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January 30th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Why don’t we take better care of our veterans?

ALT TEXT

The Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs report that battlefield injuries and deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan have increased significantly. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

From CNN's Jack Cafferty:

An article by the group Truthout sheds light on a true national tragedy.

The Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs report that battlefield injuries and deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan are up, way up.

According to data obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by the group Veterans for Common Sense, the number of veteran patients now stands at more than 400,000, up from 263,909 in December 2007.

Mental illness, mainly post traumatic stress disorder, is the diagnosis for 45% of them.

Lawmakers have helped some. the Dignity for Warriors Act was passed, which gives veterans up to five years of free health care for military-related conditions.

But getting adequate health care and compensation is still a problem, according to Truthout.

Bob Filner, Chairman of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee released a statement asking for veterans to be considered in the stimulus bill. It's a request that is beyond reasonable.

He said, "We can invigorate the economy by modernizing the 153 existing V-A medical facilities, repairing veterans' cemeteries, constructing new V-A hospitals, addressing the claims backlog, and investing in vocational rehabilitation for our returning combat veterans."

According to Filner, the House version of the bill includes $1-billion for veterans while the Senate allots $3.94-billion. We'll see what passes in the end.

Here’s my question to you: Why doesn’t this country do a better job of taking care of its veterans?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Sam from Fairview, Texas writes:
Jack, I am a disabled veteran and I get great care from the Veteran Administration. Some veterans don't seek help that is available to them. Others do not want to follow policy and rules to obtain help. Some don't want anyone’s help. For years the disabled veterans numbers declined because we didn't have a war. Now we have a bunch of folks coming back from Iraq with mental problems and physical ones as well. It is kind of like the squeaky wheel Jack. No one paid attention to it before and few even knew a disabled veteran except on Veterans Day. Times are changing.

Fred writes:
The Government has no money for us, the veterans, because all the tax money is going to the fat cats. We did our duty to our country we died for our country, got crippled for life for our country. We didn't mind for it was our duty. Tell us Jack, what do we get for doing our duty? We were not draft dodgers. We do not use this country. We love, love and die for it. Not for our government.

Kelli from Virginia writes:
We would rather spend millions of dollars on executive bonuses, quit smoking programs, car companies, art museums and whatever other pork project seems good at the time. Wouldn't all of that money in the stimulus package go a long way towards increasing veteran’s benefits, housing for elderly veterans, psychiatric care for soldiers returning from Iraq, and increase job placement programs. But hey, they're just veterans-D.C. has more important things to deal with. Who cares about the 93 year old WWII veteran that froze to death? Money to be made and spent on the important things in life!

Susan from Greenfield, Wisconsin writes:
My husband is a Vietnam veteran, and he says that it costs too much to take care of the veterans as far as Washington is concerned. The reason why the vast majority of our troops come from poor families is because there is no other way out of poverty for them and the power structure knows this. So the soldier is taken advantage of instead of being cared for.

John frpm Anderson, Indiana writes:
Good question. We seem to have plenty of money for bullets but no money for wheelchairs. The Limbaugh Party just likes to start wars that the poor have to fight. Bush and Cheney's lies destroyed so many lives. If either one of them had the courage to actually serve their country in time of war maybe things would be better for our heroes. What's McCain's excuse for voting against helping vets, anyway?


Filed under: Afghanistan • Iraq
soundoff (453 Responses)
  1. Joe in DE

    I guess thay don't have sufficient lobbying power.

    January 30, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  2. justin

    that is a great question i wish i had an answer for u..

    justin-greensburg pa

    January 30, 2009 at 1:49 pm |
  3. Agnes from Scottsdale, AZ

    Jack: I put veterans and children in the same catogory: we all allege to want the best for them, but all we do is deny them healthcare, and ignore their psychological needs. Veterans matter – if we don't have it in our hearts to rally for their cause, maybe we need to provide a tax credit if we make a contribution to a Veterans cause.

    January 30, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  4. gerry in toronto

    Frankly, the GOP only took care of their buds on Wall Street. Veterans and middle class America meant nothing to them.

    But change has come and Vets will see a huge difference from the Obama administration.

    January 30, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  5. John from Alabama

    Jack: Take it from a Veteran who has been waiting for VA to do the right thing for almost 2 years. The problem is to much bureacracy, slow action or reaction time, and the VA regional offices need to have their hair set on fire to speed up the process. I am an older veteran and I have a lot to draw on in life, but the Iraqi and Afghanistan veterans are young. Sometimes frustrations of these younger veterans leads to bad choices or suicide.

    John from Alabama

    January 30, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  6. John in Santa Barbara, CA

    Career veterans get good treatment. It's the veterans that are not in for twenty or thirty years that get the short end of the stick. Probably because most career veterans after they retire, go to work for the veteran's adminstration and put the screws to the non-career veterans whom they hate.

    January 30, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  7. Dave from Orlando

    The precedent was set by George Bush. Since he never fulfilled his military obligations, he has little interest in those who did – they only serve to embarrass him. So he ignores them.

    January 30, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  8. Simpliticus

    What prompted the question in the first place? Perhaps the malaise over the Walter Reed Army Hospital? Did you notice that George W. Bush never raised much of a flap over this issue even though any other president would have been mired in an embarrassing situation. Not good ol' George, though! It was despicable and unspeakable what occurred to those soldiers but again blame it on Bush who used and abused but never believed that soldiers are nothing more than to be used and discarded! This has been all too obvious! Iraq and so forth, what else is new about Bush?

    January 30, 2009 at 1:55 pm |
  9. Katiec Pekin, IL

    Silly question, Jack, as we all know how they have been mistreated and ignored these last eight years. That powerful veto did alot of
    damage to our country and to many who least deserved it's outcome.

    January 30, 2009 at 1:55 pm |
  10. Joe Kovac, Clinton Ma.

    As good our leadership is at sending troops into harms way. They have never been able to deal with the aftermath. Training has got to be better. Our troops have to be multitaskers when it comes to conlict and without the proper training in this field our leadership will continue to turn the other way.

    January 30, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  11. Stacy from Fairfax, VA

    While we do better now then we did after Viet Nam, there is still so much more we should do. It comes down to the fact that so few Americans have served or are serving in the military, so it is not a priority for most Americans.
    Americans need to remember that they have all their freedoms because our veterans risk their lives to serve our country.

    January 30, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  12. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    Good question Jack.......sometimes I think its guilt. We feel guilty when we see people that have sacrificed so much, when most of us have sacrificed so little......easier to pretend they don't exist than face the reality of how much they may need our help. I served during the Viet Nam War, but never saw combat......I sometimes feel guilt when I think of the sacrifice many of my fellow Marines made during that conflict compared to the realative ease I had in my assignment.

    January 30, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  13. Jan Lancaster, PA

    Think it is alot about out of sight, out of mind. The Republican view on smaller government is a euphemism for lazy, do not want to be bothered, government. It is also a really sad statement about all of us. One of many things our new President is right about is that we all have to become more involved with our communities and take care of those who have so selflessly taken care of us.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  14. Beth, MA

    Troops coming back from Iraq are returning with injuries that would have killed them in previous wars. Battlefield medical care is outstanding but there is nothing in place for them when they return home. President Bush believed out of sight, out of mind was the best way to protect his reputation so he honored neither the living nor the dead.

    What is truly sad is the status of those whose wounds aren't visible. Society has not yet evolved to understand mental illness, an old-fashioned term for post-traumatic stress disorder. A country that cares would ensure that immediately upon return to the US, counseling would be mandatory for soldiers and family members. Most importantly, the military would be required to change the culture that views psychological damage as a sign of weakness. It is an absurdity that careers in the service would be derailed if a soldier sought help for his mental health.

    The last "honorable " war was Korea which was really the last phase of WWII. Veterans of Vietnam were blamed for the war. The same problems that surfaced there, a faceless enemy who melts into the crowds, bombs being detonated by women and children, are the same as those faced by soldiers in Iraq. The American people have an obligation to take time from waving flags and use it to write letters to representatives in Congress and to news media demanding that the conditions facing veterans are public and honest.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  15. veronica

    I think that those people have contributed a lot to the country and as such they should be taken care of. the country can do more.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  16. Anthony Smith

    Its indicative of the ME generation. What have you done for me lately? The government uses the rhetoric of supporting the troops means you are American, if you don't, you are not. Meanwhile, these men and women are coming home without limbs, facing divorce, financial problems, and psychological problems. It is a disgrace that people like George Bush send them off to war so they can come home to empty houses or even commit suicide, yet he is relaxing on his farm in Texas. It makes me sick!

    Wildwood Crest, NJ

    January 30, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  17. Gina in Racine, Wi

    Because sadly enough, unless you have a loved one serving or is a veteran.....it just isn't important.

    The only time I really here "taking care of our Veterans" being discussed......is during an election.

    That is so sad.

    These men and women have put their life on the line for our Country.....and we treat them like cast offs.

    We should be ashamed of ourselves.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  18. Ralph in Orange Park, FL

    Since the draft ended almost 36 years ago, the military has gotten a lot smaller and the concept of military service has changed from being a moral obligation to being an occupational choice. Military veterans have become a much smaller percentage of the general population and a minority of the people in Congress. As has been pointed out, the military was at war but (until recently) the country was at the mall. For most Americans, veterans are out of sight and out of mind.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  19. odessa

    because this country have a two party system and not thinking about the veterans' needs..veterans are serving our country everyday and they want to be helped when they come back overseas..taxpayers are paying their services and somewhow they aren't being treated..that is no excuse for any veteran or any citizen to suffer without having healthcare or lack of service for our country..republicans are thinking about national security while democrats aren't sticking up for their guns on veterans' issues..it's time for both parties to get their act together and start thinking about our veterans as well citizens' needs now..i hope that anyone re-think about signing up miliarty service and know all the information before serving our country...i hate for anyone to get screwed..

    January 30, 2009 at 2:06 pm |
  20. Robert in Galveston

    Its the old story, Love the folks that do your fighting, but ignore them when they come home. This country hasn't treated the vets right since World War 2. Proudly I served!

    January 30, 2009 at 2:06 pm |
  21. don in naples, florida

    there's no money. On a list of priority spending, taking care of people is not in the u.s. agenda. Welfare programs are shrinking, and even that 100 percent fail-proof program of social security is going to be extinguished. Our past has demonstrated that social programs become a grab bag for the greedy anyway. So, here we are having to eliminate all programs, shifting to a more every man for himself society– And may the most deceitful, underhanded "man" win.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:10 pm |
  22. Mark in OKC

    Simple, Jack. Being a soldier is not looked upon as a respectful career choice. And lately, the world along with a lot of Americans have denounced whatever actions our soldiers are taking around the world. Only when an American soldier is the only thing standing between a citizen's front door and an invading army will our society as a whole respect our veterens.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:10 pm |
  23. Logic Reigns

    I believe that in our effort as a country to "open our door" to the hurting immigrants and refugees from other countries that we have caused the inevitable "watering down" of our own patriotism and ideals that helped found our great nation. Hence, foreigners living on our shore as Americans now don't have the same respect for the military as natural born Americans, since in their respective countries the military was oftentimes led by men like Saddam Hussein. It is no wonder that they don't recognize our veterans as deserving of our loyalty and honor.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  24. Jerry; Alpharetta, GA

    There is a tremondous respect for those who have so loyally served our country and I believe there is a genune desire to see them treated in a manner befitting their demonstrated commitment to America. The issue I see is that most average citizens are disconnected from the issues facing our servicemen and women. We have a sense that the government is taking cae of their needs when in fact it is not. Americans need to get more information regarding the condition of our veterans and how they are being treated. The government did not take care of Walter Reed Hospital until it became a media event. We need more of this kind of reporting we need to be confronted with the issues, then things will happen.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  25. Sandy

    Because we are a disposable society...use them up and throw it (them) away! It is deplorable. Many, many physicians (most) in our area don't even accept TRI-CARE Prime which is active duty insurance. It is o.k. for servicemen and women to go fight and possibly die for all of us, and yet they and their family can't even get physicians and hospitals to accept their insurance. Utterly unbelievable and sickening!

    Sandy
    Texarkana, AR

    January 30, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  26. Teresa, OH

    I can answer that question with another question:

    why doesnt this country give a damn about anybody but ourselves?
    Yes, I'm including me.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  27. Kent, Illinois

    Because these days they are reminders of things we should not have done, wars we should not have been in, and lives that should not have been lost. We recruit the bottom of the barrel and the dispensible. When they come home we hide them away and put them in hospitals that are falling apart. Rich people continue to dodge the service, go to law school and get elected to public office. The circle contiues...........

    January 30, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  28. Kelli, Virginia

    Well duh!! So simple. We would rather spend millions of dollars on
    executive bonuses, quit smoking programs, car companies, art museums and whatever other pork project seems good at the time. Wouldn't all of that money in the stimulus package go a long way towards increasing veterans benefits, housing for elderly veterans, psychiatric care for soldiers returning from Iraq, and increase job placement programs. I'm not saying that stimulus money should be used for this purpose-but I'm sure you get my point. But hey, they're just veterans-D.C. has more important things to deal with. Who cares about the 93 year old WWII veteran that froze to death. Money to be made and spent on the important things in life!

    January 30, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  29. Sue -Idaho

    Jack that's something I've been asking for many years, my Dad, who passed away in 1980 fought at the Battle of the Bulge as well as many other battles, he lost one lung and was wounded in the other, upon returning home the VA told him if he didn't agree to have his only lung removed and live in an iron lung they would discontinue benefits. He told them what they could do and never paid another dime in Taxes after that, simply went to the hills to ranch until he died. Some payback for his valient service. Looks like things haven't changed any from the looks of the Iraq and Afghanistan vets coming home.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  30. Karen, Idaho

    Hi Jack,

    We don't take better care of our veterans because our politicians don't feel the need to do so. They provide for them while the serve and die for our country, but when they come home they are on their own. These brave people should be FIRST to receive help because they are FIRST to defend this country. We should all be ashamed of the deplorable way they are treated.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  31. Billy G in Las Vegas

    because the "RepubliCAN'Ts", for all their "we support the troops" talk, never properly funded the VA when they were in power going back to the days of Ronald Reagan. for them it was more important to give tax cuts to their ultra rich base.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  32. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: As a veteran, I wish I had the answer. To those who gave most--–and to some who gave all-we deserve better. However what we deserve and what we get--two horses of a different color. When you find the answer-–please let know--if there is an answer.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  33. Ed Hart

    I'm a 27 year Air Force Reserve veteren who was recently diagonised with terminal cancer, I was force out of the Reserves for medical condition. Why I applied for V.A. benfits I was denied due to our family household income exceeds $80,000 which congress passed five years or so. However, the recent stimulus packaged allows those who are unemployment get medicaid regards of there income or assets. Where is the fairness??

    January 30, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  34. Pablo en Tejas

    Jack
    because it isn't sexy, because it doesn't line anybody's pockets, and because we like to forget the unpleasant consequences of our poor decisions as soon as possible. Any serviceman, vet, and/or his or her dependents should get ALL their medical needs taken care of at absolutely ZERO COST from any medical facility, doctor or pharmacy anywhere in the US. We owe it to them. PERIOD.
    Pablo
    Arlington, Texas

    January 30, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  35. Matt

    Jack, the reason is obvious. The Republicans sent the troops into battle. They believe "fiscally conservative" means cutting taxes and slashing federal spending, so they did cut taxes, and slashed funding for programs like vertern affairs, even though they supported the military action of our former commander-in-chief.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  36. Maurice Carrigan

    how can you take care of these wonderful people who give their all for this country, and get nothing in returm because the idoits in Washington don't care and are more interested in filling threir pockets.

    I sugest that a ceiling berput on any butt hole that is in elective office to a salary of $100,000.00 per year. If they spend own money for pork, they get ejected fro office with no pension.,

    January 30, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  37. Roger from Espanola, New Mexico

    Maybe we will start with this administration. Lets hope so. It is disgraceful that we turn our back not only on veterans who have sacrificed so much, but all citizens who are in need of medical care and are denied such because of MONEY MONEY MONEY!

    January 30, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  38. Terry from North Carolina

    Jack
    We have never taken care of our veterans. We put them in harms way then when they return home we kick them on the side.Take a ride down to the Lincoln Tunnel or Penn Station and look around at the homeless, how many are Veterans? Take a tour if you can get in through a VA hospital. Every one should watch the movie " Born on the Fourth of July "

    January 30, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  39. Nancy from Richmond, Indiana

    Probably because we are taking good care of our CEO's!

    January 30, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  40. Gigi

    Because we live in a "me society" and don't care unless it lands in our back yard. It only takes 5+% to ruin America.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  41. Deric L. Everett

    The jobs we veterans have done is extremely important to our country and our way of life. Unfortunately, out of sight is out of the memory of a majority of our citizens. The military is seen as a big money item in our budget and not as the hard working volunteers that serve. Thus, the individual veteran is mostly forgotten by civilians and only remembered by their peers.

    Decatur, Tennessee

    January 30, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  42. John, Fort Collins, CO

    As we were told during Army infantry training in 1967: "You will have two opportunities to die for your country. The first is on the battle field and the second is if you end up in a VA hospital. So listen up, and pay attention. There are only two kinds of soldiers - the quick and the dead". Unfortunately, the drill instructor was correct.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  43. Judy, Exeter, Calif,

    I don't know, but it is shameful.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  44. jeff

    ask bush and cheny that question im so glad there gone

    January 30, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  45. Steve of Hohenwald TN.

    Because, the bush gang had screwed up priorities. When he passed out all the goodies for the important stuff, there was none left for such foolishness.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  46. Richard, Syracuse, NY

    As a Disabled Vet I can say the People who try to help Vets at the Local VA are great. But Veterans are treated like tissue paper, once used for the purpose intended we were just tossed away and ignored.

    This is no way to treat anyone, especially someone who put thier life on the line for the US.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  47. Joe in New Brighton, PA

    We dd not take care of our vets because the country has developed a "What can you do for me NOW" way of thinking our vets are no longer performing so the country does not care about them anymore. I hope this changes.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  48. Ken in Seattle

    There is absolutely no excuse for some of the treatment our troops must endure at the hands of the country they protect. The men and women in the military were nothing but cannon fodder to the Bush Administration. They didn't care that our troops going into battle were too few in number, poorly equipped and lacking in care once they got back as long as their friends made billions. And too many of the military brass are more interested in padding the pocketbooks of their future employers in the military industrial complex than truly caring about those they are supposed to be responsible for. It is also shocking that the Republicans, who too often portray themselves as the only true patriots, did absolutely nothing when they controlled congress and the White House. Let's hope that under the Obama Administration the military gets the care and respect they deserve and that has been lacking the last eight years.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  49. Deb I , Nauvoo, IL

    Because while war is a big money maker for some, what it does to human beings is horrible. Those who make the money don't want to have to use it to pay for the care of the wounded when they return from war. Remember what the warmonger George Bush tried to do his first weeks in office–close the veterans hospitals. Republicans just want their money they never care about what damage they cause those who fight their illegal and immoral wars. PS my late husband got malaria in Viet Nam and died of the damage it caused his heart. War casualities keep on coming long after the war is forgotten. Republicans would like us to honor the damned wars and forget that the veterans who survive will need services the rest of their lives.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  50. Joanne Buck

    Because of the quality and character of most of our Politicians who only think of "self" Jack.
    Joanne B
    Minnesota

    January 30, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  51. NANCY , Grand Ledge MI

    Why don't we also do a better job of taking care of our poor and our elderly? The veterans deserve the best that we can provide , instead they are cheated out of what they have earned if anyone can find a way to cheat them. All to save a little money. No one questions the money spent on the latest and greatest technology, planes or other equipment, but they consider our troops expendable. Money rules and human beings are treated as if they're insignificant. No one is lobbying for them!

    January 30, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  52. Charlie in Belen, New Mexico

    One major reason is the bureaucracy that is more concerned with their government careers than in doing the job. A second reason is the fact that many consider veterans to be second class citizens. I remember when a nurse at a Massachusetts VA hospital was on trial for killing four patients. Durning a Boston area business meeting I overheard one corporate executive comment "It's not like they were anyone importain...."
    USMC 1961 – 1967
    MOS = 0311

    January 30, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  53. pete in ny

    Jack
    There are a couple of ideas.

    We need to look at current issues- what types of wounds do we need to deal with now and not those from 1945. How must services be changed.

