf wars.
Too many people are not personally touched by the tragedies some families are enduring. There are great numbers of people who don’t know anyone serving in Iraq or Afghanistan or any of their families. The military draft may sound like a bad idea, but if there was at least one member of a family in your neighborhood serving in the war, and you had to face that family every day, you would have a better understanding of what these people are going through.
Well, at the rate these explosive devices are blowing off limbs, we may not have a choice in keeping the military supplied with healthy young people. Personally, I wish they would draft some of these gung-ho fathers who seem to think this is all a piece of cake. I wonder when the country will wake up and quit allowing old men and women to make wars for young men and women to fight.
In the direction our foreign policy is traveling, we won’t have a friend left on the planet. That probably means that our great-grandchildren and our great-great-grandchildren will be fighting wars their entire lives.
Such thoughts should make for sleepless nights. But then, is anyone keeping score?
You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or e-mailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.