    Veterans care may be a look ahead at what universal, government run healthcare would be like. The system doesn't necessarily suffer from positive intentions of evil but rather it fails thru inertia and inflexibility. In the attempts to avoid fraud, waste and abuse or to promote standardization the system creates a bureaucratic nightmare which stifles initiative and generates paperwork. My daughter did a resident's rotation in a VA facility and her takeaway was the overwhelming burden of the paperwork-much of it unrelated to patient care.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:33 pm |
  54. Keith - Cleveland

    This has been going on for years... One way is for the President to not allow pictures of coffins coming home from war...

    The Navajo Wind Talkers (who saved our butts in the Pacific) were only recognized some 50 years after the war.. (Save our country, now get back on your reservation...)

    It's the same old stuff, Jack.. Out of sight, out of mind.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  55. marlene

    This question has been asked for at least the 40 years that I have been able to vote. For soldiers, once they've become non-active, for whatever reason, the nation forgets about their health care. Presidents, Congress and the Veteran Affairs department relegate them to second citizenship status. Maybe the era of cell-phone cameras, i-reports, etc. will enable their care to get the dollars that will grease the squeaky wheel. Marlene from Mich.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  56. Fred R Deleon

    The Government has no money for us the veterans because all the tax money is going to the Fat Cats. We did our duty to our Country we died for our Country. Got criple for life for our Country. We didn't mind for it was our DUTY. Tell us Jack. What do we get for doing our DUTY.
    We were not draft dodgers. We do NOT use this Country. WE LOVE, LIVE AND DIE FOR IT. Not for our government.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  57. Rolman SC

    Because we are a spent and used commodity. No longer fit or able to serve. The people who have responsibility for our care are desensitized and indifferent bureaucrats who see veterns benefits as welfare, rather than a social contract earned with sacrifice and suffering.

    Viet Nam Vet
    greenville, sc

    January 30, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  58. George from Pa.

    Your Question should not be the country but should be.Why doesn't the Elected Officals in Congress and the President of ths great country take better careof us Veterans.All they do is take away the benifits that they promised us when we entered the service.Please don't blame the whole country for it.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  59. Jeff in Glen Carbon IL

    Could it be because the Secretary of Defense is never career military? Don't get me wrong, I like it that way, however, there should be a litmus test for the confirmation process so that we and the Congress know that we are getting someone who truly appreciates the sacrifices made by our servicemembers. That would include acknowledging "in theater" benefits needed when someone has PTSD. It is obviously not phony when the suicide rate of servicemembers is as high as it is.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  60. Conor in Chicago

    Probably because we have FAR TOO MANY to take care of. I mean you want to talk about a warrior nation: Of veterans living today there is the possibility that they fought in either WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, various South American countries liked to the "War on Drugs", Panama, Iraq 1, Somalia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq 2, and covert operations worldwide for which our special ops soldiers are qualified to receive benefits if they saw enough combat. Seriously. Since the end of WWII this country has never went more than a decade without deploying offensive forces to a combat zone (1953-1962 being the longest drought I can think of). We will be able to better care for our veterans when there aren't so damn many of them.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  61. Anne/Seattle

    There is a moral void in the nation when it comes to facing the costs in human loss, pain and rehabilitation as an outcome of war. If we saw it as war as a moral question, there would be greater interest and outrage when a president takes us into war. As it is, let us hope that General Shinseki will shoulder the moral courage it'll take to get the dollars and involvement necessary to provide our veteran women and men with all that they need as they return home. At the same time, a public outcry against the Bush and Cheney war crimes will remind the nation that going to war is a national endeavor not that of one man declaring it. And it could stir our moral outrage at ignoring the needs of those who were drug into that war.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  62. Debbie in Warrenton, OR

    Jack, this is a long answer. First of all, I use to work for the VA Health System and the care given to veterans was the best I have seen ( I have worked as a nurse in both the public and private sectors). They have led the way in areas of rehabilitation, psychology, and electronic medical records. Unfortunately, you have to really know the system to access it when needed and it has limited resources. Care is prioritized by the degree someone has a service connected condition. To prove, a condition iis service connected you have to get in the system, to get in the system you have to have a service connected condition, a real double bind. I think the access mechanisms need to be improved so we can provide better care.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  63. Jackie in Dallas

    Ohhh, this is a can of worms for me! One of the primary reasons (other than his selection of Palin for VP) that I did NOT vote for McCain was that he has consistently voted AGAINST any bills to improve care or fund benefits for U.S. military veterans. Of course, when you are married to a very wealthy woman, and have never wanted for the basics, I guess it is hard to understand the millions not walking in your $500 shoes!

    All too many of our Congress have not served, and most have come from affluent enough backgrounds that they haven't really known what hunger, illness, and fear facing our military, and don't seem to be at all concerned with our veterans. They don't seem to have a problem with funding more troops deployed, more civilian contractors, more weapons, more tanks, more ships, but funding has consistently been cut for improving VA hospitals, while the Iraqi and Afghani wars has at least doubled the number of people seeking help. One of the least funded areas is that of dealing with Post Tramatic Stress Syndrome, which paralyzes quite a few of our vets.

    I'm a Vietnam-era veteran myself. All those flag-waving "patriots" who banged the "war" drum with great alacrity, and sent thousands off to war, have shown an alarming tendency to become fiscal conservatives when it means giving those same military members who paid dearly with their lives or injuries even minimal health care. And that's not to mention family assistance, educational assistance, or even decent pay while they are active duty! It is shameful, and crosses the boundaries into both parties.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  64. Ann from Hampton, New Jersey

    We can thank Congress for that. Instead of being concerned about their "perks", they should watch out for the men and women who keep this country safe. Give them the mental health they desperately need and better conditions for them to be rehabilitated in. Unfortunately, we always seem to take care of everyone else, but not own.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  65. MARCUS123 Flanders

    Because our great leaders in washington have not figured out how to profit from helping the veterans;maybe if the military could unionize ,they could have pacs giving money to our elected elite to help them.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  66. George, Dunedin, Florida

    This problem is not a new problem, but it does need to be addressed as soon as possible. Does anyone really think that the polititians really care about anyone but themselves, and their close connections? This is shameful for this to be happening to our veterans, but remember this is also a country that has many homeless, and hungry people on the streets of our nation. If they can hire companies like Halliburton, or Blackwater, and spend all of the taxpayers money rebuilding what they have just blasted away, Wouldn't it make more sense to spend that money right here in the U.S., and take care of our problems here first? Oh, those close connection again ! HINT,HINT !!

    January 30, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  67. Greg in Cabot Arkansas

    America has become a society of consumers who rely more and more on disposable products. Everything from cigarette lighters and soft drink containers to baby diapers are being advertised as disposable. I guess it was a matter of time until veterans share the same status since it seems easier and cheaper to recruit and train the new than take care of the used.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  68. Moe from south GA

    My guess? Because most don't have the politcal or financial clout to influence Washington.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  69. Jake, Carrolltown Pennsylvania

    Jack,
    Most peoples notion of "supporting our troops" is putting bumper stickers on there cars that say so. When is the last time you saw anyone marching, demanding better care of our vets? People simply don't care, or this wouldn't even be an issue.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  70. EVVJSK

    Many in the Government have already gotten what they need from Veterans (their time in the service), so as a result, some in Government don't feel they deserve anything else. Bush's service during Vietnam was a picnic(Texas Air National Guard ), as a result he thinks it was a "Walk in the Park" for other veterans and they have rich Dad's to go home to just like he did.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  71. Kellie, PA

    Our veterans have been invisible to us for so long. Part of the Bush legacy was to muzzle soldiers so we couldn't hear them and refuse the media to film images of fallen soldiers being brought back into the country so we couldn't see them. Others return to our soil broken and battered, given meager care and resources. As civilians we have forgotten about them when we should have been raising hell about the way we've allowed our government to treat our soldiers. Shame on us for sitting in silence as many of them suffered while we went shopping.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  72. HD Taylor - Arizona

    Because many of the self serving red necked politicians who always want war view soldiers as being expendable. They have an attitude that it is your patriotic duty to jump off of their greed based roof tops in other countries as long as it someone else's children who have to do the fighting. Unfortunately, the idiot voters who put people like this in office are no better as these are usually people who mix religion with nationalism and political ideology. President Bush, his cabinet and all the right wing GOP extremists in congress represent a sociopathic minority of people who think that it is OK for the President to do anything they want with the US military. These are the kind of people who hide behind the misused statement that “the military serves at the pleasure of the President”, regardless of how illegal or unconstitutional that President uses the military. These people view soldiers as expendable when they go in to war and that attitude stays in place if the soldier makes it home.

    HD in Phoenix, AZ

    January 30, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  73. Annie, Atlanta

    Because our representatives have more pressing matters on their little minds, like a $4,700 raise. Caring for our brave men and women in uninform is apparentlly not a priority. Congress is a disgrace. They should give their last five raises back directly to the VA, who in turn needs someone who actually gives a damn to oversee them.

    January 30, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  74. Jack - Lancaster, OH

    Jack:

    First, we cannot do too much for our Veterans. I help with a Vet of the Korean war with trips to local VA hospitals. I can say that I feel he receives excellent care on the whole. In fairness they almost killed him once with a systemic infection caused by a contaminated catheter, but his subsequent care and ultimate recovery was achieved.
    After the national scandal of building conditions et., the local care improved within a few weeks. I would like to see the private sector turn their act around as fast. Thanks VA and all your people.

    Jack

    January 30, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  75. Ray in Nashville

    Because we live in a disposable world. Everything we use is disposable, and the higher up in society we get, the bigger the things that we throw away. When you reach the 'fat cats' that rule this country, the refuse is people, whether it be our veterans or our sick, old, poor and, increasingly, our middle class.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  76. Kevin, Chester Springs PA

    Because once the war is over, it's out of sight and out of mind. And there's apparently very little political capital in taking care of our veterans. It is truly a national disgrace that we send our young men and women in harm's way and then they are treated like second-class citizens when they return home, and don't get the medical treatment and support they need.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:02 pm |
  77. John in Atlanta, GA

    Army vet here, Jack. The feeling that most of us Vets have, is that we served our country as an act of Patriotism. I watched good men and women serve and get injured and die for our country. A hand out is never what we wanted. A hand up is what we needed. I know Vets now who are mentally destroyed, homeless, families lost due to assignments and extended tours, penniless because they never received financial planning courses, uneducated because they did not have time to attend school while serving, and basically feeling rejected by all around. You see and hear the handclapping in the airports, and the warm welcome from the USO and other support organizations, but truly these warriors would like a job, 100% paid education to a state institution beyond the 10 year limit that the VA offers, better medical care, mental care, and the promise of freedom after having fought for it. This applies to both the GOP and the Democrats. No more lip service. Just fix it. All the things I described above, I lived. I gave up 12 years of my life for this country and have been foreclosed on, beaten down by taxes, laid off from my job, and frankly, was about to lose my mind. I work now, but I will never realize the dream that all American's deserve, but only a few defended.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:02 pm |
  78. Randy from Salt Lake City

    Easy one, Jack. Most veterens aren't filty rich or control filty rich corporations and therefore don't count in the eyes of our corporate bought lawmakers. To them and their corporate and bankster buddies, soldiers and verterens are just desposable tools to be used to advance a corporation's bottom line through purchasing crummy military equipment or by killing and destrying other nations to take their resources.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:02 pm |
  79. Gina in Racine, Wi

    I just want to add......Any Veterans reading Jack's blog.....Thank you for your service to our Country.

    To everyone else out there.....if you meet a Veteran....please thank him or her for their service....

    and lets make how we treat our Veterans a priority....not just a talking point in an election.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:02 pm |
  80. Michael and Diane Phoenix AZ

    Jack,
    With Senators like John McCain...that's why. How many times did he vote against veterans benefits....8 or 9 times! But then again McCain can afford to not have to rely on veterans benefits.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  81. Lynn, Boise, ID

    What do you mean "better care"? There are still a whole lot of Vietnam and Desert Storm veterans who get NO care. It will more of the same for the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. We've become a nation that think words speak louder than actions. People just pretend to care about veterans because it's the "in thing" to do. It's both sickening and sad.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  82. Lee in TN

    Maybe it is because we have become a society where I get what I can out of you, then you are on your own.?

    January 30, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  83. Paul S. Columbia, SC

    In Washington; it's "me first" and, by the way, who the hell are you?

    January 30, 2009 at 3:06 pm |
  84. Roy - Chicago IL

    A side-effect of the media telling us we are 'winning' every war is that we rarely get the coverage of the negative aspects of it to the people we send to those conflicts. Perhaps this is a consequence of not having a war on our own territory since the Civil War. Veterans fight 'over there' and are removed from our everyday life here. News agencies in the U.S. are limited in the coverage they can provide of our conflicts. We see glorified 'Band of Brothers' war coverage that is not reality.
    The Armed Forces have a mentality of toughness, but to a fault. Veterans with issues are regarded as 'weak', and the branches of the Armed Forces then systematically deny events, then responsibility, then compensation to those affected by their service. For all the money this country spends on 'defense', so little of it goes to the well being of the veterans both in the forces, and after they get out. Benefits for veterans should be made public, examined, and then revamped by CIVILIAN personnel to give these people what thety deserve for serving the country. Some benefits are ok, but as noted in this blog, others fall FAR short.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  85. Jack Martin

    Jack

    More than fifty years ago I heard an officer say "Nothing is to good for the men". So that is exactly what they get...nothing.

    Jack in Boynton Beach

    January 30, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  86. Sam Fairview, Texas

    Jack I am a disabled veteran and I get great care from the Veteran Administration. Some veterans don't seek help that is available to them. Others do not want to follow policy and rules to obtain help.
    Some don't want anyones help.
    For years the disabled veterans numbers declined because we didn't have a war. Now we have a bunch of folks coming back from Iraq qith mental problems and physical ones as well. It is kind of like the squeeky wheel Jack. No one paid attention to it before and few even knew a disabled veteran except on veterans day. Times are changing.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  87. John Hulse

    Good question. We seem to have plenty of money for bullets but no money for wheelchairs. The Limbaugh Party just likes to start wars that the poor have to fight. Bush and Cheney's lies destroyed so many lives. If either one of them had the courage to actually serve their country in time of war maybe things would be better for our heroes. What's McCain's excuse for voting against helping vets, anyway?

    John
    Anderson, Indiana

    January 30, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  88. Hubert Bertrand

    Money, They lie, cheat, steal, and make faults promisese, For (MONEY) what else

    January 30, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  89. Jerry

    Because those who are willing to GIVE it all are at the mercy of those who WANT it all without giving. Freedom and safety are not free – someone has to pay and sometimes they pay the ultimate price. They fight for us and then have to fight us (U.S.) for the benefits they earned. So wrong!!

    Jerry
    Arkansas

    January 30, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  90. Richard Sternagel

    American Government talks Patriotism whenever it wants to have our young men and women serve to support a war legitimate or otherwise. However, when they return home injured or if they've been killed they and/or their families are forgotten because our country still insists on waging an endless war and the reason is lack of funds! I say baloney! Our veterans and their families deserve better than this.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  91. Paul

    Jack,
    The same way we send them out to fight wrong war, it is the same way we are not prepared to take care of our braves. When they come home, we let them sleep under the bridges, we don't give them access to healthcare, we don't help their love ones and we are claiming that we are patriotic! We military is used to promote one political party, it is nothing than recipe for disaster.

    Chantilly, Virginia

    January 30, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  92. Hubert Bertrand

    Vets, teachers, fire fighters, Police Dept, all get the shaff because congress are slimes and crooks. They are good at making faults promoses to get what they want then the _____ with you. This have always been and always will be.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  93. Pete from Atlantic Highlands, NJ

    Taking better care of them would mean increased government spending and bigger government. That would be fiscally irresponsible! It doesn't matter that the veterans got that way defending the politicians' ability to abuse them.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  94. D. Texas

    a very good question

    January 30, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  95. Maria

    Because Veterans are regarded the same way as used / waste weaponry.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  96. Michael and Diane Phoenix AZ

    Jack,
    With Senators like John McCain, that's why. How many times did he vote against veterans benefits since he has been in office....everytime! But then again, he does NOT have to rely on veterans benefits. Diane and I are both Vietnam Vets, Diane did 2 tours over there in the Army Medical Corp by the way.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  97. Chuck Jones.........OHIO

    Why don't we, as a country take better care of our veterans? HEY!,...look at the figures........THEY (unlike the CEO's) are doing a great job! I think it's just a case of "MIND OVER MATTER!....the government doesn't mind......and the veterans no longer matter!
    How TRAGICALLY WRONG!
    Chuck OHIO

    January 30, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  98. Marie Ontario

    There isn't any glory in providing better assistance to military veterans like there is giving millions to other countries for so many different causes.

    This situation isn't unique to the U.S. as we treat our veterans as poorly as America as it seems both countries are more interested in funding the develop or acquisition of things that kill and mame instead of helping those who have been used to do the fighting.

    Besides people are replaceable a lot easier and cheaper than equipment and arms.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  99. Alan-Buxton, Maine

    I am a veteran and get fantastic care. Of course I am a veteran from the fifties when we were actually taken care of. The Bush administration had no respect for anyone and least of all for the men and women they sent to get killed and maimed in their senseless wars. They suffered from the greatest disconnect from reality that I have ever witnessed and the veterans are paying the cost for their folly.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  100. brenda

    You know the old adage...out of sight and out of mind. Somehow the image of an able-bodied young man or woman marching off to war isn't as attractive as the sick and injured who return. I don't believe that the majority of American public is aware of the condition of the health system for veterans or the goat-rope that they sometimes are forced to endure to get the care that they earned.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  101. BRUCE, ST PAUL, MN

    If there was a tremendous profit to be made from treating them well, it would happen. John Edwards may have disgraced himself, but he was right about the two Americas. Veterans live in that America where we are exploited and then ignored. Most people in the top levels of government only see that America through the dark tint of their limosine windows at forty miles an hour.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  102. Stephen H Smith

    Mainstream media should look in the mirror for the answer. Television news media including CNN has reduced itself to news on the cheap in search of ratings, to becoming profit centers instead news desks. Covering stories like the lack of care provided our veterans requires commitment on the part of the new organization. Walter, Eric and the television journalists of their time have left the building.

    Fredericksburg, VA

    January 30, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  103. BILL

    Hey Jack rather than just asking a question, why don't you and CNN do an apolitical investigation on veterans health care. Veterans health care should not be used as a sound byte or photo op for your own agenda. Both parties in this country do that enough with the result that the status quo remains unchanged. Thats really the problem that needs to change.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  104. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Our deceased and alive veterans are honored once a year and that's on Veterans Day. It's the only day veterans are recognized by our country which is not enough to raise awareness to do more for our veterans.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  105. Michael, Liverpool, NY

    That is a great question and I really do not have a good answer other than to say that we have too many selfish people who do not care about anyone but themselves so in the end our veterans, others with disabilities, and the elderly get the bad end of the stick . We shoudl be doing a much better job of taking care of our veterans.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  106. Bob D, Morristown, NJ

    Its the hypocrisy of the Republican Party that's responsible. They send our brave troops into harms way under false pretenses, and then when they inevitably get injured (from all the flowers that tossed at them from grateful Iraqis) they are abandoned.

    The Republican's will spend many hundreds of billions to take and mutilate innocent lives, but nothing to ameliorate the suffering of our brave youth who have done their bidding.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  107. Karen in CA

    Because without a draft, the agonies of veterans are not in our face every day forcing us to feel so sick at what they go through that we'll pressure our legislators. Without a draft, Bush was able to stop TV coverage of returning American coffins. Without a draft, soldiers rarely come from the districts of the most powerful members of congress. As with most issues, it's an 'out of sight, out of mind' sort of thing, and Americans like to ignore pain.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  108. Dan, Chantilly VA

    There's no money to be made in doing it.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  109. Mike, Syracuse NY

    If we required that every member of Congress and the President be a veteran, we would take better care of them. It also doesn't help that many of the liberals who spit on returning Vietnam vets are now the ones in power.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  110. Deb Schmidt

    Jack: That's what I'd like to know!

    January 30, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  111. Griff

    Maybe they should get involved with each Other.. Teamwork Helps.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  112. frankie

    Because our country and it's infrastructure and its governmental agencies have been subject to years of gross neglect, and because our medical system, like all of our systems, is being run for profit above any other consideration, even our troops. Can we change this? Yes we can!

    January 30, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  113. Carl d. in Illinois

    Jack,
    Our government doesn't take good care of our Veterans simply because they are to busy taking care of themselves. In my opion, to find an honest politician is truly the exception to the rule. The politician of today doesn't serve the people, they serve themselves.
    Carl in Illinois

    January 30, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  114. Karen - Missouri

    Because Bush and the Republicans only care about Wall Street fat cats...everyone else got left behind.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  115. Frost

    just like everything else

    used and abused.. by goverment

    January 30, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  116. David

    Jack,
    Like that old saying, what have you done for me lately. I'm a VET and that one of the reason I voted for Obama because I think he will at least try to find a solution.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  117. Richard Green

    Simple, Jack. The Republicans fought against fully funding the VA every time it came up for a vote while Bush was in control. Both Bush and McCain fought against the new GI bill that was finally passed by the Dems. Our vets haven't been better taken care of because the fake patriots in charge didn't want to spend what it would take to care for them. Under the new administration their lot will improve.

    Rich Green
    San Clemente, Cal.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  118. Melissa from New Orleans

    Honestly? Canada is looking more appealing by the day.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  119. Melissa from New Orleans

    Because Americans have this insane notion that ANYTHING involving "taking care of so-and-so" is automatically socialism. I honestly don't know how this country can function without imploding.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  120. Mike - Hot Springs, Arkansas

    We as a country do not care about the veterans. Even though back in the Vietnam area I was strongly against the war and am also against the war in Iraq, I am in favor of taking care of our vets. Those so called patriots who are anxious to get us into war seem to forget about the guys once they are back – Bush is a strong example. He should be out there doing everything he could to take care of the vets but he is doing next nothing. Dear old Rush should quit making stupid statements about the President and be working to aid the vets. Where are the loudmouths when it comes to this issue.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  121. Nelson, Somerdale, NJ

    I can only guess that we don't want to spend the money and just want them to fade away. It has not been fashionable to spend money on our infrastructure, and that includes our veterans. During WWII, my mother ran away from home, lied about her age, and joined the Womens Army Corp. She came out a Corporal, and was active in WAC Veterans organizations for the rest of her life, even serving as their National Hospital Chairman for a number of years. The neglect of our veterans is nothing new.

    While we are throwing piles of money around to fix our economy, Wall Street, and roads, let's throw some to fix our veterans. They should be getting free health care in return for their service. Make them tax exempt too. You should ask this question to the people that voted against veterans benefits. Have them tell us why we are so cheap.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  122. Susan from Greenfield, Wi.

    My husband is a Vietnam veteran, and he says that it costs to much to take care of the veterans as far as Washington is concerned. The reason why the vast majority of our troops come from poor family's is because there is no other way out of poverty for them, and the power structure knows this. So the soldier is taken advantage of, instead of being cared for.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  123. D - Atlanta, GA

    We are a throw-away society. We don't like to be reminded of our imperfections and/or mistakes. It is far easier to ignore the handicapped (mentally or physically) than it is to confront the issues head on. Our military reluctantly acknowledges (under duress) that the chemicals they use are harmful to our soldiers. It all boils down to the almighty dollar. If they spend money taking care of our brave veterans, that will leave less money for their war machine.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  124. dan krause

    Jack:
    Veterans should take some comfort in knowing that they are not alone in their complaints. Our country has a history of ignoring individuals or groups who are no longer active participants in the nation's affairs: The veterans can ask Jimmy Carter or George H.W. Bush about how much attention anyone pays to even former presidents. (Don't ask George W. Bush, because no one paid much attention to him even while he was in office.)
    They can ask Mike Ditka about how much public interest there is in the serious medical problems of retired football players. Or ask any state governor about how much public support there is for increasing Medicaid benefits for poor older Americans.
    We love to salute our military people when they leave for active duty, and we might be willing to give them a short parade when they get back. But as far as increasing taxes to fund their medical problems, forget it. Taxes are too high already, right?
    Our Gulf War veterans might also remind themselves about Douglas McArthur, a soldier who gave his career a big shove by throwing WW1 veterans out of a Washington Park. The sin of those veterans was trying to get the government to pay them a promised bonus.
    No, if they want better treatment, they are going to have to re-enlist and head off to the next battleground. That way they will get medical care and even get to march in another parade.

    dan
    land–o-lakes, WI

    January 30, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  125. Pugas-AZ

    Out of sight, out of mind. Forget what you did yesterday, what have you done for me today. What a country.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  126. Diggins

    As we were told during Army infantry training in 1967: “You will have two opportunities to die for your country. The first is on the battle field and the second is if you end up in a VA hospital. So listen up, and pay attention. There are only two kinds of soldiers — the quick and the dead”. Unfortunately, the drill instructor was correct.

    ..I like this..only I was a Marine and served a tour in the 'Nam'..I use to think that if a person served more than 30 seconds in a combat zone and survived..that person should be exempt from paying any Federal Incomes taxes for the rest of his..or her life..then maybe we wouldn't be so anxious to go to war..

    January 30, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  127. Frank

    Having served 12 years in the U.S. Marine Corps and a Gulf War veteran, I can tell you that far too many Americans think that tying yellow ribbons on trees, bumper stickers on cars, and blanket statements of " I support our troops" is all the support we need.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  128. gary saari

    Because greed rules and the people in charge looked at teenagers as cannon fodder to exploit for their monetary benefit and the monetary benefit of corporations like Haliburton. If they really wanted "us" to "support our troops" "they" would have supported them by not starting any illegal wars, and when the troops came home in flag-drapped coffins they wouldn't have been ashamed to honor their sacrifices. Instead they snuck their bodies back to the states and wouldn"t allow any pictures. Our government policy towards the veterans, I believe, is changing for the better because they are starting to recognize things like "shell shock" as they called it in World War I, but they still have to help these veterans more and not just give the problem a new name " post traumatic stress disorder." Support them.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  129. Tom in Desoto Texas

    I'd like to be optimistic regarding veterans, I served in Vietnam, now that a military person is at the head of the department instead of a lifelong civilian. Considering how the Bush administration and Rumsfeld inadaquately supplied the troops in both theaters, veterans are yesterdays chattel. I'll let you know how things are at the VA when I'm there next Thursday, it will be 40 years and 1 day since I was inducted. Oh, I remember it well.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  130. Lynn, Columbia, Mo..

    This country has never taken care of it's veterans, not since the American Revolution and every war thereafter. It's not in our history. I think it's about time we change that. First we have to change the attitudes of those in power.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  131. Vinnie Vino

    Jack,

    We have a two faced Government, they promise would be recruits the moon until it's time to deliver because of budget cuts they claim...

    Central Islip, N.Y

    January 30, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  132. Ralph Santillo Cape Coral, Fl.

    Most times veterans are the last on line to get anything from the government. This time it was plain poor planning as to what the aftermath was going to be. I remember Rumsfeld or Cheny saying this war could cost as much as 60 or 80 Billion dollars. Wow, talk about an under estimate. Now these kids are coming home after 3 to 6 tours and have nothing to come home to, broken families, no jobs, poor medical assistance, etc. A group of us have just formed Invest in Americas' Veterans Foundation here in Florida, Hoping to give some help and aid to returning Vets. Let's not forget the ww2 vets helped rebuild our country when they returned home. Let's give these young men and women a chance to do that today. Support our heroes every chance you get..

    January 30, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  133. JW in Atlanta

    The all volunteer service makes the military feel more like a job choice than a duty. Once the draft was eliminated it wasn't much distance to the me-first morality that we have today. There's no sense of civil duty, but there's lots of public relations ( I heard a jim dandy example just yesterday out of Illinois). We applaud of course when our political objectives are met by military means, but that's about it. Jobs go to the Congressman's niece, the Presidents wife, the well connected. There's no room in the system anymore for self sacrifice to the national cause. It's all about money. Sadly, it probably always will be.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  134. Ray [Maryland]

    As a vietnam vet I can tell you there is only 1 reason
    We only care when they are in uniform with a gun going to war to protect us. After that forget we are has been's, and rejects. That nobody wants to look in the eyes face to face.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  135. Dan from Alliance, OH

    Because our country is showing the same lack of support that happen in Vietnam. This happened to the Viet vertans as well and the only way they were able to resolve some of thier post traumatic disorder was to create self-help groups. These milatary people need to talk out what they saw and the military, like always, refuses to get these people to talk about it.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  136. Jenna Wade

    Why doesn’t this country do a better job of taking care of its veterans?

    Good question.

    If we had everyone in our nations service, and no wavers for a pimple on ones bum like Rush Limbaugh, then everyone would expect that they be taken care of as a vet.

    Nations service isn't just military service, it can be so much more..

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    January 30, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  137. Sandra fromTexas

    It's not the American people that do not take care of veterans. It's the Republicans. Hopefully, things will begin to improve for them in the future.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  138. Daniel, Indiana

    It has been a great political move by the GOP to cut funding for the Veterans, as well as many other Federal departments and programs. Veterans aren't as important as the active military or weapons programs are or pay for our Comgress members or aid for Israel and some of the other foreign countries. It is shameful what has happened.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  139. Frank in Augusta, GA

    Having served 12 years in the U.S. Marine Corps and a Gulf War veteran, I can tell you that far too many Americans think that placing yellow ribbons on trees, putting bumpers stickers on cars, and making statements about how much they support the troops, is all the support we need.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  140. Ray Kinserlow

    Because we are ungrateful clods and do not deserve the liberties and freedoms the veterans bought.

    Ray Kinserlow
    Lubbock, Texas

    January 30, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  141. just me!

    Over the past 8 years the republican, esp Bush and his cronies, could only focus on promoting war started with lies and deceit and ignoring the destruction of family units, stress on our military, cutting the military budgets and thus denying veterans the care they desparately need. Congress and the previous adminstration were too self absorbed to consider that actual people are in the military.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  142. Jackie in Dallas

    I'd like to add to my previous comments, after reading all of the ones posted so far (I like to comment first, then read what everyone else said).

    1) Those veterans of foreign wars prior to Vietnam, such as World War 2 and Korea are even more in need of care, in some respects, than younger vets. Medical care was a lot more primitive then, and injuries and illness more debilitating. They are also aging, so are suffering even more. Do not neglect them; they made sure that Hitler, the Japanese, the Russian war machine, and North Korea did not overrun the world!

    2) Vietnam-era veterans, such as myself, served in a time of great turbulence. Even though I disagreed with the Vietnam war, I joined the military and did my duty to defend this country. Many veterans of combat came back to scorn, hatred, and neglect, and added to this their own burden of guilt.

    War is not pretty. It isn't fun. It isn't photogenic, clean, or an issue of Good versus Evil, in most cases. It means doing things that we normally would consider immoral or illegal, and arrest and imprison people for. It means carpet bombing, Agent Orange, napalm, and other weapons that unfortunately cannot be targeted to just those fighting against us. There hasn't been a war yet where only combantants died; civilian casualties are unfortunate, but impossible to prevent.

    Add to that the veterans of Desert Storm, our contingents in the U.N. actions in Bosnia and the Middle East, and our current wars, and you have generations of people still alive who fought for this country and what we collectively believe in. Many are homeless, suffering mental illness, sick, and unable to get help or treatment. Many have lost their families. Some barely get by on miniscule retirement benefits, and wait hours for treatment at VA hospitals because they can't afford treatment elsewhere. And that's just the ones who live close enough to a VA hospital; thousands have no care at all.

    Balance that with the health benefits package of your average Congressman or woman: no deductables, 100% coverage for everything for themselves and for their families FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES, their choice of some of the top medical facilities in the country and the best doctors. Salaries in the 6 figures, not even counting the perks of free postage, free staffs, free travel, free offices, etc. etc. etc.

    It's pretty sickening...

    January 30, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  143. Nancy, Tennessee

    I am a wife and a mother of American veterans. My husband saw the shores of Vietnam aboard the aircraft carrier Forrestal in 1967. My son's choice was the Navy, too. My disabled son has to travel 55 miles to the doctor because that's the closest facility where he can go. Not too bad, but in light of the fact that we live within 18 miles of an Army base in a city with thousands of military retirees it doesn't seem very accomodating. Clarksville, TN which is the closest city to the home of the 101st Airborne Division at Ft. Campbell, KY should have a large facility for veterans. The members of Congress need to remember our heroes in a more compassionate way. Laying wreaths at the tomb of the unknown soldier is patriotic and sobering, but we should not forget that those who made it back alive fought too.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  144. Jerry Harris

    We have idiots running the government

    January 30, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  145. Sandi, Chicago

    Because we are spending all the money for the FAT CATS on Wall Street!!! Let's get our priorities straight. Fat Cats need to lose weight in their wallets, and if they don't like it, let them find a new job – maybe in the military! Great pay, a bonus and free ticket to Iraq or Afghanistan and let's not forget the VA loan for a house and college!
    Wall Street dudes – you have no idea of what you are missing!

    January 30, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  146. Anne

    Because those in power don't have children or spouses in war zones. They don't care because they are only looking after their own interests. My son was given a blood test when he came home from Iraq and never even given an appointment to discuss the results. He still hasn't seen a doctor - four years later.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  147. Scott in Canada

    They're, in general, the poor and unlucky who couldn't find a better job. Need I say more?

    January 30, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  148. vern-t anaheim,ca

    i am a veteran myself but veterans are not given the care they deserve for serving their country.many return with horrible injuries,mental problems and different illnesses and some don't return at all due to giving their lives and i wonder for what

    January 30, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  149. Ray Kinserlow

    I dream of moving to Portland, Oregon. They have legal doctor assisted suicide, one of the highest levels of education in the populace, mail-in ballots with 70% voter participation and all that beautiful scenery.

    I live in Texas noted for its executions, teenage pregnancies and moronic politicians.

    Ray Kinserlow
    Lubbock, Texas

    January 30, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  150. Karen - Tennessee

    Jack, if there were twenty veterans they would receive great care. However, helping hundreds of thousands of young people with all kinds of physical and psychological damage, possibly for the rest of their lives, is a daunting task for families, employers, and friends, not to mention a government that doesn't relate to them on a personal basis. Many of these veterans would have died without the excellent care they received immediately after their injuries, but they have been (or will be) handed back to the real world. They deserve better, but the resources just aren't there. It's a tragedy.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  151. Roland

    I'm a veteran and I have to say I'm thankful for the care I get from the VA. Without it I would have no medical care at all. This question you've asked is a can of worms, but I'm inclined to say that some of these problems with VA healthcare for veterans would be taken care of if we ever get with the program like the rest of the civilized world and go to a National Healthcare system.

    As far as the reason why we don't treat veterans better, number one, it's because being a veteran is not "glamorized" by the media. When was the last time veterans were glamorized? After WWII. It's sort of like being a firefighter. Firefighters weren't glamorized until after 9/11 and then all of a sudden everyone was wearing shirts and hats that said FDNY on them because it was popular and there was a commercial interest in it – all the designers and retailers made money. Never underestimate the power of a dollar to be made, right?

    And that brings me to the next point, the VA is underfunded because it is not a Wall Street entity. If only it had been turned into a public stockholder corporation, maybe veterans would have become glamorous again, plus lots of people would have made lots of money, there would be plenty of Lobbyists, and when Wall Street collapsed last year, the VA would have gotten bailed out this last time with no questions asked.

    Roland
    St. George, UT

    January 30, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  152. Tripp Mechanicsburg, PA

    Because most regular GIs are under-paid kids who don't know any better and who don't have the same rights as their civilian counter-parts. You are under contract and bound by the UCMJ once you swear the oath. That means you can't speak your mind or question an order without a good chance of being thrown in the brig. What can you do if a Doctor/Lieutenant sends you back into action labeling you as a gold-brick because "it's all in your head?" And if you see something wrong, there's an unspoken code that you don't rat out and fink on your comrades in arms. You want to know what it's like? Enlist for a couple of years. If you don't get brainwashed, you'll end up a lifer who couldn't see the truth if it bit you in the ass.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  153. Bob from New Brighton, PA

    Maybe now that we are rid of Bush and his gang maybe something will get better quick. Vets deserve all we can give them.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  154. Karl from SF, CA

    Ask George Bush, Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld. They are the ones that were responsible for it the past eight years and the only ones that can really explain it.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  155. arlene in iowa

    Jack, the sad reality is that it costs the govt. too much money. The govt. figures they are done with them and now they are on their own.It's always been like that. The govt. is only out for themselves.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  156. Frank from Peterborough

    It's simple veterans are only people and people are expendable in a capitalist society. You know how it works with the rich getting richer and poor getting poorer.

    If you follow some of the rhetoric posted by Republicans on these blogs that suggest looking after the less fortunate is socialism or communism and to do this will be destruction of the American way of life.

    Jack the answer is simple.............it's the American culture.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  157. Phil Koch

    Well, Jack, for one thing, $75 Million to help smokers quit is just sheer idiocy. What job does that create? Is the plan to hire guys like me to take their cig's away?

    January 30, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  158. Diane Glasser

    Over the years the Republicans have decreased money toward Veterans and the use of red tape policies have made it virtually impossible for any military person to get the best care they deserve. Much of the money ear-marked for the VA is funneled elsewhere.
    My husband as a senior officer saw how they "rubber stamped" the soldier's medical record without even doing a physical on them. A civilian just asks a few questions to the soldier and then checks the boxes off. The soldier never get to see what was filled in on their discharge paper work. When ever they know someone is going to do a check-up the civilians or lower enlisted are ordered to switch to a different policy.
    Jack, Good Luck to the new administration on trying to untangle this mess.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  159. Marietta

    Ask the last President that question?

    January 30, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  160. me46

    The U.S. thrives on self-determination. You are a hero as long as you wear the uniform and wave the flag of freedom. But once you are knocked down, it doesn't matter if you are a hero or a villain, you are left to pick yourself up by the bootstraps and move on.

    Tom
    Sin City

    January 30, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  161. sara in AZ

    Why didn't Wickers tell Bush a trillion dollars was a lot to waste? Maybe then we wouldn't be in this trouble!

    Republicans love welfare for the rich, everyone subject to the law but them, and forget the poor.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  162. Darren

    Because they're no longer needed after they return to the civilian population.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  163. Meg from Troy, Ohio

    Jack–
    Our legislators and sometimes even our presidents have a short memory. Paying for soldiers' injuries and ongoing treatment is not a regular pork barrel feature so it doesn't get included in important or popular bills or initiatives. It is shameful. I hope that President Obama and the Congress give it a front-row seat this session.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  164. V.K. Raman, Sparks

    Our veterans should be provided all benefits that will provide 100% health care including mental care. They should be given opportunity to find alternate employment in private sector or govt sector.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  165. John from collinsville, Illinois

    Quite frankly greed and polatics have shut out many part of our priorities. Veterans, Homeless, Healthcare, Jobless, Elderly, Education, even civil rights to choose !

    January 30, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  166. Doug W

    Hi, we need to remove anything that does not create jobs. Any tax credits to people or companys that already have money is trash. All of the money that goes into infrastructure is good. The artists have always starved leave that in. Any money that either creates or keeps jobs is good. The giving rich people money junk in the bill is there to suck up to the Republicans witch created this. Please refer to the 2004 Bush State of the Nation speach that calls for putting poor people in rich homes.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  167. Jeff, Massachusetts

    Simple Jack,
    They've done their part, and are no longer needed. They have been relegated to the ranks of the poor, and this country has no use for anyone less than wealthy. They fall into the category of those who need "entitlement" programs to fix the damage done by the ravages of war, but (we) don't like entitlement programs in this country. While we salute them, feature them in parades, and call them hero, it is easier to turn our backs on them, so we don't have to look at them as we amass and horde our wealth. Shame on us Jack! And please ask our troops to forgive us, for they deserve (soooo) much better.
    Jeff,
    Ashburnham, Massachusetts

    January 30, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  168. Marietta

    Call them heros then government forgets them-next

    January 30, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  169. Betty---IN.

    Out of sight, out of mind is about right. Freedom is easily taken for granted without so much of thought at the cost of it, unless of course it's our loved one who has served. This has been going on long before Bush & I'm sure it will go on long afterwards. The Gov. has always been more intersted in helping big business & at this rate will continue to do so.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  170. Kelli from Tampa

    I am a nurse who worked with homeless vets for 4 yrs. This is nothing new, the VA has been doing this for yrs. (this is ONE of the many reasons I did not vote for McCain). I am now going to school to become an Art Therapist for just this reason (to work with PTSD victims). If Obama can do anything he will I know he knows the problem I am just concerned that the dirty crooks on Wall Street and the Republican's have greedily wiped out any hope of funds needed to take care of the vets. And when I graduate I will offer free Art Therapy Groups to every vet that wants to come.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  171. James Whited

    After 8 years of cutting business taxes, reducing domestic spending, and raising defense expenditures maybe we ought to consider the results before taking anymore advice from the republicans.

    The Stimulus Bill should reverse this trend and just maybe it should have more middle class tax cuts and restore some key domestice spending.

    Domestic spending like the USDA food inspection programs or Health care for the uninsured. The stimulative affect of itmes like this might restore confidence that our government really is for all citizens not just the wealthy.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  172. Suzanne

    The cynical answer would be because the government no longer needs them. As working military, they are an asset. As veterans, especially those who are disabled, they are a huge financial liability.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  173. David,San Bernardino,CA.

    As a Vietnam veteran,I know from experience that the government and mercenary corporations only use veterans as a source of profit and when we are of no use to them they throw us away. Every year the benefits we were promised are cut back or eliminated. As a country,the United States stopped being a caring society a long time ago. We now only exist for the profit and pleasure of the rich and the corporations. I am glad that I don't have much time left on Earth and I can leave this wretched hell-hole before it becomes a burned out cinder.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  174. joseph jacir, chapel hill NC

    Ask our retired generals who love to appear on talk shows .Perhaps they would sympathize &explain instead of philosophising and giving their expert opnions on less important issues.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  175. Don (Ottawa)

    It's a question of money Jack. Just think of where these men were recruited from. If our Vets got better care or treatment than those people living in the neighborhoods where they came from, then maybe the whole neighborhood may want the same thing. We can't have that can we. After all, the money that goes into war has to be used for guns, bombs and bullets, not post traumatic stress.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  176. EC, Boyds MD

    Jack –

    Because we have politicians in Washington who are complete IDIOTS when it comes to taking care of our veterans who gave up their lives and fought for our country, AND these politicians treat them like a POS. It's despicable.

    ALL Americans should be PISSED OFF to the hills about this travesty and calling their Senator or Congressman and letting them know they need to GET OFF THEIR BUTTS AND TAKE CARE OF OUR VETERANS!!!

    January 30, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  177. Jean St. Louis

    Because those who control their benefits are not on the front line
    leading the charge; and those of us who bask in freedom take it for granted. Want that changed? Reinstute the draft!

    January 30, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  178. JERRY SOLDOTNA, ALASKA.

    We don't take care of our Vets because we don't give a s### about anyone but OUR PERSONAL SELVES! America has removed any concerns for others from our lives for a self serving attitude which will affect us all. Its kind of like the 800 lb Gorilia in the room Jack that no one listens too. Jerry B. soldotna, alaska.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  179. Jan Illinois

    Because in general people are lazy and just want to overlook anything that doesn't affect them PERSONALLY or They don't want it to COST them anything. We are a very spoiled nation , It's wrong. We do not even take care of our elderly properly. How are we ever going to change? It's unforgivable in God's eyes I'm sure.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  180. Michelle, Washington DC

    Jack,

    If you recall, during the past eight years of the prior administration, the money has been all about going into war without thinking of the implications. One of those unfortunate implications is health care for our veterans. Let's cross our fingers that this new administration and Congress can work together to help them. Lord knows they deserve AT LEAST that.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  181. Shane Gangloff

    Well Jack,
    I'm an Iraq Veteran and I think we do a pretty good job. It can always be better and we should work toward that.
    Heathcare is vital. Respect and appreciation is important. However, the most important thing we could do for our troops is to only send them into wars of necessity not wars of choice....That's why I voted Obama.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  182. Jay in Texas

    The U.S. does a poor job of taking care of our veterans because the news media is too busy covering anything except the illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, our soldiers, and their families. Recent elections, where the voters returned most of the same old crooks to office, prove that we have terribly short memories. That is why I believe every television station and network should dedicate at least one segment every day to covering these wars and the tragic effects they have. You are to be commended, Jack, for including this important discussion on your blog.
    Brownwood, Texas

    January 30, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  183. Tom in Texas

    Because the military services assume the soldier away after he leaves the military.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  184. Art Garland

    3 words, money, money, money. Contary to what many are saying, funding for the VA was increased dramaticly during the Bush years. Unfourtanly, it was already so low from prior administrations, it was just a drop in the bucket for what was needed for a country at war.
    The truth is, a Vetern is no longer need by DOD and is just a cost to the bottom line.....ignore him/her long enought and they will die. Does not matter who is President, and you will see, this President is the same, his director of OMB is already starting to look at dramatic increases in the cost of Military Retiree insurance (TRICARE) that was promised to be free for 20 years of service. (Military Retirees do not get treatment from the VA for routine care–that is a DOD-TRICARE responsibility. Many do not understand that including most in Congress.), THE ONLY TIME A POLTICAN WANTS/IS INTERESTED IN A VETERAN IS 2 MONTHS BEFORE AND UP UNTIL AN ELECTION. JUST SHOW UP, LOOK NICE AND WAVE THE FLAG.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  185. RN to Doc in Illinois

    As someone who worked in VA Hospitals in two states BEFORE either Iraq War: Anyone who is severely injured (mentally or physically) and is dependent upon the VA system is screwed. These hospitals are operated using the least trained physicians (interns) to run clinics and in-hospital care and not much is given to them in the way of support from those who are supposed to supervise them–they are too busy carrying out research to bother with mere patients. The first step in improving health care to veterans is to provide a single-payer insurance to ALL AMERICANS, including veterans, do away with VA Hospitals altogether, and make the service pay for necessary health (mental and physical) at private hospitals that are not affiliated with the VA system. As long as the VA Hospital System exists, things will not change. When I was in residency, the two doctors heading up the psychiatric unit had absolutely NO training in psychiatry–one was a pathologist and the other drove himself off the Catalina Mountains outside of Tucson before he completed the assignment for which he was ill prepared and even less emotionally able.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  186. Ken in NC

    We, the people, would take batter care of our veterans given the chance. The problem is that the people (politicians) that control the funds think first about how an expenditure will benefit them and not our veterans.

    Take the politics out of their care and they would have the best care possible. It's all about money and greed.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  187. lynnej from lattimore, nc

    We don't take good care of our veterans because those who laud them are always looking to cut the funding while at the same time
    cheering them.

    The neo cons of the Republican Party fit this bill which is the reason that many of our veterans are coming back finding out how much these war-mongering idiots really care about them. They don't by the way of the staggering suicide deaths.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  188. Jim W

    Ask George Bush and Dick Cheney why toys for the war were a higher priority thancare for the troops.

    We can spend billions on defense contracts but noting for things like returning our troops from Viet Nam. Yes Viet Nam. Today there are thousands of remaining cases of soldiers killed in the Viet Nam conflict that have still not been returned. One of the groups of missing soldiers is airmen lost in aircraft crashes. Most of the crash sites of the missing airmen are known and the bodies could be recovered if the Pentagon was willing to assign more than 24 people to the task.

    It is a disgrace that we did not even bother to bring all of the men back from Viet Nam. The new disgrace in the new wars is that we get them home but ignore their wounds suffered in the conflict.

    Jim W
    Southern MD

    January 30, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  189. Doug - Dallas, TX

    Because we don't want to hear about their problems and because when it comes to our vets, this country is stupid!

    January 30, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  190. Barbara - NC

    We're too busy rebuilding every country that gets blown up by us or our "friends" - not to mention supporting our "friends" with taxpayers' dollars.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  191. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Jack,

    we forget to live by our principle that every life counts and has basic rights to live in dignity!

    January 30, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  192. Mari Fernandez, Salt Lake City, Utah

    It is a SHAME, that Veterans suffer at the hands of a government who sent them into harms way!

    I volunteer with the homeless, and I can tell you that a majority of homeless men, are Veterans!

    What upsets me and angers me is that the same people who have their little flags and "support the troops" bumper stickers on their cars/trucks, are the same ones who put Bush and McCain in the White House!!

    The Republicans, have done a lousy job of caring for our Veterans. I am hoping that Obama (whom already while in Congress wrote a bill and passed it that allowed Vets not to have to pay extra for items they needed while in the hospital) WILL do better at caring for our Veterans.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  193. Sherri

    The hypocrisy of Americans is nauseating!!. When Bush invaded Iraq if ANYONE said something against the war they were labeled unpatriotic, our soldiers are fighting for your freedom and you disrespect them by condemning the war, AND yet we have seen the horrendous treatment many of the veterans have received at these broken down VA hospitals & facilities but where is the outcry, its only for a few days after its seen on the TV news. Look at the treatment of the Vietnam veterans with the government hiding the destructiveness of "AGENT ORANGE", the thousands of Vets that ended up dead, mentally damage, alcoholics, totally loss souls. America has been treating its veterans like trash when they come back home injured or need emotional counseling, no one wants to deal with it BUT when they go to war then they're our hero's YET when they come home its totally different especially if they are injured or need counseling. The dept of Veteran Affairs needs a revamping. ALL the VA facilities are cutting there budgets at the veteran's expense. How disgusting it all is AND nothing was done during the Bush Administration so lets see if President Obama will do something to make sure the level of medical care for our Veterans is improved 100%.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  194. Jean St. Louis

    Jack
    If every one who emails you would take the same amount of time to email those in Congress, maybe we could cause change.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  195. Cheryl, Cocoa Fl

    Jack, even the media doesn't give these vets the coverage they deserve. I think this is definitely an out of sight, out of mind problem. Maybe if Amercians see more coverage of our wounded and killed in action servicepeople coming home, and what challenges face them, the people would start telling their elected officials to fix the problems or get voted out of office. But I don't expect that to happen. We ignored the Vietnam vets for many years, and I expect it will happen again. A sad state of affairs for the greatest country in the world.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  196. Jean St. Louis

    Jack
    If every one who emails you would take the same amount of time to email those in Congress, maybe we could cause change.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  197. Vet in Texas

    The VA does not have it's own budget and relies on the Department of Defense so go figure wherer their priorties are at?

    January 30, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  198. Ron Hill

    Because it makes war sound more expensive, so Rumsfeld and the boys liked to keep that as low as possible while at the same time saying out loud how much they loved the heroes. Taking care of the vets is part of the cost of war and should be included in all war decisions. Vets don't look for bands and medals, but good health care sure is appreciated.

    Ron- an Ohioian vet

    January 30, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  199. Mike in New York

    Because Bush and his Republican cronies were more interested in giving contracts to Halliburton than in protecting our soldiers. Wasn't that obvious when our troops had to spend their own money to get adequate armor?

    January 30, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  200. Annie Naples FL

    because they have no one to speak for them who is not beholden to government. Let Obama appoint Michelle she will straighten it out no nonsense. like she runs her house..and she can get her mother in law to help. sure would be better than the jerks that run the veterans programs now.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  201. Ed from Montana

    Jack,

    It is very simple Jack. Less than 25% of Congress has any military background, and that means they don't understand the real cost of war. That 75% that never served fund the hardware of war because they can see the jets and tanks and ships, but they aren't missing the body parts form the IEDs, they don't have the nightmares, and they don't feel the pain. When the majority of Congress can't see the damage, they won't vote for the solution.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  202. Tony in Michigan

    As a disabled Iraq veteran this question hits home, thanks for bringing it up, Jack.
    There are many reasons why this is true but one of the main issues is that Republicans want the VA to fail. The VA healthcare system is one of the largest socalized healthcare systems in the world, to fund it properly the GOP would have to support socalism. Instead, the GOP wants to privatize veteran's healthcare and pass the 'savings' onto tax payers (or some CEOs). The other big reason is very simply that the US public does not demand better care for our veterans.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  203. MS-Minneapolis

    As someone previsouly pointed out..unless you have had someone
    or know someone who has served/or who is serving in the military
    as far as the rest of the country is concerned the only time they
    pay attention is when the media is covering a "newsworthy"
    story about the military...it makes me ashamed that this country
    is not doing a better job in treatment of veterans...perhaps under
    the new administration this will improve...

    January 30, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  204. starleo14672

    I would like to know that myself. I think you will see a change in caring for our veterans. Equipment will be sent that will prevent injuries hopefully, MRAP's so needed have not gotten to our troops yet, we have asked for this since Rumsfeld. The tour of duty that Bush has subscribed to certainly has failed , we have to look at that suicide deaths and why, why this has been overlooked is beyond me.These uniform military have enlisted to help our country to be safe, and have put there life on the line to keep America safe, and no shortcuts should be made to give them all they need to succeed in health and warfare.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  205. Linda in Arizona

    It's a national disgrace. As to why, I agree with HD Taylor – Arizona above. They pretty much covered it.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  206. Maggie Muggins From Selwyn

    Maybe continually fighting wars means the U.S. would be continually looking after their citizens and that is not the American way of every person for themselves and if they can't make it too bad.

    You know Jack helping the less fortunate or disadvantage whether a vet or not is socialism and we can't have that in America as it simply doesn't the right wing philosophies.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  207. Ron from SF

    Why can't we do better? I'll bet the new leadership surely will, as they care for more than just the Corporations that profit, at the country's expense. We'll see a Stimulus bill that includes more money than ever. It's smart for the veterans and for stimulating the economy.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  208. Jackie in Marietta, GA

    What's even sadder is how many veterans go homeless after returning from duty, and some of them come back with medical issues. It is absurd that nothing seems to be done about this.

    Contrary to popular belief...Veterans have a hard time being hired- That was before the recession. Imagine what's happning now. The mental stress of being active duty then not being able to find a job when you are done is overwhelming. Something really needs to be done about it.

    And yes, I am a veteran who barely escaped being homeless and still can't find a decent paying job since I finished active duty in '05.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  209. Donna Colorado Springs,Co

    It seems that the powers that be in our country only worry about the soldiers that are fighting at the moment, and the veterans that have come home are an afterthought. They are shut away in hospitals with deplorable conditions and forgotten about. How shameful!

    January 30, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  210. ken-tx

    Jack, the awful truth is 90% of people in this country care more
    about porno and cheating others than something good like
    taking care of vets. I know and live the pain. Many of us think it
    would be better if they just killed us after we serve and become
    disabled. Bush was a liar and is a liar. He had 8 years to help.
    He was a coward and is a coward. Nothing else. Obama pledged
    to help in his many speeches. Now he has'nt said a word about
    vets since becoming President. Congress refuses to act against
    torture and war crimes. That says what matters to all congress.
    THE MONEY AND THE NEXT ELECTION TO HELL WITH VETS

    January 30, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  211. Nancy-Lincoln, NE

    Veterans are forgotten except when they can be used by politicians to get votes during election cycles.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  212. Jan Illinois

    Ray in Nashville.. You are exactly right. Great answer. It makes me sad for all of us.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  213. erico sobeach 33139

    I am a former USNavy veteran. Trapped the 3 wire on the CVN during night ops in the Persian Gulf. Tail hook snapped, airboss called the ejection. The RIO's seat smashed onto the carrier's island, got KIA. My seat missed it by aprox. two feet. Got picked out of the ocean unconscious. Got sent via med-evac back to USA. VA's been good to me. Got the spinal column back to near normal, vertigo still fools me a bit.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  214. Christine, Thousand Oaks Ca

    We can't even get a national health care plan. The Republicans constantly yap about entitlements. With that mentality, it is no wonder we don't take care of our veterans.

    January 30, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  215. tanya...ATL

    That is a question I can't answer. But! I know they don't. I have friends and family that have served. I have heard the stories. It may sound selfish but if the USA can't get it together and take care of their veterans, I dont think I would be able to support my 16 year old son to suffer the same fate in 3 years

    January 30, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  216. Esther Malkawi, Massillon Ohio

    Jack,
    frankly we do not give care to our military cause we live in a disposable society. the words no child left behind makes me laugh. we think our citizens are here only at the pleasure of the government. we do not think of human's formed into men or women like we think of fetus we think they are disposable and readily send them into harms way thinking they are doing a duty to God and Country. I joined the Navy in 1980 and would have defended her and then Reagan gave us trickle down and closed the VA hospitals and mental institutes. the problems we are facing today have been with us for along time and never will we resolve them. thanks for reminding us

    January 30, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  217. Norman Hoffman

    Greed Jack, greed! As long as goverment leaders & its insipid beauracracy make taking care of themselves priority one, there is very little money left to put into taking care of our veterans. Those guys have the best paying jobs, great healthcare and extravagant pensions and they are not going to it up for anyone or anything. I am beginning to regret my service to the country during the Viet Nam war. All I hear from my goverment is all talk and no action.

    Norman
    Marietta, Ga

    January 30, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  218. Tina (Fort Worth)

    Use them and then forget about them has always been the policy. I don't like it and the fat cats who get bonsuses would be a start to help with the vets care

    January 30, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  219. Tom from Philly

    Well considering About 20% of payroll SSI dedcutions cover part of the deficit, which allows for lower tax rates to the top, do i need to say more. the ruling financial and political class uses americans as pawns, remember the little pieces in a chess game that you sacrifice without reguard??

    January 30, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  220. baradji

    obama won, if that's not good enough for the republican to see the light; maybe another loss in 2010 will. Change from the bottom up is the way to go. The banks got the money that the people owed them from the bail-out and I don't think they're dumb enough to give it back again if you know what I mean.

    Baradji from brockton, massachusetts

    January 30, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  221. Terry in Hanover County

    For starters, both parties of Congress owe our veterans an apology. It's long overdue that our veterans receive substantial benefits for their service because they are the ones who keep America free. They sacrifice so much, yet instead of action from our government, they get lip service.

    Healthcare should be provided free by any hospital that accepts Federal funding. Preference points for Federal jobs should be doubled. PTSD should be taken seriously. President Obama should meet with NCOs and line officers instead Pentagon Generals to find out what's needed.

    To every veteran out there, particularly Vietnam-era vets who are often overlooked, it's not much, but from my heart, "Thank you."

    January 30, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  222. Larry

    Because despite what Americans may put on the bumpers of the SUV's they drive, they don't care what happens to soldiers after they serve. I'm a vet. I've dealt with the VA healthcare system and I can tell you they do the best they can with what they have. They just don't have enough. Americans need to support the troops both in and out of uniform!

    Larry
    Bend, OR

    January 30, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  223. Hank

    Jack when is somebody going to talk about and do something about the tremendous suides in our armed forces?

    January 30, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  224. Betty, San Diego, Ca.

    The GOP has successfully indoctrinated the military industrial complex to believe their political views are best for the military and veterans. After seeing Republicans in congress, many who are veterans themselves, vote against veteran benefits in the middle of two wars, the process of electing a new congress that supports veterans has only just begun. We are the change we have been waiting for.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  225. Chryssa

    The squeaky wheels get the grease, Jack, and the veterans who need the most help are the least able to demand it. Makes it awfully easy for our leaders to ignore them.

    Boise, ID

    January 30, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  226. Janice from NJ

    It is a disgrace how we treat our veterans. My poor father asked us to always take him to a local VA hospital when he needed to go to a hospital because he thought they were free to veterans. WRONG. We got a gigantic bill, even after medicare and his private insurance paid. We need to change our priorities.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  227. Patrick

    This country has a horrible system in which we support those who are most important to us. A great example would be our teachers, soldiers, etc. Veterans are left behind during a current conflict and are forgotten once it is over. Trying to fund veterans seems to be a low priority for the US

    January 30, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  228. Hank DeMazza

    Jack
    I hope you stress the awful suicide rate of the men and women in our armed forces to whom we owe so much to.
    Hank

    January 30, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  229. Lynne from NJ

    I vote to send all the bills from Iraq and Afganistan veterans to Bush, Chaney and Rumsfeld. Maybe they need to feelthe pain of having a stack of bills you cannot pay.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  230. Miles

    Because putting a yellow ribbon on the back of your SUV is so much easier.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  231. kristi-wa state

    The vets and children doen't make money. We would need to spend some money to take care of both and we are capitalist. Sad.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  232. Jordan

    Because no one really cares.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  233. mike in montana

    Because veterans are mostly poor and this country is run by the rich.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  234. Debra in Arizona

    Because to this govenment people are disposable...........veterans and the middle class!

    January 30, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  235. S.H. Phred

    For those who wish to see what single payer health care plans would be like...this is exactly what it would be like. It could save money, but patients who are politically inconvenient will be shoved aside, whether its Agent Orange or Gulf War Syndrome or now this...whatever you call it.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  236. Joseph

    Politicians are more concerned about raising money for their campaigns than doing what is right for those who gave them the freedom to run for office. Its obivous congress and the senate have a cranial,rectal, inversion problem. They need to pull their heads out before one of our greatest assets, the american soldier, puts them in their place. Hoorah!!!

    January 30, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  237. Marcus

    We treat our veterans this way because they allow us to do so. They have been tricked into believing that only one party will be good for the military and that if they march in lockstep and elect them to office, they will be well-cared for...except for body armor...and being electrocuted...or receiving benefits...or an education...or medical assistance...or adequate psychiatric diagnoses and help. In fact, except for everything but more money for the higher-ups.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  238. John

    Because this country loves it's wars, but hates the cleanup. This generation has grown up with small wars and infrastructure built by those who fought in WWII. Then when we get fat and stupid enough to glamorize war, we don't want to pay for those unfortunate veterans that actually paid for our ignorance.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  239. Ronnie from Ontario

    Because you're too busy taking better care of the rich.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  240. Rick Medina,OH

    Jack,

    The answer is simple and unfortunate ... we don't support our veterans because we never supported the wars they fought. It's not their fault ... it is ours ... but our distaste for the purpose of their efforts has made it difficult to make their needs a national priority.

    Rick, OH

    January 30, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  241. Pamela

    The VA hospitals certainly do not have enough. One problem may be their flying their administrative staff to Orlando and other areas for meetings. Try teleconferencing. Put the money into the healthcare for the men and women who served our country, not waste it on hotels and plane fare.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  242. Sylvester, Toronto

    Perhaps the US Govt., considers them as "collateral' damage.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  243. Alex

    Jack the majority of Americans have no clue what serving in the military is like. Maybe if we had 2 years of mandatory service this country would take care of it's veterans a little more.

    -Arizona

    January 30, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  244. Bernadette Loesch

    Jack, It all started when our last president was allowed by the American public to hide the fact that soldiers were coming back from the war in body bags and wounded. He wouldn't let the media show these soldiers nor follow their care and rehab. There should have been an outcry so big that it could be heard around the world. Pres. Obama has to change this situation and let the sun shine on veterans and their many, many needs and unaddressed issues.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  245. MoneyedPoliticians

    Because politicians are paid to do exactly the opposite, by spending our tax dollars on bonuses for the bankers and other similar stimuli. Only public funding of campaigns will return our government to the taxpayers.

    Jack Lohman
    Colgate, WI

    January 30, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  246. Adam Reuter

    As a combat disabled veteran of the war in Iraq, I have to say that it's because there are so few that have had to sacrifice. Just imagine if a larger percentage of the population served, we veterans would be harder to marginalize.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  247. Edward Burton

    Georgie, Cheney, Rummy, and Wolfie from the outset, as they contemplated multiple deployments of the same troops, decided that it would be unwise to make veteran's benefits good because it would discourage re-upping. Read that in a vet's communication somewhere along the line, attributed to a brass hat or maybe the White House.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  248. Ben

    That's easy Jack. Veterans are nothing more than pawns, n the eyes of the rich and famous in our corporate-controlled government – to be used to further their own greedy agendas.
    Sooner of later, maybe more Americans, who commit their lives to defending this country, will realize how little of what they do is really DEFENSE.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  249. mb55

    The Government forgot how we have our freedoms and who has protected those freedoms!!. They want us and i say us because at onetime i had to protect our country. It makes no sense for the Government to want us to protect and die but once we get back they are forgotten and not taken care of. Plus the job openings are far and inbetween it's a shame really and there needs to be something done about it.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  250. Mr Dean n Seattle

    One word Jack.
    Bushed

    January 30, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  251. George

    I hate to say this, but the republicans just don't give a ****. They fought for years to prevent acknowledgement of the Gulf War Syndrone.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  252. Josh

    Disposable hero's they are worth a profit and political tool why fighting and dying. When wars over they are told to get over it all the death and dismemberment. Son of a Ex- Marine Vietnam Veteran w/ PTSD

    January 30, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  253. Mick Hayes

    Out of Site; out of mind.

    Da Nang, Dong Ha

    thanks for thinking about the problem

    mick

    January 30, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  254. James Dantley

    Jack,
    Our phony brand of patriotism means we care more for the flag than for the people that fought under it.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  255. Stephen in San Jose

    Fewer and fewer Americans are veterans. With privatization of the armed services and elimination of the draft one can only expect that veterans will get less and less. Fewer vets means means fewer perks for vets. Simple equation.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  256. BethAlbanyOR

    Nothing has really changed has it? Think of McCain, he was a P.O.W. and they didn't even take care of his PTSD, which was sometimes obvious during the campaign. Palusable Denial that there is anything wrong with our "VETS" their advertisments say things like how the "fill in branch" are strong, etc. Why would they turn around after "Vets" return home and then say, oh, our "VETS" are not so "strong" after all, even though our vets return home suffering from PTSD because of killing people or seeing people be killed, etc., they are ignored because admission of such severe psychological damage, would be admitting that we sent "VETS" to walk right into being mammed, killed, or return home with PTSD and even commiting suicide because they don't even the minimal help they need. Such a tragedy . . . . really not much different as GITMO, maybe they can close down war in a year too!

    January 30, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  257. Michael, Killeen, Tx.

    The government treats our Veterans like the tags they are given, dogs.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  258. Chaz

    If politicians had to fight their own wars, there would be no more wars. How many senators and congressmen have actually served, or have their children serve? VERY FEW! The way this country treats its veterans is nothing short of appalling! We have never taken adequate care of our veterans, especially under a republican administration! Hopefully, President Obama will begin to change this attitude that politicians have toward those who fight their ridiculous wars.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  259. neil cohen

    because you can put a"support our troops" on your car for a buck 98 and show everybody what a super patriot you are. Spend real money and the pariotism sure fades quickly. What a disgrace.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  260. shawn mcdowell

    It is simple Jack. Those who make the decisions to send other parents children to die in foreign, have NO VESTED interest to protect. Their children are kept out of harms ways, so why would a politician care for the welfare of a soldier or veteran...there is no profit in doing so.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  261. Wendy NC

    Jack, having senators like John McCain who refused to vote for the new GI-Veteran's bill doesn't help. When a wealthy veteran turns his nose up at a bill to help all these kids coming back from Iraq, because he thinks it's "too generous", then I think all his veteran's benefits should be revoked and given to a jobless vet who served 2, 3 or 4 tours in Bush's 3 trillion dollar war.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  262. mike beaver

    i am a vet and for over 20 years i have learned that the va is very political and is used by presidents to cut money from because the american people just dont care or have very short memories,

    January 30, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  263. Dan Kren

    How the country treats its Veterans is reflective of how the country treats everyone. It is just more magnified with Veterans because of there sacrafice. People in government care about there power, that's it, we are all disposable. Once the Veterans have done there duty and the government has no need for them, they see no need to spend any more money on someone that is done serving.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  264. john cox

    The Republicans, when in charge, think putting a ribbon on the car and saying "we support the troops" is all thats needed. The Democrats, when in charge, are attacked for "welfare big government waste" when they try to give any services. Which are "COUNTRY FIRST??"

    January 30, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  265. Nick

    I don't know why we don't treat our veterans better Jack. All I know is that it has and it is becoming a great stain upon this nation's honor to have Veteran's who can't get healthcare, who can't get the medical and mental treatments they need after their tour of duties and worse, we have a quarter to a half of a million veterans who are homeless. This is shameful. This country needs to do all possible, in a recession or not to fight for the men and women in uniform who have fought for us.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  266. Carlton West Palm Beach Florida

    Jack!!!!!

    Great question, but I think you should ask John McCain

    Carlton

    January 30, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  267. barbara

    I wish we knew why this is so; then, maybe we would fix it once and for all. For way too long we haven't put our money where our mouth is. It's way past time to correct this. I think the idea mentioned by Mr. Filner is an absolutely wonderful plan. I sincerely hope we adopt it!

    January 30, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  268. Rick Schmidt

    Mr. Cafferty. . .Gee, I don't know. Maybe we should ask Mr. Bush or Mr. Cheny.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  269. Katie Bauer in Iowa

    Simply Jack, our last president treated them as pawns, to only to be thrown away when deemed worthless. (dead or wounded)
    It makes me beyond angry that some people (Bush, Conservatives) are so damn stubborn that they are against giving government help to the very people that protect their sorry asses.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  270. Bill (Honollulu, Hawaii)

    Simple Jack!

    They don't care about us Veterans. They use us up and spit us out. Still waiting for an increase for my VA Benefits. I have second degree chemical burns on my back, which led me to have 3 tumors in my lower back. They were surgically removed at Tripler Army Medical in Honolulu, Hawaii. I have nerve damage! I have uncontrollable twitching in my libs, severe back pain. Yet, I can only reiceive $125 a month for life.

    Think about that Jack!!

    Shameful!

    January 30, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  271. Mike Howell

    The reason that veterans are not treated better is when the US no longer feels threatened it reverts to the mentality of "Dogs and soldiers keep off the grass."

    January 30, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  272. Pete Xander

    They are the casualties of social conservatism. Just as social conservatives bloviate about the "culture of life" and being "pro-life," that so-called concern ends as soon as those poverty-stricken kids are born and suffer thorough being at the bottom of the societal heap. They're all in favor of sending troops to fight in stupid wars, but don't give a damn about them when they come home physically and emotionally scarred. It'll take years, Jack, but Bob Filner is on the right path.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  273. Constantin (Fort Bragg)

    I know this is against Free Market theory, but why not open up AAFES for civilians? If the way AAFES is now it can successfully fund all MWR programs, all of its own expenses plus hire thousands of people – make it bigger! AAFES can easily compete with private companies. I know this is socialism but desperate times require desperate measures.
    Constantin, Ft Bragg, NC

    January 30, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  274. Carl -MN

    Hey Jack:

    They are but pawns in the Bush/Cheney offensive.
    Ever since the privatization of our military in Vietnam,
    the value of those serving our country, in the armed forces,
    has been marginalized for the sake of profiteering
    PMCs (Private Military Contractors).

    It is shameful and hideous how we have treated our best and bravest.

    The "Three Trillion Dollar War" is upon us.

    Carl in MN

    January 30, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  275. Jan in SC

    Jack, Because this nation has a sickening systemic attitude of
    use'em and abuse'm and bring on the fresh meat. We do it in Corporate America and to those that defend this country with honor.
    Have we always been such a disgusting people?

    January 30, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  276. Marsey in Chicago

    Why poor conditions for vets? Because people like John McCain vote against their benefits....he voted over 90% of the time NO to increasing or enhancing benefits to Veterans, which is found on his Senate voting record. And he had the nerve to run his campaign using the "Great American Hero" image.....appalling, but not surprising.

    Check your own I-Reports......you'll see it there.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  277. Bob

    Why don't the government do a good job taking care of our Veterans?

    That's an easy one.

    Because they don't do a good job of taking care of anything!

    January 30, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  278. jp ozambela

    Perhaps the republicans who have been running the show for awhile considered it a "socialist handout" to take care of the troops participating in our socialized organization called the US military.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  279. CM1 H.C.

    This country doesn’t take the proper care of combat veterans for a simple reason: That would require that they acknowledge us.

    We’re the vicious guard dogs kept outside in the rain, snow, sleet and storms and only released to fend off the enemies of this country. Socially, we are outcasts because of what we do. We are repaid for our sacrifice with a handshake, a verbal thank you and then by being ignored, yet not a single TRUE Soldier/Sailor/Marine/Airmen would go back and change their decision.

    Hooyah my Brothers and Sisters!

    CM1 HC, USN

    January 30, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  280. Matt P

    I think that our country doesn't take better care of our veterans because veterans, the most patriotic people in America are also the least likely to complain when they are mistreated by this country.

    One could liken it to a person who is loyal to a certain type of car. That person may live their lives dedicated to driving a given brand of car, but once they are let down by that brand, they will be less likely to complain than a person who does not display such brand loyalty.

    We must remember that it is not unpatriotic to question this great country, but only furthers our progress toward becoming a better place to live and work.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  281. chuck schroeder

    Jack,
    A simple answer for a disgraceful circumstance. The Veterans simply do not have a good lobbyist! In a day and age of the squeeky wheel getting all of the grease, the Veterans should have someone on the Hill that can at least take pictures. A few pictures of the Veterans Adminstration's crumbling infrastructure would be very effective. We should not have waited for the Walter Reed embarrassment. This is a scandal that transcends ALL of our past, present and future Administrations!

    January 30, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  282. Joe

    I volunteered during the Vietnam era and volunteer for Desert Storm.

    When I joined up they said I would have free medical care for the rest of my life if I stayed 20 years.

    Well, what we have now is called Tricare from Humana. It is a good deal, but it isn't free and each administration since Desert Storm has tried different ways to axe it or raise prices.

    If we walked in the door of a Military Hospital they would probably laugh at us Vietnam vets. Or they would be closed for "training" ... means they are goofing up somewhere or on the golf course.

    I served for 28 years.

    Dear Mr. President, and both the House and Senate. Please don't mess with Tricare or increase the rates.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  283. Frank J Plummer

    Why dont we take better care of our veterans you ask? It's obvious they do not have a lobbist and they are not the sons and daughters of the politicians who put them in harms way. The only vets who got a decent deal after the war was the WWII vets after that we used them and forgot them.....

    January 30, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  284. Steven Litts Jenkins, KY.

    Jack, give us some real meat to chew on. This is so simple.. Veterans are like every other profession in the new millineum. Every one is quickly disposable and forgotten about. No if's, and's or but's about anything.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  285. Paul Rogers, Walker, Michigan

    It is simple Jack!

    This country and when I say that, I mean the government, has never and will never truly care about the average American. This is because they live in a fantasy land. Much like Hollywood and its actors and actresses, the US government make way more money than they should and they can't relate with average people.

    Everyone that makes more than 100k a year doesn't have a clue and needs to bring there ego's out of the clouds and start learning to become leaders and learn how to have morals and ethics, two things that government knows nothing about.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  286. Karen Assenmacher

    Soldiers should have access to many of the private rehabilitation programs that are already in existence. Unfortunately agencies have to go through miles of red tape for approval in order to serve this group. Not everything has to be done by the feds.

    Karen

    Michigan

    January 30, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  287. Mr Dean n Seattle

    didn't Dick Cheney say it the way the reoublicans feel?
    His response was
    So What.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  288. Blake

    We are a country of such relative comfort and security that it is dangerously easy, even during wartime, to forget the sacrifice of our soldiers.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  289. Philip Meyers

    Jack,
    The truth is that as returning vets we are no longer 'useful' or productive to the 'powers that be'. Like the elderly, the disabled, sick and infirm AND children we get the short end of the stick. BEFORE joining the Marines everything was 'Rah-rah-rah', NOW it is ...'I have no further use for you'!!!

    January 30, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  290. Karnpal Cheema

    I'm fourteen years old, and even I beleive that we should treat our veterans better! The only reason that veterans are not being taken care of is because they're not providing our country a service, that the government thinks that they should be busy doing. After their tour of duty, or fighting, or whatever service they provided our country is up, the government doesnt want to deal with them, Not only is it the governments fault, its also the American peoples' fault for not vocalising this issue enough!

    Karnpal
    Berlin, Wisconsin

    January 30, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  291. Charles

    With capitalism, if you are retired and can't produce anymore, you are useless.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  292. mike woolley

    i feel, not think, that the va in Minneapolis has the greatest medical team most of which is from the University. Primary care and surgical I am very pleased with thier help.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  293. James, Illinois

    Get real Jack! You as well as everyone else knows. We dont care, what is so sad we are too afraid to care. Our government and our country is owned by the big companies, such as the ones who took our money to get bigger bonuses, after robbing us blind and making bonuses off of us for manipulating the common man. Its as simple as this rich gets richer and the rest of us are just slaves.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  294. Jeanne Holley

    Dear Jack, Have you never read Rudyard Kipling's poem "Tommy"?
    I quote: Oh it's Tommy this and Tommy that and Tommy go away; but it's thank you Mr. Atkins when the band begins to play." Tommy of course is in the Military. I see hundreds of "Support Our Troops" bumper stickers, but God Forbid we should support our Veterans. We are pathetic in this country with our short memories and our inability to say Thank you to the people who protect us with the care they deserve.

    I am the Mother of a former Marine.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  295. Mike

    Because Americans don't feel threatened by the War on Terror. They've already forgotten the events of 9/11 and therefore don't care about supporting those out fighting abroad. Only future attacks on the homeland will continue to arouse any support, if any. Veterans have always been looked upon as screwed up individuals in this country, its sad because many of us have given all he had when we served and nobody appreciates a damn thing when we return.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  296. Liz, Windsor, Ontario, Canada

    It blows my mind that so little is allocated for the U.S. returning combat veterans. For one thing, the U.S. has an all-voluteer armed forces, and they should be given ALL the care they need for the rest of their lives if they return alive from their duties. Several billion more dollars should be allocated for these brave veterans in the stimulus plan. Why doesn't someone come to their senses?

    January 30, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  297. Max

    Jack
    You must be joking. The USA has never taken care of it's veterans.
    Politicians want their blood sweat and tears, even their lives.
    Vetearns care in this country is a national DISGRACE !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 30, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  298. Robert, Tuscaloosa, AL

    That's easy: most of our "leaders" have never actually served in the armed forces.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  299. Ivan "Iraqi War Veteran " Gutierrez

    Jack,

    Simple tell me how many Congress members have family members in the military, better yet how many of them have family members that are Enlisted because those ranks are filled more like inter-city men and women.

    Hopefully next time they say "Send in the Marines" they have a better plan for those that come back injured – Physically and Mentally

    Ivan

    January 30, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  300. LT Jeff H.

    Veterans are out of sight, and out of mind. The squeaky wheel gets the government money. Most vets have too much honor and pride to scream for better treatment from a population with a 5 min attention span. Remember, less than 1% of this country is Active Duty Military. 3% of the country in incarcerated. That speaks volumes...

    January 30, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  301. Brad Garrett

    While I am not so sure why they are not better taken care of i can say one thing. The idea that you must wait for the government to give tax money to a cause is just not true. Being a Canadian i can tell you that we take good care of our veterans but it is taken care of actively. The proceeds of the rememberance day tradition of purchassing poppies to display support go to the legion (veterans affairs of sorts) and they often run fundraising campaigns and if there is something that veterans need that they do not have someone is very vocal about it and change is fast. Perhaps it is our multy party system that allows us to bring about change more quickly, because we don't have to choose the party that we think will do the best job, but just vote out parties when they do a bad job.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  302. Ronald Alvarez

    As the King in the movie Shrek said "we salute those of you about to die for your country. But it is a sacrafice , I as King, am willing to make." The Govt, the Presidents, and its people care little for those who get wounded or die..because they represent so few of us....they are expendable in all ways.....to most people within the USA.. The majority cares less! signed Ron Alvarez ,Lexington KY, Vietnam Vet

    January 30, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  303. Glennon from San Francisco.

    The reason the veterans in this country arent taken care of is because it was very easy to send other families kids to a war Bush started. Why didnt Bush and Cheney send there kids to war to fight? If that would have happened, maybe they would have thought longer about what they have done to American men and women who went to fight, not for our country , but for a country who could care less about the USA. The Bush daughters could have gone, but like there father, they found a way out. Cheney's daughter of course was protected under the "dont ask dont tell" rule. Its a shame this country doesnt care for it's soldiers after wards. I hope Obama changes that, I think he will. He is concerned about EVERY American, not just his family!

    January 30, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  304. Jason Paulsen

    The wealthy and influential in our society generally don't have children in the military, so what do they care? Sadly this is why our best and bravest are always at the end of the bread line.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  305. christopher

    while I do not argue PTS is an issue, I do argue the numbers being thrown out.
    I have personally known vets, one back from Iraq, the other Afghanistan, diagnosed with PTS. The reality is both were flunkies before they went into the military, had gone into the military to get a life, and while over seas both of their wife's blew their paychecks while screwing around with other men. That is their PTS.
    I have to question how many of these men are included in the numbers being thrown out. The issue isn't PTS, the issue is: "how could the one i loved so much do this to me?" The issue is, how many bad marriages were exposed by an illegal war in Iraq?

    January 30, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  306. Bob in Florida

    Jack;

    It is simple. It is FAR EASIER AND CHEAPER to put a magnetic rubber shape onto our vehicles, so we can show feined support and patriotism. Those who have NOT been warriors, do not care to REALLY give what is owed.

    This country has forgotten how to honor it's veterans DURING WAR and afterwards, as it has been after each and every war we have had. The veterans SHOULD BE the highest honored, given first place at every opportunity, and first to receive benefits, first to receive housing, first to receive medical care.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  307. matthew todd

    jack,
    As a veteran it makes me sick when I see how we are treated. People don't have a clue of the hell our veterans go through to serve this country. Just like the inequality of class and race, the rich banks get money, and the average worker gets screwed. The people of this country take their lives for granted and don't have any idea what real suffering is like the people in third world countries. Americans are spoiled rotten, and if a problem doesn't affect them, they don't give a damn.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  308. James Lenon - Chuckey TN

    Soldiers are considered cheap, poorly educated, and expendable, Jack. Those that don't serve in uniform never know what those of us who have experience on their behalf. Until we have universal national service, it will continue to be as simple as changing the channel to avoid any concern on the part of our elected leaders and our non-serving citizens for the men and women who place their lives on the line in dangerous duty in dangerous places.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  309. John Weitzel

    Dear Jack,Your question is an excellent one and I have no idea.But it is a real shame.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  310. Matt

    I think its an inherent problem. Lets really think about what the veterans are up against. Doing the hardest job in the world, getting injured or killed and the same old question, "really, why are we there?" It must be difficult to shoot a man and still not know the true purpose. With the way civilian casualties occur over there... Its an accomplishment to kill Al queda, but to kill an innocent person, to me would be much like killing someone in a car accident while being the cause and under the influence... that type of tragedy is hard to let go of. I just think that if the purpose of the veterans agenda was more clear, it would be the most important source of pride and accomplishment, which keeps people happy...

    January 30, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  311. Kelly, Broken Arrow, OK

    Like it or not, our government is transactional. How many K Street Lobbyists represent disabled veterans?

    A yellow sticker saying "I support our Troops" ain't good enough. If you own one of those stickers and you haven't yelled at your congressman, you should be ashamed.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  312. Denise

    Because we are a use once thow away society its ashamed that women and men who put their lives on the line have to go begging as if they havent contrbuted to society.If the rich had to go and fight it would be much better for them. Pittsburg California yeah california in norcal.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  313. Les Halvarson

    Jack, it's like I wrote in this song

    You say support the troops
    When we're at war
    But when it's all over you're not there anymore

    You say support the troops
    Yet you soon forget their fate
    You're just a Fairweather Patriot

    Elmer Creek Conspiracy

    January 30, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  314. Jon

    Jack,

    This is a result of our overall ignorance and lack of debate in our country about Wars and the domestic consequences of these Wars! Our politicians who embark on these ventures, for example the Iraq War, know that the economic underclass that constitutes the majority of our military don't have lobbyist or powerful representation and by the time they come back from war and get mired in the bureaucracy, the politicians have achieved whatever ideological and corporate goals they had behind the committing to any war. Most sadly politicians rely on general public's short term memory when it comes to armed conflicts.

    Jon from Washington DC

    January 30, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  315. William Speight Sr

    Because our country talks the talks, but does not walk the walk. Until more people serve in the military (bring back the draft), things will continue to be the way they are. The average american has no idea of what its like to be in the military, so they cannot relate. So as a vet, if I complain about something, they look at me like I'm crazy. The cannot relate!!!!!

    January 30, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  316. R. Bryant

    Because, as a country, we do a better job wearing flag pins, renaming french fries and talking asw loud as possible who is and who isn't a patriot as oppose to showing it through deeds. There is nothing more unpatriotic than for a country to allow a veteran to go homelessness, fight for healthcare or sent through changes in order to receive benefits.

    R. Bryant
    Gaithersburg, Md.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  317. Jon, Edwardsville, IL.

    Americans tend to have that "don't ask, don't tell" mentality. People feel that it's not their problem if they are not directly affected by it. Health care will always be an issue in this country, for veterans, children, and many other people. In order to guarantee health care it would mean America would be adopting socialist ideologies. Americans are afraid of socialism and anything that could reflect it!

    January 30, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  318. Harry Lime

    This is a higher number than all the people who went to Afghanistan and Iraq. How can this be?
    The government is schizophrenic, I never have understood why the veteran budget is so low. On the other hand, the 'statistics' I see flung around about these issues don't make sense.
    Harry

    January 30, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  319. Rob Clark

    Jack, being a veteran myself, I find the lack of care for people who risked so much for the greater good disgusting. Taking care of veterans who embody the the idea of selflessness should be a top priority for the United States. Anyone who doubts the sacrifices these men and women have made need only to visit a VA hospital and talk with them. I think that would be an extremely sobering visit to say the least. Airborne!

    January 30, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  320. Robert Cennery

    Mabye it is because of attitudes of people with a lot of power, such as Kissinger who said "Military men are dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns for foreign policy.”

    Ret Vet

    January 30, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  321. Brian

    Jack,
    Being a veteran myself and cared for at a VA center, I know the condition of the hospital I attend is not a problem. The problem is keeping doctors. There were times, I would find out the doctor quit on the morning of my appointment. There were times, where they said they would call me back when a new doctor arrived for that particular department. Some calls were never returned. I have minor injuries and this affects me poorly. I can't imagine what it would be like for someone that may have lost a limb. I guess the doctors are either too greedy or the VA refuses to pay them enough.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  322. Abby - Los Angeles

    This speaks to a larger issue, which is the lack of know-how among today's veterans. These are kids who are plucked from neighborhoods where political savvy is not exactly present, taken to war, and return without a clue as to how to use their benefits. If we really wanted our veterans to be cared for, we'd teach them from the outset how to use their benefits – perhaps even inspiring future service.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  323. Jeremiah Johnson

    This is the fault of Bush. I worked in social services for 7 of the 8 years Bush was in office and every year he cut services and funding for services for vets and even set down time limits for how vets can access services even when they were funded. Bush's treatment of vets was traitorous and criminal. This was a tragedy a long time coming. Lets hope Obama puts this embarassment in his top three priorities. Bush should go to jail.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  324. rich

    It's not the VA. It's the vets. It seems to me since I'm a disabled vet that you have to go and demand and register with the VA to get the ball rolling. They are there for the vet but a lot are just lazy or incompitent or are trying to put it to the gov. just so they can lay around. The VA isn't going to hold each individual's hand to try to help. And they aren't going to check under bridges or cardboard boxes looking for vets.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  325. Tom

    Jack:
    I think the reason this country doesn't take care of Military Veterans, goes all the way back to Korea. Korea was not a declared WAR, and it has been the same since that time. If the Government of the U.S. does not declare war, it doesn't feel that it is responsibile for taking care of the returning vetrans from these conflicts. I was in the Military from 1964 to 1968, they (the Government) did the same with Agent Orange and other issues. Viet Nam was not a declared war either. I think the younger people of this country are in need of some History lessons so they can be educated about these issues.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  326. Pat Wasvary

    Our government has gotten away with poor medical support for our veterans which makes this just business as usual. Mess 'em up and send them home. -a Viet Nam Veterans wife...of 44 years.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  327. bob wolfe

    no lobbyists/special interests spending dollars bending ears of senators, or congressmen for their votes for better veterans medical care.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  328. ED in RI

    Jack;
    Too early to answer your question, since we now have a new commander-in-chief. The country remembers Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld, with cable and network news agencies describing conditions at VA hospitals.
    PNAC and neo-cons succeeded in using the combat veterans for their ideological purposes. Should we expect anything other than what we got?
    NK

    January 30, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  329. Harold

    It is has become that we in the United States has been put in a situation over the years by our government that we are the focus for taking care of the rest of the world. We have left groups in our own country such as veterans, aged and the homeless to fend for themselves or to receive very limited aid. Having been the richest country in the world why haven't we taken care of our own first and the rest of the world second.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  330. Tim in Texas

    Because most of those who serve in combat positions come from families with low incomes. If taxes are raised so that we have the funds to support the Vets, the Republicans scream, "Socialism, redistribution of wealth, big spending liberals!" Betcha if there were more kids of the wealthly serving and they only had access to the same care as everybody else, things would turn around quickly.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  331. mb55

    I also want to comment on the use of the word "WAR". War is when we as a Country is fighting for Life, LIberty, and Justice not an incursion which is basically chasing a group from oneside of the world to the next. The word is terribly used out of context in this fight against terrorism.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  332. Grant

    Jack, its a shame that the brave men and women that serve in our military are reduced to a mere statistic in the military-industrial complex. The government forgets that for each casualty, each statistic, represents a name, a face, and a human spirit. It's sad to say, but once a car has been driven to the max, and let's say, retired, you are hesitant to fix it up. Did I really just make that analogy? I apologize. I guess thats just how I see it.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  333. John Kelley

    In the early 1960s, I saw a movie called 7 Days in May in which Kirk Douglas played a Colonel who helped the President twart a military coup. There was a scene between Douglas and George Macready the actor, how civilians only bring the military out when the country is in a jam and then forget about them after the crisis is over.
    That scene says everything about polticans and Americans in general. If there is there is any group of Americans who need help, it is our your veterans who put their lives on the line while others stayed home and talked about the war.
    We should make it mandatory that at least 50 billion be set aside for American veterans.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  334. glen

    I am a retired vet. Its sometime seems that we (vets) were good enough to defend this great country, but now its a struggle for a vet to get what he or she deserve (the help). I sure those who make the rules do not worry about their medical issues because they have the power of the pen. The vets at least need to be taken care of because he or she served while they wrote the law. GIVE the VETS the help they need.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  335. larry

    jack, the lack of care for the veterans is just another one of bush's hrrendas decisions, he never cared about what was happening with the military as long as they were killing people while they were fighting,and when they came home he completely forgotten, it reminds me of an indiviual in from germany in the 1940s.,the bush administration should definitly be prosicuted for their crimes, enough said. larry–michigan

    January 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  336. stewart from new york

    the reason why we don't take care of our veterans is mainly because they don't make enough requests even if they do not enough times to be taken seriously they just make it seem like their doing it for their country when the country is not doing anything for them they need to make requests and stick with them even if it means going on strike

    January 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  337. ken m.

    dear jack , the reason is that this dam war has been going on so long not very many poeple think about it. the damage done to these men in the last 8 years has been to much for them to handle, this war will be a burden on the military for generations to come, more money should go to the troops for what ever help they need related to this war. the bush adminastration has damaged our military in many ways but the worst was the breaking of the genivia convention rules of war .it was a slap in the face to every veteran, yet i to this day belive that both bush ,channey deserve to be procecuted for the damage they caused, or should face a real investigation on just how this war got to where it is . god bless our troops god bless america

    January 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  338. Pam

    That's a good question. One I've been asking for 28 years as a wife of a Viet Nam Veteran. What program does our government cut first? Veterans and SS benefits. Our Veterans deserve the best care and benefits in this country. They have been wounded and live with their physical and mental scars for the rest of their lives. Young lives that have been sacrificed and then ignored when they come home. Yes, everyone want to support our veterans when they are over seas and fighting for this country but where is the support when they come home and have to survive for the rest of their lives?. It is shameless that the government claims time and time again they cannot afford to increase benefits. However they always have money to send our soldiers to war.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  339. Kathryn Foley

    No veteran having served this country should have to ever worry about healthcare..........They should have the best! No questions asked.......And combat veterans injured or not should not have to pay taxes on the same scale as the rest of us Americans..........They have already paid with their sacrifices........

    Kathryn Stella Foley
    Meriden, CT

    January 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  340. Rick

    Look who has typically made the bulk of our military. No it isn't a race thing, it is a class thing. Those with not many other options. Others don't want to have to deal with wars or the aftermath. Head in the sand mentality.

    The problem doesn't end there though. It is very confusing to get benefits. If you are like me who served 6 years but was fortunate enough that we weren't in a "conflict" at the time you aren't eligible for jack (no pun intended). I once applied for a job that required testing. I scored highest on the test but was passed over because a female vet got 10 points added to her score. (Her unit went to Grenada even though she didn't!) All vets should get the same benefits regardless of when they served.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  341. Dot

    Jack-everything is out of balance I might say-let all of the CEO's donate their salaries and bonus's to the Veterans Hospitals-that would be a start-Millions upon millions – what a great help that would be and also let them live on $1575 a month like I do-I am from a military family-give them honor and health care – that is the least that those nuts who backed the war could do for our service men and women.

    .

    January 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  342. Gene Johnson

    The reason our veterans are – and have been since the Vietnam War – treated so badly by the government they have so faithfully and dutifully served is that the government is no longer a government by, for and of the people. The corporations have flooded the process of government in this country with so much money through lobbyists that we have gone from a democratic republic to a corporate oligarchy. The corporate oligarchy is interested in only one thing: their profits. There is simply more money in blowing hell out of foreign countries than taking care of the needs of our own veterans. Corporations can make more profits from killing people than in caring for our own veterans. The corporate oligarchy's thinking is that soldiers are a commodity to be used, discarded and replaced as needed.

    Gene
    Hazel Hurst PA

    January 30, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  343. Rob

    jack, the veterans of the cold war got zilch....most enlisted for 4 years
    or get drafted. I was stationed in France and travelled on tdy for weeks
    and worked 12 hour days . When we got discharged we were entitled to nothing,think about it , no civil service points , no property tax relief,
    no education benefits until 1964. We also dedicated ourselves to our military services and proud of it . Rumsfeld is the only one who wanted to give recognition to cold war veterans.....

    January 30, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  344. william

    Beats me, and if we owe anyone in this country something it's our vets. Our Government surely could do a lot more for vets and so could all of the multibillionaires in this country that call themselves Philanthropists, Our Veterans make great sacrifices to protect them and their wealth and I'm sorry, but we the words "We Support The Troops" just isn't enough. These brave Americans need our help.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  345. Karen

    The military healthcare program is Tricare. As the wife of a retired Marine I can tell you it should be called Try To Get Care.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  346. Dorinda, Dayton, OH

    I know that many of us are outraged by the treatment our men and women who have served this country in the military are receiving as they return home to American soil. But is our outrage serving its purpose? Has anything changed for them other than for superficial show? More needs to be done but other than flashing a story on the news every so often, are our servicemen really getting the support they deserve?

    January 30, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  347. Chris from California

    I think it has to do with the perception of what military is (at least in the government's eyes): A giant tool box, with each service member being a different kind of tool. When one dies or is too ingured to serve he or she is disregared like a broken piece of metal. The preception must end if anything is going to inprove. No matter how much a soldier is toughened up, they are still human beings! Not terminators, they are stiil subject to the same problems we "normal civilians" are subject too.

    I find is sad when the goverment can keep telling us to serve our country no matter the cost, when they can't even properly serve us and all they think about is the cost.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  348. Stan - San Francisco

    Jack, Your question today regarding veteran health care couldn't be more timely for me. I am a Viet Nam veteran and yesterday received the response of a VA co-pay eligibility review. My income last year was $13,000, but when their review board saw I had an IRA account worth more than $80,000, they decided that I must be reviewed based on my assets. They have decided that I must make co-payments for visits because of my assets, based on my ability to withdraw money from that account, which would eventually appear in my income tax declaration. My translation of this action is they only want to serve veterans, who are basically homeless and/or in otherwise destitute situations. I wonder what co-pay arrangement congress has engineered for themselves?

    January 30, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  349. mb55

    We don't even abide by the Geneva Convention if tha's the case with the word "WAR". Sorry but i forgot about the comment in my previous post.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  350. Mike Moncilovich

    Jack, if you would give vets more help, it would be socialism, you know like Social security and medicare and in a every man for himself style of goverment, that is not acceptable. Ask Rush who in his bio said he put 4 yrs in the US army and actually never spent a day. The voice of the neo replublicans....Mike

    January 30, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  351. D Wilson

    There is a free alternative treatment called EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) that has a wonderful successful rate with veterans. I don't know why the government doesn't tell veterans about it. Maybe because the pharmacutical companies are such great supporters of their party of choice and they want soldiers to be on Zoloft the rest of their lives. Any of you can google and find out all about EFT.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  352. Success

    Jack,
    i served in the original Desert Stom, remenber the little deal called Labanon. 3 tours as well as the Granada invasion.

    I came home, couldn't hold a job, couldn't keep a healthly relationship you know all those things associated with fighting for your country. I'm 45 now. i have two arthretic hips, a sleep disorder and high blood pressure.

    i applied to the V. A. for assistance as Health Care well you know is outragious and i'm a commission salesperson with a family of 5, plus 2 from a previous marriage.

    i was promptly thanked for my service but denied because i'm barely getting by, by well, not going to the doctor of course and taking asperin by the handful for the pain.

    I'm proud of my service but i always thought family was suppose to look out for each other.

    why is my Uncle being so mean to ME.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  353. Colleen Meegan RN MSEd MSN

    Until the Veteran's Administration admits that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is real and is what is leading to the demise for all the injured warriors who suffer from it, I predict that no progress will be made. PSTD is a catch-all term that describes the hell most of the warriors that return to us live. George put them in harm's way and fed them to the wolves. I am very confident that President Obama will turn this mess around...not just with lip service, but with funding and setting up programs that really address the issue, not skirt around it. Yes, they do deserve better than what they have now. May God be with you all.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  354. jacqui-Buford, GA

    I thought this country did take care of its veterans before the Iraq war. From many reports, it seems that the prior administration did not value the veterans enough to provide all the funding required to take care of our soldiers. What a SHAME!!!!

    January 30, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  355. Erin from Texas

    Jack,
    Most of your readers have delineated quite a few of the reasons us Veterans only seem to receive lip service for our national service.
    As a young disabled Veteran, I can tell you that it is frustrating to see how underfunded my local VA is–and we are considered one of the best in the region. As much as I have to wait weeks for appointments, they are currently under a hiring freeze, with no end in sight.

    What people don't seem to understand, unless they've served, is that the military ages you prematurely. We put our bodies through more than any normal civilian, outside of professional athletes or Olympic types. At 31, I have arthritis, PTSD, high blood pressure and an auto-immune disorder, to name a few, and they are all service-related.

    When faced with Vets from the last 60 years of wars and service, all with equally debilitating diseases, and the effects of aging, it takes a lot more overhead than Congress currently doles out.
    I respect John McCain for his service, but he never did a Veteran a favor unless it involved a photo op.
    We need more people on Capitol Hill to fight for us, not their golf-playing, lobbyist friends.

    The other area that is woefully unfunded is women's health care. For all the female Veterans in the Southwest Texas Veterans Health Care System, there is only one, yes one, OB-GYN doctor, and one nurse practitioner.

    Supporting your troops means more than waving flags and yellow ribbons. It means helping them out when they come back in pieces. I hope this administration is a promising as it seems to be when it comes to Veterans Affairs. We can't afford anything less.

    Erin
    US Navy Veteran

    January 30, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  356. Jim Livesay

    The people that work for the VA Regional Centers say they are back-logged. They literally hold our lives in their hands. Ask any veteran what they really think and they will tell you without hesitation the VA wants us to die and go away. That's the general consenses with Vietnam vets. I'm sure it is with younger vets too. We need a MAJOR shake-up at these regional offices a total house cleaning!!!!

    January 30, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  357. Deb in Lancaster, PA

    I'm hard-pressed to come up with "why" on this one. There is absolutely no good reason to neglect our vets. Any wonder why it is becoming so difficult to attract volunteer service enlistments?
    I believe that 43 undervalues the average American's life. This would explain the treatment of veterans as well as the middle-class slide of the past 8 years. I also think his parents refused to buy him those little green plastic soldiers so that he could play "war" when he was a kid.
    43's philosophy toward our brave servicemen and servicewomen?:
    Round 'em up, send 'em over, use 'em up, and cut 'em loose.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  358. robert

    Jack, It is extremely difficult for the government to spread so much money so thin...something has to go without assistance in order to help out the things that don't really matter. Bridges to nowhere, upgrading a zoo, giving all sorts of aid to countries many of us have never heard of, etc... You have to understand that if you sideswiped the call to duty and you pull strings so that your relatives don't have to serve, especially during time of war or national crisis, things like V.A. or Veterans Programs or even the retraining or on-going health issues, doesn't matter. That would be considered as something you or your family members cannot benifit from so get it off the table!

    January 30, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  359. John Barraclough

    Too few America,'s have participated in the defense of this country, and as a result, do not know how much sacrifice is being made by veterans and their families. Until that changes our veterans will continue to suffer. Everyone should be required to serve their country, either in the military or some form of civilian service. Service to one's country will make you appreciate the benefits we have here in America.
    John
    Jonesborough, TN

    January 30, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  360. James Lenon - Chuckey TN

    Because too many of us believe that putting a piece of yellow plastic on a car, in some manner, supports the troops rather than a factory in China. And by the way, that idiotic yellow ribbon song dealt with a convict let out of jail, not a soldier returning from an overseas combat deployment.
    As a nation, we don't even care enough about our troops to get that part of it right.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  361. Allen in Hartwell GA

    Jack, I think the main reason is because we aren't used to having so many disabled veterans. In wars past the casualty rate was much higher and the wounded rate was much less. This and the fact that under the draft (i.e. Vietnam and before) when a draftee separated he really separated and never wanted anything more to do with the military. The volunteers of today have come to expect cradle to grave health care, so to speak.
    Allen
    Master Sgt., USAF, Retired (1969 – 1991)

    January 30, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  362. Meela

    In addition to our veterans, why don't we take better care of this country's millions of stay at home parents??? we are after all, nurturing, raising and caring for America's future human capital...which will no doubt include our children enlisting in the military.

    Even if we cannot get some kind of monetary unpaid labor benefit (as opposed to unemployment, welfare or Social Security) it would be really helpful if we could at least get free healthcare. Its about time we recognize all the labors of love veterans and stay at home parents give towards this country's future.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  363. Cameo (Memphis, TN)

    Jack,

    I have no idea why there isn't better care and resources for our Veterans. I find it shameful. These men and women are the ones who are on the front lines to ensure our freedom, our liberty, and our way of life. They should be afford everything we can give them to make sure their physical and mental health needs are met in thanks for all they've done. And even then it still wouldn't be enough.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  364. Steve

    I know many vets and have a son heading to Iraq. These heros are just pawns to the powers that be. Disposable. Get rid of VA centers and just provide good health insurance post rehab for them. Va Hospitals are a graveyard for those in real need.
    Wayne NJ

    January 30, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  365. Doc

    It's simple Jack. I worked as a Primary Care physician at the local VA for 10 years. I quit. Why? Because the VA has an inferiority complex. In their attempt to become better or like "the private sector", they have become essentially the biggest HMO and the definition of beaurocracy. All they really care about in their efforts to "electonically" convert everything is how their stats look on the computer and how the Administrators look based on these stats. They have forgotten about the patients!

    January 30, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  366. Bob Rimm

    Since the Vietnam war, has the majority of American's never served in the military. They have been taught in schools that weapons and fighting are wrong no mater what the situation. The military has, in this majorities mind, become a dirty little necessity that if the left had its way, would not even exist. The military is not considered a job with good pay, high social standing nor is it politically correct for the upper class to join. As a SCDAV I see this attitude even with my own grown children. I don't see how this can change as the average American does not appear to be willing to sacrifice for any real cause that could cost them thier life.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  367. Ken Toth

    Because America sacrifices Her young at the altar of Capital–ask Dick Cheney; he'll explain.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  368. Don H., Arizona

    In order to get support for "war" Washington intentionally under states
    the costs of war and the deployment of U.S. troops abroad. The veteran is considered disposable, he or she have done their part on active duty; now they, the Veterans, in Washington's eyes, are disposable and of no further use to the Washington War Machine. Congress lacks the integrity required to face up to the nations obligations to it's veterans, and provide affective post service health, medical and other benefits. The VA needs to get out of the medical business; all veterans and their immediate families should be provided with Tricare for Life benefits for two full years after serving on active duty; Further, those with service connected injuries should be entitled to full Tricare for Life benefits for the rest of their life. Current Veterans health care is on par with the health care available in third world countries, and is a national disgrace.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  369. BILL

    just remember the administration that was in controlled for the last 8 years. Dick & George didn't serve in Vietnam and did all they could to shirk their military duty. All our fallen troops for the past 8 years of war have not been allowed to be shown on the national news by george or dick. if you did not serve in the military our gvt did not ask us to sacrifice anything for those that fought & cut the Veterans Administration budget every year he was in office. No wonder the Vets are not taken care after serving-if the past administration cut their funds, health coverage, and extended their tour of duty, and not honor our dead hero troops-WHO WOULD!!!!!

    January 30, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  370. Rev. Bill Running Wolf, MSW

    For over twenty years I have been a service connected disabled veteran and I have observed a steady decline in the quality of health care for VA patients, especially over the past eight years. Euro-American "Conservatives" expect to be kept safe but have little empathy for those who suffer in order to achieve this goal. The desire for personal profit and personal power far exceeds the willingness to pay the taxes needed to provide quality healthcare to veterans, as was gauranteed to those who served.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  371. Dennis Hugo in Kansas

    I believe the lack of veteran respect and treatment is a direct result of liberal teaching in high schools and universities across the nation. Students are taught that the military is a tool that is abused by the office of the President in order to achieve their own goals around the world. The majority of people forget that the freedoms we continue to enjoy are a direct result of the men and women willing to put their lives on the line for our country. The land of the free, because of the brave. The only ones still appreciative of the military members and their sacrifices are people who have also served.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  372. Les Halvarson

    should have said that's Fairweather Patriot by Elmer Creek Conspiracy

    January 30, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  373. Mark

    Being a 21 year Veteran, Veterans are just like disposable batteries. Use them up and toss them away. When the upper crust of society have to be exposed to this type of dispoable treatment you'll get a change in that mentality, until then it's a mute question.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  374. Garey K. Bearden

    Jack, I may be just a tad older than you, but, no less an historian. I think you already know the answer. With the exception of veterans of world war two, the U.S. government has crapped on the veterans of every war we have fought. From the Revolutionary war to present, our government has not appreciated the sacrifices made by our soldiers.Presidents have sicced federal troops on prostesting veterans throughout history. Lee, Mac Arthur, Patton, and, Eisenhower have all been sent out to abuse veterans. Why should anything be different now?

    January 30, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  375. Barbara in Bath, Me

    Jack,
    As a woman who was a Navy wife for almost 20 years, I really think it is a matter of our screwed up priorities.
    Veterans are very important to our country, even more now that we no longer have a draft. With no draft, that means that the people who go into the military make the decision to do so on their own.
    Not only do the deploy away from family and friends, but the families of the military also make the sacrifice as well!
    Verterans are indeed the backbone of our country and deserve our respect and gratitude.
    Medical help for verterans is not something we should have to legislate, it should be absolute!

    January 30, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  376. Terry Austin Hunt

    Jack,
    You ask why veterans are not properly cared for?
    Because our citizen soldiers and veterans do not whine.
    Political pin heads use us, abuse us, then lose us.
    Terry Austin Hunt
    USMC/Vietnam Veteran/Sergeant/1st Recon Battalion 1969

    January 30, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  377. Trina B...Joliet, IL

    Because we are ungrateful or don't realize the full extent of scrafice they voluntarily undergo. We also have a bad habit of letting our feelings on the war reflect on the warriors. Hell, I'm sure they don't want to be at war anymore than we do. I bet of they had high power people to lobby for them, it would be different.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  378. Roy Schickedanz

    Veterans are given lip service. The identity of issues is limited to veteran himself and there is no real appreciation. His lot is what it has always been given, out of mind and out sight.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  379. Bill

    Jack,
    This country's treatment of our Vets is deplorable. I'm not a Vet, but I know when I owe. The only living group to which this country owes a darn thing is its Vet population. The moment they enter a war zone, they should know they'll get more healthcare than they need. Employers should get all types of incentives to hire wounded soldiers. College should be free to any war-Vet's kids, and why don't we have a celebration of our living and fallen Vets worthy of them?

    January 30, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  380. Joe

    One key problem in getting better care for veterans is the lack of support from the public. The public eye is turned elsewhere, such as the economic crisis. The prospect of a bad economy is instigating the self-preservation instincts of the American people, as evidenced by reduced spending and fewer investments. This mindset blinds the public to the misfortune of others and hinders much-needed aid.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  381. Jaycie, Los Angeles

    Out of sight, out of mind, Jack. During the Bush years, no photos of coffins returning from Iraq were allowed, and it's been the same thing with our veterans. Only occassionally when there is some really gross scandal like invasive mold and rats in veterans' hospitals, has this situation gotten any attention; after all, how can coverage of this have benefited any of Bush's rich friends? I'm hoping that with Obama in the White House, this is going to change. Why not take those billions in bonuses away from the Wall Street scum and use them to help our veterans who have given their all on our behalf?

    And thank you referrencing Truthout.org, one of the best if not the best website on the internet for real information about what's going on in the world. They not only feature origional pieces, but reprint many, many article from newspapers and magazines around the world. I have learned more from this website than from my many, many years of education put together!

    January 30, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  382. DebifromCa

    Jack we don't take better care of our veterans because the American people are fickled and they have short memories, they are too driven by things that matter to them, they don't think about the things that Bush did when he privatized Walter Reed, all the people who worked there got fired so they had no knowledgeable people to take care of the hospital.....what it boils down to is the Republicans just don't care about the veterans, George Bush did nothing to protect our men when they went to Iraq, they didn't have enough body armor or proper training to go there, and they don't have care when they come home. He even tried to take away Veterans benefits that my husband can get from Viet Nam, he was a shameful president and we are lucky the Republicans lost...with any luck President Obama will do much better.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  383. Jackie in Dallas

    There was a comment earlier in this blog about none of the government having relatives involved in our current wars. While that might have been true under President Bush, it certainly isn't true now. Vice President Biden's son is stationed in Iraq. In fact, there was quite a tempest in a teacup by some Republicans that he got leave to come watch his dad get sworn in. Those same Republicans can find hundreds of ways and reasons for their own kids not to go, but heaven forbid a Democrat whose kid is serving in an active combat zone be allowed to come home to see his dad become the second highest official in our land!

    January 30, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  384. shirley osborn

    Jack,
    Not investing in the broken lives of veterans is a moral tragedy: another national tragedy. How many Congressmen/women have had a member of their family crippled for life, have suffered terrible mental illness or have died in the service of our country? How are we citizens to think? Our Congress doesn't care? The investment in veterans doesn't promote their personal agenda? Have many of Congress visited military hospitals, have they walked the low income streets and seen homeless veterans wandering, talking to themselves.? How is it our government can send America's young men to war, bring some home on gurneys. some in wheelchairs and some a body bag, and ignore it? It's loathsome.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  385. John

    Why?

    Veterans have no real voice. We are patriots,the good guys mostly, to nice to say negative things or complain about our government. I am a Vietnam vet and i know people who are suffering with ailments worst than mine. But they have never file a claim. Even I am being treated for my Vietnam illness, but my claim has been turned down numerous times. Tha VA hopes you give up after being frustrated. Frustration takes a bigger mental toll on people who give rather that take.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  386. Gale in NJ

    One reason is that our government suppressed the horror from us. Once you see the coffins lined up at that facility in Delaware, or a soldier who is living with a traumatic brain injury, you are far more likely to do something to help.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  387. Rush Limbaugh primary unpaid advocate for the Democratic Party

    Jack,

    The Army has not learned to appreciate our fighting forces fully yet. Our modern Armed forces still operate on a utilize and replace battle plan similar to the strategy used in the revolutionary war. As long as people with heavily decorated uniforms hide in the pentagon and make decisions soldiers exsposed on the battlefield will continue to come home damaged goods mentally or otherwise.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  388. Vincent --Ansbach Germany

    This country should grant and give each veteran the benefits they so rightfully deserve. Let’s not forget that this country sprayed Agent Orange on its own soldiers and it took them 30 years to admit it. We have people providing rating decisions for veterans that can’t say their ABCs. Getting qualified people to apply the law properly will never happen. One billion or one trillion will not help. The system is broken.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  389. Patrick Balcazar

    My mother has seen three generations of Veterans, Father, Husband and Son. Today she is working as a volunteer at Fort Sam Houston with wounded soldiers. She understand the that the battle goes on long after the last shot was fired, and in some cases never ends.

    She is against war but gives her all for warriors.

    If political leaders would have the same manner of thinking, then the United States would not have a "Veteran" problem. Mom, if your watching CNN, which I know your are Thank You for thinking of Veterans when no one else does.
    Patrick J. Balcazar, Luquillo, PR

    January 30, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  390. Melissa

    Because veterans in the house and senate don’t suffer like regular veterans do. They are the fortunate ones who are millionaires. Regular vets don’t have anyone fighting for them in Washington. I concur some of the stimulus should be used to upgrade veteran status and it should be ran by veterans. We need a veteran stimulus plan.
    Screw Rush Limbaugh..he is a overstuffed ginnypig with a microphone...pass me the mic!

    January 30, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  391. robert

    I would like the goverment out of my business .I'm a vet. and a business owner and the government is going to push me out of business with regulations and taxes i'm considering closing my doors du to high self enployment taxes and workers comp insurance. I can't beleve I have to pay taxes on money earned for labor.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  392. Jeremiah Johnson of Portland Or

    To be specific: Bush made a policy that all vets, whether from WWII, Korea, Vietnam or the Gulf, etc. would only get help for 3 times or three years total in their whole lives. The policy of the VA hospitals under Bush was to keep handing out pills. Five died of the same pill combo that killed Heath Ledger, opiates and benzos, in the homeless shelter I worked at. They died over a period of three years. One guy with chronic bronchitis was told it was "too late to quit smoking" clearly out of rather having him die quickly. And every day he just sent more of our best and brightest to die without any conscience. If he couldn't kill them in the desert he killed them here at home. And don't even get me started on the vets with permanent disabilities being denied ss benefits over and over. I still volunteer helping vets and if we can't take care of our heroes, how can we dare say we are the worlds best nation? Every time I hear someone defend Bush or even go as far as to say he's a nice guy if you get to know him it makes me sick because of what he did to our country, especially the vets he treated like trash. Good luck Obama, I'm here if you need me.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  393. Dawn

    Well, Mr. Jack, I can only speak as a veteran who lives in Hawaii where we do not have a Veterans Administration Hospital but, instead, we have what they term a "VA Medical Clinic" which is only open from 730am-400pm Monday through Friday. If we have any after hours illness crop up, or if we need some sort of specialty care that the VA clinic does not offer or have access to treat, then we have to rely upon Tripler Army Medical Center which is primarily a military active duty and family member hospital and they simply do not consider Veterans to be much of a priority. At least that has been my personal experience as a veteran when I have had to use Tripler Army Medical Center for some of the care I have recieved as a 100% Military Service Connected Disabled Veteran. If you get somewhat lucky then the VA here might refer you out to a community based physician for care but that process usually takes anywhere from 5-6 weeks to many more Months to get approved and usually you are approved for one visit only; so if you see a doctor "outside" the VA or Army system here and they find something for which you might need follow up care, and if the VA or Army cannot provide that care then you have to go back through the process of getting approved for "outide the system" care and so your diagnosis simply waits for anything to be done because the paperwork has to be perfect before you can get further treatment.
    However, I find the fact that there is an Army "teaching" Hospital here and the fact that they take veterans and their illnesses quite lightly to be the most horrific problem. It is as if once you take off the uniform and have DONE YOUR DUTY FOR YOUR COUNTRY AND FULLFILLED YOUR COMMITTMENT, they no longer consider you to be a part of the military "family". All the while I was in the military, I had it drummed into my head that we should always respect those who had gone before us, but now that I am one of those who has gone before THEM, I seem not to matter as much. I might be given some sort of special treatment when going to some ceremony of little significance. Basically, they treat me well when a dog and pony show is in effect, but when it comes to making sure I have adequate medical care, then I am totally pushed into a corner and basically made to wait until "I cannot take it anymore"...a doctor told me that very thing recently regarding a surgery of which I am currently in need. He said that his mission was to "keep me out of the operating room until you [meaning ME, I] basically cannot take it anymore" (Of course, this was an Army physician I had to see at an Army clinic at the Army Hospital where of course I would have to get my surgery done by an Army surgeon in an Army Operating Room).
    The other problem, as well, is this. If you have been diagnosed with some sort of psychological illness, such as myself as I have been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder, then the doctors simply seem more eager to write off any physical problems you might have to that psychological illness as opposed to actually trying to figure out what might physically be wrong with you. I suppose it makes their job easier, especially the Military Physicians, if they can attribute your illness to something psychological rather than having them actually do their job and figure out what might physically be the cause of your physical complaints.
    Now if you ask any of these people if this is their written or otherwise expressed policy, they are of course going to say "NO, We take every veteran and their illnesses whether psychological or physical very seriously and it is our policy to take care of every veteran and respect them for their selfless service..." and yadda yadda yadda, Blah Blah Blah...but as I said in the beginning of my comments, I can only speak from my own personal experience as a veteran who has to rely mostly upon the Military hospital for the care I need, care which the VERY basic VA medical clinic here cannot provide. None of this "unspoken" policy will ever be documented because niether the Army nor the Department of Veteran's Affairs will ever write down what their true policy is for it is something that you can only experience as a veteran and as one who is going through the system first-person.
    That is my take on it. Love the show by the way.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  394. Dave

    Thanks Jack for your concern about us veterans. I was in the first Gulf Fiasco and some 17-18 years later now I find that the health problems I've experienced and have are not my imagination. The doctor at my local VA Outpatient Clinic diagnoses me with Gulf War Syndrome but in the same breath tells me that "you'll never get anything, and good luck!"

    I see the representative at the DAV in Pittsburgh PA who were most extremely helpful in applying for compensation...The glitch? The man who helped me tells me that "well, don't expect to even hear anything for at least one year, maybe more" with a glum look.

    My question is "WHY were we ask to serve we raised our hands, and went OVERNIGHT...Now when WE need help where is our Government who sent us?" I have a feeling our Government would rather *out wait* us hoping we'll either just die or disappear?"

    Only took them 18 years to even acknowledge/recognize us having any problems...

    January 30, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  395. Roger from Minnesota

    We as a nation have used our military as a natural resource. Use it when we need it and then throw it away afterward. Remember how wonderful the military was described by Bush & Cheney? Now when they need care after putting in their all, they are set aside. Meanwhile the Commmander and his nasty little assistant go off happily into the sunset, pockets loaded with cash............ : {

    January 30, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  396. Greg Mitcheltree

    That's easy Jack.The average G.I. who gets injured or killed in combat is just that,an average guy,not a fat cat or a politicians kid,and the politicians in this country could care less about the average guy and it makes me sick.Just like those arrogant bastards on wall street spending our money when they already spent everybody elses.And there is no one to answer to.I'm starting to think I should have voted Republican,especially if the Dems go after the second amendment.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  397. Ramon Lebron Colon

    Career CEO'S at VA Hospital that all they care is to take care of their cronies with little or none military service in their background and treats veterans like it they doing to them a favor is part of the problem. Secretaries of this agency(VA) also fall in this group, just look what happened in the last 8 years, trust me Jack,I'm a retired soldier who worked for the VA for almost 18 years,and I saw many abuses first hand. By the way San Diego VA CEO.is a good example of what I just said,he has been in that position since 1995.

    Ramon,
    Perris,Ca.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  398. Kay

    This is a disposable country, Jack. Use 'em up, throw 'em away. My partner served in Vietnam in 1968-69 and has been disabled by severe, chronic PTSD ever since. He tried to work hard and hold down full-time jobs, never could. Like so many others, he became a jungle vet: he retreated to the woods, made furniture, and tried to make a life. He's been totally disabled for 40 years, but there's no purple heart for him and no treatment until, recently, anti-depressants. It's a great country to live in, but if you fight for it, it forgets you. That's why the vet suicide rate is astronomical. They come back, and they realize that no one cares.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  399. Tim

    It's the same reason why we don't take better care of the elderly or people with disabilities or any other segment of our society that must rely on the support of others. Unless you are one of these people, or a family member of one of these people, it never becomes a "front burner" issue for you and certainly not enough to force change in our government programs.
    There have been many quotes from great leaders in the past, including Mahatma Ghandi who said, "A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members." As we struggle through this economic crisis, I pray that we do not forget those among us needing our help...ESPECIALLY those that have given so much to keep us safe and free.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  400. Terry Day

    Jack:

    Why don't vets have better health care. The answer is simple. There not the "lil darlins" of 9 out 10 parents. Re create the draft with NO exemptions for college, flat feet , etc and I guarantee you not one member of congress would dare to not adequately fund health care for military vets.

    Terry Day

    Delray Beach Fl

    January 30, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  401. Pam Houston TX

    Jack, I think Medical Care in the field is outstanding. The problem begins once we hit the Veterans Hospital System. We have a beautiful hospital but lack adequate physicians. Our physicians are basically Residents and Med students from Baylor College of Medicine. Count
    yourself very lucky if you ever see a faculty member. I was being seen
    in the Psychology Department by a physician visiting from China. He is a Family Practrice physician in his country but he wasn't able to practice his field here so they assigned him to the Psychology Department at the VA. Appointments for care is always based on the schedule of those students and you usually have to wait months for an
    appointment.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  402. vern-t anaheim,ca

    i am a veterean and proud of it and proud to have seved my country,we are not given the respect and recognition we deserve

    January 30, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  403. Kevin John Carroll

    The people that run our government are too busy scratching each others backs to notice that the backs of the young, generaly poor soldiers have been carrying their baggage along with our flag since the revolution. Used soldiers have no more use to the government than us tax payers have for an old used up Senator. The people who run our government should start all over and this time maybe they could try see farther than the nearest pork barrel.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  404. Lee in DE

    My question has always been why is the military so Republican? Vets voted for John McCain even though he voted against a new GI Bill for the Iraqi and Afghan vets. As I see Republican Conservatism, it is all about flag pins, photo ops, phony patriotism, and hubris. Conservatism is all about making college so expensive that young people will have no other course but to go into the military to get a degree or pay off their college debts. And then when the young men and women return home broken from the horrors of war, conservatives want to give them a parade and pretty much forget them.

    Is support for the military all about wearing flagpins and presidential photo ops? As long as the GOP receives so many votes from the military based on sentiment instead of real monetary and healtcare

    January 30, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  405. Stan England - Bowling Green - Kentucky

    Certainly our veterans in need of health care should be given a higher
    priority. Their service to our country is given a low priority. We should continually give adequate support/funding to our US Veteran Organizations and then there would not be any need to ask for a bailout. Most veterans do not have the influence to get a bailout package for their benefits. Maybe some of the Wall Street CEO's who recently received lucrative benefits could remodel one or two of their mansions and turn them in to VA Hospitals.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  406. S. Jacob, Albany NY

    45% of the money spend on veterans health programs is going toward post traumatic stress syndrome. My question is, how much of that is actually effective in “healing” people. Are we spending money on providing proper psychiatric care or are we allowing abuse of a system similar to what has happened with the outrageous legal insurance claims where anyone whose been in a fender bender or suffered from a paper cut on the job can receive half a million dollars for their troubles. I certainly support providing optimal health care for veterans. I have friends who served in Iraq and family members who served in Vietnam, all of which have depended on their veterans benefits to cover the cost of ongoing health problems. Veterans health benefits should be a top priority, but lets make sure the money goes to healing, not into the pockets of anyone who has the audacity to claim money simply because they can.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  407. Cori

    Jack, my father asked that same question when he returned from Vietnam. He suffered his whole life (until he died back in '89), and wondered why they were treated like yesterday's garbage. It looks like things haven't changed. What a shame.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  408. Greg, Ontario

    There is no monetary advantage to a politician pushing the welfare of a veteran. If it turned into election money they would be treated the way they should be. Having a country where the people aren't educated to understand their importance to our freedom and just how much they sacrificed doesn't help the matter either. They should be looked after a lot better than the politicians that's for sure.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  409. Kim in Dodge City, KS

    The fact that the large majority of responses to your question are the longest I have ever seen, tells me that it is not the people who have forgotten our veterans, it's the politicians and bureaucrats in almost all administrations that view the veteran as something to be swept under the rug. After all, they are used as cannon fodder for political gain, so why would politicians treat them any different when they come home, whether wounded or not? Lip service is all we get from the government.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  410. John from CT

    Why does the US take care of all of it's citizens particularly when it comes to medical care?

    January 30, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  411. Pauline

    As the wife of a Vietnam vet who was shot int the neck, millameters from decapitation, I can say there is one thing MONEY. Once the war is actively over there really is no concern. Yes, you are ENTITILED to the benefits, paid for in blood, but you MUST fight for every benefit one at a time to get them. A vet and his family get get the feeling that if the government can out wait you, discourage you, or maybe you'll just die, they will wait. This may seem dramatic but I can give you names and dates of vets who died from war injuries, or their repercussions. Look out the window at the "street" people, large percentage is vets who are so illusioned and discouraged they can't gather the energy to fight any more. My heart breaks every day and had for over 35 years, because I know who they are and how they got there. If you are in pain daily and can not battle the pain and the depression resulting from your governments desire to avoid the responsibilty.They have closed Vet hospitals, reduced the number of Vet Centers, a vet has to travewl many miles if he/she is not living in a big city that houses such facilities. Also you cannot get any help if the VA hospital messes up your operation, fails to treat properly your wounds. I know personally a vet who went for hernia operation and ended up with NO stomach muscles to hold his intestines in place, can I list all the problems that created in his life? And he can do nothing because he went to the VA, no money to do otherwise. Would YOU want to go to the VA for any further health care? He sure does not. I could go on and on, but what is the point? We need to care for our vets like they saved our lives, not like they were too stupid to not believe their country would betray they when they are needed most. AFER THE WAR>!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 30, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  412. Greg

    Vets are the kind of people who serve, not the kind that 'take'. They do not petition the politicians for entitlements, or looking for airtime. The attention, and money goes to the squeeky wheel.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  413. Larry

    Jack..I think a lot of us veterans..just come back home and don't seek any addtional help. Just proud to serve the country and get back to living our lives.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  414. Jake, Oregon

    When you've got flag waving, NRA boasting hypocrite GOP members including the former President and John McCain voting against Vets benefits, there is no need to wonder. You can't take care of rich contributors getting their rebates when you spend money on taking care of our Vets.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  415. Don Price USMC (Ret)

    Because the majority of our Senators and Representatives have never served in or defended our country as members of the Armed Forces. They don't have the slightest idea what the miliitary commitment means.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  416. frank

    IAM a vet
    and i can say that the people here want you to go to war
    because they are scare to go
    and they talk out both sides of there mouths
    we must stant behind are vets until they get home then nuts to them all who cares then ? nobody thats who
    this country was a great country at one time but not nomore
    THANKS to the people

    January 30, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  417. marlon

    It will start with the draw down in Iraq

    January 30, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  418. Archie

    Jack,
    Been there, done that. Being a Vet has never meant very much to civilian America. I can remember when people used to spit on us. I also remember people throwing cans and trash at me when I hitchhiked home on leave once. I hadn't even turned eighteen yet . . . just couldn't figure it out.

    We should have a National contract with our Vet's that allows them to seek whatever help they might need and also allows them to file suit against the US if the contract is not upheld.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  419. Lee in DE

    When in the military, young men and women are taught to be apolitical. When they return to civilian life, they and their families had better become much more political and better advocates for themselves. There is power in numbers. Use your numbers to speak out and make the general public aware of your needs and don't feel that it is not patriotic to criticize your government.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  420. Nehemiah

    I's simple Mr. Cafferty, Tradition mostly.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  421. Myke Holford

    Jack...words are cheap. It's easy to wave the flag, chant "support the troops" and stick magnetic ribbons to our trunk. It's much more difficult to expend the energy and resources necessary to revamp and restructure the VA to eliminate the antiquated bureaucratic fiefdoms. There is a huge need to increase and streamline interagency communication and increase efficiency to better serve the medical and psychological needs of the men and women who have served in all branches of the Armed Forces.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  422. Jeremiah Johnson of Portland Or

    The active duty community and the vets should get together and sue Bush for whatever their attorneys can file. He was their cammander-in-chief and he failed them. Lets finally make him responsible for something for ONCE! Electing Obama gave me hope, locking up Bush would give me justice. The most criminal and fascist supposed American president we ever had.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  423. Greg Stanforth, Cincinnati, Ohio

    Jack, my Republican friends all tell me that none of Roosevelt's stimulus programs had anything to do with the recovery from the Great Depression. They say that WWII is what ended the Depression. So do they then mean that even greater deficit spending is required to end our curren situation? Certainly America spent far more on the cost of WWII, including the most generous veteran benifits in our history, than they ever considered during the 1930's. Or did Victory bonds pay for it all? (Ha Ha!)

    January 30, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  424. Jackie

    Jack, The 93 year old man that froze to death in his Bay City, MIchigan home was a World War II veteran. An this is how we repay him for his service?

    January 30, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  425. Melinda Veirs from Kentucky

    As a retired Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for the VA, the reasons why vet care is so poor are twofold. First, during times of peace we always underfund the VA in relation to what is needed when we are involved in the next conflict.. It is ALWAYS easier to forget our veterans and our solemn promises to care for them when we feel the care level is lessened. Then we have an administration who finances an invasion in Iraq by deliberately underestimating the needs for such illnesses as PTSD to make the invasion more financially palattable to the unknowing public. As always when political shenanigans as these are used, the vets are the ones to suffer while politicians pontificate about how they support the veterans who they then stab in the back.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:55 pm |
  426. Independent for Obama

    Because we citizens have'nt threatened enough Senators and Congress-people's jobs, that's why. Let's start there, and I bet some amazing changes will happen.
    Janie, Springfield MA

    January 30, 2009 at 5:55 pm |
  427. Tom, Bradenton, FL

    My father served 22 years in the US Army, three tours in Vietnam and when I tried to step into his foot steps, he discouraged me. I was frustrated back then, now I understand his opinion. No wonder no one wants to serve anymore.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  428. perry jones

    the armed forces are this nations maintaince department and no wants to pay for nor do they consider thanking them so they just ignor them and that is wrong
    perry jones council bluffs iowa

    January 30, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  429. Barbara Streiff

    I understand exactly what our vets are going through. There are two main problems with the care offered to not only active duty but retired military. 'Use them until you use them up! #1. inadequate quality of physicians. They're not held to the same standards of care as the citizen facilities. #. 2. The Feries Act makes it okay to maim, kill, disfigure or whatever. The personnel has no recourse! I say the answer is give all military a Social Security medical card and let them have some control over their care. Same money by closing the VA hospitals and give the money used to operate them to Social Security Medicare! Then send all those foreign, so called doctor's back to where they came from.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  430. Paul G

    What else do you expect from American Citizens that elected a President named G.W. Bush. If you challenged sending them to war you were call non- american and unpatriotic. He cut thier benifits after he put them in harms way and the right and left never stopped him. I hope the right starts agreeing that we are all Americans.

    January 30, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  431. Jim, Spcial Forces Retired

    I'm 50 and have been in pain since before I retired 4 years after the Gulf War. The DIRECTOR of the Fayetteville, AR V.A. hospital told my congressman "after many doctors, his pain eludes diagnosis".

    Not ALL veterans are getting the treatment they need. All of my "civilian" doctors are X-Military. Most civilian doctors don't want to mess with our retired medical.

    I've been fighting the V.A. for financial benefits for over 4 years. We are still in appeal. I have all the symptoms of "Gulf War Illness" (recognized by the U.S. Government study) and I was IN FRONT of the front lines when the bombs dropped.

    Don't just show me the money, show me the BEST doctors and Research Centers. A lot of us have held or thought of guns to the head TOO LONG. I'm starting to think patriotism doesn't exist.

    January 30, 2009 at 6:01 pm |
  432. Gary

    I am one of those veterans, 1968-1972. What they (the VA) told us then and what is available now are just two different stories. It looks like we will spend millions on honey bee insurance and vets cannot even get medications. I am 59 years old, unemployed, diabetic and have a 401K that was decimated by the bonus grabbing so and so's on wall street. This is not the country I fought for.

    Gary
    Mesquite, NV

    January 30, 2009 at 6:02 pm |
  433. Michelle D.

    Sadly, I think alot of the problem is the medical providers. I work at a medical office and we are the only (in network) Tricare provider in our area. There is no other provider within 50+ miles of us. (we are in a suburban area, a major city is only 15 miles from us). I don't know if the problem is with Humana Military in getting out and getting providers in the network or if the problem is with the medical providers who don't like the contracted rates of Tricare. Either way, it is absolutely shameful.

    January 30, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  434. Dotie

    I can give you a clue. With so much talk about bonuses why doesn't some one from the media look into what bonuses are given to mid-level and senior level managers at the Department of Veterans Health Administration. Working for the VA I can ensure you the bonuses are often not deserved and are entirely too high.

    January 30, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  435. Oris Payton

    I'm a vietnam vet with ptsd. Dianosed by V.A. doctors, but, I don't receive benifits, because V. A. say they can't verify my stressors.

    I was stationed with Depcords, the civilian ran advisoy group. There was only 15 of us that worhed there, and I've been trying to get my claim approved for 20 years, this coming June.

    I can't find any of the soldier's i was stationed with, and the civilians, i"ve been told just forget it, because they were foreign service or gs personnel.

    If you should read this i hope you can help me in any way you can.

    I would appreciate it.

    Thank You,

    Oris Payton

    January 30, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  436. Ross

    We don't take care of them like we should because they don't have an outspoken voice in the government leading the way. We seem to only care about them when they are healthy and can do what we want, we toss them away after we're done using them.

    January 30, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  437. Ronald

    Somewhere other then Missouri (St Louis) were racism is less notable as much as THEY try to hide it and you can make a career that can be for the people for the long term and not a "For hire State" were you can be fired cause they don't like you either for what you believe or the color of your skin.......all skin colors

    Ronald
    St Louis

    January 30, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  438. Chuck

    I am a 100% disabled veteran. Mental health care for veterans with 100% disabilitys for PTSD and other Panic and Stress Disorders ,
    consists of only drugs and low quality counsiling. The inability to provide quality Psychotherapy and Bio feedback has ended up costing lives and at least making many disabled veterans addicted to toxic medications with liver ,kidney and heart problems as a result.
    PTSD or Stress Disorders are not only killing our new veterans but continue to kill the older ones who have been neglected by the Mental Health Dept of the Veterans Admin. Suicide rates that are mostly hidden support this. If you have a Mental Disability you are treated with
    ingorange,neglect and abuse.

    January 30, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  439. Marvin

    Jack, right now the VA and the DOD are hard at work, with hot shot lawyers...that are coached to come up with qualifications and criteria that will make it harder to war vet to come home and get the benefits they deserve. I'm a Disabled Vet and I know the play book that they use...they spend more time turning down Vets than helping us....

    January 30, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  440. amanda house

    my husband is a disable vet and i can tell you the government does not give a crap once you serve and they are done with you they could care less try and deal with the veteran affairs or get a claim approved you will deal with the rudest people you would ever meet.what happened to respect for the people who make this the country we want to live in i am ready to move and i dont mean changing states i am feed up.

    January 30, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  441. Ronald

    It was'nt really explained how the first $350 billion was spent but when its a clear plan for the spending of the other $350 billion, the GOP wants to make rules and try to stop the spending.....why?

    Ronald
    St Louis

    January 30, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  442. Bernadette Loesch

    Hi Jack, Right where I am at the moment which is in the community of Royal Highlands located in central Florida. I want to sit tight and watch all that is taking place (for the better) in DC after four years of mismanagement by Bush/Cheney and the Republicans.

    January 30, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  443. Jim, Special Forces Retired

    To: Oris Payton...... get your congressman involved. He/She has to get re-elected every 2 years.

    Given my similar responses from the V.A., my guess is nothing will change even if my sniper buddies were to selectively use their talents. But, I would be there at the trial on their behalf.

    January 30, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  444. Margaret Kozak

    In my opinion former administration figured, hey they did what we told them and now we can just throw them away. They will get some other young man to do the job, then we'll throw him away too....and on and on...
    I'm sure our current President will not continue this type of criminal behavior.

    MTK Shelby Twp., MI

    January 30, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  445. J. Horn

    Rush Limbaughs' cellar Jack.

    I'd love to write a tell-all about that creep.

    January 30, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  446. charlie galloway

    Jack, the reality is the VA hospitals have unused capacity because WW2 vets are dying off and vastly improved current war zone medical practices result in less hospital stay requirements. Therefore we should think a shift of funding to non hospital Veteran needs would be possible. Two problems: 1) there is a VA infrastrucure that wants to keep their jobs just like everyone else, and 2) government agencies are not flexible and cannot turn around quickly.

    January 30, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  447. Bryce DeBorde

    No one Cares.Not the President, Congress, the Senate. Thousands wait to be seen.Injuries put on hold.....

    January 30, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  448. Joe in Colorado

    Every veteran who has Tricare through Humana needs to write his senators, congressmen and The President.

    Tell them that if they raise the rates, cut benefits, or ignore our military vets, that you will be watching them like a hawk and checking out how they voted.

    If a senator, congressman or a President spearheads a drive to eliminate veterans benefits or raise Tricare rates - then tell them they will not be getting your vote next time in 2010 or 2012.

    January 30, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  449. Randy T. Barnhart, Mo.

    I have never really understood why the Veterans medical needs had to be part of the Goverment. Wouldn, the vets benifit more if the could just get their care in the private sector?like everyone else does? The goverment could just provide coverage thru private insurance companies. Eliminate all VA hospitals except what would be needed for active duty personnel.Even major medical care could be outsourced to the private sector . We just need a better way of helping the Vets. What we have now seems to be archaic at best.

    January 30, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  450. Barbara

    I certainly sympathize with having decent benefits for veterans. My son, 4 brothers, 2 uncles, and a nephew served . One brother gave 20 years to the Air Force; and his son just retired as a colonet in the Air Force. But why all this uprising about veterans now? President Obama addressed the issue about returning vets from Iraq. Why didn't the verterans' organizations do something while Bush was in office? Give this current President a chance. If we can get a stimulus plan working to provide jobs, that will automatically include veterans; if we can get something to keep people in their homes, that would automatically help veterans, old and young; and so on, and so on. This man has been in office for two weeks, he is moving; still all these people who stood back and watched the country go steadily down hill for 8 years want to rise up. It is shameful.

    January 30, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  451. sid

    JACK. simple answer they dont care. i had to drive 1600 miles to littlerock ar. because the nurse did not look at the computer screen to see what i was to be treated for. they put 200ml. of saline into me to prep. me for a test . and if i didnt ask them what test they were going to do. i could have died from iodine inhanser. so i had to leave the va. center.[and stop at every gas stop on the way home. i had to go back the next week for the proper test. it is 800 miles round trip from my house. [ they can out sourse these test to reg. hospitals ] there is two major hospitals within 12 miles from me.

    January 30, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  452. wileysnakeskins

    We don't take better care of our veterans because we don't have anything left after we, 'the taxpayers' put out the bailout money so that Wallstreet acn hang on to their CEOs and give them billions of dollars in bonuses right out of the TARP funds! We have people dying, suicide, freezing to death but yet, the one person who created the bad home mortgage investment tool and the unethical, fraudulent on person who signed off the investment risk as low and in fact with the help of Barney Franks and his cronies in the House, allowed investers worldwide to believe that in fact the government was backing the fraudulent investment tool,' are sitting fat and sassy with their bonuses, graft and billions in campain donations without the slightest consideration of the pain, suffering and YES even deaths they have caused. I want to know WHO exactly those two people are, where they are right now, and WHY no one is prosecuting them for fraud, graft, mail fraud and securities fraud and any and all other charges and punishment that any one with morals and ethics just has to know they deserve and because of hourse committee and senate committee members are providing protection, because they have to protect themselves from us finding out just how much campain donations and presents, gifts and what ever other graft and illicit gain they are hanging onto while laughing at the U.S. citizens who are the only ones who have really been hurt by this CRIME!

    January 30, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  453. Larry

    I have no choice but to agree with every comment I have heard so far. The most important thing I can see that we(VETS) need is more VA hospitals. I surved in Baghdad in 07/08. I was injured during the middle of my tour. Almost 10 months later I finnaly was able to have surgery. I had no choice but to return to work with shoulder and back injuries, just to be forced on medical leave by my employer that I had before I was deployed. They claimed I requested the leave of absence which I didn't request. I simply stated that I had some issues that I had to deal with and requested a low stress setting. (So, concidering I was sent home without pay or benifits, I had no income. I couldnt get unemployment at that time because they claimed it was a preexisting military illness and said I requested to not work. This was a state position. I was refused short term disability, although I had paid into it my entire career.) I finally later got another job in a new feild, Just to get laid off again. I have now been laid off for about 2 months.
    In the mean time, I am unable to get any VA benifits from my PTSD, TBI, or any other disabilities I have recieved because I am told I will not see any benifits for atleast 6 months to a year.. at the soonest.
    I would like to add, The main reason I signed up for the military in the first place was because I was laid off from a different job. I now have been married and have full custody of my own daughter. I think the government is on the right track as far as wanting to keep the military strong... keep the job levels to a bare minimum. I have no choice now but to remain ion the military just to make sure I can support my family. It is the only sure thing for the future. There will always be "Wars" and there will always be a need for state side security.
    If I have to take a bullet to make sure my family is taken care of/paid and our country is safer that is a small price to pay in my eyes.

    You big dogs make sure your #1 as always.. dont mind the tousands of homeless VETS, Families without homes, never mind that most of the middle/lower class has to resort to gov. assistance. Keep paying someone who was brought here from another country to play an American sport for multi million dollar contracts... mind you, most aren't that good anyway. Be sure that we send all our homegrown businesses to other countries.. just because its cheaper to pay $2-8 a day to make American products.

    The begging & pleading for new products that would deplete/replace the alternative fuels has been a great disappointment in my eyes. I have seen more movements in other countries. I know for a fact that there have been requests for an advancment with a new plan for an alternative to using foreign fuel, or even any use of fuel at all. The gov. doesn't want the advancments because the auto industry is the main artery to the gov. employees income. Everyone in the higher ranks of the gov. has there hands in it. This is why the "buy out" was for the auto industry. I think if a business goes out of business.... tough s**t they failed as a company. I don't see the small businesses getting bail outs.. They get, well thats too bad, better luck next time. The money should go to the families without jobs, homes, going through forclosure, and/or given as a tax refund. That is the only real way the money would really get us out or trouble. Why give the money to the ones that can't keep there heads above water being the ones taking our money in the first place. The money should be for the people.. not the failures in the government or there ties in the businesses to keep there future bright!

    January 30, 2009 at 6:36 pm |